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May 10, 2014 05:14 AM EDT

Catholic Church Criticizes Black Mass Ritual Plans at Harvard

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Plans to hold a Satanic Black Mass at Harvard University premises , May 12, has triggered  strong disapproval from the local Roman Catholic Church and officials.

The re-enactment will be performed by the Satanic Temple, a New York based Satanist group at the behest of the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club. The mass is based on the novel "La-bas," by French writer Joris-Karl Huysman. The novel was written during the French Occult Revival of the 1800s.

The Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Boston said that the event contradicts charity and goodness and exposes people to destructive works of evil.

"We call upon all believers and people of good will to join us in prayer for those who are involved in this event, that they may come to appreciate the gravity of their actions, and in asking Harvard to disassociate itself from this activity,"  read a statement from  the Archdiocese of Boston.

However, Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club, re-enacting the historic ritual said that the event is purely educational and not a diabolical one. It is preceded by a lecture on the history, context, background and origin of the Black Mass. In a statement, the student group further said that the aim of the event is not to belittle any religion or faith but instead to explore and understand the history of different cultural practices and religious facets.

Several Harvard students joined the Catholic Church in condemning the act. They were deeply saddened and objected the re-enactment as it is offensive and provoking. However, certain others deemed the performance to be harmless.

"It's kind of troubling especially to Christians, but at the same time if they're doing it for academic inquiry, this should be a safe place," said Misan Oteri, a student, CBS News reports.

Lucien Greaves, spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, said that the event is not an attempt to ridicule the Catholic Church nor is it to provoke the Devil.

"This is not a supernatural ritual," Satanic Temple spokesperson Lucien Greaves said. "We don't believe in the supernatural. And I don't think belief in the supernatural should give you any privilege, since any deeply held belief should be protected," NY Daily News reports.

Following the Black Mass ritual, the archdiocese is organizing a holy hour at 8:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Church, Monday.

The Cultural Studies Club is also hosting a Shinto tea ceremony, a Shaker exhibition and a Buddhist presentation on meditation as part of a series exploring different cultures.

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