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Boston ‘SatanCon’ prompts Catholics to respond with prayer and the Gospel…

Boston ‘SatanCon’ prompts Catholics to respond with prayer and the Gospel…

(OSV News)─ Prayer,
sacramental grace and the cultivation of virtue are Catholics’ most effective
responses to an upcoming satanist convention in Boston —
and the event itself is an opportune moment for Catholics to give witness to
the Good News of Jesus Christ, pastoral experts told OSV News.

The Satanic Temple, based in Salem, Massachusetts, will host SatanCon 2023
April 28-30 at the Marriott Copley Place in downtown Boston. With a
theme of “Hexennacht (Witches’ Night) in Boston,”
the TST-organized conference includes lectures, panel discussions and

Among the scheduled presentations at the event, which organizers claim has been
sold out, are “Hellbillies: Visible Satanism in Rural America,” “Deconstructing Your Religious Upbringing,” “Sins of the Flesh:
Satanism and Self-Pleasure,” “Reclaiming the Trans Body: A/theistic
Strategies for Self-Determination and Empowerment” and “Re-imagining
Lilith as an Archetype for Reproductive Justice.”

TST’s website lists the event as dedicated — in a negative way — to Boston mMayor
Michelle Wu “for her unconstitutional efforts to keep TST out of Boston’s public

The agenda also includes a “Sober Mass” on Sunday, April 30. In an
emailed response to OSV News, TST described the event as “a somber and empowering ceremony that honors all those who endured
mistreatment, have been harmed, or lost due to pseudoscience and superstition
in the fields of addiction and recovery.”

added that “there are no Catholic elements in the ceremony or
SatanCon,” as TST “has its own affirmative values and is not

Nonetheless, the conference has drawn concern and outrage from a number of

Donilon, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Boston, told
OSV News that Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley has counseled “a
response balanced and focused on prayer.”

“We are finalizing a list of places throughout our whole Archdiocese where
we will gather in adoration and prayer,” Donilon said in an emailed
statement. “All of our shrines have agreed to be a part of this, and most
of our monasteries. Our men and women religious will be invited to more intense
prayer during that weekend.”

In addition, “many of our parishes will be opening up during the three
days to prayer for adoration and Masses with this intention,” Donilon
said. “Parishes are being offered prayer cards. The Prayer of St. Michael
is encouraged to be said during these times.”

Regular Mass attendance, frequent reception of the sacraments of Eucharist and
reconciliation, prayer and the use of sacramentals — such as holy water and
religious medals — all form an effective strategy in “keeping the Evil
One at bay,” Dominican Father Basil Cole, professor of moral, spiritual
and dogmatic theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, told
OSV News.

“This isn’t rocket science. We’ve known how to handle this for 2,000
years,” said Father Cole, who also stressed the need for Catholics “to grow in grace and in virtue” in order to defeat evil.

Engaging in satanic worship is generally the result of a “slow and sneaky
process” in an adherent’s life, he said.

“It’s caused in part by superstition, and it also starts with people
wanting to commit very serious sins, like abortion, murder and even
pornography,” said Father Cole. “That allows the devil to influence
one a little more.”

which claims to “religiously object” to abortion restrictions, has
created the “Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic” as well as
a “religious ritual” for both chemical and surgical abortions. Named
for the mother of the Supreme Court justice, the clinic claims to provide “religious medication abortion care” by mail to women in New Mexico.

TST’s website lists seven fundamental tenets promoting “compassion,” “justice” and “scientific understanding,” packaging
satanism as a kind of intellectual sophistication is “a cover,” said
Father Cole.

“The idea is always to get some phenomenon going in your favor — revenge,
a better job,” he said. “There are a lot of poor souls looking for
help, and all of a sudden, the devil comes along in some mysterious way.”

Vincent Lampert, exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, told OSV News there
are “two different types of satanism.”

are those who truly get involved in the worship of Satan, and then others who
use that term, but for them, the main goal is to simply remove God from society
and replace him with our own intellectual capacity,” he said, adding that TST’s Boston conference
likely falls into the latter category.

whether invoked as a spiritual force or as a metaphor for atheism, “the
devil is an opportunist,” Father Lampert cautioned. “Directly or
indirectly, he will use (any) opportunity to unravel people’s lives and
society. The devil is all about brokenness, division, bitterness, resentment
and anger.”

TST conference also can serve as a moment for Catholics to deepen their
awareness of Jesus Christ’s decisive triumph over evil, and how united with
Jesus, the church can “advance the kingdom of God,” explained Father

Jesus was being crucified, the devil believed it was his moment of victory, but
it was actually the moment of his defeat,” he said. “We don’t have to
do extraordinary things to defeat the devil. When we practice the ordinary
things of our faith — Mass, reading the Bible, the sacraments — the devil is
already on the run.”

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