Unable to find new location, Harvard club drops satanic black mass
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- After being unable to find an off-campus location that would host the club's black mass, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club announced it would no longer be sponsoring the event, but the New York-based Satanic Temple planned to stage their own black mass at an "undisclosed private location."
Earlier Monday, the Harvard University student club hosting a satanic black mass decided to move the event off campus, but was having difficulty finding a location.
Just after 5 p.m., the Harvard Crimson reported that the event, which is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. has been moved off campus due to "grave misinterpretations about the nature of the event." The event, put on by the extension school's Cultural Studies Club, was then scheduled to place at the Middle East, a bar and club in Cambridge's Central Square, but a manager told the Crimson that negotiations had broken down.
The group coming from New York to participate in the planned black mass said it would continue plans to hold the event 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 Crimson reported that the Satanic Temple held their black mass in the lounge of the Hong Kong, a restaurant and nightclub in Harvard Square.
Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust called a student club's decision to reenact a satanic black mass "abhorrent," but said the school must uphold its values of open discussion and debate even in the face of controversy.
In a statement released Monday, Faust said the planned reenactment "challenges" the university to "reconcile the dedication to free expression at the heart of a university" with their commitment to "foster a university based on civility and mutual understanding."
"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," said Faust.
Faust went on to say that the black mass mocks a deeply sacred event on the Catholic religion and is highly offensive.
"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," said Faust, who added that the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs.
The Cultural Studies Club responded to Faust's remarks in an email to the Harvard Crimson, stating that “[Faust] is correct that [the black mass’s] historical origin was a means of denigrating the Church, but that was at a time when the Church was guilty of all sorts of horrific abuses,” the Club wrote in an email to the Crimson. To fail to take the context into account is completely disingenuous.”
Several Catholic organizations have spoken out against the mass, which is expected to take place Monday night inside Memorial Hall.
Faust plans to join other members of the community at a Eucharistic Holy Hour and Benediction at St. Paul's Church on the university's campus Monday.