Church of the Filipino
by Rev. Fr. Roman C. Sagun, Jr.

Six months after his installation in Jaro, Iloilo Bishop Frederick Z. Rooker further showed the religious con ditions in his vast diocese embracing the Romblon islands, Panay, Negros, Guimaras, the Calamianes islands, Paragua (Palawan), North Western Mindanao and Jolo:

It is, in all its own proclamations, the Church of the Filipino, in which white men are to have no part, to join which and work with and for which is a demonstration of Filipino patriotism, to fail to join it a proof of sympathy with American domination.

At once this “Church” began its depredations. Being founded by and made up of the Federalists, it held in its hands all the power and influence of local civil authority, and it held the ear of the American authority in Manila.

In the provinces it began seizing the property of the Catholic Church: in Manila it told the government that it did so only where the “people” had left the catholic communion and had turned over to the “independent” outfit.

Only a few days ago a high American official from Manila talking with me showed that he had that notion, and spoke of one town where the Church and parish residence have been turned over by the town officials to the independent “priests”, as a town where nearly all the people have deserted the catholic faith and become independents.

The idea is absolutely false, not only in the town of which he spoke, but in every other town in the islands. I venture to say that there is not a single town in the archipelago where twenty percent of the inhabitants have left the catholic faith, and there are not ten towns in the whole country where more than one percent have defected.

Right here in Jaro where the “Independents” hold all the political power, and where they have a chapel beside my Cathedral, built on public ground for which they are supposed to pay a rental of twenty dollars, gold, a year, precisely three families, numbering in all with servants who are compelled, about sixty attended the services; while in the Cathedral, every Sunday from 2500 to 3000 are present at mass.

The alienation of the property of the Catholic church progressed like wildfire, and the government, even though its attention was at once called to it, took no means to stop it. True, on the tenth of January, 1903, Governor Taft issued a circular pretending to meet the condition.

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