Friday, March 21, 2008

Men Voluntarily Nailed to Crosses... Again

No special effects here. Those men are actually nailed to those crosses!
In a gruesome spectacle enacted every Good Friday in the Philippines, devout Roman Catholic men are voluntarily nailed to crosses to reenact the Christ's Crucifixion in a bloody, horrifying ritual that devotees considered penance for their sins and a way to thank God for answering their prayers. They are removed from the crosses before they die.

Agence France Presse reports that 19 men were nailed to the crosses in San Pedro Cutud, a small farming village about an hour north of Manila. The event is a huge tourist draw with thousands braving the intense tropical heat to witness the grisly display. One of the men is Ruben Enaje, 47, who underwent the ordeal for the 22nd time. He said he didn't do it eight years ago and was afflicted with stomach ulcers and his wife was ill. "It is painful and difficult. But I will continue doing this for as long as I can. This is my pledge to God," the father of four told AFP as he prepared his ceremonial garb.

The reenactment is shocking to outsiders. Others in the community dress in costumes as Roman centurions and drag the penitents through the village streets to the hilltop where three wooden crosses--and the crowd of tourists--wait. AFP reports that Enaje, who was the first to be nailed to the cross this Good Friday, screamed in agony as the seven-inch nails were driven into his palms and feet as he lay spread-eagled over the cross. The cross was then raised and Enaje hung there for five minutes before the cross was pulled down and the nails were pulled out. Hours before this chilling display began, scores of other local men whipped themselves bloody with strips of bamboo attached to strings as atonement for their sins.
This is Roger Marcos. He's only 15 years old!
The Roman Catholic Church does not support these extreme activities and issued numerous warnings in advance of Holy Week that the penitents should get tetanus shots first and sterilize the nails. "The church does not recommend it because the church is against self-flagellation," Father Norman Vitug, the local parish priest, told AFP. "Of course when we express our faith to the Lord the church does not want us to hurt ourselves for us to experience the love of God. But we cannot question somebody's faith. It's just an expression of their faith. We do not lead their lives so we do not know what happens to them while experiencing that, so we might as well respect it."

1 comment:

Terry said...

Wow! I wish I could share a little good news about the grace of God and how Christ died for us with these men. They must live tormented lives, trying to deserve God's blessings and love. Looking forward to seeing you next week.