Thursday, 21 April 2016

Certificate of contribution mistaken for papal indult

[UPDATE: Identity of the contributor confirmed.]

Sometimes, a little knowledge is dangerous.

Below are some images that have surfaced over social media, claiming to contain the papal indult that exempted Bantayan Island in Cebu from the usual rigours of Lent.

We are deeply sorrowed to transmit the fact that the document above is NOT a papal indult. While bulls and indults from Rome, during the Spanish era, could only take effect in the Spanish Realm if the Spanish Crown accepted them (on account of the Royal Patronage), they were normally communicated in a formal and official manner prefaced by a pastoral letter from the Archbishop or, sede vacante, the Apostolic Administrator or the Dean of the Chapter.

The document above does NOT exhibit these characters.

It is, in fact, called a boleta de indulto or simply a boleta.

Read here to review the conditions required to avail of the privileges of the Crusade Bulls.

A boleta is a document proving that a full-blooded Spaniard, whether an insular or a peninsular, has paid the necessary contribution to finance the fight against heresy, Protestantism and Islam throughout the Spanish Realm. In effect, he is allowed to consume dairy, animal fat, and egg during days of abstinence. In this case, the dispensation also includes fleshmeat.

The boleta above, then, would have belonged to a wealthy and prominent Spaniard then residing in Bantayan. In fact, we can see his name: Dorotheo del Ros.o. [The s is swashed.]

[Note: In fact, the name Doroteo del Rosario can be traced back to Don Doroteo Andrada del Rosario, who once ministered as parish priest of Bantayan. There are claims that he was an Augustinian, but a survey of the list of Augustinians, both Calced (O. S. A) and Discalced (O. E. R. S. A.), around that time available to us does not reveal his name. He is variously referred to as an Ilonggo, or as someone coming from Iloilo. His contribution to the Crusade Bulls implies that he was a mestizo. Whether he had more than 50% Spanish blood, meaning, one of his parents is a natural Spaniard and the other is a mestizo, we cannot ascertain. The question regarding what percentage of Spanish blood was canonically considered mestizo in the eyes of the bull of Paul III, Altitudo, was only settled on 3 March 1852, with a rescript from the Holy Office to a dubium sent by Fray Francisco Gaínza, bishop of Nueva Cáceres.]

One can see the amount he contributed: two reales of minted and common silver. This boleta is only fourth class, signed by the Commissary General D. Mariano Liñan. A first-class boleta looks like the one below granted by the General Commissariat of the Holy Crusade, to His Excellency D. Juan Donoso Cortés, marqués de Valdegamas, a Spanish man-of-letters known for his ultramontanist sympathies, signed by the Commissary General D. Manuel López Santaella:

Below is the transcript of the boleta from Bantayan (orthography updated):
Por cuanto Ntro. Smo. Padre León XII, de feliz recordación, por su Breve dado en Roma a veintisiete de julio de mil ochocientos veinticuatro, sometido exclusivamente al Comisario general de la Cruzada, se dignó prorrogar por otros diez años el Indulto Apostólico, para que todos los fieles de ambos sexos, y de uno y otro estado, secular o eclesiástico, residentes en estos Reinos e Islas, puedan comer carnes saludables, huevos y lacticinios, guardando la forma del ayuno, en los días de Cuaresma y demás abstinencias del año, a excepción de las que abajo se expresarán; pero declarando por no comprendidos en este privilegio a los Regulares que están obligados por voto al uso perpetuo de manjares cuadragesimales, cuyos diez años principiaron a contarse en esos Dominios en la Predicación del año de mil ochocientos veintinueve, y concluyeron en la de mil ochocientos treinta y ocho, y habiéndose dignado igualmente la Santidad de Gregorio XVI, que actualmente gobierna la Iglesia, prorrogarlo en diferentes épocas por otros cinco años más, que fenecerán en esos Dominios en mil ochocientos cuarenta y tres.
Por tanto a Vos, Doroteo del Rosario, que habéis contribuido la limosna de dos reales de plata acuñada y común, que hemos regulado en virtud de la Autoridad Apostólica que se nos concede, y recibís este Sumario, os dispensamos para que podáis comer carnes saludables, huevos y lacticinios en los días de Cuaresma y demás abstinencias del bienio próximo de mil ochocientos cuarenta y dos, y mil ochocientos cuarenta y tres, exceptuados el miércoles de ceniza, los viernes de cada semana de Cuaresma, el miércoles, jueves, viernes y sábado de la Semana Santa o Mayor; toda ella fuera del domingo de ramos si fuereis eclesiásticos, y las vigilias de la Natividad del Ntro. Señor Jesucristo, de Pentecostés, de la Asunción de la Beatísima Virgen María, y la de los Bienaventurados Apóstoles S. Pedro y S. Pablo para todos, con prevención de que para usar este privilegio habéis de tener la Bula de la Santa Cruzada, y además siendo eclesiásticos la de Lacticinios, si no habéis cumplido los sesenta años.
Dado en Madrid, a ocho de febrero de mil ochocientos cuarenta.
Below is the English translation:
Inasmuch as Our Most Holy Father Leo XII, of happy memory, through His Brief given in Rome on 27 July 1824, transmitted exclusively to the General Commissary of the Holy Crusade, deigned to extend for another 10 years the Apostolic Indult, so that all faithful of both sexes, and of both secular or ecclesiastic estates, residing in these Realms and Isles, may consume nourishing fleshmeat, eggs and dairy, keeping the form of fasting, on the days of Lent and on other days of abstinence of the year, except those that will be expressly mentioned below; but declaring not included from this privilege those Regulars who are bound by vow to the perpetual use of their own Lenten meals, whose 10 years in those Dominions started to be counted from the preaching of the Crusade in 1829, and ended with the preaching of the Crusade in 1838, and His Holiness Pope Gregory XVI, who currently governeth the Church, having equally deigned to extend it in another time for another 5 more years, which will cease in those Dominions in 1843.
Therefore, We dispense thee, Doroteo del Rosario, who hast contributed the alms of two reales of minted and common silver, which We have regulated by virtue of the Apostolic Authority granted to Us, and hast received this Certificate, that thou mayst consume nourishing fleshmeat, eggs and dairy on the days of Lent, and on other days of abstinence of the next biennium of 1842 and 1843, except on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent, Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday of Holy Week or Greater Week; everything outside Palm Sunday, if thou wert an ecclesiastic, and on the Vigil of Christmas, the Vigil of Pentecost, the Vigil of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Vigil of the Blessed Apostles Saints Peter and Paul for everyone; provided that, in order to enjoy this privilege, thou hast to possess the Bull of the Holy Crusade, and, furthermore, if an ecclesiastic, the Bull for the Consumption of Dairy, if thou hast not completed yet thy 60th year.
Given in Madrid, on 8 February 1840.
We will not question here the authenticity of the practice of foregoing abstinence on Good Friday in Bantayan, because the author claims it is 100 years old, and centenary customs are not to be dismissed as something petty and unworthy of deference. However, when the author remarks that “[if] the indult were not continued, the population of Bantayan and the pilgrims would probably have to starve for two days,” we begin to wonder whether this is fuelled by ignorance (seafood is not the only type of comestible allowed on abstinence days; root crops can be eaten too, as in many parts of the Visayas) or impelled by pride (either eat meat, or starve to death).

Worrying is the fact that we are not beneath misappropriating documents to support customs that are not aligned with the discipline of the universal Church. Equally worrying is the wholesale disregard for acceptable competence in the Spanish language, which, had it been present and rightly employed, the warning signs that this is not a papal indult granted exclusively to Bantayan would not have been overlooked.

We are, once again, reminded of the Italian slur against the French: Traduttore, traditore.

Let us then hope and pray that, within our lifetime, the documents attesting to this peculiar custom come to light.

Ut in omnibus laudetur Dominus.

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