TOLEDO – Investigators say stab wounds on the chest of a nun slain in a hospital chapel in 1980 formed an upside-down cross, a symbol that an expert on Roman Catholic law and the occult testified Monday has been used in satanic worship.
According to tradition, St. Peter asked to be crucified on an inverted cross because he believed he didn’t deserve to die in the same manner as Jesus, said the Rev. Jeffrey Grob, associate vicar for canonical services in the Chicago archdiocese. But the same symbol also has been used to mock the Catholic religion, he said.
“Any way you look at it, it’s an affront to God,” he said.
The Rev. Gerald Robinson, 68, is accused of killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, in a hospital chapel the day before Easter, a significant Catholic holy day that is part of three days of services, Grob said.
Grob said only a priest, nun or seminary student would understand the significance of the inverted cross and other aspects of the crime scene, including a small streak of blood on the nun’s forehead that could have been made by someone forming the sign of the cross on her head.
“You’re taking a person who’s devoted to God and in every aspect, it’s a mockery,” Grob said, referring to the wounds and marks on the body. “These aren’t random acts.”
In addition to the stab wounds on her chest, previous prosecution witnesses have testified that the nun’s body was displayed in a ritualistic fashion with her arms and legs straight.
Grob, who reviewed photos of the crime scene and Sister Pahl’s body, also said an altar cloth placed over her chest before she was stabbed could be viewed as a symbol of sacrifice.
Under defense questioning, Grob acknowledged he had never before seen a crime scene and that doctors and nurses may have changed Sister Pahl’s position.