The Black Mass at Harvard

“Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae.”

“Truth for Christ and the Church.”

In view of what Harvard has become today, it seems oddly shocking to read what was once the motto of America’s oldest university. 

It seems odder still that an early directive to Harvard students laid out the purpose of all education as follows:

“Let every student be plainly instructed and consider well that the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus, which is eternal life.  And therefore to lay Christ at the bottom as the only foundation of all sound learning and knowledge.”

How things have changed since the Christian piety of John Harvard. 

Nowadays, such is the adherence to the progressivism’s principle of unthinking push for “diversity” that the Harvard Community of Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics positively glowed about Atheist Coming Out Week.  The community noted in a post on their website entitled “Out of the Profane Closet” that the Harvard Crimson applauded the coming out of atheists as “a very valuable initiative that we hope will raise awareness of the value of nonreligious ethics, as well as promote further dialogue and coexistence between those who seek their codes of conduct in the realm of the divine and those who don’t.”

Perhaps the development of “diversity” and the erasure of any sense that any stance is profane contributed to Harvard’s newer motto and seal, which contains  just one word: “Truth.” 

The idea that Truth can and should be separated from the Christian concept of a transcendent God who reveals Himself as Truth means that Truth can be anything one chooses it to be.  It means the erasure of any distinction between the sacred and the profane.

The reliance on human reasoning without faith and strict adherence to the progressive doctrine of cultural diversity may have been reasons the Harvard Extension Cultural Club decided to conduct a “black mass” as an exercise in “Truth,” describing the satanic rituals as “educational.” 

It’s hard to comprehend just how students’ minds would be broadened if they indulged in satanic worship, but according to a Boston Globe report on the Club’s attempts to create a Faustian atmosphere at the august university, the Harvard Extension Cultural Club “has continuously urged critics to widen their understanding of satanic worship.”  

The Globe reports that one unidentified spokesman said the event was meant “to be educational, not offensive,” adding that “Many Satanists are animal rights activists, vegetarians and artists with a strong sense of community.” Satanists, it seems, are actually do-gooders.

The club tapped the New York-based Satanic Temple to conduct the rituals, which, following the tenets of the blasphemous Marquis de Sade, have sometimes been accompanied by bizarre sex acts performed on an altar dedicated to Satan.  Usually the ceremony also includes the desecration of consecrated host and wine, which Catholics regard reverentially as the actual body and blood of Christ. 

The “black mass” itself is entirely unoriginal.  Worshipping Satan is accomplished by mocking and imitating by negation the holy rite of the Eucharist, which is a sacrament at the core of the Catholic (and Protestant) faiths. 

The black mass is not perceived by any but the deliberately deluded as “educational.”  It is more correctly perceived as a vicious attack on Christianity, particularly on Catholicism.  Certainly many Boston area Catholics correctly perceived the proposed enactment of a black mass as a blatant attack on their faith and protested accordingly, much to the faux shock of Lucien Greaves, spokesman for the New York Satanic Temple, who stated:

“Everyone involved, outside of the Satanic Temple, got really scared.  And I don’t necessarily blame them, because I understand that they were getting a lot of vitriolic hate mail, and I don’t think they expected it.”

 Greaves seems to have absorbed the meaning of Dostoevsky’s observation in The Brothers Karamazov that “if there is no God, then everything is permitted,” including a black mass.  Such is the hubris of those who dismiss matters of faith as unimportant or remnants of a superstition that should be discarded as belonging to the trash bin of history.  Greaves probably did not expect, along with the nascent and real Satanists invited to the educational event, much protest and outright anger from what he sees as deluded Catholics. 

But many Catholics were quite understandably outraged and protested loudly.  For them, if not Greaves, the black mass was as offensive and outrageous as deliberately desecrating the Koran is for Muslims. 

Catholics’ outrage was potent enough to make the promoters of the black mass back down.  The devotees of Satan finally decided to move the proposed celebration to the Hong Kong Lounge on Harvard Square, where evidently their enthusiasm for defiling the Eucharist fizzled out, ending in a few rounds of drinks.

Regardless of the fact the event was cancelled, the very fact it was to be held at Harvard, an institution once devoted to the education of the clergy, holds some lessons for all Christians, but particularly for Catholics.

First, as the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed, apparently anti-Catholicism is still an acceptable prejudice.

But matters are worsening to a degree unanticipated by Catholics and other Christians. 

According to the National Catholic Register, Professor Robert George of Princeton University, an institution also once as profoundly Christian as Harvard was, recently told attendees of the Catholic National Prayer Breakfast that he had a “somber message for them and other Christians: “The days of acceptable Christianity are over.  The days of comfortable Catholicism are past.”

George went on to warn that a “price is now demanded of all committed believers.”  The professor went on to say that there can be no more socially acceptable, tame Catholics who are ashamed of the gospel of Christ.  There will be increased costs for Christians who stand up for the traditional teachings of the Church on the dignity of human life and marriage.  

“To believe in the Gospel is to make oneself a marked man or woman,” George said. Certainly the vicious attacks against the twin Benham brothers, who are very deliberately being ruined by the atheistic Left, their very livelihood now being attacked because of their stand for traditional Christian values, are but one example ratifying George’s warning.

Author Peter Jesserer Smith goes on to write that Dr. George “reminded his audience that while Jesus Christ has won the ultimate battle, those who live during this time must one day ‘give an account for all we do’ before the ‘Lord of truth, the God of history […] One thing and one thing only will matter: Was I a faithful witness to the Gospel? My friends, the Gospel is true, and that is the most important thing to know. We’re betting our whole lives on it.”

John Harvard would have approved of George’s commitment to the veritas of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

It’s tragic to see how far Harvard, still one of the most revered educational institutions in the world, has strayed from not just the gospel of Christ, but even from the quest for any solid bases for Truth at all, substituting instead puerile, unthinking and dangerous ventures into the Dark Side.

Fay Voshell is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  Her articles also have been published in National Review, RealClearReligion and PJMedia. She may be reached at

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