FAITH
Property attractive to anarchists
by Rev. Fr. Roman C. Sagun, Jr.

Here is more of what Bishop Frederick Z. Rooker of Jaro, Iloilo wrote to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904:

It ought to be a “poor rule that will not work both ways”. But what happened when I tried the same methods?

Shortly after my arrival here I went to two churches which had been thus taken from the diocese. Both of them were wide open and no one was guarding them.

I enquired for the custodians through the Presidentes in each case and no one could tell who was performing such a part. I asked the Presidentes if they were not my churches, and the gentlemen replied in the affirmative.

Then I took possession. The newspaper accounts printed both here and in the United States were grotesquely exaggerated.

But at once the “Independents” all over the islands were up in arms, and a howl went up from them about my unjust high-handedness; the Federal party went into hysterics over the outrage and its recognized organs attacked me viciously and threatened all sorts of dire things; a wretched impostor, named Stuntz who has for years been living in the orient on money which he draws from American missionary societies by his falsified reports of the conditions and his work, who supplies money now to Aglipay to carry on his seditious anti-American campaign, who, unfortunately, is all-powerful with the Commission in Manila which seems to fear him more than it does Catholic sentiment either here or in America, denounces me in American papers as a lawbreaker; and even Governor Taft is excited and fears I am going to excite a revolution I had done in two cases simply what the independents had done in more than thirty – the only difference being that I had taken back property which unquestionably belonged to me, while they had and are taking every day property to which they have no claim or title under the sun.

The property which is especially attractive to these anarchists are the parish residences and the cemeteries. In my diocese alone fully fifty cemeteries and almost as many parish residences have been seized by the municipal authorities. The latter they use as municipal buildings and install in them some branch of the local government. The former they use as a source of revenue and in a number of cases divide that revenue with the “Aglipayan Committee” of the town. (More next week)


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