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Papal Visit protest at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila (1981)

AP Archive

2015

Papal Visit protest at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila (1981)

AP Archive

On 17 January 1981, via Proclamation No. 2045, President Ferdinand Marcos officially lifted martial law. This was widely seen as an effort to create a positive image for his administration in time for the papal visit in the following month, and to placate growing opposition within the Catholic church.

Four days before the Pope’s arrival, the People’s Assembly for the Pope’s Arrival (Papa), an alliance of 32 anti-Marcos groups, gathered at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila to decry American imperialism and the dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos. In this clip we see seminarians at the frontlines carrying a large wooden cross, which police forces pushed back and eventually destroyed in their attempts to halt the procession.

In his first homily during his six-day stay, the Pope, without mentioning Marcos’ name, condemned the use of violence to maintain peace and order. The New York Times reports: “‘Even in exceptional situations that may at times arise, one can never justify any violation of the fundamental dignity of the human person or of the basic rights that safeguard this dignity,’ the Pope declared as Mr. Marcos sat stolidly on one of the thronelike gilt chairs on the stage. ‘Legitimate concern for the security of a nation, as demanded by the common good, could lead to the temptation of subjugating to the state the human being and his or her dignity and rights.’”

However, in a separate discussion with religious orders at the Manila Cathedral, Pope John Paul II also cautioned against social involvement: “You are priests and religious. You are not social or political leaders or officials of a temporal power. Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the gospel if we dilute our charisma through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems.”

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AP Archive, “Demonstration Against the Repressive Policies of President Ferdinand Marcos,” YouTube video, 1:46, July 28, 2015,

Marcos Against the Church: Economic Development and Political Repression in the Philippines

Robert L. Youngblood

1990

Marcos Against the Church: Economic Development and Political Repression in the Philippines

Robert L. Youngblood

The book presents an overview of state repression of the religious opposition to Marcos. It provides helpful information of the work undertaken by religious activists as well as the breadth of political detention during the Marcos period.

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Youngblood, Robert L. Marcos Against the Church: Economic Development and Political Repression in the Philippines. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990.

Political Detainees of the Philippines Book 3

Task Force Detainees Philippines

1978

Political Detainees of the Philippines Book 3

Task Force Detainees Philippines

The 3rd annual edition of major updates including the experiences of political detainees during the Martial Law period. Compiled by the Task Force Detainees Philippines and likely recirculated in the United States by the Anti-Martial Law Coalition. [Scanned at UW-Madison Libraries]

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TFDP (Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, “Political Detainees of the Philippines Book 3,” Manila, 1978.

Christian Left Articles Dissected, October 23, 1976

Signs of the Times

1976

Christian Left Articles Dissected, October 23, 1976

Signs of the Times

An article from the Signs of the Times responding to criticisms of activist priests and other religious people.

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Signs of the Times. “Christian Left Articles Dissected.” October 23, 1976.