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Noli Me Tangere: Summary and Analysis of Chapter 31 (The Sermon)


Summary:
Friar Damaso starts the sermon in Spanish.  When the priest makes a certain gesture in the middle his speech, the sacristan thinks that like Friar Salvi, Damaso wants to go on with the sermon in closed doors.  After the sacristan shuts the church entrance, it becomes so much hotter inside.  As Friar Damaso proceeds with the sermon he goes on to make insinuations about Ibarra, whom he sees seated in one corner.  The priest's dictator becomes lost in his reading, since there are no notes written there regarding such vile accusations against the youth.  When time comes to start the second part of the sermon, which is in Tagalog, Damaso does not conduct it very well, thinking that none of the natives understand proper rhetoric.  The friar overhears a student in the crowd remark that the priest is probably speaking Greek, and Damaso becomes furious.  This ends in a heated argument after the mass.  Elias approaches Ibarra right after the sermon ends and whispers, "During the blessing, do not depart from where the parish priest (Friar Salvi) stands; do not descend down the excavation; do not approach the cornerstone -- it is a matter of life and death."

Points of Note:
This is one of the chapters that contain a number of edited and deleted scenes and lines in other translations of the Noli.

The sermon is commonly not given due attention and interest.  When this part of the mass starts most of the men head for the exit.  However in this chapter, Rizal describes Friar Damaso's sermon in a rather amusing way.  It is obvious that the priest makes no sense whatsoever, ending a statement without making a point, connecting sentences and phrases that have no relation to each other, and the entirety of the sermon lacking focus on the theme at hand.

The sermon has two parts: the first one is in Spanish, and the second in Tagalog.  Friar Damaso only prepares for the first part, which unfortunately also turns into a disaster when he inserts insinuating comments about Ibarra.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: Why does Friar Damaso withdraw from his prepared and written sermon?
Answer: He spots Ibarra in the corner.  His praises for San Diego then were mixed with loathsome remarks about the youth.

Question: What does this chapter say about the true character of Friar Damaso?
Answer:  It shows that he is pretentious and two-faced, having the mask of holiness and pure strength while shamelessly condemning the "sinners" in attendance.

Question: How does Ibarra react to the accusations fired against him by the priest?
Answer: He remains silent and motionless in his seat.

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