Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato. (Photo by Angie de Silva)
Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato in the southern Philippines has vowed to remain active, especially in his peace advocacy in Mindanao, after his retirement in January 2019.
The prelate who belongs to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate congregation said he will write books on inter-religious dialogue, the peace process, and Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs).
"I am a priest forever," said the 79-year-old prelate in an interview. "I will not retire, slow down maybe," he said.
Pope St. John Paul II made Cardinal Quevedo Archbishop of Cotabato 20 years ago. He has since focused his pastoral ministry on the challenges faced by Christian communities in Mindanao, the peace process, and Christian-Muslim relations.
"Only others can tell you how well or how badly I pursued the task of peacemaking, inter-religious dialogue and renewing BECs," he said.
The prelate said what he did was provide a vision and empowered others to do the work on community building and peace.
The country's eighth cardinal and the first from Mindanao, Cardinal Quevedo tendered his resignation, as mandated by church law, on March 11, 2014 upon reaching the age of 75.
He was, however, appointed a cardinal two months earlier.
In previous pronouncements, Cardinal Quevedo said stopping violent extremism in the Philippines should begin by fighting social injustice, particularly in Mindanao.
Mindanao is the Philippines' most resource-rich island but it has consistently been home to some of the poorest provinces.
The prelate said poverty in Mindanao demands "long-term engagement."
He said inter-religious dialogue is "essential, imperative and indispensable" in the midst of recent conflicts in the region.
The cardinal said it is the task of religious leaders to address the root causes of terrorism, including "deep-seated" mutual biases and prejudices that often erupt when social disputes and violence occur.
Pope Francis accepted Cardinal Quevedo's resignation on Nov. 6 and named Bishop Angelito Lampon of Jolo, who is also a member of the Oblates congregation, as Cardinal Quevedo's successor.
On his successor, Cardinal Quevedo said the Holy Father "has chosen well."