Lawyer on Strategy to Retrieve Consecrated Host from Satanists: 'There's Beauty in Simplicity'
At present, it appears that the black mass scheduled for Sept. 21 at the Oklahoma Civic Center Music Hall is going on as planned, but without the centerpiece of the ceremony--a Consecrated Host.
The communion wafer--which, after a ritual performed by a Catholic priest, becomes, in the Church's doctrine, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ--was at the center of a brief legal wrangle this week that was resolved in favor of the Church and its highest local authority, Archbishop Paul Coakley of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
Adam Daniels, leader of the satanist group putting on the ceremony, a parody and an inversion of a Catholic Mass, faced a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, Aug. 20, on behalf of the Archdiocese by Orange County, California, Attorney Michael Caspino, in association with an Oklahoma City law firm.
The suit, filed in the District Court of Oklahoma County, claimed that the Consecrated Host (also called the Holy Eucharist or Blessed Sacrament) was the property of the Church, that Daniels couldn't have obtained it but by illicit means, and that the Church's property should be returned to its rightful owner.
On Thursday, Daniels agreed to return the Host to the Church, releasing the following statement, published by News9.com:
I, Dastur Adam Daniels, returned this consecrated host
to Arch-Bishop [sic] Paul Coakley. The reason for this return
is based solely on the fact I refuse to waste thousands of dollars fighting
over a nasty cookie that some man said a prayer over. The Black Mass of
Oklahoma will continue as planned with the original host that has been used
since 1666, course [sic] black
bread. We will moved [sic] forward
using the Concentration [sic] found
in Black Mass. Nothing has changed and we will still move forward with
worshiping the Devil and blaspheming Gawd [sic] in
the public square.
News on the progress of the case, Caspino said on Friday, "I think what he
is really saying is, 'I know that I will be held to task by a court of law and
have to compel this back and have to pay the Archbishop's attorneys' fees and
costs and everything else, so I better give it back.'"
Asked what assurance
he has that Daniels returned what he said he did (as communion wafers come in
different shapes and sizes, and a consecrated one appears
identical to an unconsecrated one), Caspino said:
I have a written
statement from him. I can walk you through what happened yesterday. I got a
call from an attorney--I cannot divulge who it is--who said--you're the
only person I've told this to--that Daniels had been in his office and wanted
to retain him.
was a little bit freaked out. He said [to me], "I'd like to be a facilitator to
help you get this Blessed Sacrament back." I said, "OK, what are the
conditions?" And the first condition was, he said, is that Daniels wanted the
diocese to pay over $2,000 toward his legal fees, and, in three or four days,
he'd give the Host over.
My response was, "We don't do deals with the devil." And, I said, "I'm not paying you, and
we want our Host back today." I also said, "If he gives the Host back,
we'll dismiss the lawsuit, but he has to give us a signed statement saying this
is the only Host he has, and that he will not use a [Consecrated] Host in a black mass."
I have a signed statement from him.
If Daniels were to use an unconsecrated wafer (which can be purchased from religious
suppliers) in a black mass, Caspino said, "I couldn't care less. An
unconsecrated Host has the same value as a Ritz cracker. There's no way to tell
whether a Host is consecrated, but he told us that the Host [he had] was
consecrated, so we had to do something about it." He continued, "I can just tell you this, without a Consecrated Host, the event is a meaningless, nonsensical show of bad actors."
Daniels has claimed various things about how he obtained the Consecrated Host, which is kept under lock and key until distributed to a Catholic for communion by a priest, deacon, or authorized lay person.
At first, Daniels said he got it from a "friend" in the mail.
In a phone interview with Catholic Website Aleteia on Aug. 20, Daniels said, "One of my priests in a foreign country is also a Catholic priest, and he is the one who consecrated it himself and mailed it to me, and I'm not going to reveal what country he's from."
But an Aug. 21 post at The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog quotes Daniels--an Oklahoma City area resident and a registered sex offender--as saying the wafer came from a "Catholic priest working as a satanist in Turkey."
Also on Aug. 21, an article at The Oklahoman newspaper's website, NewsOK.com, said, "Daniels said he got the consecrated wafer in the last four or five weeks. He said it was sent to him by a woman who served as the 'flesh altar' for a Catholic priest in Turkey who secretly worshiped Satan and who recently was killed by Muslims for his satanic beliefs."
Said Caspino, "And if he kept going with this story, martians would get involved with it, and Disney characters, and everything else. It's just some crazy story he came up with. I lend zero credence to the claim. Zero."
To Caspino's knowledge, a suit based on property-rights' claims hasn't been used before to retrieve a Consecrated Host from people who have illicitly obtained one.
"There's beauty in simplicity, isn't there?" said Caspino, adding:
We roundtabled this with a number of other lawyers across the country who do a lot of the same work we do. After we talked about, "Should we go for issues containing religious discrimination? Should we go for all other kinds of issues?" ... I really felt, and we had a consensus on this, that the property-rights aspect was the simplest, cleanest and most effective way to stop them, and it worked.
We plan to use it everywhere in the country, wherever necessary.