Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley has warned that demonic activity and evil forces are "very real" ahead of Sunday's satanic "black mass" scheduled to take place at the Civic Center Music Hall. Over 215,000 people in total have signed petitions against the sold-out mass, but local officials are set to allow the satanic ceremony to take place.
"In spite of an overwhelming outcry of alarm from around the world, our city leaders will allow this outrage to take place in a publicly supported facility. They will not accede to the reasonable requests of local citizens to stop this outright mockery of the Catholic mass nor the reasonable concerns of so many that this satanic ritual invokes powers of evil and invites them into our community," Coakley wrote on the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City website under an article titled "The Hour Has Come."
"Even though our city leaders apparently do not take this threat seriously, I do. As a Catholic priest and bishop I have witnessed in my ministry the battle between forces of good and evil in both ordinary and extraordinary ways," the bishop's message continued.
"It is not merely a struggle rooted in human weakness and ignorance, though these are certainly the source of much suffering and mayhem in our lives and in our world. Demonic activity and the chaotic forces of evil are very real. The madness of war accompanied by increasingly brutal acts of terror, the violence in our schools and communities are all evidence that something is terribly wrong."
The black mass, organized by Dakhma of Angra Mainyu, will reportedly feature a satanic exorcism, but has been "toned down" to comply with state health laws and will substitute vinegar for urine where needed in the ritual.
"One of the dictates of the church is not only to educate the members but to educate the public, and to debunk the Hollywood-projected image of our beliefs," representative Adam Daniels of the satanic group said.
He explained that deacons of the satanic church will stomp, spit on and use explicit language on an unconsecrated host, a wafer presented as a form of the resurrected Jesus Christ. An exorcism will follow intended to draw the Holy Spirit from a follower's body, an inversion of Roman Catholic exorcism believed to expel the devil from a person.
The Tradition Family and Property Student Action group, which has protested against the black mass, said that 215,000 people have signed various petitions urging local officials to cancel the event.
The largest single petition, which was set up by TFP, has garnered 96,043 signatures.
"The public outcry is only growing," said TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie. "From every corner of the country, people are standing up against this public attempt to dethrone God."
"The sole purpose of the black mass is to attack God, ridicule the Catholic mass, and desecrate the holy eucharist in a most vile, indecent and hateful manner," Ritchie added.
Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has also condemned the black mass, calling it a "disgusting mockery of the Catholic faith," saying that it should be "equally repellent to Catholics and non-Catholics alike."
The parks and recreation department has said the satanist group is protected under the First Amendment, however, and cannot be denied use of the space.
"Mr. Daniels must abide by our local ordinances, our fire codes and all of our state laws," Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Jennifer Lindsey-McClintock said earlier in September. "No bloodletting of any kind will be allowed."
Coakley noted in his blog post that the Oklahoma City community has been living through the ordeal for the past three months, ever since learning of plans for the black mass.
"In spite of our apparent inability to prevent this sacrilegious event from taking place, I am grateful for a number of blessings that have accrued through this trial. I am grateful for the significant legal victory that allowed us to regain possession of the consecrated host that would have been desecrated during the black mass," he wrote.
"People across Oklahoma, throughout our great country and around the world have responded with prayer and fasting. We have been given an opportunity to express our faith in the Lord and our profound gratitude for his gift of the eucharist through acts of devotion. Many of our Catholic people have been appealing to St. Michael the Archangel for heavenly protection against the powers of evil in our world."
The archbishop invited all Catholics, other Christians and people of good will to join him at worship at St. Francis of Assisi Church on Sunday. He urged all groups protesting the satanic event to avoid confrontations, and keep witness "reverent, respectful and peaceful."
Coakley discouraged people from attending the black mass in order to pray or to protest, saying it would be "presumptuous and dangerous to expose oneself or others to these evil influences."