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Priest who live-streamed exorcism to overturn election will leave Diocese of Madison

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A priest who performed live-streamed exorcisms, falsely alleging that there was widespread election fraud, will leave the Diocese of Madison.

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, a priest of the Italian Diocese of Velletri-Segni, near Rome, had been serving as the president of the Tridentine Mass Society of Madison, a private association of Roman Catholics dedicated to the preservation of the Latin Mass, according to the group's website.

During live-streams on YouTube prior to the Jan. 6 certification in Congress of Joe Biden's electoral college win, Zuhlsdorf held exorcisms to drive away what he said were demonic influences to steal the election. The YouTube posts have since been removed.

Despite the claim, no widespread fraud was ever discovered.

A statement sent to Madison diocese priests said Zuhlsdorf will relocate to "pursue other opportunities" and noted it was a mutual decision between Zuhlsdorf and Bishop Donald Hying.

"After discussion between the Bishop of Madison and the Reverend Father John Zuhlsdorf, a mutual decision was reached not to renew the agreement with the Bishop of Velletri-Segni regarding a priest residing and ministering outside of his diocese of incardination," read the statement.  

The statement also said that Zuhlsdorf, who has served in the diocese since 2014, remains in "good canonical standing."

According to a story in the National Catholic Reporter, Zuhlsdorf's departure occurs one week after he came under fire from at least two publications for practicing the exorcisms.

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