SPRINGFIELD —Of course, it’s a question on people’s minds when Illinois politics spawns talk of exorcisms. The lead House sponsor of legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed in Illinois served up an irreverently biting query Friday in response to a Catholic bishop’s eye-catching plan to lead a prayer of “exorcism” next week on the same day Gov. Pat Quinn makes same-sex marriage the law of the land.
“Does anyone know what the proper attire is for an Excorcism (sic)?” state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, asked his Facebook friends. Harris’ Facebook account lit up to the question, with hundreds of his social-media followers liking his post. Others posted pictures that included the famous spider-walk scene involving actress Linda Blair in the 1973 movie, “The Exorcist,” a shirtless man wearing red horns and a cape, a blonde woman adorned in skin-tight purple latex and an exotic-looking fellow with dangling, turquoise earrings and a septum piercing.
A few other legislators also weighed in.
“I have a call in to Linda Blair,” answered state Rep. Al Riley, D-Olympia Fields, who voted for the legislation. “Some fancy frock…a tutu perhaps?” responded state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, who was a co-sponsor of Harris’ Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. And an even more formal idea: “I think black-tie optional…definitely cocktail attire,” said state Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago, another co-sponsor of the bill.
The frivolity followed Bishop Thomas John Paprocki’s statement Thursday that he intended to preside over a prayer of “supplication and exorcism” in response to same-sex marriage becoming law. Even though Pope Francis has made a series of conciliatory statements toward gays and lesbians, Paprocki dug up a 2010 essay from then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who spoke out against a push in Argentina to recognize same-sex marriages. The pope said then that the legislative push in the South American country was a “’move’ by the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God,’” Paprocki wrote. “Pope Francis is saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ comes from the devil and should be condemned as such,” Paprocki said in his Thursday statement.