Rumor: Priest bites off the ear of a fellow clergyman

A disagreement over a parking space led to the scuffle.

CONFIRMED: Former Australian Catholic priest to plead guilty to assault charge

Father Thomas Henry Byrne, 80, appeared in a Perth, Australia, court on Wednesday morning and agreed to plead guilty to a downgraded charge of assault causing bodily harm, Yahoo!, Australian Broadcasting Corp. and other news outlets reported. Byrne, due back in court next month, was granted bail.

Byrne originally was charged with grievous bodily harm after allegedly biting the ear off of another Catholic clergyman, Thomas Smith, 81, during a fight over a parking spot at their retirement home in November. After they calmed down, Byrne reportedly informed Smith that he needed to pick up something he had lost during the scuffle. It wasn't until Smith arrived back at his room that he realized he had lost his ear, the International Business Times reported.

 "I didn't know it was gone," Smith was quoted in the police statement. "It looked like something the cat had eaten — horrible-looking thing."

Smith underwent 10 hours of surgery to have his severed ear reattached, Sky News reported. Byrne walked away with a black eye.

Byrne was ordered not to go within 30 feet of Smith, even though they live in the same building, according to the International Business Times.

Pope on Twitter

On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI sent out his first tweet in Latin, according to the Los Angeles Times and other news sites. Benedict also launched Twitter accounts in eight other languages, sending out the same message in each: "Pray constantly, do justice, love goodness and walk humbly with Him," a passage from the Book of Micah.

 

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