There is no doubt that this described method whereby a priest may constrain the Holy Spirit into doing his bidding is no different than the concept of Jewish magicians constraining God with the use of the secret divine name. In this case, the Host really is a hostage! Moreover, the method and purpose of constraining God is the same as the methods used by magicians of all cultures throughout history to constrain gods, spirits, demons and elementals in order to form pacts with them. To use such a technique against God himself certainly seems impious. In some documented instances, its application has been downright diabolical.
In the same chapter that the above quotation is pulled from, James Frazer describes another unauthorized church rite called “the Mass of Saint Secaire”, the purpose of which is to put a death curse on an enemy. It is supposed to be performed in a dilapidated, abandoned church at midnight. In it the regular Catholic Mass is said backwards, the Host is black, and the chalice is filled not with wine, but with “the water of a well into which the body of an unbaptized infant has been flung.” When the priest makes the sign of the cross during this rite, it is upon the ground with his left foot. The victim of the curse will allegedly die of a wasting disease.
The truth is, there is no “Saint Secaire.” The name appears to be related to a family of French words pertaining to dryness, barrenness, and wasting. The nature of the ceremony is most definitely evil, and it would appear that this is a form of the “Black Mass”, as it has come to be known. The Black Mass is a parody of the traditional Catholic Mass wherein key elements have been altered to make the ritual blasphemous. It may involve inverted crosses, words said or actions performed in reverse (as in the Mass of Saint Secaire), and a black-colored Host that may be formed with human body fluids or other disgusting substances. The words of the Mass may be altered to include blasphemies against God and Jesus, or praise of Satan. The rite may include sexual acts, and is traditionally performed with the stomach of a naked woman used as the altar. The consecrated Host may be abused or humiliated, as though the priest were actually doing these things to Jesus himself, who is incarnated in the Host. Demons are evoked and, perhaps most horrible of all, unbaptized infants are sacrificed, their blood used instead of the wine of the Eucharist. But the purpose of the ritual is to force God to constrain the
invoked demons to fulfill the priest’s requests, and the sacrifices are made to God in exchange for that, not to the demons.
The elements of the Black Mass are identical in many ways to the elements of the alleged “Witch’s Sabbath” that convicted witches have confessed to attending throughout the centuries of Christian persecution of said witches. From the Middle Ages of Europe, to sixteenth century England, to colonial America, the descriptions of the Witch’s Sabbath in these confessions are remarkably uniform. In these ceremonies, officiated by the Devil himself, there was a mock Eucharist with a black Host, blaspheming of God, and ritual trampling upon the Cross. New initiates were made to sign a black book pledging their soul to the Devil, and they received a mark from the Devil that tagged them as belonging to him. The main difference between the Witch’s Sabbath and the Black Mass is that the Sabbath is a Satanic rite in homage to the Devil, whereas the Black Mass is a Christian rite performed for evil purposes. Sabbaths were sometimes, but not always, performed with the help of an ordained Catholic priest. But Black Masses were, by definition, always performed by a real Catholic priest. Although the descriptions of the Witch’s Sabbaths were extracted under torture, and may be considered untrustworthy because the trials were part of a campaign of persecution against certain groups of non-Catholics, the Church would seemingly have no reason to accuse its own priests of performing such blasphemous rites, unless it were undeniably true. Yet the fact remains that throughout history, more than a few respected priests have confessed to performing the Black Mass, including the sacrifice of children.
The history of the Black Mass begins with the case of Catherine de Medici, queen consort of King Henry II of France from 1547 to 1559. She was born into an influential noble family that had provided the world with two Popes and numerous noble figures. They had a tremendous influence upon the spread of Humanist philosophy, art and science throughout Renaissance Europe. But they were also known for being dabblers in the occult. Catherine de Medici’s sons were heirs to the throne, and she herself was appointed regent for a time. According to French political writer Jean Bodin, Catherine attempted to prolong the life of her son Philip, who was dying of a wasting disease, by employing a priest to perform black masses that involved the murder of young boys.
Catherine is known to have worn a magical amulet featuring the sigil of the demon Asmodeus. Her son, Henry III, continued her interest in the Dark Arts, and had an altar in his home that featured cloven-hoofed devils bearing their backsides to the Cross.
Catherine de Medici was never convicted of child murder, blasphemy or witchcraft, and in fact, these stories about her are rarely mentioned by modern historians, although they were widely believed at the time. But in the famous case of the Abbe Guiborg and Catherine Deshayes (La Voison), mistress to King Louis XIV, the perpetrators were actually brought to justice. The mistress hired the Abbe to perform hundreds of black masses in which the demon Asmodeus was invoked and children were sacrificed. La Voison herself acted as the naked female altar in these ceremonies, and after the child was slain, the blood would be poured into the ceremonial chalice. The host would be inserted into La Voison’s vagina during consecration, instead of the traditional “Tabernacle.” Afterwards, the Abbe and La Voison would engage in sex acts, then the
fluids would be mixed in with the blood and the foully consecrated host. This mixture was then surreptitiously added to the King’s food, the purpose being to cause him to continue to love La Voison to the exclusion of all others, including his wife. This is all according to both Deshayes and Guiborg’s confessions at the trial, and the documentary evidence, in the form of signed demonic pacts between La Voison and Asmodeus, which were entered as evidence in the trial.
That a consecrated wafer could be used for black magic of this sort is a common theme in European occultism. In his famous novel dealing with the Black Mass, French writer J.K. Huysmans wrote in his 1891 book The Damned about a method of killing one’s enemies performed by certain priests in Paris. The priest would put small, non-lethal amounts of poisonous substances onto consecrated wafers, and feed them to either a human female or an animal. After the wafers had been digested, blood would be taken from them – menstrual blood in the case of the human female. The priest would then conjure a demon, and instruct the demon to deliver the blood to the intended victim as a poison.
It is unclear to this author how this process is any easier, or preferable, to poisoning someone outright, except that it can be done from a distance with a much smaller chance of getting caught or prosecuted for murder, but presumably a much lower rate of success. Perhaps, if you are a diabolically-minded priest with God-ordained authority over the spirit world, you find conjuring a demon to be simpler than organizing a murder conspiracy. But if you can do that, why not just ask the demon to kill the person for you through magic? Why would you create a material poison and then ask an ethereal agent
to deliver it? I must admit I don’t really get it myself. But it is interesting that Communion wafers were considered to be required for this spell to work. This brings to mind the fact that Catherine de Medici was suspected of poisoning several of her enemies to death, but no one could ever prove it was her who had done it. Perhaps she had demons deliver the poisons? Perhaps the poisons were made with consecrated hosts?
The demand for transubstantiated wafers has always been high amongst practitioners of black magic, according to Montague Summers’ 1946 book Witchcraft and Black Magic. Unscrupulous people looking to make a buck on the black market will, they say, preserve the host under their tongue after Communion at church, then take it out and sell it to the highest bidder. Ebay has officially banned the sale of consecrated hosts after someone tried to list one for auction, and the company received 9000 complaints from outraged Catholics. To a truly believing Catholic, letting unbelievers get hold of a consecrated Host is like letting Hitler get hold of the Holy Grail. It has transcendental power that can be used for good or for evil, and in the wrong hands could potentially be used against the Church’s interests.
I mentioned earlier the Catholic doctrine that Jesus appointed St. Peter to be the founder of his church, and gave to Peter the keys to Heaven, bestowing power over the spiritual destinies of men, and over the spirits in the ether. The legitimacy of this dispensation is one apparently recognized by even the heretics of the Catholic tradition. Peter was the first Pope. Via what is called “chirothesy” or “the laying on of hands”, Peter was able to ordain other bishops to help lead the church in various areas, and passed the power down
to them as well. (“Chirothesy” was also used by Popes to heal the sick.) These priests in turn passed the power on to other priests that they ordained, and the pattern has continued to the present day. Thus, via apostolic succession, there is a vast web of interweaving but unbroken lines of spiritual power which have been transmitted from Jesus, through Saint Peter, down to all of the validly ordained bishops of the present day. The term “validly ordained” does not necessarily mean “orthodox”, as I shall explain.
Once a spiritual dispensation has been accepted by the Church as valid, it is all but impossible to revoke. Thus we have the phenomenon of “wandering bishops”, and the offshoot Catholic churches that trace their origin through them. These are churches begun by validly ordained Catholic bishops that have broken away from some of the teachings of the Roman church, and from the direct control of the Pope. However, they nonetheless practice Catholic rites and consider themselves to be under the Catholic fold, tracing their apostolic succession back to Peter through the Roman Church. Some of the oldest such churches include the Dutch Old Catholic Church, the Old Catholic Church in Great Britain, and the Liberal Catholic Church. Strangely, the legitimacy of these churches is mutually, if begrudgingly, acknowledged by the Holy See, in much the same way that the Eastern Orthodox Church is acknowledged, although these other churches are very small and considered unimportant. According to the “doctrine of orders”, expounded by St.
Augustine, apostolic succession by the laying-on of hands is valid regardless of the relative orthodoxy or heterodoxy of the recipient’s religious beliefs.
What is interesting is that many of these break-off churches have become intertwined with the underground network of occult secret societies throughout the world. Several of them teach Gnosticism, and act as the “ecclesiastical bodies” for groups like the Ordo Templi Orientis and the Golden Dawn. One such group is attached to a modern-day Templar order that claims to be a legitimate continuation of the original. The thing is that these occult groups not only teach heresy, but outright blasphemy. Indeed, their teachings could be considered Luciferian in nature, and several of the founders of these groups were openly Luciferian or Satanist. These same people are attending Catholic masses performed by priests who trace their apostolic succession back to legitimately ordained bishops. So once again we have Satanists and occultists deliberately utilizing the power of St. Peter for purposes that could by considered anti-Christian.
But interestingly, this seems to be how a lot of the heresies persecuted by the Catholic Church have begun: within the Church itself. Take, for instance, the Cathar heresy, against which the Church waged a Crusade in Southern France in the thirteenth century. This was a Catholic Gnostic movement being led by duly ordained Catholic priests. It is in fact because they were part of the Catholic Church that they were called “heretics.” Otherwise, they would merely be “heathen.” The Church persecuted heresy with much greater vehemence than they did mere unbelief, for heresy was much more threatening. But in more recent years, the Church has been unable to persecute heretics at all, and thus these heretical but nonetheless legitimate bishoprics have proliferated.
It has been suggested by authors like Dr. Margaret Alice Murray, and more recently Nicholas de Vere, that most of the accused witches were prosecuted specifically for “heresy”, and thus were practicing a form of heretical Christianity, be it pagan or overtly Satanic in form. One group of witches, prosecuted in Aberdeen, Scotland, even confessed that they called the god they worshipped “Christsonday” (or “Christ, Son Dei”, meaning, “Christ, Son of God”). However, their description of Christsonday seemed to match the Christian devil much more than that of Jesus. Nicholas de Vere takes this to a further conclusion, stating in his book The Dragon Legacy that:
“Witchcraft in Europe and Britain was run by the Templars and Cathars … Witchcraft is original Christianity, practicing Christian Gnostic Dualism … [It can be traced] back through the Templars to Jesus’ original teachings and the culture of the Druids. … Witchcraft proper, from the early Dark Ages onwards owes as much to its clearly Christian as it does to its direct Druidic, origins … the Roman church … sanitized [Jesus’] rituals and concealed his descent. All those who continued to follow Jesus’ original teachings – like the witches – [the Catholic Church] burned as ‘heretics’… To call a witch a heretic meant that the witch was a heterodox Christian… Witches were ‘original Christians’ whose knowledge of the true, Druidic nature of Jesus’ liberating Christianity had to be quashed at any cost if the Church were to achieve the political and pecuniary supremacy they desired by replacing it with their own enslaving dogma.”
In De Vere’s worldview, the Black Mass is:
“…the original mass of Jesus which the Catholics later stole and sanitized for public consumption…. The Black Mass had its roots in the ancient alchemical lore of Solomon and was simply a memento of teachings long past and an aide memoire for future generations…”
The “Black Mass” which De Vere is here referring to here, performed by witches in Britain and Europe for centuries, is one in which menstrual blood is consumed at the Eucharist, not the blood of sacrificed infants, and has nothing to do with abusing consecrated wafers or calling God nasty names, like in the Black Masses of De Medici or La Voison. Nonetheless, the existence of beliefs like those quoted above may explain why occultists and Satanists might still consider themselves Christians and respect the Catholic Church.