03/21/2008, 00.00
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Filipino bishops against faithful’s crucifixion, a meaningless circus

by Santosh Digal
The prelates call on the faithful not to duplicate the one and only sacrifice: the one by Christ. Mgr Paciano Aniceto, archbishop of San Fernando City, stresses that Easter rites have turned into a tourist attraction and that is terrible.

Manila (AsiaNews) – In order to celebrate in a dignified manner the Easter Triduum Filipino bishops have called on the faithful “not to replicate the one and only sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross in Calvary 2,000 years ago.”

Mgr Paciano B. Aniceto, archbishop of San Fernando City, stressed that Holy Week should not be turned into a “circus,” calling flagellation and crucifixion rites ‘popular piety” that should not be duplicated.

In various parts of the Philippines Good Friday is celebrated by re-enacting Christ’s Calvary, from flagellation to crucifixion. Many faithful are willing to pay a lot of money to organisers of such events to play the role of Christ. The local Church however frowns upon such practices.

According to Archbishop Aniceto, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is unique and singular and should not be replicated. “Some of the penitents know me personally, know how I and the Church feel but continue with this circus. It’s not right.”

The tradition of re-enacting the Crucifixion has been a yearly event since the 1940s, and has become a tourist attraction.

Even today and despite the admonition, 19 penitents were crucified around the country.

For its part the government has not taken a stand on the issue but has invited everyone to be vaccinated against tetanus.

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