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Monday, February 19, 2007

Priest Jailed for Failed Exorcism

A priest in Romania has been jailed following the death of a nun he was attempting to exorcise. Four nuns who were also somehow involved were also charged with manslaughter and found guilty. The case has shocked Romanians and led church authorities to vow reform.

Daniel Corogeanu, a 31 year-old priest at the Holy Trinity convent in the Tanacu village in Romania, attempted to exorcise Irina Cornici, a 23 year-old nun he thought possessed by a devil. The nun was chained to a cross in a secluded convent and died of starvation.

Corogeanu was sentenced to 14 years, while the nuns involved got between 5 and 8 years each. The Orthodox Church has promised psychological testing for those wishing to enter the monastery, then banned Corogeanu and excommunicated the nuns. Dozens of their supporters packed the courtroom and cried when the verdicts were read.

The real question here is why the church apparently doesn't believe in exorcism, or at least that people can be possessed. While Corogeanu may have been wrong in this specific case, and his rites of exorcism were definitely mishandled, is the Orthodox Church saying that Exorcism is not part of their religious beliefs? If so, are they then saying that demonic possession is not part of their ethos?

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