Jose Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines, the country proclaimed to be the only Christian (Catholic) country in Asia. Though also inhabited by Moslems and other denominations, Roman Catholicism is the country’s primary religion. What, then, are Rizal’s views regarding his country’s faith?
First of all, it must be established that Rizal did not agree with all that Roman Catholicism stood for. All religions may have their flaws, but through his books and throughout all of his writings, Rizal has made clear that there are certain beliefs in the Roman Catholic church that are simply not acceptable and true.
Among many others, here are the more prominent things he took much time and effort to scrutinize:
- The tradition of rubbing hands or handkerchiefs against religious statues is not at all healthy, both for the body and for the soul. For one thing, it could lead to the transmission of a number of communicable diseases, and more importantly, it makes people eventually forget that the God they are worshipping is a Spirit, and not something that is made of wood or stone or marble.
- Dipping the hands in holy water which is placed in a marble stand at a certain part of the church is unclean as well. Water that people consider to be blessed is not an implication that it is free of bacteria and other pathogenic microorganisms. Especially when that water has been allowed to stagnate for some time, it becomes all the more dangerous.
- Paying for indulgences to remove sin has been a growing business among the friars. It has been created a way for the church to run a free business enterprise at the expense of threatening the souls of the congregation.
- The Roman Catholic church, although it preaches goodness and kindness to mankind, does not necessarily practice those things for which it stands.
It is important to note that these things read in Rizal’s two novels are not only pertaining to what was going on during his time, but is also reflected again and again in the present-day Philippines. Most of the things that Jose Rizal gives emphasis to still continue to be important up to this day.
RIZAL ON RELIGION:
“Consider well what kind of religion they are teaching you. See whether it is the will of God or according to the teachings of Christ that the poor be succored and those who suffer alleviated.”