After a week of such extreme partisan rancor on the floor of the U. S. House of Representatives, Rev. Patrick Conroy, SJ, took matters into his own hands and prayed to “cast out all spirits of darkness.”
According to Fox News, the dramatic moment occurred in the wake of an unseemly display of bickering among the House Democratic Caucus on July 16 when a particularly nasty floor fight broke out over the House Speaker’s use of the word “racist” in regard to the president’s tweet asking freshman Congresswomen to go home to their countries of origin if they didn’t like the country. The use of this language is against House decorum rules and resulted in the Speaker being temporarily banned from speaking on the floor of the House. The ensuing argument and internal bickering led to a move by the presiding officer, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), to announce that he was “abandoning the chair” – an action that has no apparent precedent in congressional history, according to Fox.
Yesterday morning, during the customary prayer before opening the legislative day for the congress, Father Conroy announced: “This has been a difficult and contentious week in which darker spirits seem to have been at play in the people’s House.”
He then raised both hands and prayed: “In Your most holy name, I cast out all spirits of darkness from this chamber. Spirits not from You. I cast out the spirit of discouragement which deadens the hope of those who are of goodwill. I cast out the spirit of petty divisiveness which clouds the sense and the desire to be of fruitful productivity and addressing the issues more appropriately before this House. I cast out any sadness brought on by the frustration of dealing with matters detrimental to the honorable work each member has been called to engage in.”
He concluded his prayer with a plea to the Lord:
“Anoint your servants here in the House with a healing balm to comfort and renew the souls of all in this assembly. May your spirit of wisdom and patience descend upon all so that any spirit of darkness might have no place in our midst. Rather, let Your spirit of comity, of brother-and-sisterhood, and love of our nation, and all colleagues in this chamber, empower our better angels to be at play in the common work to be done, for the benefit of all Your people. May all that is done within the people’s House be for Your greater honor and glory. Amen.”
Let us all join our prayer to his and ask God to cast out all spirits that are inspiring divisiveness and hatred among elected leaders on both sides of the aisle so that they may serve the people of this great nation with the dignity and fairness we deserve.
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