At about the same time Illinois
Governor Pat Quinn signed a gay marriage bill into law on Wednesday,
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield offered prayers of
exorcism against the legislation.
With Quinn's signature, Illinois became
the 16th state to allow gay couples to marry. The
District of Columbia also approved a law in 2009.
Gov. Pat Quinn signs gay marriage bill.)
The head of the Springfield Roman
Catholic Diocese held the service at the Cathedral of the Immaculate
“I exorcize 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 during the hourlong
ceremony which attracted a large crowd of worshipers.
“Dare no more, O 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 comments to The
Chicago Tribune, Paprocki, a vocal opponent of the law,
called the exorcism performed a minor one.
“I am not saying that anyone involved
in the redefinition of marriage is possessed by the devil, which, if
that were the case, would require the remedy of a major exorcism, but
all of us are certainly subject to the devil's evil influences and in
need of protection and deliverance from evil,” Paprocki said.
Paprocki told congregants that his
prayers “are not meant to demonize anyone, but are intended to call
attention to the diabolical influences of the devil that have
penetrated our culture, both in the state and in the church.”
Politicians “responsible for enacting
civil same-sex marriage legislation are morally complicit as
co-operators in facilitating this grave sin,” Paprocki said.
A small group of activists who
protested outside the cathedral labeled the service a stunt.
“I think the bishop is looking for
publicity,” Erin Meehan told ABC Newschannel 20.