Spokesmen for the "Satanic Temple" of New York are giving conflicting stories about whether a consecrated or an unconsecrated Host will be used in the Black Mass "recreation" hosted by Harvard's Cultural Studies club.
Does it make a difference? Yes, a big difference. A Black Mass is a sacrilegious parody of the Mass which profanes the Eucharist. It would be hard to overstate how dreadful this is to Catholics. Countless martyrs have died protecting a consecrated Host from injury. So if they are planning to use a consecrated Host -- that is, if they are going to insult and damage the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ under the species of bread -- then Catholics should be fasting and praying to make reparations.
So it would, at least relatively speaking, be good news if it turned out that they are going to just use an unconsecrated wafer, which anyone can buy online, to perform some kind of quasi-historical reenactment of a ceremony. It would still be an insult to God and those who worship Him, but at least the Eucharist would not be profaned. It seems more likely that this is their plan.
The modern so-called Satanists who make all the noise are not really Satanists. They don’t actually believe in Satan. Most are atheists who couch their so-called “Satanism” in terms of resistance or philosophy. It’s not a religion, but a critique of religion, or somesuch blather. It’s all theater.
The do not intend to either profane Christ, because they don't believe in Him, or honor Satan, because they don't believe in him, either. Still, McDonald explains,
[T]heir deep ignorance and hatred has left them stumbling around in a very serious, very dark place ... [T]hey may not believe in Satan, but Satan believes in them, and he knows Useful Idiots when he sees them.
Right. Even if an unconsecrated host is used, these are very dangerous waters for anyone involved. Satan is real, and he is not fussy. He doesn't care if you are kidding or not when you call him by name. This is why I tell my kids to stay far, far away from participating in anything occult -- ouija boards, tarot cards, etc. -- even if it's just a game. An invitation is an invitation, and Satan doesn't stand on manners. You may not see Exorcist-style special effects when the Father of Lies creeps into your life. You may not realize anything has happened to you at all, as the rift between you and God slowly gets deeper and wider.
There is good news here, though -- the best news, actually. It is true that Satan will take any opportunity to find a foothold in your soul, and you don't have to be sincere when you invite him in. But the same is true, a thousandfold more so, for Christ.
Think about it. This is how the sacraments are structured: minimal effort from us, answered by eternal benefits pouring forth from the fountain of mercy. We baptize babies, not because babies can make vows of fidelity, but because we have reasonable hope that their parents will follow through. We can profess an imperfect act of contrition, just because we're afraid of getting punished, and it is good enough. Our venial sins are forgiven just by coming near enough to Christ in the Eucharist. Our entire faith is founded on hope -- and hope means that we know we're not good enough, sincere enough, profound enough, but we believe that God will pick up the slack. We believe that He will come running toward us like a mother who sees her baby taking his first wobbly, incompetent step, and scoops him up full of joy and pride.
God responds as if we already love Him, in order to help us love Him.
Some years ago, an atheist blogger sneeringly resolved to pray to God once a day for an entire year, to prove that God never would and never could answer him, because there was no God. Call me naive, but I was filled with hope when I heard of this plan. Sure, it's possible to shout God down when He answers you. But it's also possible that someone who keeps on calling and calling and calling on God -- even if he's just kidding! -- will eventually hear an answer. Christ doesn't force anyone to welcome Him, but He doesn't stand on manners, either. The stakes are too high.
Yes, Satan will accept any invitation, no matter how insincere. But Christ is always waiting for an invitation, too. All we have to do is murmur, twitch an eyelid, wiggle a little finger like a paralyzed patient struggling to prove to the doctors that he's still alive, and there will be rejoicing in Heaven (and then a lot of work to do!).
So pray for the souls of the folks at Harvard, who've confined themselves to their tight little box of neo-Satanism or ironic satanism or amateur satanism or whatever it is. Pray that, through some little chink in their armor of skepticism, some tiny breath of hope can escape. And pray that, when God responds, they will be able to hear Him.