According to a press release on the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois website, on Wednesday, November 20, 2013; at approximately the same time that Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois will sign into law that state’s redefinition of civil marriage, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will be conducting a public exorcism, and prayers of supplication for the sin of same-sex marriage.
This is, indeed, a most holy and powerful Christian response to this intrinsic evil being legally codified as a state norm. What makes Bishop Paprocki’s brave action even more proper is the fact that some self-identified Catholic politicians actually dared to make Pope Francis complicit in their vote by recalling the Pope’s statement in his infamous September plane interview that the Catholic Church could lose its way by focusing too much on social stances, including opposition to gay marriage. Included in The-Pope-Made-Me-Do-It Brigade was Democratic representative Linda Chapa LaVia who said, “As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people.”
Pope Francis’ Position on Marriage
I am not absolutely certain when true Christian love, which has truth and justice as its first fruits, got hijacked by this craving for apathy, but for people like LaVia it was very good that Bishop Paprocki in his press release pointed to Pope Francis’ less spontaneous comments regarding same-sex marriage when he was a Cardinal responding to the proposed redefinition of civil marriage in Argentina. At that time Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio wrote,
“The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex. The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts. … 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.”
Bishop Paprocki also issued clear admonishment, and Christian counsel, towards those who did vote in the affirmative, in stating,
“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. 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.”
This reality of institutional evil is one we see more often these days.
A favorite book of mine that explores the great danger of institutional evil is People of the Lie by the late psychotherapist M. Scott Peck. In chapter six, Peck calls the phenomenon of group evil, “ . . . the diffuse cancerous forces at work in our society” (p. 212). He later states that group evil is more likely to occur when individuals are no longer held accountable for their actions (p 218). This latter fact is another reason why it was very good that Bishop Paprocki let these politicians know that they are “morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin.”
Institutional evil is a virus that infects entire groups through the evil actions of individuals that have influence over the collective. It can happen gradually over time, even to organizations that originally had a Christian oriented mission. The seed of institutional evil is its worship of the lie; that is, when all other things supersedes the truth. In the instant case, it is not a concern of the Democratic party in Illinois; perhaps even nationally, whether it is a divine truth that people of the same gender can rightfully marry. That there were people who partialed out and mis-represented the spirit of Pope Francis’ interview comments only reinforces this tendency of the people of the lie to have no real concern for the truth. What does concern those who are agents in the institutions of evil are all the fruits and advantages of self-interest, along with a disordered/disinterested understanding of true love.
The hope of Bishop Paprocki’s exorcism and prayers of supplication is that the yoke of Satan’s fatherhood of lie will be broken, and individuals who have been sold into its slavery of sin and were negatively influenced by it will be free again to know and love the truth. If you cannot attend this event at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception from 4 to 5 p.m., I hope that you pray a Rosary during that time in union with the Bishop’s intentions.
©2013 David L. Gray. All rights reserved.