Jose Rizal and La Solidaridad

Three Members of La Solidaridad - Rizal, Del Pilar, Mariano Ponce
The Filipino colony in Spain had established a fortnightly review, published first in Barcelona and later in Madrid, to enlighten Spaniards on their distant colony, and Rizal wrote for it from the start. Its name was La Solidaridad, and it pushed for the same laws and the same privileges for the Peninsula and the possessions overseas.

From the Philippines came news of a contemptible attempt to reach Rizal through his family—one of many similar petty persecutions. His sister Lucia’s husband had died and the corpse was refused interment in consecrated ground, upon the pretext that the dead man, who had been exceptionally liberal to the church and was of unimpeachable character, had been negligent in his religious duties. Another individual with a notorious record of longer absence from confession died about the same time, and his funeral took place from the church without demur. The ugly feature about the refusal to bury Hervosa was that the telegram from the friar parish-priest to the Archbishop at Manila in asking instructions, was careful to mention that the deceased was a brother-in-law of Rizal. Doctor Rizal wrote a scorching article for La Solidaridad under the caption “An Outrage,” and took the matter up with the Spanish Colonial Minister, then Becerra, a professed Liberal. But that weakling statesman, more liberal in words than in actions, did nothing.

That the union of Church and State can be as demoralizing to religion as it is disastrous to good government seems sufficiently established by Philippine incidents like this, in which politics was substituted for piety as the test of a good Catholic, making marriage impossible and denying decent burial to the families of those who differed politically with the ministers of the national religion.

Of all his writings, the article in which Rizal speaks of this indignity to the dead comes nearest to exhibiting personal feeling and rancor. Yet his main point is to indicate generally what monstrous conditions the Philippine mixture of religion and politics made possible.

For La Solidaridad, Jose Rizal often wrote under the pen name Laong Laan. In the photo, he is with the publication's editor Marcelo H. del Pilar and treasurer Mariano Ponce.