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An 1865 manual for confession

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An 1865 manual for confession

/ 05:30 AM April 21, 2013

MYTHOLOGICAL carabao and rider, Pagcor Bldg., Angeles, Pampanga PHOTO BY W.C. REGALADO

Ambeth Ocampo, who had flown in from Japan where he is on a grant, paid me a surprise visit. We had a lot of reminiscing to do.

One of the things we recalled was an amusing manual prepared for Filipino priests by a Franciscan, Fray Sebastian de Totanes, on how to conduct confession.

It was published in 1865. Ambeth had discovered it in his own library of antique books back in the 1980s. A public document, it could now be Googled from the Bibliotecca Nacional de España!


The tome is in archaic Tagalog, and it would have been a chore to translate if the leading questions on the sins against chastity weren’t so revealing and funny.

Here is a lengthy excerpt from the sins of the flesh. Both its Tagalog original as well as my lousy translation are reproduced herein.  En garde!

398.  Yto pa ang otos co naman sa iyo; toui mong daralauin ang iyong catipan, ay houag cang humarap sa caniya saan man, cun mag iisa cayong dalaua. Houag mong dalauin, cun uala doon din sa harap ninyo ang manga bibiananin mo, cun iba cayang tauong caaalang alanganan ninyo, nang houag cayong marulas sa dati ninyong manga mahahalay na asal, na iquinapapacasama nang inyong puri’t, manga caloloua.

398. This is my command to you; whenever you visit your betrothed, never be alone with her. Your future in-laws or other people you respect (should be around) so that you do not slip into old shameful behavior that could besmirch your souls.

399.  Bocor dito, opan na quipag biro ca naman sa ibang manga babaye? (cun napabiro ca caya sa ibang manga lalaqui?)  Cun sa capoua mo lalaqui, cun babaye?

399. Aside from (such behavior), do you jest with other women?  Or other men? Or with both men and women?

400.  At doon sa inyong pag lalaro, at pagbibiro, ano? Mahalai caya ang iyong bucang bibig, at tongcol sa calibugan?

400. And in your fun, did you use vulgar expressions, and were they about sex?


401. Bucang bibig na lamang yaong inyong pag bibiroan, cun nagbibiroan naman cayo nang inyong manga camay?

401. Was it only words that you joked with, or also your hands?

Provoke and grope

Tikbalang, Pagcor Bldg., Angeles, Pampanga PHOTO BY W.C. REGALADO

402.  At paano caya yaon? Nag aaglahian, at nag dorocotan cayo, at nag hihipoan caya, cun nagpaquitaan naman cayo doon sa inyong catouaan?

402.  You provoke, you grope, and you show each other’s bodies parts for fun?

403.  At nilabasan ca nang marumi? Cun pinalabasan mo caya ang manga cabiroan mo?

403. And did a dirty substance come out of you? And did you cause it also to come out of your friend or friends?

404.  Ylan cayong nagbibiroan nang gayon? At ilan ang mey asaua? At ilan ang ualang asaua? At mey ibang manga caharap na nanonoor sa inyo?

404.  How many of you joke like that?  And how many are married?  How many not? Were others watching?

405.  At macailang nagbiro cayo nang gayon? (n. 367.)

405.  How many times did you joke like that?

406.  Ylang inyong pagbibiroang mahalay ay pinanganganlan ninyong catouaan lamang. Tapat ngang panganlan cun sa infierno lamang talastasin; sa pagca ang manga demonios la mang ang nangatotoua sa gayong fiestang infierno. Sila nga ang nacapupucao, at nanonocso sa inyo sa gayong cahalaihalai na bucan bibig, sa gayong paghihipoan ninyo, pauang pusalian, calibugan at, calupaan, na sala ding tingnan nang sinomang cristianong mabaet, at asal ngang hayop yaon.

406.  The obscene teasing which you call only a pastime is correctly so if understood as hell because only the devils are made happy over such feasts in hell. It is in fact demons who awaken and tempt you to mouth those lascivious words and to touching that awakens libido and worldliness and mire. They are wrong for any good Christian to behold. It is animal behavior.

407.  Opan sa capoua mo lalaqui, cun sa capoua mo babaye, mey bocor na cahalayan ca?

407.  Do you show different lewdness before males and before females?

408.  Ano caya yaon?  Nagsiping baga cayo, cun caya cayo, cun ano, ano caya ang gaua ninyo? Houag cang mahiyang magsaisai, yayamang uala cang hiya sa paggaua nion sa harapan nang P. Dios na nacaquita sa iyo doon, at dito,y, caharap mo din naman, at tinitingnan niya cun paano ang pagsasabi mo’t, pagcocompisal.

408.  What are those? Did you lie down with each other? What things did you do?  What else? Do not be ashamed to relate it since you were not ashamed to do it before the Lord who saw you and is now watching you make this confession.

ANTIQUE confesssional, Barasoain Church, Malolos. PHOTO BY W.C. REGALADO

409.  At mey guinaua ca caya anomang cahalayan sa alin mang hayop? At cun ano caya yaon? At cun macailan? At mey caharap na tauo? Ylan catauo?

409. And have you committed perverted acts with beasts? What kind? How many times? And were others watching? How many? (Nos. 410 & 411 are absent in orig.)

412.  At sa pagsisiping ninyong magasaua mey inaalaala cang tiquis, at quinalologdan caya sa loob mong ibang tauo?

412.  While sleeping with your spouse, were you secretly remembering somebody else with great pleasure?

Against your will

413.  Mey asaua caya yaong inaalaala mo, cun camaganac mo caya, cun nang asaua mo din?  At macailan caya iyang pag aalaala mo’t, pagcalogor mong tiquis sa tanan loob mo?

413. Is the one you think about married, related to you or your spouse? How many times do you remember her and enjoy it against your will?

414. Cun nagsisiping cayong magasaua, pinagiiba ninyo caya ang dating ogaling anyo nang inyong manga catauan sa gayong gaua?  At cun ano caya iyang pagcaiba?  At baquin nagiiba cayo nang dating ogali?  Nilabasan ca caya nang marumi sa loual nang inyong pagsisiping dahelan sa inyong pagcacaiba?  Sinarhiya mo caya, cun pagba ualan bahala mo, cun paano caya yaon?

414.  And when you sleep with your wife, has the way you act changed? In what way? Did your body expel a dirty substance in your sleep due to your change of affection?  Were you not ashamed of your lack of caring?

415.  Nagnasa ca baga sa boo mong loob magcasala sa ibang babaye?  Ylan sila?  Ylan sa manga pinagnasaan mo ang manga mey asaua?  Alin man camaganac mo, cun nang asaua mo caya, pinagnasaan mo naman nang gayon?

415. Did you desire with all your heart to sin with another woman? Or many women? How many of them were married? Which were your relatives and which were your spouse’s, whom you lusted for?

416.  Maca ilan cang nagnasa nang gayon sa balang isa,t, isa?  Opan di mo mabilang, sa pagca pinagnasaan mo yata ang balang babayeng minamabuti mo, at inaari mong maganda, mey asaua man, uala mang asaua, camaganac mo man caya?

416. How many times did you desire each of them? Or can’t you count how many times because you desired every woman whom you considered good or beautiful, whether married or related?

417.  Pinaquiosapan mo caya alin mang babaye sa masama; cun pinaoohan mo ang lalaqui, sa biro man lamang yaon, at diman palaman sa loob?

417.  Did you invite women to do sinful acts with you? Do you say yes to a man only as a joke without meaning it?

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TAGS: Ambeth Ocampo, Confession, Filipino priests
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