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Harvard president will not stop 'black mass,' but will attend Eucharistic adoration

May 12, 2014

Harvard University President Drew Faust has announced that she will not interfere with a student group's plan to stage a black mass on campus, but will attend a Eucharistic holy hour at a nearby parish as a sign of respect for the Catholic faith.

"Vigorous and open discussion and debate are essential to the pursuit of knowledge," Faust said in a May 12 statement. Although she denounced the plans for a enactment of the black mass as "abhorrent," she said that the principle of free speech on campus weighed against any action to stop the event. Faust announced:

I plan to attend a Eucharistic Holy Hour and Benediction at St. Paul's Church on our campus on Monday evening in order to join others in reaffirming our respect for the Catholic faith at Harvard and to demonstrate that the most powerful response to offensive speech is not censorship, but reasoned discourse and robust dissent.


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  • Posted by: bruno.cicconi7491 - May. 12, 2014 10:28 PM ET USA

    Funny that she will attend the Eucharistic adoration as a "favor" to Catholics ("to show respect"). Little does she know that it is her that is having a privilege.

  • Posted by: Leopardi - May. 12, 2014 9:01 PM ET USA

    So, who really cares what some self-absorbed, pampered, yet to be educated weanlings think about a theology and tradition that has endured two thousand years?

  • Posted by: filioque - May. 12, 2014 6:03 PM ET USA

    So Ms. Faust won't do the real thing that would show "respect for the Catholic faith at Harvard" but she will do the symbolic thing. There is no risk in doing only the symbolic thing, she won't be picketed, she won't be uninvited to any cocktail parties, her open-mindedness credentials are untarnished. And act that is totally outside the bounds of any reasonable discussion and would not be tolerated if it were an analogous act abhorrent to any other religion, that act will go on undisturbed.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - May. 12, 2014 12:18 PM ET USA

    Naturally, this is a nod in the right direction, but any notion that this black mass is "essential to the pursuit of knowledge" is laughably bogus and self-serving. For a similar affront to Judaism, the B'nai B'rith would have pummeled Harvard, perhaps even in court, and rightly so. Had they done something like this to Islam....well, we all know full well what would have happened. But Harvard Yard knows that anti-Catholicism is still as acceptable as antisemitism once was among "sophisticates".