Multiple Catholics had themselves nailed to wooden crosses in the Philippines as part of a Good Friday ritual ahead of Easter Sunday.
Last year we discussed how Ruben Enaje — a painter — had people use hammers to literally nail him to a cross in the village of San Pedro Cutud in the Philippines. It turns out he’s not alone. In fact, there are several über-religious people who regularly do this each and every Good Friday.
This year, at least five people (including a woman) took part in the event:
Four men and a woman, some wearing crowns of twigs, were escorted by villagers dressed as Roman centurions and nailed to crosses on a dusty hill in San Pedro Cutud village. Similar reenactments played out in nearby farming towns in the northern Philippines.
Thousands, including many tourists, watch the annual spectacle. The Catholic Church frowns upon it, instead calling on the faithful to mark Lent with prayers and acts of charity.
We don’t say this often, but everyone should listen to the Catholic Church. The faith-based ritual is dangerous and the public support of it is frightening.
To make matters worse, the crucifixions aren’t the only troubling tradition at this event.
Prior to the reenacted crucifixions, dozens of barefoot penitents beat their bare backs with sharp bamboo sticks and wood. Some had their backs with razors cut to keep them bloody.
Sterilized nails are used in the rituals, and after they are lowered from the crosses, the devotees are checked by medical workers to make sure they are no complications from their injuries.
Making sure the nails are sterilized is like wiping the blade of a guillotine. I’m glad they take some protections, but there are bigger problems. Just because they’re doing it in the name of Jesus doesn’t alleviate any of that.
One of the frequently crucified participants says she’s staying healthy because of the tradition.
Another regular, Mary Jane Sazon, marked her 16th time on the cross.
“When I do this devotion, my prayers come true. Then I stopped. I started having health problems again, so I joined the crucifixion again. I felt that through my devotion, whatever illness I feel goes away,” said Sazon.
Here’s a thought: Your health will be better if you’re not purposely injuring yourself for public enjoyment once a year. Dr. Jesus would agree.