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Current Events PopWrapped | Current Events

Harvard Students Host Satanic Black Mass, Angers Religious Campus Life

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


05/12/2014 7:10 pm
PopWrapped | Current Events
Harvard Students Host Satanic Black Mass, Angers Religious Campus Life
Media Courtesy of

Roxanne Powell

Senior Content Editor


Everyone has a right to their opinions. The freedom to choose who we are and what religion we follow is a highlight of being American. Yet even as people have the right to choose, they have the right not to choose. This past Monday sparked a rivalry between the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club and Catholics, when the New York-based school group hosted a two-hour ceremony Satanic Black Mass at the Queens Head pub in Memorial Hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to CNN's religious blog, the Harvard group will host event, while the ceremony itself will be performed by the Satanic Temple. The ceremony will include a narration to explain the history of Satanism and the importance of the ritual in their practice. While the history of Satanism and Black Masses in general are a bit fuzzy, this has not stopped Catholics from giving their opinion on the practice. They believe the purpose of the Black Mass is to mock Catholicism and all that it stands for. Indeed, the Masses have been known to parody Communion, lithurgical vestments, and other such sacraments. Terry Donilon, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston, gave a statement to Fox News following the announcement of the Mass. “I would say that the event is an attack on the Eucharist, regardless of what the organizers state,” he wrote in an email to the news site. “The event is offensive to Catholics and people of good will.” He continued: “For the good of the Catholic faithful and all people, the church provides clear teaching concerning satanic worship. This activity separates people from God and the human community, it is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places the participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil.” However, the Harvard student group does not see the harm in showing a different side of religion. There are many different practices, and none of them are "true" or "right." It's all a matter of opinion, and the students are only interested in broadening peoples' understanding of other cultures and practices. “Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes," the group stated. "[B]ut instead to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices.” The group went on to explain their intent to perform other ceremonies from different cultures, including the Shinto tea ceremony and a "presentation on Buddhist meditation." Despite their future plans to expand on their series, the Harvard University President Drew Faust has expressed his own displeasure over the event, going so far as to call it "abhorrent." "It is deeply regrettable that the organizers of this event, well aware of the offense they are causing so many others, have chosen to proceed with a form of expression that is so flagrantly disrespectful and inflammatory," Faust commented. While Faust allowed the Mass to continue due to the necessity of freedom of expression on campus, she herself attended evening prayer at St. Paul's Church in Cambridge. Lucien Greaves, the Satanic Temple's spokesman, said that while the Temple does not believe in the devil, they do advocate for freedom of religion and the need to strike a balance between practices. "At its best," the black Mass "is a declaration of personal independence from what some see as counterproductive cultural programming.” There are good points to every side of the argument, but the bottom line remains the same: freedom of religion means any religion. As long as nobody intends to harm anyone in the performance of this ceremony, then there is no reason why it cannot continue. For more information on Harvard's Black Mass, check out CNN or Fox News. What do you think? Should Harvard have gone through with the Black Mass? Keep Up With PopWrapped On The Web!



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