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Good Friday news roundup: pilgrims in Jerusalem, crucifixions in Philippines

Catholic World News - March 29, 2013

As is customary on Good Friday, the leading wire services devoted attention to Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem and reenactments of the Crucifixion in a northern Philippine village.

“Hundreds of Christians streamed through the cobblestone alleyways of Jerusalem's Old City,” reported the Associated Press, while Agence France Presse put the number in the “tens of thousands.”

In reporting on the reenactment of Crucifixion, during which villagers allow themselves to be crucified and hang on a cross for “several minutes,” the Associated Press quoted Archbishop Jose Palma, the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

The practice is “not the desire of Jesus Christ,” he said.

“We are aware that this has been practiced long before ... but we still hope that this will not be done any more,” he added. “We should all concentrate on prayers.”

Reuters reported that the practice began 60 years ago and is now a major tourist attraction.

“We are in no position to suppress them,” Auxiliary Bishop Pablo David of San Fernando told Reuters. “I do not think it is right to close our doors to them just because they are more attracted to these folk practices than to our Roman liturgy, which they may find too foreign or cerebral.”

“Catholic zealots in the Philippines re-enacted the last hours of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, whipping their backs and nailing themselves to crosses in a grisly Easter ritual that persists despite Church disapproval,” reported Agence France Presse, which noted in its wire story that the bishops’ conference has criticized the practice for decades.

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