(Updated) Harvard group’s black mass canceled
A controversial Satanic event that was scheduled to take place on Harvard University’s campus Monday night was canceled just hours before it was set to take place.
Late Monday afternoon, the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club sought to move the “black mass” off campus. However, a manager at The Middle East, the Central Square club where the group had planned to hold the re-enactment, said talks had fallen through, according to The Harvard Crimson. The student newspaper also said the event had been canceled after the student group withdrew its sponsorship.
“The Harvard Extension School is grateful the student group has recognized the strong concerns expressed by members of the Harvard community and beyond,” Robert Neugeboren, the school’s dean of students and alumni affairs, said in a statement.
The Satanic event created a controversy that spread beyond the campus. The Archdiocese of Boston spoke out against it and scheduled a “holy hour” to take place on campus at the same time as the scheduled “black mass.”
Earlier on Monday, Harvard President Drew Faust issued a statement speaking out against the decision to hold the event.
“The decision by a student club to sponsor an enactment of this ritual is abhorrent; it represents a fundamental affront to the values of inclusion, belonging and mutual respect that must define our community. It is deeply regrettable that the organizers of this event, well aware of the offense they are causing so many others, have chosen to proceed with a form of expression that is so flagrantly disrespectful and inflammatory,” she said in the statement.
However, Faust said that Harvard University is committed to free expression and that the decision to continue with the event despite the controversy is the group’s right.
A website hosting information on the event now says that registration for the black mass is closed, citing that only 100 people could attend and that “registration has far exceeded that.”
The event, which Faust described as mocking a deeply sacred event in Catholicism, has drawn a counter-action from the Archdiocese of Boston and Catholic students.
The Archdiocese of Boston said that it is deeply saddened and opposed to the black mass and it will be holding a “holy hour” at the same time as the satanic ritual.
The “holy hour,” which Faust said she will attend, will take place at St. Paul’s Church on campus.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.