Did Jose Rizal Retract?

Did Jose Rizal Retract?

For centuries, a dilemma has been presented to the people of the Philippines and Spain. A man well known for fighting to abolish colonial rule was killed because of his extremist dedication. His death was followed by contradictions and questions that have never since gotten answers. In your history class, you might be asked to write a Rizal retraction essay.

You may be expected to answer questions like ‘was Jose Rizal’s retraction real? Did he change his mind about what he fought for at the last minute?’ This article examines both aspects of the narrative to give you insight into your position paper about the retraction of Jose Rizal brainly. It is based on what historians have speculated and managed to prove.

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What is retraction

In layman’s language, a retraction is defined as the act of taking back or withdrawing an assertion. It could be a plea, a confession, a statement, or the conditions of a contract. It is also known as renunciation.

A deeper meaning of the word is putting out a public printed statement or broadcasting on a public forum. This leads to the withdrawal of an assertion made earlier in an attempt to nullify the earlier statement.

The retraction law

This is a law that allows a defamation plaintiff to retract or withdraw a defamatory or inaccurate statement. Retraction laws vary in different countries and have different effects and coverage. In some countries, the retraction of a statement can change the course of a case. In other countries, depending on the case, it does not have any effect, and the first statement is used in court.

If retraction is done within a certain time frame and follows a specific order, you can reduce the damages you have to pay. Even though the sentence or verdict cannot be eliminated, it is less dire. In severe cases like murder trials, every statement is taken into consideration to avoid convicting the wrong person. In such cases, even a retracting statement holds a lot of weight towards the verdict.

Who was Jose Rizal?

He was born on 19th June 1861 as Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda. His father was a successful landowner; hence, Rizal attended reputable institutions and became a brilliant doctor. He became a physician, patriot, and a man of letters who was a big inspiration to the philippine nationalist movement.

He dedicated himself to being part of the reform of Spanish rule in the Philippines. He did most of his writing in Europe, where he lived for ten years. He wrote several books dedicated to exposing the evils of Spanish rule in the Philippines. Some of his political agendas included;

  • Equality among the Filipino and Spanish in front of the law
  • Philippine representation in the Spanish parliament
  • Integration of the Philippines and a province of Spain
  • Freedom of assembly and expression for the Filipinos
  • Replacement of Spanish friars by Filipino priests

In 1892 Rizal returned to the Philippines and founded a non-violent reform society. Later he was deported to Dapitan, where he remained in exile for four years. In 1896 a Filipino secret society of nationalists led a revolt against the Spanish government. Rizal was still in exile at this time, he was not part of the organization.

Even though he had nothing to do with it, the Spanish government arrested and tried him for sedition. He was found guilty and was publicly executed by a firing squad. On the night of his execution, Rizal wrote a piece known as “the last farewell.” He died on 30th December 1896.

Jose Rizal’s case

This is one of the most essential parts of your Rizal retraction essay. Provide the background of the circumstances before you get into the arguments and proof. Rizal was accused of betraying and going against the Spanish. Before he was taken into exile, he issued a manifesto centred on the revolution. He claimed that the achievement of national identity and the education of Filipinos would be the beginning of their freedom. He was accused of perpetuating false and baseless propaganda, which was punishable by death according to the Spanish penal code.

The same thing had been done to three priests when they were strangled years earlier. They were treated as rebellious and not as leaders of the church, they were never accorded proper burials. At the time, church interference was not allowed in judicial matters considered purely military. Rizal stood no chance against the case they had built.

While in exile, one of Rizal’s favourite teachers was sent to try and convince him to change and retract his allegations towards the Catholic Church and the Spanish religion. If Rizal agreed, he would receive an estate, a hundred thousand pesos, and a professorship, but he rejected the offer.

He was arrested while heading to Spain and charged with being a traitor and the mastermind behind the revolution. At the hearing, he pleaded innocent but was still convicted of sedition, rebellion, and conspiracy. He was sentenced to death. You would have a better understanding by reading Rizal’s retraction essay Tagalog. The Filipinos that write about it have been taught about it in school, not just from research.

Rizal retraction essay

The questions about Rizal retraction on everyone’s mind was, why would he retract even though he would still be executed? Some people argued that Rizal retracted for certain things he hoped to benefit. They include;

  • to save his family from more persecution
  • to give his new wife Josephine Bracken a legal opportunity and status as his wife
  • to assure the Spanish government fulfilled the reforms

Other books and writers who are the sources of Rizal’s retraction have used Rizal’s previous writings as the main proof. Some seek to prove that he did, and others prove why he would never retract.

He had been vocal and public about his thoughts on the Spanish and their oppressive regime in the Philippines. Judging from the same writings that brought Rizal to the point of execution, it is argued that he did not retract.

Whether Rizal retracted his religious errors or not has stirred up many unending conversations, especially among historians. There never seems to be a resolute answer, and the public is split between the pros and cons.

The morning after Rizal was executed, several newspapers such as the Manila and Madrid recorder the incident. They made claims that Rizal retracted his religious errors just before his execution. They also claimed that he renounced Freemasonry and then finished by marrying Josephine Bracken.

The retraction was done through a signed letter by Rizal himself, which was printed in most newspapers.  However, those who knew Rizal or had read the books rejected news of the letter and declared it an ecclesiastical fraud. The government sent the news to the Spanish consulate and attempted to make it as public as possible.

People believed that a man such as Rizal with such strong convictions would never contradict his writings and speeches. Even though Rizal had lived with Josephine while in exile in Dapitan, the two were never married. They believed that there was never a signed letter of retraction and that the one in existence was created by a fraudulent.

Before his death, Rizal believed that there was a high likelihood of fraud after his death. He believed that the archbishop would be the one behind it. He had been sought after many times with different generous offers of retraction. What Rizal did not see coming was the involvement of his mentors, the Jesuits? They took part in the effort to make him retract and return to the Catholic Church.

After his death, the community was split into those who believed Rizal retracted and those who did not. Today the two can be referred to as Rizal’s retraction pros and cons. Those that believe he did are the pros, and those that don’t are the cons.

Proof he did not retract

If Rizal did not retract his religious claims, he stood to lose a lot, including his life. Eventually, he was killed because of the same claims and actions. A larger percentage of people believe that Rizal did not retract his errors. Here is the evidence to include in your ways to prove that Rizal did not retract the essay;

The first proof was the signed piece of paper the letter was written on. This letter was kept a secret until it was published in newspapers. Later, when Rizal’s family asked for the letter, they were told it was lost.

After thirty-nine years, the original letter was found. A man named Ricardo Pascual was permitted to examine the document. In his book titled ‘Rizal beyond the grave,’ Ricardo stated the letter was a forgery. He claimed that one of the priests made errors in an attempt to reproduce another copy of the original.

Another proof is that father Balaguer is the priest that claimed he married Jose and Josephine. He said they tied the knot after Rizal gave his retraction letter. There were no marriage certificates available or any public records that could prove his statement.

It holds no water to claim that Rizal retracted his statement because he knew that even if he did, he was going to be executed. When he was detained, several leaders of the church offered various lump-sum rewards for him to retract. He rejected all their offers. Why would he retract at the last minute and gain nothing then still be killed?

Rizal himself dedicated his life to fighting for his country and die in its honour. He had already predicted the outcome of his conviction long before and was ready to face it. Every book and letter he wrote was for his people and their freedom. It is believed that he was so passionate that there is no way he could neglect his writings, his hard work, and his conviction.

Rizal was a 33-year-old man. He was old enough to understand the consequence of his behaviour. If he were someone that would cower, he would have done so sooner and for a good reward. Yet, he continued to fight the Spanish to the end. Even the priests attested that he was a man of consistent character.  

Proof that Rizal retracted

Rizal believed in his course, and in the process, his family was dragged along with him multiple times. Their property was destroyed, people despised them and shunned them. One reason people believe he retracted was to end his family’s persecution. Living as he had, he predicted his family would continue to suffer even after he was killed.

Rizal was a respected man in his social circles. He was an advocate for freedom and equality. He had been living with Josephine while in exile. It is said that he retracted to continue his life with his newly wedded wife. He would want to give her legal recognition and status as his wife.

In one of his writings, Rizal revealed that his crusades might lead to his death. He went on to say that he was unsure of how he would react when that moment came. He said that perhaps in those moments, he would be filled with more fear and less energy. It is argued that maybe that is what happened in his last moments, and he decided it would be better to retract than to die.

Father Antonio presented claims that he had conversed with Rizal and offered to fulfil whatever he requested if he agreed to retract. He said that Rizal had agreed to retract and never bother the Spanish and Catholic Church again. Here are the conditions Rizal gave;

  • he was given his freedom
  • his family would be given back everything that was taken from them or given equivalent compensation
  • he would be given 50,000 Pesos to start a business and support himself

Father Balaguer also claimed that in his last moments, Rizal feared for his soul. He claimed that Rizal retracted to save his soul and receive the sacrament of the faith. This way, Rizal hoped to die a righteous man. This claim has also been looked into and disqualified.

If Rizal had received salvation, he had become a part of the holy Catholic Church. He should have been given a decent catholic funeral. This was not the case, Rizal’s funeral was kept a secret, and he was buried just outside the paco cemetery like a dog.

Even though Balaguer’s testimony was vague and had holes, he still convinced people that Rizal retracted. People such as the church, the Spanish, and a large population of the Philippines, including Rizal’s biographer, believed he retracted.


The case of Jose Rizal is a case that will never find a satisfactory ending. He was a man who dedicated his life to his country, but in his death, no one will ever fully know what happened. His friends and family continued to think of him as the man who fought while others believed that he retracted. Writing a retraction of Jose p. Rizal will need you to examine the situations further to know which side to support. If you need help with your Rizal retraction essay, feel free to contact us.

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