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Exploiting Jose Rizal January 1, 2011

Posted by Maddog in Catholicism, Religion and Social Issues.
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It is a well-known fact that on the night before his execution, Jose Rizal retracted his erroneous religious beliefs which were contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Even to this day, however, despite all the documented historical evidence attesting to it, there are still those who, for their own reasons, still try to deny that the retraction ever took place.

Sadly, not all of these reasons are noble.

Many atheists and those with an ax to grind against the Catholic Church, for example have taken a liking to Rizal because they perceive him to be a model of rebellion against the Church and religion in general. They are also presumably well aware that Rizal is a popular figure that they can exploit to gain sympathy for their cause, as well as foment resentment against the Church.

I would like to draw attention to the article, Hard Facts About Rizal’s Conversion (Sinagtala, 1988), by the late Fr. Marciano Guzman. It deals with the facts of Rizal retraction and related issues. Fr. Guzman writes:

These attempts to deny our national hero’s conversion and retraction are made without conclusive and documented evidence. They normally do not transcend the psychological arguments devised by the blatant disbelief and stubbornness of some members of masonic lodges.

Typical of such reaction was a statement made in 1908 by a Venerable Master of the Grand Regional Lodge of the Philippines. It was pronounced in a meeting called to counteract the effects of Wenceslao Retana’s personal conviction about Rizal’s retraction, expressed in the book Vida y escritos del Dr. Jose Rizal. “If Rizal did retract,” the high-ranking Filipino Mason said, “he might have done it through altruism and not for personal interest. But still I have not believed and remain disbelieving in his retraction, notwithstanding so many things said about it, and in spite of the assurances of Jesuits and Retana… the idol of the Philippines has never changed his ideas, in a word, he has never retracted.”

A similar type of argument could be found in Rafael Palma’s The Pride of the Malay Race. “Rizal was a man of character,” wrote Palma in his book, “and he had demonstrated it in many circumstances of his life. He was not likely to yield his ideas because his former preceptors and teachers talked to him. They did it in Dapitan and did not obtain any result. Why would he renounce his religious ideas for a few hours more of life?”

Those who wish to deny Rizal’s conversion in the last hours of his life go against solid historical evidence.

To those who would deny Rizal’s retraction, Guzman points out the following historical facts (highlights mine).