Despite vigorous Protestant protests, the Philippines this month became the third nation in the world to be officially consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
President Ramon Magsaysay, in solemnly dedicating the Filipino people at the Second National Eucharistic Congress, prayed that Christ will “take under His strong and Self-giving protection … all government agencies whose cooperation is essential for the progress and prosperity of our republic.”
(Spain and Ecuador, the only other nations consecrated to the Sacred Heart, have been the scenes of many official oppressive measures against Protestants.)
The late President Manuel Quezon had requested that all references to the President or Philippine government be eliminated from the program of the First Congress to keep from indicating an official participation of the government in the ceremonies.
Quezon wrote to the Archbishop of Manila:
“I hope I am a good practical Catholic. As such in my individual capacity there is nothing that I shall not be glad to do to give added solemnity to the celebration of the Eucharistic Congress. But as President of the Philippines I’m not in the position to do what your program calls for.”
Evangelical church leaders, prior to the congress, protested without success against Catholic domination of political, social and religious life in the country as a violation of the Constitution.
The Rev. Jose A. Yap, executive secretary of the Philippine Federation of Christian Churches, in a statement at that time said, “It appears the President is yielding to the pressure of the Catholic hierarchy.” Dr. Gumersindo Garcia, respected Protestant lay leader, expressed the fear that the trend toward union of church ...1
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