Saturday, March 03, 2012

When children go astray

A beloved bishop and his wife are murdered

The Anglican world was rocked a couple of weeks ago with the brutal murder of one of its more outspoken and faithful bishops. On Sunday February 26th Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife, Brazil and his wife Miriam were murdered by their 29 year-old adopted son following a quarrel in their home.

Where is Recife? It is in the northeastern part of Brazil, where land protrudes as far into the Atlantic as possible. Recife is a lovely holiday city with tall resort hotels and beautiful beaches. Nearby is the historic city of Olinda perched on a hilltop overlooking the ocean. Olinda has the reputation of being one of the most attractively preserved colonial towns in all of Brazil.

I know, because in the fall of 2005 my wife, Sandra, and I visited Recife and Olinda at the invitation of Bishop Cavalcanti. I had gotten to know him at several large Anglican conferences over the years, and was drawn to him and admired his stand for the Gospel and for his commitment to a biblical lifestyle. He and I often communicated via e-mail.

On our trip there, we toured his diocese, and I spoke to his clergy at a lunch. I also spent time at the seminary he had started, and talked to his students at least one of whom was later -- with his wife -- to attend Trinity Seminary in Ambridge. We also visited one of the largest Anglican churches in Brazil led by Miguel Uchoa. Uchoa, a former surfer, was one of the Bishop's protégés. His church, the Church of the Holy Spirit, has a dynamic caring outreach to some of the poorer residents of Recife who live just a few blocks from its glitzy hotels.

Bishop and Mrs. Cavalcanti's son, Edward, had been living in Florida where he had been arrested for possession of drugs and other crimes. A deportation process was in the works. However, this February he was visiting his parents in Olinda.

After an argument, Edward pulled a knife on his father and mortally wounded him. When his mother intervened and tried to protect her husband, Edward turned on her and knifed her. Both parents died either in the hospital, or on the way there.

Words of shock and consolation have flowed in from all over the Anglican world from the Archbishop of Canterbury on down. I feel personally very deeply sorry for the loss of this very special man.

But there are several twists to this story that make it unusually noteworthy. Keep reading

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