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Philippine Oblate Archbishop Quevedo Named to the College of Cardinals

January 17th, 2014

Quevedo-aPope Francis has named a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato to the College of Cardinals. Cardinal-designate Quevedo represents the large island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, which experiences all the major problems facing the Philippines, including poverty, peace and justice issues and the complex and often difficult relationship between Christians and Muslims.

The rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front said the elevation of the cardinal-designate is a “welcome development”. “It’s good for peace efforts in Mindanao,” said rebel spokesman Mohagher Iqbal. In a 2003 paper titled “Injustice: the Root of Conflict in Mindanao,” Quevedo said the root cause of the Moro rebellion in the southern Philippines was “injustice” to the Moro people’s “identity, political sovereignty, and integral development”.*

He said that as a member of the College of Cardinals he will try to contribute to Pope Francis’ vision of a church of the poor.

“As the pope also envisioned, we need to become a humble church of the poor in the Philippines,” he said.

Oblate Jun Mercado, who knows Mindanao well, says this in a recent news article reflecting on Archbishop Quevedo’s appointment: “The first consideration and priority of Pope Francis appears to be his intent to make the Catholic Church truly catholic, meaning universal. His choices of the 16 active cardinals from all parts of the world (less from Europe and the US) follow his act of appointing eight Cardinals outside the Roman Curia to help him govern the Universal Church.”

“The second big thing in the choice seems to be Pope Francis’ desire to mainstream into the Church what seems to be marginal and many people consider least important. This is the special care and solidarity with the poor. Definitely naming cardinals from the Dioceses of Cayes (Haiti), Abidjan, Burkina Fasso and Cotabato is an earth shaking act and it sends clear message to the Universal Church. Their ministries notwithstanding ‘marginal’ or ‘peripheral’ and their places are important for the universal Church!”

“Definitely, there is a common thread that pierces through Abidjan, Burkina Fasso and Cotabato in Mindanao. These are Muslim majority territories. The work of interreligious dialogue plays an important role in shaping human community and civilization that is more caring and friendly.”

“Dialogue, respect and partnership or simply as common stakeholders to the planet characterize the main thrust in the relationship between and among religions. To this category belongs the important and daring work of Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI of Cotabato (Philippines).”

“[B]y naming Archbishop Quevedo as the first Mindanao Cardinal of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis invites us to reflect on the role and place of the minorities in society; and he invites us also to look at each other in all our diversities and pluralism of faiths NO LONGER as enemies or threats to one another but as partners to build a society for all, especially for the poor and together care for our environment.”

“I am sure Pope Francis is aware of the peace process in Mindanao and the strategic location of the Archdiocese of Cotabato… Archbishop Quevedo belongs also to a minority that understands the Bangsamoro Question as an issue of injustice to the Bangsamoro – Injustice to their identity; injustice to their sovereignty; and injustice to their ancestral domain.”**

Cardinal-designate Quevedo was ordained in June, 1964, and appointed a bishop of the Prelature of Kidapawan in Mindanao by Blessed John Paul II in July, 1980. He was named archbishop of Nueva Segovia in the northern Philippines in March, 1986 and appointed archbishop of Cotabato two years later.

* Quote taken from UCANews 

**Fr. Jun Mercado OMI’s article was published in GMA News, a major online Filipino English language website.

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