Fr Stephen Imbarrato, the US pro-life activist Catholic priest whose exorcism outside an abortion clinic near Dublin attracted widespread international media coverage, is planning to return to Ireland in February and to include Galway during his time here.
New Mexico-based Fr. Imbarrato, known as the Protest Priest because of his high-profile leadership in the Red Rose Rescue pro-life movement, says he will spend about a month on each visit in Ireland to campaign against abortion. Fr Imbarrato has applied for Irish citizenship through his maternal ancestral roots, to strengthen his ties with Ireland.
“I will make one or two extended visits in 2020, and will get to know more people in the pro-life movement in Ireland,” he told journalist John Aidan Byrne in an episode for Byrne’s Life on Planet Earth podcast. “I may not even wait for my Irish citizenship to be approved and finalized beforehand.”
Abortion was legalized in Ireland 2019 following repeal of the pro-life Eighth Amendment. Speaking of the Catholic Church’s role in Ireland during the referendum campaign, Fr. Imbarrato says it was “dormant,” having endured tumultuous scandals in the years prior to the landslide referendum vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
“It was dormant and afraid, it felt neutered, it didn’t have the moral authority to speak out,” Fr Imbarrato told the podcast host. “Whatever the reason was, the Church was silent. Activists in Ireland tell me it is not supportive of the pro-life movement.”
Fr Imbarrato came to international attention last summer when he conducted a “minor” exorcism of “location” outside an abortion clinic in Glasthule, Dún Laoghaire, to purge the center of “demonic oppression.”
The exorcism occured on the last day of his stay in Ireland, where he led a pilgrimage. The protest priest says America under President Donald Trump is within striking distance of a nationwide abortion ban. Fr Imbarrato strongly believes that if re-elected, Trump will sign a Personhood Proclamation Presidential Order to outlaw abortion.