Catholic chaplain at Harvard: Black Mass is “a matter of hatred, an affront to our Catholic sensibilities”

Catholic chaplain at Harvard: Black Mass is “a matter of hatred, an affront to our Catholic sensibilities” May 9, 2014

Details from Catholic News Agency: 

Fr. Michael Drea, senior chaplain at the Harvard Catholic Student Association, told CNA on May 8 that he has seen “a huge groundswell from Catholics on campus, as well as alumni” protesting the black mass re-enactment, which the priest characterized as “absolutely ludicrous” and extremely offensive.

…Fr. Drea said that he has received an outpouring of support, along with many emails from alumni around the country expressing outrage at the event.

One such letter was sent to university president Drew G. Faust from Harvard graduate Father Roger Landry, who now serves as national chaplain for Catholic Voices USA. He said in the letter that this is “the first time in my life I’m really embarrassed to be associated with Harvard.”

Harvard would never associate itself with an independent student organization that was re-enacting a Koran burning or “the lynchings of African Americans or homophobic attacks or violence against women,” he charged, and neither should it permit a sacrilegious and desecrating ceremony mocking the Catholic faith.

Fr. Drea told CNA that holding a black mass on campus shows “a complete lack of respect” for the Catholic faith.

“It’s a matter of hatred,” he said. “It’s an affront to our Catholic sensibilities.”

“For anyone to try to veil this under the guise of academic freedom is sadly mistaken and misinformed.”

With numerous calls for the university to change its mind, the priest said he is still hopeful that the event will not take place.

However, if the event does occur, Fr. Drea has encouraged students to remain prayerful and calm. Rather than an attitude of confrontation, he emphasized the need to seek God’s grace in order to be “defenders of our faith and the sacramental life.”

“We need to be strong and committed in articulating the teachings of our faith,” especially regarding the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of Catholic belief, he stressed, citing the Second Vatican Council.

With this aim in mind, the Catholic community is planning a Holy Hour at 8 p.m. May 12, to coincide with the black mass. The Holy Hour will take place at St. Paul’s Church, the university parish and Catholic campus ministry center on the edge of campus where Fr. Drea serves as pastor.

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