Archbishop Coakley calls on prayer warriors as "Dakhma of Angra Mainyu" pledges to go forward.
I’m sick of hearing about this ‘Consecrated Host,’" Adam Daniels, of the organization, the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu,
wrote in an emailed response to questions from Aleteia. "As my understudy has told other Catholic Inquisitors, the Eucharist was mailed to us by [a] friend. That is all I’m going to say about how it was attained [sic]. My question is, why is a piece of bread that some man said some words over so sacred?"
Daniels, who uses the title Dastur—the term for Zoroastrian high priest—said in a subsequent email today that "As far as I know, the host mailed to me is consecrated."
He confirmed that the black mass that is generating controversy in Oklahoma City and beyond, will go forward as planned on Sept. 21.
"The abridged Black Mass (from the
Satanic Rituals by [Anton] LaVey) will take place," he said. "Then The Choke [a local band] will perform. After that, Matthew Garman will have a Satanic (Ahrimanic) Exorcism done [which purports to remove the Holy Spirit from him]. Kelsey [Daniels] and I will be presiding over this rite. Before each ritual I will lecture on the purpose and point of each ritual as it pertains to the Ahrimanic [Satanic] Faith."
He added: "I’m renting a small space one time a year to educate the public about my religion. This is protected by my First Amendment Right as a citizen of the United States, not a brainwashed sheep of the Catholic Empire."
The event is to take place in a 92-seat theatre in the civic center. Daniels said no city official has asked him to reconsider the event, in light of protests by local Catholics, led by Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City. "Their [sic] are some who are quite tickled at all of this."
“In spite of repeated requests, there has been no indication that the City intends to prevent this event from taking place,” Archbishop Coakley wrote in a letter to the people of the archdiocese this week. "I have raised my concerns with city officials and pointed out how deeply offensive this proposed sacrilegious act is to Christians and especially to the more than 250,000 Catholics who live in Oklahoma.”
In the letter, dated Aug. 4, the Memorial of St. John Vianney, the archbishop said he is concerned about “dark powers” that the performance of a black mass would invite into the community “and the spiritual danger that this poses to all who are involved in it, directly or indirectly.” Though the event is being promoted merely as “some sort of dark entertainment, this Satanic ritual is deadly serious,” he said. “It is a blasphemous and obscene inversion of the Catholic Mass. Using a consecrated Host obtained illicitly from a Catholic church and desecrating it in the vilest ways imaginable, the practitioners offer it in sacrifice to Satan.”
Making “black masses” open to the public exposes people to serious evil, an exorcist warned in an interview with Aleteia after news of the Oklahoma City event was first known. “You cannot attend such an event—even if one does so merely out of curiosity, and not with any firm desire to worship Satan—without being adversely affected. The mere fact that this black mass in Oklahoma City will be public lends it a certain legitimacy, and I suspect that some people will go simply to be entertained. What they may not realize immediately is that simply by going, they will open themselves to the power of the demonic.”
In his letter, Archbishop Coakley called on Catholics of the archdiocese to intensify prayer in the weeks leading up to the event, scheduled for the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall. Beginning Aug. 6, the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, and continuing through the Feast of the Archangels, Sept. 29, the conclusion of each Mass in the archdiocese will include the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, which, prior to the liturgical reforms of the late 1960s, was recited after every Mass.
“I invite all Catholics to pray daily for divine protection through the intercession of this heavenly patron who once defeated Lucifer in his rebellion against the Almighty and who stands ready to assist us in this hour of need,” he wrote.
Archbishop Coakley also asked each parish to conduct a Eucharistic Holy Hour with Benediction at least once between the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Aug 15, and Sept. 21, the date of the planned black mass. On that day, he plans to conduct a holy hour and outdoor Eucharistic procession and benediction at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Oklahoma City at 3pm, four hours prior to the performance.
Among parishes participating is Christ the King in Oklahoma City. A spokeswoman, Kelly Fanning, described the mood in the archdiocese: "As you might expect, the mood among the Catholics with whom I’ve had direct communication about the matter is mixed, ranging from those who worry that we may be ‘over-reacting’ and inadvertently giving the black mass more attention than it might otherwise receive to those who feel strongly that this challenge to decency and all that is good and right must not stand without every effort of community advocacy, political action and, most importantly and perhaps most effectively, prayer."
The archbishop also asked Catholics in the archdiocese to contact Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett to express "outrage over this offensive and blasphemous sacrilege and this misuse of a tax-supported public space."
The mayor’s office has heard from many people since the archbishop first sent out a press release in early July, said a city spokeswoman. There has been an increase in these contacts since the archbishop’s new letter to Catholics was published Monday, she said.
"We can say that we’ve had calls from several states, and know that several from Oklahoma have spoken up," said the spokeswoman, Jennifer Lindsey-McClintock. "Overall the feedback has been that of anger and disappointment."
Archbishop Coakley first spoke out against the plans for the black mass in early July, when it was learned that the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu planned to stage the ritual. That news followed a similar controversy in the spring, when a New York Satanic group tried to present the rite at Harvard University. A large outpouring of Catholic prayer and protest led to the cancellation of that event.
Archbishop Coakley’s letter followed a similar appeal from Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., who asked Catholics in his diocese over the weekend to fast and pray from Aug. 6-15 so that the black mass may be cancelled.
Jim Brown, general manager of the Civic Center, has said that as a public facility, the center could not turn down a group that wanted to rent space there, as long as the group was law-abiding. Archbishop Coakley wasn’t buying that argument.
“It is hard to imagine the Civic Center turning a blind eye and allowing a group to use its facilities to burn a copy of the Koran, or to conduct an overtly anti-Semitic performance,” he said in an earlier statement.
John Burger is news editor for Aleteia.org’s English edition.