Apolinario de la Cruz (Hermano Pule): Religious Fanatic or Advocate of Religious Freedom? Table of Contents I. Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….. p. 3-4 II. Significance of the Study ………………………………………………………………….. p. 5 III. Body ………………………………………………………………………………………………. p. 6-8 IV. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………. . 9 V. Sources…………………………………………………………………………………………….. p. 10 I. Introduction The Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards for almost 333 years with one of their goals which was to spread Catholicism and their religion here in the Philippines (Agoncillo, 1990). They used religion as a means to easily influence the Filipino people because of their successful conquests was aided not by mere swords but with the cross. Thus, they started converting the natives into the Christian faith.
But, this wasn’t their sole purpose why they went here in the Philippines. It was to establish themselves here and it was a way for them to reach out to them in order to be easily accepted by the Filipino people. As Filipinos, we were greatly influenced by the Spaniards. They have brought religion here in our country which made us greatly attached with it. Religion has strongly influenced Filipino people on how they act and think and how they manage to live their everyday lives. This is because religion holds a central place in the life of the majority of Filipinos.
It has played an important part in providing continuity in life among the Filipinos because our faith continues to guide us in making the right decisions and choices in life. It has also led to the cohesion and unity of a community of people because of the sharing of the same beliefs and principles. And last, because it has supported the moral purpose for existence because it shows us how blessed we are with the life given to us by the Almighty. The natives began embracing the introduced Christian faith by the Spaniards.
Because of the strong personal faith of the Filipinos, it has given rise to numerous revolts for freedom and independence. For many years, the Indio’s did not stop in their struggle fighting for freedom. For this, they began to question the oppression that had been imposed upon them by their colonizers and so this gave way for them to attempt to attain liberty and sovereignty from the conquerors. II. Significance of Study This research topic poses many questions on how religion has greatly influenced the Filipino people with regards to their decision making, plans of action and executing these decisions.
What is the importance of religion in Philippine society and how has it affected how Filipinos were before during that time? This significance of the research paper is to show whether Apolinario de la Cruz (Hermano Pule) was a religious fanatic or an advocate of religious freedom. We should examine and scrutinize Hermano Pule’s actions whether he was a fanatic who wanted to revive animism or a supporter of attaining religious freedom from the oppressors.
Also, it is to show how religion has influenced on how he acted on the oppression imposed to them by the colonial masters and how he used it as a tool of fighting for attaining religious freedom and independence. This topic is relevant to today’s society in order for us to see how the natives were during that time and how religion became an instrument in uniting and bringing them together as one, fighting for the same purpose and belief. It shows how Filipino people were smart enough to use their knowledge, skills and talents in bringing about change in their society.
During that time, there were no means of unity among the people. Knowing that religion is an important factor in the lives of people, it motivated Hermano Pule to use religion because it was a binding force that united the people during that time. It established a common ground among the Filipino people and understanding that this will help them attain their dreams of social change, equality and freedom. It became a voice for change and a tool for them to achieve social transformation in the society. III. Body
A man who was strong believer of God, a man who decided to fight for achieving equal rights for his fellowmen, a man who articulated problems in relation to unequal debts and obligations imposed upon them and proposed solutions and ways out of them, and a man who got out of his comfort zones and became a leader of a peasant movement. He is no other than, Apolinario de la Cruz, commonly known as Hermano Pule. Hermano Pule was born on July 22, 1814 in Lucban, Tayabas province of “relatively well-to-do peasant parents” Pablo de la Cruz and Juana Andres, both of which were religious and zealous Catholics (Ileto, 1979).
At a young age of 15, he decided to enter the “monastic life” or to become a priest for which purpose he came to Manila (Ileto, 1979). He had received primary religious affiliations and instructions which inspired him to join a Dominican order in Manila. But being an Indio thwarted his plans of entering the religious order because during that time Roman Catholic religious orders were closed to native people which were the Indio’s (Zaide, 1970). This did not stop him from rendering religious services; he decided to become a donado (lay brother) then became a lay preacher.
He joined the organization Cofradia de San Juan de Dios, a religious brotherhood open to the natives wherein it opened his interest in public speaking. It showed how much of eloquent speaker he was and his ability to move the hearts and touch the lives of the faithful (Ileto, 1979). This Filipino brotherhood supported a practice of Christian virtues. With the help of the Cofradia, “he filled his hunger for the word of God and by attending masses in the churches in Intramuros and reading novenas and other catechism. ” (Apolinario A.
De La Cruz, n. d. ) Later on, he was expelled from his work and returned back in his hometown. He then established Cofradia de San Jose, a brotherhood of the Great Sodality of the Glorious Lord Saint Joseph and Virgin of the Rosary (Ileto, 1979). He has suffered many biases because of his being an Indio, this inspired him to set up the Confradia de San Jose as avenue of worshippers who would worship (Ileto, 1979). He sought for official recognition and authorization for the Confradia in order to avoid unnecessary conflict with local authorities.
This started the fight between the members of the Confradia and ecclesiastical and civil authorities (Sturtevant, 1976). The civil authorities questioned why Spanish and mestizos could not join the organization without the permission of Apolinario de la Cruz. They also regarded them as a rebellious group. While, the ecclesiastical authorities “denounced the religious practices of the Cofradias and pronounced it unorthodoxy and had to be stopped. ” (Apolinario de la Cruz, 2008).
There was tension present between the group of Apolinario de la Cruz and the group of the government and the religious authorities. In my own personal opinion, I believe that Apolinario de la Cruz was more of an advocate of a religious freedom rather than a religious fanatic. In some way, we may think he was a religious fanatic because he used religion as a means of seeking freedom and salvation from oppression but he was more of a supporter of religious freedom because he used what he knew, love and was good at in making a difference in the society.
He used his knowledge in bringing about social change for the Filipino people during that time. He wanted the Spaniards to respect and observe equal rights with the Filipinos. He continuously fought because of the Filipino people’s resentment of Spanish arrogance and religious intolerance (Sturtevant, 1976). His means of doing these actions were based on attaining religious freedom and independence from Spanish rule. IV. Conclusion What is the importance of religion in Philippine society and how has it affected how Filipinos were before during that time?
Religion was a significant factor which shaped the way the Philippine society was before. It has influenced strong and braved Filipinos in leading revolts and movements aimed to protecting the rights of their people and fighting for religious freedom and independence from the Spaniards. One of which was Apolinario de la Cruz (Hermano Pule) who was a religious and rebellious leader who founded the Cofradia de San Jose. A Filipino brotherhood supported the practices of Christian honor and integrity and worship according to conscience.
It is when he asked for recognition and authorization triggered the conflict between the group and Spanish religious authorities. They viewed it as heretical and unorthodox and must be broken up. These conquerors imposed a religion on the Filipino people that was so inflexible that any anomalies or changes was not only forbidden but considered a revolt not only against the church but the Spanish government as well as these two entities were united with the cross being the symbol of the state.
Apolinario de la Cruz being an effective, eloquent and charismatic leader preached convincing messages of redemption which inspired and move the hearts of his fellowmen (Sturtevant, 1976). He was definitely an advocate of religious freedom because his aims were to attain independence from the Spaniards and to attain equality and rights for their religion. V. Sources Agoncillo, Teodoro A. (1990). History of the Filipino People 8th Ed. Quezon City: Garotech, 1990. Apolinario A. de la Cruz (1815-1841). Retrieved from http://www. hi. gov. ph/ downloads/rel0008. pdf Apolinario dela Cruz: Leader of the Cofradia de San Jose. (2008). Retrieved from http://littlehill23. blogspot. com/2008/10/apolinario-dela-cruz-leader-of-cofradia. html Ileto, R. C. (1979). Pasyon and Revolution: Popular Movements in the Philippines, 1840-1910. Quezon: Ateneo de Manila University Press. Sturtevant, D. R. (1976). Popular uprisings in the Philippines, 1840-1940. New York: Cornell University. Zaide, Gregorio F. (1970). Great Filipinos in History. Manila: Verde Bookstore.