The archbishop of Oklahoma City is continuing to ask the faithful for prayers as the day draws closer when, in his words, a publicly-performed satanic ritual will invoke “powers of evil and invite them into our community.”
In a final appeal before Sunday’s performance of the “Black Mass” at the Oklahoma City Civic Center, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley urged Catholics to “demonstrate our faith in the power of the Lord’s grace by praying for the conversion of those who are perpetrating this sacrilege and are bound by the Evil One.”
He also warned anyone who may be attending the ritual that they are putting their souls in danger.
For months, the archbishop and others have been appealing to city officials for cancellation of the performance, scheduled for Sunday evening at 7 in an 88-seat theater within the Civic Center. Officials have declined to cancel the reportedly sold-out performance, saying that as a public facility, the Civic Center is required to rent to organizations and individuals as long as they abide by the law and the center’s policies and procedures.
Jennifer Lindsey-McClintock, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department and the Civic Center Music Hall, told Aleteia today that they are anticipating protests on Sunday and that there will be a police presence to ensure the safety of groups who will be there to protest.
“As a professional event facility, our staff is trained to handle multiple scenarios, including those of a controversial nature,” she said. “From a basic event standpoint, we are treating this much like most other events that come through our hall, with the inclusion of additional security being provided by the Oklahoma City Police Department.”
She said that only individuals who hold a ticket to the event will be allowed inside the building and that members of the Oklahoma City Police Department will be inside the theater to monitor the event for any illegal activity.
In order to comply with local laws, the group had to make a few changes to the ritual they intend to perform. Instead using a naked woman as an altar, she’ll be wearing lingerie, and vinegar will substitute for urine.
“Event staff will check [the vinegar] prior to the event taking place,” McClintock said.
Nearly 103,000 people have signed an online petition to halt the black mass. Negotiations the archbishop conducted with city officials did not sway them, and the archdiocese, through a law firm, also had to contend with the satanic sect that is performing the black mass, the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, which claimed to be in possession of a consecrated Host it promised to desecrate during the ritual. Facing a lawsuit, the sect handed over the Host, which it claimed to have obtained from a priest in a foreign country who is a member of the Dakhma.
The leader of the Dakhma, Adam Daniels, is a registered sex offender, convicted in 2009 of "sexual battery of persons over the age of 16," according to the state’s sex offender registry, which notes that he has satanic tattoos "all over body."
Archbishop Coakley, along with Bishop Edward Slattery in nearby Tulsa, Okla., have urged Catholics to fight the project with prayer and fasting. Both outlined a novena of prayer that the faithful could take part in, individually and in their parishes, leading up to the feast of the Assumption last month.
“All the parishes have conducted holy hours (or will before Sunday),” said Kelly Fanning, a spokeswoman for Christ the King Catholic Church in Oklahoma City, told Aleteia today. “The holy hour at Christ the King was attended by about 75 people and the holy hour at the cathedral by about 60.”
The archbishop also plans to conduct a Eucharistic Holy Hour and Procession at an Oklahoma City church several hours before the black mass is performed.
“In spite of our apparent inability to prevent this sacrilegious event from taking place, I am grateful for a number of blessings that have accrued through this trial,” Archbishop Coakley wrote in his monthly column, which appears on the website of the archdiocese. “I am grateful for the significant legal victory that allowed us to regain possession of the consecrated Host that would have been desecrated during the black mass. I am deeply grateful for the strong response to our appeal for prayer throughout the Christian community. People across Oklahoma, throughout our great country and around the world have responded with prayer and fasting. We have been given an opportunity to express our faith in the Lord and our profound gratitude for his gift of the Eucharist through acts of devotion. Many of our Catholic people have been appealing to St. Michael the Archangel for heavenly protection against the powers of evil in our world.”
The archbishop urged anyone planning to go to the Civic Center Sunday to protest the event to “avoid confrontations.” He also sought to discourage anyone planning to attend the black mass in order to pray or protest while inside the event not to do so.
“Please do not enter the venue,” he wrote. “It would be presumptuous and dangerous to expose oneself … to these evil influences.”
Archbishp Coakley also asked Catholics to prayer for the conversion of “those who are perpetrating this sacrilege and are bound by the Evil One.”
“Even though our city leaders apparently do not take this threat seriously, I do,” he adi. “As a Catholic priest and bishop I have witnessed in my ministry the battle between forces of good and evil in both ordinary and extraordinary ways. It is not merely a struggle rooted in human weakness and ignorance, though these are certainly the source of much suffering and mayhem in our lives and in our world. Demonic activity and the chaotic forces of evil are very real. The madness of war accompanied by increasingly brutal acts of terror, the violence in our schools and communities are all evidence that something is terribly wrong.”
is news editor for Aleteia’s English edition.