Manila, Philippines, Feb 16, 2018 / 13:41 pm America/Denver (CNA).
After some Filipino Catholics developed mysterious rashes on Ash Wednesday, the Diocese of Caloocan investigated to determine the cause of the skin irritant.
While sabotage was initially suspected as a possibility, the reason behind the rashes turned out to be less sinister and more scientific – the ashes had been overcooked, which changed their pH level, resulting in rashes and blisters when mixed with water and applied to the skin.
“They call it overcooked charcoal turned into caustic ashes,” said Bishop Pablo David of Caloocan, according to Manila Bulletin.
During Ash Wednesday Mass at the San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan, Philippines, some worshipers noticed a burning sensation when the ashes where applied to their foreheads. Later, they developed a blistering rash where the ashes were touching their skin.
Not all the parishioners suffered an adverse reaction, however, which led Bishop David to suspect that a toxic component may have been introduced to only some of the containers, UCA News reported.