We have been covering the controversial “black mass” proposed by a Harvard University extension school club, which is proceeding despite the enormous public outcry over its profanity and tastelessness.

In The Harvard Crimson, Harvard’s chaplains express their anger and Catholic students say they have organized a petition that has received hundreds of signatures.

…The Harvard Chaplains, a group of religious and spiritual leaders who, according to their website, represent a diverse array of spiritual and religious practices, expressed concern about the event, which they said is a reenactment of a ritual that mocks foundational beliefs held by many Christians about the importance of Holy Communion.

“Just because something may be permissible does not make it right or good,” Reverend Luther Zeigler, President of the Harvard Chaplains, wrote in a statement to The Crimson on behalf of the Chaplains. “Whether or not these students are ‘entitled’ to express themselves through the ceremony of a ‘black mass’ as a matter of law or University policy is a distinct question from whether this is a healthy form of intellectual discourse or community life. We submit it is not.”

…A petition opposing the event, organized by Matthew R. Menendez ’14, has, according to Menendez, received the signatures of 370 Harvard students and 100 alumni. The petition demands that the University prevent the event from taking place because it “offends all who have faith in Christ” and “promotes contempt for the Catholic faith.”

Menendez, a member of the Harvard Catholic Student Association, said that many Catholics like himself are offended by the event, which he deems hateful and unproductive.

“We found that this is embarrassing to the Harvard community and not only attacks our religion as Catholics in a very direct way, but in no way promotes an open intellectual dialogue,” Menendez said. “There are other ways to educate, and it does not seem that having something that is so hateful fits the mission of Harvard. It is unfair to portray this as an educational or cultural event, when it is a mockery.”

Menendez said that, due to the demonstration, he is not planning on donating to the Senior Gift. He also said that he thinks that the event will have lasting implications for University community.

“It exposes other groups to the possibility of similar hateful speech, and we do not think this is the kind of thing that is conducive to having an intellectual dialogue,” Menendez said.

In response to the “black mass” demonstration, the Archdiocese announced Friday that it plans to hold a prayer vigil on Monday followed by a Eucharistic procession to St. Paul Church, which will subsequently hold a “holy hour.” Harvard College Faith and Action has also scheduled a prayer event in response to the reenactment, according to Olivia J. Krusel ’15, the organization’s vice president.