The Catholic Archbishop of Oklahoma City has agreed to drop a lawsuit against a satanic cult that plans to perform a “black mass” in the city now that the cult has returned a stolen consecrated host to the church.
An Oklahoma-based satanic group called Dakhma of Angra Mainyu has leased space in the Civic Center Music Hall, which is owned and operated by the city, for a black mass on Sept. 21.
The event is booked for the Cityspace theater, the facility’s smallest theater space, said Jennifer McClintock, public information officer for the Civic Center.
She told WND the city will not block the black mass from being held despite an uproar among Christian and family groups, which are mobilizing to stop it.
“All activities during the event must abide by our local ordinances and laws, including laws that govern nudity, lewd acts, ritual sacrifice, as well as building codes for open flames,” McClintock said in an email to WND. “The Civic Center Music Hall is not underwriting this event in any way, nor paying for outside advertising. Individuals wishing to attend must purchase a ticket to get in.”
The Catholic Archdiocese has come out strongly against the satanists’ plans. It filed a lawsuit earlier this month to stop the cult from using a stolen consecrated host for its service, calling it a “sacrilege” that is offensive to all Christians. Satanists typically defile a Catholic host, used to celebrate Holy Communion, during their black services.
Archbishop Paul 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,” Coakley said in an Aug. 21 statement.
WND reported another satanic group, the Satanic Temple based in New York, had planned to hold a black mass on the campus of Harvard University in May. But theevent was canceled after an onslaught of public outrage followed national media attention. The Archdiocese of Boston also fought the event.
And the Catholics are not the only group expressing outrage about the prospect of a black mass being held in the public civic center of a Bible Belt town like Oklahoma City.
Harry Mihet, vice president of legal affairs and chief litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel, said Oklahoma City should not allow its public facilities to be “used by a satanic group for the sole purpose of mocking, insulting and offending other faiths through a lewd and lascivious ceremony.”
“The perverted sexual deviance characteristic of a ‘black mass’ ought to remain in the dark tombs and catacombs where it originated, and should not see the light of day in a civilized society, much less on public property,” he said.
(Warning: The following video contains content that readers may find disturbing.)
The TFP Student Action Network has launched an online petition urging the city to stop the event from going forward.
TFP started Aug. 13 with a goal of 50,000 petition signers and already has garnered 67,000. It has now raised the goal to 100,000.
"Your petition, together with many more, will be presented to the Civic Center, as well as the Mayor of Oklahoma City and the Governor of Oklahoma before September 21," the site says.
"Please spread the word to all your friends so we can stop this sacrilege," the TFP message continues. "Your voice and prayers were decisive at Harvard University – the 'Black Mass' there was stopped. Canceled. Saint Michael won a great victory that day. And God can win again."
Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council, said the event in Oklahoma City smacks of a publicity stunt.
"The Harvard one was canceled. And it looks like this Oklahoma one there was a consecrated host that was stolen and now has been returned. Even if one of these did go ahead, obviously it's concerning, but we want to be careful about limiting the religious expression under the law," Weber told WND. "But it's unfortunate there is an attempt to push this, with all the horrors of the world today, you would think people would want to glorify the Lord and seek him instead of the devil.
"It seems like every other day there's a school shooting and you've got an American who has traveled to Iraq to fight with ISIS and yet this group has decided to go ahead and celebrate a black mass instead of seeking God's help," he continued.
The "black mass" ceremony has traditionally been performed by satanic cults to mock the Catholic Church's celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Dakhma of Angra Mainyu clearly celebrates "the destroyer" in its description of its beliefs on its website.
It promotes itself as "a religious and educational church dedicated to Angra Mainyu. Angra Mainyu is seen as a destroyer. This is coming from an ancient Middle Easterner and Indian perspective of the principle of creation through the destruction. ... Systems and structures must be dismantled so that new life can be born."
Weber said such views, while abhorrent, are to be pitied more than anything else.
"We need to remember to speak the truth in love, and this means that there is a sense of sympathy for the people who are caught up in this evil. Yet there is still the matter of speaking the truth and opposing any invitation for the devil to be involved in public events and the public square of our nation, which this is an attempt to do," he said.
Weber said Christians can support the First Amendment without supporting every group's message.
"Even legally speaking, one could argue that this is not what the founders had in mind when they had written the free exercise of religion into the amendment, but first and foremost people should let their opposition be known, primarily by standing up and saying, hey, with all the problems going on the world why this now? Why do we want this for our community?"
TFP says it has had success with online petitions in the past. YouTube removed dozens of videos showing desecration of the Holy Eucharist thanks to a TFP petition signed by 18,200 Catholics, and Notre Dame finally dropped the charges against 88 pro-lifers, in part, because of more than 20,000 petitions sent to Fr. John Jenkins.
But the city appears intent on treating the satanists the same as any other group.
"The Civic Center Music Hall is a public facility which has been owned and operated by the City of Oklahoma City since 1936. Our purpose is to rent spaces for private and ticketed events," McClintock told WND. "Any group wishing to rent spaces with us may do so as long as they pay the stated rental fees and adhere to the ordinances and laws of the city of Oklahoma City and state of Oklahoma, per their contract with us. No taxpayer dollars are used to underwrite these events.
"As a government-operated facility, we must abide by the laws of our state and of the United States, including the U.S. Constitution and its First Amendment," she continued. "Per federal law, we cannot consider or judge the event content of groups who wish to rent our facilities. In this, we are guided by our legal obligations as advised by our municipal counselor's office."
The Archdiocese had sued the satanic cult earlier this month when the head satanist stated publicly he planned to conduct a full black mass, which includes the desecration and defiling of the Holy Eucharist, using the consecrated host.
Late last week, an attorney for the satanist group returned a consecrated host to the Oklahoma City Archdiocese, so no consecrated host will be used in the event.
“I am relieved that we have been able to secure the return of the sacred host, and that we have prevented its desecration as part of a planned satanic ritual,” said Coakley in a statement. “I remain concerned about the dark powers that this satanic worship invites into our community and the spiritual danger that this poses to all who are involved in it, directly or indirectly.”
On Sept. 21, the day in which the satanic ritual is scheduled to take place, Coakley has invited 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 in Oklahoma City, followed by an outdoor procession and benediction.
“For more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide, the Mass is the most sacred of religious rituals,” the archbishop said. “It is the center of Catholic worship and celebrates Jesus Christ’s redemption of the world by his death and resurrection. We are grateful for the gift of the Eucharist and pray that this threatened sacrilege will heighten our appreciation and deepen our faith in the Lord's Eucharistic presence among us.”
With the return of the host and an accompanying signed statement from the satanic group leader that the group no longer possesses a consecrated host, nor will they use a consecrated host in their rituals, the archbishop agreed to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice.