The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has condemned plans by an independent student group of the Harvard Extension School to stage a historical reenactment of a satanic ritual that mocks the Catholic Mass.
The group, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, says its reenactment of the so-called black mass is intended as an educational activity to provide history, context, and the origin of the ritual as part of a student-led series exploring different cultures. The group said the event, planned for Monday, is not designed to insult religious traditions.
That reassurance did not mollify the archdiocese, which on its Facebook page issued a statement expressing “deep sadness and strong opposition to the plan to stage a ‘black mass’ on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge.”
“For the good of the Catholic faithful and all people, the church provides clear teaching concerning satanic worship,” the archdiocese said. “This activity separates people from God and the human community, it is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil.”
A black mass is an often obscene mockery by satanic cults of the Mass performed in the Catholic Church. The ritual, for example, might substitute the bare back of a woman for an altar. To complete the desecration, the black mass generally uses a consecrated host, the bread or wafer blessed at Mass that Catholics believe is the body of Christ.
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