MANILA, Philippines – Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, who turns 75 on Tuesday, March 11, dreams of a simple Church – with bishops and priests who dress as humbly as Pope Francis.
Speaking to Rappler, Quevedo suggested a uniform white cassock for bishops and priests, with less of the usual regalia that set Church officials apart.
He broached this idea in an interview on March 1, when asked what he would want to advise Pope Francis about. Cardinals, after all, serve as papal advisers.
“I had one weird idea, but I don’t think I would advise him on that one,” Quevedo said. “You know, I do not like to wear regalia.”
He paused then continued: “I thought of it because the way the Pope simply dresses up, ano, that perhaps, perhaps, 50 years from now, when development of the ideas of the Pope comes, maybe someday you might see bishops and priests wearing the same sottana (cassock), but the difference is insignia.”
By insignia, he meant a small sign on the cassock to indicate that one is a bishop or priest.
Quevedo explained: “Ordinarily, you don’t have to wear red or purple or something like that. Maybe in special occasions you do that. But you don’t have to be wearing that all the time. You can see a lot of bishops or cardinals wearing so many things, even not at the Mass.”
The cardinal usually wears the barong, a formal Filipino shirt, when not saying Mass or attending a formal Church occasion.
He said he doesn’t want to be treated like royalty.
“I don’t wish to be showing myself off as a bishop, as the cardinal, and people bowing down. All I want is, they recognize you as a bishop, but not necessarily wear a lot of things to show that you’re a bishop,” he said.
He said it is important to keep the sottana, however, because it is a sign of a priest’s calling.
“It also saves you from temptation,” Quevedo added. “You don’t want to go in sottana to some kind of suspicious, questionable place. You are wearing a sottana. Even a cross will help prevent temptation. It will remind you that you are a priest. Or an insignia will also do that.”
The “important message” for him “is simplicity of lifestyle and humility.”
“Humility is wearing your authority lightly, that you do not impose your authority because you are this and that. Humility is accepting others’ opinions and weighing them, and so on and so forth. Humility is knowing that you don’t know everything,” he added.
In an earlier interview with Rappler, Quevedo said he dreams of “a simple Church, a poor Church, a humble Church.” (READ: Q & A: Mindanao cardinal dreams ‘like Pope Francis’)
The first cardinal from Mindanao, he is described as a “prophet” in the Philippines’ poorest island group.
He marks his 75th birthday on Tuesday with a Mass to be attended by President Benigno Aquino III. (READ: Once burned, will Quevedo take chances with Aquino government?) – Rappler