Harvard is sponsoring a Black Mass using a consecrated Host.

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 blasphemer, 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.

UPDATE: Lizzie now reports they will not be desecrating the Eucharist. Thanks be to God.

UPPERDATE: The Satanic Temple definitively shows itself to be, not bold iconoclasts spitting bravely at the Christian God, but pantywaist passive aggressives. I mean, come on, “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.”

How in hell do you “miscommunicate” that you intend to desecrate a Eucharist?

They remind me of this sketch:

And fellas, if you want to be taken seriously in that whole “respect all religions” thing, you might call your act of blasphemy something besides a “Mass”.

There’s something unique to our time about people who engage in obvious hatred of Catholics while wanting very much for people to like them and not feel offended. Man up, people! If you are going to spit in the eyes of God and your Catholic neighbor at *least* have the stones to not make mewling pleas to be liked for it. Embrace the Inner Jerk! Jesus would rather you be hot or cold than lukewarm. He can make a St. Paul out of a hearty blasphemer. But this sort of tapioca PC God hatred is just spewable.

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  • Diana

    Lord have mercy. They know not what they do.

    • Joshua Horne

      Instructing the ignorant is a work of mercy, and one very, very difficult to do in this age of rampant sentimentality and emotional volatility. Opinion rules.

  • J.M.

    Just wondering, has the local Catholic bishop done anything to try to stop this? (Honest question.)

    • Mariana Baca

      You could email Cdl. Sean, he probably does not know about this — he was traveling in Rome for the Canonizations. Or contact St. Paul’s Church in Harvard and ask their chaplains — they are closest to the action and in charge of the Catholic student group in Harvard, so probably they have the most authority to intervene. Robert Francis Hennessey is the auxiliary Bishop serving Cambridge.

      But, given the people doing this are not catholic, I’m not sure they have any authority to do anything other than issue a statement.

      • Humphrey

        What whould they do if these people were catholic?

        • Mariana Baca

          They would be excommunicated according to canon 1367 (can only be removed by the Pope). If a cleric, it can incur dismissal from the clerical state.

          • Catharine

            I believe the knowing and deliberate desecration of properly consecrated Eucharistic species (either the bread or the wine) under canon law brings about an automatic excommunication which can only be lifted by the Pope himself, or by deathbed confession if that occurs sooner. The excommunication occurs automatically (by the doing of the deed itself) and there is no requirement of a formal trial under canon law. This is about the most serious offense that can possiblly be committed, and is on a par only with assassinating the pope himself (God forbid). A person guilty of this type of Eucharistic sacrilege is not permitted to hold him/herself out as a Catholic or a Christian.
            I think the Satanists give themselves away with their repeated mockery of the one true faith (The Roman Catholic faith). If matters were otherwise, why would they even bother? Can you imagine going to this length to publicly mock a Protestant service? The very concept is laughable.

        • Marthe Lépine

          That might be a case for excommunication. However, if people who do something like this claim to be Catholic, they obviously are at least mistaken, since if you want to belong to any group, not just the Catholic Church, I assume you would not be allowed to spit on that group’s principles without being thrown out. Therefore, in any case, it seems that those people just cannot possibly be Catholic, even if they deluded themselves that they had remained catholic.

          • wlinden


    • Nicholas Haggin

      Dom Bettinelli, who works for the Archdiocese of Boston in a media/press capacity, indicated on Facebook that the Archdiocese is aware of the reports and pursuing its own inquiries, and would have a statement when they have more information. I’m not sure there’s much one can do to stop it, unless the inquiries themselves make people stop and reconsider.

  • Ben @ 2CM

    Pretty creepy…
    As a side note, I once heard a former Evangelical (now Catholic) say that one thing that made him wonder if Catholicism could actually be true was how satanic cults would consistently mock the Catholic Mass. Why would Satan mock Satan? (he wondered) A house divided cannot stand. I guess any evil can be used for the greater glory of God.

    • Damien Woods

      It is strange to contemplate the fact that Satanists believe in the Real Presence but some Catholics (and many other Christians) do not.

      • sez

        “Strange” isn’t the word I’d use. “Sad” and “troubling”, and maybe – along with prayer and fasting for reparation – this should be an inspiration to evangelize… esp. our fellow Catholics!

      • Deanjay1961

        Something you should know about Satanists: they don’t believe in the Real Presence either. Organized Satanists are basically atheists who regard all the Satanic stuff as metaphorical, and the ceremonies of having social or psychological benefits, not supernatural ones.

    • Rosemarie


      Many years ago, some Evangelicals actually tried to argue to my husband that the Catholic Mass is evil because Satanists have “masses” too (a rather backwards argument, really). He replied that the “Black Mass” is a perversion of the Catholic Mass and that Satan always twists what is good and true. Moreover, we know that the devil desires worship, so isn’t it interesting that his followers worship him by mimicking the *Mass* and not, say, a tent revival. Apparently, he knows what form of worship is most pleasing to God and covets *that* for himself.

      • Ben @ 2CM

        I guess the key would be “mock” as in making fun of or distorting, like the Romans mocked Jesus before his execution, and not mimic in the sense of just trying to match the liturgy precisely.
        BTW, I’m trying to picture a satanic tent revival. Zombie movies come to mind!

        • Rob B.

          “BTW, I’m trying to picture a satanic tent revival. Zombie movies come to mind!”

          So do porn movies…

          • Tom Hanson

            I rather expect that Ben is referring to a movie titled ZOMBIELAND, which manages to be a zombie movie and a grand parody of them at the same time.

            • Rob B.

              Yes, I am well aware of that. I was merely adding to the tent… :)

        • Rosemarie


          It is indeed a mockery, and may also involve (for religious Satanists at least) worship of Satan as well. Maybe philosophical Satanists would consider a “Black Mass” to be only a mockery. Based on the description of the group in question, they seem to be the latter type of Satanist.

  • Michaelus

    So a reenactment of a Black Mass – meaning a reenactment of a ceremony explicitly created to mock and denigrate a Catholic mass – is not denigrating to our faith?

    • sez

      Don’t confuse them with logic.

      • Joshua Horne

        In truth, logic is a totally lost concept in a culture which denies the existence of any truth. Terms cannot be defined, the first step in logic, because definitions are all relative.

        • sez

          Yup. Makes things so much easier that way, doncha know?

          • Joshua Horne

            Yeah! ANYTHING is possible! God can be God and a frog at the same time! Cool! It’s all relative.

    • cececole

      THAT is what I posted on the FB page of Harvard Extension…anyone care to join me?

  • Francisco J Castellanos

    Hum, this weirdness is sponsored by the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club. It it seems that enacting a Satanic Black Mass is considered an “academic” exercise at Harvard. Oh brother. Fac me cocleario vomere.

    • Mariana Baca

      To be fair, the Harvard Extension School is not the same as “Harvard”, even though they are affiliated institutions, the students are not “admitted”, just whoever wants to take classes there.

      • Paul

        Not quite. The Harvard Extension School is one of the component institutions of Harvard University, as much a part of Harvard as is Harvard Law School and Harvard Medical School. It even has its own dean, listed as an officer of Harvard University right here along side the President and the Medical, Law, and Engineering deans:

        • Mariana Baca

          I meant Harvard Extension school is not the same as Harvard FAS — which is what people think of “I’m sending my kid to harvard”. It is more like a community college run by Harvard. Institutionally, they are equally responsible — just saying the student body of each department is separate.

  • Matthew

    I wonder if the intended guest of honor will showup.

  • Gail Finke

    “There’s something unique to our time about people who engage in obvious hatred of Catholics while wanting very much for people to like them and not feel offended.” So well said! Thanks for writing about someting other than your three usual subject lately, I’ve missed reading you!

    • Deanjay1961

      So they SHOULD use a real Eucharist, that would make you happier?

  • Andy
  • AquinasMan

    Anyone participating in this gross sacrilege — even by witness only — consecrated Host or no — is opening themselves to unthinkable spiritual consequences, whether they know it or not. In this case, curiosity can kill the soul.

    It would be a nice opportunity for the folks at the Newman Center at Harvard to crack out the rosaries and do a little public pleading for mercy outside this event.

    • Rob B.

      Heck, they should do a *Mission Impossible* style raid on the Satanist temple to rescue the Host (consecrated or not). I’d even pay their expenses for that.

      • Chuck

        Pity that ‘the body of Christ’ cracker you idolize isn’t powerful enough to save itself.

        • chezami

          “He saved others, but he cannot save himself” is a rather old gibe. By the way, the sacrilege was cancelled. :)

        • AquinasMan

          The irony of this response is other-worldly.

  • Lori Pieper

    Apparently they are equal-opportunity blasphemers. I found this on a national college news site:

    But in an interview with Campus Reform, [Satan Temple spokesperson Lucien] Greaves said the black mass has become more ambiguous and convoluted as it incorporates more theories and more religious rituals over time. On the other hand, some of the elements present in the 19th century rituals are simply no longer there.

    “[Harvard’s ritual] will mock rituals of other mainstream religious rituals [sic],” Greaves said.

  • one comment

    But “being liked for it” IS the motivation, and there are lots of other (worldly) rewards too!

    Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ”

  • Hank

    I just read Scalia’s updates. It sounds like these people are atheists, trying to make some kind of point, and don’t believe in Satan any more than they believe in God. For all I know, true Satanists are in a snit, at having their sacred rituals debased in this way.

    • Jon W

      From what I understand, mainstream “Satanists” (I’m thinking Anton LaVey, et al) are, in fact, philosophical atheists.

      • Rosemarie


        Yes, the late Anton LaVey’s form of Satanism is basically atheistic. He claimed that Satan is just a metaphor and that a true Satanist bows down to no one but oneself (he admitted to stealing that from Ayn Rand). So Satanism and atheism aren’t as far apart as one may think.

        • wlinden

          Which, in Rand’s terms, made him a “concept-stealer”.

    • fredx2

      Children seeking attention.

      • Charles

        That’s exactly what I think every time I see christians ‘standing up for Jesus’ in public.

    • Deanjay1961

      ‘The kind of ‘Satanist’ that really believes is rare enough to deserve a separate label. ‘Devil-worshiper’ maybe?

  • Catharine

    Does anyone out there believe one word of what a Satanist says? The entire point of their asinine clique (I would not dignify it with the term “religion”) is to hate, despite, and mock the Roman Catholic faith. In my opinion, this is a hate group in action; they are proposing to commit a true hate crime (also multiple acts of sacrilege and blasphemy) and in general they are behaving like a collection of pimples on the backside of society. If this goes through as planned, the police should arrest them; they should be charged and prosecuted for having committed hate crimes. If they were doing this sort of mockery of a Moslem or Jewish solemn religious ceremony they would be arrested and prosecuted in a New York minute.
    Apparently one of the elements present in this ritual in the 19th Century, which even this batch is not going to attempt in the 21st Century, is the human sacrifice of a human child to Satan. I guess political correctness (oops, human respect) has this one advantage to it.
    All of you good Christians, pray sincerely that each of the members of this outfit will receive the grace of God, that their consciences may be enlightened as to what it is they are truly dabbling with, and they may be converted. I am 100% certain that these kids have no idea what they are trifling with–they are opening a huge portal to Satan and the occult. They are probably going to have to find out the hard way, however.

    • Deanjay1961

      Can you give an example of someone being arrested outside of a theocracy for mocking Jewish or Muslim rituals? It’s not illegal, it’s free speech. Satanic grafitti on a church: a hate crime. Mocking ritual open to the public: not a hate crime. Harvard doesn’t have to host it, though.
      Opening a portal to Satan and the occult would be awesome, and there’s probably no other outcome that would generate as many conversions to Catholicism unless an angel showed up to kick Lucy’s ass.

  • Rob B.

    My lady wife and I have decided to fast and say a rosary on Monday in reparation for this heinous act. Would anyone care to join us? :)

  • Guest
  • fredx2

    Actually, the Harard Satanists posted video of their last meeting on youtube

  • Lucia Lopez

    Come on man…call it “vomitable”, not “spewable.”

  • Jem

    Mark, a week ago your standard for religious freedom was ‘they can have all the pretend religious rites they like’. So, surely, if you’re consistent, this isn’t a problem.

    Unless the logic is that the sacrament of marriage isn’t a big deal, that it’s not offensive to God, but reading some Dennis Wheatley and buying some communion wafers on Amazon is.

    If anyone’s going to tell me that the difference is that those aren’t consecrated, could you let me know how you can tell? Thanks.

    • chezami


      Even if you and these folks don’t believe in the devil, the devil believes in you. Blasphemy doesn’t hurt God. It hurts the blasphemer. People can indeed do as they please, including holding a black mass. That does not mean there will not be grave spiritual consequences. Catholics are called, not to seek legal redress, but to make reparations for such grave evil. Because we’re all connected.

      • Jem

        We’re not going to agree on ‘spiritual warfare’. I’m far more interested, anyway, in understanding how you determine the gradations in blasphemy. I’m betting I can find a Catholic bishop who calls gay marriage blasphemy … yeah, here we go:

        And whether a same sex civil ceremony is blasphemous or not, surely a Christian priest standing in a Church and performing a sacramental marriage for a gay couple would count?

        So, how are you drawing the distinction where you can call the rites of a Christian church that performs a sacramental marriage of same sex couples ‘pretend’, but this Black Mass as being some intensely serious, ‘monstrous’ thing?

        Look … the Satan guys are going to buy some wafers on Amazon, pretend they’re consecrated and they’re going to do something that’s essentially, and I think you’re broadly right, a deliberate piece of performance art, a stunt that’s mocking the church, perhaps making a point about once you let one religion into a sphere, you have to let them all in. An hour later they’ll go home. Do I think it’s big and clever? No.

        The gay couple … they’re going to go off and live together as a married couple. It’s a more serious commitment to blasphemy, surely, not one crazy night at college. That’s fully catered blasphemy with a gift registry and dinners to celebrate its anniversary.

        Granted you don’t like either, but what’s the thinking in dismissing a mass movement towards Christian sacramental gay marriage as some lightweight stunt, and one Black Mass as some deeply serious threat to the space time continuum itself?

        • wlinden

          Yeah, why should we listen to Mark when he can’t even DEFINE BLASPHEMY? It’s SO HARD to figure out what is blasphemous.

          • Jem

            Mark defines both as blasphemous. Both are, by his way of thinking, sinful parodies of a Catholic service that will have profound spiritual consequences for the participants.

            It’s not the label that’s the issue. What I don’t understand is why the gay marriage one gets a wave of the hand and a ‘oh, those sillybillies’, but this has him smashing the emergency glass and pushing the big red button.

            I have my suspicions. I think, at heart, a lot of Catholics want to be in a science fiction movie. They want it so when the sacred artifact is mishandled, we skip straight to act three and a boiling sky full of way too many CG monsters and they can make it all go away by yelling something from the Bible while the atheists cower in the corner.

            Whereas gay marriage is more of an indie film, win something at Sundance for mumbling, kind of movie. And the people standing around yelling stuff from the Bible are Fred Phelps substitutes, and they’re in one scene at the beginning, then they’re ignored.

            • S. Murphy

              Try this: gay marriage, unless the participants attempt to somehow coerce a priest into officiating, and/or having it in a Catholic chapel, in front of the Blessed Sacrament, the act may be blasphemous, but in all probability, the two people getting hitched are intent on driving off into the sunset and living their lives together. They probably don’t think they’re blaspheming. They probably don’t intend blasphemy. The satanists performing the Black Mass fully intend blasphemy – it’s the point of the exercise. This is common sense. The Eucharist is really sacred to us. Marriage is really sacred, too, but the Eucharist is Christ himself. We know people are going to gunge up marriage – even saintly people; and we know people are going to gunge up reception of the Eucharist by receiving in a state of sin from time to time – we hope the go to confession and let the Lord pick them up and dust them off. But we really don’t want people to do what the egghead ‘satanists’ are proposing to do. (or head faking that they’re proposing to do)

              • Jem

                “They probably don’t think they’re blaspheming. They probably don’t intend blasphemy.”
                So a Christian priest marrying a same sex couple isn’t, to quote Mark, ‘opening themselves up to very dark things’? The gay couple are fine because they, personally, don’t see anything wrong with it?

                I suspect this is not the Catholic Church’s position.

                There’s a difference in rudeness, sure. But Catholicism’s position is that blasphemy is an offense against God, not just a lack of consideration for the feelings of people down here.

                I personally think, to quote Stephen Fry, that blasphemy is the definition of a victimless crime. I can not insult God, any more than I can steal from Superman. So if this was about intention, it would mean I am definitionally incapable of blasphemy. I very strongly suspect that Catholicism teaches otherwise.

  • LosThunderlads
  • Dennis Mahon
  • Mariana Baca

    For people who are in Boston: there will be a Eucharistic procession from MIT to Harvard at 7:00 pm tomorrow. Adoration at MIT chapel at 7:00, procession leaves at 7:15 towards St. Paul’s Church.

  • Deanjay1961

    Complaining that they’re not using a real Eucharist really gets to the heart of the matter, eh?

  • Deanjay1961

    Well-done. There was rioting and barricading against police, and since the Queen is also the Defender of the Faith, the UK’s non-theocratic status is questionable, but on balance a fair example. Now do you think we should change American law so the same thing would be done here?