Filipinos Nailed to Cross in Easter Ritual Frowned On by Church

 

A penitent nailed to a cross grimaces during a re-enactment of the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in San Fernando, Pampanga in the northern Philippines on April 18, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Erik De Castro)

A penitent nailed to a cross grimaces during a re-enactment of the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in San Fernando, Pampanga in the northern Philippines on April 18, 2014. (Reuters Photo/Erik De Castro)

Cutud, Philippines. Nearly 20 Filipinos and a Danish filmmaker were nailed to crosses to re-enact the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday, a practice the Roman Catholic Church frowns upon as a distortion of the Easter message.

The annual Philippine ritual draws thousands of spectators to San Fernando, 80 kilometers north of Manila, to see penitents flagellate themselves and a series of crucifixiosn in a recreation of Christ’s death on the cross.

“It was a great experience between me and God,” 48-year-old Danish film director and stunt coordinator Lasse Spang Olsen, who stayed on the cross for more than 10 minutes, told Reuters before being treated for his wounds. “It was great. It was fun.”

But for some in the Philippines, where about 80 percent of the population are Catholics, the re-enactments of the crucifixion are an extreme display of devotion.

Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ died on the cross on Good Friday and rose from the dead two days later, on Easter Sunday.

“I will do it as long as my body will allow me,” said Danilo Ramos, 43, who has been crucified 23 times. “I hope God will see my sacrifice and take good care of my family.”

The Roman Catholic Church denounces the ritual, which took hold in northern Pampanga province about 60 years ago, as self-serving and a corruption of the message of Christ’s suffering for others.

“Penance does not mean you hurt yourself, because your body is a temple that houses the spirit,” said Archbishop Aniceto Paciano of San Fernando.

The carnival-like atmosphere in Cutud village draws thousands of foreign and local tourists each year. British casino worker Emily Ebswoth, 24, said she had never seen anything like it.

“I don’t like it,” she told Reuters. “It’s bloody and gory.”

Additional reporting by Pedro Uchi, Jess Malabanan and Peter Blaza

Reuters

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s