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April 16, 2006

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April 16, 2006

BRITISH broadcaster who travelled to the Philippines to be crucified on Good Friday for a television programme pulled out of the stunt in tears yesterday — and blamed God for his decision.

Dominik Diamond broke down and wept after watching nine Filipinos take their turn to be whipped and nailed on crosses and realising that his turn was next. “God wanted me only to pray at the foot of my cross,” he sobbed, sinking to his knees and praying as local people and tourists started to boo.

Five, the television channel, denied it was disappointed that Diamond, a radio and TV presenter and outspoken Daily Star columnist, had decided against being crucified. No date has been set for the broadcast of the programme. If shown, it may have to change its original working title, Crucify Me.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25689-2135354,00.html

Diamond was set to join an elite group of radical Roman Catholics who mark each Easter by re-enacting the Crucifixion. Thousands of people gather to watch the volunteers nailed to crosses with metal spikes the size of pencils.

Negotiations had taken place to bestow on Diamond the privilege of becoming only the second Westerner to take part in the event, known as Karabrio. The ceremony is held in the village of Cutud, 50 miles (80km) north of Manila. Men dress in white robes and flagellate themselves with glass-tipped paddles and bamboo whips, in penitence for their sins.

Diamond, who said that he had had a crisis in his faith, decided to go on a pilgrimage taking in the Vatican and a Jesuit retreat in Italy, and culminating in the crucifixion to restore his faith in God. Despite his failure to go through with the exploit, producers insist that the documentary would still be aired.

After pulling out of the challenge, Diamond said: “At no point was it ever conveyed that I would definitely be crucified. At all times in this journey I have been guided by my God in ways I could never have predicted. Having experienced the humility of bearing my own cross through the streets, I felt my God wanted me only to pray at the foot of my cross.”

Sebastian Horsley, an oil painter, was the first Westerner to take part in the Karabrio. He felt that it would be valuable for him to experience that level of pain, for artistic rather than religious reasons.

Horsley was pleased with Diamond’s refusal to go through with the ordeal. “I’m glad he bottled it. I mean, going over there with a Channel Five crew is not right. It got leaked to the press when I did it but I wouldn’t allow any film crews to come with me.

“This is very special to these people. It is something they do to get closer to God, not something that should be cheapened,” he said “I tell you, it really hurts having nails driven through your hands. Your arms are strapped up and they put alcohol on them and then bang in the nail.”

Five denied that the television channel was disappointed with Diamond’s decision: “It’s not a surprise. He always said from Day 1 he would make a decision when he got there and it was absolutely up to him.”

Ruben Enaje, a Filipino carpenter who takes part in the festival every year, became Diamond’s mentor as the presenter tried to summon the willpower to be crucified. Mr Enaje has had himself nailed to a cross every year since 1988 to show his gratitude to God for saving him when he fell out of a window. Guided by him, Diamond made his own cross and carried it for two miles through the streets of Cutud.

Ed Stobbart, the executive producer, said: “I’ve been talking to Dominik for about a year about the idea. He used to be practically the face of Celtic (football club) up in Glasgow and he would get into all kinds of problems there with people who had an issue with him being Roman Catholic. He thought, ‘Hold on, I’m not even that into the religion’. He ended up leaving Scotland with his family.

“His insomnia was a major problem. He used to lie in bed all night praying for God to let him sleep and He never answered so he began to think there was no God.”

Mr Stobbart conceded that the programme’s name, Crucify Me, may no longer be appropriate. “Let’s just say the title is subject to discussion. Read between the lines,” he said.

Google Cal

April 16, 2006

Google Calendar… how do I love thee… let me count the ways:

1. I’ll never forget my girlfriend’s birthday again.
2. I’ll never forget our anniversary again.
3. … uhh, basically you keep me on good terms with my girlfriend.

And for that, and that alone, Google Calendar + Gmail gets my Seal of Approval!

-Digg user…