(CNSNews.com) – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston posted a statement on its Facebook page expressing its “deep sadness and strong opposition” to a Satanic Black Mass that is scheduled to be reenacted at Harvard University next week.
The Archdiocese also called on Harvard “to disassociate itself from this activity,” which it said “places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil.”
“The Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Boston expresses its deep sadness and strong opposition to the plan to stage a ‘black mass’ on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge,” reads the statement.
“For the good of the Catholic faithful and all people, the Church provides clear teaching concerning Satanic worship,” says the Archdiocese. “This activity separates people from God and the human community, it is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil.”
CNSNews.com reported yesterday that The Satanic Temple, a New York group, was sponsored by the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club to hold a Satanic Black Mass reenactment at the Queen’s Head Pub in Memorial Hall at Harvard University on May 12.
A flyer announcing the event said the “reenactment” would include “commentary and historical context,” and that “admission is free.”
Lucien Greaves, spokesman for The Satanic Temple, said in an e-mail to CNSNews.com that the Black Mass would not use a consecrated Communion host and that the event is a “reenactment.”
“Regarding the consecrated host, there is a misunderstanding there,” Greaves told CNSNews.com. “While Black Masses are supposed to utilize a consecrated host, ours is merely representative of a consecrated host. It is not consecrated. We neither believe in nor invoke the supernatural.”
“To us, the Black Mass is an amalgamation that developed through time based on witch-hunting fears and later adopted by some as a declaration of personal Independence against what they felt to be the stifling authority of the church,” said Greaves. “We intend to narrate the academic/historic aspect, thus the ‘reenactment.’”
Greaves said the event would take place on May 12 at the Queen’s Head pub.
Historically, a Satanic Black Mass is a ceremony that mimics, in a mocking and disrespectful way, the Catholic Mass, whereby many of the prayers and actions are inverted or done in reverse to symbolize the opposite of holy, the opposite of Christian, and to worship Lucifer.
In a May 7 statement about the event, the Harvard Extension School on its website said, “An independent student organization, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, plans to host a controversial student event involving a historical reenactment of a black mass ceremony that has a narrator providing historical context and background.
“The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club has issued the following statement regarding the event:
‘We are hosting a reenactment of a historical event known as a Black Mass. The performance is designed to be educational and is preceded by a lecture that provides the history, context, and origin of the Black Mass. While a piece of bread is used in the reenactment, the performance unequivocally does not include a consecrated host. Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes, but instead to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices. This performance is part of a larger effort to explore religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture.’”
The Harvard Extension School further said, “Students at Harvard Extension School, like students at colleges across the nation, organize and operate a number of independent student organizations, representing a wide range of student interests.
“Harvard Extension School does not endorse the views or activities of any independent student organization. But we do support the rights of our students and faculty to speak and assemble freely.
In this case, we understand that this independent student organization, the Cultural Studies Club, is hosting a series of events—including a Shinto tea ceremony, a Shaker exhibition, and a Buddhist presentation on meditation—as part of a student-led effort to explore different cultures.”
The Archdiocese of Boston further warned about the danger of holding any ceremony or “Mass” that involves Satanic worship.
“In a recent statement, Pope Francis warned of the danger of being naïve about or underestimating the power of Satan, whose evil is too often tragically present in our midst,” said the Archdiocese. “We call upon all believers and people of good will to join us in prayer for those who are involved in this event, that they may come to appreciate the gravity of their actions, and in asking Harvard to disassociate itself from this activity.”
The Satanic Temple is the organization also pushing to have a “child-friendly” statue of Satan installed on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol.
"Our monument will stand in honor of those unjustly accused, the slandered minority, the maligned out-groups, so that we might pay respect to their memory and celebrate our progress as a pluralistic nation founded on secular law,” Greaves said.
However, Alex Weintz, communications director for the office of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, told CNSNews.com in an email, "There will never be a satanic monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol and the suggestion that there might be is absurd."
The archdiocese of Boston was established in 1808. There are an estimated 1.8 million Catholics in the archdiocese, 292 parishes (churches), and 124 schools.