The Strange Case of Rizal and Catholic Dogma

Hey! Did you know that the CBCP has their own website? It’s true! They post really interesting articles on it too, and I find out so many great and wonderful things! Like how it’s okay for a doctor to make blanket statements that contraception is dangerous (no ifs or buts) to bolster the CBCP argument against the RH bill. Or how academic freedom in Catholic universities is great and all, but that academic freedom stops when it comes to dissenting against the truth as espoused by the Catholic church.

But when I recently visited their website, what really struck me was a little animated banner they were running on one side. An animated banner that had a quote from Jose Rizal and his image as well, fighting for the dogma of the Catholic church against the Reproductive Health Bill.

It’s an interesting little banner, because in the 1950’s the CBCP was fighting one of these pesky laws that we have in our nation, Republic Act 1425, or the Rizal Law: a bill that was enacted to teach the life and writings of Jose Rizal to all public and private school students in the Philippines.

The CBCP resented having to teach the life and work of someone who they percieved to be anti Catholic in their private Catholic schools. They seemed to have fought the Rizal law as vociferously as they are fighting today against the RH bill. The CBCP brought in political proxies in the form of Senators to fight the Rizal Law, a tactic that they still deploy in fighting the RH bill.

In that fight, the CBCP issued this statement against the Rizal Law. I’d like to excerpt a passage from that statement here (emphasis mine).

In these two novels we find passages against Catholic dogma and morals 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.

So here we are, in 2012, with the CBCP fighting the RH bill this time. The CBCP is being insistent on protecting the dogma of the church. And who is one of their champions in this time of great need? Why, none other than Jose Rizal of course! Because of course Jose Rizal is such a great upholder of Catholic dogma! I mean, that’s what the CBCP said right?

So here we are, in 2012. The CBCP has somehow managed to change their minds about Rizal despite their bawlings about him in 1956. What else do you think they can change their minds on in the future?


  1. For the record, I have not seen in any part of the banner, the statement : "Jose Rizal is such a great upholder of Catholic dogma!". Using Jose Rizal as a model of how Filipinos should treat children says only a part of Rizal's advocacy – which happens to be in line with the teaching of the Catholic Church. By having Rizal's little banner, is no more than showcasing, him, as the Philippine's National Hero, uphold the dignity of Human Life. This is not even about religion, it's about how we as human should treat each other with due respect and dignity. Isn't it that humanitarians promote equality and respect? Regardless of how little or incapable one is, a right of life can NEVER ever be taken away from him. Equality, Respect,,,,and Freedom? Here is being said, that Catholic Church is against and furious? I'd like to clarify, NO. The Catholic Church is simply revealing the truth to us that will set us free. If we only have the ears to listen and the eyes to see…and the heart to REALLY feel. Innocent little children aren't the cause of the poverty problems. There is no way in killing them can solve such. The causes of the problem are the ADULT, RICH and CORRUPT politicians. Reducing their numbers, not putting them in office, that is the solution. Even though there were disputes between the hypocrites of long time ago and Dr. Jose Rizal and even though he was never a supporter of Catholic Church, and may never be a model of the Church due to some of his misleading principles , Jose Rizal was right and will always be right to say that "children are the wealth of the nation."

    • Let’s set the record straight. Deceiving one’s fellowman is not showing him respect or dignity.

      First, Jose Rizal’s view on children or people in general does NOT equate to anti-contraception. He’s not even around to know about the issue, so it’s really a very great stretch to relate the two. It is an even greater stretch to relate Catholic “advocacy” with upholding the dignity of human life, since contraceptives do not actually cause abortion (contrary to the fertile imaginings of a bishop, oh well, Catholic dogmas themselves are human imaginings, anyway, so…)

      Second, this IS about religion. It is the ROMAN CHURCH that keeps yakking against RH. Hiding behind such sweeping words like “treat each other with due respect and dignity,” “truth,” or “right of life” is a rather coarse attempt to put on sheep’s clothing. If one is out to blind eyes that see and mislead ears that listen, or playing with hearts that feel, s/he can do a better job at it.

      Third, the Catholic Church NOT furious??? Even Pope John Paul II admitted to the Inquisition.

      Fourth, innocent little children do not cause poverty, they are the victims of poverty, and to let them suffer is the REAL killing or problem.

      Fifth, if corruption is the issue, then what about the RECORD of the Roman Church? What right do you have in pretending to abhor corruption if you sympathize with the Roman Church?

      Sixth, try not to use a word that boomerangs back to your side. How hypocritical can it get when a site drags into its cause without his knowledge someone who isn’t even a supporter and not a model of the church?

      Seventh, try to break up your writeup into paragraphs for easier reading. It only takes an Enter key.

  2. Those who create that banner are either plainly stupid or just ignorant of history and the novels of Rizal. The Catholic Church, in the eyes of Rizal, is a partner in crime with Spain, in oppressing Filipinos.

  3. In Dr. Rizal's book, there is a dinner party and Father Damaso attends with or without invitation (I don't recall which). He sits at the head of the table where the host should have been seated. He tries to dominate the gathering, making it known his disapproval of the marriage between Ybarra and Maria Clara (Damaso's daughter by rape). This part of Rizal's book shows the attempt by the Catholic church to dominate the Filipino family and society as a whole. Damaso is the symbol of the Catholic church in this story. Damaso is also not a Filipino and he would do anything to stop the marriage of his daughter, a meztisa, to an indio. A touch of racism against the "dumb indios". Anyway, dominating the Filipino family has always been the mission of the Catholic church in the Philippines. (Why do we address priests as "Father"?)

    • Dr. Rizal's book is indeed a masterpiece. In his genius, he was able to portray the current situation they were in during 19th century. All his fictitious character could truly even represent a real person he encountered possessing such "evil" traits. Nonetheless, it shall not be forgotten that even in the time of Christ, were there a lot of evil and hypocrites among the high priests. In His own group, in fact, one of His disciples committed a grievous sin. Despite all the chaos and confusion, the rest of the apostles have stood up and spread the Gospel even unto their own gruesome death. They did all these regardless of the accusations and threats, for what they witnessed – the love, mercy and literally the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, are all far greater than their fears. The truth that Jesus himself revealed to them have vanished their doubts. The same had happened in the early years of Christianity in the Philippines, there were imperfect and unworthy friars, but nonetheless, one cannot deny the Catholic Church because of the people that are in it. True, the Catholic Church is the source of the holiness of its people, but never can the Holiness of Catholic Church be measured based on the people. For it is Jesus himself who established the Church. And He was the one who sent the apostles and faithful to proclaim His love and the Good News to all that is in need. We have to thank the Spanish Priests who were truly righteous for initiating their mission in the Philippines. Even though there were political intrusions that lead to many upheavals, the Truth had set Filipinos free.

  4. okay, this might come as a shocker. in 2005, i was doing a little research at the Scottish Rite Temple library (the building is along taft ave, manila). i went there to dig up what freemasonry (rizal was a freemason to his last breath, contrary to what the church claimed. but that is a story befitting a long and detailed telling). i got hold of an old collection of newspapers and magazines. in there was a story about how, in the framing of the malolos constitution, the roman catholic belief almost became a state religion. what was surprising was that this convention happened just years after war of independence from spain – a war that had as one of its underlying factors, the abuses of the friars. the move to make catholicism a state religion was defeated by a narrow margin!

  5. why am i not surprised? the fact that the roman church still exists is a testament to the fact that they will use every method available to survive. morality? ethics? they have discarded these long ago. they have just as much use for these as a snake does for legs.

  6. this is the scenario the CBCP is teaching in their pulpits. RH bill will legalize killing children. And our government consults such a group with a very detached reality.

    And after 50 years they will rally on streets, shouting how they struggled for the right of Filipino families to have a choice for their future to be productive. It will not surprise me. They have ways of going around things to put the blame away from their stupidity.

  7. if Rizal is an atheist… he had a good reason why he didn't believe in God.. Catholic oppression at that time.. tsk tsk tsk… strangely, he went to germany where reformation took place…

  8. The church has changed its mind about a lot of other things in the past so this should come as no surprise. Inconsistency is quite consistent in its teachings. But I must say I gotta admire this line of reasoning.

    Kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan
    Hindi dapat patayin ang kabataan
    Masama ang RH Bill

    It takes a really powerful jumper to do this.

  9. They seemed to be confused. Anyway, people who are in favor of RH Bill does’nt mean in favor of death! Think of positive outcomes if people will learn how to be cautious.

  10. The CBCP is a political institution and therefore is entitled to manipulate and speak out of both sides of its mouth. That is not a sin. It is simply expedient. Nevermind that it represents a morality that lacks principle.

    Thanks for the article. As a part of my becoming Filipino on the inside, I am studying the life of Dr. Rizal now. Smart, creative dude. Rich with opinions. Not all of them easy to digest if you are opposite them, as the Church was at that time. He wrote some stories that had passion, and some poems too.

    I like the guy.

    I don't like that the CBCP is using him. Dr. Rizal would be offended, I am confident.

    The CBCP is not nice.

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