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White haired man in ecclesiastical clothing with a crucifix around his neck.

Archbishop Placide Louis Chapelle (1842–1905)

In 1899, the Vatican appointed Archbishop Placide Louis Chapelle as apostolic delegate to secure the rights and property of the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam. 

For U.S. territorial administrators, it was challenging to enforce the separation of church and state in societies that had experienced centuries
of Catholic influence. Captain Richard P. Leary, Guam’s first official naval governor, made the controversial decision to eliminate public religious festivities and deport Spanish priests. Archbishop Chapelle protested, arguing that Leary’s orders went against the religious liberties granted in the U.S. Constitution. Consequently, Major General Elwell S. Otis appointed Major General Joseph Wheeler to inspect conditions in Guam. While Wheeler’s report did not lead to the Spanish priests’ return, Leary’s successor, Seaton Schroeder, reinstated public celebrations.

Unidentified artist
Date unknown
Oil on canvas
88.9 × 76.2 cm (35 × 30 in.)
Office of Archives and Records, Archdiocese of New Orleans