Springfield Bishop performs prayer of "exorcism"

Nov 21, 2013

Minutes after Governor Pat Quinn made gay marriage legal in Illinois, the Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield began a prayer service in response. It was formally called a prayer of “exorcism.” But as IPR'S Brian Mackey reports, the ceremony was much more subdued than that dramatic word might suggest.
Speaking in Latin, Bishop Thomas Paprocki was methodical, even dispassionate, as he led at least 200 of the faithful in prayer. He was careful to point out this was a “minor exorcism,” not suggesting demonic possession like in a Hollywood movie, but rather what he says are "influences of the devil that have penetrated our culture." 

The bishop says politicians who helped enact same-sex marriage are "morally complicit" in facilitating a "grave sin.” And yet, he declined to criticize individuals by name, including the Catholic governor.

“I really don’t want to get into a discussion with him through the media. We’ll talk to each other on the appropriate occasions."

Paprocki also reiterated church teaching that gays and lesbians "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity."

At the end of the service, the bishop walked the aisles, sprinkling congregants with holy water. The cathedral was silent — until someone’s cell phone began ringing. Another intrusion of modern life on sacred tradition.