8 Highlights From The Illinois Marriage Equality Exorcism

Bishop Thomas Paprocki
Bishop Thomas Paprocki

As promised, Springfield, Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki delivered a “Homily for Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage” simultaneously as Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed the marriage equality bill Wednesday. That homily provides many insights into the anti-gay beliefs still maintained by the Catholic Church that inform its ongoing campaigns against allowing legal recognition for same-sex couples’ civil marriages.

Here are some highlights:

Condemning Homosexuality As Sinful Is Not “Hateful”:


It is not hateful to say that an immoral action is sinful. On the contrary, the most compassionate thing we can do is help people to turn away from sin… It is not the Church that must change to conform its teachings to the views of the world, but it is each individual who is called to be configured to Christ.

This Is Just A “Minor Exorcism”:

Perhaps a large part of the negative reaction is because most people don’t know what the Church teaches about exorcism, since they get their misleading information and sensational ideas on this mainly from Hollywood. The fact is that a “minor exorcism” takes place in every Baptism and Confirmation ceremony when we renounce Satan and all his works and empty promises. This prayer service will be along those lines. I’m 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.

The Devil Is Responsible For Promoting Same-Sex Marriage:

​Our prayer service today and my words 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. These demonic influences are not readily apparent to the undiscerning eye, which is why they are so deceptive. A helpful resource in this regard is a recent book by Father Louis J. Cameli, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, called The Devil You Don’t Know: Recognizing and Resisting Evil in Everyday Life. While the popular tendency may be to identify the devil only with his extraordinary activity, which is diabolical possession, Father Cameli writes about the ordinary work of the devil: deception, division, diversion and discouragement.

Paprocki proceeded to quote Pope Francis from back in 2010, when then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote that allowing same-sex marriage in Argentina was a product of the “father of lies” that was “destructive to the plan of God” and would “gravely harm the family.” The Illinois bishop concludes, “Pope Francis is saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.”

Marriage’s Sole Purpose Is Reproduction:

Another major deception or distortion of marriage is the view that it is not ultimately about generating life, but rather is mainly about a romantic relationship designed for individual (not even mutual) fulfillment. That distorted understanding cuts across opposite-sex marriage and same-sex marriage proponents in our culture. We are all summoned to reflect more deeply on the truth of marriage.

Nearly 4,000 same-sex couples in Illinois are raising children together — presumably in “mutual fulfillment.”

Same-Sex Parenting Somehow Harms Children:

It is also a deception to say that there will be no adverse effects on children being brought up in the household of a same-sex couple.

He is likely referring to the decades of social science showing that gender and sexual orientation have no impact on parenting ability. Only a few scattered flawed studies purport to support his assertion.

The Devil Uses Same-Sex Marriage To Divide People And Waste Resources:

The division brought about by the Devil due to same-sex marriage may be seen in the way our society, our families and our friendships have become so divided and polarized over this issue.

The diversion of the Devil in same-sex marriage may be seen in the fact that so much of our time, energy and resources are being spent in addressing this issue, when there are more pressing needs facing our state and our Church.

The Catholic Church continues to devise strategies and dedicate significant resources to fighting same-sex marriage, even though polls show that American Catholics actually support marriage equality at higher rates than the national average. The irony is apparently lost on Bishop Paprocki.

The Only Way To Help Gay People Is To Tell Them To Be Chaste:

The Church loves homosexual persons and looks upon them with compassion, offering assistance through support groups such as the Courage Apostolate to live in accord with the virtue of chastity. Indeed, all people all called to chastity, which for a man and woman united in matrimony means for the husband and wife to be faithful to each other.

The Courage ministry borrows the same shame-counseling tactics that ex-gay therapy uses to convince gay people to never have a loving sexual relationship, and even invites ex-gay therapists to help train Courage counselors.

This Is For Your Own Good, Gay Community:

In conclusion, I quote from a homily given in the second century: “Let me say also that when we are given a warning and corrected for doing something wrong, we should not be so foolish as to take offense and be angry. There are times when we are unconscious of the sins we commit because our hearts are fickle, lacking in faith. Futile desires becloud our minds. We need to pull ourselves up, therefore, because our very salvation is at stake. Those who keep God’s commandments will have reason to rejoice. For a short time in this world they may have to suffer, but they will rise again and their reward will endure for ever. No one who holds God in reverence should grieve over the hardships of this present time, for a time of blessedness awaits him. He will live again in heaven in the company of all those who have gone before him; for all eternity he will rejoice, never to know sorrow again.”

May God give us this grace. Amen.

It’s unclear if Paprocki had a clear goal for the outcome of this exorcism. It does nothing to undo Gov. Quinn’s signature, nor is it likely to inhibit public opinion’s momentum in favor of same-sex marriage — either among Catholics or otherwise.