Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

Tonight at Harvard: the answer to Satanism

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | May 12, 2014

Paul Dudley may be spinning in his grave this evening. An astonishing event will be happening at Harvard. No, make that two astonishing events.

Dudley, who was attorney general of Massachusetts some 300 years ago, endowed a series of annual lectures at which a leading religious scholar was to speak at Harvard on “the detecting and convicting and exposing of the idolatry of the Roman Catholic Church, their tyranny, usurpations, damnable heresies, fatal errors, abominable superstitions, and other crying wickednesses…” The Dudleian lectures continue to this day, although the explicitly anti-Catholic aim has been stripped from the program.

Despite his contempt for the Church, I feel confident that Dudley would have recognized that the performance of a ‘black mass’ on the Harvard campus was not just an insult to Catholics (which he would have welcomed), but an abomination that should not be allowed. The limp invocation of academic freedom does not have any place here. The event staged by the Satanic Temple has absolutely nothing to do with the pursuit of knowledge. If it is “only” a parody of the Mass, then the only possible purpose of the event is to ridicule and offend, not to educate. And if it is more than a parody—if it is a sincere effort to invoke the power of Satan—then I can only say that I pity an institution too ignorant to recognize the danger.

Still, President Faust, following the logic of her own convictions, wants to balance her tolerance of the intolerable by showing her respect for Catholicism. So this evening she will visit St. Paul’s parish, to show solidarity with the Catholics who will gather there in silent adoration before the Eucharist. So we will witness a remarkable spectacle: the president of Harvard making an explicit gesture of respect for the Blessed Sacrament!

I don’t have much to do with my alma mater these days, because the principles that Harvard has embraced in this PC era are so very far from my own. So I’m pleasantly surprised to learn that what Drew Faust plans to do this evening is exactly what I had planned to do. I look forward to seeing her at St. Paul’s church, at the corner of Bow and Arrow Streets.

Better yet, I hope that there isn’t room in the building for all the faithful Catholics who pray before our Eucharistic Lord, in reparation for the atrocity taking place just a few hundred yards away. I hope to see hundreds joining in the Eucharistic procession down Massachusetts Avenue. God does indeed write straight with crooked lines. The contemptuous and contemptible action of a handful of misguided students, abetted by the muddled impotence of Harvard’s administration, could be the occasion for a powerful public manifestation of our faith. If you can get to Cambridge, please join us!

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Jun. 16, 2017 11:07 AM ET USA

    They say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It would seem prudent for the Church to insist on early retirement, I favor 75, for ALL Vatican personnel. I appreciate old people the older I get but old, or youth, does not ensure the desire to adhere to established truth. However, years of having power seems to weigh heavily upon the minds and souls of man. Pray for the Church!

  • Posted by: lak321 - May. 13, 2014 10:06 AM ET USA

    how did it go?