Mr. Ellis relates graphically1 the case of a young nun who devoted herself so exclusively to the worship of the Savior that she became startled, even in her mystical passion, by the haunting impression that there was something within her which impaired the purity of the love she was seeking. At sixteen she fell in love with a priest, and, in spite of her remorse, desired to have sexual connection with him. Later on she "understood everything." She had thought that the religious life precluded sexual thoughts, and the joys of marriage; but now she understood it differently. The Savior desired she should have relations with a priest; He was incarnated in priests Himself; and as St. Joseph was the guardian of the Virgin, so priests are the guardians of nuns.
Then she began to masturbate, but this apparently did not satisfy the delusion. She wanted sexual relations with the priest, threw herself at his feet, embraced him, sought him by every means possible, and finally became such a source of scandal that she was committed to an asylum. Here, modified by new surroundings, her love for the unfortunate priest passed to the equally unfortunate doctor in attendance. The priest, by his sacred character, was prohibited from giving her satisfaction, she argued; but the doctor, who was compelled by his calling to do everything he could for the good of his patients, why should he refuse to thus devote himself on the altar of duty?
Alas, the poor doctoral The only astonishing feature of this novel case is that she seemingly failed to find a physician sufficiently altruistic and unselfish to accommodate her. In most hospitals there is always to be found a large segment of the staff who are unselfishly ready, at any hour of the day or night, to thus sacrifice themselves on the altar of duty, their devotion being as sublime in this respect as their sympathy is deep and far-reaching.
Mariani,1 also, describes the case of a young married woman who, in the early stages of her erotico-religious insanity, inflicted upon herself the most abominable forms of penance, fasting, cleaning dirty plates with her tongue, drinking her own urine, and various other delightful acts; till having, as she supposed, obtained complete forgiveness of her sins, she entered upon a stage of beatific happiness, in which, she asserted, she enjoyed the most intimate personal relationship with the Savior.
The writer subsequently shows how closely the history he relates corpensable preliminary. If the abnormality be congenital, clearly it cannot be a crime. If it be acquired, it may be both vicious and criminal, or either, or neither; a more careful analysis of the specific act, or series of acts, being necessary to determine the difficult point at which responsibility ceases, and irresponsibility begins, a question coming possibly more properly within the domain of medical jurisprudence than sexual psychology.