Friday, February 23, 2007

Driving out devils

Earlier this week, a Romanian priest was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the murder of a nun who he believed was "possessed by devils". The nun died after being starved and chained to a cross in a secluded convent.

"The ritual in 2005 was led by Daniel Petru Corogeanu, 31, the priest at the Holy Trinity convent in Tanacu village...
He and four nuns were convicted of manslaughter. The nuns got jail terms ranging from five to eight years."

This news didn't shock me all that much, I had more of a head-shaking, here we go again, what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-these-people type of reaction. Because it's no secret that religious fanatics are bugshit crazy; exorcisms, "curing" gay people and obsessing over plastic fetuses are all just different manifestations of the madness. Given the sheer fucking goofiness of even the most mainstream religious nuts, it's hardly surprising when an extreme sect accidentally kills someone while "exorcising their devils". What I found surprising was this:

"In 1999, when the Vatican issued its first new guidelines since 1614 for driving out devils, it urged priests to take modern psychiatry into account in deciding who should be exorcised."

Whaaaat the fuck? The Vatican issued new guidelines for "driving out devils" in 1999? (That's 8, not 800, years ago.) This is something you might expect from a tiny fanatical splinter sect of a religion, not from the governing body of one of the world's largest, richest and most influential churches. Now I'm shocked.