Leaders of the Philippine Catholic Church and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), or Philippine Independent Church, asked for “mutual forgiveness for any injuries inflicted in the past” in documents signed this week.
The Church leaders vowed to “strive for the healing and purification of memories among our members” and promised to pursue “dialogue.”
The IFI, also known as the “Aglipayan Church” after its founder former Catholic priest Gregorio Aglipay, is a national church that declared independence from Rome in 1902.
A joint statement by the Church leaders said the IFI founders were not against the Catholic Church but the domination of Spanish bishops and priests in the country during the Spanish colonial period.
The statement commended the “ecumenical cooperation amidst diversity” of the Churches through the years as it called for “spiritual ecumenism” through joint prayer activities.
The Church leaders said in the statement that the IFI had “strive[d] to reach out for healing and reconciliation with other separated churches founded in the Aglipayan tradition.”
A companion statement called for “mutual recognition of baptisms” between the IFI and the Catholic Church even as the Trinitarian baptismal formula of the IFI has already been recognized by the Catholic Church in its list of validly administered baptisms by other Christian churches.
The agreement, which was signed by two Episcopalian bishops as witnesses, formalized the expression of mutual recognition by both Churches.
The IFI entered into full communion with the Episcopal Church in 1961.
In 1980, the Philippine Episcopal Church affirmed in a signed agreement its mutual recognition of baptism with the Catholic Church.