Rizal's Retraction

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Jose Rizal’s Retraction Controversy
The debate still continues if Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero, really retracted? This has been the greatest controversy which is most talked about Rizal. He is recognized for the novels he had written during the Spanish period. Because of these courageous acts of rebellion against the said colonizers, he became our National Hero. But what if our national hero, at the last moments of his life retracted everything he had ever said and written? In 1935, a letter was found by Father Manuel Garcia. The said letter contains that Jose Rizal declared himself as a Catholic and that he retracts everything he had said, written, published and did against the Catholic Church. Opinions regarding this issue would not be the same because some may agree and some may not. There so many questions speculating his retraction if in the first place, all of this is what he really fought for. From Fr. Balaguer’s version, Rizal, on the 29th day of December 1896, wrote and signed the retraction papers in front of him and with the other Jesuit priest present at the death cell. Rizal asked for a confession twice and for a rosary from the priest between the two confessions. In Balaguer’s memorandum-record, Rizal asked for a mass and a request for Holy Communion, this was readily approved by the Jesuits and assigned Fr. Villaclara as the officiating priest of the mass inside the cell. He also mentioned that Rizal asked for the image of the Sagrado Corazon de Jesus which he carved when he was just 14. Balaguer described the scene as heart-warming because Rizal kissed the image that he had requested from the Jesuits. While kneeling and surrounded by the religious authorities in the death cell, Rizal read the retraction document. Balaguer also claimed that there was a servant-messenger for Josephine Bracken to prepare for the marriage at the San Ignacio Church where Fr. Simo will conduct the confession and other things needed for the ceremonies, which will be materialized on the morning of the 30th. Lastly, before the execution and in the presence of the Archbishop and the Jesuit superior Reverend Fr. Pio Pi, Rizal kissed the image of the cross presented to him and has a rosary entwined in his hand. But how did Father Balaguer convinced Rizal to be converted into Cathloic before his execution? This is one of the big unanswered questions of today. In addition to this, Rizal wrote a poem entitled “My Last Farewell” which was written on the eve of his execution, there was a line there saying, “I’ll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen where faith does not kill and where God alone does reign (Rizal, 1896).”. With this, he mentioned God in this poem. Before he was executed, he wrote an undated letter to his family when he was in Fort Santiago: “Bury me in the ground, place a stone and a cross over it. My name, the date of my brith and of my death. Nothing more. If you later wish to surround my grave with a fence, you may do so. No anniversaries. I prefer Paang Bundok.“ Now, what do he mean by this? He wanted a cross over it. He died as a Catholic and was buried inside the sacred grounds of Paco Cemetery. Unfortunately, his instructions were not granted. It was also argued that Rizal retracted in order to save his family from further persecution, to give Josephine Bracken a legal status as his wife and to assure reforms from the Spanish government. Speaking of Josephine as his wife, there was an article from Jose Rizal University that one day of early March 1896; Rizal played a practical joke on Josephine, which frightened her terribly. As a result, she prematurely gave birth to an eight-month baby boy. The baby was very weak and can hardly breathe. With this, Rizal immediately baptized him Francisco in honor of his father. He tried to save the life of his son but all his knowledge and skill as a physician could not save little Francisco. Sorrowfully, Rizal saw his child die three hours after birth then he drew...
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