Spanish Dominicans have lot to answer for



     SO Father Fidel Villarroel OP of UST dares to call me nonsensical and inaccurate regarding my piece on “Dominicans manufactured many saints (PDI 11/1/89),” eh?
     The following are the remarks of UST Father Fidel Villarroel OP, followed by what my source said, my source being the souvenir book of the 1982 Homecoming of Letran College:
     • “Don Juan Jeronimo Guerrero, one of its founders was not a Knight of Malta,” -- the book said: “Brother Juan Geronimo Guerrero was a Knight of Malta...”
     • “Letran College was founded not earlier than 1620,” -- in the book, “Historical Highlights through the Centuries” clearly show that the present Letran College was the result of a MERGER in 1640 of Colegio de Niños de San Juan de Letran founded by Don Juan Jeronimo Guerrero in 1620, AND Colegio de San Pedro and San Pablo founded by Fr. Pedro Bolanos in 1587 and Fray Diego de Santa Maria in 1632.
     • “St. Martin de Porres was never in the Philippines” -- the book said, “1637, San Martin de Porres visits Letran to meet Guerrero and Diego de Santa Maria. San Martin's miracle of bilocation is witnessed in Letran.”
     • I did not say UST and Letran produced saints in their classrooms, I said the Dominicans (who founded UST and Letran) did. And ALL the saints and blesseds I mentioned are contained in the book among “Some of Our Great Alumni.”
     • “It is inaccurate to say that Fr. Augusto Antonio was the first Filipino Dominican,” -- the book said, “1946, Fr. Augusto Antonio OP -- First Filipino Dominican Priest. Fr. Augusto of HS Class 1932 is assigned to Letrani. This begins the Filipinization of Letran.”
     The irony of it is that I took all the facts about St. Lorenzo Ruiz from Father Villarroel's own book written in 1975, and if anything, it proved that whether or not the good saint is an ideal role model for Filipinos, those crazy Spanish Dominicans have a lot to answer for.
     Villarroel quotes Lorenzo as having said in the Nagasaki trial: “I could not stay in Manila because I had a quarrel with a Spaniard.” His contemporaries, Fr. Diego Rodriguez and Father Domingo Gonzalez affirm that Lorenzo was sought by authorities “on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him.”
     Lorenzo was frightened and sought the help of the Dominicans. Don't you think the Dominicans who were influential with the government, should at least have ascertained whether or not the authorities really were looking for Lorenzo, and if they were, whether or not he was guilty? And cleared up the matter so he could go back to his family?
     No, instead, without his knowledge and consent, without even telling his poor family, the Spanish Dominicans brought him with them on a secret, illegal (against Spanish law) and suicidal mission to Japan. Hawa talaga.
     I feel offended when Villarroel recounts that of the six who took that trip and were subjected to torture, the three French and Spanish priests “suffered with great joy and torment,” while the Japanese priest Fray Vicente de la Cruz, the Japanese Catholic Lazaro, and the Chinese Filipino mestizo Lorenzo Ruiz offered to renounce their faith to save their lives.
     In the end, Fray Vicente and Lazaro were tortured anyway for more information, and Fray Vicente decided to die a martyr. Knowing this a week later, Lorenzo decided to do the same.
     Letran Dominicans deserve our respect. They produced more revolutionary heroes than any school, among them, my grandfather Don Daniel Maramba, Artemio Ricarte, Padre Jose Burgos, Padre Jacinto Zamora, Francisco Baltazar, Marcelo del Pilar, Apolinario Mabini, Emilio Jacinto, Emilio Aguinaldo, Manuel L. Quezon.
     But the Spanish Dominicans from UST are something else.
     Their professors wrote history books singing the glories of Western colonization, even included a particularly offensive chapter, “Did Rizal like Mestizos?” in which Rizal with tongue-in-cheek wrote that mestizos are superior to the indios and the Spaniards.
     They vigorously opposed the Noli-Fili bill sponsored by Recto whom they called Communist; they insisted that Spanish be taught to Filipinos who have no use for it.
     Jose Rizal in his El Filibusterismo, wrote scathingly of them, in terms of Father Millón who would insult, degrade and inflict his ignorance on Placido Penitente and the 234 students in his class, in the words of Rizal, “to be brutalized, to have their dignity outraged and their youthful enthusiasms turned to indolence and hatred,” and called upon God to “demand a strict accounting of those responsible for minds darkened and blinded, for the outraged human dignity, for the wasted years and fruitless labor,” brought about by such teachers.
     Amen.