“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press... (Sec. 4, 1987 Philippine Constitution)”
“In today’s world of strife and cheapness of life, dialogue as a spirituality can be neglected only at an incalculable risk of disaster. Every spirituality is difficult, but dialogue is especially so.”
Thus said Bishop Bienvenido Tudtud in a conference in 1984.
Bishop Tutud, who died in a plane crash on June 26, 1987, was a strong believer in interreligious dialogue. He avidly supported the work of Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME founder of Silsilah Dialogue Movement. He was widely admired in the prelature of Marawi which he ran with wisdom and common-touch for people of all faiths.
Bienvenido Solon Tudtud was born on 22nd of March 1931 in Mabolo, Cebu City. On May 17, 1971 he was installed as the first Prelate Ordinary of the newly erected Prelature of Iligan. It is from this date that his interest and his commitment to dialogue grew confronted by a situation of utter conflict between two communities that made up the population of his prelature, the Muslims and the Christians.
From October 1974 to June 1975 “Benny or Ben” as he was called, studied Islam at the Pontifical Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies in Rome. On December 8, 1976, the Prelature of Marawi was officially erected and his first description of Marawi that same year showed his sensitivity to the plight of the people in general and of the Maranao in particular, and his desire to be in Marawi as one who reconciled parties in conflict.
Fr. Sebastiano with Silsilah Muslim and Christian friends expressed full support for this occasion to remember Bishop Tudtud on his 25th Death Anniversary on June 26, 2012. This commemorative day is a great opportunity to encourage those who believe in dialogue and invigorate those who are discouraged by the difficulties in their experience of dialogue. In a message given by Fr. Sebastiano he recalled the conversation with Bishop Ben:
“I remember when I visited him in Marawi in 1983. I mentioned to him my experience of dialogue which started in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte with the Subanon (natives) and the Muslims and my dream to initiate the Silsilah Dialogue Movement based on a spiritual dimension of dialogue. I mentioned also the difficulties that I met. He understood well my vision and the mission this would entail, including the meaning of “Silsilah” which would be the name linked to the new dialogue movement.”???
“He encouraged me to go on with this plan, telling me, “Sebastiano, go on, but remember this is a plan of 100 years!” His words disturbed me at the beginning because I was expecting early results of the mission. Along the years I understood the wisdom of his “reminder”.” (Ref: SDM)
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