The Revolution church response and Christian participation

Contrary to claims made during the Marcos dictatorship of the 1970s that reform and revolution were mutually exclusive options in the late nineteenth century,33 the nationalist movement paved the way for the 1896 outbreak by awakening many to colonial injustices. Those within the church faced the Revolution in ways consistent with the native clergy's participation in, and the colonial church's reaction to this movement. The revolutionaries' behaviour towards the church similarly reflected their earlier views. Thus attitudes within both the church and the Revolution were far from monolithic.

Andres Bonifacio's Katipunan (Brotherhood), founded in 1892 to unite Filipinos and obtain independence from Spain, launched the Revolution in Manila without the initial support of nationalist leaders of the educated and wealthier classes.34 Its anticlerical and antireligious sentiments were confirmed when the Augustinian Fr Mariano Gil alerted the civil authorities, thus precipitating the premature start of the armed revolt.

Though friars suffered captivity or death throughout the military campaign, provincial revolutionary forces, especially in central and southern Luzon, treated the church differently. In Cavite, where the campaign was most successful despite factionalism, revolutionary leaders like Emilio Aguinaldo, head of the Magdalo faction and later President of the Philippine Republic, had links with the church and even ensured that friars were allowed to escape or, if captured, were treated with courtesy.35

The church reacted to the Revolution in partisan ways. Friars became suspicious even of those not criticised by revolutionary forces like the Jesuits. The native clergy, despite some initial hesitation, generally supported the Revolution. Many, like Fr Esteban del Rosario of Ternate, who reportedly called it 'a holy war', rallied the people;36 some, like Fr Gregorio Crisostomo of Tanay,

33 Constantino, The making of a Filipino, pp. 1-22.

34 Borromeo-Buehler, The cry ofBalintawak, pp. 24-47.

35 [Emilio] Aguinaldo, Mgagunita ng himagsikan (n.p., 1964), pp. 70, 85.

36 Telesforo Canseco, 'Historia de la insurreccion filipina en Cavite', original in Archivo de la Provincia del Santo Rosario, University of Sto Tomas Manila, Microfilm in Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University pp. 56, 62-3.

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