DAYTON, Ohio, March 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - For many segments of the population, the realm of demonic activity and exorcisms stays in the movie theater. But for many believers in the pro-life movement, the problem of dealing with evil is a practical question – and one that is taken very seriously.
In Dayton, Ohio, it has led one local 40 Days for Life leader to obtain permission from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to have priests join their prayers outside the Women’s Med Center on Sunday with specific prayers to drive away evil presences from the area.
Anthony Hopkins, playing an exorcist priest, says prayers of exorcism in the movie 'The Rite'.
“Hopefully, the spiritual battle will be won,” Ruth Deddens, an organizer with 40 Days for Life in Dayton, told the Dayton Daily News.
Deddens had asked Rev. Steve J. Angi, chancellor of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, for permission to have priests come and pray an “exorcism of locality.” In the Catholic Church, although lay persons may pray unofficial prayers of deliverance, official rites of exorcism requires an ordained priest acting under the permission of his bishop.
Although workers at the clinic did not offer comment, Rick Pender, spokesman for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, told the Daily News that the pro-life group “has a right to free speech.”
“We don’t agree that we’re doing something evil. We’re providing a service that is needed and appreciated by a lot of people,” he said.
Calls to Deddens were not returned by press time.
Dedden’s idea was not her own - it was modeled off the successful exorcism campaign in Rockford, Illinois, where a bizarre anti-Christian abortion clinic finally closed its doors this year.
Rockford pro-life leader Kevin Rilott told LifeSiteNews.com that when a local group of priests was granted permission by the Rockford diocese to regularly pray exorcism prayers outside the Northern Illinois Women’s Center (NIWC), the change was unmistakable.
“We saw a huge change at this clinic. The number of abortions went down, the number of saves went up,” said Rilott. “The moment they began saying these prayers was the beginning of the end of this clinic.”
By the time the Rockford clinic closed following the revelation of serious health violations, NIWC had become notorious for its anti-Christian signage, including a nun in a coffin, a crucified rubber chicken, and personalized slogans insulting pro-life witnesses outside. One sign suggested that NIWC had killed 50,000 children while “JC,” or Jesus Christ, had only saved 50.
Often priests would pray by themselves, said Rilott, but at times all four would surround the building on its four sides and say the exorcism prayers together, at which time Rilott said the clinic owner, known to pro-lifers for his habit of taunting the opposition, always responded predictably - immediately leaving the building until the prayers wrapped up.
“Everyone could just sense what was happening,” he said.