Action Alert!

Catholic World News News Feature

Authorities in Philippines discourage self-crucifixion March 20, 2008

Public officials in the Philippines are doing their best to discourage zealous Catholics from the practices of self-flagellation and crucifixion-- practices that are regularly seen in the country.

According to a Manila Times report, at least 23 people plan to perform their own imitations of the Crucifixion on Good Friday. Many others will whip themselves until they bleed. These annual practices, although they are frowned upon by Church authorities, have become a regular expression of penitence and religious fervor.

Health secretary Francisco Duque told reporters that his office is "ot trying to go against the Lenten tradition," recognizing that those who plan to crucify themselves are unlikely to be dissuaded from the ritual. But the health ministry has sent out a directive telling people that they should receive a tetanus shot and sterilize the nails that are used in the spectacle, to avoid the risk of tetanus.