Good Friday crucifixion: Repentance or tetanus?
MANILA, Philippines – True repentance? More like tetanus.
The Department of Health (DOH) warned Filipino Catholics who will undergo self-flagellation and crucifixion rituals on Good Friday, March 29, echoing calls from Catholic bishops who discourage these practices.
“You are prone to possible infection,” said Health Secretary Enrique Ona on Wednesday, March 27.
Ona added that crucifixion, if improperly done, could permanently damage one's hands and feet. “The nail may hit the bone... If the nerves are cut, the hand could experience numbness,” he said.
If a devotee insists on undergoing these practices, Ona noted, he or she should take precautionary measures.
One of these is to take a shower immediately using soap and water. And if bleeding occurs, the person should get a tetanus injection.
Ona said he is bent on studying the short-term and long-term effects of self-flagellation and crucifixion, hoping to help the Catholic Church discourage these practices in the future.
Change of focus
In a message carried by the Church-run Radio Veritas, CBCP president Cebu Arcbishop Jose Palma reminded the faithful that the Church discourages self-flagellation and crucifixion.
Palma said he hopes Catholics will emphasize more the “spirit of prayer.” (READ: Good Friday: Far Greater Love)
“I hope we would concentrate on the prayers. Starting Holy Thursday, the Washing of the Feet, the Visita Iglesia, these are wonderful ways of celebrating the Holy Week,” Palma said. (Stuck at home or in the office? Check Rappler's Virtual Visita Iglesia.)
Catholics believe Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of men through his death on the Cross. Jesus performed this sacrifice “once and for all,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and could not be replicated by any man.
For Catholics, the Holy Mass – not the frowned-upon Good Friday rituals – "is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice." – with reports from Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler.com