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Don’t take part in extreme crucifixion ritual, bishops urge Filipino faithful

By on Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A hooded penitent in the  Philippines pauses while carrying a cross (AP)

A hooded penitent in the Philippines pauses while carrying a cross (AP)

Authorities in the Philippines have announced that at least 24 “penitents” are expected to be nailed on the cross on Good Friday, an annual ritual meant to atone for sins and give thanks to God for blessings.

But the country’s Catholic bishops warned the faithful against resorting to extreme forms of sacrifice on Good Friday, including crucifixion and self-flagellation.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, president of the Philippine Bishops’ Conference, said: “Let us concentrate more on the prayers. These are the wonderful ways of celebrating the Holy Week,”

He added that the real spirit of the observance of the Holy Week is “conversion of oneself”.

Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi, chairman of the bishops’ commission on youth, also reminded the faithful that there are “other forms of sacrifice and suffering that would lead to real conversion”.

“The Lord appreciates all these forms of sacrifices, but sometimes the kind of sacrifice that we impose on ourselves is not what the Lord wants us to do,” he said.

Although the Church decries the ritual, the government says it cannot stop devotees from crucifying and whipping themselves.

The department of health has already said that those taking part in the rituals to have tetanus shots and must only use sterilised nails.

  • Lee

    We are meant to sit around holding hands and singing ‘kumbyah’ ? The Protestanisation and effeminisation against mortification in The Catholic Church has driven many away from what Our Lord actually done for us and how we can humbly submit ourselves before Our Lord in a pleasing way, without getting everyone’s attention. This is much unlike a certain someone of recent times.

  • David Blunt

    Mortification is a spiritual activity involving the Word of God and prayer. We are enabled to die to sin only by the grace of God in Jesus Christ who was crucified once for the sins of His people. No amount of physical self-harm will bring about mortification.

  • Lee

    Strictly speaking, that is not true as mortification can be a paying of penance and for some, a manner of becoming closer mid The Lord. Catholic countries have traditionally been instilled mid zealous faith for partaking in such things and to this day, even after the Vat II disaster and rabid northern European secular philosophical rubbish, they sind still faithful. Look at Europe and specifically Germanic countries and tell me where the faith is, especially where outward living of it has dwindled to negligible or nought; not a lot.

  • Dr Falk

    do you support these crucifixions?

  • Dr Falk

    people having themselves crucified is the product of some very unhealthy thinking in the Church in the past – where people had to flagellate themselves, hate their flesh ( although God had created it ) and practice self loathing. This is not spiritually or emotionally healthy.

  • Zzars

    People didn’t *have* to flagellate themselves, if you look at places that still practice it you will see it is a voluntary thing and that most of the people present at such things are spectators. They certainly didn’t hate their flesh, they hated the sins they had committed.

  • Dr Falk

    Thanks for this.Sorry my language wasn’t precise. I should have said ‘people felt they had to flagellate…’. I don’t agree with with the comments on the flesh as I have seen and read statements that speak of the flesh as evil in Catholic works. You will remember we were told to reject ‘The world,the flesh and the devil’ I don’t have all the references but what might point in that direction is Alonso Rodriguez’s ‘ The Exercise of Perfection and Christian Virtues’(1609) which states that humility is ‘desiring to be despised by all the world’. I hope you can see how wrong that is – if we go for a coffee tomorrow are we meant to desire everyone in the coffee shop to despise us? Bad bad teaching which harmed a lot of people.