Faith in Practice

Saturday, June 18, 2005

When men pretend to know things by means other than evidence and reason, the results can be deadly. Take this example, of an exorcism.

Members of the convent in north-west Romania claim Maricica Irina Cornici was possessed and that the crucifixion had been part of an exorcism ritual.

Cornici was found dead on the cross on Wednesday after fellow nuns called an ambulance, according to police.

On Saturday a priest and four nuns were charged in connection with her death.

The nun was a schizophrenic, it turns out, but hey, when you don't have to offer evidence for your beliefs, you have the luxury of improvising the diagnosis and the cure.
Mediafax news agency said Cornici suffered from schizophrenia and the symptoms of her condition caused the priest at the convent and other nuns to believe she was possessed by the devil.

"They all said she was possessed and they were trying to cast out the evil spirits," police spokeswoman Michaela Straub said.
Unless, that is, you happen to live in an area governed by laws that at least protect the rudiments of individual rights. Then you have the unpleasant prospect of having to explain, in rational terms, why you decided to take another person's life. When you come up empty, you face prison time.

Another story goes into more detail on the exorcism as well as the thinking of the priest who performed it. Here's a sample.
A Romanian Orthodox priest who ordered the crucifixion of a young nun because she was "possessed by the devil" and now faces murder charges was unrepentant on Saturday as he celebrated a funeral mass for his alleged victim. [emphasis added]

"God has performed a miracle for her, finally Irina is delivered from evil," Father Daniel, 29, the superior of the Holy Trinity monastery in north-eastern Romania, said before celebrating a short mass "for the soul of the deceased", in the presence of 13 nuns who showed no visible emotion.

He insisted that from the religious point of view, the crucifixion of Maricica Irina Cornici, 23, was "entirely justified"....
Wow! Note that it is the secular state that is prosecuting this as a murder. Good thing people like Father Daniel apparently don't hold political power in Romania. If they did, who knows what other excuses for murder they'd regard as "entirely justified."

For those who fantasize about a government in which there is a greater role for religion, I have to ask: "Are you power-hungry or completely naive?"

Separation of church and state is a good idea. It doesn't stop the Father Daniels of the world every time, but it makes their exploits rare enough to be newsworthy.

Thank God, so to speak, for our secular state.

-- CAV

Crossposted to the Egosphere

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