Police break up pilgrims self-flagellating on Good Friday as churches sit empty and worshippers forced to stay at home – The Sun

POLICE in the Philippines were today forced to break up rouge flagellations in the street amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The police had to intervene when the people practicing self-harm in Pasay near Manila to commemorate the suffering of Jesus Christ broke the social distancing rules.

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They told the penitents to continue their Good Friday religious ritual indoors.

The annual procession of the 'Black Nazarene' through downtown Manila has also been cancelled.

Meanwhile Pope Francis will lead the Way of the Cross procession in a party of just 11 people in St Peter's Square, instead of the usual mass procession at the Colosseum, as Italy battles one of the world's worst outbreaks.

The service at St Stephen's Cathedral was live-streamed to worshippers online, with similar virtual services planned for Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Ten people – five from the Vatican's health office and five from a badly-affected prison in Padua – will take part in the procession, which will circle around the obelisk in St Peter's Square.

On display in the square will be a wooden crucifix which was carried during a plague that ravaged Rome in the early 16th century.

In Paris, Notre Dame cathedral is holding a special Good Friday ceremony almost a year after it was nearly destroyed by fire.

But the event is closed to the public not only because of lockdown rules, but because the cathedral remains too structurally unstable to let people inside.

Paris archbishop Michel Aupetit told reporters this week: “We wanted to send a message of hope' through the ceremony.
“The message of hope is especially important for our compatriots at a time when we are particularly affected by the coronavirus, which is sowing anguish and death.”

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