Catholics Nailed to Crosses in Philippines

Church opposes Good Friday ritual

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 29, 2013 7:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – Northern Philippines villagers commemorated Good Friday in their traditional manner, with penitents whipping themselves before some two dozen were nailed to crosses, reports Reuters. Thousands of tourists were on hand to watch and photograph the scene. A local sign painter, 52, has now performed the ritual 27 times; his screams were projected through loudspeakers, the AP reports. He stayed on the cross in the heat for minutes; then the three-inch nails were removed and he was taken to a first-aid area.

"It's intriguing and fascinating what makes people do something like this, how you can believe so much that you make yourself suffer to that extent," said a tourist. The sign painter, Ruben Enaje, began taking part after he survived falling off a building. Another man said he participated "for good luck and for my family to be healthy." But the Catholic Church opposes the tradition. It's "not the desire of Jesus Christ," says an archbishop. "We should all concentrate on prayers."

A Filipino penitent is nailed to a wooden cross as actors wait behind him during Good Friday rituals at Cutud, Pampanga province, northern Philippines, on March 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino hooded penitents flagellate themselves as they make their way to the cross during Good Friday rituals on March 29, 2013 at Cutud, Pampanga province, northern Philippines.   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Tourists take pictures of a Filipino penitent who is nailed to the cross during Good Friday rituals on March 29, 2013 at San Juan, Pampanga province, northern Philippines.   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
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