It seems suitable this Halloween to turn to our favorite exemplar of the Medieval mind, Solange Hertz, who asks the not unserious question “Does attendance at the black Mass satisfy my Sunday obligation?”
Now some groups, whether out of ignorance or dissimulation, regard the Black Mass as merely a parody of the Catholic mass. But why, then, bother? Parody is the sincerest form of flatter. That is why millions will watch a roast of Charlie Sheen, but no one is interested in your imitation of your Uncle Charlie at Thanksgiving dinner.
But a real black mass, as used, for example, in the Order of Nine Angles has true power. Mrs. Hertz follows the history of the Black Mass back to the age of witchcraft and even further to the the secret cult of Mithras and the Gnostics of the early ages of Christianity. It reappeared in Manichaeism and its later offshoots, the Albigensians, and Cathars. Yet even Satanists have their heretics, that is, those who revert to nature worship. A true Satanist, however, understands its supernatural origins. Satan does not ignore God, rather he puts himself at the same level. Hence the Satanist is faced anew with the perpetual choice first offered to Adam and Eve. One can choose to obey the God or one can side with Satan, and gain the knowledge that will open your eyes and make you one of the gods. For the Satanist, that is the Primordial religion: to know as the gods know, and thereby becoming free to know good and evil without the interference of a higher power.
In some descriptions, the black mass employs hosts consecrated at a Catholic mass. That alone won’t make the black mass valid. What we have in mind is the legion of illicitly but validly ordained priests, who can offer gnostic or black masses in a valid way. For a Catholic, then, such a mass can satisfy the Sunday obligation in a way that no Protestant service can. Even the Norvus Ordo mass may be suspect. Certainly, many black masses are performed with more reverence than popular masses today. In our day, with no licit masses available in much of Europe, the irony may very well be that the only valid masses may be black. The choice would then be between the Light of the World and the Light Bearer. Tread cautiously this Halloween and remember what Jesus said: Be as innocent as the Holy Spirit and as cunning as Lucifer.