Catholic priests from around Mexico gathered at a central cathedral to do what they could to help fight the country's crime problem, targeting the demons that may be causing it.
Led by Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, the archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara, a group of priests including an exorcist from Spain conducted a closed-door ritual at the cathedral in the city of San Luis Potosí.
The religious leaders then performed a 'Magno Exorcismo' or Great Exorcism, to help Mexico as it struggles with crimes linked to gang violence and drug trafficking.
Father José Antonio Fortea, the Spanish exorcist and demonologist, told the Catholic News Agency that the ceremony, held on May 20, that 'this rite of exorcism, beautiful and liturgical, had never before taken place in any part of the world'.The aim of the ceremony was to drive out demons that had been tempting the people of Mexico to sin.
Father Fortea did not give details of the ceremony in Mexico, but he has previously published a book called 'El Exorcismo Magno' that details different parts of the liturgy.
His ceremony is designed around the four cardinal directions, with distinct prayers, chants and names of saints said for North, South, East and West.
It also includes a section concerning the Door to the Abyss in which one of the participants hits the ground with a ceremonial hammer between calls for the Virgin Mary to close the entrance to Hell and keep the Ancient Snake away.
While he acknowledges that some may view the ceremony as 'magical or esoteric', he says the ceremony is not too complex.
'Our secularized society of the 21st century requires the large liturgies just the same as medieval society,' he wrote.
Pope Francis said last month that the devil 'was punishing' Mexico, the second largest Catholic country in the world behind Brazil, with violence.
Beyond drug crime, other motivating factors for the exorcism including the bishops' opposition to the decriminalization of abortion in Mexico City and permitting gay marriages.
The Mexican religious website Ver y Creer reported in December that a Magno Exorcismo had been scheduled for that month was abruptly cancelled.
While a whole country exorcism has never been performed, St Francis of Assisi is thought to have once exorcised the entire city of Arezzo, southeast of Florence.
The priests who performed last month's exorcism do not expect an immediate end to Mexico's problems.
'When the exorcists of a country drive out its demons, it has to be done in faith. You’re not going to see anything, feel anything, there’s not going to be any extraordinary phenomenon,' Father Fortea said.