Just as Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn was signing the marriage equality bill into law, right-wing Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Roman Catholic diocese of Springfield performed an exorcism over the state to cast out what he calls the Satanic forces behind same-sex marriage.
He told worshipers that the anti-gay exorcism was to show that “the church loves homosexual persons and looks upon them with compassion.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Before a mostly full cathedral, the head of the capital city’s Roman Catholic flock looked both to the heavens and to Gov. Pat Quinn’s bill-signing ceremony for same-sex marriage Wednesday and uttered three words in Latin: “I exorcise you.”
With that, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki staged an unusual — and in Illinois, unprecedented — exorcism that asked God to “deliver us from evil” of a Quinn-led change in state law that will permit gay and lesbian couples to wed in Illinois despite the Catholic Church’s objections.
“The church loves homosexual persons and looks upon them with compassion,” he said.
After that introduction, Paprocki read the rite of exorcism in Latin as his voice echoed through the cavernous and ornate Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception church a few blocks from the state Capitol, where the legislation passed earlier this month.
“I exorcise you, every unclean spirit, every power of darkness, every incursion of the infernal enemy, every diabolical legion, cohort, and faction, in the name and power of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paprocki said. “Be uprooted and put to flight from the Church of God from souls created in the image of God and redeemed by the precious blood of the divine lamb.
“Dare no more, oh cunning serpent, to deceive the human race, to persecute the church of God, to shake the chosen of God and sift them like wheat,” he continued.
In an unusual use of public services, the exorcism included two armed Springfield police officers stationed inside the church vestibule where parishioners entered from the street. At one point during the service, one of the officers strode to the front of the church, though his purpose was unclear. There were no disruptions during the hourlong event.
“Be gone Satan, father of lies, enemy of human salvation,” Paprocki said later, as he began the conclusion of the exorcism. “Give way to Christ, in whom you found no trace of your works. Give way to the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church, which Christ himself won by his blood.”