A Satanic High Mass was scheduled to be held tonight at a local pub on Harvard’s Cambridge campus, at Queen’s Head Pub. It was student sponsored and created via Harvard’s Extension Student Association. Harvard’s own President Drew Faust was allowing it to occur under our (selectively followed) US Constitutional 1st Amendment and Freedom of Speech. It appears that Faust is in opposition of it personally, since she herself is a Catholic, but as President of Harvard was not going to interfere in its occurrence.
The Black Mass is in direct contradiction and mocks the Holy Mass celebrated in the Catholic Church. The Satanic event is in direct conflict with all that Christians deem Holy and Sacred and is in itself Ant-Christ with its message. The Satanic Temple’s alleged response via Harvard’s Cultural Studies Club spokesperson,
“The Satanic Temple has informed us that they will stage their own Black Mass ceremony at an undisclosed private location to ‘reaffirm their respect for the Satanic faith and to demonstrate that the most powerful response to offensive speech is to shame those who marginalize others by letting their own words and actions speak for themselves,’ ” the studies club said.
Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the New York-based Satanic Temple, said in a phone interview that the event was canceled and said there were no plans to hold a mass, since a venue was no longer available for the organizers. He did not rule out coming to Cambridge in the future.
“We’ll consider any invitation,” he said.
Since Satan is the ‘Father of all lies” we don’t necessarily believe a leader practicing Satanism to tell the truth to anyone about anything.
We here at USDefenseLeague are grateful to our Father God through His Only Son, The Lord Jesus Christ and the Power of His Holy Spirit for using individuals to intervene in what may have been an eternally destructive event for many human souls.
It was reported that the Black Mass was canceled due to protests:
A Harvard University student club’s planned reenactment of a satanic ritual was canceled at the last minute, amid backlash from students, alumni and the Archdiocese of Boston.
The “black mass,” to be hosted by the Harvard Extension School’s Cultural Studies Club, would have taken place at a pub on the school’s Cambridge campus Monday night. The club called it a “reenactment” was intended solely for educational purposes. The ritual was historically performed to mock the Roman Catholic Church.
About an hour before the ritual would have been held, the dean of student affairs at Harvard’s Extension School said in a statement that the black mass had been moved to an off-campus location. Fox Boston later reported that the group then cancelled the event because it was unable to secure a new location.
Dean Robert Neugeboren said he was glad that the students finally decided to cancel, given religious leaders’ and other students’ firmly expressed reservations about the event.
Earlier on Monday, the Cultural Studies Club had faced strong criticism of its plans. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston, called the event “repugnant” in an interview with the Boston Globe. He added, “There’s a great fascination with evil in the world, but you know, it doesn’t lead to anything good.”
University President Drew Faust denounced the event in a statement, saying that “the decision by a student club to sponsor an enactment of this ritual is abhorrent.” He then said that students still have a right to free expression: “Vigorous and open discussion and debate are essential to the pursuit of knowledge, and we must uphold these values even in the face of controversy.”
Harvard President Drew Faust-
Statement on ‘Black Mass’MAY 12, 2014
A statement by President Drew Faust
The reenactment of a ‘black mass’ planned by a student group affiliated with the Harvard Extension School challenges us to reconcile the dedication to free expression at the heart of a university with our commitment to foster a community based on civility and mutual understanding. Vigorous and open discussion and debate are essential to the pursuit of knowledge, and we must uphold these values even in the face of controversy. Freedom of expression, as Justice Holmes famously said long ago, protects not only free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.
But even as we permit expression of the widest range of ideas, we must also take responsibility for debating and challenging expression with which we profoundly disagree. The ‘black mass’ had its historical origins as a means of denigrating the Catholic Church; it mocks a deeply sacred event in Catholicism, and is highly offensive to many in the Church and beyond. The decision by a student club to sponsor an enactment of this ritual is abhorrent; it represents a fundamental affront to the values of inclusion, belonging and mutual respect that must define our community. 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.
Nevertheless, consistent with the University’s commitment to free expression, including expression that may deeply offend us, the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs. At the same time, we will vigorously protect the right of others to respond—and to address offensive expression with expression of their own.
I plan to attend a Eucharistic Holy Hour and Benediction at St. Paul’s Church on our campus on Monday evening in order to join others in reaffirming our respect for the Catholic faith at Harvard and to demonstrate that the most powerful response to offensive speech is not censorship, but reasoned discourse and robust dissent.
Most of the Harvard Chaplains have spoken out against this evening’s Satanic Mass which was going to be moved off campus and was to be led by NYC Satanic Church ‘Satanic Temple’. The Harvard Crimson published their open letter in opposition to the Satanic Black Mass:
May 10, 2014—submitted to The Harvard Crimson
As Harvard Chaplains, we write to express our concern about the plans of a student group at Harvard’s Extension School to host a re-enactment of a “Black Mass” on campus this coming Monday evening. The students, who call themselves the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, are partnering with a New York-based organization known as the “Satanic Temple” to put on the event. Although the students have not released details of the performance they intend to stage, a “Black Mass” by its very nature typically involves the mockery and ridicule of the Christian sacrament of Holy Communion.For many Christians, the practice of sharing the bread and the wine of Communion embodies some of their deepest beliefs about humanity’s relationship to the transcendent as reflected in the life and teachings of Jesus. It is for them a sacred rite to be treated with the utmost respect and love. For this reason, many in our community—including especially our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters, who appear to be the target of this event—are understandably distraught and hurt when they learn that some of our students believe that an appropriate way to engage in learning about the religious beliefs and practices of others is to denigrate them through a mock performance like a “Black Mass.”The Harvard Chaplains represent a wide diversity of religious and philosophical perspective—including most of the major Western and Eastern religious traditions, as well as the perspectives of atheists, agnostics, and those genuinely uncertain about what they believe. One value that we share, however, is a commitment to engaging in discourse about life’s “big questions” in a manner that is open and honest, but also respectful. Our aim is to support the wider Harvard community in framing a thoughtful conversation about issues of meaning and value without the need to vilify or parody those with whom we differ. As chaplains we desire to help the wider community seek mutual understanding about religious matters; but just as important, when there is disagreement, as there often is, our hope is that we can learn to disagree in ways that are civil, caring, and supportive of our shared humanity.We hasten to add that we do not think the issue presented here is primarily one of “academic freedom.” Just because something may be permissible does not make it right or good. Whether or not these students are “entitled” to express themselves through the ceremony of a “Black Mass” as a matter of law or University policy is a distinct question from whether this is a healthy form of intellectual discourse or community life. We submit it is not.We urge the student organizers of the “Black Mass” to re-consider going forward with this event. If the event does go forward as planned, we would urge the rest of the community not to dignify it with your presence.
There are over twenty inter-faith Chaplains who are paid to be Chaplains on Harvard’s campus. Two of them are Humanist/Secular Atheists and one of them is an openly gay atheist, Chris Stedman, who holds the title “Assistant Humanist Chaplain” at Harvard. Stedman wrote an article stating his feelings on tonight’s Black Mass:
When I first heard about the planned “Black Mass” reenactment at Harvard Extension School, scheduled for tonight (Monday), I had mixed feelings. (Update: Organizers have announced they are moving the event to an off-campus site.)
I am an atheist and an advocate of free expression. But as a member of the Harvard community, this event troubles me—and it raises concerns about the selective ways in which we support free speech.
The Cultural Studies Club at Harvard Extension School has argued that the reenactment, led by the New York-based Satanic Temple, is intended to be educational: “Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes, but instead to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices.”
This event, however, is not merely a “different cultural practice.” It is designed to specifically parody and mock a sacred Catholic ritual.
As a Harvard chaplain working to support students of all religious and nonreligious identities, I can’t help but think of the many Catholic friends and social justice activists who have inspired me. Though one could argue the “Black Mass” is a sincerely practiced Satanic ritual, it also clearly targets Catholicism.
It should be no surprise, then, that Catholics at Harvard and beyond are concerned—as are many of us with Catholic friends and colleagues, myself included.
On the other hand, I’m resolutely committed to free expression. The right to freedom of speech—even speech that deeply offends—is essential. As a queer atheist, I’ve been the target of numerous attacks on my most central beliefs and my very personhood. Yet I understand that just as I must be free to condemn such speech, others must be free to offer it.
After listening to arguments for and against the planned “Black Mass,” I wasn’t sure how to respond—but then I spoke with an atheist friend who is also a former Catholic. She said that she thinks the Cultural Studies Club should certainly be allowed to host this event. But she also said that, even as an atheist, it feels like an attack on her Catholic family members and friends.
So I asked myself: How would I respond if this were a ceremony designed to mock the sincerely held beliefs, practices, or identities of another group? How would I feel if it were a “Black Seder” instead of a “Black Mass”? What if this were a ritual mocking a same-sex wedding ceremony? The sense of liberation an atheist feels when she can speak openly about her skepticism? A Muslim call to prayer?
Would I react in the same manner?
It is a difficult question that evades an easy answer.
I don’t mean to equate Catholicism with Islam, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) identity, atheism, Judaism, or any other identity or worldview. Muslims, Jews, Catholics, LGBTQ people, and atheists have historically experienced very different kinds of oppression and prejudice, and continue to today.
Rather, I’d like to invite all involved to consider how we sometimes unintentionally approach freedom of speech issues selectively, depending on the things that we care about—revealing our own biases in the process.
Ultimately, we cannot succumb to the desire to shut down free speech. But instead of immediately waving away concerns, we should also confront the sincerity behind both the “Black Mass”—and the responses to it.
Is there a genuine moral intent behind what appears to be a mockery of a practice that connects and strengthens many Catholics?
How should we approach practices that specifically target another community?
If this event is intended to educate, provoke discussion, and challenge religious ideas, is there another way to do so that invites critical thinking and conversation, rather than inciting suspicion and distrust between communities?
In other words, this situation is far too complicated for anyone to respond to the genuine offense of a group by simply saying, “Sorry, but freedom of speech.”
I’m heartened that most of the responses from the Harvard community haven’t called for the administration to intervene and cancel the event, or simply dismissed the concerns of Catholic members of our community—but have instead called for an expanded and inclusive dialogue. In a statement, Harvard President Drew Faust said, “I plan… to demonstrate that the most powerful response to offensive speech is not censorship, but reasoned discourse and robust dissent.”
Perhaps this incident will inspire diverse groups to meet with one another and openly discuss their disagreements and differences. I suspect that a conversation between Catholics, Satanists, and others could very well be more constructive than an event mocking a sincerely practiced Catholic ritual behind closed doors.
But then again, no issue concerning religious freedom and free expression is black and white—not even a “Black Mass.”
Harvard’s History and Mission
The origins of Harvard Divinity School and of the study of theology at Harvard can be traced back to the very beginning of Harvard College, when an initial fund of 400 pounds from the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony established the College in 1636. The founders of Harvard recorded their reasons for establishing this center of learning:
After God had carried us safe to New England and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government: One of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.
Because of the founders’ desire to perpetuate a learned ministry, preparation for religious learning and leadership continued to hold a position of importance as Harvard grew. The first named professorship in the College, and the oldest in the country, was the Hollis Professorship of Divinity. Endowed in 1721, it continues to the present. In 1811, the first graduate program for ministerial candidates was organized; and in 1816, Harvard Divinity School itself was established to ensure that “every encouragement be given to the serious, impartial, and unbiased investigation of Christian truth.” The Divinity School, the first nonsectarian theological school in the country, was the second professional school established at Harvard (the Medical School was founded in 1788).
Now, nearly two centuries later, the concerns of the founders of Harvard continue to guide the Divinity School, but within a much enlarged and broadened sense of mission, a mission that includes fostering first-rate scholars and important critical scholarship; preparing individuals for the professional ministry and for service professions; and developing not only religious leaders who will contribute to the national and international public discussion, but also leaders in a variety of other fields whose work will be enriched by religious and theological studies.
In 2008, the Divinity School faculty, students, and staff adopted a new HDS mission statement and associated set of goals and guiding principles to express the purpose of the School and the community’s aspirations for the twenty-first century:
Mission and vision
Drawing on its historical strength in Christian studies and its significant resources in global religious studies, Harvard Divinity School educates scholars, teachers, ministers, and other professionals for leadership and service both nationally and internationally. To help in building a world in which people can live and work together across religious and cultural divides, we strive to be a primary resource in religious and theological studies for the academy, for religious communities, and in the public sphere.
- Religious and theological studies depend on and reinforce each other;
- A principled approach to religious values and faith demands the intellectual rigor and openness of quality academic work;
- A well-educated student of religion must have a deep and broad understanding of more than a single religious tradition;
- Studying religion requires that one understand one’s own historical context as well as that of those whom one studies;
- An exemplary scholarly and teaching community requires respect for and critical engagement with difference and diversity of all kinds.
- To offer significant scholarly expertise in the Christian and other religious traditions;
- To offer, in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, world-class religious and theological studies for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students;
- To help diverse communities address contemporary issues in the light of the best scholarship and through exemplary preparation of ministers and other religious leaders;
- To provide strong resources for studying religion with attentiveness to issues of diversity—in regard to gender, race, ethnicity, religious tradition, and class;
- To foster a strong sense of community among our faculty, students, alumni, and staff.