When Elizabeth Scalia linked to this post that claimed Harvard was hosting a black mass it didn’t faze or shock me. Given the disdain for Catholic Belief in academia why would anyone expect them to act otherwise?
But when I saw this update to the story:
Following up on this post, I have made a couple of phone calls to the The Cambridge Queen’s Head where Madelyn, an events manager, first promised to “research this”, saying that her computers were down. During a subsequent conversation, sounding very flustered, she and told me she had no comment to offer at the moment. Confirming that she is the Events manager, she promised a response later today.
She did confirm to another caller that the Harvard Cultural Exchange is having an event there, on May 12.
UPDATE: I just spoke to Priya Dua, PR director for The Satanic Temple and she has confirmed that yes, they have obtained and will use a Consecrated Host during this “re-enactment”. She is hopefully putting me in touch with someone who will answer my questions about how the Host was obtained, what they think they’re doing by using a Consecrated, as opposed to unconsecrated Host, and more.
my jaw dropped.
A consecrated host is the actual body of Christ. For a ceremony desecrating it being hosted on Harvard would seem to cross several lines, lines that I suspect would never be crossed if such an event was being hosted that desecrated a holy object associated with a certain Religion of Peace™.
But not to worry, Harvard University being a bastion of tolerance and respect for the religious sensitivities would surely in their official capacity put out a strong official response to such an event and action by a club bearing the schools name to make it very clear that such an act of intolerance would not be sanctioned or tolerated by any group bearing the Harvard name...
Official Response to Cultural Studies Event
May 07, 2014
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.
Media inquiries should be directed to Jeff Neal, firstname.lastname@example.org, in the Harvard University Public Affairs and Communications Office.
I would note this is an OFFICIAL response from the official Harvard .edu site.
I gave them a call at 617-495-4024, they referred all inquires to Mr. Neal of Harvard Public Affairs at the e-mail above but would not give me a phone number so I did a google search and found this site and called the number listed for the vice president for public affairs and communications at 617.495.1585 I was told by a very polite lady that Mr. Neil was in a meeting and that if I was on deadline I should send an e-mail marked URGENT.
I’ll be sending the e-mail updating this story as I get responses but I can’t help but remember this Mark Steyn piece from 2012:
Pamela Geller was struck by that ad The New York Times ran the other day, “It’s Time To Quit The Catholic Church“, an “open letter to ‘liberal’ and ‘nominal’ Catholics”. So she sent in her own ad, “It’s Time To Quit Islam“, an “open letter to ‘moderate’ Muslims”. Analogous artwork, same pitch, only difference being the intended target. The Times’ Senior Vice-President for Corporate Hogwash called to tell Miss Geller that – surprise! surprise! – they were way less eager to rush this one into print:
Bob Christie, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for the New York Times, just called me to advise me that they would be accepting my ad, but considering the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, now would not be a good time, as they did not want to enflame an already hot situation. They will be reconsidering it for publication in “a few months.”
So I said to Mr. Christie, “Isn’t this the very point of the ad? If you feared the Catholics were going to attack the New York Times building, would you have run that ad?”
Thus the courage of the secular left: If you’re going to be “provocative”, it’s best to do it with people who can’t be provoked. Pamela is right. If you want to be treated with respect by The New York Times and the rest of the multiculti establishment, make it clear you’re willing to kill them. That’s an interesting message to send.
As Glenn Reynolds has repeatedly put it: May they have joy of the incentive system they’re creating.
Update: Just saw this from the Anchoress who has had further response from the Satanic Temple:
During our exchange, Greaves remarked that his group “had never brought up the idea of using a consecrated host” in their public material, and seemed puzzled to be asked about it. “It wouldn’t make a difference. We don’t believe in any supernatural power. Consecrated or unconsecrated, it’s just a cracker.” He and his group are, he said, “Satanist/Atheists” who have never before hosted a Black Mass before.
If this is the case then I would ask why they are being hosted by the Harvard Cultural Studies group. After all if they are not “true Satanists” and are simply a group out to make a point where is the cultural significance? She continued
I asked if obtaining a Consecrated Host through stealth — and using it for an “intellectual” exercise that would constitute grave abuse to believing Catholics — would pose an ethical dilemma for them which could affect their credibility. Greaves wondered whether anyone connected with the group “would waste time going to all that trouble. The odds are almost zero.”
Trouble, given that there are masses celebrated all over the area every single day and given that many people receive communion in the hand rather than on the tongue there would be little “trouble” involved it getting a host.
He didn’t seem to have the same sentiments in his interview with Campus reform from the 6th:
Greaves confirmed the ritual will use a “host” although as the group doesn’t believe in the “supernatural elements,” he couldn’t call it a “consecrated host” as Catholics do.
“Consecrated or not, it means nothing to us,” he said.
Apparently it meant something in terms of PR because Elizabeth Scalia got a follow up call…
Oddly enough after that conversation, surprise, surprise Elizabeth got a call back from the Satanic Temple
Not long after our conversation ended, Priya Dua called me again saying that there has been a “miscommunication” between members of the organization and that “there will not be a Consecrated Host used at the Black Mass.” She had no further information for me on how the miscommunication had occurred, and could not tell me what sort of unconsecrated bread would be used, or from where it would be obtained.
Strangely enough he seemed
How about that!
Ok so let’s get this straight then:
The Harvard Cultural Studies group is hosting an event on campus that includes a Satanic Black Mass from a group that claims not to actually believe in Satan never performed a Black Mass and when called on to explain the university’s position equated a Black Mass to a Shinto tea ceremony and Buddhist meditation.
FYI if you google “diversity & “tolerance” at harvard this is the gum that comes up from the Harvard School of Public Health
we are committed to tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect everywhere within our community, and we hereby affirm our promise to provide a welcoming place for one and all.
Meanwhile we are further told that the Satanic Temple does not only doesn’t actually believe in Satan, really isn’t going to use a consecrated host after confirming that they were and it’s all just a misunderstanding that wasn’t meant to offend anybody even though the claim a it’s no big deal either way.
Maybe it’s just me but these people don’t seem trustworthy. In fact I seem to recall a expert on Satan noting some credibility issues concerning those who follow Satan in the past:
You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
As Harvard has a divinity school I trust they can figure out the source of this quote.
It’s in moments like this that I really miss having Michael Graham around here.
Update 2: The posts just keep coming:
Deacon Greg: What the Hell is Harvard Thinking
A reader on Facebook was quick to point out that, technically, the Extension School isn’t quite the same as the university; it uses its name, but not much else.
But that name still counts for something. Doesn’t it?
Read a cursory summary of Harvard’s history on its website. It begins with a baptism, when John Harvard joined the church at St. Saviour’s Church in London in 1607. It continues with John Harvard willing his library and estate to the school in 1638. It mentions prominently the school’s first president, Rev. Henry Dunster, and the legendary preacher Increase Mather, Harvard’s first Doctor of Divinity. It notes that eight Harvard alumni signed the Declaration of Independence. And on and on, through presidents and prize winners, across the centuries.
The school’s roots are in religion, and in Truth; it’s one word motto, “Veritas,” says it all.
But now it finds itself inexplicably linked to a splinter Satanic cult which, using the name of Harvard, intends to enact a ritual that will desecrate the Body of Christ.
It turns out that yes indeed, Harvard is playing host to the black mass folks, and at least one of them is claiming that they’re managed to procure a consecrated host to use in this little alternative culture extravaganza. Others of them aren’t so sure they have a host, and after thinking it over (and getting flak from The Anchoress) they’ve announced that, even though they have — or don’t have, depending on who’s doing the talking — a consecrated host, they won’t be using it (if they do have it) at their shindig.
Of course, Satan is the father of lies, and these are his disciples, so who knows if they have a consecrated host or not? Who knows if they’ll use it?
In an interview on Mobile Movement, the leader of this hardy band of the damned first says that they do, in fact, worship Satan. Then, he goes off on a riff about literary constructs, referencing Milton and Anatole France. Since, as I said earlier, Satan is the father of lies, I don’t think it matters all that much what this guy says. Believe it or don’t, as you it suits you. But, if you’re smart, don’t bet anything valuable on it.
Meanwhile Deacon Greg has heard back from these guys:
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.
Please REMOVE? not update, Remove?
That e-mail confirms this is now officially a PR disaster for Harvard and apparently the Satanic Temple as well. It will become more so one once prominent Catholic alums, The Archdiocese of Boston and Nancy Pelosi’s office are asked about it.
Mark Shea absolutely nails it:
Demonstrating once again the back-handed compliment that the devil always pays to Jesus Christ, the blasphemy is directed, not toward Zeus, Quetzelcoatl or Mars, but toward the one true God. In turn, blasphemy always destroys, not God, who cannot be harmed, but the blasphemy, who makes himself utterly small when God desires to exalt him and give him joy.
So tragic. Pray for the poor souls who are opening themselves to very dark things with this act. Also, pray for Harvard, which would never think of allowing acts of blasphemy targeting Jews or Muslims, but which casually embraces the Last Acceptable Prejudice.
The Python skit he links is hilarious.
Update 3: Just got off the phone with the embassy of the Vatican Embassy and was informed any action or response would come from Cardinal O’Malley’s office in Boston as Harvard is within the Archdiocese of Boston. I’ve left a phone & e-mail message with them and will update you with any response that comes.
Update 4: The Catholic league weighs in
The statement did not say what was “controversial” about these three events. Of greater interest to the Catholic League is the glaring omission: it never mentioned the Satanic Temple’s “Black Mass.” Yet if Shinto, Shaker and Buddhist presentations are so controversial that they demand an explanation, why wasn’t this deliberate assault on Catholic sensibilities mentioned? This was not an oversight.
On the plus side of all of this the number of prayers for all of those involved is likely to be significant.
Update 5: OK it’s everywhere:
Nice Deb at
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.
A non-consecrated communion host will be used in the reenactment, according to Lucien Greaves, spokesman for The Satanic Temple.
Is it just me or is Greaves making it up as he goes along?
While Harvard claims the university does not sanction or condone the event, it is being officially taking place on the university’s campus.
Would they react the same way to a Koran burning on campus
Priya Dua, of The Satanic Temple’s Public Relations office confirmed to us in an e-mail that “Yes, there will be a consecrated host at the black mass.
An email? That’s confirmation in writing isn’t it?
If you are Catholic, please contact Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and ask him to do something about this.
Me I’d suggest contacting Harvard grads in the senate and House.
Reminder: Satan is real and so is devil worship.
Harvard’s Puritan founders must be spinning in their graves.
In fairness they never cared much for the Catholic Church.
Tom McDonald: Real Satanists Don’t Send Press Releases
American neo-Satanism is all just a big act from people who want attention.
I do believe they intended to use a consecrated host, because in their first response they claimed they had one. I can’t imagine they care at all that desecration of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is wicked, offensive, and hurtful to millions of people. They want us to be hurt. That’s why they’re doing it: to wound people they do not even know, because in their philosophy we are beneath contempt, and because they don’t believe they’re actually doing anything at all. They obviously don’t believe in the Real Presence, so it’s a all a big lark to them, regardless of the good people who will weep at the very thought of it. They want those people to weep, and in this way they are truly doing the Devil’s work.
See, they may not believe in Satan, but Satan believes in them, and he knows Useful Idiots when he sees them.
You might ask, “Hey DaTechGuy why haven’t you called Priya Dua or Lucien Greaves and ask them directly.
I say Why would I waste my time on people that have given different answers to different people both in writing and over the phone over the last 24 hours? If they don’t like it then I shall give them Spock’s answer from The Alternative Factor:
Incidentally Harvard’s official statement has been altered to include this statement from the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club
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. While a piece of bread is used in the reenactment, the performance unequivocally does not include a consecrated host. 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. This performance is part of a larger effort to explore religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture.
Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club
It’s amazing how quickly people start running when the light starts to shine.
Update 6: The Anchoress updates with two killer lines, one concerning the obfuscation from the Satanic temple
If I want finessing and word games, I’d cover politicians.
OUCH! I don’t know who should be more insulted the Satanic Temples or politicians. As for Harvard which is reaping the whirlwind
I think it would be a very good thing if Harvard — which is being sullied by association in this exercise hosted by the Harvard Extension — suggested that this particular “educational” performance find another, ahem,host.
That’s pretty good advice. Will they be smart enough to take it?
Update 7: I received this e-mail from the Archdiocese of Boston:
STATEMENT OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON
The Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Boston expresses its deep sadness and strong opposition to the plan to stage a “black mass” on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge.
For the good of the Catholic faithful and all people, the Church provides clear teaching concerning Satanic worship. This 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.
In a recent statement, Pope Francis warned of the danger of being naïve about or underestimating the power of Satan, whose evil is too often tragically present in our midst. We call upon all believers and people of good will to join us in prayer for those who are involved in this event, that they may come to appreciate the gravity of their actions, and in asking Harvard to disassociate itself from this activity.
They invoked Pope Francis, that’s bad news for Harvard.