Harvard Satanic black mass to proceed tonight despite protests

AP

Despite calls for the event to be cancelled from the university, Catholic leaders, as well as from fellow students, Harvard Extension School's satanic black mass will proceed as planned tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club has invited the Satanic Temple onto campus to conduct the ritual on May 12. A black mass is a satanic ceremony that mocks the traditional Catholic mass. It often involves desecration of the Eucharist, and inviting the devil in, instead of casting him out.

The Archdiocese of Boston has repeatedly asked the students to cancel the ceremony.

"I would say that the event is an attack on the Eucharist, regardless of what the organizers state," Archdiocese spokesman Terry Donilon told Fox News. "The event is offensive to Catholics and people of good will."

Robert Neugeboren, Dean of Students and Alumni Affairs at Harvard Extension School, called the on-campus satanic ritual "deeply disturbing."

"We do not agree with the decision to stage an event that is so deeply disturbing and offensive to many in the Harvard community and beyond," Neugeboren said in a statement. "While we support the ability of all our students to explore difficult issues, we also encourage them to do so in ways that are sensitive to others."

The Cultural Studies Club has stated that it does not intend to offend anyone, and that the satanic ritual will be an "educational" event.

"Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes, but instead to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices," they wrote in a statement. "This performance is part of a larger effort to explore religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture."

To combat the black mass, the archdiocese has organized a holy hour tonight at 8 p.m. at St. Paul's Church in Cambridge. Other congregations throughout the area will also host prayer meetings tonight.

"The best way to combat hateful speech is to overwhelm it with loving and prayerful speech, and that is what we intend to do," Reverend Luther Zeigler, president of the Harvard Chaplains, told Fox News.

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