Bishops hold exorcism to 'drive away the Enemy' from Mexico

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez at the Vatican in 2013. The cardinal presided over an exorcism last month in response to the levels of violence in the country.Reuters

A Mexican cardinal has presided at a 'great exorcism', guided by a well-known Spanish exorcist, seeking to "drive away the Enemy" from Mexico.

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Guadalajara, was one of a number of priests involved in the ceremony that took place at the Cathedral of San Luis Potosí on May 20, according to Aleteia.

Spanish Priest Fr José Antonio Fortea, who led the exorcism, explains in his book The Great Exorcism that such ceremonies can be used "in situations in which great violence has been unleashed in a country."

Archbishop of San Luis Potosí, Jesús Carlos Cabrero told ACI Prensa that although it was not a common practice "this celebration is a sacramental of the Church."

Cardinal Íñiguez, who was invited by the Archbishop, also told ACI Prensa that the ceremony "is a prayer asking God to drive away the Enemy, to drive him away from these places. From San Luis, first of all, and then from all of Mexico."

Archbishop Cabrero added that the ceremony included prayers about "the problem of divorce and of abortion, which often are favored by inhuman laws, laws that go against nature itself."

He said it was important for these ceremonies to be conducted in private and with thorough preparation but nonetheless said he hoped other bishops around the country would do the same.

The Cardinal said people needed to realise "the very grave situation we are living through in Mexico, whose root is very deep, beyond human malevolence; it is the devil, who is very connected to death. He is a murderer from the beginning."

He spoke of the "very grave sin" of legalising abortion in a Christian nation. Catholic journalist Roberto O'Farrill, who attended the ceremony, also commented on the large number of abortions in the country.

In 2007 abortion was decriminalised in Mexico City in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, although it remains very restricted in the rest of the country. Even so, O'Farrill said there have been 120,000 abortions performed in Mexico since the change in the law.

Cardinal Íñiguez also mentioned the "Acts of revenge, now occurring between assassins and the government" and said "this violence is nothing else but the Devil who is tearing us apart."

Although Mexico's murder rate increased significantly between 2008 and 2012, violent crime has reportedly fallen in the past few years.