by Natalie Yuhas
A black mass, scheduled by the group Dakhma of Angra Mainyu and organized by Adam Daniels, took place at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall on September 21. Black masses are sacrilegious and satanic ceremonies that ridicule the Catholic Mass, generally by violating a consecrated Host in a sexual and disrespectful ritual. Daniels claimed that a friend had mailed him a Host stolen from a Catholic Mass.
Michael W. Caspino, an attorney from law firm Busch & Caspino, filed suit against the organizer of the black mass on August 20 in Oklahoma District Court on behalf of Archibshop Paul Coakley, who is the Archbishop of Oklahoma City. Although the United States Constitution does not protect Catholic belief, it does acknowledge property rights. On those grounds, Caspino filed that the Host was stolen property and could not be used in the black mass. Caspino stated that his goal was not to stop the black mass from happening, but simply to get the stolen Host back before they dishonored it.
On August 21, Daniels’ attorney returned the consecrated Host to a priest in Oklahoma City. The black mass was to continue without the Host. “The great thing is that we got the Eucharist back and the significance of the show is now gone,” said Coakley.
Although Archbishop Coakley was relieved that the Host was returned, he expressed sorrow that the black mass would continue. He warned of the spiritual dangers of the black mass and voiced a disappointment in the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall for allowing the black mass to be held there, especially on the grounds that the hall has rules in place against “hatefulness” and “violations of community standards.” Even though the hall is city-run and therefore neutral to religious affiliation, Coakley articulated that it was common sense to not allow a black mass. “It’s one thing to allow different religions to come in and celebrate their religion. It’s a whole different thing to allow a group to come in that seeks to desecrate and insult another religion,” he argued.
Attorney Michael W. Caspino expressed the legal victory’s important significance. He believes that Satanists will be deterred from black masses because they know that the legal implications of stealing a Host. Without the stolen Host, the black mass lost most of its significance and he argued that it was reduced to nothing more than a bad show. Caspino admired Archbishop’s leadership in this case and stated, “This is a real courageous stand.”
The black mass was ultimately performed, but using an unconsecrated host. In total there were 42 attendees of the event, and entrance was strictly restricted to ticket holders. In stark contrast, 1200 Catholics gathered for a Holy Hour in St. Francis of Assisi Church and a nearby gym was used as overflow space for another 400. Hundreds of Christians also gathered outside the Oklahoma Civic Center to protest the event. This is the first successful attempt for a satanic group to put on a black mass. In May, a NYC satanic group attempted to hold a black mass in Queen’s Head Pub at Harvard University, but Queen’s Head staff ultimately did not allow for the event to take place on their premises.