By Ryan Sorote

New Manila Archbishop Jose Advincula (Archdiocese of Capiz)

The Archbishop of Manila has always been an influential voice as the shepherd of more than 3 million Catholics in the nation’s capital. Will the Manila archbishop-elect, Jose Cardinal Advincula, be any different?

The Capiz-born prelate said in a recent interview that he would not be as vocal as his predecessors, such Jaime Cardinal Sin, who played a key role in the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship during the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Advincula said the late Cardinal Sin, who championed the rights of the poor, was a key figure in his life as a young priest, and was his mentor.

Sin was the rector when Advincula entered St. Pius X Seminary in Roxas City, Capiz, in 1964.

The late cardinal was also his Latin teacher, who persuaded late Capiz Archbishop Antonio Frondosa to let Advincula study Canon Law in Rome.

“Cardinal Sin is Cardinal Sin,” Advincula said.

“I am afraid I could not be as vocal as Cardinal Sin.”

He vowed to “maintain an open line of communication” with Malacañang, the seat of the presidency.

Advincula will assume his new post in the premiere see in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, replacing the “outspoken” Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who had a tussle recently with Palace spokesman Harry Roque over church restrictions.

Unlike Pabillo, Advincula has a less combative take on church restrictions, saying ” the government is trying its best to address the Covid-19 problem.”

The 69-year-old archbishop said he would focus on evangelization and engage in projects to help the poor and strengthen and continue his predecessors’ initiatives.

“I will concentrate on focusing on the pastoral life of the people in Manila,” he said, adding that he plans to visit the parishes even if he does it “in a restricted way because of the pandemic.”

“Because a shepherd, I believe, can be more effective in addressing the needs of the people if he knows the real situation or condition of this flock,” he said.

On a lighter note, the new Manila prelate said he is a genuine “plantito” who enjoys the outdoors, mountain trekking, and photography.