Words fail me again: How to be nailed to a cross without getting an infection

It’s a rare, rare situation, but the sheer craziness of this (hat tip PZ) knocked the wind out of me, so that I’m having a hard time finding something to say about it:

Health officials in the Philippines have issued a warning to people taking part in Easter crucifixion rituals.

They have urged them to get tetanus vaccinations before they flagellate themselves and are nailed to crosses, and to practise good hygiene.

On Good Friday dozens of very devout Catholics in the Philippines re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.


The health department has strongly advised penitents to check the condition of the whips they plan to use to lash their backs, the Manila Times newspaper reports.

They want people to have what they call “well-maintained” whips.

In the hot and dusty atmosphere, officials warn, using unhygienic whips to make deep cuts in the body could lead to tetanus and other infections.

And they advise that the nails used to fix people to crosses must be properly disinfected first. Often people soak the nails in alcohol throughout the year.

I suppose it’s all the health department there could do to try to minimize the medical complications of this bizarre tradition, given that apparently the best advice of all, namely don’t do stupid things like flagellating yourself or having yourself nailed to a cross, would be ignored.