Monday, March 5, 2012

Secularization of the Clergy

The execution by garote of Fathers José Burgos, Mariano Gómez, and Jacinto Zamora on February 17, 1872 turned the three priest into martyrs for the cause of independence from Spain. 

One of the three martyrs, Father Jacinto Zamora was born and bred in Pandacan.  He was the son of Don Venancio Zamora, a former capitan of Pandacan, and Doña Hilaria del Rosario.  Father Zamora was outspoken, a character, which was evident even during his student days. Zamora was assigned to work with Fathers Burgos and Gomez for the secularization of the Filipino clergy, much to the irritation of the Spanish Friars. 

Three Filipino priests—Fathers Gomez, Burgos,and Zamora, collectively known as the Gomburza martyrs—were executed bythe colonial regime during the Philippine revolution against Spain. Playing theGomburza for the GMA cinematic version of "Lupang Hinirang" are (fromleft, in priests' cassock) Victor Aliwalas, Paolo Paraiso, and BodjieCruz. 
My grandfather, Marciano Noble was born in Pandacan on May 24, 1876, four years after the execution of the three priests.  He was the youngest child of Petronilo Noble and Barbara de Jesus.  I was told that my grandfather worked as a book keeper for Don Mauro Prieto at the Compania General de Tabacos.  His job must have been akin to that of a cost accountant; it is said that Marciano Noble knew exactly what  and how much goes into a cigar.   

The prevailing mood of the population at that time was nationalistic and at the same time very critical of the church.  What was basically a conflict between the religious orders (otherwise referred to as the Friars) and the bishops (who have their own secular priests) turned into issues of nationalism and racial discrimination.  While his father Petronilo was himself a church persona, and his mother Barbara de Jesus was in charge of liturgical vestments, Marciano Noble was never known to be involved with church matters.  It must have been the revolutionary mood that distanced him from priests.

When friars were captured by the Filipino rebels they were killed. The first three priests secured by Aguinaldo in his first battle were roasted on bamboo spits, smeared with oil and burned, and minced to pieces.  A Filipino priest, Father Serrondo, at Pandacan was assaulted by a mob of women. They tore his cassocks in shred and chased him out of town.  Two hundred irate women occupied the churchyard to prevent him from coming back.

On the other hand, a noteworthy katipunero from Pandacan, General Ramon Bernardo whose Katipunan nom de guerre is Salogo says “My faith in the eventual victory of the Sons of the People  never wavered, and to this end I often said the Te Deum.”  After the Battle of Santa Mesa where only a few of his troops survived, Salogo regrouped with Bonifacio at Balara. Bonifacio offered him a promotion as General of a Division with the troops in Balara, Tungko and Masuyod under his command.  

“I told the Supremo that I could serve the Katipunan better as a humble deputy of the Supreme Council of the Sons of the people,” says Bernardo in an account kept by General Santiago Alvarez.  After delivering a letter from Bonifacio to Aguinaldo, General Bernardo, known for his  heroic stand at Santa Mesa, disappeared from the annals of the revolution.  

Ramon Bernardo played the organ, specially during high mass, at the church in Pandacan.  Petronilo Noble tended the church records.  Both were church mice, but not Marciano Noble.

(Click on the link to go to the NHI website)  The Secularization Issue was an international Issue

PHOTO: Courtesy of GMA-7

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