Black Masses Continue to Titillate Conservative Catholics

In May, conservative Catholics mobilized in response to an announcement of a Satanic black mass to be held at Harvard University. For some, the event was a smoking gun proving not only that Satanists hold black masses all over the country, but that elite institutions like Harvard actively attack Christianity under the guise of multi-cultural education. The black mass was cancelled and 1500 Catholics marched on Harvard Square. Conservatives have constructed a narrative of the event as a righteous defeat of the forces of evil. This narrative has inspired others to mobilize against self-declared Satanists

35-year-old Adam Daniels of Oklahoma City has been a leader for a string of short-lived Satanic groups including The Church of the IV Majesties and most recently Dakhma of Angra Mainyu.  Since 2010, Daniels has been involved in organizing “black masses” or “Satanic exorcisms” at the Oklahoma City Civic Center three times. The most recent event had an audience of zero.

Daniels does not appear to be a diabolic genius. The website for his current group presents a confusing mix of Zoroastrian, Gnostic, and Hindu ideas riddled with typos, spelling errors, and references to “Karl Jung.” Past attempts to organize events have been stymied by a falling out with his fellow Satanists. Daniels is also a registered sex offender, having had an inappropriate relationship with a female prisoner while working as a guard at an Oklahoma prison.

When asked if there had been a pushback to Daniels’ previous three events, Civic Center general manager Jim Brown answered, “We’ve had none.” However, Daniels’ latest announcement to hold a black mass at the Civic Center on September 21 has generated unprecedented attention. Mayor Mick Cornett has already received 450 emails and phone calls opposing the event. Archbishop Paul Coakley has also condemned the event and called on Catholics to protest if it moves forward. Daniels, naturally, has expressed delight that his antics are finally provoking Church officials.

This newfound energy has nothing to do with Daniels and everything to do with the events of last May. An online petition features footage of the Harvard protest and calls on Catholics to continue the fight against Satanism in Oklahoma City. An anonymous “exorcist” interviewed by explained:

The answer is to do what folks did in Boston. Catholics must organize Eucharistic processions and holy hours, they must fast and pray fervently for the cancellation of this event. We must petition our Lord, His Mother, and all the angels and saints in this fierce battle against the powers of hell.

The opportunity to mobilize against self-described Satanists creates a kind of collective effervescence and its energy has already begun to transfer to other conservative causes. After decrying the black mass, Aletiea’s exorcist went on to condemn atheism, abortion, and gay marriage.

For conservative culture warriors, public displays of Satanism form a convenient centerpiece for a declension narrative in which America’s core values are under assault. At the same time, defeating these groups fosters a narrative in which Catholics have triumphed over a truly demonic foe. Daniels claims he wants to show his defiance to Christian hegemony, but so far he has only demonstrated how well conservative Christianity responds to a Satanic foil.