IN previous issues the SENTINEL has referred to the papal advice—which was in fact a thinly-veiled threat—to the Government, against interfering with the Catholic program in Cuba. The Government was advised that it would do well not to antagonize the priests in Cuba, since the restoration of order and tranquility in the island depended almost entirely upon their will, through the great influence they exercise over the Cuban people. It appears now that the same threat has been made with reference to the Philippine Islands, and that by Archbishop Ireland, the close friend and adviser of the President. A recent interview had with the archbishop in this city, quotes him as saying:—
“Who in America knows anything about the Philippines? The church in the Philippines will, I have no doubt, accustom itself to the conditions under the new regime, as id did under the old. The church will accept the conditions that are to be just as she accepts them in this country. All the civilization that people of the Philippines have, has been received from the priests. They are the representatives of social and civil order in the islands. The people were taught by the priests, and they were taught too much. The priests will uphold this Government as they upheld the government of Spain. That is, as the representatives of order, they will uphold the existing Government. This Government will have to depend upon the priests to a large extent for their moral influence in the interests of law and order.
“This Government will do well not to antagonize the priests. And I will say I know it is not the policy of the Government to antagonize them, nor is there any disposition to do so in any quarter.”
In reply to the question whether his visit to Washington (from which city he had just come) was for the purpose of interviewing the President on this subject, the archbishop said further:—
“I saw the President, but I cannot say what the subject of conversation was. There is no truth in the published report that the Archbishop of Manila has issued a circular of an unfavorable character against the United States. Aguinaldo is jealous of the power of the priests and wants to rule absolutely himself.
“The conduct of the priests will depend entirely upon the policy of the United States in the Philippines and that I have no doubt will be the same as in this country.”
“This Government will do well not to antagonize the priests,” because it “will have to depend upon” them “for their moral influence in the interests of law and order.” In other words, if the Government does not accede to the will of the priests, the priests will prevent the restoration of peace and order; and in this way they will make so much trouble for the Government that it will be forced, in the interests of peace, to let affairs be managed in the islands as Rome wants them managed. And if the Government interferes with Rome’s program there, the cry of religious persecution will be raised, and the millions of Catholics in the United States will have it in their power to seriously embarrass the Government at home.
And what must the Government do to avoid antagonizing the priests? How much can it do in the direction of establishing civil and religious freedom in the islands without antagonizing the priests? How much of the papal program is in harmony with such liberty? How much of it has been taught the Philippines during the four hundred years that Rome has ruled in the islands as she pleased?
These questions answer themselves to every person who knows anything about papal history and the papal system. That system and the system of civil and religious freedom set up in America by the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and created the American Constitution, have about as much in common as have day and night. To establish the latter system in the islands would be to interfere directly with the system Rome has cherished for centuries; and who can suppose that this can be done without antagonizing the priests? And the papacy has warned the Government not to antagonize the priests.
Archbishop Ireland asserts that the Government has no intention of doing such a thing; and being in the confidence of the President, he is no doubt well informed upon that point. But how much will the United States be able to do toward relieving the Filipinos from the civil and religious despotism under which they have so long been held, without doing anything to arouse the antagonism of the priests?
The Filipinos know what papal rule is; their bitter and determined antagonism to the priests and the various religious orders in the islands speaks volumes upon this point. They are fighting for their freedom, and they know that this can never be enjoyed under the yoke of Rome.
Spain was the nominal ruler in Cuba and the Philippines, but the real dominion was that of Rome; the essence of the despotism which has oppressed them was the papacy’s. Spain has been driven out, but Rome remains; and she is determined to abate no part of her sovereignty. She has warned the United States not to  interfere with that; and now boldly asserts that the United States will heed the warning.
WITH such tempting plums as Porto Rico, Hawaii, and the Philippines, hanging before the eyes of American politicians, there will be found many who will be anxious to “shake the plum tree” by any means at their command.