Harvard to hold Satanic ‘Black Mass’ reenactment on-campus

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The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club is taking religious tolerance to it’s bleeding edge by hosting a mock Satanic black mass for the purpose of education.

Being billed as part of a “larger effort to explore the religious facets” which influence contemporary culture the ritual was first scheduled to take place in the basement of it’s memorial hall and has since been moved to a bar on-campus.

The organization calling itself ‘The Satanic Temple’ is based out of New York and it’s founder Doug Mesner under the name ‘Lucien Greaves’ is behind the clever press releases sent to various media-outlets  and is garnering quite a bit of attention- quite ironically leading the catholic church to release a statement condemning Harvard for permitting the mock-sacrilegious ceremony on it’s campus.

‘The Satanic Temple’ which really isn’t a temple has been in the news before after performing a ‘Pink Mass’ on the grave of Fred Phelps mother- Fred Phelps the excommunicated founder of the Westboro Baptist church that touts a message of hatred toward gays, often protesting the funerals of military members with signs stating God abhors homosexuals and brings about world conflict as punishment.

‘The Satanic Temple’ AKA ‘Lucien Greaves has caused such a fervor The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has objected to the decision of Harvard University to allow a Satanic group from New York to hold a “Black Mass,” Monday evening that is being portrayed as “educational.”

Black Mass is a ritual performed as a sacrilegious parody of the Roman Catholic Mass, and the archdiocese views it as “dangerous.” But the club insists the planned event is educational.

“We are hosting a reenactment of a historical event known as a Black Mass. The performance is designed to be educational and is preceded by a lecture that provides the history, context, and origin of the Black Mass,” the club said in a statement.

“Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes, but instead learn and experience the history of different cultural practices,” the club’s statement said. The statement went on to say that the mass will use a piece of bread but will “unequivocally” not use a consecrated host.

The group also commissioned a statue of the devil, raising money to pay a sculptor who it won’t identify, as a way of protesting the Sooner State’s placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the Statehouse lawn in Oklahoma City.

 

Harvard University president released a statement today:

A statement by President Drew Faust

The reenactment of a ‘black mass’ planned by a student group affiliated with the Harvard Extension School challenges us to reconcile the dedication to free expression at the heart of a university with our commitment to foster a community based on civility and mutual understanding. Vigorous and open discussion and debate are essential to the pursuit of knowledge, and we must uphold these values even in the face of controversy. Freedom of expression, as Justice Holmes famously said long ago, protects not only free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.

 

But even as we permit expression of the widest range of ideas, we must also take responsibility for debating and challenging expression with which we profoundly disagree. The ‘black mass’ had its historical origins as a means of denigrating the Catholic Church; it mocks a deeply sacred event in Catholicism, and is highly offensive to many in the Church and beyond. The decision by a student club to sponsor an enactment of this ritual is abhorrent; it represents a fundamental affront to the values of inclusion, belonging and mutual respect that must define our community. It is deeply regrettable that the organizers of this event, well aware of the offense they are causing so many others, have chosen to proceed with a form of expression that is so flagrantly disrespectful and inflammatory.

 

Nevertheless, consistent with the University’s commitment to free expression, including expression that may deeply offend us, the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs. At the same time, we will vigorously protect the right of others to respond—and to address offensive expression with expression of their own.

 

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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