|Something unimaginable before. Aglipayan and Roman Catholic parish priests sharing the altar and saying the Lord's Prayer! From MannyFeastation's blog|
From the Anglo Catholic blog, we read that the Anglo-Lutherans have decided to petition to join the Ordinariate. This is indeed a surprise since the Lutherans are not historically Anglican (even if they have close relationships with the Anglican Communion). The petition is also significant since it surprisingly shows the flexibility of a Roman Apostolic Constitution. It is of immense significance for the Filipino Church since it paves a possible way to resolve a more than a century old schism between the Roman Church and the Philippine Independent Church or the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) more popularly known as the Aglipayan Church.
The history of the IFI is well narrated in the church's website. The church is the only living link with the Philippine Revolution of 1896. One reason for the Philippine Revolution is that ecclesiastical appointments were dominated by foreign clergy. The revolutionists demanded that all church appointments especially in parishes be given to Filipino priests. Filipino priests have been ordained since the 1700s and many had proven to be good pastors but they never been appointed as parish priests but just coadjutors. Notable among them is Fr Jose Burgos who had doctorates in theology and canon law but never was raised to the episcopate. In the Revolution Fr Gregorio Aglipay became Military Vicar general. He later became the first Supreme Bishop of the IFI.
With the change in sovereignty from Spanish to American, and the crushing of the nascent Philippine Republic, the curacies vacated by the Spanish friars were replaced by Anglophone priests. In 1902 Leo XIII issued the Apostolic Constitution "Quae Mari Sinico" which reorganized the Roman Church in the Philippines. Through this constitution, Americans and Europeans filled the diocesan posts vacated by the Spanish, established new dioceses, and elevated the first Filipinos to the episcopate. However the historic sees were still occupied by foreigners It was only much later that these sees were filled in by Filipinos and the first Filipino Archbishop of Manila was enthroned after Philippine independence in 1946. This added to the bitter acrimony between the IFI and the Roman Church for more than a century.
Quae Mari Sinico allowed the Roman Church to reform and thus meet the challenges of the IFI schism and Protestant proselytization. The IFI proceeded to reform the Latin liturgy such as having the Mass in the vernacular. But the IFI veered towards a Unitarian direction under the first Supreme Bishop Gregorio Aglipay and this precipitated schisms among the IFI now called Aglipayans.
Thus the demand of the IFI for Filipinos to head the Filipino Church went largely unheeded until at the time of the Second Vatican Council after which the Mass was celebrated in the Filipino vernaculars. But after Vatican II most of the dioceses were headed by Filipinos. Today the Filipino Church is headed by Filipinos.
The IFI today remains resolutely nationalist but entered into a concordat with the Episcopal Church which allowed the IFI to train in Episcopal church seminaries. The PECUSA bestowed the historic succession on the IFI bishops in the late 1940s. The PECUSA also had a large influence in reforming the IFI's Mass books. The IFI Mass books have been strongly influenced by the BCP.
After Vatican II IFI ecumenical contacts with the Roman Church commenced and at a parish level there are a lot of ecumenical engagement between Roman Catholics and Aglipayans especially on social, environmental and political issues. It is not uncommon for an Aglipayan to attend Catholic Mass if he/she can't get to an Aglipayan church. Confrontations between Aglipayanos and Romanos are now much a thing of the past. In Pandacan district of Manila last January, once a site of confrontation between the Catholics and Aglipayans, we see something unimaginable a few years back, two separated communities believing in the same Catholic faith in one religious procession.
|Even more unimaginable, Aglipayan and Roman clergy blessing the faithful together.|
Will Anglicanorum Coetibus, once especially designed for Anglicans unexpectedly pave the way to end this 109 year old schism? With the Lutherans using the AC in their quest to reconcile with Rome, it is very possible that the Aglipayans and the Roman Catholics in the Philippines will eventually recognize the need to heal the schism of the past and come into communion, with AC as the way. This won't be an easy path but with common prayer, a commonality of a strong Catholic patrimony and the Filipino's ecumenical orientation, this should be an easier walk than expected. The Aglipayans and Roman Catholics have a strong devotion to the Holy Child. Will they allow the Child and His Mother to lead them?
I am beginning to believe that the Holy Spirit has more uses for Anglicanorum Coetibus than the CDF in the Vatican and Anglicans everywhere ever imagined!