I deliberately address you as brothers: it is certain that we are because we are members of the same human family whose efforts – whether people realize it or not – tend to God and the truth that comes from Him. But we are especially brothers in God who created us and we try to reach, each by his way, through faith, prayer, worship, fidelity to his law and submission to his will.
But aren’t you above all brothers of the Christians of this great country for the bonds of nationality, history, geography, culture and hope for a better future, a future that you are building together? Is it not right to think that, in the Philippines, Muslims and Christians are really traveling in the same boat, in good and in bad luck, and that in the storms that hit the world the security of each individual depends on the efforts and cooperation of all?
Let me give you this last point.
I address you as spiritual leader of the Catholic Church which has no political power. I can only convey to you the teaching and the word Jesus them: “Blessed are the peacemakers” He says in the Gospel, “because they will be called sons of God” (Mt 5.9). In another passage he says: “All you want men to do to you, do it to them too; this is the Law and the Prophets “(Mt 5: 9). These words, which I repeated to my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters in the Catholic Church, allow me to repeat them to you at this time.
You share with Christians the same citizenship you have acquired by living here and participating in the life of the nation, with all the obligations and duties that this entails. In addition to your Philippine nationality and other qualities and values common to all Filipinos, you are aware of being the bearers of some specific qualities, among which the culture of Islam is perhaps the most evident. This is what adds to your shared national identity an original element that deserves attention and respect.
Your well-being and that of your Christian brothers and sisters requires a climate of mutual esteem and trust. You know like me that in the past this climate has too often deteriorated, to the detriment of every relationship. — from his address to Muslim representatives in Davao City, Philippines (February 20, 1981)
But, dear friends, we also know too well that there is no positive reason why such a past must revive today. If anything, we should look back with pain to the past, to ensure the establishment of a better future. And you have the task, at the same time enviable and decisive, of helping to build this future, the future of your Muslim children, as well as the harmonious future of the whole Filipino nation.