Catholic leaders vow to keep peace efforts in Mindanao | Inquirer News

Catholic leaders vow to keep peace efforts in Mindanao

/ 10:51 AM December 08, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Catholic leaders have pledged to continue efforts toward peace in Mindanao following the deadly December 3 blast at Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City.

Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Emeritus Antonio Ledesma said in a Thursday Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) statement that the violence “will not derail” the Catholic Church’s commitment to dialogue and peaceful coexistence in the region.

He stressed that religious leaders will keep working toward peace and development in Mindanao.

Catholic leaders have pledged to continue efforts toward peace in Mindanao

INQUIRER FILE PHOTO: Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Emeritus Antonio Ledesma. SCREENGRAB FROM

The bomb exploded inside a gymnasium at the MSU as a morning Catholic Mass was ongoing, leaving four people dead and 50 wounded. It was Advent Sunday, the first day of the liturgical year and the start of the season of Advent, which, for most Christian denominations, is the period of preparations leading to the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ


The priest presiding over the Mass, Fr. Benigno Flores, described the bombing as “an act of terrorism done in the most inhumane way, devoid of respect for the sacred and the holy,” according to the CBCP statement posted on its website.

“We express our condolence and shared grief with the victims and families of those affected by the bombing,” said Ledesma, co-president of Pax Christi-Pilipinas, a chapter of a global Catholic peace movement working for peace and respect for human rights.

READ: One of suspects in MSU bombing arrested in Marawi City – AFP

Ledesma noted that Maranao students immediately took measures to protect their Christian schoolmates from further harm following the blast.

The CBCP said the students’ response is the “most heartening thing” for Ledesma.

“May this gesture of solidarity not only affirm the spirit of MSU as an inclusive institution for higher learning but also symbolize the ongoing aspirations for the tri-people of Mindanao in coming home through solidarity and harmony,” the Cagayan de Oro archbishop emeritus said.


READ: Caritas PH condemns MSU bombing: It happened during Mindanao Week of Peace

The CBCP likewise said that the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) has urged everyone to strive for peace and harmony consciously. The OFM described the bombing as “nothing but an act of selfishness and cruelty that must be condemned in the strictest sense of the world.”

“The path toward genuine interreligious dialogue, universal fraternity, and solidarity is difficult and full of challenges. Yet, we draw our hope and strength from our all-powerful, most compassionate, and merciful God, who showed us the way of genuine brotherhood through his Son, Jesus Christ,” the OFM said, as quoted in the CBCP statement.

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The OFM asked government authorities to use peaceful means “to counteract the forces of evil and violence” and “to hold responsible and accountable those who perpetrated these acts of terrorism.”

TAGS: Bombing, Christians, Marawi, Mindanao State University, Muslim, Religion

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