Bigger than bombs
THE Cathedral of Our Lady of Mr. Carmel has been a punching bag of about 8 or so bombings already, not to mention the killing of its 4th bishop Benjamin de Jesus, OMI, in 1997. Since its first Ordinary, Francis Joseph McSorley, OMI, who took possession of the Vicariate of Jolo in 1954, the Oblates could easily be the poster boy of the Catholic Church’s resilience in mission. Not a day have they abandoned their post despite the constant and persistent threat of violence.
The latest and the most devastating bombs that tore through the Cathedral on January 27 while Sunday mass was in progress and killed at least 23 Church-goers and wounded about a hundred, will not set off-track the quest for peace. Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said that the peace process must continue to pursue the end of decades of rebellion in the country’s restive south. “We hope that the incident will not sidetrack us to lasting peace,” said Ledesma.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has called on Filipinos, “not to abandon our commitment to peace.” In a statement, he said, “Only good can combat evil. Instead of being discouraged, let us strengthen our resolve to work for peace based on justice, truth, love and respect for human life and dignity. Let us multiply good and honorable thoughts, sentiments, word and actions. Let us not abandon our efforts to dialogue with people who differ from us.”
Few days before the conduct of the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law several bishops of Mindanao issued a statement that prayed for “a lasting peace in Mindanao—a gift and a task—that respect cultural and religious diversity…”
For sure, people’s faith which is the very foundation of their quest for lasting peace will neither be deterred not annihilated by bombs.