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Springfield bishop plans same-sex marriage 'exorcism'

SPRINGFIELD — The head of Springfield’s Roman Catholic diocese said Thursday he will preside over a prayer service of “supplication and exorcism” next Wednesday to counteract Gov. Pat Quinn’s enactment that day of same-sex marriage in Illinois.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, said marriage between gays and lesbians is a union that “comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.” Paprocki also blasted Catholic politicians who pushed for passage of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act and, in an indirect jab at House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, ridiculed some of Illinois’ leaders for “twisting the words of the pope.”

During a dramatic floor speech on the day of the vote, the House speaker, who is Catholic, cited Pope Francis’ recent, conciliatory remarks toward gays and lesbians as the basis for supporting the legislation that Quinn has said he will sign next Wednesday. Such politicians, Paprocki said, 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,” he said. “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.”

In his statement Thursday, Paprocki cited two-year-old statements from then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who wrote about same-sex marriage on June 22, 2010.

“At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts,’” Paprocki quoted the pope as saying when he was a cardinal. “’Let us not be naive: It is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a ‘move’ of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Interpreting those remarks, Paprocki said, “The pope’s reference to the ‘father of lies’ comes from the Gospel of John (8:44), where Jesus refers to the devil as ‘a liar and the father of lies.’ So Pope Francis is saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.”