Note: This article might contain thoughts that can be considered offensive to your religious faith. I wrote it not to insult your faith but for us to learn few things about the life of Dr. Jose Rizal. Please don’t read this article if you are not yet ready to read article that is offensive to your faith.
Dr. Jose Rizal, an Ex-Catholic
I was wondering earlier what to write and publish here on this blog (SELaplana) that might entertain you and probably let you learn of something that can be useful to you. I was browsing my cards of snippets when I found this:
Nakagawa ng malaking kasalanan si Polavieja sa Dios at sa kasaysayan noon umaga ng ika-30 ng Disyembre, 1896. Suriin ninyo kung maipatatawad ang mga kasalanan niyang ito: Ipinapatay niya ang aking asawa, si Dr. Rizal, na walang kasalanan kundi ang umibig sa kanyang bayan. At sa pagpatay na ito ay napalakip pa ang isang mabigat na sagutin niya. Dili iba kundi ang pagkatanggap ng suhol na aninnapung libong pisong Mehikano (P60,000.00) sa kamay ng Arsobispo, na siyang nangilak noon sa mga samahang relihiyosa upang matiyak na hindi babaguhin ni Polavieja ang hatol ng hukumang digma na patayin ang aking asawa.
(My rough English Translation) Polavieja committed sin to God and to the history on the morning of December 30, 1896. Examine his sins if they are pardonable: He let my husband, Dr. Rizal (Jose) killed who has done nothing but love his county. And on his death, he (Polavieja) received a bribe worth P60,000.00 Mexican from the Archbishop who leads the religious organization, to ensure that Polavieja would not change the judgment of the court to kill my husband.
This snippet is supposed to be part of the letter of Josephine Bracken, the wife of Dr. Jose Rizal, to “The China Mail” publication. What really struck me is the accusation of Rizal’s wife to the Catholic Archbishop in the Philippines for bribing the acting Governor General of the Philippines, Camilo Polavieja.
I was then intrigued if Dr. Jose Rizal was really the enemy of the Catholic Church since the Catholic Archbishop wanted the death of Dr. Rizal. My searches on information about Dr. Rizal’s relation to the Catholic Church lead me to these things:
(1) Rizal was excommunicated by the Catholic Church when he joined the Masonry.
Influenced by Miguel Morayta, a history professor at the Universidad de Madrid, Rizal joined Masonry, under the Gran Oriente de Espanol, adopting the Masonic name, Dimasalang. He was automatically excommunicated, expelled from the Catholic Church, a fate decreed for all Catholics becoming Masons since 1738 and reaffirmed by the CBCP in 1990. Rizal had plenty of illustrious company including Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, Ladislao Diwa, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Juan Luna, Deodato Arellano, Graciano Lopez-Jaena, H. Pardo de Tavera,
and so many others in the Propaganda Movement and La Liga Filipina. (source: http://glphils.org/famous-masons/frizal.htm)
(2) Rizal was hunted down by the friars not only because of his book, “Noli Me Tangere” but also because he was charged by the Dominicans being heretics and agitator.
Only a few days after his arrival, Governor General Terrero receives him at the Malacanang Palace and tells him of the charges saying that the Noli was full of subversive ideas. After a discussion, the liberal Governor General appears to be appeased; but he is unable to offer resistance against the pressure of the church to take action against the book. The persecution can be discerned from Rizal’s letter to Leitmeritz: “My book made a lot of noise; everywhere, I am asked about it. They wanted to anthemize me (to excommunicate me) because of it . . . I am considered a German spy, an agent of Bismarck, they say I am a Protestant, a free mason, a sorcerer, a damned soul. It is whispered that I want to draw plans, that I have a foreign passport and that I wander through the streets by night …”
Soon the friars’ hunt is in full swing. They have ample ammunition against Rizal because he is not only persecuted on account of the Noli, but he is also accused by the Dominicans of being a heretic and an agitator for his intercession in favor of the tenant farmers in his hometown, Calamba. Rizal succeeds in putting up a fight for half a year, then the Governor General gives him the friendly advice of leaving the country because he can no longer keep his protective hand over Rizal or his family. (source: www.univie.ac.at)
(3) Dr. Jose Rizal attacked the Catholic Church’s doctrines on Miracles, Purgatory, Confession, Trinity, Dual Nature of Christ, etc. through his writings.
In these two novels we find passages against Catholic dogma and morals 11 where repeated attacks are made against the Catholic religion in general, against the possibility of miracles, against the doctrine of Purgatory, against the Sacrament of Baptism, against Confession, Communion, Holy Mass, against the doctrine of Indulgences, Church prayers, the Catechism of Christian Doctrine, sermons, sacramentals and books of piety. There are even passages casting doubts on or covering with confusion God’s omnipotence, the existence of hell, the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, and the two natures of Christ.
Similarly, we find passages which disparage divine worship ,12 especially the veneration of images and relics, devotion to the Blessed Virgin and the Saints, the use of scapulars, cords and habits, the praying of rosaries, novenas, ejaculations and indulgenced prayers. Even vocal prayers are included, such as the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Doxology, the Act of Contrition, and the Angelus, Mass ceremonies, baptismal and exsequial rites, worship of the Cross, the use of holy water and candles, processions, bells and even the Sacred Sunday obligations do not escape scorn. (source: www.cbcponline.net)
(4) The Catholic Church opposed to the bill requiring Filipino students to read the books of Rizal because they contain passages against the Roman Catholic Church.
Senator Claro M. Recto wanted to include Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo in the reading list of college students in 1956. The Catholic Church opposed the proposal claiming it would violate freedom of conscience and religion. They said the “novels belong to the past and it would be harmful to read them because they present a false picture of conditions in the country.” A priest, who was introduced in the senate committee hearing as an authority on Rizal, added that the Noli was not a patriotic book since it only contained 25 patriotic passages as opposed to 120 anti-Catholic statements. A Catholic senator argued that he cannot allow his son to read Rizal’s novels for fear that the boy will lose his faith. (source: www.yehey.com/News/article.aspx?id=221212)
With this info that we have, it is now clear that Rizal really became the enemy of the Catholic Church because of his writings. I actually didn’t know about this during the time that I was taking up the subject on Dr. Jose Rizal’s Life in high school. You couldn’t actually read about this part of Rizal’s life in public school books. What you can read is that Rizal was merely attacking the Spanish Colonial government not the Catholic Church.
But how about the said letter of Josephine Bracken to the “The China Mail” publication, is it really true that the Catholic Archbishop bribed the acting Governor-General of the Philippines to ensure the death of Dr. Jose Rizal?
Well, we couldn’t answer it directly with Yes. Only Josephine Bracken and the said Catholic Archbishop knew the truth. But if we will consider the snippet below, we can say that there is a possibility that it is true that the Catholic Archbishop bribed Polavieja to ensure the death of Dr. Jose Rizal.
It is here that Rizal is introduced to Luis Taviel (played by Jaime Fabregas) who has been appointed to defend him at his trial. Taviel is a Spanish officer who at first mistrusts Rizal and views him as a dangerous revolutionary. Most of the movie takes place in Rizal’s prison cell and involves Taviel confronting him about his life. There are frequent flashbacks but some of them are flashbacks to his novels, so it is sometimes hard to keep the order clear. Eventually Taviel learns to respect Rizal and he decides to do his best job in defending him.
But it is to no avail. The evil head of the Franciscan order in Manila arranges for a new governor to take over control of the Philippines. The new governor promptly orders a show trial where the outcome has already been decided. Rizal must die. Despite his best efforts, Taviel cannot save Rizal from his fate. The verdict is reached and the execution date is set for December 30, 1896. Taviel admits to Rizal that he is ashamed to be a Spaniard. (source: www.tomandcathymarking.com/reviews/jose_rizal.htm)
According to that review, the head of the Franciscan Friars arranged for a new governor that would take over Philippines. And this governor ordered a show trial that the result had already been decided which was the death of Dr. Jose Rizal.
Some argued that Dr. Rizal wrote those anti-catholic passages on his letters, poems and novels during the times when he was still excommunicated from his Catholic faith. So, he was really an enemy of the Catholic Church of that time. But prior to his execution by firing squad, he wrote a retracting letter which in turns rejecting all the things he wrote about the Roman Catholic Church.
Well, it might be true that there was a retraction letter and it is said that this retraction letter was really written by Rizal. However, the authenticity of this letter is still controversial up to this day and many believed Rizal didn’t sign any retraction letter.
In 1912, Rizal’s family rejected a petition by the Jesuits to rebury the famous man. Instead the honor was given to the Freemasons. On December 12, 1912, the remains of Rizal were removed from his sister’s home to the Masonic Temple in the Tondo section of Manila. Led by Sinukuan Lodge No. 305, several Lodges conducted a Masonic Service over the remains. The next morning the Freemsons in full regalia marched in procession to his sister’s home where Rizal’s remains were turned over to the government representatives. The remains were then taken to the legislative building where government officials also held funeral services before final internment at the Luneta.
There has been a controversy due to a claim by the Catholic Church that on the eve of his execution Rizal had reembraced the church. The evidence refutes the claim. During his trial no cleric came to the defense of Rizal. Church officials remained silent. Only many years after his execution when Jose Rizal became known as the “George Washington” of the Philippines did the Church make the claim. (source: calodges.org/ncrl/RIZAL.html)
Now, if the Rizal retraction is really true, then I think he did it not because he wanted to embrace back his Catholic Faith but because of some family related reasons. But I actually doubt if Dr. Rizal really wrote it because like him I am also an ex-Catholic and I also noticed those unbiblical doctrines that the Catholic Church upheld. And that even to my death, I will never embrace back the doctrines that I found out to be unbiblical.
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