President Quezon’s press statement against the Archbishop of Cebu (Part 2)
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - June 15, 2018 - 12:00am

(This is the continuation of the presidential press statement dated June 24, 1938 on the issue of religious instruction in our public schools.)

“It should be unnecessary to remind the ecclesiastical authorities in the Philippines that the separation of Church and State in this country is a reality and not a mere theory, and that as far as our people are concerned, it is forever settled that this separation shall be maintained as one of the cardinal tenets of our Government. The ecclesiastical authorities should realize, therefore, that any attempt on their part to interfere with matters that are within the province of the Government will not be tolerated. If the said ecclesiastical authorities desire to have the Government respect their rights and afford them every kind of protection in the free exercise of their religion, they must not only abide by the laws and the lawful orders of the Government, but they must also acknowledge and respect the principle of the separation of Church and State.

“One matters purely ecclesiastical, the Catholic bishops may speak for the Filipino Catholics; but when it comes to expressing the will of the Filipino people as a political entity on any matter concerning legislation or governmental measures, the Catholic bishops, some of whom are not Filipinos, are assuming too much when they pretend to speak for our people as they do in the pastoral letter when they say that the majority of the Filipino people are demanding the enactment of the bill which I have vetoed. The fact that the majority of the National Assembly voted for the said bill does not necessarily prove that the majority of the people are for it. It only proves that a majority of the members of the National Assembly were for the bill.

“If I were inclined to interfere with the affairs of the Church, as the Catholic bishops are attempting to do with affairs of the State. I would tell the Archbishop and the Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Cebu that the lack of Sunday schools and catechists to teach the Catholic religion is mainly responsible for the deplorable ignorance of the Catholic youth on their own religion. Everybody knows many towns in the Philippines where parochial schools do not exist and where there is not every one single Catholic priest. It seems that the high authorities of the Catholic Church would blame the Government for the negligence or inability of the ecclesiastical authorities to perform their duty to teach the doctrine of their faith. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ cited in the pastoral letter, “Teach ye all nations… teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” are not addressed to Kings or Presidents, but to the apostles and their successors-the bishops.” (To be continued)

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