Matienzo of RCCAH, Philosophy discusses Hermano Puli’s revolt and religiosity

Asst. Prof. Rhochie Avelino E. Matienzo, PhD of the Research Center for Culture, Arts and Humanities (RCCAH) and Department of Philosophy lectured on the “Religiosity of Hermano Pule and the Seeding of a Revolution in the late 19th Century Philippines: A Kierkegaardian Reading of Ileto’s Pasyon and Revolution” on November 5, 2020 via livestream on Philippine Normal University – South Luzon Facebook page.

History from Below: Pasyon and Light of Freedom
Matienzo used historian Reynaldo Ileto’s Pasyon and Revolution as a reference in discussing Hermano Puli’s revolt. Matienzo highlighted that the Filipino peasant’s revolutionary acts stemmed from the 1814 publication entitled Pasyon.

“[Pasyon] is an account of passion and death of Jesus Christ known to the peasants especially in Timog Katagalugan. [It was] simply as Pasyong PInapil, being written by an indio priest, Mariano Pinapil,” he said. Pasyon had a tripartite structure that started from Genesis, proceeded by Life and Death of Jesus Christ, and lastly Revelation.

According to Matienzo, neophytes whispered ancient prayers for divine light for their new state of being, which he interpreted as Bolontad na Loob’s (Out of One’s Will) potentialities of courage, ruthlessness, and heroism. Therefore, Matienzo concluded that Cofradia de San Jose was conscious on their practice of faith because it involved choice.

Hermano Puli fought against the secularization of Spanish Friars, and he sought for equality especially on the union of men and women. Hermano Puli founded the Cofradia de San Jose as an answer and tried to veer from the Catholic Church.

On November 4, 1841, Hermano Puli was executed in Tayabas, Quezon.

Revolt in defiance
Matienzo said Kierkegaard justified Hermano Puli’s call to struggle against the Spanish friars’ intellectual approach to faith. “For [Kierkegaard], the greatest threat towards authentic spirituality is the objectified faith that fosters personalization, hypocrisy, and irresponsibility. A faith of this sort is devoid of personal devotion, self-will, and acceptance of risk,“ Matienzo said.

“Faith is manipulated by state as a matter of citizenship, while for Hermano Puli, faith has become an instrumental dogma for the oppressor,” he added. Viewed from the lens of Kierkegaardian philosophy, Matienzo underscored that Hermano Puli was reliving the early Christians’ practice of faith, which was suffering in a state of fear and trembling.

”A Cofradia member therefore, in a Kierkegaardian sense, is ‘meant to separate one’s self from the crowd and to do what is not easy to do’ since being in a crowd is the untruth,” Matienzo said.

Matienzo, also the e-learning specialist at the Graduate School, focuses on the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, Existentialism, Ethics of the Environment and the non-human, vis-à-vis: an implication to Filipino culture, and Education, Religion and Social Issues.

Revisit the webinar:

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