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Wyoming bishop returns statute taken during war

Wyoming's Roman Catholic bishop returned a statute reportedly taken from the Philippines during the Spanish-American War to the Philippine ambassador Wednesday in hopes of spurring America's return of a pair of church bells.

Raul Rabe, the Philippine ambassador to the United States, said he was pleased to take possession of the statue that has been on display since 1984 at the home of Bishop Joseph Hart."This is a great day for the Philippines," Rabe said after Hart presented him with the 18-inch-high ivory statue of the Madonna and Christ Child.

Dazee Bristol, a Cheyenne resident whose husband fought in the Spanish-American War and reportedly took the statue from a burning church, gave the statue to Hart before she died at the age of 106.

Hart said last month he would return the statue to Philippine officials in an effort to build more support for the return of the "Bells of Balangiga," taken by American forces from a Philippine church in 1901.