“We know that Christ is victorious!”
Oklahoma City’s Archbishop Paul Coakley spoke those words in his homily during the Holy Hour of Reparation that took place in protest of the black mass held in the city’s civic center on September 21, 2014.
Archbishop Coakley’s words are not words of grief and discouragement, as one could expect in such a dark moment of our country’s history. Rather, his words convey the profound faith and trust in God that we all must have, whether we’re facing the brazenness of satanists or the trials that challenge us in our daily lives. The victory already has been won; we need only keep our eyes on the Cross and walk forward in the footsteps of Christ. Addressing the large crowd, Archbishop Coakley said:
Those bold and stirring words are a message of hope to all of us and not only to those who gathered outside of the Oklahoma Civic Center where the satanists carried on their mockery and desecration of the holy Eucharist. Since the announcement that the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu would officiate at the satanic ritual known as a “black mass” in the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall, Archbishop Coakley repeatedly urged public officials to cancel the event and asked the faithful to pray and sacrifice that the ritual would be cancelled.
A black mass is a ritual that is an inversion of the Catholic Mass and usually includes the desecration of a consecrated Host. In the Oklahoma event, however, the satanists claim to have returned the Host they’d obtained through illicit means. Archbishop Coakley was at the forefront of the effort to regain the Host from the satanists, which also included an online petition signed by more than 100,000 people.
The fact that the “mass” took place in spite of the heroic efforts of Oklahoma City’s archbishop and the prayers of many faithful Catholics throughout the country could have left Catholics feeling defeated, especially the Archbishop himself. That is why his message of victory is even more surprising and vital. It’s one that we must mediate on, internalize, and incorporate into our faith life.
[Christ] has conquered Satan. He has destroyed the reign of sin and the power of death through his holy Cross and glorious Resurrection.
No number of black masses can change that. The Archbishop reminds us that through our faith and Baptism, we share in Christ’s victory. We may face present and future battles, but we will never face defeat as long as we cling to the Cross of Christ and the hope in the Resurrection.
So, too, in the day-to-day skirmishes we experience. When we battle job insecurity, family conflicts, addictions, violence, and the endless list of other temptations that threaten to subvert our Catholic faith, we can remain confident that Christ already has won the victory for us. We know that Christ is victorious! He’s as much victorious in a dire situation like the black mass in Oklahoma City as he is in our own homes, in our own hearts. We must never forget that.
The satanists might consider the Oklahoma black mass a victory, since for all practical purposes they achieved what they wanted – to publicly defile the Catholic Mass. In reality, they’ve been duped. Such incidents won’t scare the faithful into submitting to their evil. Rather, it will unite us and encourage us to more boldly “bear the standard of the Cross and our share of the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his Body, the Church.” We know that Christ is victorious.
Marge Fenelonis a Catholic author, columnist, and speaker and a regular guest on Catholic radio. She’s written several books about Marian devotion and Catholic family life, including Strengthening Your Family: a Catholic Approach to Holiness at Home (Our Sunday Visitor, 2011) and Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom (Ave Maria Press, 2013). Find out more about Marge at www.margefenelon.com.