Sunday, June 26, 2005

Her murder was inexcusable, but it was probably her fault

"I don't know what this young woman did"
Bogdan Teleanu, spokesman for Orthodox patriarchate in Bucharest, on his refusal to condemn the murder of a nun by a 29-year old Romanian Orthodox priest. In the days leading to up to her death by crucifixion, 23-year old Maricica Irina Cornici, was held captive with her hands and feet bound and did not receive food or water.

Speaking last week-end after performing a mass of burial (I assume for someone other than his victim), Father Daniel defended the murder as "entirely justified" because, according to the priest and the 4 nuns who assisted him, she was possessed by the Devil and in need of exorcism. During the interview the priest conceded he'd probably be ex-communicated and noted he was in search of a "good lawyer."

Update: MSNBC has additional details of the story. It appears as though the young nun may have shown initial signs & symptoms of schizophrenia (including auditory hallucinations; religious themes are common in delusions/hallucinations observed in schizophrenic patients). She had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital in April of this year, given medication for treatment and released to the care of the Holy Trinity Convent with instructions to follow up for continued treatment 10 days post discharge. Apparently, without continued treatment and appropriate medical care she decompensated so the priest and nuns decided that instead of ensuring she received much needed medical attention that she needed, their religion provided a better answer: exorcism. The young nun was bound to a cross, gagged with a towel and left to die of suffocation and dehydration.

I initially posted this story out of disgust that, even in the case of an inexcusable event like this, a spokesman for the
patriarchate refused to condemn the act with the implication the victim was somehow at least partially culpable. It smacks of the same sort of misogyny in which female rape and murder victims are blamed for enticing or instigating men to harm them (when these men wouldn't otherwise think of it). However, the additional information provided by MSNBC plays into another timely debate à la Herr Professor Tom Cruise. Someone with a diagnosed mental illness has been hurt due to ignorance, arrogance and an ill conceived decision to substitute a personal view that religious intervention can and should be utilized in lieu of appropriate clinical treatment in the face of an organic disease.

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