A Few Words About That Harvard Black Mass…

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad” – Matthew 5:11-12

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34

“Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’” – John 18:11

EDIT: UGH. I jumped the gun. This hasn’t been confirmed yet. I am waiting for confirmation. EDIT 2: It looks real.

I really, really didn’t want to write about this. I didn’t want to write about this because it’s so stupid. I didn’t want to write about this because it’s clearly a publicity stunt. I didn’t want to write about this because I didn’t want to get drawn into culture war bullshit as a member of the Party of God.

But this changed when I found out that the Black Mass planned by a Harvard club would use a consecrated host.

This literally changes everything. I don’t know if the organizers of this Black Mass are aware of it, but Catholics believe–yes, against all empirical evidence to the contrary–that the consecrated bread and wine of Mass literally become the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, whom we believe to be the Son of God and savior of humanity. I know it seems crazy, but this is what Catholics believe.

So to the organizers of the Black Mass: I would say that if you use a consecrated host in your ceremony, you won’t do something that is simply “offensive” at a superficial level. You will do something that, in the eyes of faithful Catholics everywhere, will be sacrilegious to the highest extent–will literally hurt in his very flesh the person we love most. You may think this belief is ridiculous, and I don’t blame you, but I would ask you to think like human beings for one second and reconsider doing something that would be genuinely hurtful and scandalous to countless people. How will you feel about this ten years from now? This might be trite, but–how would your mother feel about this? We all do things we later regret, but there’s a difference between getting stupid drunk at a party, and getting stupid drunk at a party and driving home and hitting a pedestrian. “I was just young and stupid” is a much less valid excuse for the latter than the former.

Honestly: I don’t care what you do. Have Black Masses, have Satanic rituals, go running around naked under the moon. Say that Christianity and Catholicism are ridiculous, and offensive, and evil. Really. Be my guest. But please don’t desecrate a consecrated host. You can have the exact same Black Mass if you return the consecrated host–which, in all likelihood, you stole, so, you know, kudos for that–and use an unconsecrated host (you can buy them on the internet). It will have the same “cultural value”, since that is the reason you represent for holding the event.

I am genuinely, and sincerely appealing to our common humanity and decency and asking you to refrain from doing something genuinely hurtful.

To the Catholics and Christians reading me, I say this: rejoice! This is what Jesus asks us to do when things like this happen. This is not a new battle in the culture wars. If it happens, it will be a new crucifixion–literally. But the crucifixion, felix culpa, is how death was destroyed. And Jesus responded to his tormenters with loving-kindness and commanded his disciples to eschew violence. In all things, remember that Jesus Christ is Lord and has defeated death and sin, and that all eyes will behold His glory and all lips proclaim that He is Lord.

By all means, use non-violent means to prevent this from occurring with the consecrated host. But let them put together this show, this parody. Let them demonstrate better than we could how the radiance of the Gospel contrasts with hatred.

My suggestion would be, if this does go through, and if Christians want to respond somehow, to do it not with protests, but with standing outside and singing hymns–hymns of joy, and love, and mercy, and forgiveness. I’m serious. Bring tambourines. Dance. They who have eyes, they will see.

Oh, and I look forward to the next event, when a Harvard club will make images of the Prophet Muhammad and deface them. … Oh? What’s that? … Yeah, I thought so.

Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus.


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