The New Christ's Church of the Spanish Philippines is a far-right, militant reactionary organization operating out of the southern island of Mindanao. Based out of the city of Davao their goal was to impose a strict Catholic rule over the island, independent of the Vatican in Europe to create a "New Filipino Catholic Church" detached from European influence in addition to expelling and killing who they perceive to be "Communist traitors" as well as religious minorities.
The Church is lead by the proclaimed "Pope of Mindanao" who rules over he organization as a civil, military, and judicial leader for the new far-right community.
The New Christ's Church of the Spanish Philippines considered itself a secessionist movement within the greater Catholic Church and denounced the legitimacy of the Pope in Rome as a unified Bishop above all Bishops, accusing him as being a failed defender of the faithful after the Chinese invasion of Luzon. While the church's motives and ideology is closely similar to mainstream Catholic doctrine, its rejection of the old hierarchy in Europe marks it as its own unique organization; naming a local Pope in the Philippines and dropping the importance of Latin in its teaching and preaching, adopting Spanish and Tagalog to conduct sermons.
For its small territory and brief existence the organization wasn't ever capable of organizing a competent command and governing hierarchy and it remained simplified on the island, with the self-anointed Pope at its head and his commanders and governors beneath him. Documents obtained later by the Chinese IB suggest that the Pope of Mindanao was ready to attempt administrative divisions of the island with appointed bishops to rule in Mindanao as well as Luzon in the future.
The church was founded shortly after nationalist retreat to the island of Mindanao after the Chinese Invasion of Luzon. The re-consolidated forces however soon lost their political unity and civil war erupted between the factions as an expression of anger towards their failings. The violent in-fighting brought many Filipino civilians and soldiers to the arms of the Filipino Catholic church. Feeling defeated in their failings, the Philippine bishop Jose Manuel Luningning Banog who would later take on the title of the Pope of Mindanao.
Jose's dissatisfaction turned him to more energetic political activism and appeals towards Rome that went unheard. Disenfranchised with the Holy See and Pope Constantinus II he declared his secession from the Church and preached that the seat of divine authority was now within the Philippines itself, hoping to inspire a religious revival and resurgence on the islands to turn against the atheist communists and pagan Chinese. His hopes were fulfilled.
He assembled an army of patchwork men and weapons which he used against his main contenders on the island as well as defense against the communists when they invaded the island on Christmas day, 1975.
A notable element of the Church's rule over Mindanao was the violent deaths of its enemies and undesirable groups. For the invading Chinese it was common to find in areas of notable minority faiths to discover members of that group crucified on telephone poles along the road. Likewise in the final hours of the Church's existence they used prisoners as improvised bombs, surgically implanting explosive charges into their stomachs and setting the trigger by a wire that tightened and set off the explosion.
Towards the end, Jose Banog fled the Philippines for French Polynesia and attempted to court the mercenary company The Legion. His efforts to hire them personally were in vein as Chinese agents caught up to him and killed him, signalling the end of the Church.
Ultimately without outside allies or support from Europe or regional players Jose's efforts fell apart after his death and its members melted away or died in continued fighting against Manila.
Rule of Mindanao Edit
The church's rule of the island of Mindanao was complete, but it was enough to be a defacto authority and the group the rivaling groups turned to when the communists finally chose to invade. But for the area the church ruled over it held with a tenacious grip directly implementing church law as saw fit by its ultra-nationalist "Pope". In an environment of political tension it expressed its paranoid grip of power by committing sectarian violence against the island's local religious minorities as well as political enemies. Crucifixion was a common way the organization's followers dolled out punishment for crimes against it. While the Church never had what might be considered an Inquisition, many of its militant followers operated like one and took law and justice in its own hands.
This loose and personal interpretation of what was considered important made for an unequal enforcement of the anti-Pope's vision and its regional governors carried out the edicts in their own ways.
Under the rule of the church the island was politically and economically isolated which plunged the region into an economic depression and the infrastructure fell apart.