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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eye of the Tiber on the Black Mass

I've been very busy lately, so I haven't really had time for blogging. And apparently my co-blogger has been dealing with computer issues. In any case, we more-or-less skipped over the Harvard Black Mass debacle. I guess I have a few short reactions to it.

First of all, any claim that this is meant to be merely a cultural event, and not meant to offend anybody, is blatantly ridiculous. The claim might be made--albeit even then it would stretch the bounds of credibility--if this was, say, a pseudo-Black Mass, or if they skipped over the whole desecrating of the Eucharist part which is the the central aspect of a Black Mass. And they did, after all, initially make the claim to have obtained a consecrated Host for this express purpose. They retracted this claim later, of course, but why make the claim in the first place if not to specifically "offend" Catholics?

Second, I can't really give props to Harvard for not hosting this, because the university's response was at best tepid and seemingly forced. Many of the faculty and administrative staff have long since sold their souls, at least figuratively, and they seem to have backed down on this one only after strong public reaction against it. Even then, it doesn't seem to me that the university (or at least the university's president) really went so far as to say "no, we will not allow this on campus." The Canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters rightly compares the university's president's reaction here to that of Pontius Pilate towards the crucifixion of Jesus. In some sense, Pilate's washing of his hands was a better reaction, in that he could at least claim (vincible) ignorance about Jesus.

Finally, Eye of the Tiber replies with a dose of parody, lest people argue that this is really just a "cultural experience" which is not meant to offend any particular group. But really, offending faithful Catholics is the least of the sins here.

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