Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) sought an exorcism to cleanse her house of evil spirits after the brutal attack on her husband last year by a hammer-wielding lunatic.
The San Francisco liberal and "devout" Catholic reportedly requested the exorcism during the Thanksgiving holiday, her daughter Alexandra told the New York Times.
“I think that weighed really heavy on her soul. I think she felt really guilty,” Pelosi's daughter said. “I think that really broke her. Over Thanksgiving, she had priests coming, trying to have an exorcism of the house and having prayer services."
The news of Pelosi's request generated some tongue-in-cheek commentary, as one might expect.
"Will she also be coordinating one for the speaker’s office?" Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) quipped. Pelosi handed over the Speaker's gavel this month.
It's unclear how Pelosi received approval for an exorcism, which typically requires the permission of the local bishop and a thorough medical and psychiatric examination of a person claiming to be possessed by the devil.
Pelosi's parish said they were not involved in performing the exorcism rite, and her bishop has barred the self-described "devout Catholic" from receiving communion over her support of abortion.
The Catholic church is wary of performing exorcisms without cause, so as to avoid encouraging a "sensationalist mentality," according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Pelosi's defiance of the church led some to criticize her extraordinary request as hypocritical.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said Pelosi either "needs psychiatric help" or she is taking advantage of the church.
"She wears her Catholicism on her sleeve while basically sticking her middle finger at the Catholic Church every opportunity she has.”
What is called a "major" or "solemn" exorcism is "employed only when there is a case of genuine demonic possession," according to the USCCB. The church also performs "minor" exorcisms to ward off evil influences over the souls of Catholics or those preparing for baptism.
The church advises that "major" exorcisms be performed in holy places, and "not the home of the afflicted person."
But Father Vincent Lampert, exorcist for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said there may have been a legitimate cause to cleanse the Pelosi home of a "demonic infestation" following the violent assault on her husband in October.
“It would be the recitation of a particular prayer, inviting the presence of God back into the house, casting out any presence of evil that may be there," he said.