“In spite of repeated requests, there has been no indication that the City intends to prevent this event from taking place,” Archbishop Coakley wrote in a letter to the people of the archdiocese, dated Aug. 4, the Memorial of St. John Vianney. I have raised my concerns with city officials and pointed out how deeply offensive this proposed sacrilegious act is to Christians and especially to the more thn 250,000 Catholics who live in Oklahoma.”
He said he is concerned about “dark powers” that the performance of a black mass would invited into the community “and the spiritual danger that this poses to all ho are involved in it, directly or indirectly.” Though the event is being promoted merely as “some sort of dark entertainment, this Satanic ritual is deadly serious,” he said. “It is a blasphemous and obscene inversion of the Catholic Mass. Using a consecrated Host obtained illicitly from a Catholic church and desecrating it in the vilest ways imaginable, the practitioners offer it in sacrifice to Satan.”
The archbishop called on Catholics of the archdiocese to intensify prayer in the weeks leading up to the event, scheduled for the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall. Beginning tomorrow, Aug. 6, the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, and continuing through the Feast of the Archangels, Sept. 29, the prayer to St. Michael is to be included at the conclusion of every Mass.
Prior to the liturgical reforms of the late 1960s, the prayer was recited after every Mass.
“I invite all Catholics to pray daily for divine protection through the intercession of this heavenly paron who once defeated Lucifer in his rebellion against the Almighty and who stands ready to assist us in this hour of need,” he wrote.
Archbishop Coakley also asked each parish to conduct a Eucharistic Holy Hour with Benediction at least once between the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Aug 15, and Sept. 21, the date of the planned black mass. On that day, he plans to conduct a holy hour and outdoor Eucharistic procession and benediction at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Oklahoma City at 3pm, four hours prior to the performance.
The archbishop in his letter also asked Catholics in the archdiocese to contact Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett "to express your outrage over this offensive and blasphemous sacrilege and this misuse of a tax-supported public space."
Archbishop Coakley first spoke out against the plans for the black mass in early July, when it was learned that an Oklahoma City Satanic church, the Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, planned to stage the black mass. That news followed a similar controversy in the spring, when a New York Satanic group tried to present the twisted ritual at Harvard University. A large outpouring of Catholic prayer and protest led to the cancellation of that event.
Archbishop Coakley's letter yesterday followed a similar appeal from Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Okla., who asked Catholics in his diocese to fast and pray from Aug. 6-15 so that the black mass may be cancelled.
Jim Brown, general manager of the Civic Center, has said that as a public facility, the Civic Center could not turn down a group that wanted to rent space there, as long as the group was law-abiding. Archbishop Coakley wasn't buying that argument.
“It is hard to imagine the Civic Center turning a blind eye and allowing a group to use its facilities to burn a copy of the Koran, or to conduct an overtly anti-Semitic performance,” he said in an earlier statement.
John Burger is news editor for Aleteia.org's English edition.