The always-interesting and ever-pastoral Bishop Christopher Coyne of Indianapolis drops a particularly juicy and instructive codicil on the whole “Black Mass” Brouhaha of the past week and, as they say in Brooklyn, it’s a doozy:
. . .here is the “kicker,” as a friend of mine shared with me this little historical tidbit. The spokesperson for the Satanic Temple said that the presentation of the Black Mass was to be based upon the description found in the book Lá-bas (“The Damned”) published in 1891 by the French author Joris-Karl Huysmans. Huysmans was notorious for the earlier publication of his book À rebours (“Against Nature”) which was seen by many as decadent, pornographic, and vulgar. Another author of the time, Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly, told Huysmans that after writing À rebours, he would have to choose between “the muzzle of a pistol or the foot of the Cross.” A year after publishing his Black Mass novel, Lá-bas, Huysmans returned to the Catholicism of his childhood. He died as a Benedictine oblate.
And so the truth remains, that even when the people or events seem completely bound up in evil and darkness and far away from God, the light of the Spirit can still break through and shine in the darkness.
Read it all, here. Not surprising to me that Huysmans ended an Oblate. The Jubilee Medal of Saint Benedict that we wear is a Sacramental of healing, and also, very powerfully, of Exorcism:
The medal is a prayer of exorcism against Satan, a prayer for strength in time of temptation, a prayer for peace among ourselves and among the nations of the world, a prayer that the Cross of Christ be our light and guide, a prayer of firm rejection of all that is evil, a prayer of petition that we may with Christian courage “walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide,” as St. Benedict urges us.
This Harvard story is just about done, and I like how Simcha Fisher sums it up: “All in all, the story reminds me of one of those fairy tales where the dragon gets smaller and smaller until it becomes an insignificant lizard that scuttles away through a crack in the floor.
As I am trying to catch up on work, I am not yet re-opening comments. The image above is mine.