US House chaplain holds exorcism after ‘spirits of darkness’ engulf proceedings
The House chaplain has staged an emergency prayer intervention in Congress to cast out the “spirits of darkness” he blames for the turmoil that seized the chamber during the vote to condemn the president’s tweets for ‘racism.’
"It felt like there was something going on beyond just political disagreement” on the House floor on Tuesday during the contentious vote, chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy told CNN on Thursday. “The energy of the House was very off. No one was relishing what was happening."
Conroy’s prayer was inspired by the Catholic exorcism rite, he explained – as well as “traditional blessings for homes or other buildings.” He had the idea after witnessing Tuesday’s chaotic vote on a resolution condemning Trump’s “racist” tweets degenerate into partisan sniping. The drama unfolded before the vote itself, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi ultimately leaving the room in a huff after Republican Rep. Doug Collins demanded she retract the characterization of Trump’s tweets as racist. Presiding Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver dropped the gavel and abandoned the chair, a dramatic move with no historical precedent, as the proceedings devolved into bickering over whether a rule had been broken. Over two hours went by before order was sufficiently restored to continue with the vote, which split along partisan lines to condemn the tweets.
“I now cast out all spirits of darkness from this chamber, spirits not from you,” Conroy is seen to pray in a C-SPAN video of the session, deploring that “darker spirits seem to have been at play in the people’s House.” The Jesuit priest has served as House chaplain since 2011, and while he has invoked God’s help in congressional battles in the past, he has never led a congressional exorcism before. Like all of his prayers, however, the demon-expelling composition was designed to be nonpartisan.
“I want every member of the House to be able to say ‘amen,’” he said. No one burst into flames after that, so there's probably still hope.