In 1979, Pope John Paul II warned that the devil was luring Ireland away from its catholic roots. Since then, homosexuality has been decriminalised; marriage equality has been achieved in the Republic as well as the legalisation of abortion.
In 2017, Census figures released by the Irish Central Statistics Office showed a 73% increase in the number of non-believers, as the number of self-identified catholics continued to drop. 20 to 39 year-olds made up 45% of the non-religious group.
A man described as “one of Ireland’s top exorcists” – Fr Pat Collins, believes this is due to a “mistaken” decision to stop praying to St Michael the Archangel at the end of Masses. He said that if the prayers to the saint were re-introduced, devilish influences would be seen off.
Fr Pat Collins said, “A tsunami of evil is threatening to overwhelm us” in contemporary Ireland.
He continued: “According to Pope Leo XIII’s private secretary when the Pontiff had a vision of demonic spirits about to mount an attack on the city of Rome he wrote the prayer to St Michael the Archangel.”
The prayer concludes with the line “cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.”
Right-wing media have interpreted this “tsunami of evil” to include the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2015, the referendum to liberalise divorce laws and the fact the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is an openly gay man.
In the past, exorcism was among the methods used in “conversion therapies”. Nowadays, the most common form of conversion therapy is intensive religious counselling.
Earlier this month, a former conversion therapy victim from Melbourne spoke about how the practice carried out by several Australian churches is more insidious than ever.
Robert Williams revealed to 60 Minutes that ten years ago, he asked a minister from Melbourne’s City Life Church for guidance on his “homosexual thoughts”. The minister immediately referred him to conversion therapy, telling Williams that at the end of the counselling session he would walk out straight and without sin.
Recent films such as The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Boy Erased have depicted the horrors of conversion therapy on screen. Activists around the globe are fighting to have conversion therapy outlawed.
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