A Roman Catholic archbishop carried out an exorcism in Northern California on Saturday morning at the site where racial injustice demonstrators toppled a statue of 18th-century Spanish missionary Junipero Serra days earlier.
Unlike in movies, genuine expulsions are often solemn ecclesiastical rituals like those of Saturday, which were meant to eradicate evil and defend Serra’s reputation.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco performed the ritual in front of about 150 followers before celebrating a special Mass in St. Petersburg. Raphael Catholic Church in San Raphael north of San Francisco.
Serra, who lived from 1
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The church honors Serra for bringing Roman Catholicism to the western United States, but critics claim he forced Native Americans to abandon their culture or face brutal punishment.
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“Experts in the field tell me that Latin tends to be more effective against the devil because he does not like the language of the church,” Cordileone said after praying in the official language of the church.
Serra statues in Los Angeles and Sacramento have also been vandalized by protesters.
San Raphael police said five suspects have been arrested in connection with vandalism.
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The statue is repaired and returned to the site.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.