Don't Worship The Devil

It’s long been said that Harvard, one of America’s most prestigious schools, is little more than Satan’s Vatican, albeit better funded. (Harvard’s operating budget is $3.7 billion as opposed to the Vatican’s paltry $300 million) With that in mind, it should come as no surprise to learn that the Bostonian liberal-left titan of Ivy League academe planned to host a Black Mass this May.

Understandably, Harvard’s latest exercise in devilry provoked a storm of outrage, not least among Boston’s Roman Catholics. Cardinal O’Malley, of the Archdiocese of Boston, called the act of devil worship “repugnant,” and hundreds attended a Eucharistic procession from MIT in Cambridge to St. Paul’s in Harvard Square, to pray against the event. Their prayers and the wishes of some 60,000 Alumni, students and professors, who signed a petition against the Black Mass, were successful. The infernal liturgy was cancelled and moved off-campus to a bar.

All’s well, perhaps, that ends well, and in fairness to Harvard, the event wasn’t directly sponsored by the university but by its Extension Cultural Studies Club. So, have these unfortunate students of what Senator McCarthy tellingly called the “Kremlin on the Charles,” extended themselves into black magic and the worship of Lucifer?

Apparently not; Harvard Extension claimed that the Black Mass wasn’t an act of real anti-Christian worship but a performance. 

“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,” announced the Cultural Studies Club President. “This performance is part of a larger effort to explore religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture.”

In other words, don’t worry, the satanic parody of the Eucharist in question is just a piece of theater to enlighten enquiring academic minds. Nonetheless, it’s theater that scorns and mocks Christianity. The Satanic Temple of New York, whose members were invited to perform the blasphemous Mass, admits as much; they’re not even real Satanists who believe in an actual Devil. According to Temple spokesman, Lucien Greaves, whose real name is Doug Mesner, none of the Temple’s members believe in “a supernatural entity known as ‘Satan’,” but use the Devil “as a metaphorical construct by which we contextualize our works.” 

So that’s alright then, the Temple’s devilish ritual is just a “metaphor,” but how can this express anything other than scorn and derision for Christianity? For people whose stated purpose doesn’t involve the denigration of a religion, Harvard Extension put on a pretty good show of doing just that. Imagine, for a moment, the outrage that would roil the university if a student club were to hold an anti-abortion performance, or a Mohammed-as-pedophile performance, or even, the horror, a play blaspheming feminist gender identity politics.

Unthinkable, isn’t it, but a virulently anti-Christian performance, and it doesn’t get much more so than a Black Mass, is apparently alright. Protestations to the contrary on the part of Mesner’s Temple and the Cultural Studies Club, there seems to be more than a hint of a genuinely diabolic spirit at play in this. A spirit, I’d argue, that runs deeper than merely offensive performance-art, bad as that is.

Say, for the sake of argument, that demons are real and really able to affect the world through the agency of their worshippers. What would that world look like? Without going too deeply into the arcane lore of occultism, we can safely posit certain things. A devilish society would, for example, encourage human sacrifice, especially infant sacrifice. That’s a satanic hallmark, look it up if you doubt me. Likewise, a demonic culture would encourage blasphemous inversions of Christian sacraments, such as marriage.

It would pour hatred and derision on Christian Faith and Morals, all the while encouraging their opposite. And granted that Satan is the “Father of Lies,” we can imagine his followers labeling their anti-virtues as the very thing they’re contradicting. Falsehood, in such a world, would be called truth, killing babies euphemized as “reproductive health,” and defending the love of a man and woman in marriage despised as “hate speech.” By the same token, as C.S. Lewis reminds us, tricking humanity into disbelief in their presence would count as a useful weapon in the demonic armory of deceit.

In short, a world that’s influenced by devils would act in a way that is diametrically opposed to Christianity. With that in mind, surely it doesn’t take too great a leap of imagination to see a genuinely hellish glare, to put it mildly, in contemporary culture. Our abortion statistics and the continued multi-million dollar state funding of Planned Parenthood alone, are proof enough, from a Christian point of view, of real live diabolic activity.

Seen in this light, what nearly went on at Harvard stands out as something sinister. No matter that the players concerned professed disbelief in the evil spirits they pray to, their intended actions spoke otherwise. In this they were giving perhaps not-so-mataphoric form to genuinely evil currents in the world at large; currents moved by wickedness personified in the evil spirits who rebelled against God and “wander through the world,” as the prayer says, “for the ruin of souls.” Is it going too far to see what almost went on at Harvard as an outward and visible sign, as a sacrament, of a broader evil in the world at large. I think not, and I’ll leave you to consider whether such a thing is truly diabolic or not.

Against that, we stand for the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of life instead of death, of love instead of hatred, of truth instead of lies, of righteousness instead of rebellion and salvation instead of the damnation promised to all who are at enmity with God. May that same Spirit rest upon us and all of God’s Holy Church, as it did upon the heads of the Apostles at the first Pentecost.

And may St. Michael the Archangel defend us in the day of battle.

Forward in Christ

Proclaiming the Faith and Order of the Church, given to us by Christ.