Easter Health Guidelines Issued for Catholic Self-Flagellists

Health officials in the Philippines have issued health guidelines for Catholics who will be joining the annual self-flagellation rituals this week. If you must whip yourself, health officials would like to make sure that the whip and process is as hygienic as possible to avoid infection and tetanus. Officials are encouraging the use of “well-maintained whips” — a real advancement when one views the video below. The next health advance may to regulate self-crucifixions in the country.

Officials have been careful not to discourage self-flagellation. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III stressed “We are not trying to go against the Lenten tradition here. But this advice is important to make sure that no one will land in the hospital due to tetanus or other infections that penitents might get in the process. . . . Getting deep cut wounds during whippings or lashings is inevitable. And being so exposed during the course of the penitence, with all the heat and dust blowing in the wind, welcomes all sorts of infections and bacteria like tetanus.”

For a video of this tradition, click here

For the full story, click here

Yet, the more immediate health issue may be the tradition of self-crucifixions, as shown in this video.

Of course, Catholics are not alone in such practices. Shiites routinely cut themselves with swords in marking the Ashura , as shown in this video. This includes cutting children with razors, as discussed here.

6 thoughts on “Easter Health Guidelines Issued for Catholic Self-Flagellists”

  1. In WW2 Japanese in Unit 731 and I’m sure German scientists also particularly Josef Mengele dissected LIVE people after injecting them with chemical poisons to see the result. In particular Mengele studied twins. It is things like this that have made me question the existence of God, who in His SUPPOSED infinite mercy and wisdom should NEVER have allowed innocent people to suffer like that… LEAST of all His own supposed Son. It’s barbaric to let your Son be crucified, and NO FATHER would do that and then allow such cruelty to STILL happen to others afterwards if He was truly a loving, merciful God. Not even in the name of science and medicine. Pain and suffering are NOT noble, and flagellism even in religion is sick, sick, sick!!! -Huck

  2. True, it makes those bitter herbs at Passover look mild in comparison.

  3. I’ve not heard of self-flagellation being practiced among Jews, except in the Woody Allen sense (i.e., psychological). As for cutting, we only do that once, and only to boys eight days old…

  4. Both JT and kermudgen are correct that these types of rituals occur in almost every religion and part of the world. I always think of a couple of things when I hear about them. First, why are so many religious rituals centered on harming our own bodies or the bodies of others? Secondly I wonder if understanding how some rituals are tolerated by some people without lasting harm (not always the case by any means) would help us better understand how to heal people. I would prefer to understand the bodymind connection in a non-violent way, but certainly these types of rituals point to a part of healing we do not yet fully grasp.

  5. Very similar practices exist in non-Christian traditions, including actual flagellation amongst certain branches of Islam (especially Shiites commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali), as well as milder traditions such as whipping women in a Taoist temple on the Chinese New Year.

    JT, was this meant as a bash Christian or Catholic post?

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