June 18, 2005

Nun crucified.

A 23-year-old nun was literally crucified in a botched attempt at exorcism -- in Romania.
"God has performed a miracle for her, finally Irina is delivered from evil," AFP quoted the priest as saying.

"I don't understand why journalists are making such a fuss about this. Exorcism is a common practise in the heart of the Romanian Orthodox church and my methods are not at all unknown to other priests," Father Daniel added.

Irini Cornici, who grew up in an orphanage, suffered from schizophrenia. She "was denied food and drink throughout her [three-day] ordeal, had been tied and chained to the cross and a towel pushed into her mouth to smother any sounds."

UPDATE: Indictments.

20 comments:

Drethelin said...

"Literally crucified"? I'd have to disagree on that one. That would involve being nailed to a cross, as well as having her legs broken.

Troy said...

Actually crucifixion took various forms -- obviously on cruciforms -- nailing, tying, etc. Legs were broken if the victim was not yet dead and the executors were ready to get on with it.

It sounds like this priest is more mentally ill than that poor nun.

Ann Althouse said...

Drethelin: I agree with Troy. If the concern is whether the nun suffered greater torments than Jesus, I'm not sure. Is there a need to think that Jesus suffered a more painful death than anyone else? I note that the nun was mentally ill, and would have had completely different sort of mental pain going along with her physical pain. She also was made to think that the devil possessed her, which must have been quite terrible. Presumably, Jesus understood his situation clearly. The nun was also left alone, while Jesus was made a spectacle for a crowd to watch. Jesus was surrounded by people who meant to kill him, along with some supporters. The nun may have understood that everyone was trying to help her.

Iron Teakettle said...

This is purely the legacy of half a century of communism. Religious education was suppressed and priests just made things up.

leeontheroad said...

I agree with Troy on this one; and, moreover, what is key for ancient traditions of the church is the recording of crucifixion, more than historical fact(s). Three examples.

Here, in a Romanian monastery is an icon of the crucifixion of Jesus, which clearly shows nails in hands-- even though we know today that the practice would have been to use nails in wrists.

Two images of the crucifixion of Peter show him being tied to a cruciform, here, in a modern interpretation and here, in a traditional one.

In any case, here is an article that discuses the foundations of Orthodox belief vis a vis exorcism. The "power of the cross" is invoked as part of this; but the focus is on prayer, not on some "magic" in symbols. This priest's literalism seems to me to verge into superstition, and the priest and others at the convent, I would say, have engaged not in religious practice, but in torture.

Dave said...

This woman was murdered, plain and simple. The "priest" should be executed.

He won't be because "religion" has come to mean a set of beliefs which excuse all manner of bizarre and criminal behavior.

Ann Althouse said...

I wouldn't execute the priest. There seems to be a woeful lack of education here. It's terribly sad.

Drethelin said...

I fail to see how this death is in anyway a consequence of communism. Priests have been doing horrible shit centuries before communism, and throughout communism in other countries (cough molestation cough).

The priest and nuns need to be restricted from providing any sort of care to anyone with mental illness. they obviously have no idea how to deal with it.

Kathleen B. said...

what an interesting idea that barbarity from Christians is the fault of Communism but barbarity from Muslims is a natural outcome of their religion.

Ann Althouse said...

Kathleen: Who said that? You're the first person to mention Muslims in this thread. It seems to me there are some ignorant and/or malicious people who derive things from religion that more educated and/or more benevolent people do not. I'm not seeing Islam getting blamed more than Christianity in this regard. I think, if anything, Americans feel freer to find something wrong with Christianity.

I think the point about Communism was that it suppressed religion and without proper education, people distorted the teachings of the religion. I think we might make a general point that a free society produces better versions of any given religion.

Dave said...

A free society produces better versions of religion than a closed society?

Perhaps. But then what do we say of Mormon fundamentalists out west? They have been known not only to take multiple wives, but to commit acts of incest, child rape, and spousal rape. to say nothing of simple domestic abuse.

Just because a country is free doesn't mean that religion cannot be abused in it.

Be said...

I was going to say something snide about single-payer healthcare, but, well...maybe this isn't appropos.

Romania's got a lot of problems borne of French Colonialism, Communism and archaic Catholicism. God help them.

amba said...

Romania's problems go even deeper than that. The place could actually be cursed. (I've been there over 20 times, started out haunted and infatuated by the place and ended up fed up and repulsed.)

Drethelin said...

Mormonism is not religion in a free society. The mormons specifically went west and founded their own NOT FREE society.

Be said...

Oh, Amba, I agree with you on the cursed thing. I was just thinking on the most recent past.

Kathleen B. said...

Prof. Althouse: I was referring to the comments in the previous post about Islam, and forcing the rape victim to marry her rapist. sorry for the lack of clarity. I believe my point still stands that people in this country are more willing to forgive Christian outrages than Muslims ones.

Ann Althouse said...

Kathleen: I kind of figured that, but I disagree with you. I think Americans feel free to slam fundamentalist Christians but go out of their way to summon up cultural relativism for Muslims.

Technogypsy said...

Arrgh. As an Orthodox Christian I screamed when I read this. This crap has been preached agaisnt in Orthodox for centuries. It's like the priest was reading something on the odd semi-catholic sects of the SW.

Orthodox as a whole treats most accusations of possession as mental illness...The Romanian Church through tends to be extremely conservative and mixed with odd beliefs. I'd suspect the priest is defrock at least and may be put away in a monastery. What was done violates Orthodox's own teachings as well as civil law...

Ann Althouse said...

Technogypsy: Check my update. The priest has been indicted.

Transylvanian guy said...

Well, I am Romanian, and as strange as it may sound I have been once to such an exorcism (in case people already regard me as weird, retarded etc, I am not religious at all myself and have a PhD in CS).
It was a girl and was done at the request of family members.

Returning to this case, there are a lot of weirdos among these monks, who get away with stuff, because of the blind trust the Orthodox church enjoys.

Indeed, it does make us look like we are still in the dark ages, in a novel by Umberto Eco. Well, look on the bright side: it can't hurt the Dracula-related Romanian tourism industry :-) (which sells only crap by the way, since they understand nothing about Romania). By the way, neither do most of the bloggers, sorry...