A lawyer who helped recover a stolen Host that organizers of an Oklahoma City black mass intended to desecrate said that the Church’s legal victory could have far-reaching effects.
“I don’t think we’re going to see Satanists doing this again, or they’ll going to understand we’re going to come after them, anywhere, any time this happens,” attorney Michael W. Caspino of the Irvine, Calif.-based law firm Busch & Caspino told CNA Aug. 27.
“We’ve now gutted the significance of their black mass. Now it’s really just a bad show with bad actors,” Caspino said.
The occult group Dakhma of Angra Mainyu scheduled a black mass at the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall Sept. 21. A black mass is a sacrilegious ceremony that invokes Satan and mocks the Catholic Mass. It involves the desecration of the Eucharist, generally by stealing a consecrated Host from a Catholic church and using it in a profane, sexual ritual.
The event organizer, Adam Daniels, claimed to have in his possession a Host mailed to him by a friend that he believed had been consecrated at a Catholic Mass.
Caspino’s law firm filed suit against the event organizer in Oklahoma District Court Aug. 20 on behalf of Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley, on the grounds that the Host was stolen property.
An attorney representing Daniels gave the reputed consecrated Host to a priest of the Oklahoma City archdiocese on Aug. 21. The organizers still intend to simulate a black mass, but without the use of a consecrated Host.
Caspino said the primary goal of the lawsuit was not to stop the event but to “get our Blessed Sacrament back and not let them defile it.”
While U.S. laws do not recognize Catholic belief, Caspino pointed out that the laws do recognize property rights. A judge issued a temporary restraining order against the black mass organizers on the grounds the lawsuit “had a likelihood of success,” the attorney explained.
“We live in a society under our Constitution that allows people to do dumb things. And now they’re going to do something dumb. I don’t support it, I think it’s terrible, but we don’t really have much as far as legal means to stop them from doing this crazy show.
“The great thing is that we got the Eucharist back and the significance of the show is now gone.”
The attorney also praised Archbishop Coakley’s leadership in seeking to halt the black mass.
“This is a real courageous stand.”
Archbishop Coakley on Aug. 21 expressed relief at the return of the Host, but warned that the event poses “spiritual danger” to all who are involved in it.
Caspino stressed the need to speak out against events like the black mass.
“Every Catholic out there, every good Christian out there, we need to stare down the devil. We need to stand up to the devil. The devil is weak when you stare him down. That’s what we did here. We stared down the devil, and the devil blinked.”
“In your daily life, in everything you do, we’ve got to stare down the devil.”
Caspino added that he was “very disappointed” in the management of the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall.
An official with the music hall told CNA in July that because the hall is a city-run facility, it must operate in a position of “neutrality” and must be willing to host any event “as long as it was not hosting something specifically illegal in nature.”
Caspino said there is “a real lack of leadership” at the event venue.
“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 said.
“We should be having more positive things going on on public property and not such negative things.”
He added that the music hall management ignored its own rules against “hatefulness” and “violations of community standards.”
“There are things out there that are legal, but are tasteless and violate community standards. They should have stopped (the black mass) just based on that. Not everything that’s legal is right,” he said. “The law doesn’t cover every single situation out there. We have to use common sense.”
Caspino said it is common sense not to host an event that has “no redeeming value other than to insult other people and desecrate religious institutions.”
“We try to be a country that gives people freedoms to go ahead and do things,” he said. “But there are boundaries to that too. We should probably use a little bit more common sense than to say we’re just going to allow whatever is legal.”