This may or may not be one of those cases. I do not know. Honest.
To make a long story short, the following story from The Daily Mail is not the kind of report that I would be joking about, under normal conditions. Thus, let’s deal with the horrific details first, before we reach at the humorous mistake that provides a journalistic subplot.
You may want to sit down before reading this one:
Churchgoers were left stunned after a man tore out both his eyeballs in the middle of a priest’s sermon at Sunday Mass in a scene that resembled a horror film.
Parishioners in Viareggio, near Pisa, in northern Italy, could only watch as one of their number calmly stood up and carried out the horrific self-mutilation in front of them.
Aldo Bianchini, 46, who was born in Britain but has lived in Italy most of his life, is believed to have suffered from voices. He collapsed to the floor in a pool of blood as his mother frantically tried to help him while the local priest father Lorenzo Tanganelli rushed out to alert emergency services.
The drama happened at the Sant’Andrea church and last night surgeons at the local hospital said that after several hours surgery they had been unable to save his sight and he would remain blind.
Doctors said that before the surgery Bianchini had told them he had “heard voices” telling him to tear out his eyes and Dr Gino Barbacci said: “In all my 26 years of service I have never seen anything like this before. He was in a great deal of agony and he was covered in blood. He said that he had used his bare hands to gouge out his eye balls after hearing voices telling him to do so — to do something like that requires super human strength. …”
Terrible. Bizarre. Yet this was also a story made for the British tabloid story if there ever was one.
As you would expect, journalists probed for every colorful detail that they could in terms of the scene of this bloody drama and the precise sequence of events, as reported by horrified onlookers.
It is in this context that readers hear, once again, from the priest. I assume that this man is Father, not “father,” Lorenzo Tanganelli — as he was described earlier in the report. As we will see, the Mail reporter and editors who worked on this story have some gaps, when it comes to their knowledge of ecclesiastical language.
So let’s return to the story, with the priest noting:
“I had just started to read the sermon when all of a sudden there was a great commotion.
“This man at the back of the knave started tearing at his face and I realized he was gouging out his eyes. …”
Uh, is this the “knave” as in:
archaic — (a) : a boy servant (b) : a male servant (c) : a man of humble birth or position
2 — : a tricky deceitful fellow
Or might this priest actually have been referring to the “nave,” as in:
1 (n) The central part of a church, extending from the narthex to the chancel and flanked by aisles.
Let’s assume that the second word is correct.
Now, this is a rather silly little mistake. Nevertheless, I am curious. GetReligion readers, do you think this deserves a correction? Also, what think ye of the bizarre scriptural reference at the end of this news report?