Catholic congregants suffer forehead burns
FATHER Eugene Baker, of St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Newtownshandrum, County Cork, made a hash of Ash Wednesday this week, and was forced to abandon a service after people complained of suffering forehead burns.
The priest said he first became aware of the problem when a parishioner told him during Holy Communion they were:
Experiencing a burning sensation.
About 30 parishioners had received ash crosses on their foreheads during the silly ritual.
The priest added:
I stopped the service and alerted people that there was a problem with the ash – they went to wash it off in the sacristy. Some people did get quite a nasty burn from the ash, whatever’s in it.
Fr Baker said he had taken a sample of the ash to a public health laboratory at a local hospital to find out what had gone wrong.
Something was either in the ash or maybe it was the way it was burned, but we can only speculate. It did burn – you could see afterwards when it was washed off that it had burned into the skin.
He said the ash had come from “blessed” palms that are burned after Palm Sunday during the previous Easter.
I apologised for any hurt caused during the Mass, and rang around later to see how they all were. I didn’t hear of anyone taken to the hospital and as far as I know, they just treated themselves with some cream.
The marking of a cross of ashes on the forehead is a Christian tradition that symbolises humility and mortality, and is a ridiculous hangover from more superstitious times.
In 2011, this was pointed out to readers of Fallible Blogma, which posed the question: “Why do we wear ashes of Ash Wednesday?”
This is so ridiculous. This is the 21st century and we still follow this superstitious rigamarole? No wonder Americans are being taken to the cleaners by our gov’t. If we still believe this, we can be convinced of anything!
Matthew Warner, who may be the creator of Fallible Blogma, indignantly responded:
Lozen, I encourage you to learn a bit more about this topic (as well as to read this post). There is absolutely nothing superstitious about it. In fact, superstition is not compatible with Catholic teaching.
Then ‘Bob” stepped up to the plate:
Superstition has EVERYTHING to do with religion if it involves the supernatural. Go ahead, Matthew, embrace your superstitious mind! Do not deny it!
Clearly not Bob “Potty” Hutton.
Hat tip: Ivan Bailey