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Collector's Note: This pamphlet was distributed almost for free in 1888 to malign Dr. Rizal and his writings. The author is a Spanish priest of the Augustinian order.

On August 3 of the same year, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, writing under the name "Dolores Manapat", wrote a pamphlet in reply to Fr. Rodriguez's work which he entitled "KAIIGAT KAYO" (Be slippery as an eel).

It could be said that the malicious work of Fr. Rodriguez became the spark that ignited and destroyed the power of Spain over the Philippines.

J.C. Balmaseda-J.C.B."


Title page

BEWARE!

I

Of evil books and writings.

With full permission from the Superiors.


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This book can be begged for the amount of one coin[1] for a piece; some centavos[2] for a hundred, and four pesos for one thousand at Asilo de Huérfanos[3] in Guadalupe, in the town of San Pedro Macati, province of Manila. Send your letter of request to the P. Director or through the Hermano inspector of Asilo and they will take care of sending it to whomever it is addressed to in Manila.

Pequeña Imp. del Asilo del Huérfanos 1888.


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Beware of evil books and writings, for you should know that there is an order by our Holy Mother Church that prohibits reading, keeping and distribution of malevolent books and writings. It instructs that whomever owns these books should hand it at once to the Superiors of our Holy Church, to the Confessor or to the Father Curate and if this is not possible then it should be burned forthwith. This is a strict order and should be abided by or else you will be committing great sin or even be excommunicated if these books are read. Hence, if you willfully read a book which you know is forbidden by the Holy Church then you are going to commit great sin, and if by misfortune you perish in this state then you will be damned for eternity.

The Superiors of the Holy Church, that is to say, the Holy Pope, the Lord Cardinals whom he has tasked, along with the honorable Bishops, have the power to forbid books which they believe to be evil and may corrupt the souls they are caring for. It is henceforth the duty of every Christian to abide and yield wholly to their orders regarding this matter.

Those that are malicious and prohibited by them are recorded in a list of all banned and malevolent books. However, because it is not possible for them to hear or see every evil book distributed in the Christendom they are unable to forbid all of them. If the books are allowed to be read nevertheless until they are prohibited, then it would be very harmful for the soul. Because of this, the Holy Church and the Superiors of the Holy Church has sought to thwart this malicious destruction by giving us guides for recognising these books. Therefore if the books have not been prohibited yet then we can say that it is, and reading it will be committing grave sin as if reading a book that is already forbidden.

I shall state herewith the main orders for discernment, so that you, my dear readers will know how to conduct yourself in this important matter which will save your soul from eternal damnation.


II.

Firstly, all books on Holy Scriptures translated by heretics in Spanish, Tagalog or in any other language are forbidden. If the writer is a Christian, it is prohibited if permission is not given by the Superiors. Therefore all pamphlets derived from the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament which are supposedly published in Oxfort [sic] or Hong-Kong and written in Spanish or sometimes in Tagalog are prohibited. Even those Gospels in Spanish or Tagalog that are being kept by many or hung[4] on their necks like talismans are forbidden.

Secondly, books that cite, express or teach obscenity even if it does not contain false teachings or heresy are prohibited. In accordance with this, all those romances, songs and corridos[5] which are altogether lewd and which majority of the Tagalogs whether men or women find enjoyment in reading are forbidden. Many souls are mislead by these treacherous songs and romances! If you examine it carefully, you will see how countless young men and women are led astray by reading these forbidden songs and romances.

Thirdly, literature known as devotions, prayers or writings which feign nothing but false promises are prohibited. Moreover, prayers and writings which are claimed to have fallen from Heaven, unto the Holy Sepulchre, or unto the altar where mass is being held by our Holy Father, and many more which are published in Spanish or Tagalog and distributed by minions of the devil are all forbidden. It is considered a sin to use, read, mete out, and keep these prayers.

Fourth, all books, pamphlets and articles teaching fortune telling, hexing, charms, and many more are forbidden. According to this, it is sinful to read, or keep lunar divinations, as it is called, as well as writings kept by fools who do not know any better (which is why they are keeping and believing in it) since these are writings of old folks who are even more ignorant than they are.

Fifth, all books from 1584 until now which are published or are being published without an author's name, publisher, printer or year of publication are forbidden. If a book has this information but it is false then one should be wary for it may contain malicious teachings which should not be read by any Christian. In accordance, all songs and corridos which are published daily without permission, and bearing no author's name (perhaps the author is ashamed of his work and does not wish to be known) are forbidden. Especially because those songs are full of deceit and do not conform to the teachings of the Holy Church.

This is also true for books being distributed now in Spanish and Tagalog which do not have an author's name and which contain nothing but malicious content against the archbishop, religious priests, and honorable religious nuns who were not even spared by their treacherous pens. All those books are forbidden to be read, and it will be a great sin to keep and most especially to distribute them.

Maliciousness, I say, because if they could prove what they are saying then the author, publisher, printer or distributor should not be embarrassed to reveal their names. And if the contents of their foul writing are true, they should not be fearful of their creations even if they are prosecuted before the court of Justice by the people they are accusing. Truly those who distribute those anonymous writings are shameless people!

Sixth all distributed books which contain false ideals or teachings against the faith of the Holy Church are forbidden. An example is the book written by Dr. Rizal entitled Noli me tangere[6] which is being praised and read without thought by many supposed Christians, even though in reading this they are committing a great sin; for the said book is full of heretical ideals and teachings against our Holy Religion. On almost every page and paragraph can be read lies, incitement to violence, those that are detestable and vulgar to the ears of true Christians, defilement of our honorable Superiors of the Holy Church and Christians, frustrations with God, ignorance, malicious encouragement to conspire with the traitor Lucifer and other heretics, wayward teachings and truly heretical thoughts; and further urges us to turn from our faith in God. All these can be read in that perverse book which is why it is being prohibited and whoever reads it commits a great sin. If the author of this book, Dr. Rizal truly believes in what he has written and has not repented nor abandoned it, then he should be known as a traitor to God, a heretic and excommunicated.

Look, my dear Tagalogs, look at your wretched fellow Tagalog whom many of you are praising as one who has incomparable wisdom, who is this Rizal; who is being praised and said to be the glory of your Tagalog race. Alas! It is better to say that you should be shameful of this pitiful lost soul, inasmuch as he is the first Tagalog who used his own hands in writing so much treachery against God, our Holy Christian religion and our faith.

Apart from being insolent, he is ignorant in a lot of matters, because if you peruse how the book was created, you would think that it is not the hand of a sane person but rather the feet of a fool that has written it. In almost every page you will see the ignorance in the use of dignified language, especially Spanish. The only thing you can discern from it is that he is a traitor, an infidel and he detests our Holy Religion and Spain.

The seventh and final is, all books, pamphlets, articles, or newspapers which contain precepts against our Holy Church are forbidden. Writings that exalt false doctrine which our Holy Father has set apart, as in the writing proffered to the Christendom by Pio IX on the 8th of December 1864[7]. Writings that mock the saints that we honour in the altars, or speak of falsehoods, accuse in deeds, speech or, sacrilegious thoughts are forbidden. All books that mock the sacraments, ways and orders of the Holy Church in conducting mass, prayers and many virtuous deeds; and lastly those that pretend to or which blatantly teach against our faith and holy conduct are prohibited.—It is against the order given by the Holy Pope Pio IX and so Christians should remember that in reading malicious newspapers, it is not only the readers of the evil content who are committing a sin but also those who help in publishing and distributing, like those who print, sell, buy, or write and many more.

All these seven orders were taken from the content of the letter of Pio IX and should be complied with, and abided by if we truly desire to be virtuous.


III.

Other than which, the reason the Holy Church orders such, is that it is also the order of our Lord which is taught to us by our innate goodness. Even if it is not forbidden by our Holy Church and the list of forbidden books is lost, or if there are no rules on recognising malicious books, our innate goodness will teach us not to read them. As a matter of fact, would you not say that: it is a great sin against the fifth commandment of God to consume or take poison that will kill your body and end your life? What more, is it not a greater sin to partake of poison that would end the life of your soul from loss of faith? Have I not told you the truth that there is no effective poison that will kill your body like that of the poison in these evil books; poison that effectively destroys your faith and kills your soul; poison that destroys so that if we recognise this in any writing, it is our duty to avoid it, or else, we will be committing a great sin if we proceed to read it. Nothing good can come out of reading the books published, or written by a hand like the one of Rizal, which many are protesting that it has not been forbidden yet, and if it has not been prohibited, then it is forbidden now, according to the rules stated. Other than this, if you see that there is poison from heresy and wayward teachings then it is forbidden by our innate goodness which is taught to us by the orders of God. It is short of pointing out to you by the Confessor or other kind priests or more knowledgeable people, and even you would know if such a book is evil and you should let go of it, give it to your Confessor or your father Curate, or even burn it in the fire. For if you leave it in your home then it will be in danger of being read, and those who open themselves to danger will get tempted as warned to us by the Holy Spirit. Christians who are reading this, do not have faith in your own knowledge, like the others who believe that they will not get into trouble by reading these evil books, for it is not only bad, but harmful consequences will befall those who do not follow this order. My brethren! who can say what destruction can happen to the souls who read these evil books? According to P. Doctor Sarda: "an evil book contains treacherous persuasion, or their vulgar examples are more evil than a persuasive friend, more ignorant than an ignorant teacher and should be avoided like a deceitful and seductive person. Without a word of warning it slowly seeps into your heart, misleads rational thought, destroys righteousness, drags you into wrongful behavior, awakens vulgar desires, tempts filthy deeds and lewd sins". Why do you think that young man who was kind and obeys his parents is now arrogant and disrespectful? Or that young woman who used to have a happy disposition and modest behavior is now always sad and fearful? Who stole their innate goodness, their modesty, their happy disposition, and their health? Alas! It is these treacherous books, these lewd songs, these filthy romances, and vulgar poetry, which are being kept in their homes without care by their parents! Alas, parents! you are the reason for the destruction and misery of so many, for you have not kept evil away from your home, or from the hands and eyes of your children! Because, believe me or not, I shall repeat what I am saying often: Christians who read forbidden books or who know that the books should be forbidden and yet continue to read them are committing a great sin. It is not only those who read them who are committing a sin but also those who keep them, because it is clearly the order of our Holy Church that it should be given to the Superiors or else have it burned. Similarly, those who are sharing the books to those who are not permitted to read them are committing a great sin.


IV.

In accordance with what I have said until now, you should desire, Christian readers, clear and true advice which are like guideposts for conduct. And if you abide by them, you, your household, your friends, and your acquaintances will avoid great danger which are inevitable when reading malicious books.

I shall state here what I believe is needed and appropriate for achieving what we desire to merit.

First. If you are about to buy or read any book, small or big, newspapers that may or may not contain drawings, songs, poetry, either printed or written by hand, examine if it is prohibited or else if it should be forbidden because it is malicious before buying or reading. The examination of which is to see if the book falls in any of the seven rules of discerning. Whether it should be prohibited or is already forbidden, or it is better to ask your Confessor, Curate, or any priest and by doing so you will avoid the dangers of sin.

Second. You should remember not to buy, read books, songs or writing which do not contain on the first page With full permission from the Superiors. For those who do not wish to ask permission from the Superiors are probably not Christians, and therefore their book is already deemed forbidden. And if the author is Christian and does not seek permission then he is an insolent Christian and maybe teaching falseness.

There may be good books that do not need any permission to be published or are being freely read without permission, however there is still some caution needed because of the dangerous times we are in, even for those books that do not need any permission, they may contain persuasion into heresy or bad conduct: this is why we should shout unceasingly: Beware of evil books and writings!

Perhaps you know by now that whenever I say you need permission from the Superiors, I mean the Holy Church, the Holy Father, and Bishops, since they are the only ones who can determine the moral excellence or maliciousness of any book.

Third. If you truly desire not to err in this serious matter, the most effective way which is far more effective than any of the other ways is this: Do not buy or read any book or newspaper, songs or any writing without first consulting your Confessor, your Father Curate, or a Holy Priest. And this should also be what you let your underlings follow. For even in the books that are not evil and has permission from the Superior to be published, there are those not worthy to be read since it will be bad for you, so there is no one who can give you better advise than those who take great pains in caring for your soul.

Heed these words I give to you my dear Christians, and let your subordinates abide by it as well so that you do not encourage evil literature. And if by your ignorance in the past, you brought into your home some evil books, do your best to find them, bring them to your Father curate, or confessor which is the best thing to do, but if you are unable to, then burn them at once. Burn them, burn them without pity, or thought of the money used to buy the books, so that you do not burn in hell because of them.

My brethren! if you would only follow the good example shown by this woman who trades books as cited by P. Mach in his book "Treasures of the Catechist":

At a time when great turmoil was about to beset the kingdom of France, a woman book merchant heard the news that P. Borgar (Beuregard) was praised by Parisians for he was very good at delivering his sermons. Because of this, the woman went to the church of Our Lady of Paris and heard the teachings of the priest; and by chance the priest's sermon that night was about evil books. The woman being pious, and chaste, had been buying these books that are against our Holy Religion and good conduct. It seems she was blinded by greediness for money, like many who are blinded and sell or trade these obscene romances, songs and corridos and many other evil literature, and they care not about the countless sins that they commit, or have been committed because of them. The woman was awakened by the teachings of the Priest and she recognised that perverse books are against our Holy Religion, tempts the foul desires of the flesh and are like springs of poison that destroy the heart and soul of people. Those who publish, sell or help in anyway in distributing these books are like killers; and the day will come when our Lord God will seek retribution for the wretchedness and sin that they have caused. The woman was beset with remorse in realising that her trade is truly inappropriate for a soul that respects and believes in our Lord; and so she resolved to forever abandon this kind of livelihood. When the sermon was finished, she went to the home of the Priest and said to him: my Father, I have realised the graveness of my sin in buying these evil books; and since you have sought to heal my soul, heal it thoroughly; come to my store, look at the books that are there and burn any that you think are evil. Whatever is the loss that I shall incur, even if I lose all my profits, I shall take it lightly for as long as my soul is not tarnished. P. Borgar praised the good intention of the woman and promised that he would help to fulfill her desire. The next day, he went to the store, set apart all the evil books and pointed these out to the woman who took them and burned them in a huge pyre she prepared. It is said that the books that were burned cost more than one thousand two hundred pesos and since then she strictly resolved not to buy any books except those that are good for the soul.

Follow the good example of the merchant who sold these songs and evil books! Heed this, my dear readers, if in the past you have not been careful like this woman, then in the coming days do not stray from the teachings in this pamphlet. And I beseech you to show this pamphlet to your kindred, your friends, and acquaintances, so that they shall abide by what is being advised here: and by doing so, would keep many from countless miseries brought about by these evil books and writings.

May the sweetness of the heart of Jesus and the purity of the heart of Mary be in you, so with the blessed Lord saint Joseph, that they may bless and convey their benediction upon my little toil, that it may be of use to souls, all of which is for the glory of our Lord. So be it.

Fr. José Rodriguez

Religious Order of Saint Agustin.

[1] coin—The Tagalog word "cuarta" in current translation means money, however may mean copper coin, currency during the period this pamphlet was published.

[2] centavo—The Tagalog word "salapi" in current translation means money as well, although from context appears to be a fractional denomination of the peso.

[3] Asilo de Huérfanos—Orphanage for boys then headed by Father José Rodriguez.

[4] During the Spanish era, necklaces were often worn by women with pendants that had pieces of paper containing prayers folded inside.

[5] Corrido—musical narrative often with romantic themes modeled after the Spanish ballads of chivalry.

[6] Noli Me Tangere—The first novel written by Dr. Jose Rizal, and published in 1887 which depicted the true state of life under Spanish rule.

[7] Syllabus of Errors—Apostolic Constitution decreed by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1864 which formed part of the encyclical Quanta Cura which condemned as heresy 80 propositions, many of which are on liberalism and modernism.

REFERENCES:

Nigg, Charles, A Tagalog-English and English Tagalog Dictionary. Imp. de Fajardo y Comp, 1905.

Poblete, Pascual, Buhay at Mga Ginawa ni Dr. Jose Rizal. G. Neneng Rizal, 1909. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/18282

English, Leo James, Tagalog-English Dictionary. National Book Store, 1986.

Rodriguez, Fr. José, ¡CAIÑGAT CAYO!

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/18141

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14368b.htm

http://www.dailycatholic.org/syllbus1.htm

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/reference/pope_pius_ix1


Translated from Tagalog by Tamiko I. Camacho

Thanks to Pilar Somoza, Jeroen Hellingman and Richard O'Neal.

Brought to you by Project Gutenberg Philippines at http://www.gutenberg.ph for the preservation of Philippine Literature.

April 2006. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.