Black Mass/Consecrated Host: Harvard Clarifies, Satanists Muddify

As I noted deep into the text, here, there remains in my mind some question as to whether the “Re-enactment” hosted by the Harvard Extension would involve the use of a Consecrated Host, as first confirmed by The Satanist Temple — who is performing their first-ever Black Mass — and then walked back.

My reservation stemmed from what seemed like ambiguous language from Lucien Greaves. After the emphatic walk-back by spokesperson Priya Dua — who stated firmly that no Consecrated Host would be used — Greaves’ remarks to Kaitlyn Schallhorn at Campus Reform seemed squirrely, and too clever by half:

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.

This is not quite what he had said to me, earlier, and it seems to me to be word-parsing that cannot be overlooked. Did he mean that while he, Lucien Greaves would not call the host consecrated, others would?

I have called Greaves asking that question, specifically. If I want finessing and word games, I’d cover politicians. Meanwhile Dua has contacted me again insisting that the “stunt host” is not consecrated and would not be considered consecrated by anyone. I emphasized that distinction to her and she confirmed it. I believe there will be a press release issued covering this, sometime today.


In other news, after issuing a deplorably Pilate-esque statement on the issue, it seems the Harvard Exchange “Cultural Studies Club” has expanded on that, and their statement landed in Billy Kangas’ email.

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.

I’m not sure how any performance of a Black Mass would not be an ipso facto denigration of the Catholic religion. “Tolerance” and “Sensitivity” have become such tricky things.

Lots of obfuscation about — the Father of Lies likes to sow confusion. The bottom line to it all remains this: The Holy Eucharist is a source of real power. People who desecrate the Consecrated Host are attempting to feel powerful, themselves, but this is always an illusion:

Sometimes the desecration involves tearing it up and stomping on it, or doing disgusting things to it. And sometimes the Host is even abused sexually. Just as sexual abuse is about power and control and domination, someone who sexually abuses a Host, sees it as controlling and dominating Christ.”

“But, it’s a Gift,” Buster said, “So they only cheat and hurt themselves. . .Christ gave himself to us, feely, of his own free will. A Gift freely given. If someone takes the Gift and spits on it or whatever — they’re only destroying what was given to them, they are destroying what is “theirs.” They don’t in any way destroy the Giver of the Gift, or lessen the Giver, or the Gift. So they have no power over it, they can’t dominate it. All they can do is destroy themselves within themselves.”

Indeed. When the Strange God Wins, You Kill Yourself, and while I don’t write of Satanism explicitely in my book, idolatry is it’s begetting sin. It is an idolatry often borne of an illusory self-love that is actually self-hate.

Every evil screams out only one message: “I am good!” And not only does it scream, but it demands that the people cry out tirelessly in response: “You are good, you are freedom, you are happiness!”
—Alexander Schmemann

As I have said earlier, I don’t think any of the principles involved in this endeavor fully appreciate what they are getting involved in. 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.

At the very least — particularly as we only know as much as we are told — praying for all involved, and fasting for the sake of Christ’s passion is something everyone concerned about this story should undertake. If this thing does go forward, I hope Boston Catholics will surround the event and pray continually — in a peaceful, Christ-like manner — during the “performance.”

Tom McDonald:
Real Satanists Don’t Send Press Releases

Jen Fitz: Religion is about Reality, and so is the Black Mass

Calah Alexander: Let’s have a black mass, because Education!

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry:
A few words about that Harvard Black Mass

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  • Allison@TotusTuus

    Archdiocese of Boston responded to me on their FB page, “We have made inquiries to Harvard and will make a public statement if this turns out not to be a hoax.”

  • DaTechGuy on DaRadio

    The sad thing is I’m not sure who should be more embarrassed by the comparison, the Satanic Temple or politicians

  • Maggie Goff

    Thank you.

  • mudpiemagnet

    Why is Harvard hosting/linking themselves with an event led by a man who is in serious trouble with the law for desecrating a gravesite? Do they realize that this is no “academic,” but a criminal they are inviting? Or do they just not care?

  • Romulus

    So…this is their FIRST black mass? Hmm. I predict a lot of ceremonial beginner’s accidents: servers bumping into each other, celebrants losing their place in the text, participants messing up their responses, etc. A dropped host might be the best thing that could happen.

  • Andrew

    This is a bona fide “religious” group – that is, they are practicing a worship of a supernatural entity. We lived in Salem MA for a dozen years and ran into a lot of this. Anton McVey was a key leader and spokesman, although he often insisted he was “Wiccan” rather than “Satanist.” The double-speak does not conceal any sort of poorly phrased sincerity. Rather it is a smiley-faced, affable but firm persistence at obfuscating who they really are and undermining the convictions of Christians who question them.

  • Andrew

    Also, the Archdiocese posted one of the more forthright public reproofs I have ever seen from them!

  • Sr. Maria Kim Ngan Bui

    Thank you for your post. You are right. They don’t know what they are doing. May God have great mercy. I am joining you in prayer and fasting.

  • 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? :)

  • Martha O’Keeffe

    My immediate impulse is that this is a collection of young idiots who don’t have the faintest idea what they’re doing. “Satanist/Atheist”? Is this something along the lines of LaVeyan ‘Satanism’ (which was more about pulling in the rubes by shock tactics publicity) or Luciferians? I get the impression that these are not ‘classical’ Satanists by any means, but rather a bunch of people who think “Hey, if ‘God” is the enemy of ‘Satan’, we’ll say we’re pro-Satan but we really only mean it as a symbol for our true rationalist, materialist beliefs”.

    What rite or ritual are they going to use in their ‘re-enactment’? Will they have a celebrant who is, for preference, an ordained (even if defrocked or laicised) priest? Will they be using the body of a naked woman for an altar, or is this too much for Harvard to permit? There’s a hundred and one questions I’d like answered, including do they actually know the difference between a consecrated and unconsecrated host, do they think that if they somehow acquire one from a Lutheran service or a Baptist celebration of the Lord’s Supper, it’s “all the same”?

    I think they have very little historical understanding of anything they’re doing, and that they’re only trying to re-create what Professor P.Z. Myers did in his alleged desecration of a host: “Look, I did something bad to the magic cookie and I didn’t get struck by lightening, ergo there is no ‘god’!”. That level of foolishness doesn’t impress me. I don’t think they even have enough faith in God or the Devil to be capable of blasphemy (I’m making a distinction between if they do manage to get a real host and desecrate it, which is indeed a blasphemous act, and what they think – which is that it’s just a piece of bread, there are no gods or spirits, and they no more believe they’re really doing something offensive than they do that walking under a ladder brings bad luck).

  • Manny

    I guess religion is banned from universities except if it’s satanic. Shows you just where higher education has gone.

  • WalterBannon

    If some Christian group wanted to hold an Easter mass at Harvard, they would no doubt be BANNED by the administration.

  • ebenezer

    What I find very interesting is the way the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club calls its Black Mass a “historical event”, as one would call, say, Vatican Council II or the election of Barack Obama. Do they think a Catholic mass, any Catholic mass is a “historical event”, or a ritual performed, well, ritually, around the world, many times a day? This people at Harvard are not very impressive when it comes to properly classify the subjects they “study” with such condescension.

    Since they ignore the difference between a historical event and a ritual, they probably also don’t know that a ritual is an enactment – so, when they enact a ritual (provided the conditions for its validity are satisfied, e.g., to enact a Catholic mass you need a validly ordained priest, the observance of certain rubrics and so on, and, if you have all that, there’s no difference between the Holy Mass and its supposed “enactment”), they are indeed performing that ritual. That Harvard people dedicated to “cultural studies” ignore this is, to say the least, baffling.

    So, if the only provision needed to make a black mass valid is a consecrated host, and they have one (let’s assume the first statement of the celebrant is the truthful one), next week they will bring to the public the real deal: an authentic black mass.

    So I have to ask: where is ACLU?

  • Andrew

    Mike, I know that’s what they say, but I lived where their actions are a lot louder than their words. You are misled.

  • Scully B. Kracken

    I will be there.. i believe the building is surrounded by public sidewalk if i’m not mistaken.