In God’s own state the Devil seems to be in demand. The buzz among Catholics who constitute over 20 per cent of the population is that a large number of believers have turned towards Satan and are practicing Black Mass or Satan Worship, according to priests.
The church sees the attempted theft at St Antony’s CMI Monastery Church, Aluva, last week as proof of devil worship. The tabernacle where the host—sacramental bread—is kept was found desecrated at the main door of the church. This is not the first incident of its kind being reported in the state. A similar incident was reported in September 2010 at the St Francis Assisi Church, Vellappally, Alappuzha.
There were reports that the bread was stolen by those who practise Black Mass. Following reports that Black Mass is gaining momentum in the state, Alappuzha Bishop Stephen Athipozhiyil had issued a pastoral letter asking laity to be vigilant about the activities of such groups. The Syro Malabar Church had earlier taken a decision not to allow the laity to keep communion bread with them.
The desecration of communion bread is reported to be an important aspect of Black Mass. Though Black Mass is a parody of the Holy Mass in Christianity, it has reportedly turned into the desecration of any thing considered to be divine by other religions, including Hinduism and Islam. Authorities at the St James Church, Cheranallore, under the Archdiocese of Verapoly, have stopped giving communion bread in the hands of the believers, after it was found that the bread is taken away instead of being consumed in the church.
The members of laity have expressed their misgivings regarding the Aluva incident. “We strongly suspect the involvement of an evil group. It may be noted that the offering box in the church remains untouched. The common laity has no use of ‘Consecrated Hostia’—the communion bread. Only those who practice Black Mass need it. There were reports that certain groups were active in giving Hosts for cash,” points out Jose Vithayathil, the laity commission secretary, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council(KCBC). Sources close to the KCBC also feel that the involvement of those who practise Satan worship could be suspected.
However, the Aluva police maintain that the incident at St Antony’s Chapel was just another case of attempted theft. “We could not trace any link that leads to Black Mass.”
Black Mass is believed to be celebrated during the Witches’ Sabbath and the sacred host is profaned through bizarre sexual rituals.