MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle stressed a sense of "common humanity" between Christians and Muslims as one of the "building blocks of a new Marawi," to the frustration of extremists.
"Siyempre kailangan ng pagkain, kailangan ng bahay, kailangan ng medisina, lahat 'yan. Pero ito ang mga building blocks ng bagong Marawi – na may maalala sila na kaya pala nating magtulungan sa gitna ng hidwaan," Tagle said on Tuesday, July 4, in a press conference on the 4th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE).
(Of course they need food, they need housing, they need medicines, all of that. But these are the building blocks of a new Marawi – that they would remember that they can help each other in times of conflict.)
Tagle said extremists might have been trying to turn the Marawi crisis into a fight between Christians and Muslims. (READ: Cardinal Tagle: What has happened to humanity?)
The cardinal, however, cited stories of Muslims helping Christians whose lives were in danger in Marawi. At the same time, he recounted stories too of Christians assisting Muslims in their sufferings. (READ: Trapped in Marawi, Muslims shield Christians from terrorists)
Tagle said, "Kung sino man ang nagplano na hatiin ang mga Kristiyano at Muslim, mukhang inis na inis ngayon, kasi hindi nagtatagumpay lagi." (Whoever planned to divide Christians and Muslims, it seems they're really frustrated by now because they always don't succeed.)
The cardinal said this sense of "common humanity" shows "communion" – which is also the theme of PCNE, which will gather around 5,000 people at the University of Santo Tomas from July 28 to 30, to discuss rekindling the Catholic faith.
The Manila archbishop said communion begins with seeing, "What do we have in common?"
"Siguro nakita nila, common humanity: 'Kapatid ito. Kung ako nagdurusa, nagdurusa rin ito. Kung ako may pangarap, may pangarap din ito,'" Tagle said.
(Perhaps they saw a common humanity: "This is a brother or sister. If I am suffering, he or she is also suffering. If I have dreams, he or she also has dreams.")
Tagle said, "Kaya nating alisin itong mga pader na naghihiwa-hiwalay sa atin at i-affirm (We can remove these walls that divide us, and affirm): We belong to one human family."
He also urged Filipinos to "be attentive" to "signs of hope, signs of love, signs of light," even in a "desert of suffering" like this.
The fighting in Marawi has killed more than 400 people, mostly terrorists, since it began on May 23. The crisis has also forced nearly 400,000 people out of their homes. – with reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.