MANILA, APRIL 3, 2007 (STAR) By Edu Punay - The Catholic Church rejects flagellation, crucifixion and other traditional practices of Filipino Catholics during Holy Week.

"We are doubtful that these activities outside the parishes are real expressions of Christian faith," Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, Catholic Bishopsí Conference of the Philippines spokesman, told reporters yesterday.

"We believe these are expressions of superstitious beliefs and usually done out of need for money and for tourism purposes."

Quitorio said the Church only allows Holy Week activities that are consistent with the teachings on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"Under authentic Christian faith, only Christ was crucified, and only He was able to save us from sins," he said.

Quitorio said flagellation used to be a Christian practice during the Lenten Season.

"But it is no longer allowed as they have diversified their celebrations to more fruitful activities like helping needy people," he said.

Quitorio said the Church would not ask the Department of Tourism to stop promoting the traditional Catholic practices in the provinces.

"You cannot really judge them," he said.

"For me, the problem is with the Church because it is responsible for developing their worldview so I think people who are literally crucified donít have strong foundation."

It is enough to remember the life and death of Christ during Holy Week through fasting and abstinence, prayer and reflection, and almsgiving, Quitorio said.

The Church has preferences on what practices should be done during the Lenten Season, according to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, CBCP Commission on Canon Law chairman.

"I think that kind of practice is too much because Jesus Christ already did it for us," he said.

"But while some might view it as an exaggeration, the Church lets God be the judge on that."

Cruz said the faithful must try to avoid committing the same sins all over again, although it is hard to do so.

"That happens because of human weakness," he said.

"I think we are basically weak people. I said even up to now the commandments of God are still being defied. So there is some human weakness in every one of us.

"But the thing is we just donít tire fighting evil vices because it will accompany us. Earth is not yet heaven."

Today, Holy Tuesday marks Christís loyalty to God and His dedication to the mission given to Him, CBCP officials said.

It was on Holy Tuesday that the incident between Christ and the Pharisees is believed to have taken place.

On this day, the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus into committing blasphemy.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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