There has been some discussion — as you well might expect — on the Orthodox convert list, about this terrible story of a Romanian priest-monk killing a nun in an attempt to exorcise demons from her. It’s horrible to know that the Orthodox Church may make the papers for such a horrific case of one aberrant individual resorting to actions that have already made him a candidate for excommunication and gotten him indicted on criminal charges.
I thought these words by one poster named Athanasios brought a welcome bit of perspective:
The bottom line is that whether or not the story is accurate, it has nothing to do with the truth of the Orthodox faith. . . . Religions must be judged on their own merits, according to what they actually teach — not based upon the failings of their individual members. Otherwise, we would have to reject all religions, because all of them contain sinners, Orthodoxy included.
Or, if you like a shorter, hipper version of the same idea, Tom commented on GetReligion’s post on the exorcism by saying:
As Chris Rock once asked, referring to explanations of the Columbine killers’ motives, “Whatever happened to ‘crazy’?”
Another poster on the list had an account from a supposed eye-witness that was very different — far less terrible and homicidal — from the one the newspapers have given. I’m not going to bother to repeat it because it may just turn out to be inaccurate hearsay. It’ll be worth staying tuned to this story as facts (hopefully) emerge.
(There have been other very insightful posts about this elsewhere on the Ortho-blogosphere, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to find them now. If yours was one, please e-mail me or post a comment.)