21 Nov 2016

See Inside the Evangelical Exorcism School Where Students are Taught How to 'Cast Out Demons' (Photos)

Bespectacled 54-year-old Lutheran pastor Manuel Acuna

A pastor has opened the first evangelical exorcism school where students are taught how to 'cure' people who have allegedly been 'possessed by demons'.

The school is located in Argentina and run by bespectacled 54-year-old Lutheran pastor Manuel Acuna. During one of his lessons, Acuna sprinkles holy water and waves about his crucifix, then lays his hand on the sweating, shrieking woman before him, as his devoted pupils look on.

'They study the devil's character and how he works,' he told AFP, amid the rich smell of incense.

'The exorcism consultant will be able to determine where there is a case of a demonic presence, possession, oppression, obsession or a curse.'

Dailymail reports that Acuna has a passionate following, and crowds of hundreds flock to his Good Shepherd church on exorcism nights.
However, he has also earned the suspicion of fellow clergymen.

His 35 students pay $47 (£38) a month for his three-year, part-time course in 'Parapsychology, Angelology and Demonology', but he insists it isn ot about the money.

'The mystery of the unseen provokes fascination in some people, but also a lot of criticism,' he said.

'I have been called all kinds of names. But I didn't choose to be an exorcist. It is a calling from God.'

Clergy at other Lutheran churches distanced themselves from Acuna and his school.
'We have to ask ourselves how much of what is being advertised is true, and how much is business?' said one of them, pastor Esteban Tronovsky, who believes exorcism cannot be taught.

'How much of it is about winning fame, prestige, power and money? And how much of all that is actually linked to God's truth?'

Photographs on a wall of the church show Acuna meeting celebrities and even Pope Francis, a fellow Argentine.

But unlike Francis and most other Latin Americans, Acuna himself is not Catholic.

He is a protestant bishop from the New York-based Association of Independent Evangelical Lutheran Churches.
Acuna says he has performed some 1,200 exorcisms.

He says his first, in 2001, was performed on a teenage girl who started writhing and speaking in tongues during a mass.

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