Philippine independence

Now, I’m a Filipino-American, but I still have relatives in school in the Old Country. Now as the history books tell us, the Philippines achieved a short-lived period of independence at the turn of the century, thanks to a revolution against Spanish colonial control. Problem is, at second glance, several of the country’s national heroes were either anticlericalists like Jose Rizal or defrocked priests sentenced to death by the colonial authorities. The standard literary canon in there are some of Rizal’s writings, which, while literarily and historically are of merit for obvious reasons, also contains a large dose of anticlerical propaganda.

So what is a devout Catholic to make of all this, that some of his country’s greatest patriots also had a bit of a hate-on for the Church?

Last time I checked, it wasn’t the Church they hated. Just some racist imperialist idiots who managed to worm their way into the clergy. Also, did not Rizal have a positive view of the Jesuits? He was a student of Ateneo after all…

Don’t worry, many of the Founding Fathers in America were antagonistic towards ‘papists’ as well. The important thing is that they decided not to bring that antagonism into the Constitution (i.e. they guaranteed religious freedom), and I’m sure that was the case in the Philippines as well.

It seems an oft told story that some clergy members line up with the poor who are seeking independence from economic oppression by the more well to do upper classes in a colonial country once under the thumb of a French or Spanish Monarch. Unfortunately many bishops in these countries have or had lined up with the oppressors. There have been some notable exceptions. Some local priests because of their empathy with the poor and disenfranchised become leaders in the push for better lives for their people. They frequently find themselves at cross purposes with their bishop and end up being chastised by excommunication or worse.

It happened in Mexico and in several South American or Central American countries and it would seem in the Phillipines. In my opinion, one needs to leave the judgement of these priests in the Lord’s hands. Only He knows their hearts. ;

Yes. The Jesuits sided with native tribes in South America when they were invaded by colonialist authorities. I think it was in Brazil. A film was made not too long ago on that history.

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