Lifestyle & Belief

Italy: man rips out eyeballs during Mass in Pisa church

An Italian man reportedly ripped out his own eyeballs during Sunday Mass at a church in Viareggio, near Pisa, northern Italy, according to British news reports.

Aldo Bianchini, 46, a Briton who had lived most of his life in Italy, according to The Daily Mail, reportedly stood up during the Mass at St. Andrea's and used his bare hands to tear out his eyeballs. He then collapsed on the floor in a pool of his own blood.

Bianchini's mother tried to help him as the priest called for help, The Sun reports.

he later told doctors — calmly and lucidly — that he was hearing voices, Fox News reports.

NBC Bay Area translated comments the priest Rev. Lorenzo Tanganelli, gave Italian newspaper Corriere Fiorentino:

"This man at the back of the nave started tearing at his face and I realized he was gouging out his eyes ... I called for assistance and the paramedics were quickly at the scene, and he was taken away and then I carried on celebrating Mass, but a lot of people had left because they were so shocked by what they had seen."

Emergency responders picked up his eyeballs from the floor of the church, Fox reports, but surgeons were unable to save his sight. The Sun quotes Dr. Gino Barbacci as saying: "To do that requires superhuman strength."

NBC reminds readers that in  the Bible's Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus says: "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."

Viareggio, population 64,000, is a city in northern Tuscany, on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea.