MANILA, Feb. 27, 2014—With many calling him ‘Cardinal Peace’ because of his involvement in the Mindanao peace process, Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo said it is his desire to work for peace in the southern region, but would prefer that he does it behind the curtain.
“When they say ‘Cardinal Peace’, I am not in front. I am behind. I am behind the curtain. [Both sides] would consult me, but my name does not appear…. I want to work for peace, yes, but not in the forefront. I want to stay in the background,” Quevedo said during a conference he gave at the Collegio Fillipino in Rome on Feb. 23.
Quevedo, who have been silently involved in a dialogue for peace in conflict ridden Mindanao for many years, said “mutual mistrust that creates all the misinformation” is at the root of the Mindanao conflict.
“The fear of the Christians and the fear of the Muslims towards each other are fed by these misunderstandings and mistrust,” the newly-installed cardinal explained.
Dialogue on three levels
Quevedo said he carries out his role in the interreligious dialogue on three levels.
“First, in my dialogue with students in my university, we have a dialogue of life,” he said.
The Cardinal described how Muslims and Christians would study, play and even pray together.
“We pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, then we say ‘Notre Dame, pray for us’. The Muslims might not pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, but when we say Notre Dame, they also say, ‘Pray for us’,” he said.
The second level of dialogue, according to Quevedo is “sharing of religious experiences”, noting that even NGOs that are Christians and NGOs that are Muslims share their religious experiences.
“And the third level, in which I am engaged, is the level of Theological discussion,” Quevedo said, explaining that when a Muslim scholar presented what the Koran said, “you would see that there are convergences between the Biblical and the Koran views.”
Their discussion also included such varied topics as creation, environment, and climate change involving Protestant bishops and Pastors, the Catholic Bishops of Mindanao, and the Imams and Muslim scholars.
Quevedo, who served as chair of the CBCP Committee on Basic Ecclesial Communities, also expressed his hopes on basic ecclesial communities and what BEC members can contribute in the building up of the Church and society.
“My hopes are from the bottom up, in the BECs… Make sure there is no corruption among the leaders of the BECs,” he said.
Quevedo also took the opportunity to correct what he said as “myths” being said about him and reported on the papers.
The first myth, according to him is that he is “the architect of the Asian Pastoral Churches.”
“I hope this is true, but it is not true. What I actually did was when there was an insight in the FABC in 1974, on the local Church. The Church is incarnate in the people,” Quevedo said.
He said he just made a synthesis of those ideas which developed in the subsequent conferences, and “that will be my contribution to the Church in Asia.”
The second myth, Quevedo said, is that “I got the highest vote in the Synod of Bishops for Asia in 1974.”
“They voted for 3 candidates for America, 3 for Europe, 3 for Africa, 3 for Asia and Oceania. It so happened that for Asia-Oceania, the Bishops voted for me as number 1. And it so happened that I got the highest. But they had to vote for three from every region,” he explained.
The third myth, he said, “is that I graduated with a Doctorate in Educational Management from UST.”
Quevedo explained that he was writing the second to the last Chapter of his thesis when his provincial told him to come home.
“You come home now. You will be the president of Notre Dame University. I told him, ‘do you know that if I come home now, I will not finish the thesis?’” ‘Come’, he said. So I was happy. So, instead of a graduate, I am a drop-out. A total drop out, since I went to become President of Notre Dame,” he said. (CBCPNews)