National Catholic Reporter

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Bishop's exorcism stunt mocks and offends


NCR normally doesn't feel compelled to comment on individual bishops' actions in their home dioceses. Local Catholics and media are better prepared to address local concerns. However, the prayers of exorcism for same-sex marriage that Bishop Thomas Paprocki* of Springfield, Ill., conducted Nov. 20 seemed so outrageous, we thought a comment was warranted.

We do not buy Paprocki's feigned reluctance "to enter any controversy." We cannot believe he could be so out of touch with the media climate, particularly around this hot-button issue, to think that his using "same-sex marriage" and "exorcism" in the same sentence would not cause a firestorm of media coverage. He claimed he affirmed "the teaching of the Catholic church that homosexual persons 'must be accepted with respect,' " but he didn't. His actions were offensive and therefore mocked a religious rite.

We cannot imagine what Paprocki thought he would accomplish with this stunt. And stunt it was.

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*An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Paprocki.

This story appeared in the Dec 6-19, 2013 print issue under the headline: Bishop's stunt mocks and offends .


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