Harvard club drops much-criticized satanic event

CAMBRIDGE -- A "black Mass" reenactment that was scheduled to be held on the campus of Harvard University was canceled after protests, CBS Boston reports.

The reenactment was being organized by the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club as part of a series of events exploring different cultures and religious traditions. On Monday night, the club canceled the reenactment, saying no venue was willing to host them.

The Satanic Temple planned to move the black Mass to the Hong Kong restaurant in Harvard Square.

Earlier Monday, Harvard University's president said the student group's decision to host the satanic mass on campus Monday night was "abhorrent."

In a statement, Harvard President Drew Faust said the event "challenges us to reconcile the dedication to free expression at the heart of a university with our commitment to foster a community based on civility and mutual understanding."

However, Faust noted the ceremony is "highly offensive" to many in the Catholic Church and beyond.

"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," she said.

"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."

Faust added "the decision to proceed is and will remain theirs."

The Catholic Church condemned the planned mass last week.

"We are disappointed by the self-righteousness of those who conspire to silence others simply because they claim offense," The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club said in a statement Monday night. "It is also profoundly disturbing to see an entity erroneously labeled as a hate group because people do not share their faith or take the time to understand their beliefs or the meanings behind their rituals."

The Archdiocese of Boston held a holy hour at St. Paul's Church, the Catholic Church at Harvard Monday night. WBZ-TV's Jim Armstrong reports that thousands of Catholics participated in a procession through the streets of Cambridge in a protest of the planned black mass.

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