For those of you in Illinois, did you feel a sudden lightening of the spirit last Wednesday? A little flutter in your heart? Did the sun pop out from behind a big cloud in the Windy City and did people around you burst into song like you were in the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
No, it wasn’t just you. Your whole state underwent an exorcism, and that was the demons leaving for someplace else. Maybe California.
As a means of coping with the apparently devastating news that all couples in Illinois were free to marry the partner they loved regardless of their new spouse’s gender, Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki announced that he would be performing an exorcism on the entire state. Bishop Paprocki believes that this action will cleanse the capital, which is obviously seething with evil. “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,” he told the Chicago Tribune.
Exorcising an entire state is definitely a new thing, but exorcism itself? Why, that’s old hat. Here are five of the most shocking exorcisms of the last few decades.
1. Pope Francis Enters, Exorcist-style
With less than a year in office, Pope Francis has been offering a kinder, gentler Catholic church that is supposed to be less divisive on social issues like gay marriage and abortion. But he came into office a little flashier — and full of exorcisms. He was believed to have cast a demon out of a sick man during a Sunday Mass in May, although the Vatican has argued it wasn’t a “true” exorcism; it was just a lucky reaction to being healed by the hand of God.
2. Bobby Jindal‘s Cancer-Free Exorcised Acquaintance
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal may freeze up during speeches, but when it comes to kicking the cancer devil out of friends, he excels. He once explained in great detail how he helped perform an exorcism on a friend at Bible study, who was also suffering with cancer. “The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first, Susan responded to biblical passages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible’s authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand,” wrote Jindal, in just part of a massive article retelling the story in great detail.
3. Don‘t Mind Me, Just “Blowing the Holy Spirit“ into the Naked Lady
When Father Thomas Euteneuer, the former president of anti-abortion action group Human Life International, was accused of doing some inappropriate things with a woman, it turns out he wasn’t being “sexual.” No, he was performing an exorcism. It just happened to take a full two years to complete. “The complaint describes multiple incidents of inappropriate touching. It reads: ‘he kissed the corners of her mouth; stroked her legs, breasts and thighs; caressed her face; laid his body on top of hers; and frequently explained full, passionate kisses as ‘blowing the holy spirit into her.’” Perhaps he was just really, really dedicated to his job.
4. Is There a 24 Waiting Period Before Exorcising This Clinic?
Considering how often those who oppose abortion claim abortion supporters are evil or worship Satan, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see an exorcism at an abortion clinic. Encouraged by a 2009 exorcism at a clinic in Rockford, which anti-choice activists swear lead to its closing, Ohio Catholics performed their own exorcism on Women’s Med Center at the end of 40 Days for Life in the spring of 2012. “Seize the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the devil and Satan, bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit, that he may no longer seduce the nations,” reads part of the prayer, which was approved by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Despite the number of clinic closures that have happened recently, this clinic remains open.
5. Banish the Gay Away
Bishop Paprocki may be exorcising the whole state over gay marriage, but most religious leaders are trying to cast out the gay one person at a time. Meet a young man who was exorcised almost a dozen times in just four years, all by Pentecostal faith healers determined to remove the evil spirit inside him and allow him to be attracted to women. Spoiler: it never worked.
Does all of this exorcism talk have you concerned that you, too, may be possessed? Don’t worry, here’s a list of signs to help you decide. But be aware, I didn’t put “excessive masturbation” on there; that came from the good men at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Photo credit: Thinkstock