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Devotees in northern Philippine villages re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to mark Good Friday

Catholics in the Philippines Re-Enact Christ's Crucifixion


SAN PEDRO CUTUD, Philippines (AP) - Devotees in northern Philippine villages had themselves nailed to wooded crosses to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as thousands of local and foreign spectators watched the bloody annual rites to mark Good Friday in Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation.

Church leaders and health officials have spoken against the practice, which mixes Roman Catholic devotion with folk belief, but the annual rites continue to draw participants and huge crowds, particularly in northern Pampanga province.

Sign painter Ruben Enaje, 53, had himself nailed to a cross at a dusty mound in Pampanga's San Pedro Cutud village for the 28th year. He began his yearly rite after surviving a fall from a building. Men dressed as Roman soldiers hammered stainless steel nails into his palms and feet, as a crowd of onlookers stood with cameras ready to capture his and other penitents' agony.

Lasse Spang Olsen, a 48-year-old filmmaker from Denmark, also had himself nailed to a cross, joining Enaje and eight other Filipino devotees. He grimaced in pain as nails pierced his hands and feet.

CORRECTION Philippines Crucifixions

Olsen said he made a film two years ago about Enaje's yearly crucifixion and decided to have himself crucified after falling sick twice. He had a small camera attached to his cross while a colleague filmed his experience.

"It's a personal matter between me and (God)," he said, with his finger pointing up. After being helped down from the cross, he said of his experience: "Fantastic, you should try it."

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, discouraged the crucifixions.

"If what you do makes you love others more, then it is pleasing to God," he said. "But if you do it for photographs, just to be famous, that is spiritual vanity."

The health department also discouraged the practice because of health risks. Health Undersecretary Eric Tayag urged devotees to get anti-tetanus shots.

Devotees undergo the crucifixions in the belief that such extreme sacrifices are a way to atone for their sins, attain miracle cures for illnesses or give thanks to God.

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Frank April 18 2014 at 6:35 PM

Religion is like politics. Very dangerous territory as wars have been fought over certain beliefs. Everyone has the right to believe in their own God or not believing at all. As for putting nails through your skin I'm not too sure if he has all his marbles intact. Obviously a little over the top but do not even compare it to fanatics that use violence to express their views. I think everyone out there knows what religion I am referring to.

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3 replies
JTalltrees1 April 18 2014 at 2:41 PM

idiots!

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1 reply
Michele JTalltrees1 April 18 2014 at 3:00 PM

that includes YOU, right?

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1 reply
letitbe15212 Michele April 18 2014 at 3:34 PM

no, michele..it includes YOU though

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mercymfa April 18 2014 at 12:48 PM

This is what religious people do, If you want to do the right thing, then do the word of God. Your sacrifices He does not need, but a broken spirit and a contrite heart. The Lord said: With their mouth they bless me, and with the same mouth they course the world or people. This does not impress God, but our dailly good actions. Psalm 51:17

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bttohr623 April 18 2014 at 8:48 PM

What keeps them from bleeding to death?

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2 replies
winky_dink bttohr623 April 18 2014 at 9:15 PM

You'll notice there is no blood in the photos.

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golffrdlrs bttohr623 April 18 2014 at 9:38 PM

A miracle of cauterization from god no doubt.

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The Canoli King April 18 2014 at 1:48 PM

I have no organize religion attachment,but I do believe in a Creator. It wasn't by accident that we are. Just look around us,the beautiful flora & fauna. The great food ,and the water that keeps all of us life sustaining. People will say evolutionary progress ,perhaps,but life in it's pure basic form started somewhere,somehow,and I prefer to believe in an Almighty creator. Hey ,my life ,my choice. Everyone have a nice weekend,and Holiday if it fit's your religious agenda.

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Judy April 18 2014 at 1:15 PM

What the heck! I wonder what our Lord Jesus would think of such stupidity.

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2 replies
kmjj Judy April 18 2014 at 1:31 PM

I think He might say something like this: "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

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De Mush doctor Judy April 18 2014 at 7:49 PM

Not my lord, i have no lord...speak for yourself.

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shilg123 April 18 2014 at 1:17 PM

this is insane. God would not need us to re-enact this
This is wrong

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1 reply
spike shilg123 April 18 2014 at 1:27 PM

We don't need to reinact the civil war either but millions do.Is that wrong?

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1 reply
buffalogal spike April 18 2014 at 3:06 PM

Only if the ammo is live.

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honeyrose3332 April 18 2014 at 7:46 PM

Jesus was not only crucified on the Cross, but He was flogged, beaten, spit on, had a crown of thorns stuck on his head, and I don't know what all. Many years ago I read in a book that by the time the soldiers and others got through and nailed Him to the Cross he was almost not recognizeable as a human. This was probably gotten from ancient documents by those that witnessed the event.

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1 reply
jbrabantecho24 honeyrose3332 April 18 2014 at 7:53 PM

A great thing to watch is "The Passion of Christ" It shows how is was beaten, spit on, demoralized, and then crucified...... It makes me realize what Jesus went through for our sins.....The movie really hits home....

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3 replies
kmcc895370 April 18 2014 at 12:28 PM

There's a small group of people in western US called the Penetants. They regularly reenact the torture and death of Jesus. With them it's a way of life.

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1 reply
kmcc895370 kmcc895370 April 18 2014 at 12:30 PM

If only I had as much faith as they.

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1 reply
bjredmond64 kmcc895370 April 18 2014 at 12:41 PM

faith comes by hearing the word of God. Yeshua is the Word. Hear Him.

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Andy April 18 2014 at 9:05 PM

I went to church today and I think that was enough.

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1 reply
Al Davis Andy April 18 2014 at 9:30 PM

Andy, Perhaps the church you attended wasn't what you were hoping for. Attend another--then another--until you hear His word in your heart. Then join that church.

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3 replies
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