The Philippine Catholic Church and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente are committed to continuing the process of healing the fractured relationship between the two churches.
In a joint statement released on Tuesday, August 3, the churches pledged to continue the dialogue in a spirit of repentance and forgiveness.
The IFI is a Christian denomination that broke away from the Catholic Church in 1902 due to alleged mistreatment of Filipinos by Spanish rulers.
The statement recalls the beginnings of the Aglipayan movement during the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule from 1896 to 1898.
He stressed that the Aglipayans were not against the Catholic Church, but rather against the continued domination of Spanish bishops and priests in the country.
The document also pointed out that the movement was a continuation of the Philippine clergy’s earlier nationalist struggle for recognition.
CBCP News said in the statement that leaders of the IFI and the Catholic Church “ask and pray for mutual forgiveness for all wounds inflicted in the past” and “are striving to heal and purify the memories of our members “.
A complementary declaration which was also signed on the same day is the declaration of “mutual recognition of baptisms” between the IFI and the Catholic Church.
The Trinitarian baptismal formula of the IFI is in fact already recognized by the Catholic Church in its list of baptisms validly administered by other Christian churches.
The latest updated list was published by Bishop José Rojas, chair of the CBCP Commission on the Doctrine of the Faith, in March of this year.
CBCP News said what is new in the agreement is an expression of mutual recognition by the two churches.
The document also includes the signatures of two Episcopal bishops as witnesses, since the IFI entered into full communion with the Episcopal Church in 1961.
In 1980, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines had already affirmed in a signed agreement its mutual recognition of baptism with the Catholic Church.
The document was officially launched during an ecumenical service held at the IFI National Cathedral on Taft Avenue in Manila, and coincided with the founding day of the IFI.
Among the attendees were leaders of the IFI led by its Supreme Bishop Rhee Timbang and some representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
CBCP President, Archbishop of Davao Romulo Valles, and other bishops joined the event online.
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