The recent news that the organizer of the Oklahoma City Black Mass gave up the consecrated Host that he intended to desecrate at the event appears to have caused confusion in some Catholic circles.
The Catholic Culture website interpreted the story as meaning that the Black Mass had been "thwarted," while the Catholic League rang out huzzahs that the event had been "nixed." However, the latest news, as well as Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley's plan to continue to counter the event, suggests that Satanists still intend to have their day, to one degree or another, at the Oklahoma City Civic Center.
For starters, the Black Mass is still listed on the Oklahoma City Civic Center website. Moreover, William Crum writes in The Oklahoman that Black Mass organizer Adam Daniels, who, in the face of a lawsuit, surrendered the consecrated eucharistic wafer to the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, "issued a statement Thursday evening saying he would go ahead with the black Mass using coarse black bread, 'the original host that has been used since 1666' ":
“I refuse to waste thousands of dollars fighting over a nasty cookie that some man said a prayer over,” Daniels said in the statement. “We will still move forward with worshiping the Devil and blaspheming Gawd in the public square.”
Upon the return of the Host, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City said in a statement that it continued to oppose the Black Mass:
Archbishop Coakley has made repeated requests for the city’s leaders to cancel the satanic ritual in a publicly funded facility.
“I have raised my concerns … 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.”
On Sept. 21, the day the satanic ritual has been scheduled, the archbishop invites the Catholic community as well as all Christians and people of good will to join him in prayer for a Eucharistic Holy Hour at 3 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1901 NW 18, followed by an outdoor Procession and Benediction.
For anyone trying to understand what is at stake here, Coakley's statement (as well as a comprehensive previous Oklahoman article noted here at GetReligion) helps make things clear.
The return of the Host removes what was, for Catholics, the most grave threat posed by the Black Mass: the desecration of the eucharistic Body of Christ. But the Black Mass itself, even without the Eucharist, remains a deeply offensive mockery of Catholic faith and worship.
So long as the taxpayer-funded Oklahoma City Civic Center continues to host it, the event will be a point of contention for Catholics disturbed by what they see as a state-sanctioned Satanic attack upon their faith.
One last note regarding the Oklahoman coverage: Crum's story noted above includes a bit of oddly sourced information. After writing that an archdiocese spokeswoman did not respond to the question of what would be done with the returned Host, the article states,
Directions posted on the Internet for parishioners who assist with communion at St. John’s Catholic Church in Darwin, Minn., say consecrated wafers that are unfit for consumption must be dissolved in water and poured into the sacrarium, a sink that drains directly to the earth beneath the church.
Did the Oklahoman really have to go as far as the website of a Catholic church in Minnesota to find out what is done with a consecrated Host unfit for consumption?
I get it that the archdiocese did not respond, but could no priest be found in Oklahoma City willing to answer a non-political, non-controversial question having to do with canon law? If that were the case, a simple call to the doctrine office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops would have answered the question, and with a greater guarantee of accuracy than an individual parish's website. As a lay Catholic, I can tell you that journalists should no more rely upon parish websites for information on church doctrine than they should rely upon Wikipedia.
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