Filipino Catholics self-flagellate for Lent

Reuters

Posted at Apr 13 2017 06:19 PM

A man whips a devotee while lying on the ground during a Maundy Thursday ritual by penitents to atone for their sins in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines April 13, 2017.

Catholics in northern Philippines on Thursday flagellated themselves and carried wooden crosses re-enacting the last hours of Jesus Christ.

Barefoot men in the rural town of Mabalacat in Pampanga province, about 84 kilometers (52 miles) north of Manila, whipped their backs while marching on the streets, believing it would grant salvation from their sins.

Some devotees allowed themselves to be tied at the waist, while men pulled on the ropes and flogged them with wooden planks.

Many Filipino Catholics often perform religious penance during the Holy Week as a form of worship and supplication, which some believe cleanses away sins, cures illnesses and even grants wishes.

The Catholic Church has expressed disapproval of these self-punishments as misinterpretations of faith, saying prayers and sincere repentance are enough to commemorate the observance of Lent. Around eight in 10 Filipinos are Catholic.