Earlier this month, the Diocese of Madison announced a "mutual" agreement between itself and one of its "freelancer" priests regarding his departure. Now, more on what prompted that. Per the Wisconsin State Journal, the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a member of Wisconsin's clergy who also runs his own blog, apparently had a penchant for performing exorcisms to suss out widespread voter fraud (claims of which have been debunked) tied to the 2020 election. As the National Catholic Reporter noted earlier this month, Zuhlsdorf had been slammed in the Tablet and America magazine for the exorcisms, which were meant to cast demons out from those involved in counting votes. He claimed he had the OK from Madison Bishop Donald Hying to conduct the livestreamed devil-destroying sessions, but Hying says that's not exactly the case. First, Hying says he gave permission only for exorcisms related to a place, locality, or thing—not for ones involving people, he said in a statement.
Second, Hying says his approval was only meant to be for exorcisms with "the intention of alleviation from the scourge of the coronavirus pandemic," not for ones dedicated to "partisan political activity." The exorcism videos posted on YouTube by Zuhlsdorf—who wasn't an employee of the diocese or parish, but rather a "freelancer" of sorts who led a diocese-sanctioned nonprofit dedicated to preserving the Latin Mass, a diocese spokesman tells the State Journal—have been taken off his channel, though stragglers remain. The diocese says that Zuhlsdorf remains "in good canonical standing" but will leave the diocese "to pursue other opportunities." On his blog, Zuhlsdorf says his plans might entail more writing, working with his nonprofit, and tending to some health issues. He notes he also plans on working on his "mo jo," which he says "should be interesting in this present atmosphere of 'cancel culture'" and in the face of what he calls "catholic Antifa." (Read more strange stuff stories.)