Australian Catholic priest Thomas Byrne, 80, pleaded guilty in court this week to a rather shocking case of laying hands (and teeth) on another priest. Byrne bit off the ear of fellow priest, Father Thomas Smith, 81, in a parking space dispute.
The two priests were in the parking lot at their retirement home in Perth. What is particularly bizarre is that, after the fight subsided, Bryne asked Smith to pick up something he thought he dropped during the fight. Bryne did so and Smith put the object in his pocket only to discover later that it was part of the ear of Smith.
Byrne is out on bail but under a 30 ft restraining order to stay away from Smith. That could be difficult since they both live at the same retirement home.
Smith did appear to follow the advice of Matthew 5:38-39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” He may have concluded that, if he did, he would be righteous but short two ears.