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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Filipinos welcome US vow to return historic Catholic church bells

Filipinos welcomed an announcement by the United States that it planned to soon return church bells seized by American troops as trophies during the Philippine-American War more than a century ago.

In a statement on 11th August, the US embassy in Manila said Congress already has been informed about plans to return the “bells of Balangiga” to the Philippines, ucanews.com reported.

American soldiers took the church bells from the town of Balangiga in the central Philippines following the massacre of its residents in response to the death of 48 US troops at the hands of rebels in 1901.

“We’ve received assurances that the bells will be returned to the Catholic Church and treated with the respect and honour they deserve,” US embassy spokeswoman Trude Raizen said.

“We are aware that the bells of Balangiga have deep significance for a number of people, both in the United States and in the Philippines,” she added.

The news came as the town of Balangiga celebrated the feast day of its patron saint, St Lawrence the Martyr, on 10th August.

Picture: A Catholic church and belfry are seen in 2013 in the coastal Philippine town of Balangiga after a typhoon. The town built the belfry in 1998 in the hope that the United States would return three bells it says were stolen during the 1899-1902 Philippine-American War. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on 11th August signed documents for the return of the bells to the Philippines. (CNS photo/Nathan Layne, Reuters).