Chapter 14: - Page 7 of 8

Tasio: Lunatic or Sage

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Well, so it went some believed it and others didn’t.  Although St. Gregory finally came to admit it in his de quibusdam levibus culpis esse ante judicium purgatorius ignis credendus est,[5] yet nothing definite was done until the year 1439, that is, eight centuries later, when the Council of Florence declared that there must exist a purifying fire for the souls of those who have died in the love of God but without having satisfied divine Justice.  Lastly, the Council of Trent under Pius IV in 1563, in the twenty-fifth session, issued the purgatorial decree beginning Cura catholica ecclesia, Spiritu Santo edocta, wherein it deduces that, after the office of the mass, the petitions of the living, their prayers, alms, and other pious works are the surest means of freeing the souls.  Nevertheless, the Protestants do not believe in it nor do the Greek Fathers, since they reject any Biblical authority for it and say that our responsibility ends with death, and that the ‘Quodcumque ligaberis in terra,’[6] does not mean ‘usque ad purgatorium,’[7] but to this the answer can be made that since purgatory is located in the center of the earth it fell naturally under the control of St. Peter.  But I should never get through if I had to relate all that has been said on the subject.  Any day that you wish to discuss the matter with me, come to my house and there we will consult the books and talk freely and quietly.

Now I must go. I don’t understand why Christian piety permits robbery on this night—and you, the authorities, allow it—and I fear for my books. If they should steal them to read I wouldn’t object, but I know that there are many who wish to burn them in order to do for me an act of charity, and such charity, worthy of the Caliph Omar, is to be dreaded.  Some believe that on account of those books I am already damned—

But I suppose that you do believe in damnation? asked Doray with a smile, as she appeared carrying in a brazier the dry palm leaves, which gave off a peculiar smoke and an agreeable odor.

I don’t know, madam, what God will do with me, replied the old man thoughtfully.  When I die I will commit myself to Him without fear and He may do with me what He wishes.  But a thought strikes me!

What thought is that?

If the only ones who can be saved are the Catholics, and of them only five per cent—as many curates say—and as the Catholics form only a twelfth part of the population of the world—if we believe what statistics show—it would result that after damning millions and millions of men during the countless ages that passed before the Saviour came to the earth, after a Son of God has died for us, it is now possible to save only five in every twelve hundred.  That cannot be so! I prefer to believe and say with Job: ‘Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro, and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?’ No, such a calamity is impossible and to believe it is blasphemy!

[5] It should be believed that for some light faults there is a purgatorial fire before the judgment.

[6] Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth.—Matt, xvi, 19.

[7]Even up to purgatory.

Learn this Filipino word:

magdádalá ng bigát