Thursday, September 25, 2014
The Vatican's Jesuitical Control of the Philippines
An excellent article in Control Avles Blogs about the Vatican's jesuitical political interference in the Philippines.
The following book, which I had just purchased the day before yesterday, provides a bit of background during and following the transition from Spanish to U.S. rule
"The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism" [*] Doris Kearns Goodwin pp 302-305
" Contemplating his return to the Philippines, Taft decided to top first in Rome, where he hoped to personally negotiate some solutions to the perplexing problem of the Spanish friars, a situation that had plagued him from his first days in the islands. To he Filipino people, Taft understood, the friars represented "the crown of pain, and every oppression by the Spanish government was traced by them to the men whose political power had far outgrown that exercised by them as priests". Over the years, these clerics had come to operate as political bes, acquiring 400,000 acres of the best agricultural lands and assuming despotic political power over the police, the civil government, and the schools. Once the revolution began, he wrote, they "had to flee for their lives. Fifty of them weer killed and three hundred of t hem were imprisoned." If they should return and attempt to to reclaim title to the land, he feared violence would break out. Roosevelt and Root deputized Taft to inform the Holy See that the United States would purchase the land for a fair price so long a the hated friars never returned to the archipelago. the land would then be redistributed among the poor Filipino farmers....
Several factor complicated Taft' mission. he had to take care throughout the process that his dealings with the Pope never implied diplomatic recognition, which would violate America's separation of church and state and incur the hostility of Protestants. At the same time, he sought to defuse Catholics' fears that he was antagonistic to the Church. His initial meeting with the Pope [Pius X], till "lively as a cricket" and "bubbling with humor" at eighty-two, went better than he could have hoped. Most significantly, Taft noted, he secured the pontiff' promised to meet all questions "in a broad spirit of conciliation," though the detail were left to a group of cardinal who proved far less accommodating. Weeks went by before the cardinals finally issued a statement on June 21, 1902. the church would consent to ell its property in the Philippines, but would not withdraw the friars currently in residence. With this unsatisfactory conclusion, negotiations were suspended....
In his speech at the [Filipino] palace, Taft told the people "in a straightforward way of his experiences in Washington and Rome. "Though negotiations with the Vatican had been suspended, "the sale of church lands to the government was assured," and he was confident that an agreement to the friars would eventually be worked out. Taft took comfort that the natives had clearly interpreted hi visit to Rome "as a real effort on the part of the United States to do something which could not have been for any other benefit than the benefit of the Filipino people." Visibly moved, he promised to work unremittingly for the people of the islands. So "universal, earnest, and enthusiastic" was the response, reporter noted, that it left no doubt that Taft had earned "a proud position in the hearts of the Filipino people."
Back in the United States, Taft's visit to Rome met with less enthusiasm. "I am in the wort hole politically I have ever been in my life, " Roosevelt confided to his newspaper friend Herman Kohlsaat. "the whole Catholic Church is on my back." Though every intelligence from the Philippine established "what a lecherous lot of scoundrels the Spanish friars are," Roosevelt privately rallied, Catholics maintained that these reports were "simply propaganda to establish Protestant missions in the Philippines." If such "calamities" did not cease, the president was cautioned, Catholics would join en mass to thwart his nomination in two years time.
"As things have turned out, it has probably been unfortunate that we got you to stop in Rome,' Roosevelt wrote Taft, lamenting that the Catholic uproar had "rather complicated the political situation" at home. Perhaps, he suggested, they should let the whole matter go and simply administer the civil government, leaving the friars and other ecclesiastical bodies to get along a best they can."
Taft responded vehemently. "While the result of the visit to Rome may have been bad in the United States," he told Roosevelt, "I do not state it too strongly when I say that the visit to Rome has done us a great deal of good in this country." Taft's letter persuaded the president to continue talks with the Vatican, which eventually produced an agreement. The United States paid $7.5 million for the lands which were divided into small parcels and old to natives, creating a new landowning class. though the Spanish friars were never formally withdrawn, their power dwindled with the appointee of priests and bishops from other countries. Under Taft's deliberate leadership, a solution had been found that caused tensions and, in the end, finally satisfied the islanders, the administration, and the Catholic Church alike.
[*- more like the golden age of YELLOW journalism, such as that giving us the pharma-tobacco protection racket of the 'war on drugs' that was imposed via the papacy]