“Rizal’s first reason when he entered UST is to study for priesthood.” says Dr. Paul Domol, a playwright and history professor at the University of Asia and the Pacific. Rizal took Metaphysics as a first year student which is a prerequisite course for anyone wanting to be a priest at University of Santo Tomas at that time. But when his mother’s eyesight starts to fail, he shifted to Medicine on his second year to cure hers. And when he went to Spain, he continued to study Medicine and at the same time Humanities, so basically Rizal at the start seems like he does not know where his heart is.
The Beginnings of Rizal’s Anti-Friar Sentiments As early as he is a first year student, Rizal really wanted to be known as a writer and the only way he can be is to learn and write through Spanish language. The very first time Rizal is known to viciously attack the friars is through his exchange of letters to his brother Paciano, whom the latter informing Fr. Leoncio Lopez the Parish Priest of Calamba at that time just died. Ambeth Ocampo, another historian shared a similar revelation about Fr. Lopez, is actually the biological father of Antonino Lopez, the husband of one of Rizal’s sisters, Saturnina. Antonino used to be introduced as a nephew of the priest in public.
Rizal the Apostate In 1883 Rizal while in Madrid, he received a letter from his mother asking him if the rumors that she heard is true that he has stopped attending mass, receiving sacraments and stuff. Rizal replied as though he is lecturing his mother. He said that technically he is not a Catholic anymore, does not believe in Bible and the God that the Catholics believe. The God that he believes is the God that his human mind can reach.
Rizal the Party Pooper There was an incident during New Year’s Eve that each one in the celebration is asked what food to share but when he was told what specifically he can bring, he took off his hat, and approached everyone like a beggar extending his hand and asks them to drop a coin inside his hat. In another party, Rizal also scolded Filipinos in Madrid who spend more time womanizing, gambling etc. instead of studying and making something worthy to their country.
The untitled last Chapter of El Filibusterismo All throughout the chapters of Fili are all about against the Spanish government and friars but the last chapter is the opposite. Not only it is untitled but it tells something against the Filipinos themselves. He said Filipinos should not be given freedom until they’re worthy of it.
Rizal as a Playboy He is not, but it is true that he loved a lot of women. In one of his letters, he shows his brotherly care to one of his sisters whom he heard always going away with his boyfriend and reminding her to be careful.
Rizal as Hero There was no 'hero' word nor a meaning of it ever existed during his time. It was through him that he defined his word which is giving one's life to a bunch of people whom most of them he does not know. The term 'hero' only started to exist in the early 1900's.
Rizal and his Retraction to Anti-Catholic ideas Yes, he retracted and went back to his faith. When he wrote his retraction, he signed a Catholic prayer book, recited Catholic prayers, and a few eyewitness saw him kiss the crucifix before his execution.
Rizal's Relevance Today While in Dapitan, he opened a school and gave free education to 18 boys. He also setup a free clinic for those with eyesight problems. He made a lighting system, water system using bamboos, adding benches and made a map of Mindanao.
Taken from Dr. Paul Domol's lecture "Controversial Facts About Rizal: Notes Towards a New Rizal Biography" at the Yuchengco Museum September 17, 2011 (Saturday) 3pm. Dr. Domol is also best known for his play "Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio" as his best if not one his bet literary masterpieces. Part of RIZALizing the Future, in celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal and the 100th anniversary of the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC).
Photo source: davidderrick.wordpress.com