Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Fasting and abstinence in the Philippines: Part II

I. The Crusade Bulls

Here we shall now touch on the epochs of the history of our Catholic diet. We shall, however, constrain it only until the intermediate period, as per determination of Fray Juan Ylla, reserving the modern period for a future post.

The Crusade Bulls pertinent to fasting and abstinence were indults granted to those who supported the cause of the Holy Crusade. They came in the form of exemptions from abstaining from egg, dairy, fleshmeat, and other products forbidden in all Christendom during the days where the precept of fasting and abstinence was upheld.

Around the time of the inception of the Council of the Crusade, King Ferdinand obtained from the Holy See the extension of the Crusade Bulls to the New World, through the Bull Dum Turcharum Sarracenorumque on 6 December 1514 and the Bull Nuper felicis recordationis on 27 February 1515, both promulgated by Leo X. The Tribunal of the Crusade became thereafter a part of the Council of the Indies.

The Spanish period, 1521–1899

When the Catholic realms of Iberia, Spain and Portugal, began exploring the world, and evangelising the lands they reached, it became incumbent upon Holy Mother Church to determine how the precepts of fasting and abstinence should apply to the newly converted peoples, whether or not, as it would appear later, they should delight in the privileges of the Crusade Bulls.

First, it was necessary to determine stock.

Pope Gregory XIII

The lands discovered by the Spaniards and the Portuguese were collectively called the Indies: divided into the East Indies and the West Indies. There are differing positions on where these two Indies were delimited, but the official division comes from Gregory XIII who declared on 11 October 1579 vivae vocis oraculo that the East Indies encompassed the lands of Mauritania eastwards, which belonged to the King of Portugal. Benedict XIV, however, in the bull Indiarum gentibus, promulgated on 24 February 1748, modified moved the boundaries so that the East Indies now encompassed the lands from the Cape of Good Hope until the realms of Japan and China.

Gregory XIII, in the same declaration of 1579, denoted the West Indies as encompassing the lands from the Canaries westwards, belonging to either the King of Spain of the King of Portugal. The bull of Urban VIII, Alias felicis, promulgated on 20 December 1631, simply repeated the declaration of Gregory XIII and, therefore, did not shift the delimitations of the West Indies.

Carta [hidrográfica y corográfica]
de las Islas Filipinas
Padre Pedro Murillo Velarde

The Philippine Islands, long known to Spain as the Islands of the West (in Spanish, Islas del Poniente), as well as Japan, came within the circumscription of the West Indies, by virtue of the bull Onerosa pastoralis officii cura, promulgated by Clement VIII on 12 December 1600.

The indio
A person born and/or living in the Indies was therefore called an Indian (in Spanish, indio; in Latin, indus or indicus). Inhabitants of the rest of the world were reckoned as non-Indians. A child born of an Indian and non-Indian parents was called a mestizo in Spanish, and mixtus or mistitius in Latin. In the Philippines, there were groups canonically considered as indios: (1) the pure natives; (2) the Chinese; and (3) the Chinese mestizos born of a Chinese and a pure native.

An indio
(image from the Internet)

[Note: We avoid using here the term Filipino as that identity was originally not applied to the natives of the Philippines, but to the Spaniards born in the Islands or, in the colonial caste system, the insulares (literally, islanders, in reference to the Philippine Islands) as opposed to the peninsulares (literally, peninsulars, in reference to the Iberian Peninsula).]

The laws of fasting and abstinence in the Philippines in the time of the Spaniards until a few years after the Americans came over were complicated. The first to address the pastoral care of the newly converted peoples from the lands conquered by Spain and Portugal was Paul III, who promulgated the bull Altitudo on 1 July 1537.

The indios, whom the bull bound to fasting only on the vigil of the Nativity, the vigil of the Resurrection and all the Fridays of Lent, were dispensed from fasting on the rest of the fast-days on account of their office, poor diet, and health. In this state, Paul III also dispensed the indios from the precept of abstaining from dairy, egg, and fleshmeat on all the days when all Christendom abstained from them.

The briefest answer, therefore, to the question on whether the Crusade Bulls applied to our ancestors at the times of the Spaniards is in the negative. The privileges established by Paul III were more recent and extended upon more persons. The brief of 20 March 1815, sent by Pius VII to Don Francisco Yañes Bahamonde, Commissary General of the Crusade in Spain, while pretending to bind the indios to the privileges of the Crusade Bulls, echoed the mens of Paul III in exempting them in the first place from the general precept of fasting and abstinence. The indios, so goes the edict, were to be considered as belonging to the poor class, even if they be landowners or first-order mestizos, and therefore incapacitated from giving the alms necessary to secure the privileges of the Crusade Bulls.

The privilege of the Crusade Bulls, which the brief attempted to apply on the indios, was exemption from the abstinence from fleshmeat, egg and dairy on all abstinence days, except on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent, the last four days (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) of Holy Week, the vigil of the Nativity, the vigil of Pentecost, the vigil of the Assumption, and the vigil of Saints Peter and Paul. Notwithstanding this application, the brief of Pius VII altered the religious dietary landscape of our ancestors,

The indios, in the spirit of the brief of Pius VII, were, therefore, forbidden from eating between meals in the days they were bound to fast or abstain, but not on the rest of the Fridays of the year.

The mestizo
The question of the mestizos did not yet come up in the bull of Paul III. However, Gregory XIII, in laying the dispensations for matrimony, placed mestizos amongst the indios. So did Alexander VIII in his bull Animarum saluti promulgated on 30 March 1690, and Benedict XIV in his bull Cum venerabilis promulgated on 19 March 1758.

A mestiza española
(image from the Internet)

On 3 March 1852, the Holy Office issued a rescript to a dubium sent by Fray Francisco Gaínza, affirmatively responding to the question whether mestizos with an absolute half (original words, absolutam medietatem), meaning born of a European father or mother and a native mother or father, should take delight in the reckoning of fasting, abstinence, feasts and ranks, and other rights granted by Paul III.

The term absolute half, in the opinion of many learned and experienced persons in the Philippines at that time, must be strictly understood. Therefore, only those mestizos and with an absolute half of European blood and an absolute half of native blood could apply for the privileges of the rescript. The child of a European and a native possessed the absolute half and therefore delighted in the privilege. The child of a European and a mestizo or mestizo possessed not the absolute half and therefore could not delight in the privilege. It seems that they were to be considered canonically non-mestizos and, therefore, non-indios. It follows that the child of a mestizo or mestizo and a native, for possessing more than the absolute half of native blood, were to be considered canonically an indio.

The non-indio
All non-natives residing in the Philippines were bound to the universal law of fasting, except those who made use of the privileges of the Crusade Bulls, until 14 December 1865, when the Holy See acceded to the request of Don Gregorio Melitón Martínez, then archbishop of Manila and metropolitan of the Islands, together with the bishops of Cebú and Nueva Cáceres, to extend to all inhabitants and ecclesiasts of the Philippines, whether regular or secular, regardless of stock or origin, only the law of fasting granted by Paul III to the indios. He cited as reasons the tropical heat pervasive in the Islands, the great labours to be undertaken, amongst others.

Don Valeriano Weyler
A non-indio

Nine years later, on 10 December 1874, the same metropolitan, Don Gregorio Melitón Martínez, by then administrator of the vacant sees of Cebú and Nueva Segovia, on behalf of his suffragan bishops, the ordinaries of Nueva Cáceres and Jaro, made another request to the Holy See, asking to institute eight fast-days to be observed by all ecclesiastic persons, except indios. These days were: (1) Ash Wednesday; (2) Holy Wednesday and (3) Holy Saturday; (4) Ember Friday after Whitsuntide, (5) Ember Friday in September and (6) Ember Friday during Advent; (7) the vigil of Saint Joseph and (8) the vigil of the Annunciation if it did not occur during Eastertide. Pope Pius IX granted the indult on 21 July 1875.

The request of Don Gregorio in 1865 was carefully worded: quoad jejunii legem, non vero quoad abstinentiae (only the law of fasting, and not the law of abstinence). This means that while non-natives could enjoy the exemption from fasting granted to the indios, they could not, however, excuse themselves from abstaining on those previously held fast-days. If, however, they invoke the privileges of the Crusade Bulls, whereby they might consume fleshmeat, they could not eat between meals.

On 2 May 1867, through a decree from the Sacred Congregation of Rites, Pius IX curtailed the number of precept days in Spain, an act which generated some confusion concerning whether the suppression also applied to overseas provinces (in Spanish, provincias ultramarinas), including the Philippines. Pius IX commanded that the exercise of fasting once observed in the vigils of feasts now suppressed, provided that by reason of Lent or Ember Week the fast was not anticipated, be transferred to the Fridays and Saturdays of Advent. On 9 May 1878, through a rescript from the same Congregation, Leo XIII extended the decree to all inhabitants of the Philippines, except to the canonical indios.

This rescript postdated the indult of 21 July 1875 by almost ten years. By virtue of its recentness (1878), it nullified the concession of the indult (1875), exacting observance only of the exercise that it (1878) prescribed. On 18 March 1885, Leo XIII granted a further indult upon the Philippine Islands, proroguing the indult for the exemption from fasting for another ten years.

Compiling all these privileges, we obtain the following table summarising the obligations to fast and abstain incumbent upon each stock dwelling in the Philippine Islands:

The intermediate period, 1899–1909

The intermediate period, according to Fray Ylla, covered the days between 4 August 1899 and 1 January 1910, wherein the indult obtained by Fray Bernardino Nozaleda y Villa, last Spanish archbishop of Manila, demonised in the secular history of the Philippines as an anti-Filipino friar, prevailed. The indult, as usual, was given a duration of ten years. This period coincided with the departure of the Spaniards after three hundred years of rule and the arrival of the Americans. Fray Bernardino, in whose reign the renegade Jesuit Gregoria Aglipay was excommunicated, is remembered elsewhere to have revoked the force of the Royal Patronage after the Spanish defeat in the Battle of Manila Bay.

Little changed from the discipline of 1892, and the following were observed:

 Let us examine how this discipline concerning fasting and abstinence operated in the Ordo of the Philippines for 1903.

Santo Entierro in a calandra for Good Friday
Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu

For Ash Wednesday, 25 February, fasting was obligatory for non-native ecclesiastical persons only, and abstinence for all even those with indult. For Ember Wednesday, 4 March, fasting was obligatory for non-native ecclesiastical persons only. For Ember Friday, 6 March, abstinence was obligatory for all even those with indult, the same as in 1892. On Ember Saturday, 7 March, neither fasting nor abstinence was obligatory to anyone, which would suggest a clear departure not from the discipline of 1892, but also from the prevailing indult. This omission would appear to be accidental; otherwise, we shall not purpose to divine. In conformity with the indult obtained by Fray Bernardino, moreover, Holy Monday, 6 April, and Holy Tuesday, 7 April, had no instruction for fasting or abstinence.

Chapel altar
College of Saint Joseph in Manila

On the vigil of Saint Joseph, 18 March, and on vigil of the Annunciation, 24 March, fasting was still obligatory for non-native ecclesiastical persons only, which is the same as in 1892. On the vigil of Saints Peter and Paul, 28 June, neither fasting nor abstinence was obligatory to anyone, as the day fell on fourth Sunday after Pentecost. On the vigil of the Assumption, 14 August, abstinence was obligatory for all even those with indult.

Façade of the church of the ermita
of the Nuestra Señora de Guía
Erected during the reign of Don Francisco de la Cuesta
Metropolitan of the Philippine Islands

On Friday in the first week of Advent, 4 December, neither fasting nor abstinence was obligatory to anyone, as with the practice of 1892. On Ember Friday, 18 December, still neither fasting nor abstinence was obligatory to anyone, as it fell on the feast of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin, celebrated in the rank of double major in the Philippines for being the feast of the Nuestra Señora de Guía, the oldest Marian image in the archipelago. In the 1892 discipline and in the prevailing indult of Leo XIII, non-native ecclesiastical persons fasted on this day. On the vigil of the Nativity, 24 December, fasting was obligatory for all the faithful, and abstinence even for those with indult. The indult of Leo XIII essentially did not alter the 1892 discipline.

Thus we see the keeping of the immemorial customs concerning fast and abstinence even after the time of the Spaniards. Among the customs that the first period introduced, without any indult whatsoever, was the consumption of dairy products by the clergy, both regular and secular, and the use of animal fat in preparing the collations for fast-days. The force of these came from neither universal nor particular law, but from the principle of mos contra legem, whereby a long established custom always trumped or took precedence over the law.

At the end of these two epochs, there were two sets of obligations for fasting and abstinence in the Philippines: (1) the privilege of the natives emanating from the bull of Paul III; and (2) the privilege of the non-natives emanating from the Crusade Bulls.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

No comments:

Post a Comment