Amid Opposition, Extension School Club Will Hold Satanic Black Mass Demonstration

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The Archdiocese of Boston, which oversees Catholic churches and schools in the area, also denounced the event.

“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,” the Archdiocese wrote in a statement earlier in the week.

In response, the Cultural Studies Club wrote in an email to The Crimson that its reenactment should not be seen as offensive.

“The event does not promote hate or incite violence, and it does not silence anyone. The complaints are founded metaphysical concerns, and there is simply a disagreement with regards to how this faith is practiced,” the club wrote.

“The flawed assumption seems to be that because Satan is the representation of evil incarnate for some faiths, that Satanist[s] are part of a hate group and their practice devoted towards denigrating Catholicism,” the organization’s statement continued. “The point of this event is to challenge the stigmatization of marginalized groups.”

With the event scheduled for Monday, some groups have made efforts to try to cancel the event or demonstrate against it.

A petition opposing the event, organized by Matthew R. Menendez ’14, has, according to Menendez, received the signatures of 370 Harvard students and 100 alumni. The petition demands that the University prevent the event from taking place because it “offends all who have faith in Christ” and “promotes contempt for the Catholic faith.”

Menendez, a member of the Harvard Catholic Student Association, said that many Catholics like himself are offended by the event, which he deems hateful and unproductive.

“We found that this is embarrassing to the Harvard community and not only attacks our religion as Catholics in a very direct way, but in no way promotes an open intellectual dialogue,” Menendez said. “There are other ways to educate, and it does not seem that having something that is so hateful fits the mission of Harvard. It is unfair to portray this as an educational or cultural event, when it is a mockery.”

Menendez said that, due to the demonstration, he is not planning on donating to the Senior Gift. He also said that he thinks that the event will have lasting implications for University community.

“It exposes other groups to the possibility of similar hateful speech, and we do not think this is the kind of thing that is conducive to having an intellectual dialogue,” Menendez said.

In response to the “black mass” demonstration, the Archdiocese announced Friday that it plans to hold a prayer vigil on Monday followed by a Eucharistic procession to St. Paul Church, which will subsequently hold a “holy hour.” Harvard College Faith and Action has also scheduled a prayer event in response to the reenactment, according to Olivia J. Krusel '15, the organization’s vice president.

Despite repeated requests for comment, the Cultural Studies Club has not responded to questions about its leadership or membership, although it did say that its formulation required 10 members.

—Staff writer Theodore R. Delwiche can be reached at theodore.delwiche@thecrimson.com. Follow him on twitter @trdelwic.

—Staff writer Alexander H. Patel can be reached at alex.patel@thecrimson.com. Follow him on twitter @alexhpatel.

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