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La Frailocracia Filipina/Translator's Introduction

Translator's Introduction
Written by Leonor Agrava


In Madrid we found by chance a pamphlet The Friars in the Philippines whose author refrained publishing his name although the title page denotes him as "a Spaniard from the Peninsula". The work is dedicated to Archbishop Payo of Manila by Mr. Baltazar Giraudier-an old respected writer who, until a few days before he died, was the prime mover of Manila Daily News, a newspaper in the city for last forty ar fifty years.[1] The publication date of the pamphlet is very close to the day of Mr. Giraudier's death.

The writing, a justification of monastic domination in the Philippines, attributes stupidy and filibusterism[2] to the desire of Filipinos to break off all ties with Spain and on any idea inconsistent with the enchancement of the interests of monasticism in the islands. Its curses those who believe that friars and monasteries are transistory influences. It emphasizes the idea that since a friar is a Spaniard, to slight him is conyemptibility towards Spain. For the apologist, Spain is a friar's convent.

Although parishes in the philippines should be administered by secular clergy according to canon law, in the opinion of our apologist, they demoralize society and every relativity that exists. Our apologist also conjectures that the secular clergy in the islands and the Peninsula lack abnegation in the strenous mission of preaching gospel in communities with small pecuniary renumeration.[3] He also thinks that they dont possess the aptitude to fastinate their parishioners because they consider this an ability exclusively for the friars and that they will no longer be concerned with the spiritual care of the souls once assigned to curacies with large income-as all aspirations will become lusty desires to climb the ecclesiastical ladder to satisfy their personal ambitions.

Two established facts are presented as bases of the argument in defense of the status quo of the friars. They are: first, "for three centuries the Philippines was goverened by the Spaniards" and second, "for about forty years their allegiance to the mother country has been the cause of periodic enactment and repeal laws, decrees and reforms, with its purposes never achieved and benefits never enjoyed."

The comtemptous censure of the legislative reforms (No. 2) by the Filipinos are notable contrast to the inspired and constant commendation on same by Mr. Giraudier in the Manila Daily News.

From the very inconsistent statements we read in the Introduction of the friars in the Philippines, we cannot believe the pen of the very courteous ans serious Mr. Girauder is the real and true author of the pamphlet on manasticism even if his name, in block print, appears below the dedication.

The only likely logical inference in the frontspiece, which identifies the writer, in the appelation "a Spaniard from the Peninsula."

We are not disturbed by this apparent posthumous work relative to the death of the very respectable Mr. Giraudier; its author may be dead but in the belief that a personis living to be ableto recify our statements, we shall express our opinion on the Friars in the Philippines.

The proximity of the islands to the metropolis has never or will never be the object of anxiety from the laity; Mr. Giraudier, from his desk in Manila Daily News, was one of those who, even before the opening of Suez Canal, had longed for the nearness of the two countries. When the canal was completed and his wish realized, he applauded ethusiastically. The only ones who deplored this great achievement of lesseps were those expelled from Spain an othe nations for they believed that the passage provided an opportunity for many Peninsulars to go to the islands to corrupt the Filipinos and for many Filipinos to come to Spain to corrupt themselves.

But whoever penned the pages of this pamphlet and whether or not the monastic communities ponder over the same, we want to clarify that we are not against any justification of monasticism and defense of the friars nor any other social entity. Everything that exists in this world has its good points-even its bad, very bad points- and we believe in giving unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar.

The friar is not exempt from the goodness and other superior merits; he is worthy for commendation no matter fron whom the eloquent effusions of his worth may come. However, we cannot accept, without protesting, his vindication at the expense of the civic reputation of those who believe otherwise.

In our opinion, hatred for the friars does not mean disloyalty to Spain, as loyalty to the mother countrydoes does not imply love for the friars. To insult the friars who at one time were scandalously banished in Spain; although no Filipino will not very deeply recent her transporting to the Philippines to teach morality, the friars whom she had thrown out of her blossom.

We shall expound all the errors in the Friars in the Philippines by exammining the exaggerated reports on filibusterism among the Filipinos, the much exalted patriotism of the friars, their role in sain's task of civilizing the Philippines, and the extent of their influence on the minds of the Filipinos. That all who will evaluate this rebuttal - men with conviction and sincernity and trust in God, including those of Spain-may decide whether: Spain is really right in maintaining the status quo in the Philippines by excessive inhuman exploitation through monastic orders; her policy is only a political scheme; she can offer a satisfactory explanation for posperity; and she can defend against the covetous aspirations of foreign powers, here and abroad, who have been thoughtfully observing for some time the exuberance of Oceania.


  1. Mr. Baltazar Giraudier-an old respected writer who, until a few days before he died, was the prime mover of Manila Daily News, a newspaper in the city for last forty ar fifty years.
  2. Derived from the Spanish filibustero meaning pirate or freebooter
  3. Secular, as distinguished from the regulars, i.e., members of the monastic orders.
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This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).