The Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin parted ways with Reverend John Zuhlsdorf after a livestream surfaced in which he tried to root out non-existent election fraud by way of Catholic exorcism. Zuhlsdorf is described as "a relentless critic of liberal culture."
At the beginning of the since removed video he states:
"As exorcists will confirm, the demons are very good with electronic equipment."
He went on:
"I think it's amply clear, there's enough evidence to demonstrate that there was fraud in some places, and people had to commit that fraud, it didn't happen by itself."
"It seems to have been well-organized. I am deeply concerned that anyone involved in this has put their soul in terrible mortal peril."
Zuhlsdorf claimed he had permission from the Bishop of Madison to perform the exorcism, however the Bishop of Madison stated permission was given to perform an exorcism for the alleviation of the pandemic, not for political purposes.
The diocese released this short statement after they parted ways with Reverend Zuhlsdorf:
"The Bishop of Madison is grateful to the Reverend Zuhlsdorf for his faithful support of the diocese's seminarians and priests, thanks him for his many years of steadfast ministry serving the diocese, and wishes him the best in his future endeavors."
Some criticized Reverend Zuhlsdorf.
@gloriatv Father Zuhlsdorf clearly doesn't know what an exorcism is. It is always directed at a person, supporting… https://t.co/rLdoJhzc8C— Benedikt N. (@Benedikt N.) 1610232064.0
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz Oh for crying out loud! This is so insane! I used to read Father Z but stopped after Pope F… https://t.co/I4iRRo59Eg— Rachel Dobbs 🐙 (@Rachel Dobbs 🐙) 1609881701.0
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz Is this a joke??? Our country is in such a sad and horrible state.— JP (@JP) 1609881738.0
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz This is an abomination of the Rite of Exorcism, and in doing so does not exorcise demonic i… https://t.co/Sfwt58aSCJ— Matt Kappadakunnel (@Matt Kappadakunnel) 1609881904.0
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz Sounds like this priest needs a lot of prayers! Using God to overthrow our democracy cannot… https://t.co/VxCGkk9LsC— Cooper (@Cooper) 1609882000.0
Some couldn't stay away from the movie references.
@scottgr60613 @JamesMartinSJ @fatherz https://t.co/WZIkm91Y1g— BHepp 💉🩹💉🩹💉🩹 (@BHepp 💉🩹💉🩹💉🩹) 1609894870.0
@mdmnd9294 @JamesMartinSJ @fatherz https://t.co/5HVdeTotKO— SallyVee - no unity without accountability. (@SallyVee - no unity without accountability.) 1609883149.0
And most were simply appalled.
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz How was this allowed? Who authorized this. Canonical law is very clear on the use of this rite. 😬— Heidi Katherine, MDiv (@Heidi Katherine, MDiv) 1609884940.0
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz Just when I start moving back toward the church, something like this happens - and I’m remi… https://t.co/nAJPwBwLFW— Rocking in the CHI (@Rocking in the CHI) 1609886981.0
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz https://t.co/Xrj7SVcRaw— chaddattilio (@chaddattilio) 1609888298.0
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz He repeatedly asserts wrongdoing occurred, and says there was "enough evidence", absent any… https://t.co/9cmurfIkYe— David A. Kotwicki (@David A. Kotwicki) 1609889258.0
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz What can be done, if anything, to a priest who shows behavior like this? There are others… https://t.co/PjhmgVCGjq— Nancy Kreger-Aills (@Nancy Kreger-Aills) 1609899516.0
@JamesMartinSJ @fatherz Exorcisms are suspect enough without pulling them into the abyss of fraudulent political conspiracies.— Don Frickel (@Don Frickel) 1609900872.0
If one thought the conspiracy theories Donald Trump pushed might calm down after President Biden was inaugurated, clearly, they were wrong.