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former hostility quickly gave way to the wish to know Catholicism. 'Elizabeth,' he says, 'had led me to the truth, and in my inmost being I can feel her still guiding me to a more perfect union with God.'
What strikes one most about this unique, arresting, and beautiful Journal is not the perfection of form or the quality of feeling, but the clear reasoning, the Gospel-like vitality, and above all, the soundness of the doctrine, as if the authoress had been a serious student of theology. A blind friend, led to the faith and to the practise of religion by Mme. Leseur, to whom the Journal was read, has asked leave to have it written in Braille for herself and for her companions in misfortune. The book has already been crowned with success.
It cannot fail to gain many admirers and to make a lasting impression on readers, no matter in what sphere of life they may move, for the reflections reveal eternal truths, realized in a generous, ardent, apostolic, and Christ-like soul.
We have since learned that the husband of Mme. Leseur has asked permission to enter a religious Order.
BOOKS, ETC., RECEIVED
L'Amour Chrétien. Par A.•D. Sertillanges. Paris : Gabalda, 90 Rue Bonaparte.
The Things Immortal. By Father Garesché. New York : Benziger,
Labour. By Rev. M. M. O'Kane, O.P. Belfast: Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Bank Street.
THE SAD PLIGHT OF THE PHILIPPINE
By Rev. T. A. MURPHY, C.SS.R.
Those of us who were old enough to read the newspapers at the time of the Spanish-American War will remember the big victory won by Admiral Dewey over the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay, on May-day, twenty-one years ago. That victory marked a great turning-point in the history of the Philippines. Four months later, when the treaty of peace was signed in Paris, Spain received 20,000,000 dollars, and ceded the whole Philippine Archipelago to the United States. It was no mean territory which thus changed rulers by battle and by treaty. The Archipelago consists of more than 3,000 islands, and of these about 400 are inhabited, and 600 others are large and fertile enough to be inhabited. The remaining 2,000 are big rocks, rising out of the sea.
The largest island is Luzon, the capital of which is Manila, famed as an Eastern port, and for its export of Manila hemp. This island of Luzon is 41,000 square miles. In other words, it is larger than Belgium, Denmark and Holland combined. The second largest island is Mindanao, with an area of 38,000 square miles. It is formed of some of the richest land in the world. It happens that this year a census of the Islands has been taken, but up to the time of writing the results have not been published. Government experts, however, declare that the results will show a population of eleven or twelve millions in the Philippines.
A Filipino writer (in the Philippine Review) supplies some interesting information with regard to the foreigners living in these Islands. He says :
The great majority of foreign-born residents fall into two classes : first, Asiatics; and second, Americans and Europeans. Of the first class, the Chinese are by far the most numerous, numbering not far from 50,000, They are almost exclusively engaged in commercial pursuits. Many of them are married to native women and expect to remain permanently in the country. The Japanese are immigrating more rapidly than any
VOL. XV-FEBRUARY, 1920
other foreign people. Of the second class, Americans are the most numerous, and Spaniards a close second. Probably nine-tenths of the purely commercial activities of the Islands are still in the hands of foreign-born residents.
The Filipinos, although living near China and Japan, do not belong to the yellow race. They are Malays (for the most part), and brown, or light copper, in colour. They are straightly built, although of a smaller and slighter build than Europeans. When the Spaniards first came to the Philippines, less than 400 years ago, the Filipinos numbered only some 500,000. They were nomadic and uncivilized.
They are a crafty and treacherous race,' wrote Legaopi, at the time of the Spanish conquest ; 'they are a people ex mely vicious, fickle, and untruthful, and full of superstitions. But no sooner had the Spaniards entered the Philippines than began the spiritual conquest of this pagan people for Jesus Christ ; and when the history of this conquest has been written, the Catholic Church may point it out as one of the most glorious pages in her missionary annals. Catholic Spain has done a mighty work for the preservation, uplifting, education, and general betterment of this poor benighted people whose lands she colonized.
THE RELIGION OF THE FILIPINOS
To understand the thoroughness with which the Spaniards did their work we have but to look at the figures of the official census of 1903, which, out of a total population of 7,635,426, gives 6,987,686 as civilized and 647,740 as belonging to wild tribes. In other words, the blessings of civilization were brought to eleven-twelfths of this savage people, by the labours of the Spaniards. Another evidence of their thoroughness was the love for the Catholic religion which they implanted in the hearts of the Filipinos. When the Americans first took possession of the Philippines, a Commission was appointed to examine into the condition of the Islands. After a long inquiry, and after examining numerous witnesses, the Commission published its conclusions. The following is the verdict of these American Commissioners with regards to the religion of the Filipinos :
The Filipino people love the Catholic Church. The solemnity and grandeur of its ceremonies appeal most strongly to their religious feelings, and it may be doubted whether there is any country in the world in which the people have a more profound attachment to their Church than this A few hundred thousand of the Filipinos are Mohammedans ; some six or seven thousand are still pagans; Protestant Missionary Societies, by dint of pouring money into the country, have secured a few followers, but the vast majority of the twelve million Filipinos are Catholics. Even non-Catholic writers, living in the Philippines, have borne witness to the fact that the Filipino will either be a Catholic or have no religion whatever. It is worth while citing the remarkable testimony of one or other of these writers. For instance, Fred. W. Atkinson, first American General Superintendent of Education in the Philippines, writes as follows in his book, The Philippine Islands :
Conditions are such as to urge the Roman Catholic Church ... to send its best material, just as soon as an adequate supply of them can be made available, to revivify and reunite the Philippine Catholic Church, for it is the religion best suited to the temperament, spirit, and character of the various Philippine races. Philippine Catholicism is in reality the concrete embodiment of the spirit and character of the people; it has become so inter-mixed in their very fibre, it seeris so naturally fitted to them, ... that it cannot be doubted, however loath Protestant Missionaries may be to accept the conclusion, that it alone is the religion for these people and will continue to be. Permit me to add : if we get priests.
Miss Mary H. Fee, a well-known American lady who lived for a number of years in the Philippines, writes in the same sense as Mr. Atkinson, in her book, A Woman's Impression of the Philippines :
To the complacent Protestant Evangelist, who smacks his lips in anticipation of the future conquest of these Islands, I would say frankly that there is no room for Protestantism in the Philippines. . . . Protestants will, of course, make some progress as long as the fire is artificially 'anned. There will always be found a few who cling ardently to it. But n ost Americans with whom I have talked (and their name is legion) have agreed with me in thinking that it will never be strong here. . Roman Catholicism is just what the Filipino needs. I am quite sure that the Catholic clergy are certain that Protestantism holds no threat for their Church in the Philippines other than that it may be the opening wedge in a schism which will send the Filipino not only out of the Church, but to rationalism of the most Voltairian hue.
NEED OF PRIESTS It is clear, then, even to non-Catholic observers, that the Filipinos will either be Catholics or will lose all religion whatsoever; and it is sad to have to put on record, side by side with this striking testimony, that many Filipinos are fast losing their faith. In several districts already the
Sacraments are being neglected, even the Sacrament of Matrimony; the number of people attending Mass is growing smaller and smaller, the churches are falling into ruin, and the people are steadily drifting out into a dark, wide sea of indifference. These sad results have not come about through any scientific scepticism-even supposing that such a thing exists. Not in the least. They have come solely through want of Catholic schools to teach the faith, and through want of priests to preach to the people, and to administer the Sacraments. The rising generation is growing up in ignorance of the truths of religion, and the older generation is deprived of its necessary helps. It needs no prophet to see that this must lead to the loss of the faith. The evil consequence is made all the more certain, by the presence in the Islands of a great number of the agents of American Evangelical and Bible Societies, who are labouring openly and secretly to undermine the faith of the natives. The wolves are in the fold, the flock is in danger, and if true shepherds do not come forward to the rescue, it is to be feared that much of what was won, at so great a cost of labour and self-sacrifice, will be lost to the Church. And let it be remembered that it is only at a great cost of labour and self-sacrifice it can be preserved. The priest who enters the Philippine field must be prepared for great labour and much suffering. But it is also true that in no other field of the Church can he expect so abundant a return for his labours, whether we consider, on the one hand, the numbers confirmed in the faith and placed once more on the right path, or on the other, the consolation which every true priest must feel at seeing his labours for God visibly crowned with success.
What has just been stated with regard to the pressing need of more priests is the sad experience of all who have been labouring for souls in this distant portion of Christ's vineyard. The truth is, that out here in the Philippines there are countless baptized Catholics growing up in almost complete ignorance of their religion, because there is no one to teach them. There are countless others who know something of their religion, and who would gladly approach the Sacraments, but there is no priest to hear their confessions, or to break to them the Bread of Life. The words of the Prophet may be repeated here, in a sense that is tragic indeed : The little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them.? Every day, Filipino