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Boston Archdiocese condemns 'black mass' at Harvard

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BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese of Boston announced opposition, May 7, to a planned so- called "black mass" scheduled to be reenacted on campus at Harvard University.

"The Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Boston expresses its deep sadness and strong opposition to the plan to stage a 'black mass' on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge," the archdiocese said in a statement.

The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club will host the reenactment to be held May 12 at Queens Head Pub in Memorial Hall, on campus. The Satanic Temple, a group known for promoting controversy such as pushing to have a Satan statue built outside the Oklahoma Capitol, will perform what it called a reenactment -- said to be an inverted recreation of the Catholic Mass.

The archdiocesan statement reiterated Church teaching regarding the practice of Satanic worship.

"This activity separates people from God and the human community, it is contrary to charity and goodness, and it places participants dangerously close to destructive works of evil," it said.

The archdiocese also called faithful and people of good will to pray and ask that Harvard disassociate itself from the event.

The Satanic Temple had reported having a consecrated host to use in the ceremony, but later stated publicly that it did not have a consecrated host and did not intend to offend any particular religion.

Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club released a statement, and confirmed that no consecrated host will be used.

"While a piece of bread is used in the reenactment, the performance unequivocally does not include a consecrated host. 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," the club said.

Harvard Extension School affirmed the right of students and student clubs on campus to exercise freedom of expression, even in such cases.

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