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Noli Me Tangere: Summary and Analysis of Chapter 30 (In The Church)

The cathedral is fully-packed with churchgoers.  Tasyo the Philosopher argues with the maestro regarding the generous amount of money that Friar Damaso receives for delivering his sermon.  The mayor is late, and the mass does not start until after he arrives. Meanwhile, Maria Clara is seated near the altar; there isn't much people around where she sits because this has been arranged for her by the sacristans as ordered by Friar Salvi.  Ibarra situates himself in one corner.  The sermon finally starts, and Friar Damaso takes his place in the pulpit.  He signals to another priest within his line of sight; this priest dictates the friar's sermon to him.

Points of Note:
In this chapter Rizal points out a number of things about the church: (a) the holy water, (b) the huge attendance, (c) monetary compensation for the priest in charge of the sermon, (d) the joining in of children too young to understand the service, (e) the late arrival of some people whose attendance is being waited on, and (f) self-infliction of pain as a form of penitence in order to acquire indulgences.

When Friar Damaso spots Ibarra in the corner, an evil thought enters his mind.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: What is Rizal's opinion about the following:
(a)    Holy water
Answer: It gets contaminated as tens after tens of people dip their fingers in it, and can be a possible vehicle for the spread of disease.
(b)   Huge attendance during mass
Answer: The atmosphere of holiness in the church is lost.
(c)    Payment of the priest for the sermon
Answer: Salvation is for sale.
(d)   Attendance of little children
Answer: This is a good topic for discussion.  Jesus says to let the little children go to Him.  However this may not necessarily mean subjecting the little ones to the tortures of being spanked and pinched by their mothers for crying incessantly in a place where the ventilation is inadequate and the heat, intolerable.  In any case, spirituality must be introduced early in childhood.
(e)    Late arrival of the mayor
Answer: It is not right for the entire congregation to wait for the mayor to arrive, when it is his duty to catch up and be punctual for the holy mass.  Here Rizal explains that "Filipino time" is not inherently Filipino after all.  The natives are waiting in the church for the Spanish official who couldn't arrive on time for the mass.
(f)     Self-infliction of pain for indulgences
Answer: It is a ridiculous practice.  Christ himself did not willfully inflict pain on his own body.  People must value and take care of their bodies in the same way that they must treasure the life given to them by the Creator.

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