The Temporal and Spiritual Swords May 17, 2011Posted by servantisrael in History.
In this chapter, we will see how the TEMPORAL SWORD of the state was used and manipulated by the SPIRITUAL SWORD of the Roman Catholic Church to subject the Filipinos into total submission, oppression and exploitation for 333 years.
1.1 Where the Two Swords of Pope Boniface VIII Landed
During the reign of Maharajah Luisong Tagean, Magellan and his armies sailed across the Pacific Ocean on their way to the Moluccas Islands in Southeast Asia. In March 1521, he accidentally discovered a group of islands, the MAHARLIKA. Spain renamed these islands “Las Islas de Filipinas” after its King, Felipe II. These Spaniards were the European conquistadors who brought with them the “two bloodstained swords” of Pope Boniface VIII.
These were the same SWORDS that forcefully subjugated the Europeans before Martin Luther spiritually awakened them. These SWORDS also subjugated the early people of the North and South Americas. The merger between the church and the state resulted in a powerful top-of-the-line method of subjugation controlling the body, the mind, and the soul of the conquered subjects.
The Spaniards pursued the location of the Spice Islands through the directions given by the Portuguese who reached Southeast Asia in 1500. From Mexico, Magellan crossed the Pacific Ocean towards the Moluccas, the source of the spices. He strayed to the Maharlika and landed on the island of Homonhon off the southern tip of Samar in March 1521. Magellan had three purposes in mind: to look for the Spice Islands, to conquer heathen lands and to acquire treasures for his king and his pope.
Magellan’s stay in the Maharlika was brief because he was killed in a battle by the valiant Mactan chieftain, Rajah Lapulapu Tagean.
In 1564, Legaspi, with 5 friars and 355 soldiers left Mexico for the Maharlika They arrived here after a year. Initially, they concentrated in Cebu and plundered all its valuables. These vandals desecrated even the graves to dig for gold. They finally devastated and depopulated the island. After ravaging Cebu,, they embarked for the island of Panay in 1568 using the same modus operandi : they robbed , they burnt and they killed. Half of the population perished. They coveted the gold necklaces that were “good enough to be worn in Madrid.”
1.2 The Strategy for Subjugation, Taxation and Siphoning of Gold
Legaspi started the process of colonization, first by the act of possession. He landed his fleet on the shore, said the Roman Mass, broke a branch of the tree or a tall grass, threw a stone and then carved a cross on the tree trunk. Next was the ‘entrada’ or raid. It could be peaceful, if they were welcomed, or violent, if they were resisted. The next step was the ‘reducciones’ or subjugation. It was to place the native Filipino under their control. As the word ‘sub-jugo-action’ connotes, it was to place the other under a yoke, like an animal of burden.
The Filipinos were herded like animals out of their barangays and compelled to live in centers called the ‘pueblo.’ They were forced to abandon the lands they cultivate.
Around the pueblo, each family cultivated and planted on a piece of land assigned to them. From the produce, a family supported itself and paid the tributes. They paid tributes to the following: the ‘alcalde’, a local person with some leadership quality who is like a barangay chairman today; the friar who was the priest of the ‘doctrina’ or parish; a lay Spaniard with a group of pueblos called the ‘repartamiento’ or ‘encomiendo’; finally, for the ‘caja de comunidad’ a common fund that was used for the ‘public works’ of pueblos.
No Spaniard, at their early stage of colonization, wanted to reside permanently in the Maharlika. All of them had only one purpose, to become rich and be back to Spain as soon as possible and be considered wealthy gentlemen coming back from a rich New World. As ‘encomenderos’, they had the right to :
1. Collect Tribute
2. Exploit Labor
3. Impose Quotas from the natives’ produce
On regular basis, these encomenderos, accompanied by soldiers visited the pueblos and collected the tribute. For the first 25 years, the Filipinos paid their tributes in kind, namely: gold, pearls and other precious commodities. Many Filipinos resisted and escaped the collections but they were pursued and killed. Their houses were ransacked and burnt. In Ilocos, for instance, more than 500 natives were killed and 4,000 houses were burnt when they fled from the encomenderos.
Every week, each family in the doctrina supplied the friars with firewood, eggs, chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables and wax from the forests. These were on top of the national government’s contribution of 200 sacks of rice a year for each friar. During the forty days of Lent, the friars demanded a contribution of an egg per person per day. Obviously, since the Friars could not consume all these eggs, these were sold back to the parishioners. This was the original intention of the friars. The convents were made like ‘retail stores.’
The government imposed tribute once a year per family. In the doctrinas, however, the friars obliged tribute, using money, from every individual three times a year to support the major feasts of Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi and the Patron Saint. Even outside the pueblos, wherever there were groups of people, a ‘visita’ or chapel was erected. In these chapels, the friars obliged the same tributes as in the pueblos.
In 1589, Spanish and Mexican coins were introduced in the Maharlika for trade and payment of tribute, but gold was still preferred by the encomenderos. When people had no produce and money, they were forced to pay their precious possession, gold. Once they failed to pay their taxes, their wives or daughters were placed on the stocks with them where they were whipped. However, their debts were still added for the next collection.
In this manner, gold was systematically robbed from the natives. The king of Spain took 20% of all gold collected from his colonies. The friars also sent part of the gold collected to their big boss in Rome.
1.3 The Exploitation of Labor and Women
Labor was also exploited. It was called polos y servicios. ‘Polos’ were most burdersome in the shipyards. The Filipinos were given very meager wages for their work from midnight to sunset. Many died because of exhaustion, malnutrition and miserable living. Their families who were left home starved because they remained in the shipyards for many months and they could not plant. In 1581, in Lubao, Pampanga, 1,000 Filipinos died of starvation.
Another exploitation of labor was the ‘tanores’ The Filipinos worked for the friar, the alcalde and the Spaniards without pay. A Spaniard needed 10 to 20 servants daily to take turn in attending to all his needs. Stories abound that these Spaniards lived like kings and gods exploiting and treating the natives like slaves. The Friars forced pretty young women to display themselves around the convents or the courtyards.
Morga, a Spaniard who reported on this practice of the friars said: “Besides this (girls made to display themselves), there are other things which it would be offensive to say.” Today, a macho Pinoy will just go to a Maalikaya Sauna Bath after office hours and choose from the many pretty girls on display for his lust.
The friars employed housekeepers for the convents. A housekeeper was called ‘despensera’. For many of the friars, the ‘despensera’ was the prettiest girl in the parish, or doctrina, who was actually the concubine of the priest. Sometimes, she was ‘married’ to the head sacristan for convenience to camouflage her role as the priest’s mistress housed in the convent.
1.4 Corruption of the Friars
Aside from concubinage and the indiscriminate ‘hit-and-run’ tactics with the women, the friars also penetrated injustice and oppression in coeting the riches of the Filipinos. During the Early years of colonial rule, a Spanish governor-general already observed this commercialism of the friars.
‘From the bishop down to the humblest of them, they are as good merchants as the most secular and the most skillful trader.”
The friars always charged the people for their services. They charged for confessions, marriage banns (announcements by publication) and marriage blessings. Masses, especially for the dead, were of different rates when recited or sung (‘cantada’). For req-uiem masses and baptisms, they also charged differently depending on the kind of crosses used. The fees for masses and baptisms using the metal cross were more expensive than the fees using the wooden cross.
Burial services had different rates depending on the bells used (big or small), prayers (recited or sung) and the number of stops on the way to the cemetery with corresponding prayers (maximum of three stops). A Spanish auditor’s report to the king in 1758 said : “a man’s death is followed by a looting of his house for the burial fees.”
The friars became hacienderos and owners of vast lands. They believed that by right of conquest, all lands in the Maharlika belong to the pope and then leased to the king of Spain. Consequently, all lands in the Maharlikhan were ‘realengas’ or public domain at the disposal of the king. The conquistadors parceled these lands to the Filipinos for their residences and cultivation. The king also gave lands to deserving Spaniards, but none to the friars. However, many of these lay Spaniards, when they return to Spain or die would donate these lands to the friars. This was th start of the FRIAR LANDS.
Sometimes, the friars buy the lands given to the Filipinos for cultivation. They also take over take over the communal lands that are used by everybody for gathering firewood and other forest products, fishing or communal farming to raise funds for the ‘caja de comunidad’.
When these lands were placed in the possession of the friars, they literally grow because their boundaries expand outwards and encroach on the surrounding properties that belong to the farmers. This happened to Miguel Banal, a descendant of Rajah Soliman, in 1609. The Jesuits bought land for farming around the pueblo of Quiapo. Soon they encroached on the properties of the villagers. When Banal complained , a Jesuit priest, accompanied by an armed mob, burned his house, and threatened to burn it again if he would build another one. In 1688, the Recollect friars organized a mob that raided and burned the villages of Silang, Oyaye and Malinta for the same reason.
In Spanish, the word for Jesuit is ‘Jesuita.’ The religious order of the ‘Society of Jesus’, the Jesuits, was included in the term ‘friars’ though strictly they were not. The experience of Banal and the others produced a new word in the Tagalog language: ‘suitic,’ from the word ‘Jesuita.’ Even today, this word describes a person who is cunning, conniving, crafty and dishonest.
During the Spanish regime, the Chinese were considered better farmers than the Filipinos. It was desirable to bring them to this country but the Spanish government had a quota for Chinese migrants. However, since there was a great demand for these Chinese farmers, the Spanish immigration officials were bribed by the friars to disregard the quota. By 1639, there were 33,000 new Chinese immigrants in the Maharlika. The Jesuits in Quiapo employed 250 of these Chinese To work on their farms. But because of oppressive conditions, the Chinese ‘revolted’ against the Jesuits in 1603.
Chinese labor was exploited in a very inhuman manner. In one hacienda in Calamba, Laguna, for example, 6,000 Chinese farmers were employed. But because of miserable working conditions, 300 of them died. During those years, there were a few Chinese ‘revolts’ due to inhuman treatment by the Spanish masters. About 22,000 or 24,000 Chinese died, by slaughter and sickness.
1.5 Scums and Scalawags
Who were these Spanish masters who came to Maharlika? We learned how the group of Legaspi conducted themselves in Cebu and Panay. The soldiers who came to the Maharlika a hundred years later were worst. In 1677, all the criminals under the Spanish regime in the Americas were offered amnesty if they volunteer as soldiers in the Maharlika. They were the scum of their society. They advanced to the highest military rank and were obsessed with sex, power and wealth. With the authority and the sword, these barbaric ex-convicts, criminals and mercenaries tyrannized the Filipinos like animals hunted down. They robbed their possessions and lusted with their delightful bodies.
The missionary friars were not better than those soldiers. Many were from the lower social classes in Spain. In their pueblos and their doctrinas, they were the only Spaniards around. Ordinance 29 of 1642 and 1698 prohibited Lay Spaniards from residing in the pueblos because of “their bad habits” and “cruelty to the natives.” No lay Spaniard lived near the friars who could report on their behavior or contest their authority. Their word was the law; their whim was a command. A report to the king of Spain in 1842 criticized the lifestyle of these friars with the usual four salient passions: unbassed, concubinage, rapacious, accumulation of wealth, arrogant pride and runaway cruelty.
The regular income of a friar came from rents paid by many Filipinos for the lands they cultivated or as tenants of the friar-hacienderos. The money accumulated by these friars was further invested in the Galleon Trade. The Return of Investment (ROI) from this trade ranged from 200% to 300% per round trip.
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Through the centuries, the friar’s lands expanded, bringing enormous profits to these fat land grabbers living comfortably in their convents. In the meantime, more and more Filipinos became tenants, chained in debt to their supposedly religious masters without hope of redemption.
This also happened in the Latin American countries. “The Indians always offered their labor without pay as part of their contribution. It was not only confined to the construction of church buildings, it became the rule in the church’s vast tracts of land.
In the long run the church became one of the main instruments which caused the impoverishment of the native races until they were completely destitute. By the end of the colonial period, the church owned an estimated one half of the total wealth of Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay and Ecuador and almost that proportion in ALL the other Latin American countries, while most of the remaining half was controlled by the clergy through mortgages.
The Spanish Roman Catholic priests, the original ‘suitic,’ were the principal agent in the enslavement, oppression and deprivation of the Filipinos during the 333 years of colonial period.
1.6 The Untouchable and Greedy Friars
The doctrinas of the friars became their absolute domains. With their new sense of power, they even disobeyed and resisted the civil and church-mandated ‘visitation’ of their doctrinas by the Archbishop of Manila, the highest ecclesiastical authority in the Maharlika. In 1697, for instance, when the Dominicans and Franciscans refused the entry of the Archbishop of Manila into their domains and the Archbishop’s guards broke down the church doors, the friars retaliated by abandoning their doctrinas.
The potent weapon used by the friars was a pre-arranged, pre-planned and concerted threat to walkout from their doctrinas when the Archbishop insisted on the doctrina visitations. For lack of priests, the friars always prevailed against the Archbishop’s visitation rights.
Yehushua said that He is The Good Shepherd who takes care of His sheep. The hireling, because he is only such, is not concerned with the sheep. So, when he sees the wolf coming, he simply runs away ( John 10:11-13.)
The friars were worse than those ‘hirelings’ mentioned by Christ. Whenever they see the archbishop (their boss) coming, they are threatened and angry, so they all run away and abandon their parishes and flocks.
The motives of the friars were clear. There were secular priests supposed to take over the doctrinas as soon as these were established. But the friars were glued and entrenched in their doctrinas enjoying the comfort, the concubines, the wealth and the glory being rich hacienderos. They could not be dislodged from their little kingdoms where they ruled like despots.
To live comfortably (not luxuriously) as ministers of God, the goodies that the people gave the friars as tributes and ‘limosnas’ (gifts or offerings) were sufficient for their sustenance. The ‘hard currency’ that they received from stipends, trading and the hacienda rentals were all SURPLUS which served only one purpose: TO SATISFY THEIR INSATIABLE GREED FOR THE WEALTH OF THE PEOPLE AND THE LAND.
The friars deprive and siphoned the Filipinos’ meager livelihood without mercy. They were supposed to take care of these Filipinos. On the contrary, they caused their impoverishment and indignation. These tyrannical priests did not show compassion and mercy towards their hapless parishioners. Their superiors abroad who sent them here were the masterminds who were worst than them.
1.7 Indolent Indios? —- A Hoax
Adding insult to injury, these priests accused the Filipinos of indolence, laziness and low I.Q., ‘because of the great influence of the moon’. In their assessment, all Filipinos were lunatics according to an Augustinian friar in his letter to his superior written in 1720. They also called the Filipinos : Indio, a very low caste native; “bruto,” an animal by nature with animal characteristics; “barbaro,” uncouth, ill-mannered and uncivilized and “ignorante,” uninformed and uneducated.
In 1765, a Spanish fiscal, Leandro de Viana, observed the laziness of the Filipinos, but blamed the Spaniards. He said that the Spaniards acted like gentlemen, who felt that it was below their dignity to engage in other activity except commerce. They engaged in “swindling and begging alms (aqcollecting tributes)… and lived in utter idleness.” They pressured the Filipinos to cultivate their lands and took almost everything. Since idleness is the devil’s workshop, these Spaniards engaged in gambling and “malicious tales, slanders and factions, sloth and licentiousness…to be rich without labor.”
A French traveler, le Gentil, during the late 18th century, observed the laziness he saw both in the Filipinos and the Spaniards. He said: “I believe that I have discovered the reason for it. They (the Filipinos) got it from the Spaniards.” He attributed this to the despotism of religion and cruelty of the friars who were the ministers of the Roman inquisition.
In 1782, Pierre Sonnerat, a Frenchman, said : “Everything …in the Filipinas, indicates the indolence of a people who direct all their efforts to Religion, and whose sole objective seems to acquire proselytes (converts to religion).”
On the other hand, a Frenchman, Chevalier de Pages, extolled the workmanship and talents of the people in Samar. “They made fiddles ( similar to violins ) and guitars, canoes and exquisite woven mats. They were excellent shipbuilders and rope-markers, which they engaged in the “ …highest pitch of perfection.”
The Filipinos were poor, not because they were lazy, but because they were compelled to give so much to their Spanish masters and left so little for themselves. Because of these, there was little initiative and energy to provide for the needs of their families.
In 1860, the Spanish government established the Monte de Piedad as a financing institution to manage the ‘surplus’ money of the pueblos ‘ caja de comunidad’. Again, this became an oppressive business venture for the colonizers. The Filipinos worked and contributed for these funds that were intended for the ‘public works’ of their respective pueblos, including the building and maintenance of their schools. But this institution further impoverished the conditions of the Filipinos.
1.8 Ancient Filipinos Definitely Literate
Some Spaniards in the Maharlika said that the Filipinos, particularly in Luzon at the outset of the Spanish colonization were literate. They used their own indigenous form of writing. They were Fr. Chirino, a Jesuit priest, who wrote in 1600; Morga, a colonial administrator, who wrote in 1603. Pardo de Tavera, who wrote in 1621, and Father Collin, another Jesuit Priest, who wrote in 1663 But despite these authoritative testimonies, many local historians today still insist that pre Hispanic native Filipinos were illiterate.
At the outset of the Spanish colonization, the Filipinos were more literate than their European counterparts. It was recorded that one could hardly find a BOY or GIRL in the villages of Luzon who did not know his or her ALEBATA or did not know how to read and write.
Under the Spanish era, boys and girls up to fourteen years old went to school. The activities were Mass, recitation of the rosary every afternoon, procession twice a day and many other singing, praying and catechism in between. A little time was allotted for reading and writing.
On December 20, 1863, a royal decree on education required the regime in the Maharlika to establish a real school system that included even the provinces. The decree deplored the backward condition of learning outside Manila and their ignorance of the Spanish language.
Eight years later, in 1871, the educational system in the Maharlika further deteriorated. In many provinces, there were no school buildings. There were no desks. Many pupils sat on the ground. There were no pens or books. These conditions were attributed to the lack of funds due to the borrowings from the caja de comunidad money by the exploiting Monte de Piedad.
Education for the Filipinos was not a priority to the friars. Earlier, in 1680, a Dominican archbishop wrote to the Spanish king that the natives had very little inclination for theological and moral studies. He did not favor Filipinos to study for the priesthood.
1.9 The Temporal Sword
The Spanish conquistadors, including the friars, did not come to the Maharlika shores with altruistic and spiritual motives in mind. They came not to share but to rule, plunder and display their might to their fellow-conquerors in Europe. They came to fulfill their insatiable greed for power, wealth and pleasure.
The conquistadors readily implemented the “TWO SWORDS” decreed in the Bull of Pope Boniface VIII. Because of this, they did not fail. In the hands of the soldiers struck fear in the Filipinos’ peace-loving forefathers. It tore the flesh of those who resisted. The “Temporal Sword” subdued the Filipinos to allow their greedy and uncivilized foreign masters to exploit the riches of their land.
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The history of Mexico and the other Latin American countries were filled with accounts of atrocities, massacres and devastations by their European colonizers. It was also done here. They were the same breed of men who came to the Maharlika shores in 1521. In fact, it is safe to presume that it was worse hore because of the amnesty given to the Spanish criminals in Mexico who came to the Maharlika and became soldiers. Naturally, after 333 years of their occupation, exploitation, suppression and plunder, all their crimes against this nation were already tactically sanitized and blotted out.
The Filipinos, while conquered, were a superior race than their conquerors in spirituality, morality and literacy. The Filipino forefathers were more civilized and god-fearing than the conquistadors who came to subjugate them by burning, stealing and killing.
The ‘Spiritual Sword’ in the hands of the Spanish friars deeply impressed the fear of God and fear of hell in the hearts of the Filipinos. It led them to genuflect and kiss the friars’ hands as the venerable representatives of God. (Genuflection is an act of worship to God as understood and practices by the Roman Catholic). The friars inculcated the fear of hell because this was a fitting punishment for those who violated God’s laws and resisted His representatives, the friars.
The ‘Spiritual Sword’ used by the friars had molded Filipinos’ patience and long-suffering, hospitality to foreign visitors, obedience and allegiance to the church-state government. To them, Filipinos owed deep gratitude for the two great blessings of literacy and Christianity. Consequently, Filipinos resigned their fate out of deep gratitude towards the friars’ benevolence.
The ‘Spiritual Sword’ exercised the dignity and honor from the minds and souls of the Filipinos who were treated as contemptible, inferior ‘Indios’ by the Roman Catholic friars. These priestly masters indoctrinated the minds of the Filipinos that if they resist the TWO SWORDS of Pope Boniface, they RESIST GOD and they will be thrown into the FIRES of purgatory and hell.
Using these TWO SWORDS the Spaniards took away the ALEBATA and substituted the ALPHABET. They decimated this nation’s indigenous culture and superimposed their abominable ‘civilized’ ways and values. They erased native religion and replaced this with the rotten version of European Catholicism. The results of the 333 years of subjugation of the body, the mind and the soul of the Filipinos are very evident today: a rotten nation with stinking politics, decayed morality, abject poverty and a superstitious, unchristian brand of Catholicism.