Damian Thompson Damian Thompson

Satanists are planning to desecrate the Host at a Black Mass. Let’s stop them

Satan-worshippers are planning to hold a Black Mass in Oklahoma next month. My usual reaction to this news would be: go right ahead. On your own head be it. Those camp Anton LaVey rituals are so 1970s.

But there’s a twist – one that truly deserves the adjective ‘satanic’. The nutjobs organising the ceremony on September 21 have got hold of a consecrated Host. It arrived in the mail, they say, purloined from a Catholic church. So it really will be a traditional Black Mass, described by the Catholic World Report as a ‘ritual centred around the desecration of the Eucharist, which is generally done by stealing a consecrated host and using it in a profane sexual ritual, or defecating and urinating on it’.

In my opinion we could dismiss this as a squalid stunt if the satanists were planning on using the harmless piece of bread that self-described ‘Bishop’ Jonathan Blake actually will pop in the post – ‘Post a Host’ – for members of his own strange denomination.

But this is the real thing – that is, for hundreds of millions of Catholics, the Body of Our Lord. To quote Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, the ritual will be ‘grievous sacrilege and blasphemy of the first order’. He is suing the organisers, on the grounds that a consecrated Eucharist belongs to the Church.

That seems a bit mild, but if it works, fine. And if it doesn’t work? I’d like to think that every Catholic in America will converge on the venue, the Oklahoma City Civic Center music hall. I’m not advocating violence, but if the Satanists are citing First Amendment freedom of religion let’s see a robust demonstration of free speech by a papal visit-sized crowd.

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