(Source: CD/Vatican News)

The Holy See Press Office on Friday confirmed that Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle has tested positive to COVID-19 after a swab test. 

“Cardinal Tagle actually tested positive for COVID-19 with a pharyngeal swab carried out yesterday on his arrival in Manila,” said a brief statement by Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office.

Thus the Philippine cardinal, who is Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples as well as President of Caritas Internationalis, the federation of Catholic charities worldwide, becomes the first head of a Vatican dicastery with COVID-19.

Responding to journalists, Bruni said the cardinal “does not have any symptoms and will remain in mandatory self-quarantine in the Philippines, where he is located.”

“In the meantime,” he added, “necessary checks are being carried out among those who have come into contact with His Eminence in recent days.”  

Tagle met with Pope Francis August 29 in an audience reported in the Holy See Press Office’s daily bulletin.

Bruni added that Cardinal Tagle had undergone a swab test in Rome on September 7, which turned out negative. 

Cardinal had denounced profiteering from pandemic 

Earlier this week, 63-year old Cardinal Tagle led an online recollection on COVID-19 in the Philippines, during which he criticised those who take advantage of the pandemic to make money. 

He was participating on Tuesday in “Kaunting Pahinga (A Little Rest),” an initiative organised by Caritas Philippines and the Dilaab Foundation. 

“As many people are suffering and getting poorer,” he said, “there are some businesses and probably individuals who are taking advantage of the situation… And they know how to capitalise on the sorrow and the needs of others for their profitability.”

Cardinal Tagle expressed hope that through faith in Jesus, the pandemic will lead people to “a lifestyle of compassion and solidarity.”

The head of Caritas Internationalis pointed out that the global health crisis has increased the demand for assistance from Caritas by more than a hundred percent.

“No one should be left alone. This gives hope to many people,” Cardinal Tagle added.

Prefect of papal household and personal secretary to Benedict XVI Archbishop Gänswein hospitalised with “severe kidney problems”

In the meantime, another official in the Roman Curia who has suffered a turn for the worse in his health is Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who on Friday was admitted to hospital.

Citing sources close to the archbishop, CNA reported that Gänswein was suffering from “severe kidney problems”.

Gänswein, 64, came to Rome from his native Germany in 1995 to work first at the Congregation for Divine Worship and later at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In 2003, Gänswein succeeded Bishop Josef Clemens as personal secretary to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – later Benedict XVI – and in 2012 succeeded Cardinal James Michael Harvey as Prefect of the Pontifical Household, continuing to serve in that role after the election of Pope Francis in 2013.

On Novena, the latest on the COVID situation in the Vatican:

9/9: General Audience: Pope denounces “partisan interests”, “devotees of Pontius Pilate” derailing post-COVID-19 social recovery

7/6: Angelus: Vatican goes virus-free, but Pope warns world “do not celebrate victory too soon”


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.