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Jose Rizal

1861-1896. Filipino physician and political writer. He studied in various European universities, where he was influenced by Masonry and theological and political liberalism. His parents were turned off their family lands by Dominican friars. He wrote much propaganda against the tyrannical Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines* and against the corruption of the friars. Notable examples of this were Noli Me Tangere (1887) and El Filibusterismo (1891). He was also strongly critical of much traditional Roman dogma which he regarded as superstition. He worked for reform in the Philippines, but was opposed to the use of violence. He was nevertheless branded as a revolutionary, and first exiled and later shot by a Spanish firing squad. His death was used by revolutionary leaders to arouse Filipino fury. Formerly a saint of the Philippine Independent Church, he is venerated as the Philippines' national hero. Roman Catholic historians dubiously claim that he recanted and returned to the Roman fold before he was executed. Various Rizalista cults now worship him as a “Second Christ,” and even look for his return.