Politics & Policy

Harvard Will Host a Satanic Mass

But it won’t “denigrate any religion or faith.”

The Ivy League continually sinks to shockingly low depths, but the latest news is particularly chilling. Today, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club will host the Satanic Temple group as it reenacts a “Black Mass” on Harvard’s main campus.

Just what is a “black mass”? Said to have been created in the Middle Ages by those who practiced witchcraft, the black mass is a Catholic Mass, except inverted — for example, Communion bread is desecrated and mocked. As for the New York–based Satanic Temple, it is the same group that recently proposed erecting a large statue of the devil beside an existing Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma.

#ad#The Harvard student group is standing by its decision to host the event, stating: “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.”

Pardon me, but “our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith”? The entire purpose of a black mass is to denigrate the Catholic faith. Do they no longer teach basic-level thinking at Harvard?

As Yahoo! reports, the Archdiocese of Boston is calling on its faithful to pray for those involved and on Harvard to disassociate itself from the event. It says that such 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.”

Some media reports have been quick to downplay the controversy, with the New York Daily News almost mocking the Archdiocese’s concerns, writing: “All this talk about Satan has spooked the Catholic Church.”

The Satanic Temple’s spokesperson, who goes by “Lucien Graeves” (of course his name would be Lucien — I had at least three friends named Lucien in my goth days), spoke to the Daily News, stating that the black mass is meant to be educational and is not a supernatural ritual (adding he is an “atheist”). 

The Daily News continues with a “nothing to see here, folks” tone, writing: “This makes The Satanic Temple’s activities more of a political statement than a cohesive religious ritual.”

But is this event really just political and not at all “religious”? The Satanic Temple describes itself as an “organized religion.” Will not this black mass incorporate language, symbolism, and artifacts of undeniable religious significance?

And if the Harvard group’s purpose is purely one of exploring political “disruption” or social radicalism from an educational standpoint, it raises the question: Would an event mocking Islamic beliefs ever be similarly hosted? We all know the answer.

Given the seminary origins of Harvard, and its early motto of Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae (“Truth for Christ and the Church”), how far has this nation sunk when this event is held on Harvard’s own grounds?

— A. J. Delgado is a conservative writer and lawyer.

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