|Philipp Schumacher, Elevation of the Host (1920),
from a Catholic children’s book.
By now, you’ve might have heard all about this. As I write this,* the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club is hosting a Black Mass (a Satanic mockery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) performed by the Satanic Temple. They announced that they would be desecrating a consecrated Host during this “service.”
Now the group responsible for the Black Mass, the Satanic Temple, is claiming that they don’t have a Host, because “we respect all religions and don’t want anyone to feel offended. We understand the powerful role that the Eucharist plays in the Christian religion and in no way want to appear as though we don’t respect your traditions.”
My first reaction was that this was a perfect image of 21st century academia: they want to perform a Satanic Black Mass without offending anyone. But upon further reflection, it occurs to me that this is a powerful case for Catholicism. Think about it this way:
As I pointed out last month, the Eucharist is either Jesus or mere bread and wine. If the Eucharist is Jesus, everyone should be at Mass, worshipping Our Lord. If the Eucharist is Jesus, there should be no such thing as Protestantism, Mormonism, Islam, atheism, etc. But if the Eucharist isn’t Jesus, then for two thousand years, the would-be followers of Jesus Christ were actually idolaters. If that’s the case, nobody should be Catholic.
So those are the stakes. Everyone who encountered Jesus of Nazareth was faced with a crucial question: is this God, in some mysterious guise, or not? The early Christians called this “the aut Deus aut malus homo” (“either God or a bad man”). Everyone encountering the Eucharist is faced with the same question: either God or idolatry.
And of course, if the Eucharist is pagan idolatry, it’s demonic. As 1 Corinthians 10:20 says, “what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God.” The whole world hangs on this point: is the Eucharist Jesus or an idol? Is the Sacrifice of the Mass being offered to God, or to demons?
The satanic Black Mass is a ritual inversion (and mockery) of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass performed by Satanists. Now, there are two types of Satanists: “LaVey Satanists,” and “theological Satanists.” The Satanic Temple folks behind tonight’s Black Mass are LaVey Satanists. In other words, they’re atheists who don’t believe in Satan, and use “Satanism” as a tool to harass and provoke Christians (unlike“theological Satanists,” who believe in Satan and worship him). This whole thing, like the satanic monument in Oklahoma, is a deliberate provocation and an attention-seeking measure. But whether the practitioners are playing at the occult, or serious, there’s no question that they’re tapping into some seriously dark spiritual forces. Satan is at work here.
Then a blind and dumb demoniac was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it they said, “It is only by Be-el′zebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Be-el′zebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Even if the only thing you knew about Catholicism was that its central form of worship, the Mass, was the target of Satanic ire, you would already have good reason to believe that Catholicism was the true religion. But taken with all of the other evidence for the truth that the Eucharist is Jesus, that the Mass is a Sacrifice instituted by God, and that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ, Satan is just one more (unwitting) witness for the truth of Jesus Christ and His Church.
*Update: Good news. See the comments.