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Has the Harvard Black Mass Been Called Off?

Tim Sackton

Brantly Millegan - published on 05/12/14

Organizers say the event will no longer take place on Harvard's campus, but it's unclear if a new location has been found.

According to the Harvard Crimson, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club’s Black Mass will not take place on campus tonight as was previously the plan.

Club leaders sent out an email earlier today saying they had decided to move the event to an off-campus location due to the controversy surrounding the event, but without being forced by the Harvard administration.

Harvard president Drew Faust had, however, issued a statement calling the planned Black Mass "abhorrent" and saying that she would attend a Eucharistic adoration counter-ceremony on campus.

Citing “misinterpretations about the nature of the event were harming perceptions about Harvard and adversely impacting the student community," the club’s email said the Black Mass would take place at The Middle East nightclub in Central Square at 9:00 p.m., but the Crimson reports that the night club’s general manager says negociations with the club fell through and the night club will not be hosting the Black Mass.

It’s not clear where the Black Mass will take place, if it takes place at all.

The club’s email also said:

“While it is unfortunate that many people took personal offense at rituals for which they have little or no understanding of their context, what we find most disturbing have been the demands that the rituals and beliefs of marginalized members of society be silenced. It is gravely upsetting to us that some people feel vindicated on the basis that they have disingenuously mischaracterized our invited guests as being part of a hate group.

"[We hope the event] draws attention to the bullying techniques of dominant powers and how they intimidate to silence voices they do not agree with or understand.”

By way of commentary, I’ll simply note that the club’s leaders appear to be genuinely surprised why anyone might be against them publicly performing a Satanic ritual created with the specific intention of mocking the Catholic mass.

Brantly Millegan is Assistant Editor for Aleteia. He is also Co-Editor of Second Nature and Co-Director of the International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity. He is finishing up a M.A. in Theology at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity and will begin working on a Ph.D. in theology at the Catholic University of America this fall. He lives with his wife and children in South St. Paul, MN. His personal website is brantlymillegan.com.

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