...the penitents went about, coming first out of Germany. They were men who did public penance and scourged themselves with whips of hard knotted leather with little iron spikes. Some made themselves bleed very badly between the shoulder blades and some foolish women had cloths ready to catch the blood and smear it on their eyes, saying it was miraculous blood. While they were doing penance, they sang very mournful songs about nativity and the passion of Our Lord. The object of this penance was to put a stop to the mortality, for in that time . . . at least a third of all the people in the world died.
Historian Jean Froissart, history of the Hundred Years' War
Where is the Christianity in all this melodrama? Wouldn't Jesus have contempt for these idiots?
This idolization of the body is the antithesis of Christianity. It disturbs me in all these "right to life" passion plays. Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life" -- this fixation on the human body, whether in the form of the unborn or the brain dead, is not Christian.
Maybe this is what is meant by the "antichrist", this twisting and inversion and perversion of everything Jesus was about.