The Mass

massCan we be following Christ and attend the Roman Catholic Mass? Is it a compromise or not?

To answer these questions we need to understand what the Dogma of the Mass is as defined by the Roman Catholic Church.

What is the Mass

 According to the New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism, vol 2, question 357,:

“The mass is the sacrifice of the new law in which Christ, through the Ministry of the priest, offers himself to God in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine.  The mass is the sacrifice of Christ offered in a sacramental manner . . . the reality is the same but the appearances differ.”  Question 358 asks “What is a sacrifice?”  The answer given is “A sacrifice is the offering of a victim by a priest to God alone, and the destruction of it in some way to knowledge that he is the creator of all things.” 

So from the Baltimore catechism we can conclude that the mass is the offering of the sacrifice of Christ by a priest.

According to Roman Catholicism, Christ instituted the Mass when he said, “This is my body,” (Matthew 26:26) and “This is my blood,” (Matthew 26:28)

 Furthermore, Roman Catholicism teaches that when Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of me,” he gave the apostles, and hence his future priests, the power to change bread and wine into his body and blood, (Baltimore Catechism, Vol. 2, Q. 354). 

Therefore, during the ceremony of the Mass during the part of the liturgy known as the consecration, the priest changes the substance of bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1105).

During the Mass the Eucharist will be offered which is the “Host” (Wafer). After an elaborate ritual in which the priest bows, curtsies and circles the altar, it is believed that the mystery of the real Presence of Christ occurs. (Aka. Transubstantiation).

What happens when we attend the Mass?

 When we attend the Mass we are participating in the ritual, we are not merely spectators as can be pointed out from the Catechism of the Catholic Church itself:

The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely:

On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass. The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day. (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2180)

Although referring to the Sunday Mass, this still holds true for any Mass. The Doctrine of the Catholic Church states that by “assistance at a Mass” (i.e. by being present) the person is “participating in the Mass”.

So it is not possible to sit in a meeting of Catholics when the Mass is being enacted and not be a participant. Many have the idea that they can sit during the Mass and they are only participating if they receive the Host (wafer); this is completely untrue.

Can we compromise for the sake of family?

 Sometimes a family member will marry a Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic fiancé may insist on a Catholic Wedding. During the marriage service a Mass will be enacted, other times it may be at a funeral Mass. Should we attend the wedding of a family member, or loved one, in that case so as not to offend?

 Knowing the doctrine concerning the Mass we must ask ourselves, “Am I willing to be a participant in a ceremony in which Christ is brought down onto a Catholic Altar in the form of a wafer?” “Am I willing to overlook the fact of the idolatrous nature of the Eucharist?”

 When the Lord saw something happening in the Temple that dishonoured His Father He did not simply over look it as if it had no affect on Him. He stood out from the crowd and made His feelings known. His actions were often criticised by the religious leaders, and even some of His own family members, but we read that it was because of the Zeal of the House of God that He acted in such a way. (John 2:17)

 But we must show love!!!!

How loving is it to give people the idea that what their religion teaches is ok by overlooking error?

We may say that we do not agree, but by our actions we say something else.

Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
(John 14:21 & 24)

We are instructed by the Holy Spirit to:

  • flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)
  • abstain from pollutions of idols (Acts 15:20)

The Catholic Mass is idolatrous and a work of the flesh and its participants will not inherit the Kingdom of God:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Conclusion

in the light of scripture, how can we reconcile attending a Catholic Mass AND being a follower of Jesus Christ at the same time?

Now, there are some who will cite the story of Naaman in 2 Kings chapter 5. Naaman was healed of leprosy and, as a result, came to believe in the God of Israel. He was Captain of the armies of Syria and was concerned about having to accompany his master the king to worship in the Temple of Rimmon and bowing down there. He states:

In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. (v. 18)

Elisha the prophet tells him to go in peace.

There is a difference here between Naaman’s case and that of the Born again believer—Naaman had no choice in the matter.

In the case of relatives, or friends, we DO have a choice. As with the Prophet Daniel and the three Israelite children (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) we ought not to compromise and should not participate in idolatry. For in the Mass Christ is brought down in the form of a wafer.

Catechism of the Catholic Church
ARTICLE 3
THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST

1410 It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

1411 Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord.

1412 The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper: “This is my body which will be given up for you. . . . This is the cup of my blood. . . .”

1413 By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651).

This is rank heresy and idolatry:

But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
(Romans 10:6-11)

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