If you’ve read the news lately, a group at Harvard University has caused quite a stirring, especially in Catholic circles, with a proposal to do a historical re-enactment of a “black Mass”. While many are outraged that the Harvard administration has essentially washed their hands of it, this situation has provided an opportune time to examine the whole idea and the critical issues at hand.
To be clear, what Catholics celebrate at Mass is the true presence of the crucified Christ, under the form of bread, in the Eucharistic host. A “black Mass” is a satanic ritual that worships the devil through a mockery of the Catholic Mass and desecration, or torturing of a consecrated host. The Harvard group purports it is planning to use an unconsecrated host. However, does that make it ok?
The whole idea of freedom of religion is that we have the right to worship how we choose, without fear of discrimination or persecution. Ina certain sense, some may try to argue that disallowing a “black Mass” goes against the principle of religious liberty. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our rights exist so long as we do not infringe on someone else’s, and we are free to choose our religion so long as it does harm others (Westboro Baptist Church, anyone?)
In this case, a black Mass is a direct and serious mockery of the Catholic Church. Satanic worship is a cult which embraces violent and evil acts, similar to the KKK. Certainly, if a group from Harvard were to propose a historical re-enactment of KKK rituals and burnings or hangings, even as a “fake” play for educational purposes, this would immediately be denounced as a ludicrous, insensitive, and unjust action towards African Americans. How then, can we allow the same hate crime in a different context against the Catholic Church?
Any institution that prizes its intellectual advancement should take care not to compromise its values for the sake of education. Liberty is a precious gift, but it must be safeguarded. We cannot act in the name of education and supposed rights when in fact we are violating the rights of others. Many hurtful things have been done in the past in the name of education and rights (consider all the horrific experiments the Nazis performed on the Jews). Let’s move towards a more positive future that respects all people.
CitizenGO is an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of American citizens. They have drafted a petition to Harvard to ask them to stop this offensive proposition. You can sign the petition here: http://www.citizengo.org/en/6940-harvard-promotes-satananic-ritual-mass?tc=fb&tcid=3629614