Rocco Shares: Satanists at Harvard University

Satanic mass organizers: Catholic outcry paranoid, intolerant
Crimson banners hang outside Memorial Church on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Sept. 6, 2012. Credit: Tim Sackton via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Crimson banners hang outside Memorial Church on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Sept. 6, 2012. Credit: Tim Sackton via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

.- A Harvard student group organizing a re-enactment of a satanic black mass on campus has dismissed Catholic critics, calling their views arrogant and their objections ignorant and intolerant.

“Satanists have a ritual that they perform for their own affirmative reasons,” the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club told CNA May 8, adding that these reasons “currently have absolutely nothing to do with Catholicism beyond the symbols themselves.”

“Offense is anachronistic and based on intolerance and ignorance about the practice (of) Satanism.”

The club has faced controversy since it announced its plans to host a re-enactment of a satanic black mass on campus May 12. It described the ceremony as an educational event that is part of a larger series exploring various cultural practices.

The group said objections that have been raised to event are “closed-minded,” arguing that it is “paranoia” to think the satanic rituals and practices are designed to degrade the Catholic faith.

A black mass is a sacrilegious ceremony structured as a parody of the Catholic Mass. Connected to witchcraft and demonic worship, it invokes Satan and demons, often in Latin.

The ceremony is centered around the desecration of the Eucharist, which is generally done by stealing a consecrated host from a Catholic Church and using it in a profane sexual ritual, or defecating and urinating on it.

Early media reports included confirmation from Priya Dua, a spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, which is staging the event, that a consecrated host would be used. However, both the temple and the Cultural Studies Club later insisted that the statement was inaccurate, and only a plain piece of bread would be used.

Announcements of the black mass prompted a deluge of complaint from Catholics who argued that the event is not educational, but sacrilegious and disrespectful.

The event has drawn strong opposition from the Archdiocese of Boston and many individuals in the Harvard community. Critics argue that the university would never permit a student organization re-enacting a Koran burning or lynchings of African Americans and should similarly refuse to allow a sacrilegious ceremony mocking the Catholic faith.

In a general email responding to numerous questions presented about the event, the Cultural Studies Club said that it was not seeking to offend people but instead hoping to “work towards diminishing misconceptions” about Satanists, whom it described as misunderstood and marginalized.

“The Black Mass began as a propagandistic literary device to justify brutal purges against alleged witches. This conspiracy of witches, or Satanists, has never actually existed,” the group asserted. “The idea originated with the Church itself and has become a staple of the mythology concerning Satanism. The Black Mass has been adopted as a symbolic revolt against arbitrary authority, not a focused assault upon Catholic faith.”

The group acknowledged that the black mass is “inspired by, or derivative of” the Catholic Mass, but insisted that it is not intended as a mocking or “hateful display.” Rather, it said, the satanic black mass is “an affirmation of a set beliefs whose intent is not to marginalize anyone, nor incite violence, nor intimidate others.”

The Cultural Studies Club told CNA that “there is no formal doctrine” in Satanism, which allows “for a wide range of behavior” and is largely defined by its “outsider status” and ideas of individualism.

However, it also argued that “it is an outright lie to claim that the Black Mass ceremony as currently performed by Satanists, in general, is done with the intent of mocking Catholicism.”

“That position is arrogant and egocentric,” the group charged, suggesting that the black mass “has constructive meaning for the people who perform those actions” and that the offense of Catholics is not justification for stopping the event.

While there is “no one set of Satanic beliefs,” the club asserted, Satanists do not believe in Satan as an actual person, like many religious organizations do, but rather believe that “Satan is a metaphorical construct who represents the struggle against tyrannical authority.”

The source of Catholics’ offense, the group suggested, “is founded on differing interpretations of symbols and an insistence that one’s own interpretation is universal.” The group insisted that it “is presumptuous and inaccurate to insist that this event is designed as an expression of ridicule.”

In response to the black mass, the Catholic community at Harvard has announced that it is holding a Eucharistic Holy Hour on the evening of May 12 to correspond with the scheduled satanic event.

Senior chaplain Fr. Michael Drea said this will allow students to “focus on the goodness of our Eucharistic Lord” and seek the grace to be true “defenders of our faith and the sacramental life.”

Alejandro Bermudez contributed to this report.


Official Statement Regarding “reenactment of a satanic black mass” at Harvard University

The Harvard Knights of Columbus are deeply saddened by the “reenactment of a satanic black mass” being hosted by a university club on campus. The black mass is a ritual that has been unequivocally condemned by the Church throughout its history. It is an intentional perversion of the Catholic Mass intended to be incredibly offensive to Christians and Catholics in particular while desecrating what we hold to be Jesus Christ himself present in the Eucharist.The organizers of this event have so far responded to criticism by citing the protections of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion – both venerable principles on which our great nation was built. Some have played down the offensive nature of the event by billing it as “educational,” while others have pointed out that the ritual is satirical at its very core, and so is acceptable no matter how much it offends. Both of these points dangerously ignore the evil inherent in the ritual itself. Furthermore, the message that these positions provide is that it is okay to attack someone else’s religious beliefs so long as you openly admit that you are doing so. This is a notion that we wholeheartedly reject. While we are partial to the Catholic faith, we oppose the notion of offending people of any creed for the sake of being offensive.We hope that you will join us in prayerfully responding to this terrible event occurring at our fair university. If you are on or near campus, we invite you to join us at St. Paul Parish at the corner of Bow and Arrow Streets in Harvard Square on Monday, May 12th, from 8:00 to 9:00 PM for a Eucharistic Holy Hour and Benediction. If you will not be in the area, then we encourage you to pray with us in solidarity wherever you might be. Let us join together in the presence of Our Lord and Savior and under the guidance of Our Blessed Lady to show the world that the power of darkness will never prevail over the light of Christ.

Vivat Iesus!

Curtis St. Pierre, Grand Knight
Pope John Paul II Council 14188
Harvard University Knights of Columbus

6 responses to “Rocco Shares: Satanists at Harvard University

  1. I don’t even want to be in the same state with satanists. They don’t play and they do some crazy stuff!

  2. Illuminati?

  3. In this country you’re allowed to believe whatever you want. If a religious group is allowed to go to a pride parade and spew hate speech because they disagree, how are they any better? If this event was specifically meant to educate, they’d still be under fire because it has to deal with a belief that is not Christian Catholic etc. Satanism will always have a negative response but, if this was, let’s say, a Wiccan or Pagan event, they’d still be discriminated against, because they believe in older deities and the like. I’m polytheistic, and open minded to various types of beliefs. Even if this may be offensive to many, how is this any different from open worship of any other religion? As far as you know, you may just be offending another religion for your beliefs

  4. As the black mass was yesterday, I’m rather interested on how the entire act was performed. While I disagree with the manner that this club claimed they would execute their black mass, I do believe what is sparking so much outrage is the fact that they say they are Satanists. There are so many misconceptions as to what Satanism actually is. As the article says, there is no set doctrine so Satanism allows for a wide range of beliefs and behaviors, but so many people firmly believe that is has everything to do with Satan and being anti-Catholic, but that’s not necessarily the case. While I understand that the club wishes to demonstrate what Satanism is and can be, I disagree with how they plan their black mass to go. It’s completely okay to express your religion but to do so by mocking and/or highly offending another is not.

  5. This is unacceptable how can you mock a Person’s religon? This fraternity should be punished. I agree with the theme of this article; if it was an attack on our government(terrorist) it would NOT be allowed and put out real quick. Something or someone should take action to prevent this!! This should outrage every man or women of the Catholic faith. This is not what we want to teacher our younger generation and I’m sure 99 percent of the people on this earth would agree.

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