On Good Friday, about 20 Filipinos and Danish filmmaker Lasse Spang Olsen were nailed to crosses, re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, according to a Reuters report on Friday. The report says that it is a practice which is not approved of by the Catholic Church. The church claims it is a distortion of the Easter message.
The annual ritual reportedly brings thousands of persons who choose to watch the event to San Fernando. San Fernando is some 50 miles north of Manila in the Philippines. Olsen, who is also a stunt coordinator, said it was a great experience between himself and God. The 48-year-old filmmaker was nailed to the cross for more than 10 minutes before he was brought down and treated for his wounds, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
Approximately 80 percent of the Philippines’ population are Catholic. Those persons find the annual re-enactment of the crucifixion on Good Friday to be an extreme expression of devotion. The action of Jesus Christ dying on the cross on Good Friday is a Christian belief which also includes the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday – two days later.
The Good Friday ritual is traced back approximately 60 years. The events are believed to have taken hold in northern Pampanga province. The Roman Catholic church, however, believes the ritual is self-serving and a blatant corruption of the message that Jesus Christ suffered for others.
There are those who believe the annual event presents itself with more of a carnival-like atmosphere than a religious experience for those who make the journey to San Fernando to witness the event. Archbishop Aniceto Paciano sums up the disapproval of the event by making a religious analysis. Paciano says that penance does not mean that a person hurts himself or herself. He says that one’s body is a temple that houses the spirit.