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When Faith and Health Collide: Expressions of Faith Over the Dangers of COVID-19 by Selected Flagellants in the Philippines

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Abstract

For almost three years, the COVID-19 pandemic seriously affected society. Mass gatherings were restricted during the surge, including religious activities and other public practices. However, some Filipinos opted to continue their panata (sacred vow) of self-flagellation during this health crisis, thus putting themselves at risk of being inflicted with the virus or being a spreader. This article explores the experience of selected flagellants who continued to fulfill their religious practice amid the pandemic. It draws inspiration from their narratives about their personal experiences of how they faced, struggled, and hoped to battle the “unseen” virus and the criticisms of others for what they did. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), their interview transcripts elicit three recurrent themes: Suffering leads to finding God for support, sacred vow as unity to Christ’s suffering, and spiritual reward over physical pain. These themes can contribute to future research on how opposing parties should negotiate when faith and health conflict.

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Acknowledgements

The researchers acknowledge all the participants/selected flagellants for their thoughtful sharing of personal experiences regarding their self-flagellation practice amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This research is also dedicated to those struggling with faith in God due to the effects of the health crisis.

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This study received no funding outside of the authors’ expense.

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Correspondence to Dalmacito A. Cordero Jr.

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Informed consent was explained well and signed by all the participants.

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Cordero, D.A., Leal, M.L. When Faith and Health Collide: Expressions of Faith Over the Dangers of COVID-19 by Selected Flagellants in the Philippines. J Relig Health (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-024-02050-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-024-02050-3

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