Archive for the ‘Book’ Category
The Hitherto Unpublished Letters of Jose Rizal and Portions of Fr. Pablo Pastell’s Fourth Letter and Translation of the Correspondence, together with a Historical Background and Theological Critique (Ateneo de Manila University Press, Bellarmine Hall, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, P.O. Box 154, 1099 Manila, Philippines)
This book tells the story of two brilliant men.
The first is the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. He was the distinguished poet in the Spanish tongue, the master of Philippine dialects and European languages, the humble devotee of the Virgin Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who later became a leader of the Propaganda Movement, the writer of the subversive novels Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, and a member of Freemasonry in London. In short, Jose Rizal was the Spanish poet who became anti-Spain, the Catholic who became anti-Catholic, the student of the Jesuits who made a “shipwreck of Faith.” In 1896 in Bagumbayan in Manila, Jose Rizal was executed for treason against Spain by firing squad. He was thirty-five.
The second is Fr. Pablo Pastells, S.J. He was the student in the Jesuit-run Seminario Conciliar in Barcelona, a refugee in France after the fourth suppression of Jesuits in Spain in 1868, a man in lay clothes running from anticlerical elements after the defeat of Napoleon in the Franco-Prussian war, the priest who organized circulos or worker groups in Europe to the anger of Anarchists. Pastells arrived in the Philippines in 1875. In the middle of the following year he was sent to Ateneo de Manila and became the director of the Sodality of Our Lady. In this capacity and as a prefect of the boarders, he came to know the fourteen year old Rizal. He travelled as a missionary in the Visayan and Mindanao Islands to study the language of the natives. He was appointed Superior of the of the Philippine Mission in 1888, and it was at the end of his term of office that his correspondence with Rizal began. Pastells was sent back again to Spain in 1893 to write about the Spanish Jesuit’s overseas work, resulting to a three-volume history book (1916-1917), and another nine-volume work on the History of the Philippines (1925-1934). In 1932, he died at the age of eighty-six.
* * *
The book is divided into two parts. The first part is an Introduction by Fr. Raul J. Bonoan, S.J., which consists of a historical background and a theological critique.
The historical background is well written and researched, with long footnotes. When Rizal was exiled in Dapitan in Mindanao, Rizal told Fr. Sanchez who tried to bring him back to the Catholic Faith:
It is useless, Father, you do not convince me. I do not believe in the Eucharist or in the rites of the Catholic religion.
But to his mother Rizal wrote (which Fr. Sanchez confirmed):
We heard mass at midnight, for you ought to know that here I hear Mass every Sunday. (Underlining by Rizal.)
I expected these things. But for a physicist, here is a surprising trivia: From Rizal’s friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt, Fr. Federico Faura, S.J., the founder of the Manila Observatory, learned of Blumentritt’s fear that Rizal became a Mason. And Fr. Bonoan continues:
When Fr. Ramon, the rector, and Faura in conversation with their guest raised the question of his religious beliefs, Rizal made protestations of loyalty to Spain but said it was useless to discuss religious matters inasmuch as he had long lost the faith. Whereupon, Faura sternly warned him never again to step into the corridors of the Ateneo if he should persist in his erroneous beliefs, for the Jesuit fathers were breaking all contact with him, and advised him to leave the Philippines for good lest he end up on the scaffold. Rizal remained unmoved.
Fr. Faura correctly predicted the last storm: Rizal was executed, and his death ushered the Philippine Revolution.
Fr. Bonoan’s theological critique of Rizal and Fr. Pastells is also well-written. But reading through his critique, Fr. Bonoan showed more sympathy for Rizal than for Pastells: He upheld Rizal’s primacy of conscience and contrasted Pastell’s Vatican I mindset with the teachings of Vatican II. If you want to know the details, read the book.
But my sympathies are for Pastells. And to him we can quote Fr. Horacio de la Costa’s words:
But look at it another way. Look at it through the eyes of a Spanish friar who found himself a prisoner of the Army of the Revolution. He was the last of a long line of missionaries, stretching back to that great defender of Rights, Fray Domingo de Salazar. They had brought this whole people from primitive tribalism to civilization. They had raised from stones children of Abraham. And in the end, the children had turned on their fathers.
It was not only tragic; it was the very essence of tragedy
–Fr. Horacio de la Costa, “The Priest in the Philippine Life and Society: An Historical View,” in Church and Sacraments, ed. by Ma. Victoria B. Parco (Office of Research and Publications, Ateneo de Manila University, 1990), pp. 192-200.
References to the Correspondence
Part 1. Introduction
Two Separate Paths: Historical Background
- The Young Rizal and the Jesuits
- The European Experiment
- The Shipwreck of Faith
- Pastells and the Spanish Jesuits
- Arrest and Exile
The Clash of Cultures: Theological Critique
- The Enlightenment and the Catholic Response
- Private Judgment
- The Problem of God
Part 2. The Spanish Text of Rizal’s Letters and the Missing Portions of Pastell’s Fourth Letter
The First Letter of Rizal
The Second Letter of Rizal
The Third Letter of Rizal
The Fourth Letter of Rizal
The Fifth Letter of Rizal
Portions of the Pastell’s Fourth Letter Missing in the Epislorio Rizalino
Part 3. Translations of the Correspondence
The First Letter of Rizal
The First Letter of Pastells
The Second Letter of Rizal
The Second Letter of Pastells
The Third Letter of Rizal
The Third Letter of Pastells
The Fourth Letter of Rizal
The Fourth Letter of Pastells
The Fifth Letter of Rizal
Previous: I. My New Age Background
But I saw no book by Lobsang Rampa, Sitchin, Licauco, or Casteneda. I saw something else: a picture of a lovely lady on a book’s front cover. I did not hear angels telling me, “Tolle lege,” or “Take and read,” as what happened to St. Augustine; but I took the book anyway. The book is entitled, “A Handbook on Guadalupe” by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (1997).
At first glance, I instinctively know that the picture of the Lady could not be a painting. I am a pastel painter but not a professional. I do not use brush. I use crayon pastels like crayons, but I mix them using baby oil and cotton. I see blue shadows cast by the yellow sun. I see green and yellow in the human skin. I intersect parallel lines at vanishing points. I scale pictures using boxes and triangles. I sense symmetry. I see beauty. Yet a true artist I am not, for I do not know human anatomy. I do not know the names of the muscles and how they are attached to the bones. I do not know the golden ratios that describe the human form. I am only a copyist and in this I am content. But if I see a masterpiece, I know it truly is.
- somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
- your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose
- or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
- nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
- (i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
Call it love at first sight. I bought the book.
When I was in college, I once visited the National Bookstore in Katipunan hoping to find some bargains on books by Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, Zechariah Sitchin, Jaime Licauco, and Carlos Castaneda. I have read their books and I hunger for more.
Lobsang Rampa‘s “Cave of the Ancients” tells of relics of an advanced civilization hidden in a cave: a perpetual light source and some sort of movie of the bygone years. If I remember right, it discusses Kirlian photography—how to see the human aura. The book also tells that Jesus is only a wise man and there are records that says he learned his teachings by journeying outside Judea—probably in India or Tibet.
Zechariah Sitchin‘s “12th Planet” claims that according to ancient Sumerian records, the human race were made by aliens visiting the earth through advanced space crafts, and that these aliens are the Nephilims in the book of Genesis.
Jaime Licauco‘s “True Encounters with the Unknown” recounts the many paranormal phenomena in the Philippines: psychic surgery and faith healing, reincarnation and walk-in spirits, Mt. Banahaw and Sto. Ninos. The book claims that there are highly evolved ascended masters who will teach us secret knowledge such as those found in the Gnostic gospels.
Carlos Castaneda‘s “Journey to Ixtlan” talks about the author’s journey with a Yaqui Indian named Don Juan who can change his appearance and shape to that of coyote, eagle, or another man. Don Juan told him about the Unknowable and the Unknown. The Unknown is the refuge of the Indians during the Spanish colonization when Christianity was imposed. In the Unknown lies a separate reality that can only be achieved by first learning to focus on the shadows instead of leaves.
As you can see, I am not a New Age practitioner. I have no out-of-body experiences, no signs of past life, no contact with other spirits. I do not use tarot cards, crystal balls, and dowsing sticks. I am only a New Age reader. The lure of New Age for me is secret knowledge or “gnosis”, the knowledge that my Catholic Faith has deprived me, or so I thought.
II. My Encounter With Our Lady of Guadalupe: “Somewhere I have never travelled” by e. e. cummings
III. Book Review: Handbook on Guadalupe
IV. Biblical Iconography of Guadalupe
V. Rediscovery of My Catholic Faith
Today we are amidst the battle between the forces of Life and and of Death. This battle is fought not against “flesh and blood ; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Eph 6:12). To know whom we in the Pro-Life Movement are fighting against, read this book:
SOURCES (from the Foreword):
- Pope John Paul II. He wrote the longes encyclical letter ever published—the Evangelium Vitae. The gravity of its message was strongly underscored during the 3d Pro-Life Conference in Rome which called to attention all Bishops and Catholics who are compr[om]ising in their morals and are firm advocates of the contraceptive lifestyle. Bishops and Catolics who maintain this anti-life belief can be penalized by Rome if they do not conform to the Church’s teachings. In the past, almost fifty percent of American and European Bishops went against Pope Paul VI because of his encyclical, Humanae Vitae.
- There exists in the United States a confidential document, as revealed by the Pontifical Council on Family Life, known as the National Social Security Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200). This classified document specifically mentions the concern of the U.S. over the growing depletion of natural resources and the subsequent increase in population growth, that if left uncontrolled this phenomenon will cause major security problems for the United States (NSSM 200, p. 44). It mentions the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh as America’s target for its depopulation program (NSSM 200, 1974, p. 101). And they will do this using US AID.
- There are other materials which were provided by known authorities of New World Order from Canada and the United Staes, like Gilles Grondin who holds a copy of the Rockefeller File which exposes how the Freemasons control the U.S. government, especially its Treasury, the State Department, and the United Nations.
- Malachi Martin. He is a noted relgious writer with Vatican connections, holds another explosive material, NSSM 400. He shares materials with our research center staff in U.S.A. and Canada. He wrote The Keys of this Blood, a powerful book on the conspiracy against the weak.
- En Route to Global Occupation by Gary Kah; Committee of 300, Conspirators by Dr. John Coleman; Unveiling the Mystery of Freemasonry, by the Cardinal Caro y Rodriguez; U.N. Rule the World; the Lords of Poverty, by Graham Hancock; New World Order; Iron Mountain; Beyond Freemasonry by William Schoenbelen; the Morals and Dogma of Freemasonry by Albert Pike; CBCP Decision on Freemasonry–March 14, 1990; The New American Magazine, Bimonthly Magazine.
- All documents from the United Nations Conferences which we collated from 1992 to 1996: the Rio de Janiero World Summit on Human Environment, 1992; U.N. World Summit on Human Rights, 1993-Vienna; U.N. International Conference on Population Development, 1994-Cairo; U.N. World Summit on Social Development, 1995-Copenhagen; U.N. 4th Women World Conference, 1995-Beijing; U.N. Habitat II Preparatory Meeting, 1996-New York
I. A Global Conspiracy
- The Plot, Hidden Agenda, Main Target, Totalitarianism, Apparent Culprit, Global Control
II. The Conspirators’s Front
- The NSSM 200 (Kissinger Report), New World Order, Committee of 300, C-300′s Tightly Guarded Secrets
III. The United Nations
- The Conspirator’s Killing Machine, International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF), One World Citizenship, UN Declaration on its 50th Anniversary, UN Conference on Environmental Development (UNCED), UN World Conference on Human Rights, UN Int’l Conference on Population and Development, UN World Summit on Human Development, UN 4th World Conference on Women, Habitat II: UN Conference on Human Settlements
IV. Freemasons: The Real Conspirators Against Life
- Origin of Freemasonry, The Goal of Masonry, Sources of Authoritative Literature of Masonry, Kabbalism, Gnosticism, Knights Templars, Roscrusians, Illuminati, the Palladium Rite, New World Order and Freemasonry, Globalists and Piggy Globalists, old Internationale and Freemasonry, Ren Internationale and Freemasonry, Roman Catholic Church and Freemasonry, the Roman Catholic Church’s Stand on Freemasonry
V. Spiritual Warfare
- By their Fruits You Will Know Them, The Real Enemy: the Devil and His Weapons, Solution
VI. Bitter Truth
- Mass Media Control, Information, Education and Communication (IEC), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Six Principles of Deception, Lie Against Women, Breakdown of the Family, Corruption of Youth, Attack Against the Clergy
VII. Evangelium Vitae and the Alliance of the Two Hearts
- Evangelium Vitae, Communion of Reparation, Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, House-toHouse Evangelism, Reading of the Word of God, FamilyReconciliation, Family Rosary, Blessing of the Home, Imposition of the Scapular, Home Study Program, Promise of Virginity, Pledge of Conjugal Chastity
- Feminism: the Six Frauds, RU 486: the Rest of the Story, A Woman’s Right to Choose—Woman and the Problem of Pregnancy, Had an Abortion? Feeling Bad? A Guide to Fertility, To Deceive a Nation: AIDS Update 1993, Planned Parenthood: It’s Not What You Think, Blessed are the Pure in Heart, What is Worth? Evolution, Secularism and the Attack of the Church, Good Priests Need Your Support, Censorship in a Pluralistic Society, Television’s Double-Edged Impact on Family Life
V. Rediscovery of My Catholic Faith
Mama also taught me how to read other Catholic books. I read her messages in the Marian Movement of Priests. I read the books of Scott Hahn and learned of his conversion story. I read Fr. Leo Trese‘s “The Faith Explained.” I read the Catechism. But my favorite book is on Dogmatic Theology lent to me by a friend. How simple to state are the Catholic dogmas–Jesus is the Son of Man, Mary is the Mother of God–yet how many church doctors, how many councils, how many centuries have to pass before these dogmas can be understood and explained. And the mystery of the dogma deepens.
I read books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets–anything that I could get my hands on to learn more and more about the Catholic Church. (I also occasionally read articles against the church and the pope, but I have to pray beforehand and read the Catechism afterwards—shots of vaccine against a virus.) Now, I am reading the “Confessions” of St. Augustine and the “Summa Theologiae” of St. Aquinas. But because of my physics background, I only read the physics parts: relativity of time in Augustine and optics in Aquinas. The rest I skipped. But somehow in the process I get a glimpse of their theology.
And Mama led me to her Son. I learned to value the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance. I learned to pray the rosary as a meditation on the life of Christ. I learned to pray the chaplet of the Divine Mercy. I studied a little Latin. And someday when I have enough money, I’ll buy my first 1962 missal and unearth the treasures of the ancient mass.
I do not know why our Protestant brothers hate Mama very much. Is it because she is beautiful? Is it because Christ honored her as his mother by lavishing her with all the graces that the Angel Gabriel addresses her as “Full of Grace”? Or is it because they haven’t yet felt the love of mother? They have God as Father. They have Christ as Brother. But they have no Mother. “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5)– this is the only command from our Mother. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so does Mary shines in splendor with the light of Christ. In the darkest night, Mary guides us with the light of Christ and she prepares us for the dawn of His Coming.
A year after my graduation in college, my mother died. She died due to kidney failure—a complication of diabetes. But before she died, I visited her in Bacolod. She cannot anymore recognize me. My sister took the handbook of Guadalupe and showed it to my mother. My mother said, “Toto, Toto.” That was my name my mother calls me. And she only knew my name because of Guadalupe. Maybe she is saying Christ’s last words on the cross: “Woman, behold your son.” My mother did not leave me orphan. She entrusted me to Our Lady, to Our Mother, to Our Mama.
I love you Nanay. I love you Mama.
Last New Year’s Eve, I was browsing some books at home in Bacolod and I stumbled on a black book with a white cross like the mantle of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John: “Purgatory: Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints” by Fr. F. X. Schouppe, S.J. The imprimatur was issued in 1893, so this must be a very old book, though the edition that I have was published by TAN in 1986.
The pocket book is divided into two parts. Part I is the Mystery of God’s Justice. Part II is the Mystery of God’s Mercy. The first part have 41 chapters; the second, 65. But do not let the number of chapters discourage you: each chapter do not exceed 5 pages. And the prints are large like that of Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys. So this 430-page treatise on purgatory is an easy read.
The book opens with fire: “Let him be anathema.” In pages vi to vii, Fr. Shouppe immediately lists down the pertinent Canons of the Council of Trent (1547-1551) regarding Purgatory. For those of us who still plan to set aside the doctrine of Purgatory, the threat of anathema (let him be handed over to Satan) is enough to make us think thrice. (Vatican II, in contrast, was a pastoral council and no anathemas were hurled.)
But despite the anathemas, the book’s writing style is simple, because it was meant to instruct the simple–the children and the child-like. Thus, we should not expect the rigor of proof like that of St. Thomas’s “Summa Theologiae”. Rather, we should read it as if we are reading St. Louis de Montfort’s masterpiece: “The Secret of the Rosary.”
The first sentences of each chapter of the book are usually the main point. The next paragraphs are doctrines, teachings, and stories illustrating such point. The dogmatic doctrines of the church regarding Purgatory must be believed by all Catholics. The teachings of doctors and theologians we may disagree, but it would be ” imprudent, and even rash, to reject them, and it is in the spirit of the church to follow the opinions commonly held by the doctors.” The revelations of saints we may also disbelieve, but since they are authenticated, “we cannot freely reject them without offending against reason; because sound reason demands that all men should give assent to truth when it is sufficiently demonstrated.” These distinctions Fr. Schouppe explained in his Preface.
Today, we have forgotten about sin and the effects of sin on the soul, which must be paid to the last penny either in this age or in the age to come. We have forgotten about our dead relatives who languished long in Purgatory with no one to pray for them. We have forgotten how our little works here on earth, such as as simply abstaining from water between meals, can assuage the suffering of our departed brethren. We have forgotten about the power of the rosary, the scapular, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We have forgotten that we too shall die. And the cure for our forgetfulness? Fr. Schouppe’s “Purgatory.”
This book is a masterpiece.
The Ateneo Catechetical Instruction League (ACIL) asked me to give a talk this afternoon on the paranormal and the occult. I have given the same talk last year when I was still a facilitator of ACIL-Escopa, about a week after Fr. Jose Francisco C. Syquia, Director of the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism, gave his talk at the Jesuit Loyola House of Studies, the only talk that made me trek down the hilly jungle to that secluded school of priests, nuns, and brothers from all over the Philippines. The Loyola House stands on the precipice of a fault overlooking the city of Marikina: all the kingdoms of the world laid bare before you, tempting you with wealth, power, and glory, as you try to focus on the Kingdom of Heaven beyond the clouds, beyond the stars, at the end of time.
I do not personally know Fr. Syquia, but I bought his book at Power Books at Megamall, on the Feast of All Hallows Eve 2006. I have grown suspicious of any book on paranormal. I have read Lobsang Rampa, Carlos Castaneda, and Jaime Licauco in my youth. I have read them and found them wanting: they promise that anyone “can be like gods, knowing good and evil,” as the Serpent tempted Eve. But I see only emptiness in the faces of the New Age practitioners. No joy, no peace. By their fruits you shall know them.
But Fr. Syquia’s book is different. It is an account by an exorcist priest himself. No theological speculations, no make-believe stories, no fear. Only plain stories from his everyday encounters with demon-possessed persons and spirit-infested houses, against the backdrop of authentic Catholic Church Teaching and sayings of the saints.
The book’s structure is similar to a diptych. Most chapters consist of two parts: (1) Experience narrative and (2) church teaching. This is what journalists call as the broken-line method: narrative, explain, narrative, explain. I would have preferred a more systematic demonology: classification of demons, their powers, manifestations, and weaknesses. Maybe this is just my hangover from my close study of the Monster Manual in Dungeons and Dragons in my youth. But Fr. Syquia’s narrative grounds you to the reality: the hairy kapre in a mango tree, the arrogant blasphemies of the possessed, the crisp cards of a fortune teller, the consecrated hands of the priests. This is the war of angels and demons fought in our very earth, in our very house, in our very soul. And Fr. Syquia tells us about this war in its gory details: the vomits, the salts, the ropes, the shrieks. This is the war whose ending we know: Satan bound by Christ our Lord; the Serpent’s head crushed by Our Lady’s heel. Satan knows his defeat and he wants to drag as many souls with him to Hell.
Here are the contents of Fr. Syquia’s book:
- The Church and the Devil
- The Parapsychological Dimension
- Catholicism and Philippine Folk Religiosity
- The Secrets of the New Age Movement: Notebook 1
- The Secrets of the New Age Movement: Notebook 2
- Ministering to Those under Extraordinary Demonic Assault
- Confrontation between God and the Devil
- The Catholic in the Midst of Love and War
- The Scars of Battle
- Defensive Armor and Offensive Weapons
- The Exorcist
- Haunted Houses: Notebook 1
- Haunted Houses: Notebook 2
Notes on Some of the Sources Used
Appendix A: More on Philippine Folk Religiosity
Appendix B: Personal Spiritual Warfare
Appendix C: A Concise Handbook on Exorcism and Deliverance
Appendix D: A Pastoral Approach to Infested Homes
Appendix E: Manual of Prayers
About the Author