An archbishop performed a cleansing ceremony to drive away the evil after protesters toppled a statue of a priest.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone took to the St. Raphael Catholic Church in San Rafael, California, to bless the grounds vandalized by protesters who tore down the statue of Spanish priest and missionary Father Junipero Serra.
While the Catholic Church has long applauded the 18th-century missionary for bringing the religion to the west of the country, critics say his actions resulted in native tribes being forced to adopt Christianity or face punishment.
In an attempt to cleanse the land of ‘evil spirits’, Archbishop Cordileone performed a short exorcism in front of the church following the protest.
“The experts in the field tell me that Latin tends to be more effective against the devil because he doesn’t like the language of the church,” the archbishop noted as he said Latin prayers.
Attending the exorcism, which according to the reports refers to a solemn ceremony to drive away the evil rather than what we typically see in movies, were some 150 people who joined the Archbishop in saying prayers.
The protest against the statue of the Spanish missionary followed after years of controversial debate over the actions of the priest.
For years, the statues and depictions of Father Junipero Serra have been debated and vandalized whereas the outrage grew after the priest was named a saint by Pope Francis back in 2015.
During the recent protest in San Rafael, the statue was spray-painted red and toppled to the ground. According to the reports, the statue is already being repaired and is expected to return to the church shortly.
As the city’s police confirmed, five people were arrested in connection to the vandalism.