THE United States Government is having trouble with the Filipinos. The latter want their freedom, and evidently distrust their ability to secure this under American rule.
Why is this? There is one feature of the situation which is sufficient to account largely for the friction that exists, if indeed it is not the foundation of the whole difficulty. That is the respective attitudes of the Filipinos and the American Government towards the papal institutions in the islands.
Archbishop Ireland says the Philippine leader is jealous of the authority of the priests. That may well be said of the whole Philippine people. They do not need to be told that they cannot have self-government while the authority of the priests remains.
The Filipinos want to be rid of the priests; but upon this point they have good reason to distrust the intentions of the United States. For in the expedition that was sent to the islands under General Merritt, to free the people from the yoke of Spain, was a Roman Catholic priest—the representative of that very despotism from which they most desire to be free. Is it any wonder that the Filipinos should distrust the freedom promised by a Government which sends to them such an emissary, and show a determination to resist its authorship by force of arms?
There is good reason to believe that this question of freedom from the yoke of the papacy is at the bottom of the whole trouble.