I’ve also been reading, off and on, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, that collection of the words and deeds of the first monks of Egypt and Palestine from the fourth and fifth centuries.
There’s a great deal of wisdom in many of the things reported in the collection. But there are also some odd things, and a few horrifying parts.
This is one of those horrifying things, included as part of the sayings of John the Persian:
A demoniac boy came one day to be healed, and some brothers from an Egyptian monastery arrived. As one old man was coming out to meet them he saw a brother sinning with the boy, but he did not accuse him; he said, “If God who has made them sees them and does not burn them, who am I to blame them?”
I’m not suggesting this as a course of ethical action, and I’m not sure this particular saying does either. But honestly, it is interesting.