As Holy Week nears, DOH advises against kissing of religious statues, crucifixions
MANILA, Philippines — As Holy Week approaches, the Department of Health (DOH) advised churches and the public on Tuesday to do away with kissing religious statues and crucifixions to avoid the spread of diseases.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reminded the public that COVID-19 is transmitted through droplets. Hence, the department proposed prohibiting kissing of religious statues to avoid a spike in cases.
“We just advise, and we request our churches kung maaari lang po sana itong practice na ito ay hindi na muna natin ipatupad (if possible, refrain from this practice for now),” she said in a media forum.
“Meron naman po tayong ibang bagay o ways kung paano po tayo makakapag-show ng ating devotion sa ating mga santo sa atin pong mga pinupuntahang mga simbahan,” she added.
(We have different ways to show our devotion to our saints in the churches that we go to.)
The DOH likewise said that they are not recommending religious devotees’ practice of nailing to the cross.
“Pangalawa, ‘yung pagpapako sa krus (Second, the nailing to the cross). Of course, the Department of Health is not recommending this at all,” she said.
While Vergeire understands each individual’s beliefs, she noted the risk of tetanus, among other harms, that believers could get from nailing themselves to the cross.
“Ito po ay nakaka-cause ng harm sa isang tao. Kapag nagpapapako po tayo sa krus, unang-una, tetano ang katapat natin dahil sa mga pako na ‘yan,” she pointed out.
(This can cause harm to a person. When we nail ourselves to the cross, first, we are at risk of tetanus because of those nails.)
“Pangalawa, ‘yun pong impkesyon doon sa sugat na pangyayarihan nitong pagpapako na ‘yan. Pangatlo, maaaring magdulot din ‘yan ng pagkawala ng dugo dahil po marami din po tayong ugat na nananalaytay sa ating mga kamay at paa na maari pong magdulot ng ganitong pangyayari,” Vergeire further explained.
(Second, the infection from those wounds caused by the nailing. Third, it can cause blood loss because we have a lot of veins in our hands and feet, thus causing loss of blood.)
This year, Holy Week will be observed from April 10 until April 16.
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