The Reverend John Zuhlsdorf, left, has been ousted from his church after conducting a YouTube exorcism to try and keep Donald Trump in office (Pictures: YouTube/AP)
A Catholic priest who conducted YouTube exorcisms to try and keep Donald Trump in the White House has been ousted from his diocese. The Reverend John Zuhlsdorf left the Diocese of Madison in Wisconsin on January 14 after news of his unauthorized exorcisms began to spread.
A spokesman for the diocese said the departure was made ‘by mutual agreement’, and added that Zuhlsdorf had left to ‘pursue other opportunities,’ according to The National Catholic Reporter.
He livestreamed one exorcism in Latin the day before the January 6 US Capitol riots. Speaking beforehand, Zuhlsdorf repeated President Trump’s unproven claims of electoral fraud, and said: ‘As exorcists will confirm, the demons are very good with electronic equipment.’
During the exorcism itself, Zuhlsdorf wore full vestments and stood in front of his chapel, saying: ‘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.
Reverend Zuhlsdorf regularly conducts mass on YouTube – although his exorcisms have been removed from the video sharing site (Picture: YouTube)
‘It seems to have been well-organised. I am deeply concerned that anyone involved in this has put their soul in terrible mortal peril. We have to be concerned about the people involved in this who might have lied, or who might have committed fraud, concerning this election.’
The rogue priest continued: ‘This is not cheating to steal the election to 5th grade class president. This is something on a whole different scale, it’s quantitatively so vastly larger, that it’s qualitatively a different kind of a situation and sin. This isn’t like going over and stealing a newspaper off your neighbor’s porch.’
Zuhlsdorf’s antics were brought to the attention of Bishop of Madison Donald Hying, who quickly distanced himself from the ceremony.
He said that he had not given Zuhlsdorf permission to carry out the exorcism, or publicly espouse his political beliefs while carrying a Catholic sacrament.
It is unclear if anyone who watched Zuhlsdorf went on to participate in the Capitol riots, which left five dead. The bizarre exorcism has since been removed from YouTube.
Zuhlsdorf previously sought to distance himself from the liberal pronouncements of Pope Francis, and has taken a hardline stance on LGBT issues.
Like many Catholics, he also backed President Trump’s strong anti-abortion stance.
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