Blog Post

When New Age Ideas Provoke Violence

I can't resist posting this follow up to a news story I posted on Breaking News the other day about the man who tried to kill the Catholic Bishop of Kamloops, British Columbia because it involves both the release of  "energy" and wanting to drink blood - two New Age occult practices that are all the rage these days.  According to the National Post, John Bandura, 30, was charged on Monday with aggravated assault for attacking Bishop David Monroe, 69, in the rectory of Sacred Heart Cathedral last Friday evening. Apparently, Bandura's family had admitted him earlier in the day to a local psychiatric hospital because his mental condition was deteriorating and he was experiencing "religious delusions." At about 9:00 p.m., Bandura decided he had enough of the hospital and left, smashing a door on the way out. The bloodied man shows up at Sacred Heart Cathedral less than an hour later. A wedding rehearsal is taking place and a parishioner tells him to go to the rectory, then notifies Bishop Monroe about the man. When the bishop opens the door to let him in, Bandura attacks him, stabbing him in the throat with a pen. "[Bishop Monroe] said he couldn't help me so I stabbed him in the throat and I drank it because I needed a pick-me-up," Bandura later told police. Bishop Monroe fled to the kitchen where the attack continued with Bandura ripping off the door of a microwave and using it to beat the bishop so severely he was left bleeding on the floor in serious condition. "I was listening to voices in my head," Bandura told police. "I wasn't quite sure but the voices were telling me to release my energy." This was not the police department's first encounter with Bandura. He has been picked up in the past for driving down the wrong side of the road while claiming to be John the Baptist and for jumping off a bridge "just to see what it felt like." Authorities say the man “appears to have a strong fascination with Christianity, the church and water.” What struck me most about this story is how he said the voices were telling him to "release my energy." That's the first time I've ever heard of "energy" being used in this way - to beat a bishop nearly to death. But I suppose it's not surprising. New Agers claim this (bogus) energy can do everything from attracting boatloads of money to curing every illness known to man.   The drinking of the blood wasn't quite as surprising to me (I'm sorry to say) because vampire stories are a dime a dozen these days and have spawned plenty of other deadlier crimes in the past. But the point is, see where these ideas can end up? People think vampire tales are just harmless fun and New Age "energy" is something to be dabbled in.  That might be true for some, but not for all - as Bandura's violent history proves.  In addition to praying for Bishop Monroe's speedy recovery (he has just been downgraded from intensive care and is expected to be released on Saturday), we need to pray for Mr. Bandura. Not only is this poor tormented soul suffering from mental illness, he also appears to be plagued by the devil, who often uses the deranged to do his dirty work.