Harvard Extension School is hosting a “reenactment” of a Black Mass for educational purposes, “to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices.”
The Anchoress has been in contact with those in charge of this, primarily to urge them not to use a Consecrated Host when the word was that they would be using one. They have since confirmed that the performance will “unequivocally” not use a Consecrated Host.
I’m genuinely relieved to hear that they will not be using a consecrated host, but this is still one of the most troubling things I’ve heard about in a long time. Most troubling is the fact that it is being put on in a public venue, as if it were an exhibition, when in fact it is not. It is an inversion of the Mass, a black mockery, a profanation of the sacred. That is why true Black Masses always include a Consecrated Host.
It’s frightening that Satanism is being played around with like this. I don’t usually get all riled up when people go on about multi-religious tolerance and insist on putting up creepy-as-hell statues, but this is different. This is no freaking joke. And it makes it worse, somehow, that the people doing it aren’t actually Satanists, despite their name.
Greaves says his Satanism is “a metaphorical construct” meant to unshackle the world from belief in supernatural good or evil because belief has “led to horrible things” and “the idea of Satanists as deviants has never done the world any good.”
I can’t help but think about the little girl in The Exorcist, who just thought she was playing a silly game. In a private conversation, Leah Libresco said “If they do end up stealing/desecrating one, I hope it has the same effect on them that Christ’s crucified body had on the soldier St. Longinus who pierced Him with a lance. Sometimes, even when people mean to draw close to Christ to persecute Him, they can’t help but be struck by His love.”
I hope so, too, but I really worry about the other possibility…especially for young college kids going to see an “educational reenactment”. I’m glad they are not using a consecrated host, but I’m seriously confused about why they’re doing this at all. This idea of being a Satanist in order to “unshackle belief” or change the perception of Satanists as deviants makes zero sense to me. A Satanist is, by definition, a deviant-they are deviating from Christianity. There could be no Satanism if there wasn’t first a Christianity. It is a totally reactionary religion, born solely from the desire to deviate-to be deviant. The straight-laced sour-faced church ladies aren’t imposing some kind of artificial judgment upon Satanists because they’re different, or they wear black, or whatever. To be a Satanist is to deliberately choose evil over good, deviance over obedience. You can’t unshackle someone from a false perception if the perception is factually true.
To be honest, I’m a little wary of this whole thing. If they really want to “unshackle the world from a belief in good and evil”, choosing a side in that belief system and then making a big spectacle of it is exactly the wrong way to go about it. You don’t defeat the system by playing into it, and I would think the people running The Satanic Temple would understand that. I can’t imagine someone saying, “hey guys, let’s accomplish our goal of ending religion by performing a religious ceremony that evolved in reaction to another religious ceremony!” Just as PZ Myers’ desecration of the Eucharist unshackled exactly zero Catholics from their beliefs, so this Black Mass will unshackle no one from belief in good and evil. But if it’s sleight-of-hand, The Satanic Temple is really bad at it.
I hope The Satanic Temple decides to drop this nonsensical idea and do something that would actually be in keeping with their stated belief and purpose.
I also wish people on both sides would resume actually talking about differences in belief, instead of being ever more outraged at each others outrageousness. It’s just all getting too ridiculous.
Thomas MacDonald, “Real Satanists Don’t Send Press Releases”
Mark Shea: “Monstrous”