Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has placed a permanent ban on the countryâ€™s annual Good Friday public re-enactment saying that it is nothing more than pure mockery of Jesusâ€™ sacrifice two thousand years ago and that any church groups caught disobeying his orders will be arrested, charged and subject to imprisonment.
Speaking at a press conference today in Manila, Duterte, 72 who has a reputation of being extremely tough on drug lords by having many of them executed on spot and has even drawn criticism from many observers, but who has still remained unperturbed, had this to say:
â€śAs you all know Friday 14th April 2017 is Good Friday and on Good Friday there is a typical activity which occurs annually in this predominately Catholic country. I am speaking specifically about the public re-enactment of Jesusâ€™ crucifixion in which the participants actually have themselves nailed to crosses mimicking what happened to Jesus two thousand years ago.â€ť
The President continued:
â€śIn my humble opinion this is a blatant and shameless mockery of Jesusâ€™ sacrifice. When Jesus said to pick up our crosses and follow him, he didnâ€™t mean it literally. In addition to which, it portrays our country in a negative light and gives the impression that we are a nation which loves masochism. Is that the impression that you think that we should give to the world? Is this the same country which produced the great Manny Pacquiao, who is also the current WBO Welterweight Champion? Donâ€™t you see the irony there?â€ť
Duterte went on:
â€śSo it is with great regret that I have to inform the public that starting from this year and continuing, the Good Friday public re-enactment of Jesusâ€™ crucifixion will be outlawed and that any Church Group caught participating in any public Good Friday displays of flagellating and mutilating themselves or nailing anyone representing Jesus to a cross will be arrested and charged with attempting to do serious bodily harm. And, depending on the severity of the wounds inflicted, attempted murder.â€ť