Oklahoma City, Okla., Jul 7, 2014 / 05:15 am
A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall defended a black mass being planned there by a convicted sex offender, even though it might involve the desecration of an actual consecrated host.
Jennifer Lindsey-McClintock, the music hall's public information manager, said that she is not in a position to say "whether it is appropriate or not."
"That's not for us to judge," she told CNA July 3, citing the music hall's neutrality policy.
A black mass is scheduled to be presented at the music hall Sept. 21 by the occultist group Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, which claims inspiration from ancient Persian ideals.
Often connected to witchcraft and demonic worship, 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 Dakhma of Angra Mainyu website described the upcoming event and its interpretation of the black mass, explaining its use among Satanists and "modern Devil Worshippers." The group said the modern form of the ritual uses a consecrated host "corrupted by sexual fluids" that then "becomes the sacrifice of the mass."
"The authenticity and purpose of the black mass will remain intact while allowing for slight changes so that a public viewing can occur without breaking Oklahoma's laws based on nudity, public urination, and other sex acts," the group said. Tickets for the event cost $15.
Lindsey-McClintock said that the music hall's administrators do not know whether the event would in fact use a consecrated host.
She said that any production must follow state and local laws. If a group performs illegal activity elsewhere, it is "a police matter," she said.
If a consecrated host were obtained under false pretenses, she said, "that wouldn't be something for us to decide. We would work under the advisement of the Oklahoma City police department."
The public permit for the black mass event was filed by Adam Daniels, a representative of the group.
Daniels had attempted to hold a mock exorcism at the civic center's music hall in 2010 as part of a Satanist group he had co-founded and led as a "Dark Overlord." However, the group expelled Daniels after learning he was a sex offender.
Oklahoma City's News 9, citing court records, in 2010 reported that Daniels was a registered sex offender and was convicted of sexual battery on a person over age 16.
Lindsey-McClintock said the music hall was aware of Daniels' status.
She said that the 2010 mock exorcism event had an attendance of about 50, including the music band. A second event the following year had 12 attendees, and there were no attendees at last year's event.
"We are a city-funded facility. In that vein, we must operate in a position of neutrality," the music hall spokeswoman said. "Any group that wishes to come to us and host a production may do so."
She said the government policy would mean the center would be willing to host a racist or anti-Jewish event "as long as it was not hosting something specifically illegal in nature, or that during the production they were taking part in illegal activities."
"We do not discriminate against any group based on the content of their message."
She said that about 300,000 people attend the music hall facility annually and "98 percent" of the shows at the music hall are "family-friendly" in nature. The facility also hosts "religious-themed events," including theater productions, church services and weddings, she added.
Asked how she would respond to concerns that the black mass event might make Catholics or other Christians feel unwelcome at the venue, she replied, "That's something that is up to them that they are going to have to think about. We cannot be the arbiter of messages that come into our facility."
Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City on July 1 said that if the event proceeds, "we will have to consider other peaceful, prayerful and respectful options to demonstrate our opposition to this publicly supported sacrilegious act."
He called on Catholics and others to pray for "a renewed sense of the sacred" and for God to change "the hearts and minds of the organizers of this event."