As Illinois governor Pat Quinn signs marriage equality into law next Wednesday, the Roman Catholic bishop in the state’s capital city will be offering “prayers of supplication and exorcism in reparation for the sin of same-sex marriage.”
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the diocese of Springfield will conduct the service from 4 to 5 p.m. that day at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, according to a diocesan press release.
“The context for this prayer service may be understood by recalling the words of Pope Francis when he faced a similar situation as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010,” Paprocki said in the release.
That year, with Argentina about to approve marriage equality, the future pope said the move “may gravely harm the family” and originated with “the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
The devil is the “father of lies,” Paprocki said, and therefore “Pope Francis is saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.” Paprocki also denounced Catholic politicians who support marriage equality, such as Gov. Quinn and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
His words drew angry responses from LGBT Catholics. “The bishops across the country are getting their butts kicked over the gay marriage issue,” Joe Murray of the Rainbow Sash Movement told Chicago’s Windy City Times. “So you’ll see more stunts like this, and it’s going to make the church into a laughingstock. We’re not back in the Middle Ages. Exorcism is a sacred rite. It should not be used for a political end.”
In October, Paprocki had called police to keep members of the Rainbow Sash Movement and anyone else identified as a marriage equality supporter from coming to Mass at the cathedral after the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality.
Meanwhile, leaders of some other religious groups are welcoming marriage equality to Illinois. Rev. Martin Woulfe of the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Springfield will offer a public prayer of thanksgiving for the new law at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, at a site to be announced. “As a bonus, he will be include a counter-exorcism blessing,” Woulfe wrote on the church’s Facebook page.
Quinn will sign the marriage equality bill into law in a ceremony beginning at 3:30 p.m. that day at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended; to register, click here.