Good Friday? Catholics re-enact crucifixion of Christ with real nails

Ouch! To mark Good Friday in the Philippines Catholic devotees had themselves nailed to a cross to re-enact the bloody crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Thousands of local and foreign spectators watched the bloody annual rite as approximately 20 Filipinos and a Danish filmmaker were nailed to crosses to re-enact the crucifixion of Christ.on Good Friday.

The annual Philippine ritual draws thousands of spectators to see penitents flagellate themselves and a series of crucifixions in a recreation of Christ’s death on the cross. In a circus like atmosphere crucified devotees spent several minutes nailed to crosses while thousands of tourists watched and took photos of the spectacle.

The annual event is a grisly and bloody display of religious devotion. Aside from the crucifixions, hooded penitents marched under a blazing sun, flagellating their bleeding backs with makeshift whips, while others carried wooden crosses to dramatize Christ’s sacrifice.

The Roman Catholic Church officially frowns upon the practice as a distortion of the Easter message. Archbishop Socrates Villages, head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, discouraged the crucifixions:

“If what you do makes you love others more, than it is pleasing to God,” he said. “But when you do bloody rituals just to be photographed and become popular, that is spiritual vanity.”

The health department also discourages the practice for obvious reasons.

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A Catholic devotee nailed to a cross is hoisted by participants during a re-enacment of the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday on April 18, 2014 in San Pedro Cutud village in Pampanga province, Philippines.

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