Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Living the Eucharist

A friend from Pittsburgh says that this is the "most Catholic story the Post-Gazette has run all year" -- a nun attacked and robbed while carrying the host forgives her attacker, official tears attacker to shreds.
It took police just two hours to track down the robber and a few more for the security chief at the Beaver County Jail, who happened to be Catholic, to deliver a spiritual guilt trip powerful enough to bring the inmate to tears.

Chief George David asked Toby Duran if he was Catholic. The suspect said "yes."

Did he know he'd robbed a nun who just returned from delivering communion to the sick and convalescent?

Mr. Duran did not.

Did he know that Catholics believe the wafers do not represent God, but are thought to be the actual embodiment of Jesus Christ?

"He [Jesus] is out there in the dark, in the cold, in the mud," Chief David said.

Mr. Duran, a 37-year-old transient who had been squatting in a trailer down the street from the St. Titus convent, immediately told the jail official where to find the nun's handbag.

He pleaded no contest yesterday to robbery for the April 4 purse snatching. The assistant district attorney dropped simple assault and harassment charges.

Senior Beaver County Judge Robert C. Reed sentenced him to six months -- effectively one additional month -- in prison to be followed by six months' probation. He also ordered Mr. Duran to pay $50 in restitution, even though Sister Mary Morgan told the district attorney she did not want the money back....

When Mr. Duran shuffled into court yesterday in shackles and a green-and-white striped uniform, he nodded at the nun and she smiled at him.

"To Toby's credit, he really jeopardized the case by admitting where the purse was. I could tell he was repentant," she said. "I'm going to ask permission to visit him."