British schoolchildren receive chemical burns from "toxic ash" on Ash Wednesday

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/23/toxic-ash.html

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#2

The worst part of this news is that the priest’s name is Aldo Raine

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#3

We seem to get a variation of this story every single year.

The ash used in the ceremony is traditionally made from burning palm leaves, to avoid exactly this outcome. Wood ash is caustic,and was one of the earliest sources of alkali potash.

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#4

Potash Wednesday?

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#5

Specifically, the palms from Palm Sunday, which makes a really cool obscure symbolic point.

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#6

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#7

That’s how it was when I was small. I always kind of assumed it was obligatory, a bit like how the communion hosts have to be made from unleavened bread.

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#8

Only 17 days behind the news. And of course, this is just another example of school shaming, so popular in the UK tabloid press. A parent sets up a Facebook group, loads of people pile on, the school denies anything happened, and the newspaper fills an article with tweets. Shame Cory is joining in.

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#9

I was about to comment to say “Ireland is not Britain!” when I realised this is a second incident. It also happened in Ireland https://www.thejournal.ie/newbridge-ash-burns-4541116-Mar2019/

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#10

So I assume that the possibility that the ash is perfectly fine - perhaps even Holy and God-blessed - and that those burned by it are in fact demons of Satan, has been ruled out? Just checking.

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#11

That was my thought. Clearly the students are all possessed, and an exorcist should be called in.

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#12

The other obligatory response is “It was God’s will.”

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#13

Did anyone note a certain sulphuric odor to the affected students, or a tendency to have their heads spin around in the presence of crucifixes?

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#14

I decided Christianity was not for me around age 15. Imagine if I had a cross burned into my forehead right before that decision. These poor kids.

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#15

Yeah there’s fun to be had from these kids’ predicament, but don’t lose sight of the fact some possibly parentally-indoctrinated and/or school-indoctrinated children were harmed by teachers/priests who were acting in loco parentis and who failed to do their due diligence on their supplier or the product, and by the supplier getting it dramatically wrong. Perhaps there was a genuine error at the supplier’s end, or perhaps it was egregious negligence, but even though this is not the USA I foresee some lawsuits and the supplier had better alert its public liability insurers pretty darn quickly.

ETA - @docosc my comment happened to be a response to the last post in a series of similarly jocular comments. I was not singling you out specifically and my comments are equally aimed at those responses above yours. Don’t take it personally. :wink:

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#16

The primary reason they use palm leaves is that the ashes are made from the leaves used for the previous week’s year’s Palm Sunday celebrations, but avoiding caustic ash is a nice bonus.

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#17

When I was a child growing up in Scarfolk, there was a sort of friendly competition between the various school administrators to see who could procure the most caustic ash each Ash Wednesday. Needless to say, I now never expose my forehead in public.

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#18

Ash Wednesday is five and a half weeks before Palm Sunday.

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#19

So, in addition to what is clearly a school wide possession issue, what is the cause of the burning? is all wood ash acidic? I always figured that if I was on that naked and afraid show in a sunny location, i would use ash as sunscreen. would that be a terrible idea?

#20

Derp. Corrected to “previous year’s.”

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