Exorcist comes with controversy

NATALIE SMITH | STAFF REPORTER

Father Vance Lampert came to Butler University last Thursday evening to present “The Rite of Exorcism” to a crowd of students lining the chairs and walls in the Reilly Room. Throughout his speech, he talked of his work as one of two priests in Indiana sanctioned to perform exorcisms.
“Don’t be afraid of evil. It says ‘be not afraid’ 365 times in the Bible,” Lampert told students. “I’m not afraid of the work I do as an exorcist because I know that God’s love is stronger than the power of evil.”
This event was put on by SGA’s Podium Expressions, a group that brings in entertainment for students.
He explained the general way to perform an exorcism and answered the questions of the attendees about the Catholic Church’s dealings with exorcisms.
Lampert started the presentation by sharing some of his experiences as an exorcist.
He told the audience about a woman who allegedly invited a demon out of a friend’s body and into her own. For ten years, the woman was possessed until Lampert came to check out her symptoms.
Lampert explained many tests have to be performed before he is able to perform an exorcism. Exorcists must report to medical officials and psychologists to ensure that a mental illness is not the cause of the strange behavior.
After he confirmed this woman did not have a mental illness and she was possessed, he performed an exorcism.
During an exorcism, he explained, the exorcist prays to God that the demon will exit the host body. The exorcist must use authoritative speech and command the demon to leave the body. Family in the room cannot talk or make themselves known for fear the demon will enter them as well.
Lampert said, in exorcisms, the host bodies’ “eyes roll back in their head, and they begin to foam at the mouth and snarl as I attempt to get the demon out.”
Lampert said exorcism is something that excites people who don’t understand it.
“People are so fascinated by the act of exorcism, but it should be a fascination with faith instead,” said Lampert. “Faith keeps evil at bay. If you don’t have faith, evil can happen.”
This event did not go on without controversy. Some members of the Catholic faith here at Butler had differing views on the exorcism event.
Some Catholic students said they felt the SGA-sponsored event was meant to be for entertainment instead of appreciation. One Catholic student, who wished to remain anonymous, boycotted the event and criticized it for only showing a controversial part of the Catholic faith.
“We didn’t want the exorcist to form others’ opinions about the church as a whole because there is so much more to the Catholic faith than that,” she said.
Other Catholic students said they thought the event was fun and interesting. Freshman Lisa Kralj, who is Catholic, was fine with the event.
“I’m not at all offended,” said Kralj. “It’s a cool opportunity and experience.”
SGA tries to bring as many diverse programs as possible for their Podium Expressions, so another religion event is possible.
“I think it’s important to have religious events and panels to inform students,” said the anonymous Catholic student. “However, in the future, I think SGA should make sure that the events are respectful to religious organizations and students.”

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