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Okla. catholic officials file lawsuit to stop 'black mass' ceremony.

A planned Satanic ritual at Oklahoma City's Civic Center spawned community outrage and a lawsuit over an allegedly stolen communion wafer.

The ritual, known as a "black mass" was scheduled at press time to take place Sept. 21 in a theater at the public venue, which is open to rental by members of the community. The nature of the mass caused quite a bit of controversy. Vice News reported that the original ceremony called for a deacon of the Satanic church to destroy consecrated communion wafers, which Catholics say are the literal body of Christ.

The National Catholic Register reported in August that event organizer, 35-year-old Adam Brian Daniels, said he received the wafers from a friend and believed they had been consecrated at a Catholic mass. Daniels founded the Satanic group Dakhma of Angra Mainyu. He has held black masses previously, but they have been sparsely attended.

The potential desecration of the communion wafers angered the Oklahoma City Archdiocese, which filed a lawsuit August 20 claiming that the wafers were stolen church property.

"The specific Satanic ritual known as a 'black mass' is intended as a deliberate attack on the Catholic Mass as well as the foundational beliefs of all Christians with the stated purpose of mocking the Catholic faith," Oklahoma Archbishop Paul Coakley said in a statement.

The Oklahoma Archdiocese withdrew its lawsuit the next day after Daniels handed over the wafers. Daniels defended his actions, claiming the wafers came from outside the country.

"They are claiming that I have stolen their property, which I have not," he said. "I had consecrated wafers mailed to me from Turkey."

But some members of the community remained unhappy with the planned mass, as nearly 50,000 people signed a petition demanding it be stopped, and Gov. Mary Fallin condemned the event.

Nonetheless, the First Amendment protects those who want to practice their beliefs, even Satanists, and the Civic Center did not cancel the contract it signed with Daniels. But that didn't stop others from seeking creative solutions to stop the "black mass." In an editorial for the National Catholic Reporter, Phyllis Zagano suggested using Oklahoma's antiquated blasphemy law, which dates to 1909, to stop the ceremony.

"What is going on in Oklahoma City?" Zagano wrote. "Do they not have the gumption to cancel the contract? They say they do not want to risk an expensive lawsuit, so they spend attorney time defending the Satanists' rights against those of the rest of the community."

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Title Annotation:PEOPLE & EVENTS
Publication:Church & State
Geographic Code:1U7OK
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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