Padre Sibyla, or Padre Hernando Sibyla, is a Dominican friar who is the curate of Binondo and had been a former professor at San Juan de Letran college. His character in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere must not be confused with that of Padre Salvi.
Padre Sibyla is a young, good looking and graceful priest with an air of maturity. He wears gold-mounted eye glasses and has thin, refined lips that would plainly show disdain when needed.
Padre Sibyla is a stark contrast to Padre Damaso. He weighs his words and speaks little. The author describes him as someone who is good as resolving different views. He is often cool and intelligent, especially when correcting the other friar, Padre Damaso, of the latter's ostentatiousness. He respects etiquette and does not mind giving away the seat of honor in the party at Calle Anloague to the lieutenant, who declined.
Role in the novel
Padre Sibyla is seen in the welcome party at Calle Anloague helping Padre Damaso out of a troublesome situation with the lieutenant. This was after he had insinuated why Padre Damaso was removed from the town of San Diego as its curate.
In another scene, in Chapter Nine, Padre Sibyla is said to talk to a more senior but sickly Dominican superior. They talked about how Ibarra and Padre Damaso clashed as well as how the former will benefit their order once he marries Maria Clara. In Chapter 37, the priest is coldly received by the Captain-General, along with the other local priests because of Padre Damaso.
Padre Sibyla symbolizes the liberal friar but would rather stay in the background rather than incur the wrath of other priests in power. He is aware of the injustices done to the natives but would not do anything to change it, as all he cares about is getting his congregation in power.
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