Cardinal Quevedo’s Message on Eid al-Fitr
24 June 2017
M E S S A G E
My Muslim Brothers and Sisters:
Eid Mubarak! As you end the holy month of Ramadan on the first day of Shawwal, I extend to you my greetings of peace in the Almighty and Merciful God.
You spent the holy month praying not only for Muslim communities but also for those who belong to other religions. You fasted and offered daily sacrifices in spiritual combat against wicked passions such as greed, covetousness, and hatred. I prayed with you and for you in my heart during the whole month.
But Ramadan this year has been so unlike many other Ramadans. The Muslim City of Marawi has been almost reduced into a heap of rubbles, as government troops fight a long protracted battle with rebels who wish to transform Marawi into an ISIS center. Thousands of civilians, both Muslims and Christians, have fled to safer places. In Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, a Catholic chapel has been desecrated, religious statues have been destroyed and the Sacred Hosts kept in the Chapel for the benefit of the Catholic faithful have been sacrilegiously scattered on the ground.
I have wondered if the killing of the innocent, the deliberate destruction of a Catholic cathedral, the burning of a Protestant college, the kidnapping of civilians, would desecrate the holy month of Ramadan. Muslim scholars have condemned such acts as “unIslamic.” Terroristic and irreligious acts would undoubtedly foment and reinforce hatred for others, rather than eradicate the sinful passions of heart and soul, truly a contradiction to the holy month of Ramadan.
Yet deep and genuine religious faith is always optimistic. It is full of hope. It dreams that the meaning of Ramadan might become a reality for all of us. During the holy season of Lent, we Catholics also struggle in spiritual combat against our own evil passions. We, too, strive to love our neighbor as ourselves, no matter what race, tribe, religion and culture — in brief, to obey God’s will.
If all of us strive towards the same objectives of purification, reconciliation, and charity in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and in the Catholic season of Lent, if all peoples of different religions would do this, what a truly wonderful world we would have. It would not be a world of terror, but one of peace and harmony; not a world of bias and prejudice, but a world of mutual respect and love. That is a world that comes as gift from God. Together with God let us build that world.
On behalf of the Clergy, Religious Brothers and Sisters and the Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of Cotabato, I greet you once again, Eid Mubarak!
+Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Cotabato