Filipino Catholics mark Jesus’ crucifixion with self-flagellation (trigger warning)

April 7, 2023 - 9:11 AM
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Holy Week penitensya
Customers at a coffee shop watch as Filipino Catholic devotees perform self-flagellation along a street on Maundy Thursday in Manila, Philippines, April 6, 2023. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

MANILA — A group of 20 Catholic devotees walked barefoot for hours in Manila on Thursday while repeatedly striking their backs with bamboo whips to commemorate the passion of Jesus Christ.

“This is our vow every Holy Week to strengthen our faith to our Lord (Jesus Christ) and for repentance of our sins,” said 27-year-old Brian Lorca, referring to the week leading up to Easter Sunday.

Lorca, like many Filipino Catholic devotees, performs religious penance in the belief that the practice of self-flagellation can cleanse sins, cure illness and even grant wishes.

Although the Catholic Church disapproves of the practice as a misinterpretation of faith, self-flagellation continues across the predominantly Catholic Southeast Asian country. — Adrian Portugal; Editing by Alexandra Hudson; Photos by Eloisa Lopez