Although the Prince of Darkness is not welcome in Oklahoma, the "Black Mass" ceremony this weekend in the city will go on. However, even with the failed petition signed by tens of thousands of people, exorcists and Catholic leaders believe the Satanist event is a mockery of Christianity and breeds evil and darkness.
Similar to the black mass at Harvard, Oklahoma City Satanists, who call themselves the Dakhma Angra Mainyu, are spreading their message. Strangely enough, not many understand what the group represents.
The event, sanctioned by the city because it apparently does not break any municipal laws, is being held Sunday, September 21, at the Oklahoma City Civic Center. Black mass organizers say all 88 tickets at $17.50 have sold out.
On hand will be a band called God in a Machine. Activities include a satanic exorcism and readings that renounce the existence of God and his Son. However, this year Oklahoma officials have asked the group to tone down its theatrics. Instead of naked women carried by black mass worshipers, they will be clad in bikinis. And actual urine used in past rituals will have vinegar as a replacement.
Black Mass: 'Satan' During An Event
However, Catholics are not impressed, and do not believe Satanists associated with the Oklahoma City black mass have toned down their blasphemous beliefs and sacrilegious acts behind the scenes, according to a Breibart news report.
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of the Boston Archdiocese weighed in on the rise of satanic cults and quasi-religions.
"Why people would want to do something that is so offensive to so many people in the community? It's just very disappointing and disturbing."
O'Malley called the black mass "dangerously close to destructive works of evil."
Black mass followers insist their intention is not to mock Catholicism and infringe on the religious faith of those who believe in the doctrines of Jesus Christ. Instead, they want to learn and experience a diverse offering of cultural practices from a historical perspective.
Exorcists and members of the clergy fear that if groups are allowed to spread messages and rhetoric of darkness and mayhem under the guise of parody, it creates a disturbing slippery slope. As a consequence, it leads to warmongering, fears of World War 3, rise of radical groups like ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), anti-Semitic black mass groups, and racially-charged ceremonies.
Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church (slogan: God Hates Fags), often referred to by some as a hate group, is but one example. Despite its inflammatory rhetoric and public protesting of funerals, it is protected under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The trouble is that black mass groups and others like them operate along thinly-defined lines of decency. Despite the legal right to exist, Archbishop Coakley fears for his Oklahoma flock, and believes prayer and exorcism is the prescribed intervention to prevent the imbalances brought on by struggles of good and evil.
"Even though our city leaders apparently do not take this threat seriously, I do. As a Catholic priest and bishop, I have witnessed in my ministry the battle between forces of good and evil, in both ordinary and extraordinary ways. It is not merely a struggle rooted in human weakness and ignorance, though these are certainly the source of much suffering and mayhem in our lives and in our world. Demonic activity and the chaotic forces of evil are very real. The madness of war, accompanied by increasingly brutal acts of terror, the violence in our schools and communities are all evidence that something is terribly wrong.
"The crucial battleground for the forces of good and evil is the human heart. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus Christ came to conquer the power of sin and to cast out demons. This was an essential part of His mission and ministry. It continues in His Church."
In response to the Oklahoma black mass, Archbishop Coakley has a plan to counter Satan's grip. The Catholic leader is calling on local and neighboring parishioners to attend a mass at St. Francis of Assisi. It will include a Eucharistic Holy Hour, an outdoor Eucharistic procession, and a Benediction service from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. His spiritual advice to ward off evil and lessen the spread of black mass cults in Oklahoma City and beyond is to "love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father."
[Image via: Shutterstock, Zooma Press via Bloomberg]