A ticketed “Black Mass” is slated to occur Sept. 21 at the Oklahoma City Civic Center, according to the Civic Center website.
Archbishop Paul Coakley released a statement expressing his “astonishment and disappointment” at this event and calling on community leaders to reconsider whether it is an appropriate use of public space.
“For more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide and more than 200,000 Catholics in Oklahoma, 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. In particular, the Eucharist – which we believe to be the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ – is the source and summit of our faith.
“That’s why we’re astonished and grieved that the Civic Center would promote as entertainment and sell tickets for an event that is very transparently a blasphemous mockery of the Mass,” he continued. “The ‘Black Mass’ that is scheduled for the Civic Center in September is a satanic inversion and distortion of the most sacred beliefs not only of Catholics, but of all Christians.
“In a spirit of hope, I ask those who are allowing this event to reconsider whether this is an appropriate use of public space. We trust that community leaders – and, in particular, the board members of the Oklahoma City Civic Center – do not actually wish to enable or encourage such a flagrantly inflammatory event and can surely remedy this situation.
“If the event does move forward, we will have to consider other peaceful, prayerful and respectful options to demonstrate our opposition to this publicly supported sacrilegious act.
“In the meantime, I call on all Catholics in central and western Oklahoma – as well as all men and women of good will – to pray for a renewed sense of the sacred and, in particular, to pray that the Lord might change the hearts and minds of the organizers of this event.”