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Black Mass scheduled on Harvard campus; Boston archdiocese protests

Catholic World News - May 08, 2014

A student group affiliated with Harvard University has announced plans to hold a “black mass.” The Archdiocese of Boston has issued a statement expressing “deep sadness and strong opposition” to the plan.

The Cultural Studies Club at the Harvard Extension School will sponsor the black mass at an on-campus pub on May 12. In reparation, archdiocesan officials are organizing Eucharistic adoration at a nearby church at the same hour.

The black mass will be staged by members of the Satanic Temple. An organizers of the event originally said that a consecrated host would be used for the parody of the Mass, but representatives of the Cultural Studies Club later said that an unconsecrated wafer would be used. “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," the student group claimed.

The Boston archdiocese, in its own statement, strongly disagreed, saying: “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 bland response to protests—and the only statement issued to date by Harvard University officials—the Harvard Extension School characterized the black mass as a cultural event, likening it to “a Shinto tea ceremony, a Shaker exhibition, and a Buddhist presentation on mediation.” The school declined to take responsibility for the outrage, saying:

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.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: jg23753479 - May. 12, 2014 10:33 AM ET USA

    This black mass will be patterned after the description of one in Karl-Joris Huysmans' novel Là-bas. But how many spiritually bankrupt Harvidians know that this friend of Zola and leader of the French naturalist movement converted to Catholicism later? Or that he died in the odor of sanctity, a true son of the Church? That at the end he refused all palliative treatment for the pain caused by throat cancer because he wanted to suffer to the maximum in atonement for his many sins? I'd bet not one.

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - May. 09, 2014 7:21 AM ET USA

    Harvard itself needs a public exorcism.

  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - May. 09, 2014 6:44 AM ET USA

    This is a hate crime, nothing but, and Harvard University are guilty of collusion in the commission of a hate crime.

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - May. 08, 2014 8:54 PM ET USA

    And to think that Harvard was founded for the explicit purpose of training Christian ministers. Its early motto was Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae ("Truth for Christ and the Church"). Ten of Harvard's first twelve presidents were ministers. Oh, how they've fallen.

  • Posted by: rpp - May. 08, 2014 4:02 PM ET USA

    I think this is called spitting in your face and calling it rain.

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