Monday 25th July 2016

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Defending Harvard’s Black Mass

June 6, 2014 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

Am I going to defend the idea of reenacting the black mass at Harvard? Not a chance. But I found someone who did. There are such things. The advocate for what he called “a historical reenactment of a black mass through the Harvard Extension School Cultural Studies Club” was Joseph Laycock, an assistant professor of religious studies as Texas State University, writing on the web site Religion Dispatches on May 15.
This story may seem moot, considering that the black mass first got rescheduled off campus, and then probably did not take place at all. The Catholic News Agency reports, “A satanic ‘black mass’ did not take place as planned May 12 on Harvard’s campus. The Harvard Crimson reported late on the afternoon of May 12 that the event had voluntarily been moved to The Middle East nightclub, a short distance from campus. However, shortly afterward, the general manager of the nightclub told the publication that negotiations had fallen through and the event would not be hosted there. Subsequently, in a breaking news update at 7:45 p.m. Eastern time, the Harvard publication reported that the black mass has been postponed indefinitely.”
Why this outcome? Sometimes the good guys carry the day. The Archdiocese of Boston, Harvard’s chaplains, and a petition protesting the event signed by 60,000 students, faculty, and alumni no doubt all helped. Not to mention a eucharistic procession near the campus and a holy hour, attended by an estimated 1,500 Catholics.
But this does not close the book on the matter. We have to ask ourselves why anyone would have proposed the black mass in the first place. What is the redeeming social value in reenacting the desecration of the Host, which is central to the black mass? Joseph Laycock gives us the rationale.
Laycock assures us, first of all, that a real Host was not to be involved in the “reenactment,” that, instead, a “prop” was going to be “desecrated in various ways.” (Which makes a difference. Not all despicable acts are equally despicable.) The event, he continues, “was originally intended as a lecture on the history of legends surrounding the black mass followed by a performance.” Laycock spoke with Lucien Greaves, a representative of the Satanic Temple that had hoped to sponsor the event. Laycock informs us, “The Satanic Temple is best known for political campaigns that demonstrate the wisdom of separating church and state….Although they reject supernaturalism, they comprise a community that values self-determination and finds meaning through a shared tradition of ideas and rituals.”
In fact, “Greaves has been invited to speak about his perspective in comparative religion classes at Harvard and has been well received. The black mass, he claims, was not a bid for media attention but an honest attempt to educate an audience about how Satanists see the world. Had the black mass proceeded as planned, it would have been about two hours long, with the first hour devoted to an educational lecture and the second half to a performance of a black mass based on descriptions from the nineteenth-century French novel Là-bas. Two actors dressed as a nun and a priest would have performed a ritual in liturgical Latin. A prop representing a communion wafer would have been stepped on or otherwise defiled.”
Laycock considers the cancellation unfortunate. He points out the missed opportunity for a “discussion about religious pluralism, tolerance, and free speech.” He writes of the missed “opportunity for debate and reflection” that “was squandered. The overwhelming majority of Catholic demonstrators, including the Archdiocese of Boston, made no effort to learn what the Satanic Temple intended to do or what their motivation was. Instead of engaging the Satanists in a reasoned and civil debate, dissent was effectively silenced.”
He calls upon us to take from this brouhaha lessons about how “to foster the values of pluralism and tolerance even when other people’s views strike us as frightening or offensive.”
Baloney. No one disagrees with the idea that educated people should know about the black mass. It is part of the history of religion. It can be discussed. I can remember nuns in grammar school instructing my class to tell the priests if they saw anyone who took the Host from his mouth; that perhaps he was taking it for the black mass. Marist Brothers in my high school spoke of how Satanists would “defile” the Host during the black mass. I am sure I was not the only one in the class who went to the library to find out what that defilement entailed. The question at hand is not “knowledge,” but the “reenactment” that was going to take place at Harvard.
Some comparisons are in order. How do you think Laycock would react to a proposed reenactment of the old caricatures of blacks in the movies of the 1940s, the Stepin Fetchit and Mantan Moreland skits that evoked waves of laughter at the time — by a group as favorably disposed to those caricatures as is the Satanic Temple to the black mass? (A favorable disposition to the presentation makes a big difference in this analogy. We are not looking at a group seeking to enlighten the audience about the blasphemous nature of the black Mass.)
Come on: The academic liberals won’t even permit showings of the arguably inoffensive Uncle Remus and Amos ’n Andy shows.
What would Laycock say about a student theater club that decided to put a spotlight on anti-Semitism by reenacting the caricatures of Jews — as pedophiles, embezzlers, and Communists — that can be found in the movies made in Germany by Nazi sympathizers during the 1930s — if the student group were as favorably disposed to those caricatures as is the Satanic Temple to the black mass?
Would he encourage this event as a way to “to foster the values of pluralism and tolerance even when other people’s views strike us as frightening or offensive”? He might say that he would. Put me down as a doubter.
What would be his recommendation if he heard that a student club was going to sponsor a dramatic rendition of The Turner Diaries. This was the book favored by Timothy McVeigh and those involved with him in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The book glamorizes a future race war against Jews, homosexuals, and non-whites. It has been called the “bible of the racist right” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Would Laycock encourage this performance as an opportunity for a “discussion about religious pluralism, tolerance, and free speech” and “debate and reflection” — if the sponsors of the play were as favorably disposed to Aryan Supremacists as the Satanic Temple is to the black mass?
The questions answer themselves. I can’t remember Laycock leading any protests when Brandeis University decided not to confer an honorary doctorate to human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in recognition for her contribution toward advancing women’s rights, after being pressured by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others. And Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s career does not involve fiction or reenactments. She has spent her adult life calling the world’s attention to facts that no one disputes: violence against women such as female genital mutilation, child marriage, and honor killings in the Muslim world.
It would be enlightening to hear Laycock’s analysis of why discussion of these practices will not serve the cause of “tolerance, free speech, debate and reflection,” as effectively as an enactment of the black mass.

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Cardinal Burke: Islam is ‘fundamentally a form of government’

Cardinal Raymond Burke said in a telephone interview that Islam is “fundamentally a form of government.” Speaking with Religion News Service, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said that “when they (Muslims) become the majority in any…Continue Reading

Nienstedt: misconduct allegations retribution for opposition to gay marriage

In other words, he’s the real victim here. Marino Eccher of the PiPress says, “John Nienstedt, the former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, said accusations of sexual misconduct against him were part of a false smear campaign in response…Continue Reading

5 faith facts on Mike Pence: A ‘born-again, evangelical Catholic’

(RNS) While an official announcement has not yet been made, IndyStar and other media outlets are reporting that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate. Pence became governor of the Hoosier State in…Continue Reading

Trump In Tatters As Catholic Voters Shift Their Support To Hillary Clinton

A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans as Catholic voters have shifted their support to Hillary Clinton. A new Pew poll on religion and the 2016 campaign revealed devastating news for Republicans…Continue Reading

St. Anne Catholic Church prepares for 136th annual novena

There used to be a steady flow of stories, tales of miracle cures. They were covered in the Daily Journal, the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, in the early 1900s. The Catholic church in St. Anne, a village of 1,239,…Continue Reading

More deception in the war on Card. Sarah

Speaking at a liturgy conference in London, Card. Sarah, clearly not acting in his role as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, made a personal appeal to priests to say Mass ad orientem and the world is coming down on his head.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Caffarra on Marriage, Family, Amoris Laetitia, & Confusion in the Church

cardc

Editor’s note: the following is an exclusive interview with Cardinal Carlo Caffara, conducted by OnePeterFive’s Dr. Maike Hickson. Cardinal Caffarra is Archbishop emeritus of Bologna and former member of the Pontifical Council for the Family. It was in a letter to Cardinal…Continue Reading

Vatican Liturgy Chief asks all priests and bishops to face east for Mass, faithful to kneel for Communion

LONDON, July 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Speaking at a conference on the liturgy in London yesterday, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the highest authority on the topic in the Catholic Church under Pope Francis, asked all bishops and priests to adopt the…Continue Reading

This priest died in a Korean prison camp. Will the Catholic Church beatify him?

Wichita, Kan., Jul 2, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- There’s good news in Kansas: former army chaplain Father Emil J. Kapaun has taken a step closer to possible beatification and sainthood. But for Scott Carter, coordinator for the Father…Continue Reading

The Affirmative Argument for Receiving Communion on the Tongue

A recent post at the site Roman Catholic Man has focused a great deal of attention on the manner in which the faithful receive Communion. As any discussion regarding the Eucharist is a discussion about Our Lord Himself, the importance…Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton: “I Will Always Stand With Planned Parenthood,” It Does “Extraordinary Things”

Earlier this month, pro-abortion presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told activists at a Planned Parenthood abortion business rally that she would “always have your back.” She means it. In an op-ed written to bolster support for America’s biggest abortion business, Hillary…Continue Reading

United Way Sent $3 Million to Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz in 2015

LifeNews has repeatedly chronicled the relationship between dozens of local United Way agencies and the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Last year, on the heels of shocking videos showing the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling the body parts of aborted babies,…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

WaPo: A “Pope Francis Catholic” can have a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, NARAL

Just one example of how the secular media is going to spin, spin, and spin some more in the quest to provide cover for pro-abort, pro-homosexual politicians. UPDATED (9:15pm, Pacific; July 22): Sen. Kaine has been chosen to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. In the meantime, CWR’s managing editor, Catherine Harmon, reminded me of this interesting story from last year: U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a practicing Catholic and former missionary, had a clear message Wednesday…Continue Reading

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin . . . VP Pick, Tim Kaine, a Catholic?

From the Facebook page for Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Diocese of Providence. Democratic VP choice, Tim Kaine, has been widely identified as a Roman Catholic. It is also reported that he publicly supports “freedom of choice” for abortion, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions, and the ordination of women as priests. All of these positions are clearly contrary to well-established Catholic teachings; all of them have been opposed by Pope Francis as well. Senator Kaine…Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton Names Pro-Abortion Tim Kaine VP, Says He’s “Catholic” Who “Supports Abortion”

kaine

Abortion activist Hillary Clinton today tapped pro-abortion Virginia Senator Tim Kaine has her vice-presidential running mate. The Virginia politician is on record as trying to have it both ways — saying he is both a “traditional Catholic” and a strong supporter of abortion. Kaine has a pro-abortion record and the potential Clinton running mate is not following anyone. As LifeNews previously reported, Kaine said he is a “strong supporter of Roe v. Wade” despite supposedly…Continue Reading

Macy’s Fires Catholic Employee for Questioning Transgender Policy

FLUSHING, New York, July 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Macy’s department store has fired a Catholic employee because he questioned their transgender bathroom policy, even though he says he told his employer he would enforce the policy. Back in May, Javier Chavez, a senior store detective at Macy’s Flushing, New York, location got a phone call about a male accessing the ladies room along with a female. A female customer and her daughter were afraid to enter…Continue Reading

Land O’ Lakes on Steroids

In this bulletin on the Laetare Medal/Vice President Joe Biden episode, we consider its broad significance. As Bishop Kevin Rhoades declared, the University of Notre Dame has given scandal, but there is much more. In publicly spurning the counsel of Notre Dame’s (and his) bishop for the third time, University President Father John Jenkins has further undermined the crucially important relationship between Notre Dame and the Church. More, he rejected the recommendations for honorees from…Continue Reading

UN Court Rebuffs China’s Claims To South China Sea

By JOHN J. METLZER UNITED NATIONS — In a major legal setback for Beijing, an international tribunal has rejected and rebuffed many of Mainland China’s claims regarding exclusive sovereignty and rights in the disputed South China Sea. The mid-July landmark ruling in The Hague, by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, stated there was no evidence…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Readings And Meditations For Praying The Rosary

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY How to Pray the Secret Rosary by Frank M. Rega OFS (CreateSpace, 132 pages, Paperback $11.43, ebook $6.30). Available at amazon.com. This slim paperback from Frank Rega gives guidance on how to pray the rosary when you aren’t necessarily able to pray with rosary beads — if you are doing household…Continue Reading

Who Gave Us Justice Ginsburg?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Her mind is shot.” That was the crisp diagnosis of Donald Trump on hearing the opinion of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the possibility he might become president. It all began with an interview the past week when the justice was asked for her thoughts on a Trump presidency. Ginsburg went…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Second Time Around: The Future Of Euthanasia In Holland”

By BRIAN CLOWES “There will be casualties” — Australian euthanasia activist Dr. Philip Nitschke. + + + The Final Step: Accepting And Accommodating Evil After decades of struggling with the euthanasia issue, it appears that the government of the Netherlands is in the process of accepting reality. It has given up attempting to place any…Continue Reading

New Film . . . Explores Jerome Lejeune’s Life And Work

By MARY O’NEILL LE RUMEUR “To kill or not to kill; that is the question.” It is August 1969, in San Francisco, and Professor Jerome Lejeune is addressing the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. Ten years before, in 1959, he had discovered the genetic cause of Down syndrome, when he saw…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Profile Of A “Saturday Vigil Commando”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Meet the Saturday vigil commando: She will go to Mass any day of the week, at practically any time of the day, except Sunday. She is a veritable fixture at the Saturday vigil Mass and will even return to the parish on Sundays faithfully once per month to help count the offertory collection, but will…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church… The Great Catholic Library: The Bible

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 10 “Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,” said St. Jerome, one of the greatest Bible scholars of all times, who translated the whole Bible from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into Latin in the fourth century — over one thousand years before Martin Luther preached his heresies in Europe. Luther and his followers down…Continue Reading

Liturgical Diversity And Unity

By DON FIER In considering where the liturgy is celebrated, we saw last week that “the worship ‘in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24) of the New Covenant is not tied exclusively to any place because Christ is the true temple of God” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCCC], n. 244). It is through Him that the…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I would like to know where St. Patrick is buried. — M.A., Pennsylvania. A. St. Patrick, who died in AD 461, is thought to be buried next to Down Cathedral in Northern Ireland. Once a former Benedictine monastery that was built in 1163, the church now belongs to the Church of Ireland and is known as the Cathedral Church…Continue Reading

Seek What Is Above

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Eccl. 1:2; 2:21-23 Col. 3:1-5, 9-11 Luke 12:13-21 “Vanity of Vanities, all things are vanity!” What a great line and what profound insight Solomon shows in writing these words. Most everything that the world holds up to be of some importance is nothing but vanity. Unfortunately, it is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Cassian

By CAROLE BRESLIN Frequently, the lives of the saints demonstrate that God calls us to go in directions that we would never consider unless it became clear that it is God’s will. St. Francis Xavier went to the Far East, St. Damien died in Hawaii on the opposite side of the world from his native Belgium, and St. John Cassian…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Saints Louis And Azelie-Marie Guerin Martin

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Lord sends the Church the men and women who are needed to keep her holy in times of trouble. Among these are: St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Faustina, and the first married couple ever to be canonized together: Louis and Azelie-Marie (Zelie) Martin. Their feast day is…Continue Reading

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading