Monday, April 09, 2007

Tourist Attraction or True Penance?

Talk about penance! In the Philippines, seven Catholic believers were actually nailed to crosses on Good Friday -- in honor of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made. They actually used four inch nails that had been soaked in alcohol, after they carried their crosses on their backs for nearly a mile to their place of crucifixion.

Tourists flock to the site to see this annual event. They have a huge audience, with a stage at the mound where the crucifixions take place, but religious leaders are opposed to the spectacle. Some of the men have taken part in this ritual up to twenty one times. Others flog themselves with bamboo sticks to do acts of penance for the Lenten season.

Makes my Lenten penance seem pretty soft...


marilena said...

i have heard this also. its not something i'd do. Christ being crucified is enough foe me. i think others doing it is a little extreme, but they do it, and that is it.

Anonymous said...

Intentionally hurting oneself seems to be at odds with caring for one's body which is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

Yes...I think we need to revist the prohibition against *intentionally* cutting ones flesh.

I'm not impressed. Obediance is what is called for, not *public* spectacle.

Adoro te Devote said...

This practice is actually condemned by the Church.

And further, there was a great article I found through spiritdaily, and I forgot to email myself the link so I don't have it.

There was a group of physicians...a Catholic, a Methodist, a Baptist, and some others, who got together for a Bible study. I believe they were all actually surgeons.

Anyway, one night one of them brought a Johns Hopkins University study to them with info on the practice of crucifixion.

It described in vivid terms (esp for those who understand medical teminology and psysiology) how the nails were sometimes not placed through the palms, but through the wrist so as to irritate the median nerve. It also discussed how the position of the person crucified lowered the diaphragm and elogonated the thoracic cavity so as to make breathing very difficult. The person was obliged upon every movement to cause an entirely new agony, whether through breathing or moving, the nerves, but thy were helpless not to try to breathe. No one can suffocate voluntarily - the reflex is to breathe, no matter how painful in other areas of the body.

I've read this description somewhere before, yet each time, it brings me to tears, causes me to shudder, and thank God all over again for this suffering.

And I agonize over each and every person who ever suffered such torture.