UPDATE:Boston Globe report that
UPDATE: Black mass was called off after a storm of criticism
Cardinal Sean O’Malley has slammed plans for a Satanic ‘black mass’ that is to be held on Monday night (May 12) by Harvard students and a group known as Satanic Temple.
This morning O’Malley said he was deeply “saddened” that Harvard University is allowing it to go ahead.
The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club will host the two-hour ceremony at the Queens Head pub in Memorial Hall in Cambridge, MA.
Harvard University president Drew Faust has condemned the club’s decision to sponsor the event, describing it as “abhorrent,” but is allowing it to go ahead under the First Amendment.
In a statement, Faust, herself a noted historian, said, “The 'black mass' had its historical origins as a means of denigrating the Catholic Church; it mocks a deeply sacred event in Catholicism, and is highly offensive to many in the Church and beyond.
“The decision by a student club to sponsor an enactment of this ritual is abhorrent; it represents a fundamental affront to the values of inclusion, belonging and mutual respect that must define our community.”
Faust stated, “Consistent with the University’s commitment to free expression, including expression that may deeply offend us, the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs. At the same time, we will vigorously protect the right of others to respond—and to address offensive expression with expression of their own.”
The black mass satirizes the Catholic mass and exalts God rather than Lucifer. It contains the Latin phrase "In nomine Dei nostri Satanas Luciferi Excelsi," as well as the phrases "Rege Satanas" and "Ave Satanas" (which, incidentally, are also the only three Latin phrases which appeared in the Church of Satan's 1968 recording, "The Satanic Mass").
Additionally, all three modify other Latin parts of the Roman Catholic Missal to make them into Satanic versions.
O’Malley stated, “I was disappointed. I was hoping Harvard would see how offensive and evil this was, and please ask them not to do it on their property,” the cardinal told reporters. “I don’t think there is anything we can do to prevent this. There is free speech. But what is disappointing is when there are institutions that are so important and allow this to take place in their venue,” he said.
The mass will be followed by a talk by Harvard Kennedy School of Government lecturer Christopher Robichaud.
“It’s very repugnant,” O’Malley said. “It’s just very disappointing and disturbing. You know, there’s a great fascination with evil in the world. It doesn’t lead to anything good. We’re very saddened. We pray this will pass and there will be healing afterwards.”
St. Paul’s parish in Harvard Square is holding a “holy hour” in response to the mass at 8 p.m. which will be attended by the President of Harvard.
The cardinal also said that the mass “undermines a group of religious people in our community who are hurt and very offended by this.”
Here’s a video from the Boston Globe on O’Malley’s comments: