SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Once again, on Good Friday, March 25, Filipino Ruben Enaje will allow himself to be nailed — literally — to a wooden cross as part of a bizarre Lenten rite. This is his 30th time being “crucified,” something he started doing in 1985 as an act of thanksgiving for surviving a fall.
Several other male penitents have also made this ritual an annual undertaking, along with dozens of others who participate in a different penitence of self flagellation.
This Holy Week tradition is proof that in the Philippines, there is truly a separation of Church and State.
The Roman Catholic Church, short of condemning the practice, has discouraged Filipinos from imitating Jesus’ nailing on the cross.
In contrast, the state — in particular the Department of Health — is hands off in discouraging this fanatical religious practice. Instead, it has issued yet another reminder for those who choose to be nailed to the cross this year to take tetanus shots and to make sure the nails used are properly sterilized.