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HISTORY 50: Life and Works of Rizal

Submitted to: Mr. Adam Dandro Jambangan Schedule: MWF 11:05 AM 12:05 AM T203

RETRACTION CONTROVERSY For decades, the authenticity of Jose Rizals retraction documents have raised issues, skepticism, and heated debates among those who seek to know the truth regarding this controversy. However, the lack of evidence and different statements by significant people involved have only contributed to the complications and uncertainty which envelope this fiery argument. "I retract with all my heart whatever in my words, writings, publications and conduct have been contrary to my character as a son of the Catholic Church.", this was the statement in the document which made the historians believed that Rizal had retracted. However, there have been claims that the document, as compared to the original file which was discovered by Fr. Manuel Garcia, an archdiocesan archivist in 1935, was a forgery. Regardless of these claims, there are several people who believe that the retraction documents are authentic. These people include eleven eyewitnesses who were present when Rizal wrote his retraction, signed a Catholic prayer book, recited Catholic prayers, and the multitude who saw him kiss the crucifix before his execution. Fr. Marciano Guzman, a great grandnephew of Rizal, cites that Rizal's 4 confessions were certified by 5 eyewitnesses, 10 qualified witnesses, 7 newspapers, and 12 historians and writers including Aglipayan bishops, Masons and anticlericals. Because of what he sees as the strength these direct evidence have in the light of the historical method, in contrast with merely circumstantial evidence, UP professor emeritus of history Nicolas Zafra called the retraction "a plain unadorned fact of history." Guzmn attributes the denial of retraction to "the blatant disbelief and stubbornness" of some Masons. REASONS FOR RETRACTION Why would Jose Rizal write the retraction documents? What possible reasons could have pushed Jose Rizal to write his retraction document, assuming that he truly wrote the said document? The following four reasons would have been worthy of his character and mentality. (1) To save his family and town from further persecution. Rizal may have been told that he faced the dilemma of signing the retraction or of having his relatives pursued by further persecutions. Since he hoped his death would stop the persecution of his relatives, the retraction may have seemed to him to be the only way of achieving that purpose. (2) To give Josephine a legal status as his wife. Rizal, even though he for a time suspected Josephine as a spy, seems to have become convinced that she now loved him, and he may have desired to give her a legal status in the eyes of the church, and so provide for her future. (3) To secure reforms from the Spanish government. (4) To help the church cut away from the disease which harmed her. Rizal did not desire to injure the Roman Catholic Church, but to remove the cancer which ruined both church and state in the Philippines -- friar control of land and domination by the government. He was also struggling for freedom of thought and of conscience to the individual. He may have felt that much of his propaganda had produced the insurrection, and have repented of that. His letter to Paciano, written the night before his execution, HISTORY 50: LIFE AND WORKS OF RIZAL 1

RETRACTION CONTROVERSY supports that theory. It also had been suggested that Rizal may have written the word "Catholic" in the broad sense of the "Church Universal" as it is used by all branches of the Christian Church excepting the Roman Catholics. All churches repeat, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," in this broad sense. MAJOR ARGUMENTS FOR THE RETRACTION The argument between the original document and the released retraction documents brought more controversy because this differs significantly from the text found in the Jesuits. Which is really the original? Some of the significant differences between the copies of the Archbishop and the Jesuits are the following: (1) the Jesuits copies have mi calidad instead of mi cualidad from the Archbishops copies, (2) the word Catolica was omitted after the first Iglesias in the Jesuits copies, (3) the word misma was added before the third Iglesias in the Jesuits copies, (4) the second paragraph from the archbishops copies started with the second sentence, however, from the Jesuits copies it started until the fifth sentences, (5) the Jesuits copies had 11 commas, the other had 4 only and (6) the Jesuits copies did not have the names of the witnesses. These arguments are further discuseed below. Dr. Eugene A. Hessel in his lecture given at Siliman University, summarizes the major points of argument for the Retraction of Rizal as follows: 1. The Retraction Document discovered in 1935 is considered the chief witness to the reality of the retraction. 2. The testimony of the press at the time of the event, of eye-witnesses, and other qualified witnesses, i.e. those closely associated with the events such as the head of the Jesuit order, the archbishop, etc. 3. Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity reportedly recited and signed by Dr. Rizal as attested by witnesses and a signed Prayer Book which was amongst the documents discovered by Father Garcia along with the Retraction. If true, Rizal would not only accept the general Roman Catholic teachings but would agree to a number of beliefs which he had previously disclaimed. According to the testimony of Father Balaguer, following the signing of the Retraction a prayer book was offered to Rizal. He took the prayer book, read slowly those acts, accepted them, and took the pen and sad Credo (I believe) he signed the acts with his name in the book itself.

4. Acts of Piety performed by Rizal during his last hours as testified to by witnesses. 5. His Roman Catholic Marriage to Josephine Bracken as attested to by witnesses. There could be no marriage without a retraction. CASES AGAINST THE RETRACTION


RETRACTION CONTROVERSY 1. The Retraction Document is said to be a forgery. There are four points against the document itself. First of all there is the matter of the handwriting. To date, the only scientific study criticizing the authenticity of the document was made by Dr. Ricardo R. Pascual of the University of the Philippines shortly after the document was found. Having some of Rizals writings dating from the last half of December 1896 as his standard, he notes a number of variations with the handwriting of the document, he further concluded that it was a one-man document because of the similarities in several respects between the body of the Retraction and the writing of all three signers: Rizal and the two witnesses. o The only scholarly answer and criticism to Pascual is that given by Dr. Jos I. Del Rosario. Rosarios main criticism may be said to be that Pascual does not include enough of Rizals writings by way of comparison and concluded that the hand-writing is genuine.

A second argument directed against the authenticity of the document itself is based on the principles of textual criticism. Several critics have noted differences between the text of the document found in 1935 and other versions of the Retraction including the one issued by Father Balaguer. To date, from the morning of December 30, 1896 there have been, discounting numerous minor variations, two distinct forms of the text with significant differences with regards to the use of certain phrases within the document. o The usual explanation of these differences is that either Father Balaguer or Father Pi made errors in preparing a copy of the original and these have been transmitted from this earliest copy to others. Some have wondered if the Retraction Document was fabricated from the wrong version of a retraction statement issued by the religious authorities.

A third argument applies to the Retraction itself is that its content is in part strangely worded, e.g. in the Catholic Religion I wish to live and die, yet there was little time to live, and also Rizals claim that his retraction was spontaneous. Finally, there is the confession of the forger. Antonio K. Abad tells how on August 13, 1901 at a party at his ancestral home in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija a certain Roman Roque told how he was employed by the Friars earlier that same year to make several copies of a retraction document.

2. The second main line of argument against the Retraction is the claim that other acts and facts do not fit well with the story of the Retraction. Those most often referred to by writers as follows: The document of Retraction was not made public until 1935. Even members of the family did not see it. It was said to be lost. HISTORY 50: LIFE AND WORKS OF RIZAL 3

RETRACTION CONTROVERSY No effort was made to save Rizal from the death penalty after his signing of the Retraction. o The usual rebuttal is that Rizals death was due to political factors and with this the religious authorities could not interfere.

Rizals burial was kept secret; he was buried outside the inner wall of the Paco cemetery; and the record of his burial was not placed on the page for entries of Dec. 30th. There is no marriage certificate or public record of the marriage of Rizal with Josephine Bracken. Rizals behavior as a whole during his last days at Fort Santiago and during the last 24 hours in particular does not point to a conversion.

3. The third chief line of argument against the Retraction is that it is out of character. Senator Rafael Palma, a former President of the University of the Philippines and a prominent Mason, also argued that if Rizal retracted, it would have been a very drastic change of character in Rizal which is very hard to believe knowing how mature and strong in his beliefs Rizal was. He called the retraction story a "pious fraud.

CONCLUSION To conclude, whether or not Jose Rizal retracted, the researchers believe that the retraction document was more of Rizal taking a moral courage to recognize his mistakes. Perhaps it may be true that he retracted and reverted to his faith, but this does not diminish Rizals stature as a great hero with such greatness. As mentioned the documentary entitled Ang Bayaning Third World, Joel Torres impersonation of Rizal told the time travelers that whether he retracted or not, it does change what he has already done and what his writings have already achieved. Furthermore, Senator Jose Diokno once stated, "Surely whether Rizal died as a Catholic or an apostate adds or detracts nothing from his greatness as a Filipino... Catholic or Mason, Rizal is still Rizal - the hero who courted death 'to prove to those who deny our patriotism that we know how to die for our duty and our beliefs." Sources: Dr. Eugene A. Hessel. Rizal's Retraction: A Note on the Debate. Did Rizal Retract?