About 200 people, most clutching a rosary, held a prayer vigil as a black satanic mass occurred Aug. 17 at a heavy metal club in downtown Ottawa.
“Though Christ has won the definitive battle against sin and evil, we are still involved in mopping up operations,” said Prendergast. “There are still skirmishes and outbreaks of violence against Christ’s Bride, the Church.
“It is just such a skirmish that is going on in our City of Ottawa these days, symbolized by this evening’s satanic inversion of the truths of our faith, as some 50 individuals renounce God and choose Satan as the symbol to guide their unbelief and rebellious spirits.
“We pray for them and make reparation today for the blasphemies uttered against God in our midst.”
The archbishop was flanked by Auxiliary Bishop Christian Riesbeck and several priests from the Companions of the Cross, all wearing purple, penitential robes.
Nicholas Marc, national co-ordinator for the Satanic Temple in Canada and organizer of the event, told Global News he believed the event was “the first organized public black mass in Canadian history.”
“Essentially, it involves using traditional symbols and inverting them to create a ritual that is meant to be the opposite of traditional Mass,” Marc said.
Prendergast called it hateful to mock the Mass.
“It will say loudly that the central belief of Christians should be shown respect, as we would expect respect to be shown to the Jewish Torah, to the Muslim Koran and to the sacred objects of other faiths,” he said.
“Such a ritual sends the wrong message that we’re tolerant of what is in effect hate speech, which this has become by the widespread publicity being given to it.”
Prendergast said he had been counselled to say nothing about the black mass because the organizers are “merely seeking publicity.”
“But I need to be concerned for my own people, who would be shocked to think this matter was publicized and we did nothing about it.”
About 50 people paid to participate in the event held at The Koven nightclub. The satanic ritual included an un-baptism ceremony. Prendergast said that organizers, when asked, said they were not using a consecrated host at the ritual.
Several Ottawa parishes also held Masses and adoration in reparation for the event.
John Pacheco, who helped rally people to pray outside The Koven, reported on the Catholic blog socon.ca that he approached the prayer vigil with a mixture of trepidation and skepticism the satanic mass might prove to be a “nothing burger.” He arrived to find a “ a loud and mildly obnoxious” fundamentalist preacher denouncing devil worshippers.
“I must admit that my heart sank a bit,” Pacheo said. “I did not want this event to be taken over completely by fundamentalists and portrayed by the media in that way, just because they are the loudest kid on the block who opposed the event.
“I had envisioned this to be something quite classy and beautiful,” he said. “This was, after all, principally a Catholic fight against a black mass. Fundamentalist anti-Catholics do not believe in the Mass and many of the other sacraments. Even Hollywood knows that when the devil comes out, you don’t call a preacher. You call a Catholic exorcist.”
While most of the Catholics stayed on the opposite side of the street or circled the block, Pacheco said he prayed the rosary in front of The Koven and eventually spoke with club owner Mehdi Galedhar and the Ottawa Satanic Temple co-ordinator and organizer of the event, Nicholas Marc.
Galedhar told him he viewed the event as an exercise in religious freedom, something that had been missing in his home country Iran.
Marc told Pacheco he had grown up in a traditional Latin Mass household, but had been “abused,” though he did not describe the nature of the abuse.
Michael Dopp, an Ottawa father and evangelist, said the event turned into “an occasion of grace.”
“The sense in my soul and in those I spoke with was one of peace,” Dopp said in a letter. “It was as if grace simply overwhelmed the evil.”
Dopp described those involved in the black mass as seemingly “ordinary folks with ordinary jobs” who were “useful fools for the evil one.”
“But it seemed to me that there must be a deep wound and lie that would bring them to this. They were playing with fire (and being burned) and they did not know it.”
Pacheco described the satanic mass as anticlimactic and in a sense “old news.”
“Our culture is essentially already living satanic lies,” Pacheco said. “It’s not like Nicholas is announcing something that does not already exist in our culture. The supremacy of human will and complete license (masquerading as freedom), and an atheistic mindset already dominate our public discourse and institutions.”
“If there is an explosion of these Satanic Temples, it’s only because the playing field has already been finely manicured for its reception,” Pacheco said, describing contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, pornography and euthanasia among the sacraments of the other satanic order.
“We have our sacraments and so does the other side,” Pacheco said. “To the extent we don’t practice our sacraments, is the extent that the other side’s sacraments are chosen instead.”