The Conversation

Harvard Student Club to Host Satanic Black Mass

A Harvard University student club is hosting a satanic black mass on May 12 to be staged by The Satanic Temple.

The Cultural Studies Club characterizes the event as a "reenactment" to be "performed" by The Satanic Temple, but reportedly, the group has obtained and will be using a Consecrated Eucharistic Host - making the event as real as it gets as far as the Catholic Church is concerned.

The Black Mass is "a magical ceremony and inversion or parody of the Catholic Mass that was indulged in ostensibly for the purpose of mocking God and worshipping the devil; a rite that was said to involve human sacrifice as well as obscenity and blasphemy of horrific proportions."

According to their website, the Satanic Temple's mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people.” How mocking the Catholic Church accomplishes that is anyone's guess.

Campus Reform reports that the Cultural Studies Club at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education hosted a “History of Satanic Worship” with academics and practicing Satanists, last year.

A skeptical Elizabeth Scalia of Patheos, double-checked with Priya Dua, of The Satanic Temple’s Public Relations office for confirmation on the use of a Consecrated Host. Dua confirmed in an e-mail that "yes, they have obtained and will use a Consecrated Host during this 're-enactment”' 

Questions remain on how the Host was obtained, and why they would use a Consecrated, as opposed to unconsecrated Host. 

As the only source about the use of a Consecrated Host comes from The Satanic Temple itself, it is entirely possible that the group is not being honest and is trying to create a buzz for attention.

The Harvard Extension School has issued the following statement:

An independent student organization, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, plans to host a controversial student event involving a historical reenactment of a black mass ceremony that has a narrator providing historical context and background.

Students at Harvard Extension School, like students at colleges across the nation, organize and operate a number of independent student organizations, representing a wide range of student interests.

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.

In this case, we understand that this independent student organization, the Cultural Studies Club, is hosting a series of events—including a Shinto tea ceremony, a Shaker exhibition, and a Buddhist presentation on meditation—as part of a student-led effort to explore different cultures. 

Nowhere in the statement is the use of a real Consecrated Host addressed.

UPDATE:

Clarification from The Satanic Temple: The Host will not be consecrated.

A spokesperson from The Satanic Temple sent Deacon Greg Kandra (who has been following this story for his blog, The Deacon's Bench), the following email:

I am writing on behalf of The Satanic Temple to relay that there will NOT be a consecrated host at the Black Mass. This was a miscommunication on our part and want to let you know that we respect all religions and don’t want anyone to feel offended. We understand the powerful role that the Eucharist plays in the Christian religion and in no way want to appear as though we don’t respect your traditions. Elizabeth Scalia of Patheos is in the process of modifying her article to represent this. Please remove the current article you have posted and replace it with the one that will soon be available.




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