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(LifeSiteNews) — Popular Catholic commentators have been reacting with shock and outrage to video footage of Pope Francis and prominent cardinals partaking in a “smudging” ritual invoking a “sacred circle of spirits” that went “viral” on social media earlier this week.

“We Catholics are not allowed to participate in non-Catholic rites, period!” prominent Catholic podcaster and author Dr. Taylor Marshall reacted in a livestreamed video on his YouTube channel on Friday.

“Listen to the words that are used and ask yourself, ‘Can this be reconciled with Catholicism?’ I’m 100 percent convinced it cannot be,” the author added.

Matt Gaspers, managing editor of Catholic Family News, likewise responded with shock, writing on social media, “My friend Taylor Marshall is fired up today — and rightly so, considering that Pope Francis and other Catholic prelates participated in a pagan ritual this week.”

I will be sharing many stories of the evil and dangers of sage ‘smudging’ in my forthcoming book,” chimed in Catholic author and exorcist scholar Charles D. Fraune.

“‘Give us access to the sacred circle of spirits so they can be with us,’ Lord, have mercy!” added Fraune, quoting words said by one of the leaders of the ceremony. 

Marshall and others also pointed to the fact that while Francis and other prelates seem to endorse non-Catholic worship, they, at the same time, restrict and condemn the Traditional forms of Catholic worship.

“[While participating in non-Catholic worship] he’s going to restrict the ancient Roman Rite of the Catholic Church?” Marshall asked rhetorically.

“Traditional Baptism? Restricted. Traditional Confirmation? Restricted. Traditional Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Restricted. Traditional Penance? Restricted. Traditional Breviary? Restricted … ” he added.

As reported by LifeSiteNews, on the fourth day of his Apostolic “pilgrimage” to Canada, Francis joined a pagan “smudging” ritual during his visit to Quebec, partaking in the indigenous practice before delivering a lengthy speech in which he expressed “deep shame and sorrow” for the part played by Catholic Church members in government-funded residential school abuses.

A number of high-ranking prelates were also in attendance, including the Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Christopher Collins; Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada Gerald Lacroix; Cardinal Michael F. Czerny, S.J., prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Cardinal Marc A. Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Archbishop of Edmonton Richard W. Smith; and the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

As noted by LifeSiteNews, the “smudging” is intended as a “ritual of purification” directed toward a deity other than the One True God, in this case, “mother earth.” As such, the ritual is not merely a cultural act but a religious act of “superstition,” reminiscent of the Pope Francis’ veneration of the pagan pachamama idol at the Vatican in 2019.

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