Avoid whipping, nailing to cross, advises DOH | Inquirer News

Avoid whipping, nailing to cross, advises DOH

/ 06:54 AM April 16, 2014

Health Secretary Enrique Ona. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday urged penitents to practice other forms of atonement other than whipping themselves bloody and nailing themselves to crosses as part of their Lenten rituals and sacrifice, saying these practices may cause serious health problems.

“Let us just pray hard and live a moral life as our penitence instead of hurting ourselves,” said Health Secretary Enrique Ona in an interview with reporters.

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Ona said that while it respected the Lenten tradition of flagellation and crucifixion which some Filipinos consider a form of “atonement for sins,” the DOH discouraged such rituals because penitents faced the risk of infection from wounds like tetanus.

He said that even Catholic Church leaders opposed such practices.

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Ona said that deep-cut wounds resulting from crucifixion and whipping could be exposed to the heat, dust and all sorts of bacteria. “Tetanus could enter the body through the wounds,” he said.

Flagellants use whips with pieces of metal or bamboo on the tips to lash themselves. In some cases, others do the whipping for them.

Ona said the nails to be used to crucify penitents should first be soaked in sterilizing solution to protect from tetanus.

“It is also important that those who nail the flagellants to the cross are experts because they might damage vital nerves on the hands, affecting the (muscles of the) hands,” he said.  Tina G. Santos

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TAGS: Catholic Church, Department of Health, DoH, Enrique Ona, Flagellants, Health, Health Problems, Lenten rituals, Lenten Sacrifice, Penitence, Tetanus, Whipping
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