Rizal's Retraction

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MTH 9:00-10:30 History 5

Did Jose Rizal Retract?

In the heart of the Filipinos, Dr. Jose Rizal had immortalized himself through his works and sacrifices for freedom and independence. Yet, his life was not always grand and perfect. Rizal’s greatness is secluded by the many controversies surrounding his life. The most intriguing of all was the issue of his alleged retraction. It was all about his reversion to the Catholic Faith, repudiation of any of his writing against Roman Catholicism and abomination of Masonry and all other issues linked to it such as his marriage to Josephine Bracken. That issue was claimed to be true by the Roman Catholic defenders but asserted to be deceptive by anti-retractonists. For some people to retract would mean little for they have little to retract, but this was not so of Rizal. This retraction issue, to some extent, had immortalized itself along with Jose Rizal. Through his greatness, some other controversies in his life faded and succumb to vanish but this retraction issue stood still and remained. There had been numbers of circumstances in his patriotic life that gave rise to this controversial retraction allegation. One circumstance was his affiliation to a Masonic institution. In an article authored by Romberto Poulo, Rizal’s affiliation in Masonry was accounted to have caused drastic change to his religious ideas. It was in the moment Rizal set foot on European soil when he was exposed to a great deal of distinctions between what was happening to his country, the discriminations, abuses, partialities, injustices, and some other things made to cause sufferings to his countrymen, and what was the actual scene of the European nations. He observed that Europe was a lot more different compared to the Philippines in terms of way of life, attitudes towards Roman Catholicism, and most importantly, the freedom all the citizens enjoy. Somehow, with this observation sprouted an ambition in his heart of redeeming glory and liberty for the Filipino from those who lived in their tears and sufferings, the Spanish friars. Hence, Rizal considered to enter Freemasonry. As what Gregorio Zaide had written in his book, Rizal become a Mason for a reason that he wanted to secure Freemasonry’s aid in his fight against the friars in the Philippines. Zaide further said that Rizal intended to utilize Freemasonry as his shield to combat the friars since they had been using the Catholic Religion as their shield, armor, fortress, etc., to establish a control of power and wealth and to persecute the Filipino patriots including Rizal himself. Freemasonry definitely goaded Rizal to filibusterism and separated him from Catholic Faith and turned him to a formidable foe of the Roman Catholic Church. Friars, then, marked him as an enemy, a filibuster, and a revolutionist. History, for certain, has its accounts of the specific occasions when Rizal attacked the Catholic Church. One instance on record in an article authored by Yason Banal, occurred on his first homecoming after the publication of Noli Me Tangere. When he told Tavera who defended him before Fr. Faura,“ Why should I not fight a religion like that when it was the basic cause of our miseries and tears? Christ did the same thing with the religion of his country when the Pharisees abused it.” Tne Noli Me Tangere itself, at that time, already functioned as a perfect means of attacking the friars and so did his other written works. Rizal’s deviation from Catholicism became obvious and expressive and intensified every after unjust acts struck the Filipino people. Consequently, the Jesuits in the Philippines felt that they have lost him, their favorite and most outstanding pupil. However, they did not lose hope and sincerely made faithful and untiring attempts to convince him to retract and return to the Catholic embrace even until the very moment prior to his execution. On the midst of Rizal’s endeavor for Philippine independence from the mother...
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