After the political process (read: playing fair) failed to stop marriage equality in Illinois, a Catholic bishop has a new idea: exorcism.
The Catholic bishop of Springfield, Illinois, Thomas Paprocki, announced that he would lead a prayer service next week to exorcise the gay-loving demons there that helped bring same-sex marriage to Illinois.
Because the best explanation for an outpouring of empathy toward people in love, and for rejecting the demands of an institution that says we must legally bar particular, harmless expressions of love, is the influence of the greatest evil in the universe – from which only a virgin in a robe, uttering the proper magic words, can save us. Sounds legit.
Paprocki, who holds a JD from DePaul and an MBA from Notre Dame, is a huge fan of exorcism, having led a conference on the subject attended by 100 bishops and priests in 2010. He slammed Catholic legislators who voted for the law:
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.
That so many religious people cannot square the moral proclamations of the church with their own conscience should provide a hint to men like Paprocki to just how insidious those proclamations are.
While Paprocki vowed to fight for repeal, in Hawaii, which will adopt same-sex marriage next week, the Catholic Church seemed to admit defeat on the issue, perhaps signaling a shift away form the culture wars. The bishops’ top anti-same-sex marriage crusader, San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, released this statement:
My prayers are with the many people who helped defend marriage in Hawaii in a spirit of charity and truth, and by so doing, helped defend a culture of the family. Their efforts were not in vain, and their witness will continue to bear fruit.
The religious people who sought to keep gay people from marrying in Hawaii (and who failed, even with god presumably on their side) did not help defend a culture of the family. They fought to stop families from forming. And to the end of stopping gay marriage, their efforts were absolutely in vain. Marriage equality is coming to Hawaii, and soon it will come to the entire nation. This motion will not be halted by supernatural threats promised by any mortals, by exorcism, or by prayer (as if prayer ever halted anything, ditto exorcism). However, to the end of painting the Catholic Church (and Christianity in general) as a dated organization, so bound to the moral relics of the past that their adherents will continue pursuing discrimination even in our modern times, their efforts could not have been more efficient.
Paprocki, of course, is no stranger to controversy. Earlier this year, he banned supporters of same-sex marriage from praying in the cathedral, calling their beliefs “blasphemous.” In the run up to the 2012 election, he suggested that voting for Democrats could send one to hell:
Because a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.
It takes a galactic sum of hypocrisy to love a god who committed genocide against the entire planet, and who permits the existence of hell with indifference at best and endorsement at worst, to complain about how people loving and caring for one another, and committing to a life of doing so, is an intrinsically evil behavior. If god considers eternal torture an appropriate response to caring for someone, for feeding them and holding their wrinkled hand even after they have died, then I want nothing of that god if he does exist. Thankfully, such a morally confused god does not exist – for he would be unworthy of mankind, and all the love that comes naturally to us – even if that love is often replaced by hatred in the presence of religious faith.