Friars in the Philippines.
Marlier, Callanan & Co.
The following pages originally appeared as magazine articles. In both England and America the papers were favorably received; and as the public has not heard the last of the Friars in the Philippines, it seemed worth while to reproduce them in the more permanent form of a small volume, making such corrections and additions as might be deemed advisable. Whatever may be the shortcomings of the book, there is a real and pressing need for the information it contains, and this need must remain the excuse for its imperfections. A fair consideration of the facts it presents is confidently expected from a people whose love of justice is almost proverbial: Truth should have nothing to fear from Americans.
May 5, 1899.
I. The Work of the Religious Orders in the Philippines 7
II. The Charges made against Them considered 37
III. The Rebellion Largely the Work of a Secret Organization 60
IV. The Rebels and Their Grievances 86
V. The Sectarian Missionary Movement 99
I. A Short Account of Missions in China, conducted by the Dominican Friars of the Philippines 122
II. Extracts relating to the Friars, from the Official Correspondence of Generals Weyler and Moriones 124
III. The Work of Freemasonry in South and Central America 129
IV. Interview with Augustinian Friars 138
V. Letter from a Friar in the Power of the Rebels, to a Friend in Manila 145
VI. The Rev. Mr. Hykes on Burial Fees, and the Paco Cemetery outside Manila 149
The Friars in the Philippines.
The Work of the Religious Orders in the Philippines.
A recent traveller designates the Philippines as the birthplace of typhoons, the home of earthquakes,—epithets undoubtedly strong yet well deserved; and typhoons at certain seasons of the year, with earthquakes at uncertain periods, when taken together with the torrid heat, trying at all seasons, and the malaria fruitful of fevers, make these islands of the Eastern seas, which otherwise would be a veritable Paradise upon earth, an undesirable place of abode to the average European, unless, indeed, he is attracted thither by the greed of gain or by the nobler desire of missionary enterprise.
For Nature, bountiful there almost to prodigality, revelling in all the luxuriance of tropical vegetation, has always at hand, as a set-off to her gifts, terrible manifestations of her power. The seventeenth-century navigator, William Dampier, in his own quaint and amusing way, describes how the natives and the Spanish colonists of Manila strove to guard against the double danger of earthquakes and typhoons, and how they both failed ignominiously. The Spaniards built strong stone houses, but the earthquake made light of them, and shook them so violently that the terrified inmates would rush out of doors to save their lives; while the natives from their frail bamboo dwellings, which were perched on high poles, placidly contemplated their discomfiture. All that the earthquake meant to them was a gentle swaying from side to side. But the Spaniards had their turn when the fierce typhoon blew, against which their thick walls were proof. Then, from the security of their houses, could they view, with a certain grim satisfaction, the huts of the natives swaying every minute more violently in the wind, till, one by one, they toppled over—each an indescribable heap of poles, mats, household utensils, and human beings.
A suburb of Manila after a typhoon.
A suburb of Manila after a typhoon.
From a Photograph.
By way of general description it may be said that the Philippine Archipelago consists of between one and two thousand islands; two of which, Luzon and Mindanao, are much larger than Ireland, while the rest vary in size down to mere islets, rocks, and reefs. Altogether the islands stretch from north to south a distance as great as from the north of England to the south of Italy. The soil is extremely rich, and easily cultivated; vast forests abound, containing valuable timber; and the mineral resources, up to the present undeveloped, are apt to prove a sure source of income under modern methods of working.
But what concerns us most in this inquiry is the character of the inhabitants. The population, which is variously estimated at from eight to ten millions, is made up of more than eighty distinct tribes, which nearly all belong to the Malay race. There are still to be found in some of the islands, and principally in the mountainous districts, the remnants of the aboriginal inhabitants, usually called Negritos. These are of a distinctively inferior type, are rapidly diminishing in numbers, and seem to many observers incapable of civilization. Our only concern therefore is with the Malays, who form the vast bulk of the population, and have in the course of time been nearly all converted to Christianity. Nearly seven million Christians are counted among them; while the unconverted pagans, together with the Moros, or Malay Mohammedans, of Mindanao and the Sulu islands, are not a million in number.
Christianity has effected a wonderful transformation in the character of the people, softening and refining it, as we may judge by the contrast presented by their cruel and bloodthirsty neighbors in Mindanao and the Sulu group, who, nevertheless, belong to the same race, and whose characteristics they must originally have shared. Travellers have not sufficiently dwelt on this important point. They note that the civilized native is self-respecting and self-constrained to a remarkable degree, patient under misfortune, and forbearing under provocation. He is a kind father and a dutiful son. His relatives are never left in want, but are welcome to share the best his house affords, to the end of their days. Unfortunately for himself, he is a happy-go-lucky fellow, delighting in cock-fighting and games of chance, and naturally indolent, his wants being so few and simple. He is a born musician, genial, sociable, loving to dance, sing, and make merry among his companions. His wife is allowed a degree of liberty hardly equalled in any other Eastern country, a liberty she rarely abuses. She is the financier of the family, and the husband consults her when making a bargain. She does her share of the work; but it is not more than her just share, and she is not overburdened with labor. Hospitality is cheerful and open-handed, and the traveller is welcomed to the hut of the native with cordiality. The houses of the natives are kept neat, and are models of cleanliness, and the natives also keep themselves extremely clean. They are practical and fervent Catholics. At the vesper Angelus bell “there is always a pretty scene. An instant hush comes over the busy village. In each house father, mother, and children fall on their knees before the image or picture of some saint, and repeat their prayers. The devotions over, each child kisses the hand of his father and his mother, at the same time wishing them good evening. He then makes an obeisance to each of his brothers and sisters, as well as to each guest who happens to be present, repeating his salutation with each funny bow. Host and hostess also greet one in the same way; and in remote places, where white men are a rarity, the little tots often kneel to kiss one’s hand.” (“The Philippine Islands and their People,” by Dean C. Worcester.)
In sharp contrast to the happy, contented, and peaceful character of the Christian native, is his southern neighbor of the same blood, the fanatical Moro. Mohammedanism has accentuated rather than softened the underlying fierceness of the Malay; as it gives him a religious sanction to cruelty, treachery, murder, pillage, and piracy when directed against the hated Christian. Inhuman and cold-blooded cruelty is the great characteristic of the Moro, who will calmly cut down a slave merely to try the edge of a new weapon. For two centuries and a half the Moros organized piratical expeditions against the northern islands. The coming of the dreaded fleet of war-praus was looked forward to as an annual event; and while the southwest monsoon was blowing, vigilant sentinels were on the lookout night and day from the watch-towers with which every village was provided. The introduction of modern artillery and quick-firing guns at last turned the scales in favor of the Spaniards, and the piratical expeditions are now a thing of the past. All Christians, however, living near the Moros must still carry their lives in their hands, owing to the juramentados. A juramentado is a man who takes an oath to die killing Christians. The more Christians he kills, the higher place of course he is to get in heaven, especially if he loses his own life in the holy work. He dresses in white, shaves his eyebrows, conceals a weapon under his clothing, and then seizing a favorable opportunity, runs amuck, killing without mercy men, women, and children. Of course he gets killed himself in the end, but sometimes not until he has made himself accountable for a great number of deaths.
Though Magellan discovered the Archipelago in 1521, no serious attempt to take possession of it was made till 1565, when an expedition of four hundred soldiers and sailors was fitted out by Philip II., and placed under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. As Philip was inspired by religious zeal, and his principal and perhaps only object was to spread the light of the Gospel, six Augustinian friars accompanied the expedition. We may say with truth that it was these missionaries, and the others who followed in rapid succession, who conquered the Archipelago for Spain. There was no conquest in the strict sense of the term. The Spaniards in most places simply showed themselves to the natives; and the religious, who accompanied them, persuaded the untutored savages to submit to the King of Spain, through whom they would obtain the two-fold blessing of civilization and Christianity. The retention of these rich and fertile islands, so great a source of revenue to the mother-country, was on the whole a very easy task. The religious Orders planted themselves firmly in the colony, and spread themselves everywhere, winning the natives to Christ, keeping them also in loyal obedience to that great European power by whose means the missionaries had been sent to them. They were thus the real bulwarks of Spanish power there, which was kept up rather by gentle persuasion than by force of arms. Mr. Mac Macking, a Scotch Protestant who spent some years there, says: “The warriors who gained them over to Spain were not their steel-clad chivalry, but the soldiers of the Cross,—the priests who astonished and kindled them by their enthusiasm in the cause of Christ.” Up to a few years ago profound peace reigned; and a garrison of 4,200 soldiers, 3,500 gendarmerie, and 2,000 sailors and marines, was considered sufficient to overawe a population of eight millions, besides keeping in check the fanatical and bloodthirsty Moro pirates.
The Augustinians were the pioneers in religious enterprise, coming, as we said already, with Legaspi, in 1565, four years before the Philippines were formally annexed to Spain. They were followed, in 1577, by the Franciscans; and the labors of both Orders were so successful that Manila was erected into an episcopal see in 1579. Two years later Salazar, a Dominican friar laboring in Mexico, was appointed bishop; and he brought the Dominicans with him to Manila. About the same time, also, the Jesuits and the Recollects, or discalced Augustinians, entered the country. All the Orders went about their work with truly religious zeal; and their success was so great that at the end of the century Mendoza could say: “According to the common opinion, at this day there are converted and baptized more than four hundred thousand souls.” It was a success to be proud of among a people who, when the missionaries came, had no religious worship, nor temple, nor priest, nor form of worship. They had but a hazy notion of a Deity, their sole religious ideas consisting of some imperfect notions of a hell and a heaven. Persecution only gave zest to the work, both in the Philippines and in the Ladrones, of which we may speak together in this connection, as they have a common history. Towards the close of the sixteenth century, as we learn from Argensola, more than six thousand Christians had already been martyred in the single province of Ternate, “that so,” he adds, “the foundation of our faith may be in all parts cemented with the blood of the faithful. They dismembered the bodies, and burned the legs and arms in sight of the still living trunks. They impaled the women, and tore out their bowels; children were torn piecemeal before their mothers’ eyes, and infants were rent from their wombs.” (“Discovery and Conquest of the Molucca and Philippine islands,” by B. L. de Argensola.) Opposition, and persecution too, came from the Mohammedan element in the population, which was already formidable when the Spaniards arrived on the scene, Mohammedanism having been introduced into the islands, especially the more southerly group, as far back as the thirteenth century. Accordingly the Mohammedans waged a long and bitter warfare both against missionaries, and the new Christians, numbers of whom were called on to seal their faith with their blood. Still, in spite of persecution, the Church prospered in those early days. Dampier, the English navigator, who visited the Philippines towards the close of the seventeenth century, testifies to the wonderful progress made even then in civilization. “In every village,” he says, “is a stone church, as well as a parsonage-house for the rector, who is always one of the monks. These last, who are all Europeans, are very much respected by the Indians, while the secular clergy, who commonly are Creoles, are held in contempt. Hence the Government shows great deference to the rectors; for, generally speaking, the Indians always consult them on entering on any enterprise, or even as to paying taxes.” Thus, one century had changed the people from savagery to civilization. In Manila, Dampier found the natives pursuing all the avocations of civilized life—they were merchants, skilled artisans in various trades, clerks, etc.
There were three large colleges,—two under the care of the Dominicans, and one carried on by the Augustinians. There was also a Poor Clare convent, containing forty nuns, together with a hospital and an orphanage. The religious establishments occupied one-third of the city as it then stood. This may seem out of proportion to the religious needs of the city; but we must remember that in Manila, then as now, priests of the various Orders were in training for the numerous missions of the Archipelago, Tonkin, and China (see Appendix I.), and, at the period of which we are speaking, of Japan as well.
Passing on to the present century, the Rev. David Abeel, a Protestant missionary, says of the Philippines: “The Church of Rome has here proselytized to itself the entire population. The influence of the priests is unbounded.” In the year 1858 Mr. Crawford, who was formerly governor of Singapore, made the following declaration at a public missionary meeting: “In the Philippine Islands the Spaniards have converted several millions of people to the Roman Catholic faith, and an immense improvement in their social condition has been the consequence.” Mr. MacMacking confesses that the suppression of the Jesuits, who were banished from the Philippines in 1768, “was attended with the worst effects to the trade and agriculture of the islands.” He adds that “religious processions are as frequently passing through the streets as they are in the Roman Catholic countries of Europe.” He testifies that “the Church has long proved to be, on the whole, by much the most cheap and efficacious instrument of good government and order—even the common people learn reading by its aid, so much at least as to enable them to read their prayer-books and other religious manuals. There are very few Indians who are unable to read, and I have always observed that the Manila men serving on board ships and forming their crew have been much oftener able to subscribe their names to the ship’s articles than the British seamen on board the same vessels could do.” Prosessor Ferdinand Blumentritt, a German Protestant, who is universally acknowledged to be the most competent authority on all that regards the Philippines, spoke most highly of the missionary and scientific work of the Religious Orders there, at a meeting of the Vienna Geographical Society in 1896. The weight of testimony from such a source all must acknowledge; it is indeed a pleasure to present the German scientist’s remarks to the consideration of fair-minded readers.
“I wish to add some remarks,” said Blumentritt, “about the Philippines, as here the Catholic missionaries are usually active not only in the spread of Christianity and its civilization, but also in the geographical and ethnographical exploration of the archipelago. Unfortunately the reports of the missions of the various Orders are not equally accessible, e.g., we have very little account of the Augustinian missions, which are located principally in the lands of the Igorrotes (Northwest Luzon) and on the Island of Negros, among the Budkidnon savages. The only important publication upon Augustinian missions which I have been able to see is the Memoria acerea de las Missiones de los P. P. Augustinos Calzados, Madrid, 1892. According to this the Calced Augustinians in 1892 had in the province of Abra, among the Tinguians, who inhabit it, eight missions with 25,100 souls; in that of Lepanto, two missions with 2,200 souls (Igorrotes); in that of Bengnet, also two missions, with 849 souls (Igorrotes)—total, 28,149 souls, as against 5,302 in 1829. Between 1874 and 1885 the number of savages and heathens converted to Christianity was 1,356; from 1885 to 1888 there were 549. In 1892 the erection of 15 new missions was projected in the provinces of Tiagan, Bontok, Amburayan, and Quiangan.
“The Discalced Augustinians, called in the Philippines ‘Recoletos,’ have missions in the Island of Palawan (or Paragua) and in the group of the Calamianes. Of these missioners, Father Cipriano Navarro has especially distinguished himself by his ethnographical researches; and we owe to him exhaustive reports concerning the Tinitians, Togbanuas, Tandolans, and Bulalacaunos, among whom Christianity is making steady progress.
“The Franciscans have missions in the peninsula of Camarines, in Luzon, and in every large island on the Pacific coast. Ethnography and philology are much indebted to their labors. I need only refer to the works published by myself in the proceedings of our Society, the vocabulary of the Negrito dialect of Baler by Father Fernandez, and the accounts of the Bikols, Dumagats, and Atas, by Father Castano.
“We possess fuller accounts of the Dominicans, who are occupied in converting to Christianity the Alimis, Apayaos, Aripas, Buayas, Bumanguis, Bungians, Calauas, Calingas, Catalangans, Dadayags, Gaddans, Ibibalons, Ibilaos, and Ilongotes, Ipiutys, Isinays, Mayoyaos, Guiangans, and other Ifuagao races. In the missionary review, Correo Sino-Anamito, we find numerous descriptions of popular manners and customs. Some of these, particularly those written by Fathers Villaverde, Buenaventura, Campa, Malumbres, Ruis, and Ferrando, I have already in part made more generally known in these proceedings. The review also publishes occasional sketches, and especially such as throw light on the river-system of North Luzon, the valley of the Rio Grande de Cagayan. The results of their strictly missionary labors are very fruitful.
Negritos, the original inhabitants of the Philippines.
Negritos, the original inhabitants of the Philippines.
From a Photograph.
“But however successful the evangelical and scientific activity of the missionaries of the above Orders, they are far surpassed by what the Jesuits have done in the island of Mindanaoin, in half a generation, for the spread of Christianity and civilization, as well as for the geographical exploration of the second largest island of the Archipelago. When they arrived they found a Christian population only on the east and north coasts, and in a few isolated spots on the other coast regions, such as Zamboanga, Pollok, Cottabatto Davao, and Pundaguitan; and these were mostly Bisayos, with a few Bukidnons, Mandayas, Manabos, and Subanos. In the interior the Spanish Christian settlements along the Macajalas Bay reached only as far as the upper course of the Rio Tagoloan; on the Agusan, from the lake region at Linao to its mouth near Butuan, only two villages, Bunauan and Talacogon. All that was then known of the interior of Mindanao was the Lanao Lake, the lower course of the Pulangin or Rio Grande from its mouth to Lahabay, and the lake region belonging to the river of Ligauasan or Buluan. Of the tribes over and above the Bisayas (Christians) and Moros (Mohammedans), only the Mandayas, Manobos, Subanos, and Budkidnon (or ‘Monteses’ of the Spaniards) were known by little more than name, but scarcely mentioned in contemporary literature. Of the rest, except the Tirurayes, scarce the name was known. Of the Atas, Tagabawas, Dulangans, Tagabelis, etc., even the names were unknown.
“How changed since then! The network of rivers in the great island is now very well known; whilst the legendary lake in the centre of the island, whence the Rio Grande was said to flow, and from which the whole island was supposed to derive its name, has now happily disappeared from our maps. In numerous sketches and maps the missionaries have recorded the results of their geographical explorations and discoveries. The manners and customs of the heathen tribes have been fully described by the Jesuits. It has, therefore, always been for me the greatest pleasure to communicate the results of the researches of these Philippine missionaries to wider scientific circles.
“The Jesuits can also point to very great results in their evangelical labors. Most of the heathen tribes are now entirely or in part converted to Christianity, or have at least settled round their missions. Even a tribe so obstinately refractory to civilization, owing to their unsettled and wandering life, as the Mamanuas (who belong to the Negritos) can already point to Christian villages. But the greatest success of the Jesuits has been in bringing a considerable number of the Moros on the Gulf of Davao to embrace Christianity. When it is remembered how rare a thing it is to induce a Mohammedan to be baptized, it must be especially noted that here not a few isolated Moros living among Christians have abjured Islam, but that the Moros converted to Christianity are so numerous that, as they can no longer live among their former co-religionists, they have been allowed to build their separate villages in the region of the Rio Davao. In 1895 the status of the Jesuit missions was as follows: 213,065 souls, 17,608 baptisms of children of Christian parents, 2,973 marriages, 7,215 funerals, 8,238 baptisms of converted heathen.
“In the article ‘Die Katholischen Missionen,’ Oscar Hecht gives the number of Christians in the Philippines as 3,500,000. This is incorrect. The flocks of the different Orders were as follows:—
Calced Augustinians (1892) 2,082,131
Discalced Augustinians (1892) 1,175,156
Franciscans (1892) 1,010,753
Dominicans (1892) 699,851
Jesuits (1895) 213,065
Secular Clergy (1892) 967,294
It is difficult to estimate the number of heathens and Mohammedans; they cannot be under 500,000, nor can they exceed a million.”
Any account of the work of the Religious Orders in the islands would be certainly incomplete if particular mention of their efforts in behalf of education were omitted. These efforts were systematically carried out until interrupted by the recent rebellion. The briefest and most summary mention of what each of the Orders has done, however, is all that may be attempted within the necessary narrow limits of this volumes.
1. The Dominicans are in charge of the University of Manila, which was founded and confided to their care about two centuries ago. It has been generally attended by between two and three thousand natives, who thus receive the benefits of a professional and liberal education. A correspondent of the Daily Telegraph (London) tells his English readers that as “the education of the people has been exclusively in their (the religious’) hands, it is enough to say that practically it does not exist.” The following account of the studies pursued in the University, taken from the official report of the year 1893–1894, is a sufficient answer to this unworthy remark.
COURSE OF STUDIES.
The Faculty of Theology and Canon Law has the following courses of lectures:—
1. A course of Ontology, Cosmology, and Natural Religion.
2. The Controversial Course.
3. Dogmatic Theology.
4. Moral Theology and Sacred Eloquence.
5. Sacred Scripture.
6. Canon Law.
7. Ecclesiastical Procedure and Discipline, especially as used in Churches in the East.
8. Ecclesiastical History.
The eight lecturers in this faculty were Dominicans. There were thirty students.
FACULTY OF JURISPRUDENCE.
2. Spanish Literature.
3. Constitutional History of Spain and Natural Law.
4. Canon Law.
5. Political Economy.
6. Ecclesiastical Discipline.
There were six Dominican and nine other professors teaching in this faculty. The students numbered 405.
FACULTY OF LAW.
In this faculty one Dominican and eleven other professors lectured. There were 60 students.
FACULTY OF MEDICINE.
3. Mineralogy and Botany.
Three Dominican and thirteen other professors lectured in this faculty. There were 277 students.
FACULTY OF PHARMACY.
There were 89 students. In the schools of practical pharmacy there were 216 students. Three Dominicans, who lectured on Chemistry, Zoölogy, Mineralogy, and Botany, and seven other professors taught in this faculty.
This is the higher education which has been given to the natives for more than two centuries. Is it not something to admire? Can England point back to anything equal to it in the history of her own colonies? Did England in the last century do anything for the material or spiritual advancement of the North American Indians? Did the United States do anything for them till within recent years? Both governments folded their arms while the Indians were being driven before the face of the white settlers; and during the two centuries that the policy of extinction was being carried out on the North American continent the Spanish missionaries were giving the natives of the Philippines all the benefits of higher education. The contrast is instructive, and places Spain on a far higher plane as a colonizer than her quondam rival.
Besides imparting higher education in the University, the Dominicans gave secondary education in two colleges in Manila, to some hundreds of scholars, one principally devoted to a classical education, and the other suited to those intending to engage in a mercantile career. Besides these they had colleges in the towns of Cebu, Jaro, Nueva, Caceres, Dagupan, and Vigan.
2. The Jesuits. “The labors of the Jesuits,” says the Messenger of the Sacred Heart (New York), are chiefly confined to the Island of Mindanao. They direct, however, a flourishing college at Manila, and are in charge of an observatory, which, for the perfection of an outfit and the importance of its observations, ranks foremost among institutions of its kind. This famous observatory was founded by the Spanish Jesuits in 1865, and was at first connected with their college at Manila. It was directed until 1896 by the well-known astronomer and meteorologist, Father Frederick Faura. By its successful prediction of typhoons, so common and destructive in the Philippines, the observatory soon won for itself an enviable reputation throughout the archipelago. Up to the year 1882, no fewer than fourteen of these dangerous tornadoes had been predicted. In consideration of such valuable services, the observatory was, in April, 1884, raised to the rank of a Government institution, under the title of “Meteorological Observatory of Manila,” and was transferred to its present commodious quarters outside the city, with which it has telegraphic and telephonic connections.
Tower of the cathedral of Manila wrecked by an earthquake.
Tower of the cathedral of Manila wrecked by an earthquake.
“The observatory comprises four departments,—the meteorological, seismological, magnetic, and astronomical. Each department has its special director, and a general director is at the head of the whole establishment. The meteorological section, provided with the very best instruments, is the most important of the four, on account of its practical usefulness to shipping interests. It is in regular communication with more than a hundred observatories in all parts of the world. Twice every day it receives by cable the meteorological observations made at the stations of Nagasaki, Tokio, Kabe (Japan), Shanghai, Amoy, Hong Kong (China), Haiphong (Tonkin), the Island of Formosa, and elsewhere along the coast. Hence the forecasting of typhoons and cyclones is greatly facilitated, and enjoys the confidence of all those that sail the Chinese seas. Many of the instruments used at the observatory are due to the inventive genius of Father Faura, who was also the first to announce typhoons with certainty, and to discover the laws which regulate their formation and path. He is the inventor of a peculiar kind of barometer, which enables any sailor, even if he knows nothing whatever about meteorology, to foresee the approach of storms, and to guard against them.
“Next in importance to the meteorological department is the seismological or earthquake section of the observatory, which is rendering great services to a region so much exposed to earthquakes as the Philippines are. This section is likewise equipped with a remarkably fine apparatus, many of the instruments having been built or improved by Father Faura. For many years Father Miguel Saderra Maso has been in charge of this section, which he has made famous by his learned work, “Seismology in the Philippines,” published in 1895. Father Cirera’s work, “Terrestrial Magnetism in the Philippines,” is also well known in the learned world.
“The splendid achievements of the Manila observatory found their due meed of appreciation and praise in the congress of scientists at the World’s Fair, where the institution was represented by Fathers Algerie and Faura, who came at that time to this country, and spent some months at Georgetown College.
“Father Faura died in January, 1897. His death was that of a martyr of charity. During his sickness, Ryzal (or Ryall), one of the insurgent leaders, had been captured, and condemned to be shot within twenty-four hours. The prisoner was placed in the Chapel of the Passion, and was offered the spiritual ministration of the Jesuit Fathers. But he peremptorily refused to see a priest on the plea that he was a Protestant. Several of the fathers had already been repelled, when Father Faura, who had formerly been Ryzal’s professor at Manila, rising from his bed of sickness, made a last effort to convert the unfortunate man. Though at first repelled like the rest, he was at last admitted by Ryzal; and after arguing and pleading with him for a long time, he had the happiness of bringing him to repentance, and restoring him to the Catholic Church. The condemned man made a sincere confession, heard Mass, received Holy Communion, begged pardon for his errors, and exhorted others to renounce all connection with Freemasonry. His conversion was entire, and his death that of a fervent Christian. The effort to bring about this conversion, however, cost Father Faura his own life. Worn out and prostrated by the interview, he was led back to his bed to die. The conversion of his former pupil was the last apostolic act of Father Faura, and the crowning of a life of great usefulness in the service of religion and of science.”
The sons of St. Ignatius also direct the Municipal Academy of which English correspondents have spoken in terms of high praise.
3. At Vigan also is the Augustinian Seminary and College, under the direction of the fathers, seven of whom are teachers. Here 209 students were taught the following branches (as set down in the report): viz., Dogmatic Theology, Moral Theology, Metaphysics, Logic, Ethics, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Poetry, Rhetoric, Trigonometry, Geometry, Algebra, Arithmetic, Analysis, and translation of Latin, Greek, French, Church History, Natural History, Universal History, History of Spain, History of the Philippines, Christian Doctrine.
The Augustinians also conducted a splendid orphanage and industrial school at Tambohn, about a league from Manila. In this establishment 145 boys were taught the following trades (Report for 1897–1898): Compositors, 13; press-work, 12; bookbinders, 30; gilders, 3; candle-makers, 43; together with forty-four others too young to be trained.
4. Neither was the education of the female sex neglected. Among other establishments of a like nature, there was an orphan asylum for girls at Mandaloya on the Tasig, conducted by Augustinian nuns, twenty-two in number. Last year it contained 122 pupils, who were receiving instruction in music, the piano, painting, drawing, embroidery, artificial flower-making, dressmaking, hair-dressing, lacemaking, laundry work, and sewing.
5. The Franciscans had colleges as well, and besides doing their share in the work of education, devoted their time and services to the hospitals of the Archipelago, the principal of which are, the Royal Hospital of St. Lazarus at Manila, the Infirmary of St. Ann in the province of Laguna, and that of Vasa in the province of Camarines.
Scattered through the various islands are the posts or residences, where the fathers of the various Orders devote themselves to the “nuevos Christianos,” as they are called, or latter-day converts from Paganism. This zealous work of conversion has never ceased from the time of the conquest, and the Christian population has been steadily on the increase till our own times. The recent traveller,1 whom we quoted at the beginning, came in contact a good deal with the Dominicans during his stay in the Philippines, visiting several of their outlying stations, and receiving everywhere the greatest kindness and hospitality from them. He says: “Everywhere you enter the monastery as though it was your own, eat and drink unstintedly, and sleep, and depart with thanks and a cordial God-speed from the fathers, and naught to pay for the entertainment.” Alas! the good fathers did not know the viper they were nursing. Pity they could not recognize in the smiling Englishman who so readily accepted their hospitality, and “paid naught for the entertainment,” the man who would speak of them as dirty monks, who would consider it worthy of sneering record that they did not shave when on board ship, and who, though not able to discover any evil himself, would repeat gross calumnies about them, got from hearsay. What he saw with his own eyes belies his wicked innuendos. He says: “It was plain that they cared naught for the fretting of the world. In many a dismal place, even in the remotest spots, I found the clusters of monastic exiles perfectly happy—the outer world dead, or too far away—craving for no other fate. They are enchanted to welcome and give you of their best; will even, if struggling overland, lend a vehicle or a ridinghorse to convey you to the next convent on the way. Cheery, kindly, simple people, practical sermons on ‘Content.’ The monks of Ramblon, a dozen or so all told, were delighted to show us all that was to be seen. A homely little church was duly exhibited, built of a local wood, which cuts into planks of extreme width, adorned with a grain which is brought out with wax and oil. The columns were of solid ebony, the floor of four marbles, white, gray, black, and brown. All these were the products of this little island.” A fair-minded man would have duly attributed their joy of mind and kindness to strangers to religious feeling,—to the love of God, for whose sake these Spanish missionaries had given up father and mother, friends and worldly prospects, to spend their lives, year in and year out, without hope of earthly reward, in these spots, dismal enough to the ordinary tourist, but to them bright and cheery, as they were the posts alloted to them by Divine Providence for the extension of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
“The provincial stations,” he says in another place, “are in reality governed by the priests.” How could it be otherwise? With a government notoriously weak and inefficient, with lay officials notoriously corrupt, unwilling to exile themselves in these parts remote from civilization, unwilling to condescend to learn the many various dialects in use in the Archipelago, no wonder that the missionary living in the midst of the people to whom he had devoted his life, and who looked up to him as a father, exercised a sort of parental authority over them. This was done both in the interest of the civil government and of the natives themselves. The governors utilized the authority of the missionaries as long as it suited their purpose; when, on the other hand, the missionaries had to oppose extortion and unjust treatment, the officials started the cry that the missionaries were ruling the Archipelago. About those gentlemen Thomas Comin wrote in 1810:
“In order to be a chief of a province in these islands no training, or knowledge, or special service is necessary. It is quite a common thing to see a barber, a Governor’s lackey, a sailor, or a deserter suddenly transformed into an Alcalde, Administrator, and Captain of the Forces of a populous province, with no counsellor but his rude understanding, and no guide but his passions.”
Here are some edifying facts concerning Spanish officials in the Philippines. In five years Governor-General Manuel de Arandia amassed a quarter of a million dollars; a successor of Arandia, within the last few years, is reported to have made $700,000 in a single year; while another is commonly said to have placed millions to his credit during a short term of office. Men talk openly in Manila of bribing judges to put cases off and off. Little wonder, then, that, with such a state of rottenness, bribery, and corruption obtaining, the missionaries on the remote stations have, in the interests of the people, looked after their worldly affairs.
Interior of natives’ hut, Mindanao.
Interior of natives’ hut, Mindanao.
The missionary zeal of the Jesuits carried them even to Mindanao, an island so inaccessible by reason of its mountains and volcanoes, its impenetrable jungle, its unnavigable rivers infested with alligators and pirates, its fierce and savage inhabitants always at war with one another, that the Spanish Government exercised only nominal sovereignty over it, and was not ever able even to get its interior surveyed. When the Jesuits came there some years ago they found a Christian population only on the east and north coasts, and in a few isolated spots of the other coast regions. Of the interior tribes many were known only by name. Owing to the zeal of these fathers, not only in missionary enterprise, but also in geographical and ethnographical exploration, the network of rivers in the great island is now very well known, the fathers having recorded the results of their explorations in numerous sketches and maps. They have also fully described the manners and customs of the heathen tribes. As an instance of the savagery of the Mindanayas, for the most part fanatical Moros or Mohammedans, it may be mentioned that head-hunting seemed till lately to be the great object of their existence. The man who had chopped off sixty heads was entitled to wear a scarlet turban for the rest of his mortal life, and scarlet turbans are still far from uncommon among them. As there was an inordinate desire among the doughty and dusky warriors to wear these turbans, it follows that the population was being gradually but surely thinned out. Yet even here, on the sea-coast of Mindanao, the Jesuits established their stations, living in the midst of their small flocks, with their lives in their hands, in close proximity to pirates, savage alligators, and still more savage scarlet turbans.
The correspondent of the Daily Telegraph blames the missionaries for not teaching the elements of the Christian doctrine in Spanish to the natives, contrary, as he says, to an express law, of which they have been continually reminded by the Governor.
The reason, to which he ascribes their conduct is, that they are afraid that if the people were able to read Spanish books and newspapers they might come to know too much. Any argument, however absurd it may be, is evidently good enough, in the eyes of these writers, for use against priests. They are well enough acquainted with the ways of the Spanish officialdom to know that that law is a piece of blatant stupidity, devised by Spanish officials too arrogant or lazy or indifferent to learn the native languages themselves. Picture to yourself, if you can, the missionaries scattered over that vast archipelago, among a people comprising several millions, and speaking thirty different languages and dialects, attempting to teach the catechism in Spanish to their flocks. The supposition becomes still more absurd when we reflect that the Spanish element in the colony does not exceed eight or nine thousand gathered in and about Manila and a few other large towns. The missionaries devote themselves so thoroughly to their flocks, and identify themselves so completely with them, that instead of being able to teach them Spanish they are in danger, in some instances, of forgetting it themselves. Wingfield came across a Dominican missionary who apologized for his bad Spanish, on the ground that having lived continuously for eighteen years with the natives, speaking Visaya the whole time, he had almost forgotten his own tongue. Our experience in Ireland, even at the present time, is that in Irish-speaking districts, those children who are taught their catechism in the native tongue, though they may know English, have a far firmer grasp of the Christian doctrine than those who have been taught it in English. This fact alone shows the patent absurdity of the law quoted with such assurance by the correspondent of the Daily Telegraph.
1“The Wanderings of a Globe-Trotter in the Far East.” By the Hon. Lewis Wingfield. 1889.
The Charges made against the Religious Orders considered.
In 1896 we heard of a rising in the remoter parts of the Philippines. It was represented by the Spanish authorities, who at the time controlled the news, as of no moment,—an insurrectionary movement that they could easily cope with. Yet it continued, and seemed to wax strong; and, from rumors which began to circulate about the murdering of monks and friars, we began to feel that the insurrection was of no ordinary or commonplace nature. It seemed to be directed against the Church, and to be animated by a deadly spirit of hostility to the representatives of Religion. It was, of course, impossible at the time to form an opinion as to the cause of the insurrection, from the isolated facts which were allowed to come under the notice of the public. Now, however, the mists have cleared away; and we hope to be able to prove in the course of this inquiry that the insurrection was a premeditated and deliberate attack made upon the Church by a native secret society which was affiliated to, and adopted the methods of, that type of Freemasonry which gave the Carbonari to Italy and the Jacobins to France; a type whose disastrous work has been so much in evidence in South and Central America. It has unfortunately been busily at work for the last thirty or forty years, indoctrinating the simple natives of the Philippines with the modern watchwords of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,”—liberty meaning in this case, license, anarchy, cruelty, bloodshed; equality, the confiscation of property; and fraternity, an impious combination against all opposed to their designs. And foremost amongst these were undoubtedly from the very first the friars, spiritual guides of nearly six millions of native Christians, who, in consequence of their opposition, drew upon themselves the bitter hatred of the members of the Craft. It thus happened that the friars found themselves denounced and vilified in Spanish newspapers, in circular letters issued at Madrid, in speeches at the lodges and clubs, and in the Cortes. The grossest calumnies the foulest lies, were industriously circulated, to lower their prestige, and bring about a downfall of that spiritual power they had justly acquired, and were exercising for the good of souls. Nothing was known of the struggle in these countries until the Spanish-American war brought the Philippines into prominence before the English-speaking world. Then the echoes of the struggle began to reach our ears. Unfortunately for the friars, the sympathies of the world were sought, and sought successfully, to be enlisted on the side of the secret societies, or insurgents, who in this instance were for the most part one and the same. The news sources were shrewdly manipulated by astute conspirators to foster their own purposes; on the Philippine question, world-wide circulation was given to false and calumnious reports and interviews with leaders of the insurrection, full of virulent ex parte statements, while no exposition of views has been sought for from any representative of the friars. As an instance of the unreliability of these interviews, circulated through such justly suspected channels, we give the following. The correspondent of the Daily Telegraph sent, a few months ago, through “Reuter’s Special Service,” an interview he had with Dr. Nozaleda, the Archbishop of Manila, who, by the way, is a Dominican. From this interview it would appear that the Archbishop is opposed to the friars. He is made to say: “The religious Orders must go. That is undeniable, because the whole people are determined on their abolition, and are now able to render their retention impossible.”
His Grace is also made to blame the Orders for causing dissensions, and thus increasing the disfavor with which they are regarded. The correspondent adds that he heard privately from a native priest that the reason the Archbishop hopes for the expulsion of the religious Orders is that the friars have grown too strong for him, and that he expects by getting rid of them to increase his own authority. Now, apart from the fact that the Archbishop is a member of a religious Order himself, a fact worth a dozen arguments, we may dismiss the whole interview as unreliable, since very recently the Archbishop delivered himself, to a representative of the Chicago Record, of quite opposite sentiments.
Most Rev. Dr. Nozaleda, O. P.
Most Rev. Dr. Nozaleda, O. P.
Archbishop of Manila.
Mr. Halstead made a special journey to Manila to study the situation. He was most favorably impressed by the Archbishop, whom he has undertaken to vindicate before the people of America. One paragraph from his interview with the Spanish prelate is of special interest at the present moment: “When asked what it was that caused the insurgents to be so ferocious against the priests, and resolved on their expulsion or destruction, he said the rebels were at once false, unjust, and ungrateful. They had been lifted from savagery by Catholic teachers, who had not only been educators in the schools but teachers in the fields. The Catholic orders that were singled out for special punishment had planted in the islands the very industries that were the sources of prosperity; and the leaders of the insurgents had been largely educated by the very men whom now they persecuted. Some of the persecutors had been in Europe, and became revolutionists in the sense of promoting disorder as anarchists. It was the antagonism of the Church to murderous anarchy that aroused the insurgents of the Philippines to become the deadly enemies of priests and religious orders. It was true that in Spain, as in the Philippines, the anarchists were particularly inflamed against the Church.”
Prominence was given last year, in some of the English newspapers, to statements made by a certain Señor S. C. Valdes, a Filipino, who managed to have an interview sent to the papers, through “Reuter’s Special Foreign Agency,” that unfortunately met with a degree of credence on the part of uninformed persons. It is instructive to analyze some of the statements of this gentleman, and compare them with statements made for a similar purpose by other correspondents.
Desiring to prove that the inhabitants of the Philippines are not naked savages, he says: “The inhabitants of the groups of Luzon, the Viscayas, and the coast of Mindanao are very advanced in their education. Seventy-five per cent of them can read and write. There are many native lawyers, doctors, chemists, members of the military and scientific corps, naval and land architects, merchants, naval officers, engineers, and also clever and competent secular priests.” We believe Señor Valdes. In spite of what he says a little further on about numbers of them going abroad for their education, we will refer our readers to the last chapter, in which we showed that it is owing to the friars, who have all the primary, secondary, and higher education in their hands, that the people are so advanced in education; and as regards the native lawyers and other professional men, we refer them to the official reports we have given of Manila University, with its two thousand students, carried on by the Dominicans. As to Mindanao, what the Jesuits have done there can also be referred to. Valdes speaks of “clever and competent secular priests,” having no word of praise for the religious; and yet the higher education of the secular clergy is entirely in their hands.
After this eulogium of his own people by Señor Valdes, is it not curious to find quite an opposite statement, made for party purposes, by the Manila correspondent of the Daily Telegraph? Wishing to show the incompetence of the friars, he says: “The education of the people is entirely in their hands; it is enough to say that practically it does not exist.” And this of a country in which seventy-five per cent of the people, according to Señor Valdes, can read and write, a percentage that would put more than one European country to the blush.
Señor Valdes asserts that the friars exercise a tyrannical power in the islands. He says that they generally consider it an act of disrespect for the natives to visit them except with bare feet. It is curious that Wingfield in his travels never noticed this, and he had an eagle eye for such deficiencies. Valdes is not afraid to make the incredible statements that “the friars and the military said that before the reforms should be granted they would first drown the insurgents in their own blood,” and that General Weyler, when he was captain of the islands, ordered the town of Calumba to be destroyed, and set fire to, simply to please the Dominicans, who were anxious to show their power and influence. Proofs, and strong ones, not mere assertions, are needed when religious men, voluntary exiles from country and friends for the sake of civilizing rude peoples and bringing them under the sweet yoke of Christ, are accused of atrocious cold-bloodedness—wantonly slaughtering innocent men, women, and children for the sake of satisfying a sense of vanity!
The truth of the matter is that the rebellion in the Philippines against Spanish rule was not the uprising of a whole people. Of what account, except for brute force, are some thousands of armed men out of a peaceful population of eight millions. The insurrectionary movement was planned, and directed almost exclusively, by the mestizos, or half-breeds,—the offspring of the union between native women and the Chinese, who form a large proportion of the town population, and do most of the retail trade. We must bear in mind that the leaders had at their command all the refractory elements of the native population,—the banditti, who always existed in large numbers, and were to be found in force not many miles from Manila, and the common criminals whom, at the first opportunity, they let loose from the jails to scour the country. Can we form a judgment of the sentiments of the Philippine people from the conduct of men who have treated their prisoners inhumanly, who have burned churches, looted schools and hospitals, treated ordinary ecclesiastical students with brutality, and subjected nuns in convents to shameful treatment? We have plenty of evidence that the natives on the whole are very much attached to the friars, whom they rescued, when they were able, from the hands of the rebels, and visited constantly while in captivity, doing their best to alleviate their sufferings. That they were peaceably disposed, and loyal to Spain even during the progress of the rebellion, we may assume from Blumentritt, who said, as late as 1897, when recounting his experiences as a scientific explorer in these islands, “There are not many colonies where less blood has been shed, and also not many where the conquered people have so little hatred of, or dislike to, their conquerors. Already so richly endowed with the climate and the beauty of their native land, as well as with the fertility of the soil, the natives of the Philippines are neither despised nor downtrodden by their rulers, whom they, in their turn, do not dislike. One must, therefore, reckon them among the happiest in the world.” His words, of course, do not apply to the noisy demagogues, to the Freemasons, to the insurgents, at least to that part of them who have not been forced into revolt by threats and terrorism, but they describe the state of the millions as yet untouched by the rebellion. Señor Valdes and other men of his stamp are fond of declaring the resolve of the inhabitants of the Philippines “to be free and civilized,” and “not to be subjected to the domination of friars or monkish orders.” They speak the sentiments of a small, but very active and noisy, portion of the population; the overwhelming majority are happy, peaceful, and contented.
We now come to the painful task of noticing some reckless charges made by Señor Valdes against the honor of the missionaries, a painful, yet necessary task, as the accusations were laid before the public some months ago without comment or contradiction of any kind. Señor Valdes may think he has scored a point in making such outrageous statements; but he falls into error if he imagines that what might be readily swallowed by those who hate religion in Spain and Portugal would be as readily accepted in England, Ireland, and America. Apostate priests and nuns, lecturing under the auspices of Mr. Kensit and the Protestant Alliance, have long since made England familiar with this gross kind of calumny, directed against our own priests and nuns, repeated, too, year after year, without proof or shadow of foundation, so recklessly and shamelessly, indeed, that the lecturers only excite the disgust of the sensible portion of the Protestant body. Señor Valdes, with unscrupulous audacity, tries to beslime the character of some of the missionaries, by falsely laying to their charge the foulest and most unnatural crimes, which for decency’s sake we refrain from detailing. According to this vile traducer the priests are devoid of all honor and all the moral virtues.
Now, if this were the first time that these atrocious charges were made, we might say with horror, “Can such things be?” but we learn from the memorial presented last April by the heads of the various religious orders in the Philippines to the Spanish government, that charges of a similar nature were constantly repeated in Spain during the previous eighteen months, both in public and in private; made the subject of speeches in clubs, published in anti-clerical newspapers—all part of the campaign against the friars, all done to lower their prestige in the eyes of the people, and to obtain their expulsion from the islands. If there were any truth in the charges, they would have been brought home to the friars long since; names, dates, and documentary proofs would have been given. A list of well-proven cases, say twenty or thirty, would have been made up, and submitted to the Government, to whom the Freemasons were clamoring for their expulsion. But, like the stuff the anti-clerical lectures nearer home are made of, the charges were always vague, general, and indefinite. The religious, like men of honor, took no notice of these calumnies for a long time, hoping that gradually the storm would blow over; but seeing that it increased day by day, and that they were being constantly insulted by petty government officials in the Philippines, they at last took notice of them, amongst other charges, in their memorial to the Government last April. They asked, as a matter of right and justice, that names and dates would be given, that documentary proofs would be produced. They affirmed that the charges were not made by those who had access to them, and saw them day by day; that their convents were open to inspection; that the lives of those living in the country parts were well known to their parishioners; that in those places they could not act in disguise, as their Spanish nationality made them conspicuous objects to all eyes. They asked, in case their innocence were doubted, that proper judicial proceedings would be instituted.
It has been reserved to an American general to put the last finishing touch to the lurid picture drawn of the lives of the friars in the Philippines, by giving wide circulation in the columns of the New York Herald to a calumny which simply outstrips the imagination.1 The general guards himself by professing to know nothing about the matter except from “common report,” freely circulated in the Philippines. Now the general, as a man of honor, might well have allowed these reports to come in by one ear, and go out by the other; or even if he had kept his mind in suspense, as is evidently the case, he might have refrained in the meantime from publishing the “common report” to the world, knowing how prone human nature is to fasten on the bad, and to believe in evil report, though unproven. “Every student of Blackstone,” says the general, “knows very well what was considered in the olden time to be the feudal right of the lord over the female vassal who married on his estate. It may be surprising to many to learn that the Filipinos allege vehemently that the monastic Orders claim and exact this feudal right on the marriage of the young Philippine girls.” Common report then, according to the general, charges the friars with exacting and claiming a right opposed to the fundamental laws of Christian morality; a right which, if it ever existed in fact, is at any rate lost in the dim distance of time, and is utterly unknown to the world at the present day. It is a pity that the ordinary laws of evidence which are used in dealing with laymen are thrust aside when dealing with priests, and that fanaticism in the latter case is allowed full play for its imagination. Last April (1898) the heads of the religious Orders in the Philippines, in their memorial to the Spanish Government, which by being published both in Spanish and in French, and circulated widely, was intended as a challenge to the civilized world, demanded that all gross charges of a like nature should be investigated by legal means, and that evil-doers should be punished according to law, if they existed in fact. The challenge as yet remains unanswered; yet what would have been more easy to prove in the meantime than such an open and flagrant violation of justice and morality? If proofs could have been had they would have been gladly brought forward by the leaders of the rebels, who have been clamoring for the expulsion of the religious Orders for the last three or four years, and who are by no means simple and unsophisticated savages, but men educated enough to be able to conduct newspapers of their own.
With common sense for their guide, let Protestants reflect for a moment that the Philippines form an integral part of the Catholic Church, that the religious Orders that are governed by generals in Rome, that systematic visitations are made, and that the conduct of every individual is subjected to strict ecclesiastical scrutiny from time to time. Accordingly, unless they hold that the authorities in Rome are willing to allow an appalling evil of the kind to go on without protest, how can they believe that it exists at all?
“In any case, I can assert without a shadow of doubt,” adds the general, “what the Herald’s readers have been previously told by its correspondents—that the people are very bitter towards the monks.” Whom does he mean by people? Had the general and the newspaper correspondents come in contact, during their brief stay in the Philippines, with the six millions of people till lately under the care of the religious Orders? It is true that those who have fomented the rebellion, and the thousands who have joined the insurgent ranks, are bitter towards the monks, or rather friars. But it is by this time a well-known fact that numbers have been drawn in through sheer terrorism, and that numbers of others have been tortured and killed owing to their refusal to join. Mr. Wilson’s late experience on his sugar plantation bears ample witness to this. It is easy enough for a few thousand desperate and armed men to cow fifty times their number of peaceful and unarmed tillers of the soil. The millions, dumb so far, will be found, on closer investigation, to represent far different feelings towards the friars than the noisy rebels who, coming in contact with the American troops and correspondents, profess to represent the feelings of the great body of the nation.
In direct contradiction to the “common report,” circulated by General Meritt, is a testimony to the virtue of the Spanish friars in the Philippines, published some years ago before the present troubles began, by the United States Government in a consular report. In this report Mr. Frank Karuth, F.R.G.S., who in his capacity as president of the Philippines’ Mineral Syndicate had wide experience with the natives, and came into intimate relations with the friars in remote provincial stations, writes of the latter as follows: “In these communes or parishes the priest, especially if he be a Spaniard, as is generally the case, exercises supreme power. He is the father and counsellor of his people, and helps them not only with spiritual advice, but also furthers their material interests. The Spanish priests, friars of strict orders, come to the islands for aye and good, and with scarcely any exception do their duties faithfully and devotedly.” Is not this testimony, given without any ulterior party motives, of more value than the evil reports poured into the ears of newspaper correspondents by the interested leaders of the Philippine rebels? (See Appendix II.)
A few quotations from Protestant travellers who visited the Philippines before the insurrection had biassed men’s minds, and distorted plain facts, will go a long way in the refutation of these flippantly uttered and unspeakably gross calumnies. “It is said,” observes the wife of the American navigator, Captain Morrell, “that in Manila there are more convents (both of men and of women) than in any other city in the world of its size; and the general voice of natives and foreigners declares that they are under excellent regulations.” And then she describes their inmates. “They all seemed full of occupation. There is no idleness in the convents, as is generally supposed;” and this her own account of the various works accomplished in them sufficiently proves. Moreover, “their devotions begin at the dawn of the day, and are often repeated during the whole of it, or until late in the evening, in some form or other. I was born a Protestant, and trust that I shall die a Protestant; but hereafter I shall have more charity for all who profess to love religion, whatever may be their creed.” Sir John Bowring, in 1859, speaks of their influence, an influence generally acquired only by men of holy lives. He says: “They exercise an influence which would seem magical, were it not by their devotees deemed divine.” Dr. Ball, an American Protestant traveller, speaks highly of the character of the Spanish friars in the Philippines. Of one whom he met at Manila, he says: “He has a fund of knowledge on almost every subject, speaks six or seven languages, and has declined an offer of the presidency of the seminary here, preferring to remain always in the capacity of missionary.” Mr. MacMacking, another Protestant, who spent some years in the islands, says, in 1861: “Most of the priests I came in contact with appeared to be thoroughly convinced of, and faithful to, their religion in its purity.”
Church and convent at Lipa.
Church and convent at Lipa.
After reading these testimonies, we may well open our eyes in astonishment and wonder at the audacity of those who disseminate these flagrant lies about a body of men distinguished by learning and holiness. And yet no one, however holy and devoted his life may be, is safe from the tongue of the calumniator. Robert Louis Stevenson had to take up his pen in defence of the heroic martyr of the leper, Father Damien, vilified by a Protestant minister. Father Damien lived for years in that place of horrors, Molokai, among the lepers, and died a martyr of charity; and, while no Protestant minister was to be found heroic enough to follow his example, one of them, housed in his comfortable bungalow, and jealous of his fame, made unfounded charges against him. So is it ever with the world. And above all, nothing need surprise us in the words and acts of the Philippine insurgents and their abettors. As an instance of their power of concocting a story to bring the friars into disrepute, we give the following account of an attempted poisoning of Aguinaldo by a Spanish prisoner and eleven Franciscans, taken from the Republica Filipina, one of their journals—telegraphed at great expense to Europe by “Reuter’s Special,” and inserted in English papers. The story goes to show that his steward saw a Spanish prisoner, who was allowed a certain amount of freedom, tampering with a bowl of soup intended for Aguinaldo. The steward tasted a spoonful of the soup, and fell dead on the spot. On learning of the affair, the populace attempted to lynch all the Spanish prisoners, amongst whom were forty Spanish priests, detained as hostages; but through Aguinaldo’s intervention, they were protected from violence. The next day at the sitting of the new National Assembly, Aguinaldo’s representative told the story of his narrow escape, and the members unanimously adopted the chairman’s suggestion that they should go in a body to the president’s house and express their sympathy and congratulations. To crown this farce, a special thanksgiving service was held in the church at Malolos that evening. The really silly part of the story is that eleven Franciscan priests, confined as prisoners, were alleged to have been involved in the conspiracy against Aguinaldo’s life, and it was evidently on this supposition that all the priests were on the point of being massacred. A few days afterwards the story was contradicted. After all the fuss and all the expense of the telegrams, it turned out that the steward did not fall dead, and that no priests were concerned in the supposed plot. Still the lie did its work, both in the Philippines and nearer home; for many heard it, and read about it, who did not see the contradiction.
We are not at present in a position to follow Señor Valdes in his statements regarding the dissensions between the native and European friars, the rigorous exactions and tithes, “the friars calling themselves owners of the land cultivated by the natives, claiming rents and tithes which the real owners refused to pay,” but we believe them to be as baseless as his other accusations. Before he made them, the friars had already, in their memorial to the Spanish Government, taken notice of similar accusations, and asked for dates, names, and proofs. It is curious that no English travellers to these regions have taken notice of these supposed oppressions on the part of the friars. They are concocted with the design of expelling the friars from the islands, and confiscating their property, which they have lawfully acquired, and added to, by three centuries of industry. It is true they are rich in landed property, but their riches do not enable them to live individually in luxury. They are used by the Orders for the purposes of the Orders, in furthering education, maintaining hospitals, orphanages, and industrial schools, and in extending their missions not only in the Philippines, but also in China, Tonkin, Japan, and Formosa. Is it not better, in the interests of the people, that they should continue in their possessions than that they should be robbed of them, turned adrift, and their property divided among needy adventurers? It is a significant fact that one of the first acts of the National Assembly of the insurgents was to vote a pension of seventeen thousand dollars to Aguinaldo, enough to keep several religious communities in existence. These political heroes are anxious to enrich themselves at the expense of others, and to spend in luxury what has been gathered together through three centuries of frugal living.
A sample calumny of the kind, to which unbounded circulation has been given, and its sufficient refutation from an authoritative source, to which no such reproduction has been extended, may not be out of place by way of conclusion to our present remarks. Let the candid reader judge whose words—the Rev. Mr. Parkhurst’s or Father McKinnon’s—bear the ear-marks of personal investigation and conscientious endeavor after the truth—“the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
These statements of Mr. Parkhurst were clipped from an article in The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Cleveland, O.); and the clipping was forwarded to Father McKinnon, who is at present in Manila, and has been appointed superintentent of all the schools in that city by General Otis, the commander-in-chief of the American army of occupation. Father McKinnon was requested to comment upon the extract. The clipping and the reply are herewith presented.
“The Rev. M. M. Parkhurst, who has lived in the Philippines for many years, says that when a couple wish to get married in the Philippines, they must first pay a fee of £6. or $30, to the priest, who otherwise will not marry them. As a native rarely earns more than $5 a month, he seldom has the necessary marriage fee, so that common law marriages are the frequent result. The baptismal fee, he says, is $25, and the death fee is $60 for an adult, and $10 for an infant. A poll-tax of $25 for each man, and $15 for each woman, is collected; and when a man builds a house, he must pay $10 for having a chimney blessed.”
To this Father McKinnon replies:—
“Responding to your favor with regard to quotation from the Rev. M. M. Parkhurst, I may say it is a lie from top to finish. I have been here now nearly six months, and have studied the religious question very carefully, and, I think, without prejudice. To do this I had every opportunity, not only here in Manila, but also in the outlying provinces, as I have been sent frequently into the interior of the island to treat with the insurgent leaders. I have conversed with all classes of people, and I think I know pretty well just how matters stand. This statement of Mr. Parkhurst is in keeping with all the other statements made by irresponsible preachers concerning the condition of the Church here.
“Marriage here is like marriage any place else. If the parties are able to do so, they are supposed to pay something. If not able to pay, the priests here marry them gratis, just as you or I or any other minister of the Gospel would do in America. For rich or poor there is no fixed fee; that is left entirely to the contracting parties. For baptisms and deaths the rule is the same. Indeed, for baptisms, the priest rarely receives more than one dollar, and more often he receives nothing at all. For deaths they go even further than we do in America, as every parish church keeps a supply of coffins on hand to give gratis to those who are too poor to employ an undertaker. For the grandest funeral here no more than $25 is paid, which would be equal to $12 of our money. Even the fee of $2.50, charged for marriage license reverts not to the Church or Government, but to the orphan asylums.
“Speaking of orphan asylums, the Girls’ Asylum here gives a dowry of $500 to every inmate upon her marriage. This is but a sample of what is done in the way of charity here. We hear great tales of the wealth of the monks, and inquire about the property, and find it is a large estate, the income of which is used to support some hospital, or other charitable institution under the care of said monks. Nowhere in the world is charity in greater evidence than here. The magnificent hospitals and orphanages, schools of industry, etc., would be a credit to any nation. The amount expended thus every year is enormous. The monks individually are as poor as the proverbial church mouse. The islands have a population of over 8,000,000 Catholics. The priests number about 1,500; and considering the weakness of human nature, and the fact that many of them live alone out in the wilds far away from brother priests, it is not surprising that an occasional one falls. Even among the saintly (?) Parkhurst’s brethren, I have heard of an occasional fall in civilized America. But here these are the exceptions. The main body of the clergy are good, holy men. The Archbishop is a man who would be an honor to any church in any country. He is a man of eminent learning and great sanctity. He is one of the kindest and most charitable men I ever met. Go to his house at whatever hour you will, and you will find it crowded with poor. For each he has a kind word and some substantial aid. Every cent he receives is given away in this manner. His personal magnetism is such that to meet him is to admire him. If I wished to use names I could give you many striking examples of this. In our army and navy we had some Parkhursts who were ready to believe or say anything about his Grace.
“For those whom I thought worth convincing that they were wrong, I arranged that at different times they should meet him. The result was the same in every case. Each would come away feeling that his Grace was a much maligned man. To-day, among the American officials in both army and navy, no man is more respected than the Archbishop of Manila. In my estimation, there are two reasons for the impression which has gone abroad concerning the Church here. Aguinaldo, knowing in his cunning that there were many Parkhursts in America, thought lying about the Church would be an excellent way to gain the sympathy of Americans. I have been all over the country, and find no poverty anywhere. For Indians I find them remarkably well instructed. The one who cannot read and write is an exception. There are public schools supported by the Government all over the country. Had Mr. Parkhurst desired to learn the truth, he could have done so from his brother ministers, who are chaplains here. I think they would have told him the truth, as I have found them to be a nice gentlemanly lot of men, ever ready to do me a kindness. Some of them I admire very much for their devotion to the sick and those in need.”
1See interview with General Merritt, published in the New York Herald, Oct. 4, 1898.
The Rebellion Largely the Work of a Secret Organization.
Secret societies, and, above all, that great guild known as Freemasonry, are certainly foremost, if not controlling, factors in the warfare made upon throne and altar during the last one hundred and fifty years.
In saying this we do not intend to express any opinion for or against the sentiments of Protestant Freemasons in England and the United States, numbers of whom, no doubt, reprobate the anti-Christian spirit this association shows on the Continent and in Spanish America. They have been brought up to regard it as a perfectly harmless and beneficent institution, and cannot understand the attitude taken with regard to it by the Catholic Church.
Collection of seals and stamps used by various branches of the “Katipunan,” the secret society of the natives.
Collection of seals and stamps used by various branches of the “Katipunan,” the secret society of the natives.
It is quite true that Freemasonry may have in these countries kept to its original constitution, which, we may admit, was of a beneficent nature. But what Catholic writers on the subject urgently insist upon is, that on the Continent it very soon assumed a political and dangerous character. For a long time it was not condemned by the Church, and many good Catholics of rank and position gave their names to it. It was only when its dangerous tendencies came to light that it received solemn ecclesiastical condemnation, and that Catholics were forbidden to join it. For more than a century this secret guild has been at the bottom of the revolutions that have desolated the modern world. Some years previous to the French Revolution, German envoys of the Society of the Illuminati advised the French Masons to form a political committee in each lodge; and in time, as Robison remarks, these committees led to the formation of the Jacobin Club. “Thus were the lodges of France,” says this writer, “converted in a very short time into a set of affiliated secret societies, corresponding with the mother lodges of Paris, receiving from thence their principles and instructions, and ready to rise up at once when called upon to carry on the great work of overturning the State. Hence it arose that the French aimed, in the very beginning, at subverting the whole world. Hence, too, may be explained how the revolution took place almost in a moment in every part of France. The revolutionary societies were early formed, and were working in secret before the opening of the National Assembly; and the whole nation changed, and changed again and again, as if by beat of drum.”
In Spain, since its introduction it assumed a sanguinary and virulent character; it brought about revolutions and civil wars, embittered classes against one another, wronged and starved the clergy, robbed, turned adrift, and banished the religious Orders.
There is, indeed, a good deal of difficulty in tracing all these evils to the action of the Freemasons; for on the Continent, especially in Spain, the society has been always of a more secret nature than in these countries. Members of the Craft in England and the United States are generally well known to belong to it; their halls and lodges in the larger towns are imposing and conspicuous; their emblems and badges are often seen in the light of day. But on the Continent we see very little of all this; it is a thoroughly secret society; the members and their movements are carefully veiled from sight. As we said before, Freemasonry, on its introduction to the Continent, at once assumed a political character. The Deists and free-thinkers of the last century utilized it as a potent means of combining against the Church, and of carrying on their evil propaganda. In this way they were aided by the Jansenists, with different motives it is true, but still, when it was a question of opposing the religious Orders, with a whole heart. The working of the society in Spain in this century has necessarily been more stealthy and insidious than in France, for there it was face to face with a truly Catholic population devotedly attached to the Church.
By means of atheistical French literature, the works of Voltaire and other unbelievers, translated into Spanish, brought across the border in large bales, and disseminated through the Peninsula, the Freemasons had already indoctrinated a large number of active and restless spirits with revolutionary and anti-Christian ideas, when the troubles and civil war of 1834 gave them the opportunity they desired of making an onslaught on the religious Orders. At such times the minds of men are in a ferment, and the most incredible reports may be spread abroad, and will be implicitly believed by the populace. Accordingly, on the awful visitation of cholera, which swept over Europe at that time, desolating cities and towns, and leaving thousands upon thousands of families in mourning, in Madrid the report was industriously spread by the Masons that the Monks and Friars had poisoned the wells, and were the cause of the sickness among the people. In a mad fit of rage the populace rose on all sides, rushed to the convents and monasteries, and murdered all the inmates they could lay their hands upon. This awful event is referred to in the Memorial.
Such a state of things may seem hardly possible in the nineteenth century; and yet a similar catastrophe nearly happened in Lisbon a few years ago, the circumstances of which were related to the writer by one of the Dominicans who was living there at the time. It appears that the Dominican nuns had opened a dispensary for the relief of the poor. Strange to say, the frightful report soon went abroad that the nuns were stealing children, and killing and boiling them down to make a healing ointment out of their remains. The city was in an uproar; it was unsafe for priests and nuns to be seen in the streets; and the populace who really believed the absurd story, being in a furious state of excitement, were on the point of burning down the convent, and maltreating the nuns.
To return to Spain, the popular rising in Madrid was utilized by the revolutionary party in carrying out, the following year, the suppression of all the convents and monasteries in the country. The religious were driven out into the world; and their lands, goods, libraries, and art-treasures were sold for the benefit of the public debt, and to supply means to carry on the civil war. The bishops and secular clergy as well were also robbed, numerous episcopal sees were suppressed, and the goods of the Church declared to be national property. The Freemason Government promised to look after the interests of the Church by paying salaries to all ecclesiastics. As a result, Spain was filled, in a few years, with a poverty-stricken and starving clergy, and ruined churches and mouldering abbeys were to be seen on all sides. The effects of that great spoliation are still felt in the Peninsula; for though the religious Orders have revived in the meantime, and numerous convents and monasteries have been built, the priests are not in sufficient numbers for the needs of the population, which thereby, in many places, is suffering great spiritual destitution.
The policy of robbery and confiscation was boldly advocated for the Philippines, just before the late war, in one of the leading reviews of Madrid. Juan Ferrando Gomez, in a series of articles1 bitterly hostile to the Philippine Friars, proposed their entire suppression. They should be turned out of their convents and missionary houses by a secret decree, of which they were to be kept in ignorance till the execution actually took place. Their convents in Manila would be useful as barracks and Government offices, their country estates could be divided amongst their tenants, and the rents formerly paid to the Friars could be commuted into a tax to be paid to the State. Moreover, the Archbishop of Manila, and any others of the bishops belonging to the religious Orders, should be forced out of the country. Besides that, the schools and university belonging to the Friars should also be either suppressed, or taken out of their hands. Reading these flagrantly unjust proposals in the light of recent Spanish history, and with the help of the Memorial, we are inclined to believe that, without much further pressure from the Freemasons, the Spanish Ministry would have carried them out. Fortunately for the Friars, as well as the natives, they have no voice in the matter now. Under the American flag the religious will be treated as citizens, having the common right of citizens, neither to be molested in their persons nor robbed of their property. The President of the United States has declared this in clear terms to the Holy See.
With regard to Freemasonry in Spanish or Latin America, the Rev. Reuben Parsons has recently written on the subject (see Appendix III.), substantiating all his assertions by quotations from Masonic organs or other unprejudiced sources, and clearly exposing the systematic war which the lodges in South and Central America have carried on against religion. He shows how it has started revolutions, assassinated the leaders of the people, exiled the clergy, and persecuted the Church in other ways.
We will now endeavor to trace the history of Freemasonry in the Philippines and its connection with the insurrection there. In the Philippines Freemasonry found itself face to face with a simple native population, mostly Christian, and an active body of Spanish missionaries belonging to various religious Orders, loyal to their native country, possessing unbounded influence over their flocks, and rapidly bringing under the yoke of Christ the tribes who were still Pagan. The religious were a power that they could not hope to cope with for a long time; and so at first they were left unmolested, while the members of the Craft were gathering converts, and strengthening their position, among a class more suitable to their nefarious designs, viz., the mestizos, or half-breeds; the Filipinos, or those who, though born in the country, consider themselves the pure-blooded descendants of the early colonists; and the Spanish officials, numbers of whom were already Masons before they went to the Archipelago.
That the Freemasonry in the Philippines has shown itself of a distinctly sanguinary nature is not to be wondered at when we consider its close connection with Spain. The Lodge of Action, or Red Lodge, composed of determined revolutionists ready to use the dagger, and prepared to wade through a sea of blood to accomplish their designs, represented by Mazzini and the Carbonari in Italy, has a large following in Spain, and was presided over, a few years ago, by Zorilla, the Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Spain.
The following account of the growth of Freemasonry in the Philippines, taken from the Rosario, an organ published in Rome, the editor of which has access to special information, and is in close touch with friars who have been living for many years in the archipelago as missionaries, will be of profound interest. In or about 1860 many of the strangers who frequented the Philippines were Freemasons, and members of the lodges of Singapore, Hongkong, Java, Macao, and the open ports of China. This was at a period when England, Holland, France, the United States, for colonial reasons of their own, showed hostility to Spain. It was therefore quite natural that, in those lodges, an anti-Spanish spirit gradually arose in the Philippines. Seeing this spirit arising, two officials of the Spanish navy, Malcampo and Mendez Nunez, Freemasons themselves, determined to oppose Freemasonry to Freemasonry, by founding lodges that would uphold the Spanish interests; they therefore established, at Cavite, the Lodge Primera Luz Filippina, placing it under the Grand Orient of Lusitania, and a little afterwards another lodge at Zamboanga, for the officials, seamen, and civil functionaries who held positions in Mindanao.
In opposition to these, the strangers residing in the Philippines established at Manila itself a lodge of the Scottish rite, as a point d’appui for the enemies of Spain. They thus moved the centre of conspiracy against Spain to the islands themselves, and tried to draw the natives into their nets by giving them important positions in the Craft. The two opposing factions of Freemasonry also increased their numbers largely by taking in the political exiles who were sent to the Philippines as a result of the part taken by them in the various civil wars in the Peninsula, most of whom gave their names and services to one or the other. It is remarkable that these two bodies, guided by opposite political principles, one depending on a Spanish centre and directed principally by Spaniards, the other directed principally by Germans, English, and Americans, and opposed to Spanish interests, found, at least in one direction, a point of concord, namely, in opposition to the religious Orders. Although the Spanish Masons were actuated by a love for their mother-country, still the well-known anti-clericalism of Freemasonry prevailed over every other consideration, blinding them to the fact that the best and most influential representatives of Spain in the Philippines were to be found in the religious Orders, who were the only civilizing force able to deal with the natives. They thus indirectly paved the way for the insurrection; for it is well known that from the ranks of the opposing factions, and principally by reason of their anti-clerical tendencies, arose the sanguinary society of the “Katipunan,” which made it its direct aim to expel the friars, and overturn the Spanish government in the islands. The Grand Orient, the organ of this society, declared that one of the first articles of its programme was the extermination of the religious. And here it may be noticed that the ninth term of the proposals made by the insurgents to America was as follows: “There shall be a general religious toleration; but measures shall be adopted for the abolition and expulsion of the religious communities, who, with an iron hand, have hitherto demoralized the actual civil administration.”
In the meantime the lodges increased in number, so much so that two years ago there were at Manila sixteen lodges affiliated to the Grand Orient of Spain, and one at least in every pueblo in the province of Luzon, and also lodges in Zamboanga and the Visaya Islands; an Anglo-German club-lodge, on the books of which were inscribed the names of a great part of the Government officials; also the German Union, affiliated to the Grand Orient of Berlin; the society of S. Giovanni del Monte, a centre common to Swiss, French, Belgian, and Dutch Masons. In all, according to reliable statistics, there were a hundred lodges and 25,000 initiates. When the Freemasonry of the Philippines had gathered these numbers under its banner, the insurrection broke out; and of its 25,000 members, at least 20,000 were to be found in the ranks of the rebels. Could any clearer proof than this be found that the insurrection in the Philippines is the direct work of Freemasonry?
We will here call the attention of our readers to two of the illustrations. The first is a collection of various seals and stamps, forty-one in number, in use by the various branches of the Katipunan, the sanguinary secret society of the natives. Masonic emblems, the compass and rule, the triangle, the keys, etc., are to be found on almost all of them, proving beyond doubt the Masonic direction and constitution of the society. Turn now to the other illustration,—a Masonic apron, worn at secret meetings and also in battle, which was found on the body of an insurgent after an engagement. No concealment here of methods to be used,—the head dripping with blood, one hand grasping the bleeding head, and the other holding the dagger, sufficiently attest to all beholders the work of the Red Lodge.
The position of the religious Orders in the Philippines, just before the war broke out between Spain and America, had become so perilous and unbearable, that they addressed a long Memorial to the Spanish Government, exposing their grievances, explaining the cause of the rebellion, and suggesting remedies suitable for the situation.
This Memorial is more than a mere appeal to the Spanish Government. It is a challenge to the civilized world, made by men whose dignity and honor have been outraged by awful and unjust charges levelled at them by their foes, and spread far and near by the press. The Memorial has been put into print by the Friars, and scattered through Spain; it has been translated into French, and now it appears (in a condensed form) in an English dress. Up to the present, at any rate, it has not drawn forth an answer from those whose calumnies were the cause of its appearance. From another point of view it is of interest, giving us valuable information as to the causes of the rebellion, and incidentally throwing a lurid light upon the dark places and dark workings of Freemasonry. Its importance as an authoritative exposition lies in the fact that it emanates from the combined heads of all the religious Orders in the Philippines, men having under their spiritual care more than five out of the six millions of Christians in the country. It is signed by Father Manuel Gutierrez, Provincial of the Augustinians; Father Gilberto Martin, Commissary-Provincial of the Franciscans; Father Francisco Ajarro, Provincial of the Recollects; Father Candido Garcia Valles, Vicar-Provincial of the Dominicans; Pio Pi, S. J., Superior of the Missions of the Society of Jesus.
Masonic apron used by the “Katipunan.”
Masonic apron used by the “Katipunan.”
We doubt whether any official notice was taken of the document by the Spanish Government. It was on its way to Spain when, on the declaration of war by America, Admiral Dewey stole into Manila Bay by night, shattered the Spanish fleet the next morning at Cavite, and laid siege to Manila. In the meantime, too, the Spanish Ministry had resigned; and when the documents arrived at its destination, a new Ministry was in office, under Señor Sagasta, with a new colonial minister. Facing bravely, but ineffectually, one of the greatest powers in the world, the new Ministry was entirely taken up with cares and interests on which depended the existence of Spain as a nation.
A striking characteristic of the memorial is its outspoken insistence upon Freemasonry as the principal cause of the Rebellion, a position not unwarranted in view of the evidence presented on previous pages. So much has been heard from the opponents of the religious Orders, that a word from themselves, in their own defence, will have all the air of novelty. We reprint the memorial, quite confident that it will not suffer by comparison with what has appeared from the other side.
The Memorial of the Philippine Friars to the Spanish Government, April, 1898.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE COLONIAL MINISTER.
In addition to the telegram sent to His Excellency, the Governor-General and Viceroy, on the first of this month, that he might bring it officially under your Excellency’s notice, which the said authority informs us has been done, we, the Superiors of the Congregations of the Augustinians, Franciscans, Recollects, Dominicans, and Jesuits, have the honor of presenting this Statement to his Majesty, King Alfonso XIII., and, in his royal name, to Her Majesty the Queen Regent, Dona Maria Christina, to the President and Members of the Crown Ministerial Council, and more especially to your Excellency as Colonial Minister. We address this Statement directly to your Excellency, according to law and custom, that you may deign to bring it under the notice of the exalted personages already mentioned, and even if it appears desirable before the nation, duly assembled in the Cortes of the kingdom.
The time has come for us faithful and constant upholders of Spanish rule in the Philippines to break our traditional silence. The hour has also come to defend our honor, which has been so much assailed, and our holy and patriotic ministry, which has been the object of the most terrible and unjustifiable accusations and calumnies.
We have borne patiently with the Freemasons and insurgents, known and unknown, who in their newspapers, clubs, and public meetings, have for the last eighteen months insulted and vilified us, accusing us, among other things, of having fostered the rebellion. We have discovered to our sorrow that a number of Spaniards, having resided in these islands for a longer or shorter period as the case might be, on their return to the Peninsula have spoken of us in terms which they would not have dared to employ if in place of being priests and friars we had been laymen, or if instead of being ecclesiastical congregations we had belonged to civil or military bodies.
The religious of the Philippines, far away from Europe, alone in their ministry, scattered to the furthermost corners of the Archipelago, and without any other companions and witnesses of their labors than their own dear and simple parishioners, have no other defence save right and reason. Conscious that we have always been loyal and patriotic subjects, and have always fulfilled our duties and the obligations to our holy ministry, we have borne patiently and silently, according to the advice of the Apostle, insults and calumnies from the very persons to whom we had offered our services in all Christian sincerity. We have kept silence under insults from persons calling themselves forsooth Catholics, but who are infected with the practical Jansenism of certain latter-day reformers. We even suffered in silence certain false information, most dishonoring to the religious Orders, to be brought before the Cortes last year. It was asserted, not only in private, but in important, centres, that the prestige of the religious Orders in the Philippines was so shaken that it would be necessary to drive them out by armed force. It was also declared, as most dishonoring to a great nation like Spain, to have commissioned friars to furnish information about the Philippines, and to have asked their advice in the form of a memorial presented to the Senate. In addition to all this, the gravest accusations, some directed against a worthy prelate, were brought against us, veiled, however, under the guise of impartiality and gentle correction. Before long the clamors will be renewed in a different tone; and we shall see the reproduction in the Archipelago, with more or less cruelty, of that historical period in the Peninsula of 1834–1840.
REASONS FOR OUR SILENCE TILL THE PRESENT TIME.
We believed that a wise and prolonged silence, added to that prudence and magnanimity which should always distinguish religious orders, would have sufficed for good and discreet persons, and that they would have repelled the accusations, and formed a judgment that would be proof against these repeated attacks. But, instead of calming down, the storm appears to increase daily. The Treaty of Biac-na-Bato has furnished to many the opportunity of renewing the crafty insinuation, nay, bold affirmation, already made by the rebel chiefs, that the religious institutes were the sole cause of the insurrection. One of the chiefs of the “Katipunan” secret society has declared in his paper, The Grand Orient, which, like a plague, is still scattered over the islands, that one of the first articles in his programme is the expulsion of the religious Orders. In the Peninsula as well as here, the Freemasons and others who second their efforts have recommenced the war against us. They have published manifestoes at Madrid, in which, misusing the name of the Philippine natives, they demand vexatious and disgraceful measures against the clergy.
If under these circumstances we still remained silent, our silence would be attributed, and rightly so, to fear or to guilt. Our patience would be called weakness; and even sensible and solid Catholics, who recognize the injustice of the attacks made against us, might be led to believe that we were really stained with guilt, or that we had fallen into such a state of moral prostration, that we could be ill-treated with impunity.
THE RELIGIOUS ORDERS PERSECUTED BECAUSE THEY UPHOLD RELIGION.
On what grounds are the religious bodies persecuted? Simply because they uphold true and sound doctrine, and have never shown a weak front to the enemies of God and of their country. If we had shown ourselves pusillanimous in sight of the works of Masonic lodges, and in presence of the propagation of the politico-religious errors imported from Europe; if we had given the faintest mark, not of sympathy, but even of toleration, to the men who were scattering broadcast false notions of liberty condemned by the Church; if patriotism had cooled in our hearts, or if the innovators had not found in each Philippine religious an intractable and terrible adversary to their plans,—the religious congregations would never have been disturbed. On the contrary, we should have been extolled to the skies, the more so because our enemies do not ignore the fact that, were we to help them in the Archipelago, were we to give them our support, or at least were we to remain silent, we should thereby give them an undisputed victory.
But they know well that our standard is no other than the Syllabus of the great Pontiff, Pius IX., so frequently confirmed by Leo XIII., wherein all rebellion against the powers is so energetically condemned. Yea! truly they hate us, and under different names and on divers pretexts they are making such a cruel war upon us that it would seem as if the Freemasons and Revolutionists had no other enemies in the Philippines than the religious bodies.
THE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTED AS LOYAL SPANIARDS.
Apart from their essentially religious character, the regular clergy of the Archipelago are the sole Spanish institution, permanent and deeply-rooted, which exists in the islands—a vigorous organization well adapted to these regions. While the civil and military officials on the one hand, who come from Spain, live here only for a time, fulfilling their duties more or less wisely according as it is for or against their private interests, and yet are ignorant of the languages of the country, and have only a superficial intercourse with the Islanders, we, the religious, come over here to sacrifice our whole existences, dispersed often one by one amongst the remotest tribes. When we bid an eternal farewell to our native shores, we voluntarily condemn ourselves, by virtue of our vows, to live forever devoted to the moral, religious, and civil education of the natives; and we have waged many conflicts in their behalf.
CRAFTINESS OF THE INSURGENT CHIEFS.
Seeing that we were the most deeply rooted, influential, and best-respected Spaniards in the country, and that we would come to no terms with them or their projects, the rebel chiefs determined to demand our expulsion from the Government. They were aware that they would be backed up in their demand by many among the Spanish residents in the Archipelago, who, led by passion and ignorance, lend a willing ear to all who declaim against the religious Orders, especially when the watchwords used are “Free Thought,” “Liberty of the Press,” “Secularization of Education,” “Ecclesiastical Liquidation,” “Suppression of the Privileges of the Clergy.”
Thus the password among the rebels became, especially since the Treaty of Biac-na-Bato, the emancipation of their country. They declared they had no dislike to Spanish administration, nor any intention of separation from Spain; what made them rise in rebellion were the abuses of the clergy, and their only demand was the expulsion of the religious Orders. But these were lying declarations, as numerous judicial and non-judicial documents containing the plans of the conspirators have proved. They made these false professions because they knew that if they declared that the insurrection was brought about by the numerous abuses of power which have been committed by civil and military functionaries, they would have all the Spanish element in the Archipelago leagued against them, and would have the door closed to all their means of propaganda.
ACCUSATIONS AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS ORDERS.
We ask, in the first place, where are these abuses which are always the subject of their declamations in the clubs and lodges? We preach the Gospel, and not only do we draw to a civilized life the barbarous tribes of the Archipelago, whom we have preserved peaceful and happy for three centuries, as the whole world knows, but we have always been the defenders of the natives, who are subjected to a thousand vexations on the part of the Spanish lay residents. At all times we have watched over the purity of the Faith and the preservation of good morals, showing ourselves inflexible against illegal exactions, immoral games, and those who lead scandalous lives. After all that has been written against us for so many years, we defy our calumniators, and do not fear an honest and impartial examination of our lives and works. Let those who murmur and speak against us, prove by exact dates and authentic documents that their accusations are well founded.
They say we are enemies of education and of the diffusion of knowledge; if by education they mean the teaching of doctrine condemned by the Church, we are at one with them; but there is no education in the ordinary sense of the term, primary, secondary, or superior, in the islands that has not been founded, encouraged, and sustained by the clergy. It is well known that very few of the native officials who went through their course in our schools have taken part in the rebellion; and the proclaimers of “Free-thought” are, for the most part, individuals who failed in their career, and were the refuse of our classes.
As to the accusations of immorality which are recklessly levelled against us, all we have to say is that everyone can see our monasteries and convents and ourselves, and can form a judgment on our lives; the parish priests and missionaries are alone, surrounded by a multitude of natives; everyone can see what we are doing, and hear what we are saying; our European figures and sacerdotal character bring us into such prominence before the people that it would be stupid to imagine that we could hide our doings.
We consider, as not worthy of reply, the impudent assertion that in the country parts we are despots; that in a thousand ways we suck the blood of our tenants; charges often before refuted by the most explicit documentary evidence. Neither is it worth while speaking of the abominable calumny of attributing to us the passage through the country with armed force, and the imprisoning and torturing of those implicated in the first revolt. All this is part of the absurd fable that we are absolute masters, not only of the consciences of the people, but of the Archipelago itself; statements contradicted by the very men who make them, when they declare in the Cortes that we have lost all influence and all prestige in the islands.
CAUSE OF THE REBELLION.
The utter want of religion to be found among a great number of the Spanish residents, the facility with which the ancient laws of the Archipelago were changed, the instability of the public functionaries, a fruitful source of abuses, contributed for several years to discredit the Spanish name. But Freemasonry, as the world knows, has been the principal cause of the social disorganization of the Philippines. The Hispano-Philippine Association of Madrid was Masonic; the Masons were almost alone in the work of urging on the natives to make war on the clergy and the Spanish residents; they authorized the founding of lodges in the Archipelago. It was the Masons, too, who formed the “Katipunan” society, so essentially Masonic that in the terrible “compact of blood” they make, they are actually imitating the Carbonari of Italy.
In consequence of the teaching of the Freemasons, the voice of the parish priest has no longer any effect on numbers of the natives, especially at Manila and in the neighboring provinces, where they are accustomed to give themselves airs of importance and independence; and the prestige of the Spanish name has grown considerably less, and disappeared entirely in many places. What wonder, then, if the powerful instincts of race awoke, and that, pondering on the fact that they had a language and climate and territory of their own, the rebels should try to build a wall of separation between the Spaniards and the Malays? Is it not natural that having been brought to believe that the friar is neither their father nor the pastor of their souls, nor their friend and enthusiastic defender, but, on the contrary, a spoiler, and that the Spanish resident is only a money-grubber, having more or less power and authority, they should have desired to free themselves from the Spanish authority?
Six months ago the “Katipunan” society was limited to the mountains of Langua and Bulacan, where the rebel chiefs had taken refuge, and also counted some adherents among certain tribes in touch with the insurgents. But now the plague is widespread; the insurgents violating the promise made to the gallant Marquis of Estella, and at the call of a secret signal, have scattered themselves over the central provinces, and by means of cruelty and terrorism have succeeded in enrolling in their ranks a great number of natives who after the submission at Biac-na-Bato gave pledges of fidelity to Spain. They have also succeeded in intrenching themselves at Capiz and in other parts of the Viscayas. The rising in Zambaies, Pagasinan, Iloco, and Cebu are all of recent origin; and the same may be said of the “Katipunans” discovered at Manila.
However, the greater part of the country is not yet perverted; a wave of hallucination and fanaticism has passed over it, but the heart of the people is still sound, and with careful management they will return to their usual habits of peace and submission. The move wealthy classes are also sound, and are against the rebellion.
We frankly tell the Government that if it does not aid the Church, the revolutionary movement will increase every day, and it will be morally impossible for the religious to remain here any longer. What good is it for us to do our duty to the people when others are allowed to undo our work at the same time? Of what use is it for us to teach the people to be docile and submissive when their worst passions are excited by others, who tell them to make nothing of our teaching? What professor could teach successfully if his pupils were met outside the classroom by respectable persons who told them to despise his lessons? The civil authority, according to the teaching of the Church, ought as far as possible to be a bulwark to religion and morality. If the Government, therefore, does not protect us from the avalanche of insults hurled against us; if it does not root out the secret societies; if it allows our sacerdotal character to be trodden under foot while our enemies destroy the fruit of our labors,—we regret to say that we cannot continue our ministry in the islands.
Spain has bound herself very stringently to obligations of this nature. One of the laws of the Code of the Indies says expressly on this point: “We command the Viceroys, the Presidents, the Auditors, the Governors, and the other functionaries of the Indies, to favor, and aid, and encourage the religions orders who are occupying themselves in the conversion of the natives to our entire satisfaction.”
The spirit that moved Philip II. was seen in the answer he made to those who advised him to abandon the Archipelago, in view of the little revenue they brought to the Crown. He said: “For the conversion of only one of the souls that are there I would willingly give all the treasures of the Indies, and if they were not enough I would add those of Spain. Nothing in the world would make me consent to cease sending preachers and ministers of the Gospel to all the provinces that have been discovered, even if they are barren and sterile, for the Holy Apostolic See has given to us and our heirs the apostolic commission of publishing and preaching the Gospel. The Gospel can be spread through these islands, and the natives can be drawn from the worship of the demon by making known to them the true God, in a spirit alien to that of temporal greed.”
UNJUST CONTEMPT SHOWN TOWARDS THE RELIGIOUS ORDERS IN THE PHILIPPINES.
An idea has spread since the Revolution in Spain of 1868 that the Philippine Friars are a necessary evil, an out-of-date institution which has to be kept up for reasons of state. This unworthy idea, manifested sometimes with frankness, sometimes with a certain reticence, and which wounds us to the quick, has been constantly brought forward by our enemies. The natives who have been to Spain are fully aware of it; without leaving the Philippines, a great number of natives have observed it, and are at present trying to propagate it in the Archipelago. Very numerous, too are the Spanish residents who are hostile to us, owing to an anti-clerical spirit or to jealousy; in fact, we have enemies in all classes of society.
Many people, in consequence, think that our very existence in the country is simply owing to pity and condescension on the part of the Government; that we are merely tolerated, and are of less value in the eyes of the civil authorities than the members of any lay profession. With a marvellous facility all the evils that affect the country are laid at our door; and every time a governor makes a gross blunder in dealing with the natives, the evil consequences which flow from it are put down to us. Now, every class of society has a right to ordinary respect and fair treatment; we receive neither one nor the other, but are treated with absolute contempt. This humiliating situation, as individuals obliged to greater perfection than other Christians, we patiently bear with; but as religious orders we cannot put up with it any longer, for we see only too well how this treatment injures our ministry, and destroys our influence with the people committed to our care.
If the Government through an error to which we cannot give unqualified respect, since it is contrary to the real interests of religion and of our country, believes that the mission of the Orders in the islands has come to an end, we nevertheless say to them: “We await your dispositions with sincerity, but do not flatter yourselves that in adopting measures against our religious professions you can burn a light both before Christ and before Belial.” If, on the contrary, we are to remain in the islands, no one can deny that it is necessary to protect our persons, our prestige, and our ministry; our country must show that she is pleased with us, and treat us as her children; we must not be abandoned to our enemies as a thing of no value, and made victims of the resentment of the Freemasons. We do not fear martyrdom, which is an honor we do not feel ourselves worthy of; on the other hand, we do not wish to die as criminals abandoned by their friends and protectors, and deprived of all honor.
It is incredible that religious men placed in our position could be the cause of the woes of the Archipelago. We prefer to resign our ministry, and see ourselves expelled, rather than continue our mission in the islands, if the situation does not better itself before long. We have done our work well in these islands, and we feel sure that we shall be able to do our duty quite as well elsewhere with the grace of God.
1In the Administration, of Madrid, one of the leading reviews in Spain.
The Rebels and Their Grievances.
We cannot view without grave misgivings the unexpected turn that affairs have taken since the war, and the second war which has broken out between the rebels and the Americans. It is now plain that it was entire independence from all control that the promoters of the rebellion were looking for from the very beginning; this being well known to the Friars all along, and clearly indicated in their memorial to the Spanish Government. Aguinaldo and his companions have unlimited confidence in themselves, and aspire to form a civilized republic. The character of this pure-souled patriot may be judged from a transaction he had with the Spanish Government. After the armistice of Biac-na-Bato, he was bought out by them, and took thousands of dollars as his price for leaving the country for aye, never to return. He pocketed the money, and went off to Hongkong; but when the Americans came to Manila, and destroyed the Spanish fleet, this worthy returned to the Philippines, and once more raised the standard of rebellion. As a result the Americans are apt to find themselves burdened with a war expenditure, even heavier than that borne by Spain in her effort to prevent a repetition in the Philippines of the gruesome story of San Domingo and Hayti. All colored and tropical races have a tendency to revert to their original type and the barbarous customs of their ancestors. The blacks got possession of Hayti nearly a century ago, at which time they were at least domesticated, and partially civilized, having been in contact with the white man for the two previous centuries. They have gone back, and not forward, ever since. The history of the black republic is a bloody revolution every two or three years, distinguished by acts of barbarous ferocity. Life there at the present day is a hideous caricature of civilization and Christianity. Incredible as it may seem, there has been a revival in the remote villages of the old African serpent-worship, and child sacrifices, followed by cannibalism.
Rt. Rev. Joseph Hevia, O. P.
Rt. Rev. Joseph Hevia, O. P.
Archbishop of Nueva Segovia.
Ten Spanish Augustinian Friars recently came to San Francisco from the Philippines (see Appendix IV.). In an interview with the representative of the San Francisco Monitor they stated that it was not through fear of the Americans that they had left Manila, but, on the contrary, they believed that the Church would prosper under American rule. They said that the respectable element in the Philippines, though they had been quite content with the Spanish rule, and deeming it all that could be expected under the circumstances, are yet welcoming the Americans as a relief from insurgent atrocities. “The insurgents,” they said, “are an undisciplined mob of rioters, led by a demagogue. They are the riff-raff of the islands, men without principle or property in most instances. Aguinaldo has them pretty well in hand to-day, but to-morrow they may disintegrate into fifty gangs. Aguinaldo is an ungrateful renegade, who was fed, clothed, and educated by Catholic priests. He is a mere puppet in the hands of the Freemasons.1 It is to these worthies and organized anarchy in Europe that we may trace the origin of the trouble in the Philippines. Soon after the destruction of the Spanish fleet, the insurgents wrecked our schools, robbed and despoiled our missions and churches, and drove us into Manila. About fifty priests were brutally killed by them. As our field of work was thus laid bare, we decided to leave the Philippines. What made us depart was the discouragement of seeing the work of years destroyed by the men we had gone to teach, and the improbability of being able to build up the work again immediately.”
The Filipinos have already shown proof how far removed they are from civilized ideals, and how dangerous it would be to leave them to themselves, by their inhuman treatment of their Spanish prisoners. Besides ordinary Spanish civilians, they have kept in captivity for several months hundreds of Friars, including one hundred Dominicans, and the Dominican Bishop of Neuva Segovia, Mgr. Joseph Hevia, whose portrait we give. Numbers of the Friars have lately died of the hardships to which they were subjected. A letter, received some time ago from one of them by a friend in Manila, describes the ferocious and satanic hatred shown towards them by the rebel chiefs. They were stripped of their clothes, hats, and shoes, robbed of their money, spat upon, tied to trees, and flogged several times. Daily they were forced to work on the public roads from morning to evening, under a broiling sun, receiving food and drink barely sufficient to support life. The leaders mocked at and jested over their sufferings. Though violent threats were held out against all who succored them, their parishioners seized opportunities of coming to visit them, and alleviate their miseries. From other sources we learn that the noses of some of the prisoners were slit, and a cord passed through the aperture, to be used as a leading-string by their guards. The venerable Bishop was subjected to the grossest indignities. One aged Friar was placed on a saddle, and jumped upon till blood flowed from his mouth and nose. Another, it is said, clothed only in a rain-coat, was carried in triumph for two hundred yards, and then cudgelled to death amid savage cries. Some were crushed to death between boards. Nuns in the convents were subjected to shameful treatment. In the name of common sense, we ask if men who encourage or permit such atrocities are fit to control and guide the destinies of eight millions of people. (See Appendix V.)
Of course the policy of the Press in general has been to keep these atrocities from the eyes of the public. As it did not suit political purposes to publish them, they have been kept concealed. Owing to this careful management, the sympathies of the world have been enlisted on the side of the “poor downtrodden Filipinos.” An impartial examination of the grievances of the latter, and of the catch-cries by which the leaders have seduced a considerable portion of the simple natives, will not reveal very much against either the civil or the ecclesiastical rule of the Spaniard. As in everything human, we may suppose that neither was absolute perfection; but, all things considered, there was less to justify rebellion in the Philippines than in most parts of the world where the black is ruled by the white man.
One of the grievances of the rebels is that nearly all the ecclesiastics in the Archipelago have been Spaniards, and they demand an entirely native clergy. Now, the Catholic Church has been always most anxious to form a native clergy in missionary countries, but insuperable difficulties have often prevented the realization of this idea. Among colored races there is a paucity of real vocations; it is hard enough to get the people to live up to the Christian ideal without adding thereto the grave responsibilities and life of self-sacrifice of the priesthood. An example in point is the Black Republic of Hayti. It is a Catholic country, nominally at least. The people have retained the Faith taught them by the white man, though preserving such a dislike to him that no white man can own a yard of land in the country. Yet such is their inability to provide themselves with priests of their own blood that they are forced to fall back on the services of a French Bishop and French missionary priests, who do all the spiritual work of the island. Another case in point is that of Cuba, an island containing a million and a half of inhabitants, Cubans and Spaniards, of which only forty-three of the former are to be found in the ranks of the priesthood. There has never been any distinction made between Cubans and Spaniards in the two Seminaries of Havana and Santiago de Cuba; all are received alike, and treated alike if they have a vocation; of the forty-three priests, twenty-eight hold parishes, and the rest have other positions of trust, which shows that it is simply owing to lack of vocations and not to any other cause that we must ascribe their fewness in number. In the Philippines, as far back as two centuries ago, the experiment was made of forming a native priesthood, with doubtful success, however, as Dampier informs us that the natives generally held the native priests in contempt, while holding the Spanish clergy in the greatest esteem. We must, perforce, conclude that in the Philippines, as in other countries, it is simply lack of vocations that keeps the number of the native clergy at such a low ebb.
Another grievance, brought well to the front by those who have written on behalf of the Filipinos, is the taxation, which is alleged to have been excessive. The writer is informed by one who lived many years there that it was not. However this may be, all taxation is odious to primitive and half-civilized communities, who are inclined to look upon the most necessary taxes, without which no stable government could be carried on, in the light of oppression. The Americans will have the same difficulties to face with regard to taxation as the Spaniards had, though not in the same degree maybe, as the country will be opened to trade in a freer way than formerly. In the interests of order, and also to protect the people from unjust imposts, the Friars were in the habit of acting as their counsellors in these matters, and used to exhort their parishioners publicly and privately to pay the necessary taxes. A passage from Blumentritt, whom we have quoted more than once in our previous chapters, will go to show that all this was done in the interests of the people: “In the following centuries the Friars continued to extend their protecting hand over the natives, preventing, as far as possible, any oppression on the part of the Government employés.” Yet this action of the Friars, good, charitable, and necessary under the circumstances, has been used by the promoters of the rebellion as a fulcrum to raise the Friars, in the eyes of the poorer classes, into the invidious position of tax-gatherers, tyrants, and abettors of oppression. Without doubt, cruel methods, for which, however, the Friars were not responsible, were in vogue in dealing with defaulters, as we may see in Dean Worcester’s lately published work on the Philippines; but it is nothing less than downright hypocrisy to raise a chorus of condemnation against the Spaniard on this score, when it is well known that no other nation, in trying to solve the eternal difficulty about the taxation of colored and subject races, has emerged from the conflict with clean hands. We remember reading some years ago of very cruel methods employed in the gathering of the taxes in British India, in some of the up-country districts; and within the present year of grace, 1899, two books have appeared dealing with the English and the Dutch in South Africa,2 both of which, in describing the punishment inflicted on those refusing to pay taxes to the ruling powers, could easily give points to the colonial Spaniard for cruelty. What is very remarkable about the Protestant missionary is that, instead of condemning the barbarities described in his book, of which he was an eye-witness, he approves of them, even to the extent of giving his sanction to the inhuman crime of blowing up with dynamite the caves in which four hundred men, women, and children had taken refuge. The Rev. Mr. Rae’s opinion of the campaign against Malaboch for his refusal to pay taxes, a campaign in which women and children, and men bearing flags of truce were fired upon recklessly, is that “the Transvaal Government was doing a much better work than any Christian missionary has yet accomplished.” God help the Filipinos if Protestant missionaries of this description are going to overrun the field of labor left vacant by the deaths and expulsion of the Spanish Friars. One great test of the mild rule of the Spaniard in that country is that the native population has increased since the conquest, instead of being almost exterminated, as is the case in North America and in many of the colonies of European States. We hope that the American rule will be characterized by clemency and justice. A hypocritical cry has been raised in the States about the tyranny and oppression under which the natives are said to be groaning. The rule of the Spaniard has indeed been imperfect enough; but America should approach the question of reform with becoming modesty, seeing that her own record in dealing with the Indians has been stained by many a crime against human rights. They have been robbed of the country which once was their own, and driven back from reservation to reservation, while even the rights guaranteed to them by Government as compensation for what they lost have been often filched from them by unscrupulous officials. The light recently thrown on the case of the Pillager Indians has disclosed cruelty, open robbery, and a disregard of solemn obligations. In the Philippines the Americans will find the natives still in possession of their country; a people, once wild and nomadic like the Indians, brought into settled habits of life by three centuries of missionary effort; a people, in fine, who, whatever is said to the contrary by noisy declaimers and demagogues, have been on the whole well pleased with their lot.
Tagalogs planting rice to the sound of music.
Tagalogs planting rice to the sound of music.
It is quite evident from the words and acts of the rebels that they have been casting envious eyes on the large landed estates of the Friars, hoping, on their expulsion, to have a division of the spoils among themselves. Already, before the war, an iniquitous plan of confiscation was boldly advocated in Spain itself. We now learn to our surprise, from the Church News (Washington, D.C.), that this cry has found an echo across the Atlantic from Protestant pulpits in the States. Besides the fact that confiscation would be robbery pure and simple, as the estates are not national property, and have not been given by the Government, but have been acquired in the usual way by purchase, and in the course of three centuries have naturally grown large, confiscation of the estates would mean a great calamity to the country, even if the Friars were allowed to go back quietly to their parishes, and resume their spiritual ministrations among the people. For it was by means of the estates that the Friars introduced agriculture and settled habits of life among tribes originally nomadic; it was by means of the estates that they got them to live in villages, and introduced amongst them the arts of civilized life; it was by means of the estates that they acquired the power of inducing them to labor with a certain amount of regularity and method, the great safeguard against a relapse into a state of savagery. Giraudier, who was director of the “Diario” of Manila, and spent thirty years in the Archipelago, says something very much to the point: “The natives, with some rare exceptions, are in need of tutelage, without which they would fall back to the customs of their ancestors, a tutelage that no one can exercise better than the Friars.” The latter, in truth, made themselves all in all to the people. Within the precincts of the monasteries were to be found workshops for teaching carpentry, forges for teaching the natives the working of iron, brick and tileyards,—in fact, most of the mechanical arts were fostered and encouraged by the Friars. The villages they formed around them presented a pleasing picture of happiness and content, in startling contrast to the homes of those who were still pagan and uncivilized.
A former British consul thus describes them: “Orderly children, respected parents, women subject but not oppressed, men ruling but not despotic, reverence with kindness, obedience with affection—these form a lovable picture by no means rare in the villages of the Eastern Isles.” Will such a happy state of things exist under new conditions? We are very much inclined to doubt it. The experiment tried in some of the islands of the West Indies of making the blacks small freeholders, and planting them on the bankrupt planters’ estates, has not been attended by such beneficial results to the land as to justify our hoping that a similar experiment in the Philippines will prove a success. The natives of the tropics in general are like overgrown children, blessed with the virtues and cursed with the faults of children, rejoicing in present abundance, and destitute of that measure of forethought for the morrow, without which there can be no human progress. What a contrast at the present day do the civilized villages under the paternal care, and, if you will, government, of Friars present to the wild nomadic life still led by the natives of Mindanao, whom the Jesuit fathers are trying to bring under civilizing influences. We find, from letters written lately by some of the fathers there, that human sacrifice is still in vogue, and murder, pillage, and slave-catching extremely common. We fear that self-government, bringing in internal conflicts between the various parts of the Archipelago, would gradually reduce most of it to this deplorable state of things, and that the Philippine Republic would be as great a travesty on civilization as Hayti.
1One may hardly be surprised that men who have been robbed of their all—reputation, home, and field of work—are apt to be plain-spoken and severe when commenting upon those who have upset their lives, and destroyed the sacred interests of the religion to which they had devoted themselves unreservedly. Friends, on the other hand, of the persons who have been the instruments of such ruin, are sure to uphold the destroyers as heroes, great of character and great of deed. Hence we need not be surprised at such different estimates of Aguinaldo as those referred to in a sketch of him published in the American Review of Reviews for February, 1899.
“Friends and enemies agree that he is intelligent, ambitious, far-sighted, brave, self-controlled, honest, moral, vindictive, and at times cruel. He possesses the quality which friends call wisdom, and enemies call craft. According to those who like him he is courteous, polished, thoughtful, and dignified; according to those who dislike him he is insincere, pretentious, vain, and arrogant. Both admit him to be genial, generous, self-sacrificing, popular, and capable in the administration of affairs. If the opinion of his foes be accepted he is one of the greatest Malays on the page of history. If the opinion of his friends be taken as the criterion he is one of the great men of history, irrespective of race.”
2“Rhodesia and its Government,” by H. C. Thomson. “Malaboch; or Notes from my Diary on the Boer Campaign of 1894 against the Chief Malaboch,” by the Rev. Colin Rae.
The Sectarian Missionary Movement.
We cannot too strongly emphasize the great interest that the change of government in the Philippines should have for the English-speaking Catholic public, seeing that a Catholic population, as large, if not larger, than the combined Catholic population of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, is about to be brought under the influence of the English-speaking world, and in close touch with the Catholic Church in America, and, perhaps, later on, with ourselves. It is not more than a year ago that the Philippines were a terra incognita to us all, of which we knew the name, but hardly more. For the last ten months they have been brought under our notice almost daily by the newspapers, and monthly in the pages of the magazines. In the meantime their control has passed from Spain to America, and a conflict of opinion is going on in the States as to the desirability or otherwise of undertaking the responsibility of their future government. Under the old régime, Church and State were united: a bearable condition when the State was professedly Catholic, but absolutely unbearable when antagonistic influences control the Government, hamper the Church in her freedom of action, and degrade her into servitude while professing to be her protector. In the new condition of things the Church will be placed in the same position as it holds in America, free to flourish or to die, depending entirely on its own resources, and neither helped nor persecuted by the State. Its ministers, though not enjoying any special privileges, will be protected in their persons and property in common with all other citizens. Its religious orders will receive the same recognition as secular corporations, and their corporate property will be respected. So far so good; for it was to be feared that the Spanish Government, who had been deterred only by political motives from suppressing the Orders, yielding at last to the pressure of the Freemasons, might have confiscated their property, and either secularized their members or expelled them from the islands. Still we cannot close our eyes to the fact that dangers from a different quarter loom up which it much behooves Catholics to carefully consider. There is a pressing necessity of being alive to those dangers, if worse evils than ever are not to befall that large Catholic population of the Far East.
As might be expected, the Protestant missionary bodies have inaugurated a movement for sending out missionaries of their own to the Archipelago. The Rev. John R. Hykes was directed last September by the American Bible Society to proceed from Shanghai to Manila, and investigate concerning the Philippines “as a field for Bible work.” He submitted his report in a very short time, having made up his mind on the religious needs of the people, the scandalous lives of the Friars, and the superstition of their benighted parishioners with incredible rapidity. His sensational report duly appeared in the American papers as the “Startling Revelations made by the Rev. John R. Hykes.” Sure of a sympathetic audience, he laid on the colors thickly. The report need not occupy much of our attention. Half of it is made up of ordinary information about the country that any one could get for himself out of a good encyclopædia, and the other half is a rehash and repetition of the charges already dealt with by us in previous chapters. One statement is, however, worth noticing, as it clearly indicates the hopelessness of getting fair and unbiassed treatment from the enemies of the Church. Mr. Hykes states that he was shocked by the stories of immorality brought against the Friars. And, to make an impression, he adds that the people who told him the stories said they were prepared to give names, dates, and places in confirmation of what they said. Now, as already noted, names, dates, and places were the very things asked for by the Friars in the Memorial to the Spanish Government, as far back as last April; but their enemies, finding those details beyond their power, have adopted the simpler process of repeating the calumnies to all who, like Mr. Hykes, give them a ready and sympathetic hearing. Mr. Hykes, who never went beyond Manila, presumes to judge, in a few days or weeks, of the spiritual condition of six millions of Christians, and more than a thousand priests, scattered over the whole Philippine Archipelago. (See Appendix VI.) We are afraid that too many of the type of Mr. Hykes will be found among the new missionaries of the Philippines, coming in crowds, with their wives and children, to spread, forsooth, the pure light of the Gospel, or rather to engage in the more congenial task of vilifying the Catholic Church.
In an American Protestant missionary review, there is an article on the Philippines, by a former agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society in that country. The article, needless to say, is full of gross misrepresentations. It puts down the Christian population as seven million Romanists; the writer denies the ordinary title of Christian to Catholics. This emissary of the Bible Society writes: “The question now asked on all sides is—Are the Philippines at last to be opened to missionary effort? Personally, I feel that a non-sectarian, but strictly evangelical, mission, aiming at the Christianization of the whole territory, is what would succeed best.” We may gather from the whole tone of this Protestant missionary review what a low type of Protestantism it represents, a type largely made up of self-presumption, ignorance, and fanaticism. Throughout the paper Catholics are not once designated Christian. It speaks of the nineteenth century being the first century of Christian missions, ignoring all the apostolic work of the Catholic Church. It says in another place that there were no Christian Chinese at the beginning of this century, ignoring the hundreds of thousands of Chinese who have known and loved Jesus Christ since the days of St. Francis Xavier, numbers of whom sealed their faith with their blood. It divides the population of the country into pagans, Romanists, and Christians—the latter, of course, being Protestants of one denomination or another. To such absurd lengths does religious rancor bring it, and all connected with it. Catholics give the title of Christian to all who are baptized and profess belief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. They would not deny it even to the Rev. Mr. Hykes, bad as he is. But perhaps our new missionary friends may be similar to those of whom Marshall speaks in his “Christian Missions,” who went out to evangelize the South Sea Islands, and taught the people that baptism was merely a ceremony not at all essential to salvation, thus showing their want of belief in baptismal regeneration. At any rate, it will be news to the Filipinos to hear for the first time from these enlightened men that they are not Christians.
That these Bible scatterers can and will do harm there is no doubt. Already they have flooded Porto Rico with tracts and pamphlets, crammed with the usual vile charges against the Catholic Church and her ministers. But it is equally certain that they will never succeed in making the Philippines a Protestant country. It is a matter of notoriety that Protestant missions are not overwhelmingly successful in any part of the world, and that the funds are kept up in most instances by glowing and rosy-colored, if not altogether accurate, reports, sent by the missionaries to their supporters at home. The review which I have just quoted is forced to acknowledge that in Brazil, after thirty-five years’ work, there are only eight thousand Protestants out of a population of sixteen millions. No less than eight American Protestant Missionary Societies have been working there together, well supplied with funds, as is always the case; and yet this is the result. In fact, eight thousand may not be the result at all, for the missionaries have, very often, peculiar methods in the science of statistics. In Mexico, too, they have been at work for many years unmolested by the authorities, and yet they have but wretched results to show for themselves at the present day. They make no impression either on the rich or the very poor; any successes they have being amongst the impecunious middle classes, the children of whom they teach gratuitously in their schools, and feed and clothe, and who carry away with them from these schools, as the principal result of the religious training they receive, a bitter hatred of the Church in which they were born. Just as in Mexico, so the Protestant missionaries are sure to make proselytes among the same classes in the Philippines, from which classes we know that the promoters of the rebellion have been mainly recruited; but the better classes and also the poorer, whatever their shortcomings, have the old Faith and are intensely devoted to the Catholic Church. These are no more likely than the people of Mexico and Brazil to be led to accept the mutilated form of Christianity which will be presented to them by Mr. Hykes and his friends; unless, indeed, there is such a deplorable dearth of priests that they will be left without instruction and guidance.
Harbor of Manila.
Harbor of Manila.
There are grave problems ahead which will tax the wisdom of the American Congress far more than the military occupation of the country. John Foreman, who spent some years there, and claims to be a Catholic, advocates (National Review, September, 1898) the disendowment of the Church as a necessary financial measure which would bring a certain amount of relief to the colonial treasury. With the exception of £3,000 a year paid to the Archbishop of Manila, and £1,500 to each of the three other bishops, it is difficult to see how the endowment comes in except as a measure adopted by every civilized State in dealing with its uncivilized subject races; and unless the United States is prepared to abandon the rôle of civilizer, she will be obliged to keep up the paltry endowment made in the past by Spain for that purpose. The Church in the Philippines is, on the whole, self-supporting. She is in the position that the Church in France, Spain, and Portugal was before the Revolution, which, when it appeared successively in each country was followed by a seizure of ecclesiastical property. The salaries paid to the clergy in those countries are given as a compensation for past robberies. The writer has been at pains to get at the truth in this matter and has put himself in communication with a Dominican Friar, who lived for twenty-seven years in the Philippines, and now holds the distinguished position of Rector of the Spanish-Dominican College, in Rome. From him the writer has received the following information regarding the landed estates of the Friars, and the salaries paid to them by the Spanish Government. As far as he knows all these estates were acquired by purchase, and were not given by the Government; they hold the title-deeds of them in their possession. He is not prepared to say whether on their first introduction to the country, three centuries ago, the Government made them grants of land; but we ourselves may infer from the early history of the Dominicans there, that whatever they got was from the early Spanish colonists and the converted natives as free gifts. He adds that in any case the introduction of agriculture is due to their exertions. The Friars who ministered to the spiritual wants of the people may be placed in three categories. There were, first of all, the ordinary parish priest, who lived among a settled Catholic population. He subsisted on his benefice, which is not Government property, and was endowed by no subsidy from the Government. Secondly, there was the missionary parish priest, who lived in a parish where the majority are Catholics, but which also contained a proportion of the heathen. He received some salary from the Government, but much less than that given to the missionaries pure and simple, who lived in the midst of an entirely heathen population. These latter, whose business it was to civilize as well as convert the people to Christianity, and to teach them agriculture and the mechanical arts, were paid according as the mission district was large or small. In the large districts they received £200 annually, and £50 a year was paid to the native priests who acted as their assistants and curates. In the smaller districts the sum allowed was £100. The Jesuits, too, on their return to the Philippines some forty years ago, whence they had been banished in the middle of the last century, got an annual subsidy as compensation for the lands they formerly possessed, which had been confiscated by the Spanish Government of the day. Something also was given towards the education of young Franciscan missionaries, and they were allowed their passage out from Spain. The figures we have quoted are modest enough, seen in the light of modern colonial salaries and expenditure. A continuance of the very moderate subsidies allowed to the missionary Friars by the Spanish Government would no more mean a union between Church and State than did the “contract” system which was sanctioned by Congress up to 1894, for dealing with the education of the North American Indians. According to this system, both Catholic and Protestant missionaries were paid by Government according to the number of pupils who attended their schools, and these schools, of course, were taught on strictly denominational lines. That system had most beneficial results as long as it lasted, and was acceptable to the Indians. Its abandonment in favor of the public-school system has resulted in the crying injustice of compelling Catholic Indian fathers and mothers to send their children to certain schools to which they have a conscientious objection.1
The school question is one of the gravest problems that the American Government will be called upon to face when her troops have effectively occupied the Philippines. One of the cries of the rebel leaders is for the secularization of the schools, and this cry, emanating from infidel and secret society sources, will assuredly be echoed by the Protestant ministers. It was these latter who, seeing their ministrations rejected by the Indians, raised the agitation against the “contract” system.
It is a shame and a wonder to find professed ministers of religion joining in a cry with the professed destroyers of religion. Secularization of education is always the first cry among those who oppose the Catholic religion. According to the showing of Dr. Parsons, it was attempted and sometimes successfully carried out in Colombia, Chili, and Ecuador, in which latter country the bishops were banished because they protested against it. Yet in spite of the anti-Christian spirit, exhibited in this and in many other ways, Dr. Parsons makes it clear that the masonic lodges in Peru actually receive aid out of the funds supplied to Christianize (according to sectarian ideas) the natives by the Protestant American public.
The notorious ex-Indian commissioner Morgan, now a Baptist prophet, has already sounded a characteristically aggressive note on this point, and is conjuring the Government to drive the Catholic religion out of all the schools in Cuba, a movement already accomplished in the eastern part of the island. Morgan says: “Here is a field opened for the missionary spirit, such as the young people of our country have never yet seen. To carry thither and plant the seeds of civilization, and to do this in the joyful confidence that all official assistance is assured to them, will doubtlessly fill with enthusiasm hundreds of ambitious young teachers.” We may wonder what Morgan means by “official assistance” given for the spreading of Protestantism among a Catholic people, when, according to theory, the American Constitution does not support one form of religion over another. But theory is one thing and practice is another; and though in theory Church and State are entirely separate, the theory has not, in the past, hindered the United States from giving substantial assistance to Protestantism. This is how the case stands for America. Rightly or wrongly she has taken over an enormous Catholic population in the East. If she is not able to make any concession on the score of religion, or to stretch a point to meet the wishes of the people and govern them according to their ideas, then it is only consonant with reason and justice that her Constitution, which never contemplated colonial empire, will have to be modified to meet the exigencies of a situation unimagined by its original founders and makers. But, in reality, is any modification of the Constitution necessary in order that religious instruction may take place in the schools of the Archipelago? In Ireland there is no State Church, and yet the National School System is so arranged that religious instruction can be given for half an hour every day of the week. The system is in theory undenominational, but in practice denominational.
An early solution of the difficulty might be some such procedure as the following. Let the parish priests be managers of the schools, and have a voice in the appointment of properly certified masters and mistresses, and let a fixed time be devoted to religious instruction every day. If the Protestants succeed in attracting converts, and are able to gather a sufficient number of children in any place to form a school, they can receive the same treatment as regards payment and control of religious instruction. Thus religious dissension would be reduced to the minimum. Secularization of education would tend to drive every form of religion out of the people, for Protestantism could not hope to make headway for a long time in the Philippines; as, to say the least, it would take some years for the ministers to get a sufficient knowledge of the various languages in use, and establish themselves in face of the opposition they are sure to meet with. It would also put all the Friars in opposition to the Government, while fair treatment would make them its best friends, and urge them to keep the people as loyal to the American Constitution as they kept them to the Spanish Crown for three centuries.
If, then, the Government, after due inquiry, find that the vast majority of the people do not join in the cry for secularization, but desire to have the Catholic religion taught in the schools which their children attend, it would be nothing short of religious persecution to introduce the public schools system of the States into the Philippines. It is ever to be borne in mind that the new American possession in the Far East is one in which the great bulk of the people are practical Catholics who attend to all their religious duties.
To counteract the baleful influence of the Protestant missionary and Bible societies, it will be necessary for the Catholic Church in America to be alive to the new and grave responsibilities thus thrown upon her by the hand of Providence, and to send out English-speaking priests at once to the Philippines, to make up for the great dearth of priests caused by the excesses of the rebels. Before the rebellion they numbered between one and two thousand, a small number in comparison with the Catholic population. Fifty have been killed outright; many others have died of the hardships undergone in captivity; while several hundreds have left the country, apparently with no intention of returning. Every year till last year, bands of enthusiastic young missionaries used to go out from the colleges in Spain to fill up the gaps in the ranks of the Friars, caused by sickness and death. That perennial source of life and strength can no longer be relied upon under the new conditions. The energies of the Spanish Friars will most likely be expended in Spain itself, where the lack of priests is still severely felt, and in developing their great and flourishing missions in China, Japan, Tonquin, and Formosa.
It is a matter of astonishment that the Church in the United States has up to the present no organization for supplying foreign mission. Perhaps the struggle to keep abreast in numbers with the growing Catholic population has absorbed all her energies. But now, for the first time in her history, she must cast her eyes beyond her boundaries, and send speedy help to the millions of children who have been given to her keeping, and whose voice may be heard from across the wide ocean, calling to her for spiritual help and ministration. Let her gaze steadily and thoughtfully on the vast harvest of souls given unto her. She shall reap where others have sown and planted. Let her gird herself to the work, and go forth and gather with joy the good wheat that others—the poor Spanish missionaries—have sown in tears and cultivated through much tribulation.
A fact of interest in connection with the aspect of our subject under consideration is the challenge sent to Archbishop Ireland by an American Presbyterian of authority in his sect. He tells the Archbishop in effect that if the Catholic Church in the United States will undertake the missionary equipment of the Philippines, his sect will gladly withdraw from the field, and devote their efforts to Africa instead. Without attaching any more importance to this declaration than it deserves, especially as it is founded on the false assumption that one Gospel is preached by Catholic priests in Washington and another in Manila, we may, nevertheless, infer from it that these men believe they would have a much easier task in dealing with the Spanish missionaries than with Catholic missionaries from the States. Without saying anything in disparagement of the learning of a body of men which has produced a Gonzalez, one of the greatest philosophers of the century, we believe that American priests, being more in touch with modern times and more open to modern ideas, could give them valuable lessons in the conflict between the Church and the world, as it is carried on in our own days. It is not by profound theological arguments that we can deal with men who can neither understand nor appreciate them. Priests are wanted for the Philippines who can make their voices heard beyond its boundaries; who can mould public opinion by means of the daily Press; who can keep in touch with the politics and legislation of the United States; and can bring public opinion there to bear on unjust and unfair treatment, if anything of the kind is attempted against the Catholics of that unfortunate Archipelago.
A street in Manila.
A street in Manila.
1A recent report in the daily papers (April, 1899), that one or another of the most civilized Indian tribes, of which remnants remain, is determined upon emigration from the United States to Mexico, because of the fairer treatment they have reason to look for there, will certainly not surprise those who are familiar with the broken promises and rescinded obligations that have marked the Government’s dealing with the Red man and his Catholic educators and missioners.
Since these chapters were prepared for the press there has come to hand from the ex-missionary, referred to in the previous pages more than once, additional and valuable information.1 Though it embraces various matters, we think it better to give it altogether, as it possesses a peculiar authority and interest of its own, coming as it does from a Friar who lived in the Philippines for twenty-seven years, and who knew the country well in its normal and peaceful state, long before the Freemasons had wrought havoc in the relations between the priests and the people.
1. Those who were principally engaged in writing against the Friars for the past few years, and injuring their prestige at home, were the civil functionaries and military officers, who for the most part lived at Manila and knew next to nothing about them and their doings. These men were biased by anti-religious ideas implanted in them by an irreligious education. It is easy to estimate the effect of an enormous correspondence of this kind, leaving Manila every fortnight, and passing into the hands of politicians in the mother-country, especially as there was nothing to counteract its influence on the part of the Friars, who did their work quietly and earnestly, and had very little correspondence with Spain at all.
2. The parish priests were ex-officio inspectors of the primary schools, but, having no voice in the appointment of masters and mistresses, and finding unsuitable persons thrust on them, were forced in many cases to retire from the schools in disgust, and limit their connection with them as much as possible.
3. The parish priests were also ex-officio presidents of certain municipal committees, and were supposed to help in the appointment of justices of the peace and petty governors, by sending in reports of the qualifications or otherwise of the nominees. The system worked well for a long time. But, latterly, owing to the new spirit in Manila, where the persons in office seemed leagued against the Friars, these privileged communications invariably leaked out; and if the parish priest, as in duty bound, laid bare defects and deficiencies the first to hear of it would be the person of whom they were told. This was naturally a constant source of irritation and loss of prestige. The officials seemed to take a delight in lowering the parish priest in the eyes of the better class of natives. If the parish priest ventured to advise the governors as to what was best to be done in the interests of the communes, especially with regard to the secret societies, the governors would laugh, call him a visionary—an innocent man. No wonder, then, that the parish priests gradually began to retire within themselves, and leave growing evils unchecked, when they saw all their endeavor balked by the powerful opposition of the civil and military governors. This untoward state of things left the rebels free to mature and carry out their plans.
4. Here is an instance of how badly this state of things reacted on the country. The introduction of the new Penal Code was a great blunder of the Government. It was unnecessary; the natives were all opposed to it, and the strength and extent of that opposition was well known to the Friars who lived in the midst of the people. Under normal conditions they would have advised the repeal of the Code, and their advice would have been taken. But they were forced to remain silent while the Government in its folly was putting the obnoxious Code in force. If they had warned the Government, instead of getting the respectful hearing to which they were entitled, by their long experience and their intimate knowledge of the people, they would simply have been dubbed reactionists.
5. How foolish it was of the Government to alienate the most loyal Spaniards in the whole Archipelago, the most distinctively Spanish element,—the Friars. They were almost ultra-loyal, and did their best to inspire feelings of loyalty in the breasts of the natives. They were powerful bodies with a strong bond of cohesion, having large interests in the country. They had glorious traditions to look back upon and keep them up to the ideal they had formed of their mission martyrs, a history to remember with pride; and all around them a Christian people, the fruit of their apostolic toil and that of their predecessors. The officials, on the other hand, were mere birds of passage, who took no real interest in the country. It was a case of every one for himself; every official keeping his eye on Spain with a view to an early return, while he went through his appointed work. It is remarkable too that in the Philippines there is no class of old rich Spanish families such as are to be found in other colonies; the families are all of yesterday—the riches in the hands of Chinese merchants, and the foreign trade in the hands of the English and Germans.
6. It used to be said that the Friars wished to have a hand in everything. The three important departments of justice, finance, and military affairs were outside their province altogether, and these as purely secular matters they never touched. The complaint arose from their being ever ready to preach against sedition and disloyalty, and to use their moral influence publicly and privately for that purpose. But the Friars for the sake of the people did take part in other than purely spiritual concerns, and the activity of mind it engendered was personally a great help and relief to them. The general rule is that young priests, coming over for the first time, suffer a great deal from that ennui to which all classes of Europeans are subject to in the Archipelago. Gradually the sense of the sublime duties to which they have vowed themselves, and the example of the older brethren work a wonderful change in them for the better. They then begin to throw themselves with ardor into their work, and identifying themselves with the people among whom their ministrations lie, take a great interest even in their temporal affairs, and are glad to help them over their difficulties, especially those arising between them and the governors. Any friction between the governors and the Friars has generally arisen from the latter being prompt to defend the rights of the natives.
7. It is untrue to say that the Friars did not wish to spread the Spanish language. What they were opposed to was the folly of trying to teach the Christian doctrine and some other elementary knowledge in a language not understood by the people. In this matter they gave their candid opinion to the Government that it was impossible to teach Spanish in out-of-the-way rural schools. But in towns they taught in Spanish, and taught the Spanish language and literature. They used to induce parents to send their children to Manila for the purpose of learning Spanish.
8. Regarding their opposition to the rebellion from the pulpit, in private conversation, and by means of the press, they fought the secret societies, its principal cause, and the propagation of evil and irreligious literature. They pointed out these evils on several occasions since 1887 to the governors, and were told in reply that these societies were of no importance, that they had nothing to do with the rebellion, and, in fact, that the preparations of the rebels were of no serious consequence. General Weyler was the only governor who gave them a hearing. With that solitary exception the official element remained incredulous. The secret society of the “Katipunan,” the compact of blood, and the enrolment of levies, were all discovered by the Prior of Guadalupe, who sent a report of it to General Blanco three months before the rising took place. Padre Mariane Gol exposed the intentions of the lodges a long time before Aug. 19, 1898, and also gave notice of concealed deposits of arms, and a detailed account of what took place at Manila on the arrival of the Japanese ship Konga.
Church and convent at Mahaijay.
Church and convent at Mahaijay.
1It is with real satisfaction that, at the last moment, we find ourselves permitted to mention the name of this venerable and experienced man—the Very Rev. Padre Gallego, O.P., Convento della SS. Trinità, Rome; and we can but express the regret that the worth of this noble disciple of Christ is not known of in the outside world as it is among his confrères; then, indeed, his word would have the authority it deserves among all who love religion, and struggle for the uplifting of humanity.
A Short Account of Missions in China, conducted by the Dominican Friars of the Philippines.1
Missionaries supplied by the religions Orders in the Philippines to the large fields of labor in China and Japan are not confined to the Dominicans, but as we have not details at hand regarding the other Orders, we present to our readers part of the work done by the Dominicans, which will serve as a specimen of the rest.
The Dominicans have charge since 1631 of the Vicariate Apostolic of Fo-Kien, which at present contains 20,000,000 inhabitants. The Most Rev. Dr. Salvator Masot, O.P., is the present Vicar-apostolic, and working under him are eighteen Spanish Dominicans, one native Dominican, and twelve secular native priests. The vicariate is divided into twenty-two districts, each under the care of a priest, and the Christian population numbers 35,000. The districts are subdivided into what are called Christianities, or places of meeting where prayer is said, and the Christian doctrine taught. About fifty of them are provided with an oratory or chapel where Mass is said, and the sacraments administered; and they have also attached to them thirty schools for boys and eight for girls. There is also under the care of the Dominicans a seminary for the education of young native students who show a vocation for the priesthood.
In 1883 part of the vicariate was cut off and formed into the Vicariate Apostolic of Amoy, which also was made to embrace the Island of Formosa. The most Rev. Dr. Ignatius Ibanez is Vicar-apostolic, and under his direction are working fourteen Spanish Dominicans, one native Dominican. The vicariate is divided into fourteen districts, half of which are in Formosa. They have forty chapels or oratories, twenty schools for boys and girls, and a seminary in the town of Ta-Kow in Formosa.
A few words about the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Dominic, who are engaged on the work of the Holy Infancy in both vicariates, will be interesting. There are fifteen European sisters in all, besides eight native women. They have five orphanages in which are housed 200 female orphans abandoned by their unnatural parents in infancy, and kept by the Sisters till they can marry them into Christian families. Besides these they have rescued since 1891, 800 others whom they place under the care of Christian nurses, and look after till they can settle them in life.
The only fact we can give of the Vicariate of Central Tonquin, also under the care of the Philippine Dominicans, is that in 1890 alone 2,100 natives were converted and baptized.
1From the Analecta Ordinis Prædicatorum.
Extracts relating to the Friars, from the Official Correspondence of Generals Weyler and Moriones.
“The mission of the Religious Orders is not over, as is pretended by some who, having fallen foul of them, seek to abolish them altogether, or at least to restrict and limit their influence. It is this spirit of jealousy that has dictated many of the so-called reforms, which we have seen enforced of late years.
“But these people seem to forget that we have established our authority in Luzon and the Visayas by the exercise of moral influence alone, backed up by the parish priest, for as none has such intimate and friendly relations with the people as the priest, so no one knows better than he what the people think, nor is any one better able to give them wise advice, to restrain them, and influence them for good. He alone can make Spaniards of them. By his office and position he is best fitted to make things easy for our minor officials in their different charges and districts.
“Remove the control of Religion, and what do you do? You remove the Spanish element, forgetful of the fact that we have to depend on a native army whose dialect we do not understand, and who, in turn, understand not ours; that we have amongst us but a very limited number of Spanish soldiers—this is really how we are situated. I firmly believe that the day that witnesses the abolition of the Religious Orders, or even the serious restriction of their influence, will also witness the loss of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Even were we to fill the ranks of the army entirely with Spanish recruits, we should not improve matters, for then there would be an immense increase to the expenditure, whereas at present the Orders cost us next to nothing. All the religious live in common after the manner of a corporation; so that whatever the priest receives, goes to the support of all, and to maintain their colleges and seminaries in Spain. Far, then, from being an inconvenience in the Philippines, religious zeal is our surest support, and should be by every means promoted and encouraged.
“The natives are naturally simple and credulous, and of little discernment; and so are prone to superstition and idolatry, and can be easily imposed upon by any quick-witted impostor who is able to relate strange and wonderful stories. To prevent them being drawn away, the light of the true religion is absolutely necessary.
“In Luzon and the Visayas the Government should make religion a support on which to lean, and should regard the existence of the Religious Orders as a most effective means of spreading and diffusing civilization, and of consolidating vast multitudes of men of different and widely separated races. It is only by gaining the good-will of these masses we can hope to rule them and draw them to ourselves. In the establishing of new outposts and ranches, we must count on the influence of the missionary. It is with this end in view that I have established certain missions, which will, I hope, in a few years give the most satisfactory results. I hope that they will be even the indirect means of increasing the revenues and income of the State, although the new Christians are to be free of all taxes for the next ten years. In a word, I know of no better means of civilizing the natives than the missionary post.
“It is clear that as society progresses in civilization and enlightenment, the less we are dependent on the influence of the priest; for as civilization advances organization becomes more perfect. What I deduce from this is that the reforms necessary in these islands should be carried out in logical succession, and in proportion to the state of civilization in each province.
“To aid us in accomplishing this good work, it is necessary that we should multiply the means for the diffusion of learning, for teaching the Spanish language, encourage and stimulate labor and industry, banish as far as possible card-playing and gambling, and extinguish certain instincts and customs peculiar to half-civilized men.
“These are my aims, and to their realization I have devoted myself with earnestness, taking for my programme—if I might so express it—the advancement and strengthening of the civil authority, the spreading of civilization and learning, so that the country may enjoy at no distant date the blessings that have come to other countries through the same means.
“But this, in my opinion, can only be achieved through the Religious Orders. For let the Government bear in mind that those who deny this are filibusters, who desire the absolute independence of the country, and who knew well that their greatest obstacle is to be found in those holy men who have the charge of souls in the Philippines.”
“Though I desire to enforce the laws with strictness, yet I am at the same time most anxious to safeguard the moral and material interests of the people over whom I rule. It has ever been my constant study to maintain on the one hand all the royal prerogatives in their entire amplitude and vigor; and on the other to make every concession consistent with these prerogatives, which justice and reason demand, and thus preserve the close relations which should exist between the religious and political powers. I regard this relation and harmony between these two powers as the very foundation of social order—in this country particularly, where religion and patriotism are interwoven in all its past history, and pre-existing institutions, and where they must bring about its future peace and prosperity.
“My efforts in this direction have, I rejoice to say, been greatly strengthened by the loyal and unconditional assistance given to my authority by all the Religious Orders of the country. These bodies, to the glory of Spain be it recorded, are composed of excellent and truly devoted men; men who without one hope of earthly reward, without a hope of ever again treading their native land, sacrifice with generous enthusiasm their lives, social surroundings, personal friendships, nay, even, in some places, their daily bread, to spread the light of the Gospel, and promote the interests of Spain.
“They spend themselves in their efforts to instil the love of faith and fatherland into the simple minds of the innocent inhabitants of these distant lands, and thus lay the best and surest foundations of a true civilization.
“Aided in this manner it has been comparatively easy for me to effect many of the necessary reforms in different parts of this Province; to establish useful institutions, and to aid the Supreme Government by founding many benevolent societies, such as the Monte de Pietâ and the Savings Bank, which I hope will put an end to the extortions of greedy speculators. Many villages have submitted to us in the provinces of North Luzon without our having had to employ force to any extent worth speaking of. This happy result has been brought about almost entirely by the good offices of the Religious Orders,—I mean by their preaching, their advice, the holy example of their lives, their tact, self-denial, and sacrifices.
“They are men who deserve our highest esteem, and our lasting gratitude.”…
The Work of Freemasonry in South and Central America.
A writer in the San Francisco Monitor has made a very intelligible and instructive abstract of an article recently written by Rev. Reuben Parsons, D.D., on “Freemasonry in Latin America.” This is a subject upon which there is much popular misapprehension, and Dr. Parsons throws a strong light upon it. His language is, all in all, moderate; and his tone, temperate. He makes no vicious attack upon the Order, and all his assertions are substantiated by quotations from Masonic organs or unprejudiced sources. He exposes the systematic attacks which the lodges have made upon religion; the persecutions to which they have subjected not only the bishops but the laity; the war they have waged against religious education. And he proves all his charges from the mouths of the Masons themselves.
Freemasonry in the United States and Freemasonry in Catholic countries are two distinct institutions. Freemasonry among us is a benevolent society with a creed and a ritual. It does not exhibit any symptoms of bigotry. But in France, Spain, and Italy a main purpose seems to be opposition to the Church. In France the Masonic clique which runs the government has kept the Church in bondage; in Italy Masonry was most active in the movement which overthrew the temporal power of the Pope. In Latin America, as Dr. Parsons shows, it has started revolutions, assassinated the leaders of the people, exiled the clergy, and persecuted the Church. Fortunately, however, its domination has been short-lived in most of the South American republics, owing to the universal disgust which its violent measures excited. Brazil was the scene of the most important fight that Freemasonry waged against the Church in South America. For many years the society had been establishing itself in that country, but it was only during the reign of Don Pedro II. (1831–1889) that an open rupture occurred. There were two Grand Lodges in Brazil—one monarchial and the other revolutionary. In 1872 the president of the former had some measures passed in Parliament which were highly pleasing to his followers. A banquet was tendered to him, and a feature of the affair was an address by a priest. The priest was suspended by his bishop, and, at once, the Masons were on the warpath. Both lodges sank their differences, and united in their opposition to what they were pleased to call an infringement of their liberty. Their first act of defiance was the announcement of a Mass to be celebrated for one of their brethren who had died in rebellion against the Church. Next day they turned their attention to the provinces and attempted to have a Mass of thanksgiving celebrated in commemoration of the foundation of the lodge at Olinda. The bishop immediately warned his priests against this defiance of spiritual authority. The Masons retorted by charging that some priests were members of that sect, and that the parish confraternities were honeycombed with masonry. It was found that some of the confraternities attached to the churches were controlled by the Masons. The bishop forbade the infected societies to hold services in their chapels. Those thus censured, disregarded the prohibition, and even went so far in their defiance as to appear in church in full regalia. When holy communion was refused them “in their Masonic capacity,” they boldly took possession of the keys of the tabernacle. The priests were thus forced to go to the president of the local Masonic confraternity whenever they were called upon to administer the holy viaticum to the dying, and ask from him the necessary keys.
Of course such a condition could not long continue. The Masons appealed to the minister of ecclesiastical affairs, who was himself in high standing in the Order. He decided that the bishops should withdraw their interdict against the confraternities. Just at this time, the bishop of Olinda received a papal brief approving of his action. The brief was published by the prelate, who was thereupon arrested and charged with the terrible crime of promulgating an ecclesiastical mandate without permission of the Emperor. In every country where the Church is free, the ecclesiastical authorities enjoy the right of ruling and directing their flock in spiritual matters. It would seem, according to the Masonic idea and the weak-minded Don Pedro, that the bishop should not take any action without consulting the temporal rulers.
The intrepid prelate was sentenced to four years in the penitentiary. When his case was disposed of, the bishop of Para was arrested and received the same sentence, besides being subjected to insults worse than the penitentiary could offer. One of the condemned confraternities celebrated its feast in 1877 with a grand procession, the most prominent feature of which was a series of indecent pictures. The bishop of the diocese where the outrage occurred felt it his duty to speak out against the sacrilegious act. He prohibited the shameless society from using its chapel, but after two years of legal proceedings the case was decided against him. On the night of the decision, the Masons celebrated their victory by hooting the prelate and illuminating their headquarters. These excesses disgusted the Catholics of Brazil, and popular indignation forced the Masons to be more prudent and to confine themselves to secret intrigues. As outlined in the address of their Grand Master, their policy should be to obtain control of the schools, to introduce a bill which would make marriage merely a civil contract, and to secularize the cemeteries. In 1880, however, the sect met with reverses, and the new government was not under Masonic influences. Many of the deluded members abjured their errors, and the Church in Brazil has enjoyed comparative freedom since that time.
Freemasonry makes loud boasts of enlightenment and independence, but it hounded to death the most enlightened and liberty-loving patriot that South America has ever produced—Simon Bolivar, the Liberator. He studied law in Madrid, and on his return home joined the patriots who revolted against Spain. He freed Venezuela from Spanish rule, and was elected first President of the Republic of Colombia. But while he was fighting for the freedom of Peru, the Masonic clique was plotting against religious freedom in Colombia. In 1821 the Colombian Congress, which was controlled by the Masons, passed many laws directed against the Church. The Catholic religion was disestablished, right of censorship over books was vested in the Government alone, the right of nominating bishops, which had been exercised by the defunct Spanish power, was claimed, and a new plan of studies was imposed on the ecclesiastical seminaries. Some of these regulations may appear innocent, but the way in which they were carried out evidenced the animus of their authors. The first books passed and approved for publication by the government censor were the works of Voltaire and other French atheists, and many immoral pamphlets. One of the text-books prescribed for the universities was an atheistic work by the English materialist Bentham. When an eminent professor protested against this, he was thrown into prison. Such violation of religious liberty could not occur in the United States. And yet these enlightened and tolerant Masons inflicted them on a Catholic nation. Other outrages on liberty followed. Crime stalked abroad in the new republic; unoffending citizens were cast into prison or beheaded on the trumped-up charge of treason. The people soon tired of the new tyranny and clamored for Bolivar to return and liberate them once again.
Bolivar returned and restored order and peace to the distracted country. He was hated by the lodges, and his death was decreed. On Sept. 25, 1828, a band of assassins entered his house, but fortunately Bolivar escaped by a secret passage. That the crime had been plotted by the Masons is evident from the decree which the President issued soon afterwards: “Considering that secret societies have the planning of political revolutions for their principal object, and that their baneful character is sufficiently manifested by the mystery with which they surround themselves, I order the suppression of all such societies, and the closing of their lodges.” He re-established religious education in the schools and universities, believing that nothing but religion could counteract the disorders and crimes which disgraced his beloved country. His enemies triumphed at the elections of 1830, and Bolivar decided to resign office. His final address to Congress is memorable. “And now,” he wrote, “let my last official act be to recommend Congress to protect continually our holy religion, the fruitful source of the blessing of Heaven; and to entreat Congress to restore its sacred and unprescriptible rights to public instruction, which has been made a cancer for Colombia. Fellow-citizens, I must say, with the blush of shame on my brow, that while we have won our independence, it has been won at the expense of every other blessing. For twenty years I have served you as soldier and as magistrate. During that long period we have freed our country, procured liberty for three republics, repressed many civil wars, and four times I have resigned to the people the supreme power which they confided to me. To-day I fear that I may be an obstacle to your happiness, and therefore I resign for the last time the magistracy with which you have honored me. The most unworthy suspicions have been expressed in my regard, and I have been unable to defend myself. A crown has been offered to me frequently by men who are now ambitious of supreme power, but I always refused that crown with the indignation of a sincere republican.”
The republic which he established was dismembered; his dearest friend was assassinated, and his own picture was burned in effigy. He was besought to return and once more guide the destinies of the country, but he replied: “I cannot assume an authority with which another is invested.” He died in his forty-eighth year, of a broken heart. Such was the treatment which the Washington of South America received from Freemasons.
Contrasting the lives of two presidents of Ecuador—Moreno, the martyr, and Alfaro—in a previous article, we touched on the crimes of Freemasonry in that country. After the assassination of Moreno, the lodges decided not to inaugurate a very radical policy. They were afraid of a popular outburst. But in 1877 a drunken soldier, named Vintimilla, was proclaimed dictator, and then the cloven hoof appeared. The usual decree for the secularization of education was promulgated and the Catholic bishops protested. The bishops were banished for their action, and the Archbishop of Quito, Monsignor Chica, died under very suspicious circumstances. A post-mortem examination revealed twelve grains of strychnine in his stomach, but his poisoners were never brought to justice. This was followed by a decree ordering all the pastors to celebrate requiem masses for the souls “of all the martyrs of holy Liberalism who had fallen since March, 1869.” That was the date of an insurrection against the saintly Moreno. The priests refused to celebrate Mass for these revolutionists, and the people sided with them. The drunken dictator was defeated. Soon afterwards he was driven from office and Ecuador was comparatively peaceful until Alfaro, a cruel and ignorant soldier, seized the Government. His term has been marked by the murder and exile of priests and bishops.
In Chili, the most Catholic of all South American countries, English and German Masons made many futile attempts to secularize all the institutions, and to degrade marriage into a merely civil contract. The Monde Maconnique published the programme which had been prepared by the “Grand Lodge of Chili”; and another organ of the lodges informs us that “in Chili it is really the English and German lodges that do the work.” It is gratifying to learn that all their plots came to naught, and that Chili remains a Catholic and contented country.
In Peru the lodges are supported in a manner from the “missionary funds,” which Protestants of this country contribute for the spread of the Gospel among these “benighted Papists.” The preachers who are sent out to Catholic countries are too often ignorant bigots. A common mode of procedure on their part is to attack and calumniate Catholics, and they are ready to join with Masonry, or any other anti-Catholic society, in their fight against the Church. So far, however, they have failed to stir up an anti-Catholic movement in Peru.
Little need be added about Mexico, where the people are, for the most part, devoutly Catholic, while the politicians are Masonic. As a consequence the Church has been despoiled of her property and visited with persecution. The trouble with the people of these countries is that they allow themselves to be ruled by politicians. The same may be said of the United States, with a difference, however: there, politicians are allowed to misappropriate funds and to plunder tax-payers; in Mexico and South America the Catholics, somehow or other, permit themselves to be persecuted by the Masonic politicians.
Interview with Augustinian Friars.
(From the Catholic Standard and Times, Philadelphia, Penn.)
Ten Spanish priests, driven from the mission of the Philippines by the insurrectionary movement, arrived in San Francisco on the 5th of January by the Pacific Mail steamer Doric. They only remained a few days in California, as their destination was New Granada, to which they sailed the following week. A call on them while stopping at the Occidental Hotel obtained much interesting information about the disposition of the natives towards the clergy in the Philippine group. All ten had been employed as parish priests in country districts, where the population is almost wholly of native stock, without the admixture of Chinese blood which is prevalent in Manila. Two came from Luzon, where the Tagals are predominant; two more from Zebu, and six from Panay. In these last islands the population is of the Visaya race. Familiarity with the native language is required from every missionary before he is sent out of the seminary in Manila after his arrival in the Archipelago.
During their passage the exiled priests, by direction of their superiors, all wore the ordinary secular dress, and looked like a delegation of intelligent business men from some country district in the United States. In manner they were courteous and very intelligent; but they were somewhat shy of talking much in a strange land. After some time this shyness wore off, and cordial relations were established between the exiles and your correspondent. None of the former spoke English, though the president, Father Diaz, read it readily, and translated offhand articles in the San Francisco papers to his brethren. They were not familiar with the system of interviewing as practised in California, and asked that any questions to which their answers were desired should be put to them in Spanish and in writing. Later they conversed freely on subjects connected with their missions, though they declined to express themselves on political questions. They evidently regarded Aguinaldo as not a very remarkable personage, and the calmness with which they spoke of their own experiences was very remarkable.
The statement that the Friars possessed large estates in the country was declared by them to be a pure lie. The individual members possess nothing, and the only property held by the Orders is attached to hospitals or colleges. The missionaries are all Europeans, though there are many natives among the secular clergy. The Augustinians, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Capuchins have the right of presentation to certain parishes which were founded among the barbarous natives in older times. Each Order has a seminary in Europe specially devoted to training such of its members as have suitable vocations for the Philippine mission. After completing their studies, and receiving holy orders, the young priests are sent to the seminaries in the Philippines to perfect themselves in the native languages, and get familiar with the habits of the country. There are three principal languages spoken in the group,—Tagal, Visaya, and Pampanginano. No priest is sent on mission work until he is thoroughly acquainted with whichever of these he is destined to use in his ministry. These Philippine languages have, it must be remembered, books and literature, and are not mere dialects suitable to all. In answer to a question whether as missionaries they could accumulate private funds, Father Alvarez emphatically said no. “We are Friars and have taken a solemn vow of poverty,” he stated, “and it a simple falsehood to assert, as some have done, that any Philippine Friar possesses a rood of land or a peso that he can call his own, except temporarily and by permission of his superiors.” A couple of other questions brought out a clearly worded account of the relations of the Friars in the Philippines to Church and State. Some of the facts will be new to American readers.
The Catholic Church in the Archipelago is organized on the same basis as in other parts of the world, but the number of clergy is much less in proportion to the population than in any other Catholic country. There is one archbishop and four bishops for a population of over seven millions. The dioceses are divided into parishes, as in Spain or America, and the priests of each parish are subject to the bishop’s authority in the same manner. The only peculiarity, in a church point, is that more than three-quarters of the parishes are served by members of the different Religious Orders—Augustinians, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Jesuits. Each Order has the right of presenting the names of suitable priests for the districts in its charge to the bishop, who appoints them, if satisfactory to his own judgment, after which the Augustinian or Franciscan occupies the ordinary position of a parish priest—subject, however, to removal by his own superior. In practice this is rare, and the relations between the bishops and the Orders have been uniformly satisfactory.
The whole number of Augustinians in the islands in 1896 was three hundred and twenty-seven, and the Catholic population which this number supplied was two millions three hundred thousand, or about one priest to every seven thousand Catholics. It certainly is not a great number, and does not justify the common ideas of hordes of idle Friars. In districts of over ten thousand two or more Friars are stationed, but the great majority have only one, with a native assistant priest or deacon in some cases. The church property is simply the church and priest’s house, with a garden attached. The revenue is an allowance from the government, which varies from five hundred to eight hundred silver dollars a year, or somewhat less than ten cents a head for the population at large. That the three hundred Friars can lead idle lives is hardly compatible with the number of baptisms and marriages recorded within a year. There were a hundred and fifteen thousand baptisms, sixteen thousand marriages, and fifty-one thousand interments as the work of 1896 for the three hundred Friars.
Of the condition of the people in the islands Father Alvarez thought it compared fairly well with the rural population of his native Spain or other European countries. The bulk of the natives own and cultivate their own lands. There are schools for boys and girls in every parish, and the great majority can read and write. Of the religious spirit of the country people and their respect for the missionaries he spoke very favorably. The movement which drove them out was political, not religious. Father Alvarez attributed the chief share in it to the mestizos of Chinese and Philippine origin, who form the greater part of the population of Manila and the larger towns. Like the Tagals and the Visayas, these mestizos are Christians, but they possess the fondness for secret societies of their Chinese fathers. A certain number of the younger natives who have engaged in office seeking or business joined in the movement, to which the bulk of the country population is wholly indifferent.
The occupation of Cavite by Dewey and the destruction of the Spanish fleet was followed by the withdrawal of the Spanish soldiers from the remoter islands, where they had been almost the only police force. Popular disturbances followed in many places, and Aguinaldo at Cavite, through the mestizo agents, quickly put himself in touch with the local agitators. The latter had no definite purpose except to secure personal advancement in the change of government, and when Aguinaldo declared Spaniards the enemies of the Philippines, attacks were made on the isolated Spanish priests. Several were imprisoned, some were released by their parishioners, and others remained in the hands of the new insurgent soldiery. The heads of the Order directed a temporary retirement, and most of the priests did so, but returned again after some time. With the progress of Aguinaldo’s party more violent measures were adopted towards the Spanish priests. The jails were opened and criminals had free scope through the islands. In many places liquor was freely distributed by the leaders of the insurgents, and massacres and robberies were committed with impunity. In Illocos, in Luzon, the bishop and all the students of the seminary and all the Spanish priests were arrested and treated with savage brutality. More than fifty priests were murdered in different places, and over four hundred thrown into prison and subjected to all the brutalities that the fierce Malay spirit could suggest. The heads of the Orders in Manila finally gave the word, and the missionaries who were able to escape made their way to the different places which were protected by Spanish garrisons, or to Manila itself. In Manila, after its capture, it was impossible for the Orders to maintain long the number of fugitive priests thus driven from their homes. Their funds are limited, and, on consultation with the generals in Rome, it was decided to find employment for the exiles in other lands as far as possible. In South America such employment has been offered to a number of Augustinians.
Letter from a Friar in the Power of the Rebels to another Friar, of the same Order, Residing in Manila.
Dear and Reverend Father,—
The wife of the master of N. has come to visit us in your name, and to offer us money. God will reward your good works and your kindness to us. We are not accepting the help you offer us because we have no need of it for the present. Just now we can say we are rich in comparison with what we were some time ago. For the last two months we have not been treated with that ferocity which was displayed against us previously by the rebel chief holding the rank of Lieut.-Colonel, and the guard in whose custody we were placed: He treated us in the beginning with extreme rigor, due to his satanic hatred against religion, and his insatiable greed. He ordered us to be scourged on four occasions, took all our money, and, finally all we possessed. He took our clothes, hats, and shoes, and left us nothing but miserable rags for clothing. But the charity of the people, in spite of the guards, who had the most severe orders to prevent them, supplied us with all we had need of.
The hatred that the rebel chief has shown towards us has passed all limits. He made us suffer for a long time most terrible humiliations and vexations. He and his soldiers injured us in various ways and tortured us. The attitude of the rebel chief clearly showed us that he was a furious agent of the Freemasons. By his orders the father Vicar of N. was tied to a tree and fiercely beaten. In addition to this bad treatment, we were sent every day on the public roads and forced to work till night-time. We just got what repose was strictly necessary, and at noon a small repast—all that under a fierce sun. I was exempted from the work on account of my sickness, and yet I had a desire to share in the labors and sufferings of my brethren.
The people compassionated us and relieved us as much as possible. They brought us tea, coffee, cigars, etc., and all that without the knowledge of the guards, from fear of the rebel chief, who threatened terrible punishment to all who would dare to give aid to the prisoners. The people of N., as soon as they learnt that I was a prisoner, began to come to see me, in spite of the long distance that separated them from me, and brought me clothes and money with which I was able to provide for my necessities for the time being.
When the rebel chief bearing the title of Lieut.-Colonel heard this news he got into a great rage, threatened my parishioners that he would have them arrested and brought before a judge. In consequence of this they were obliged to fly, but still before their departure they found means of giving me a little more help. The rebel chief does not reside near us, but comes from time to time, causing terror to everybody. Happily, his visits are rarer now, and, thanks to God, we enjoy a certain tranquillity. It is said that he has been reprimanded for the bad treatment he has inflicted on us. Who knows?
However that may be, he comes but rarely, and leaves us in peace. Taking advantage of this, an inhabitant of the locality in which we are has obtained from a chief of a higher grade a remission of the hard labor.
We know from a good source that all communication with the imprisoned Friars has been forbidden under the most severe penalties. The faithful are permitted neither to salute us nor to visit us. On Sundays we ask permission to go to Mass, and when that is granted us we have to go escorted by bayonets, and are not permitted to say Mass ourselves.
The Governor of the locality is polite enough with us, but does not obtain any favor for us. Fathers N. and N. have written several times to him, begging him to get our position bettered as far as he is able. A great number of rebel chiefs have come to see us, and all seem possessed by a satanic hatred for us, and instead of pitying us rejoice to see us in a state of misery.
They boast of having taken part in the massacres of the insurrection, and say to us: “Fathers So-and-So have escaped us, but if we catch them we will make them pay for their conduct. It has been decreed to exterminate you all; however, we will allow you to live.” The insurgents demand freedom of worship, of teaching, of association, civil marriage, etc. These theories are proclaimed in public, and civil marriages have already taken place. They are celebrated in presence of the Mayor, according to the new decree, and the fee is five francs. The Blessed Virgin, who delivered us from death, will deliver us also from this perilous situation, and by that will put a seal on the favors she has already bestowed on us.
Kindest remembrances to all the brethren.
The Rev. W. Hykes on Burial Fees and the Paco Cemetery outside Manila.
The following is a sample of the Rev. Mr. Hyke’s report:—
“The burial fees demanded by the priests during an epidemic of smallpox were something enormous. As many were unable to pay, the dead were lying in the churches and in private houses in such numbers as to become a serious menace to the public health. The thing was so scandalous that the Governor-General interfered, and issued orders for all the corpses to be buried at once. The priests disregarded it and telegraphed to the Government at Madrid, who reversed the order.
“I heard such a revolting story about the Paco Cemetery (Paco is a suburb of Manila) that I decided to visit the place and ascertain the facts for myself. In the centre of a plot of ground, containing about two acres, is a mortuary chapel. Around this in concentric circles, and with a space of about twenty feet between, are three or four walls. These walls are from five to seven feet wide, about ten feet high, and contain three tiers of vaults, one above the other, and of sufficient size to admit a coffin. The Filipino in charge told me that there were 1,278 vaults for adults and 504 for children. The fees are collected five-yearly in advance, and are $33 for an adult and $16 for a child. I said to the attendant: ‘Suppose that at the end of any period of five years the friends of the deceased are unable to pay, what do you do?’ ‘We remove the coffin, take out the remains and throw them on the bone-pile.’ ‘Will you show me the bone-pile?’ ‘Certainly.’ He conducted me to the rear of the cemetery, up a flight of stone steps to the top of the wall. The receptacle for the bones was a space between two parallel walls, about thirty feet long by four wide by eight deep, and it was nearly full. Near by were two metallic coffins which had evidently just been opened, and on top of the bone-pile were two complete skeletons. A dog was munching the bones. You can imagine how such a system would work with an ignorant, superstitious people like the natives. All of the vaults except three were occupied. The fees amount to more than $50,000 every five years. The fees of a church near to the hotel at which I was stopping amounted to $100,000 per annum.
“It is not surprising that the great religious corporations are enormously wealthy, and that they have a power consonant with that wealth. I was shocked at the stories I was told by men, whose word I could not doubt, of the flagrant immorality of the Spanish Friars. The men who gave me these statements said they were prepared to give names, dates, and places.”
We sent a cutting containing this part of the report to the ex-Philippine missionary, residing at present in Rome, to whom we have already referred.
To these lying statements the missionary gives an unqualified contradiction. He himself was a parish priest during the cholera of 1882–83, when 20,000 people died in six months. In his own parish alone 1,829 died and were buried, and yet he did not get a penny for burial fees. He adds that the other parish priests acted like himself.
The revolting description of the treatment of the dead in the Paco cemetery is a foolish fabric, built on the simple fact that bodies are removed from certain niches, after five years, to make room for others. Mr. Hykes indirectly imputes the extortion of enormous burial fees in this cemetery to the clergy. Whether the fees are enormous or not, they do not go to the Church; for the missionary Father reveals the fact wilfully kept back by Mr. Hykes—that the cemetery belongs to the Manila municipality, which gets all the fees. This cemetery story, told with such apparent honest indignation, is alone sufficient to discredit all Mr. Hyke’s report, and is a proof that he knows how to color and misrepresent facts to suit his purpose.
In conclusion, we are anxious to know if Mr. Hykes examined the spiritual condition of the Protestants in the Philippines. “To our shame be it said,” observed a British officer, in 1859, “there is no Protestant place of worship on the island; and even the burial-ground is in an unseemly position and condition, and, I believe, unconsecrated.”1