Students in a club at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., are set to host on campus a “Satanic Black Mass Reenactment” on May 12, possibly with an unconsecrated host, according to CNS News. Upon hearing the news, Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick J. Reilly decried the planned event, following the stated concerns of the Archdiocese of Boston.
“Harvard is under the same God as the rest of America, and religious freedom depends upon a shared reverence for Him while tolerating different religious beliefs. Given Harvard’s heritage as a divinity school, it ought to be well aware that this event will darken its name in the minds of Christians—and particularly Catholics—for generations to come. Even amid today’s morally ambiguous university culture, one would expect reasonable standards of conduct that exclude such acts of hatred and celebration of evil.
“This points to the urgent need for faithful Catholic colleges and universities, so that not only can students study in an atmosphere of reverence and tolerance, but they can integrate their faith with their studies and prepare to communicate to a society that is increasingly distant from God and unaware of the truth and value of Christianity.”
While the black mass has historically been performed as a satanic mockery of the Catholic Mass involving the desecration of a host, a spokesman of the outside group producing the event reportedly said: “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.”
Author Elizabeth Scalia questions at Patheos whether or not an unconsecrated host will actually be used.
Harvard reportedly responded to the situation by releasing a statement through its Extension Hub — a part of the Harvard Extension School — stating, in part, “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.”
The Archdiocese of Boston, which has a Holy Hour planned on the date of the event, asks Harvard to “disassociate itself from this activity.” The press release states:
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.
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. 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.
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