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2013-NOV: Same-sex marriages (SSM) & civil unions in Illinois.

Bishop plans exorcism when SSM bill signed.
Faithful America petition to cancel exorcism.
Bishop Paprocki performs exorcism.

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This topic is continued from a previous essay.

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2013-NOV-14: Bishop of Springfield plans to offer an "... exorcism in reparation for the sin of same-sex marriage:"

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, IL issued a statement on NOV-14 calling on members of the Legislature to repeal the same-sex marriage law that they had just passed during the previous week. He said that marriage equality is contrary to the plan of God. He also said that politicians who helped the bill become law are:

"... morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin. ... It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the church."

The legislators appear to have completely ignored Bishop Paprocki's plea. At least, we have been unable to detect any response from politicians in the media. That is not surprising, since a massive, unbridgeable gulf exists on all matters relating to human sexuality between the entire hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church and the majority of its laity.

His use of the term "grave sin" is important. If:

  • The Catholic Church declares a specific activity to be a grave sin, and

  • If the individual is aware of this classification, and

  • If the person engages in the activity of their own free will, then

the action becomes a mortal sin for that person. The church teaches that this can have very grave consequences for their final destination after death, whether it be to Heaven or Hell.

The bishop's reference to "Catholic politicians" might have been directed at House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) who had earlier said in the House:

"For those that just happen to be gay â€" living in a very harmonious, productive relationship, but illegal â€" who am I to judge that they should be illegal?"

Whether by coincidence or intention, Madigan seems to have paralleled the famous words by Pope Francis given in a press conference during 2013-JUL. The Pope had said:

"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

Pope Francis was apparently referring to men seeking ordination as priests, which the Church regards as a noble calling. He was not referring to individuals seeking to marry another person of the same sex who they love and to whom they are committed for life -- which the Church finds despicable.

Bishop Paprocki wrote that Pope Francis:

"... is saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ comes from the devil and should be condemned as such. All politicians now have the moral obligation to work for the repeal of this sinful and objectionable legislation. We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our church." 1,2

Both House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) and Governor Pat Quinn (D) are Roman Catholics and are strong supporters of marriage equality.

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2013-NOV-15: Group raises petition to persuade Bishop Paprocki to cancel exorcism:

Faithful America, whose motto is "Love they neighbor. No exceptions" raised a petition asking Bishop Paprocki to cancel his proposed exorcism. A note on their web site stated:

"As U.S. Catholic bishops are struggling to adapt to Pope Francis's vision for a more inclusive and welcoming Catholic Church, one Illinois bishop thinks he knows exactly what the pope would want him to do:Â Blame marriage equality on the devil and schedule an 'exorcism' at the same time the governor signs it into law.

According to Bishop Thomas Paprocki, the Illinois legislature is 'morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin ... We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our church.'

While other Catholics are working to put service to the poor and broken at the center of the church's ministry, Bishop Paprocki is embarrassing the church with a pointless political stunt, staging what he's calling 'prayers of supplication and exorcism in reparation for the sin of same-sex marriage.'

Let's show Bishop Paprocki -- and the dozens of media outlets that are already covering this story -- that everyday Catholics and other Christians are appalled and want him to cancel his plans for this 'exorcism'."

Their petition reads:

"Holding an exorcism in response to the enactment of marriage equality is no way to show Christ's love to the world. Please cancel this political stunt and reconsider your public ministry for the Pope Francis era." 7

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2013-NOV-20: Bishop conducts exorcism as the SSM bill is signed into law:

Bishop Paprocki offered prayers of supplication and an exorcism on NOV-20 in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at about the same time that Governor Pat Quinn(D) was expected to sign the marriage equality bill into law. About 500 people were in attendance.

Bishop Paprocki quoted a statement by Pope Francis in 2007 when the latter was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina:

"... we should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals."

In 2010, Pope Francis, when he was still Cardinal Bergoglio, had said that a marriage equality bill that was under consideration by the Government of Argentina, was a:

"... situation whose result may gravely harm the family. ... The identity of the family and its survival are in jeopardy here: father, mother, children. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts. ..."

It may be worth noting that for those national public opinion polls on same-sex marriage, in which support is shown tabulated by religion, the Roman Catholic laity is typically slightly more supportive than the average citizen.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki's exorcism was conducted at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception about 200 miles away from the bill signing ceremony. He apparently believes that Satan himself inspired this law, and that an exorcism might reduce the damage that the law would cause to the state.

Before the 2012 election, he had warned the Catholic laity that their souls might be at risk if they voted for Democratic candidates. This time, he said:

"It is not the church that must change to confirm its teachings to the views of the world, but it is each individual who is called to be configured to Christ."

That statement could probably be supported by every Christian clergyperson. However, conservative clergy would mean by it that the laity is to reject marriage equality, while more progressive clergy would mean that the public should embrace marriage equality for all. Both groups support their beliefs with quotations from the Bible. However, they typically interpret biblical passages very differently.

Bishop Paprocki said he conducted the exorcism "with great reluctance ... [and did not] seek to enter any controversy and I don't relish being part of one." However, after having "given this matter a great deal of thought and prayer," he felt the need to hold the service.

During the exorcism, he said:

"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. 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. ..."

"Be gone Satan, father of lies, enemy of human salvation. 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." 3

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Doug Finke, "Bishop Paprocki: Same-sex marriage 'grave sin'," State Journal-Register, 2013-NOV-14, at:
  2. "Exorcism for IL Catholic Gov.'s Homosexual Sin," Culture News, 2013-NOV-16, at:
  3. "M3.2 - 1km NW of Summit, Illinois," USGS Earthquake Hazards Center, at:
  4. I Kings 19:12
  5. "Federal Court in Illinois orders immediate marriage license for terminally ill woman and her lesbian partner..." Lambda Legal, 2013-NOV-25, at:
  6. Trudy Ring, "Terminally Ill Woman and Partner First to Marry Under Illinois Law," SheWired, 2013-NOV-26, at:
  7. "Tell Catholic bishop: 'Don't respond to marriage equality with an exorcism," Faithful America, 2013-NOV-15, at:

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2013-NOV-25
Latest update: 2013-NOV-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

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