Fr. Roger J. Landry
Putting into the Deep
August 22, 2014
Every Tuesday night, the Church has all priests, religious and lay people who pray the Liturgy of the Hours ponder before bed St. Peter’s words to the early Church, “Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith” (1 Pet 5:8-9).
Since the devil never sleeps, we’re called perpetually to be vigilant and, with the strength that comes from faith, resist and reject him, his empty promises and his evil works.
This obtains on an individual level, in recognizing and repelling the subtle ways that Satan seeks to tempt and devour us.
But, as we heard on the Assumption, it also pertains on a macro scale, to the way the “huge red dragon” seeks to attack “the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth” (Rev 12:4), a phrase that refers both to Mary and Christ as well as to the Church and her progeny.
Back in May, many of us were reawakened to the reality of the devil and those on whom he is feasting when a cultural club at Harvard’s extension school sought to collaborate with New York’s Satanic Temple to stage a re-enactment of a Satanic “black Mass” on the Harvard campus.
With only four days to mobilize, intrepid Catholic students at Harvard were assisted by colleagues on other campuses, priests at the Harvard Catholic Center, faculty, alumni, 70,000 people who signed petitions, and scores of parishes and convents around the country and world all working together to shut it down.
The massive, joint effort succeeded. Harvard President Drew Faust condemned the Satanic mass, set in motion the chain of events that killed it on campus, and attended a packed holy hour of Eucharistic adoration and reparation.
But the prowling lion never remains recumbent for long. Another provocative black Mass has been scheduled for September 21 at Oklahoma City’s Civic Center Music Hall and it’s time to mobilize again, solid in our faith, to resist these efforts.
The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has begun a period of prayer, penance and public action to raise awareness about the upcoming black Mass and urge the faithful to contact the Oklahoma City Mayor and charitably urge him to use his office to help shut it down. The neighboring dioceses of Tulsa and Wichita have joined in these efforts. Massachusetts Catholics, who were helped by so many from around the country in May, can now return the favor by our prayers and participation.
The Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, which paid $420 to rent the Civic Center’s 88-seat City Theater to stage the sacrilege, doesn’t mask on its website what they intend to do. “The modern form of the Black Mass” celebrates, they state, the “perversion of the Catholic Mass.” A consecrated host is “corrupted by sexual fluids” to “mock the Catholic Mass” and “deprogram people from their Christian background.” They say they’ve “toned down” what they will do on Sept. 21 so that they won’t break state laws on “nudity, public urination and other sex acts” — which are a routine part of Satanic worship — but emphasize that they will still commit the Eucharistic desecration designed to help them “receive a ‘blessing’ from the Devil.”
A spokeswoman for the Civic Center Music Hall stated that because it’s a city-owned facility, it can’t turn away productions “based on their content” provided that they “comply with our policies and ordinances and have paid the established rental fees.”
Legally, that seems hogwash. Oklahoma state law bans blasphemy and the OKC Municipal code protects against degrading any individual’s religion or vandalizing any religious property, and what could be more degrading to Catholics’ religion than publicly vandalizing Catholicism’s most sacred treasure of all, the Eucharist?
It’s impossible to believe that if the same group were trying to rent the City Theater next April to “celebrate” the 20th anniversary of Timothy McVeigh’s terrorist attack on OKC’s Murrah Federal Building, the Civic Center would not be feigning impotence, but would find the will to refuse the event and defend itself against a potential, frivolous lawsuit in response.
Like with the black Mass at Harvard, a petition has been started urging cancellation of the event (www.tfpstudentaction.org). As of August 18, there were 56,000 signatures. I would urge you to sign the petition. The more names it receives, the more civic officials will grasp that the world is paying attention and that the reputation of Oklahoma City and its leaders are on the line.
It would also be wise to send an email to OKC Mayor Mick Cornett (firstname.lastname@example.org) courteously asking him to use his office to do the right thing. The more tens of thousands of people reach out saying that they’re praying for him to shut down this offensive event in tax-supported public space, the easier it will be for him to exercise his political skills and will.
The most important thing we can do is to join those in Oklahoma in praying and doing penance for this event to be cancelled. Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley has asked that the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel be prayed daily and that people and parishes make Eucharistic holy hours “to avert this sacrilege and publicly manifest our faith in the Lord and our loving gratitude for the gift of the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our lives.”
God always seeks to bring good out of evil. The plans of Satanists to desecrate the holy Eucharist shows how seriously they take the Real Presence. It ought to help Catholics rediscover Eucharistic vigilance and piety and assist all those who are not “sober and alert” to reawaken to the devil’s ever prowling maleficence.