A satanic black mass re-enactment being planned by a student group at Harvard University was 'postponed indefinitely' on Monday, an hour before it was due to take place, reports the Catholic News Agency.
Originally, the black mass re-enactment was to take place on campus, at a pub in the basement of Memorial Hall. The Harvard Crimson reported late on the afternoon of May 12 that the event had voluntarily been moved to The Middle East nightclub, a short distance from campus.
However, shortly afterward, the general manager of the nightclub told the publication that negotiations had fallen through and the event would not be hosted there.
Connected to witchcraft and demonic worship, a black mass is a sacrilegious ceremony structured as a parody of the Catholic Mass. Invoking Satan, the ritual is centred around the desecration of the Eucharist, which is generally done by stealing a consecrated host from a Catholic church and using it in a profane sexual ritual, or defecating and urinating on it.
A spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, which is staging the event, initially told media outlets that a consecrated host would be used, although the temple and the Cultural Studies Club both later denied this, insisting that only a plain piece of bread would be used.
The plans for the black mass had drawn strong opposition from the Archdiocese of Boston, along with many students, alumni and members of the broader Catholic community.
Harvard senior Aurora Griffin told CNA that she presented university president Drew Faust with petitions against the event that had garnered more than 60,000 signatures.
In her cover letter, Griffin explained that the event does not promote an appreciation for cultural understanding, but instead 'promotes contempt for the Catholic faith', adding that 'supporters of genuine tolerance and civility are rightly offended and outraged that Harvard has permitted such an event.'
Photo: Crimson banners hang outside Memorial Church on the campus of Harvard University, 2012