Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why I’m Honored When Satanists Mock the Mass

Dear Coffee Talkers,

It's been a while! There's been so much going on in the Catholic news scene, but so little time to write!

Some of you may know that I am one of the religion columnists for the local newspaper where I live. I haven't submitted any columns for a while because of pre-Easter and post-Easter busyness at the parish where I work, and family obligations, and also due to my occasional love of sleep. In any case, a man from my parish asked me a while ago when I was going to have another column in the paper, and he said something like, "Make it a good one -- something to stir people up, something controversial!"

I honestly wasn't thinking of what he'd said when I wrote this column today, but perhaps his exhortation was somewhere behind what follows. I wonder if they'll run it? Crazier things have happened...


          This week’s planned, then canceled, then relocated-to-a-Chinese-restaurant Harvard student group’s ‘Black Mass’ has certainly garnered a lot of attention. Understandably, many Catholic Christians were deeply offended by this satanic mockery of the central form of worship in Catholic Christianity, namely the Mass and the Eucharist. As a Catholic Christian myself, I am actually somewhat honored by this tremendous offense. Let me explain.

          I’ve learned that there are a couple major types of so-called satanists: theistic (or theological) satanists, who believe in satan as a deity and worship him, and atheistic satanists, who believe neither in the devil or in God but rather ‘worship’ themselves as their own God. It seems that the group responsible for the Harvard Black Mass happens to be of the atheistic variety, but in either case, let’s consider why any satanists would mock the Catholic Christian Mass and Eucharist specifically.

First, it seems that theistic satanists would want to pit the devil against Jesus, worshipping the evil one over his adversary. Satan, as the Prince of Darkness, would be worshipped over Jesus, the Prince of Peace and the Light of the World. In a real Black Mass, the actual Mass of Catholic Christians is not only mocked, but the Eucharist (a consecrated host which Catholic Christians believe to contain the true presence of Jesus’) is desecrated. If Jesus was not truly present in the Eucharist, why would they use a consecrated host at all? If this was just some crazy Catholic hoax, any piece of bread would do and the consecration of the host would be entirely irrelevant.

Secondly, considering the case of atheistic satanists who believe neither in God nor in the devil, their Black Mass seems more of a strict mockery than of actual devil-worship, an extreme exaltation of self over the worship of a Divine Other. The Harvard Black Mass was apparently conducted by this type of satanists, and it is said that a consecrated host was not used but that they originally had desired to use one. Again, why? If these people do not believe in God or in the devil, why do they not mock all major world religions? Why is there not an open mockery of the most sacred acts of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, or even of Protestant Christians? Instead, we see the now rather predictable mockery of Catholic Christianity and disrespect for the Mass and the Eucharist. If this type of atheistic Black Mass exalts the self as the ultimate authority and divinity, then it must set itself as an adversary against (and exalt itself above) the other source of authority and divinity: namely, the Catholic Church, its Mass, and the Eucharist.

When satanists (of theistic and atheistic varieties) start mocking any other world religion besides Catholic Christianity, maybe I’ll consider converting, but until then I’ll hold it as a deep honor that those who choose to worship darkness and self have pitted themselves against what I (and millions of Catholics worldwide) hold to be the source of true light, peace, authority, and divinity: Catholic Christianity, the Mass, and the Eucharist.

Holy Hour of Adoration and Benediction at St. Paul's, the home parish of the Harvard Catholic Student Association

As always, thanks for stopping by, and be assured of my prayers.

Peace and all good,