A student group at Harvard has invited the Satanic Temple to perform a “black mass” ceremony at the university as part of a series on rituals performed by smaller religions. Naturally, the Catholic Church is throwing a temper tantrum about it and is demanding that it be canceled.
A reenactment of a Black Mass celebrating Satan is scheduled to take place at Harvard University on Monday evening. It has outraged the Catholic Church, but the group holding the event says it’s educational.
The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club is hosting the Satanic Temple from New York. The Black Mass is scheduled for Monday night in the basement of Memorial Hall…
The club released the following statement:
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 Archdiocese of Boston wants Harvard to put a stop to the event saying:
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.
For the good of the Catholic faithful and all people, the Church provides clear teaching concerning Satanic worship. 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.
Well if there’s one thing the Catholic Church knows all about, it’s destructive works of evil. Don’t like it? Don’t go. And don’t go to the Shinto tea ceremony they’re holding, or their exhibit on the Shakers either. I have pretty much no use for “Satanism,” which I consider almost entirely absurd and inane. But I don’t think that means they can’t perform whatever ritual they want that doesn’t hurt anyone.
The wingnuts are losing their minds over the whole thing, especially over the question of whether the dry wafer (they call it a “host”) used during the ceremony will be “consecrated” or not, which means whether it has been prayed over by a priest.
You might chalk this one up to just more anti-Catholic hijinks from academia, except that reports began to circulate that the Temple planned to use a Consecrated Host in the ceremony, which is essentially an inverted parody and denigration of a Catholic Mass.
For those who don’t know, in the Catholic faith, once a wafer is consecrated by a priest in good standing with the Church, it becomes – despite outward or even microscopic appearances – the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
So, to faithful Catholics, mishandling or desecrating one in any way is tantamount to doing it to Christ Himself. Some faiths may truck entirely in symbols and signs, and the Church has those, but when it comes to the seven Sacraments, of which Communion or the Holy Eucharist is one, they’re considered to be real, to be what they claim, and to do exactly what the Church says they do.
Breitbart News also picked up the story, driven largely by a report in Campus Reform, and the hard work and perseverance of Patheos Catholic editor Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia, who made numerous phone calls to try to ascertain whether the Host in question had been consecrated (and pilfered somehow from a church) or whether it was still just a wafer.
Uh, I’ve got news for you: It’s just a wafer no matter how many priests may have prayed over it, danced with it, soaked it in wine or rubbed it on their genitals. It’s a cracker. That’s all it will ever be, until some unfortunate soul eats it (as I recall from occasional trips to a Catholic church as a teenager, they taste a bit like a styrofoam tire patch). But by all means, clutch those pearls. While you’re at it, hold your breath and stomp your feet.