If a person really believes that they were in the presence of the Lord God they would never get up off their knees, much less turn their back on Him and walk out.
On This Page
Is the Mass the Real Sacrifice of Christ?
Christ's Work of Redemption is Finished, Not Continuing
The Mass - Miracle or Mendacity?
The Sacrifice of the Mass -- Blessing or Bondage?
Also See Section on Transubstantiation
Is the Mass the Real Sacrifice of Christ?
by James G. McCarthy
Few Catholics think about this question. The reason is that most Catholics are not aware that the Church teaches that the Mass is an actual sacrifice. They know that the rite is called the Sacrifice of the Mass, that it is performed by a priest, that the congregation assembles before an altar, and that the consecrated bread wafers are called hosts. Nevertheless, most Catholics do not seem to realize that the Church teaches that the Mass is a real and true sacrifice, that a prime function of the Catholic priesthood is to offer sacrifice, that an altar is a place of sacrifice, and that the word host is from the Latin word hostia, meaning sacrificial victim.
When I told Anthony, a Catholic catechism teacher, that he was going to a sacrifice for sins each week, he denied it. Anthony’s sister, Teresa, had been born again several years earlier and had left the Catholic Church. She had been sharing the gospel with Anthony, and he too now was claiming to be trusting Christ alone for his salvation. He remained, however, loyal to the Catholic Church and its practices.
"Anthony, you can’t say you are trusting in Christ’s finished work on the cross and keep going to a weekly sacrifice for your sins," I told him.
"But it’s not a sacrifice," Anthony insisted.
"Look at the Eucharistic prayer," I said, handing him an open copy of the Vatican II Sunday Missal, the book containing the words recited by the priest during the Mass. "What does the priest pray after consecrating the bread and wine?"
"‘We offer to you, God of glory and majesty,’" Anthony read, "‘this holy and perfect sacrifice the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.’"i He then added, "I don’t remember the priest ever saying that."
"Read on," I asked.
"‘Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our Father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek. Almighty God, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar the sacred body and blood of your Son, let us be filled with every grace and blessing.’" Anthony studied the prayer for a few moments in silence, and then added, "Well, I never heard this at the Mass."
"I’m not making this up, Anthony," I told him. "Next Sunday sit near the front of the church and listen carefully to the words of the priest. You’ll see for yourself. According to your Church, in some mystical way the cross transcends time and is made present by the liturgy of the Eucharist. I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense, but Catholicism teaches that the Mass is one and the same as the sacrifice of Calvary."
The next time I saw Anthony he admitted that he had been wrong. Despite almost forty years in the Catholic Church and experience as a catechism teacher, he didn’t know that the Mass was supposedly the actual sacrifice of Christ. Neither did he realize that he was not only attending Christ’s sacrifice, but he was participating in it.
It is indeed the priest alone, who, acting in the person of Christ, consecrates the bread and wine, but the role of the faithful in the Eucharist is to recall the passion, resurrection and glorification of the Lord, to give thanks to God, and to offer the immaculate victim not only through the hands of the priest, but also together with him; and finally, by receiving the Body of the Lord, to perfect that communion with God and among themselves which should be the product of participation in the sacrifice of the Mass. —Second Vatican Council (emphasis added)ii
One must ask: What kind of worship is this? The cross was a horrific event. It was the enemies of the Lord Jesus, not His disciples, who crucified Him. Why would anyone calling himself a Christian want to participate in the continuation of the cross?
Furthermore, as the Lord died on the cross, He cried out, "It is finished!" (John 19:30). Why then does the Church want to continue His sacrifice? He died "once for all" (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, 9:26, 9:28, 10:10). How then can the Church say that each offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass appeases the wrath of God? The Lord "entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12). Why then does the Church seek to continually re-present Christ in His victimhood to the Father? The Lord is not in a state of victimhood. He is the risen, glorified, crowned King of Glory.
Rome’s theologians, you can be sure, have responses to each of these questions. But don’t expect any simple or straightforward answers. While writing The Gospel According to Rome, I asked Michael, a scholarly colleague with advanced theological degrees, to critique the section of the manuscript that reviewed the Church’s rebuttal to criticism of the Mass. About to complete a doctorate in biblical Hebrew at a leading university, I was confident that, if anyone could make sense of them, it was Michael. I was expecting him to carefully analyze each response, delving into the finer points of theology. To my amazement, he simply wrote in the margin, "WHAT A BUNCH OF HOOEY!"
Michael was right. Rome’s explanation of the glaring contradictions of the Mass amount to nothing more than mystical mumbo-jumbo and high sounding nonsense.
Even more distressing is the way the Church distorts the Scriptures in an attempt to provide a biblical basis for the Mass. Take, for example, the following reference to the Mass in Pope John Paul II’s recent best-seller, Crossing the Threshold of Hope:
. . . the Church is the instrument of man’s salvation. It both contains and continually draws upon the mystery of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. Through the shedding of His own blood, Jesus Christ constantly "enters into God’s sanctuary thus obtaining eternal redemption" (cf. Hebrews 9:12). —Pope John Paul IIiii
Here the Pope actually changes the Scriptures. Though he modifies the wording of Hebrews 9:12, he puts his new version in quotation marks and retains the reference, suggesting that it compares well to the original. Three alterations, however, have so distorted the meaning of the verse that the Pope’s new version teaches the very opposite of what the original did. Before examining how the verse has been changed and why the Pope would want to modify it, consider first the original meaning of the verse and its context.
At Mount Sinai God showed Moses a tabernacle in heaven, and instructed him to build a similar tabernacle on earth, carefully following its pattern (Exodus 25:9, 40; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5). It was to be a rectangular tent with a single entryway and no windows. Inside a curtain was to divide the structure into a large outer room and a smaller inner room.
The earthly tabernacle was to serve as the focal point of Israel’s worship (Exodus 25:8; 29:42). Each day Jewish priests were to enter its outer room and perform various duties (Exodus 30:7-8; Leviticus 4:18, 24:1-9). Once a year on the Day of Atonement the Jewish high priest was to enter the inner room, presenting the blood of sin offerings to make atonement for himself and for the nation (Leviticus 16:1-34). In front of the tabernacle, God told Moses to construct a bronze altar upon which the priests were to continually offer animal sacrifices (Numbers 28-29).
Hebrews 9 reviews many of these details. There the emphasis is placed on the frequency with which the Jewish priests were to enter the tabernacle to perform their duties:
Now when these things have been thus prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship, but into the second only the high priest enters, once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. —Hebrews 9:6-7 (emphasis added)
The verses that follow contrast the continual and yearly ministry of the Jewish priests in the earthly tabernacle with the once for all ministry of the Lord Jesus in the heavenly tabernacle.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. —Hebrews 9:11-12 (emphasis added)
These verses speak of an event following the crucifixion when the Lord Jesus entered into the presence of God in the heavenly tabernacle. There He presented His shed blood on our behalf (Hebrews 9:24-25). Unlike the Jewish priests, however, who "are continually entering" (Hebrews 9:6) and the high priest who "enters once a year" (Hebrews 9:7), the Lord Jesus, our High Priest, entered the holy place of the heavenly tabernacle "once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12). Only one presentation of His blood was necessary for God accepted it as the perfect and complete satisfaction for our sins.
Now consider how Pope John Paul II has altered the meaning of Hebrews 9:12. He writes that "...Jesus Christ constantly ‘enters into God’s sanctuary thus obtaining eternal redemption’ (cf. Hebrews 9:12)."iv Three changes are apparent.
The original text of Hebrews 9:12 says that Christ "entered" God’s sanctuary. The Greek verb is in the indicative mood and the aorist tense. This portrays Christ’s entrance into the heavenly sanctuary as an event in past time, freezing the action as if taking a snapshot of it. The Pope changes the verb to the present tense, writing that Christ "enters into God’s sanctuary." This makes Christ’s entrance an event that is now occurring, viewing the action as something that is in progress.
Further distorting the meaning of the verse, the Pope introduces it with the word constantly, writing that "…Jesus Christ constantly ‘enters into God’s sanctuary’ (cf. Hebrews 9:12)."v The verse, however, says that Christ "entered the holy place once for all" (Hebrews 9:11). In Hebrews 9 it is the Jewish priests who are constantly entering into the tabernacle. This is contrasted with the Lord Jesus who entered only once.
Finally, John Paul changes the ending of the verse to teach that by constantly entering the heavenly sanctuary Jesus Christ is "‘thus obtaining eternal redemption’ (cf. Hebrews 9:12)."vi The Bible says that Christ entered the holy place once for all, "having obtained eternal redemption." The work of redemption is finished, not ongoing.
Now why would the Pope want to change the Scriptures? Why would he want his readers to think that the Bible teaches that Christ "constantly ‘enters into God’s sanctuary thus obtaining eternal redemption’" instead of what it actually teaches, that Christ "entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption"? Why? Because Rome holds that Christ must be constantly re-presented in His victimhood to God through the Mass for our salvation. With each offering of the Mass, some 120 million times a year, the Church says that "the work of our redemption is continually carried out."vii The Pope, not finding Hebrews 9:12 to his liking, simply changed it. This was not a slip of the pen, but a calculated alteration of God’s Word to make the Sacrifice of the Mass appear biblical.
Adapted from Conversations with Catholics by James G. McCarthy (Harvest House Publishers: Eugene, 1997)
i. Liturgy of the Eucharist, First Eucharistic Prayer, The Memorial Prayer.
ii. Second Vatican Council, "Sacred Liturgy," Second Instruction on the Proper Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, no. 12.
iii. Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (New York: Knopf, 1995), p. 139.
vii. Second Vatican Council, "Life of Priests," no. 13. See also the Code of Canon Law, canon 904.
Christ's Work of Redemption is Finished, Not Continuing
by James G. McCarthy
Just before the Lord Jesus gave up His spirit upon the cross, He cried out, "It is finished!" (John 19:30). His sacrificial work of redemption was done. The Greek verb here is in the perfect tense. "It implies a process, but views that process as having reached its consummation and existing in a finished state."  In other words, the saving work of Christ was completed on the cross and continues in a state of completion. The verse can be translated: "It has been finished and stands complete" (John 19:30). 
Roman Catholicism misrepresents the finished work of Christ on the cross by saying that the sacrifice of the cross is continued in the Mass. The Church claims that "…God Himself wishes that there should be a continuation of the sacrifice…."  And so, Christ "…has offered and continues to offer Himself as a victim for our sins…."  According to Roman Catholic theology, at over 120 million Masses each year four things occur: 
As we have seen, the Church teaches that at each Mass, through the words and actions of the priest, Christ is immolated—made present in His victimhood upon the altar under the appearance of bread and wine. This, says the Church, is "no mere empty commemoration of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, but a true and proper act of sacrifice…an unbloody immolation…a most acceptable victim…." 
This doctrine terribly misrepresents the present resurrected and glorified state of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures teach that "Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him" (Romans 6:9). Christ manifests Himself as "the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore…." (Revelation 1:18). He then adds, "…and I have the keys of death and of Hades" (Revelation 1:18). Shall the living One who holds all power over death be continually presented in His death? And that by those for whom He died? Clearly not. Furthermore, the Bible makes no mention of an unbloody immolation. Scripture teaches that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22). No blood, no propitiation.
The Church teaches that at each Mass, Christ "…offers Himself a most acceptable victim to the Eternal Father, as He did upon the cross."7 In the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest petitions God, "Look with favor on your Church’s offering, and see the Victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself."8 The Church explains that the priest is praying that "…the Body and Blood of Christ may be the acceptable sacrifice which brings salvation to the whole world." 
This re-presentation of Christ in His victimhood, allegedly occurring millions of times each year at the Mass, misrepresents the accepted work of Christ. The Bible teaches that Christ presented the sacrifice of His life to the Father only once. Upon His death, the Lord Jesus passed "through the greater and more perfect tabernacle" (Hebrews 9:11). His purpose was "to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24). Jesus entered the heavenly throne room of God "not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood" (Hebrews 9:12). His purpose was "to make propitiation for the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:17). He "entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12).
The Father accepted the perfect sacrifice of Christ without reservation. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" (Revelation 5:12), shall be the praise of myriads of angels in heaven for all eternity.
On earth the Father signaled His acceptance of Christ’s work by dramatically removing one of the principal symbols of the separation that sin had caused between God and man. In the Temple, as instructed by God, a thick curtain formed a wall between the area in which the Aaronic priesthood could minister and the Holy of Holies where God dwelt. The Scriptures record that as Christ yielded up His spirit, "Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Matthew 27:51). This removal of the barrier between God and man signaled that Christ’s work of redemption had been accepted.
The greatest manifestation of the Father’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice came three days later. The Bible says that Jesus "was raised because of our justification" (Romans 4:25). Christ’s offering for sin had been accepted (1 Corinthians 15:17).
The Scriptures further teach, speaking of Christ: "When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3). He sat down for His work was finished. There He remains until a future day: "He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet" (Hebrews 10:12-13).
The Roman Catholic Mass distorts these truths by in effect calling Christ off His throne tens of thousands of times each day to reenter the holy place and re-present Himself in His victimhood to the Father. There Christ supposedly stands while a priest on earth petitions God: "Look with favor on these offerings and accept them…."  This constant re-presentation is a denial of the finished and accepted work of Christ.
Roman Catholicism teaches that the Sacrifice of the Mass is a "truly propitiatory sacrifice"  of "infinite value" :
…it is quite properly offered according to apostolic tradition not only for the sins, penalties, satisfactions and other needs of the faithful who are living, but also for those who have died in Christ but are not yet fully cleansed. (Council of Trent) 
Through each Mass, says the Roman Catholic Church, God’s anger against sin is pacified [1371, 1414]:
…this is a truly propitiatory sacrifice….For the Lord is appeased by this offering, he gives the gracious gift of repentance, he absolves even enormous offenses and sins. (Council of Trent) 
To the contrary, the Lord is offended by the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass. God has already told us that He is fully satisfied with the once for all offering of Christ on the cross: "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). The "Holy Spirit also bears witness to us…saying…their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews 10:15-17). The conclusion naturally follows: "Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin" (Hebrews 10:18). For this reason, Scripture repeatedly calls the cross the "once for all" offering of Christ (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, 9:26, 9:28, 10:10; Romans 6:10, 1 Peter 3:18). To continue to try to appease God with an ongoing sacrifice is an act of unbelief.
Finally, Roman Catholicism teaches that at each Mass, the blessings of Calvary are meted out to Catholics:
The august sacrifice of the altar is, as it were, the supreme instrument whereby the merits won by the divine Redeemer upon the cross are distributed to the faithful…. (Mediator Dei) 
Since the merits of the cross are primarily available through the Mass, the Church urges priests to celebrate the Eucharist, "the sacrament of redemption," frequently, daily if possible. Priests are to do this with the salvation of the world in view:
We recommend that they celebrate Mass daily in a worthy and devout fashion, so that they themselves and the rest of the faithful may enjoy the benefits that flow in such abundance from the Sacrifice of the Cross. In doing so, they will also be making a great contribution toward the salvation of mankind. (Mysterium Fidei) 
And again :
In the mystery of the eucharistic sacrifice, in which priests fulfil their principal function, the work of our redemption is continually carried out. (Second Vatican Council) 
Pope Pius XII wrote that Christ:
…daily offers Himself upon our altars for our redemption, that we may be rescued from eternal damnation and admitted into the company of the elect. (Mediator Dei) 
This relationship between the work of redemption and the Mass is also expressed in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The priest prays over the gifts:
May we celebrate these sacred rites worthily, O Lord, for each offering of this memorial sacrifice carries on the work of our redemption. (Roman Missal) 
All of this stands in contradiction to the Bible. Scripture teaches that God freely and immediately bestows upon each true believer "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3). These He lavishes upon His children in Christ (Ephesians 1:7-8). Nowhere does God require a Christian to participate in an ongoing sacrifice in order to obtain his or her blessings in Christ. The Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that the Sacrifice of the Mass is "the supreme instrument whereby the merits won by the divine Redeemer upon the cross are distributed to the faithful"20 is just one more way in which the Church makes people dependent upon it for the blessings of God.
Adapted from The Gospel According to Rome by James G. McCarthy, Harvest House Publishers, © 1995.
This article is indexed to the numbered paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The paragraph numbers are in brackets.
1. H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Toronto, Canada: Macmillan Company, 1955), p. 200.
2. Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament, An Expanded Translation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956), p. 262.
3. Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, no. 79.
4. Pope Pius Xl, Quas Primas, December 11, 1925.
5. This figure is based upon each of the 404,031 Roman Catholic priests of the world offering the Mass 300 times each year. The annual total would be 121.2 million Masses. (Number of priests based on figures from 1994 Catholic Almanac (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 1993), p. 367. Figure is as of December 31, 1991.)
6. Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, no. 68.
7. Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, no. 68.
8. Third Eucharistic Prayer.
9. Second Vatican Council, "Sacred Liturgy," "General Instruction on the Roman Missal," no. 2.
10. First Eucharistic Prayer, The Memorial Prayer.
11. Council of Trent, session 22, "Decree and Canons on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass," chapter 2.
12. A. Tanquerey, A Manual of Dogmatic Theology (New York, NY: Desclee Company, 1959), vol. II, p. 279. Also compare Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1960), p. 414.
13. Council of Trent, session 22, "Teaching and Canons on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass," chapter 2.
14. Council of Trent, session 22, "Teaching and Canons on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass," chapter 2.
15. Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, no. 79.
16. Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei, no. 33.
17. Second Vatican Council, "Life of Priests," no. 13. See also the Code of Canon Law, canon 904.
18. Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, no. 73.
19. Roman Missal, "Prayer Over the Offerings," ninth Sunday after Pentecost. This prayer is cited by the Second Vatican Council, "Life of Priests," no. 13, footnote 14.
20. Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, no. 79.
The Mass - Miracle or Mendacity?
by Greg Durel
The Mass is the heart and soul of Roman Catholic worship. Without the Mass there would be no Roman Catholic Institution. The Mass is unique to Romanism, for only they teach and believe in the Doctrine of Transubstantiation. This doctrine teaches that when the priest and only a priest says the words of consecration, that the bread and wine are literally changed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is then offered again as a sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead. Rome teaches that it is necessary for one’s salvation to partake of the Mass. Peter Kreeft, in the book Ecumenical Jihad, says the mass is an extension of Calvary’s cross. He states that "Protestant communion" is deficient.
Eat Protestant communion bread, and you have not eaten Christ. You have no more grace than if you had only prayed or read the Bible. But eat the Catholic Host, and you are really filled with Christ, as really as Mary’s womb was.
As a result of this unbiblical theory, we find chapels of perpetual adoration where a piece of bread is knelt before, prayed to and worshipped. Kreeft gives an excellent argument from logic to reject this false teaching, even though he uses it to try and prove the opposite. He tells of a Muslim student that can not believe that a Catholic really believes that a piece of bread is not bread at all but in reality is Jesus Christ in the flesh. Remember, to deny that doctrine is to be hell-bound according to the Council of Trent as well as Vatican II. The Muslim says that if a person really believes that they were in the presence of the Lord God they would never get up off their knees, much less turn their back on Him and walk out.
The Muslim’s point is well taken and correct. If this miracle has taken place and Catholicism believes that it certainly has:
The supreme power of the priestly office is the power of consecrating. "No act is greater," says St. Thomas, "than the consecration of the body of Christ." In this essential phase of the sacred ministry, the power of the priest is not surpassed by that of the bishop, the archbishop, the cardinal or the pope. Indeed it is equal to that of Jesus Christ. For in this role the priest speaks with the voice and authority of God Himself.
When the Priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of monarchs and emperors: it is greater than that of the saints and angels, greater than that of the Seraphim and Cherubim.
Indeed it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the priest’s command. (Cardinal John A. O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., (Huntington, IN 1974), pp. 255-256)
Would anyone leave the physical presence of the risen Savior? I would think not.
The Mass and the Bible—do they agree?
When you ask a Catholic to show you where in the Bible one can find the Lord instituting the Mass, you will be directed to the passages dealing with the "Last Supper". You will be told that when Christ says the words, "this is my body," the bread is changed into His body and the same miracle occurs with the wine.
A few years ago, in a dialogue with a "Eucharistic minister," I was told that, clearly, anyone could see that this was the institution of the sacrament by Christ. I responded by asking him a few questions.
1. Is the Mass a sacrifice for sins for the living and the dead. His answer, Yes!
2. Did Jesus Christ celebrate the first Mass at the "Last Supper"? His answer, Yes!
3. Was it a perfect Mass? His answer, Of course!
4. If Christ offered a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead at the "Last Supper", why did He have to die on the cross? And
5. How can the Mass be a re-presentation of the Cross when it preceded the Cross? His answer, silence for about two minutes, "No you don’t understand. What Christ did at the ‘Last Supper’ was just pointing to what He would do on the Cross!"
I replied, "You are right and when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper today we are pointing back to what Christ has already done on the Cross for us. ‘For by ONE offering He hath perfected FOREVER….’"
He became very quiet and replied, "I have a lot to think about."
The intellectually honest person, when reading passages dealing with the last Passover meal that Jesus shared with His apostles, will quickly notice the absence of words such as sin, Sacrifice, offering, Priest, etc. You must force your presuppositions into the text to retrieve the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass and the Priesthood.
The Mass and Theology
Whenever a person reads Catholic catechisms or theological works for Biblical proof of the false doctrine of Transubstantiation we are brought to John chapter six without fail.
For the sake of space, let us look strictly at the text involved. Verses 53-56 are used to prove that you are to literally eat His flesh and drink His blood to be saved. Leaving aside the fact that this is unnatural and against Levitical law (cf. Lev. 17), Transubstantiation is disproved by John chapter six.
Firstly, the verbs in this verse are NOT present tense verbs, which they would be if we were to repetitiously partake of His flesh and blood in the Mass. They are, in fact, aorist tense verbs which tells us that, whatever this eating and drinking really is, it is to be done only one time.
Secondly, verse 58 clearly tells us that this is not literal eating at all. Jesus says "NOT AS YOUR FATHERS DID EAT MANNA AND ARE DEAD." How did they eat manna? Literally! Was the manna physical or spiritual? Physical! So we are not literally eating any literal thing. We are in fact spiritually receiving something SPIRITUAL. If you miss it in verse 58, you get it again in verse 63. Jesus says here that the words that He is speaking are SPIRITUAL! This is why when the apostle Paul is asked the question in Acts 16:30, "What must I do (present tense—literally "do and keep on doing") to be saved?" He replies, "Believe (aorist tense—literally "believe one time for salvation") on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…."
Nowhere in the New Testament does anyone celebrate a "Mass". It is not some miracle, but is in reality a falsehood, a religious ritual that says the work of Christ on the cross was deficient and incomplete. It should be rejected as all false doctrine should.
The Sacrifice of the Mass -- Blessing or Bondage?
by Mike Gendron
Many former Catholics have described their experience of going to weekly Mass as a prison sentence, something they had to do in order to avoid the penalty of a serious sin. Others remember it as a mindless ritual of standing, sitting, kneeling and reciting as the priest performed his religious duties. There are many practicing Catholics who feel the same way but are bound by the laws of their church to attend church every week: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass" (paragraph 2180 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church). With this law so explicit and demanding, the question that begs an answer is: Why is participation so compulsory for Catholics? The answers are complex, controversial and authoritative. They are also found in the Catholic Catechism and are noted by paragraph numbers in parenthesis.
First let us look to the Catechism for the definitions of the Mass and the Eucharist.
The Mass is...the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated (1382).
The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents [makes present] the sacrifice of the cross...and because it applies its fruit...the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit. The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: The victim is one and the same. In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner (1366,1367). It is the seed of eternal life and the power of resurrection (1524).
Catholics are given no choice but to believe these inconceivable teachings. Is the Lord Jesus really physically present in the Eucharist? How Catholics answer this question has serious consequences. If they deny the presence of Jesus they are condemned by their church. Canon I of the Council of Trent states, "If anyone denies, that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that He is in it only as a sign, let him be anathema." Conversely, if they believe Jesus is present in the Eucharist they are committing the most serious sin of idolatry, showing their hatred toward God and breaking His second commandment (Deut. 5:8-9).
Based on these teachings Catholics are taught their redemption comes not from the perfect and finished sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross but through the liturgy of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that the work of our redemption is accomplished. Every time this mystery is celebrated, the work of our redemption is carried on (1068, 1405).
Incredibly the Vatican teaches the Eucharist has the power to produce divine life and to unite the people of God.
The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God. It is the source and summit of the Christian life. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself (1324,1325).
Yes, the Catholic Church teaches the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth every day to be worshipped and sacrificed.
In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained (1374). In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ by genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord (1374, 1378). The Church knows that the Lord comes even now in his Eucharist and that he is there in our midst (1404).
How can that be? Why would Jesus return to the earth in a different way and not to the Mount of Olives as God pre-ordained?
This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven (Acts 1:11).
Why would Jesus change His mind about how and when He would return to the earth? He said,
"For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be...immediately after the tribulation...and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory" (Matt. 24:27-30).
Father John O’Brien answers these questions from his book, The Faith of Millions:
When the priest announces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim. The priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.
As preposterous and unthinkable as this may sound, the Catholic priest is said to have the power to call almighty God down from heaven to continue to do what the Lord Jesus said was finished. Over 200,000 times each day, on Catholic altars throughout the world, priests believe they re-present Jesus as a sacrificial victim for sins. When we reflect on the excruciating pain and torture Jesus endured to redeem mankind, it is unconscionable that Catholics would want to continue His suffering and agony.
His tribulation began the night before He was crucified. In the garden He agonized over His Father’s wrath that would soon come upon Him. Hours later He was whipped, scourged and spat upon. After His beard was plucked from His face, He humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross (Psalm 50:6; Phil. 2:8). Like a lamb He was led to slaughter (Isaiah 53:7). Bystanders sneered at Him and He was mocked as a Roman legionnaire hammered heavy, square, iron nails through his wrists and feet producing excruciating pain. He was pierced through for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). Later, as the King of Glory hung in torment on the cross, His arms began to fatigue, and great waves of cramps swept over his muscles, knotting them in throbbing relentless pain. He could draw air into His lungs, but it was nearly impossible to exhale. Jesus strained to raise Himself for each dying breath. But as He moved up and down against the rough timber, tissue was torn from His lacerated back, adding to His agony. His compressed heart struggled to pump the blood that was being shed for the redemption of man. His bones were out of joint and His heart was like wax (Psalm 22:14). After several hours of this agonizing and horrifying pain, with all His strength dried up and His tongue cleaving to His jaw, Jesus gasps, "I am thirsty" (Psalm 22:15; John 19:28). After a sponge full of sour wine was shoved into His mouth, Jesus said in anguish, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Then, with one last surge of strength, He pressed His torn feet against the nail, straightened His legs, took a deep breath, and cried out, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46). To ensure His death, the legionnaire drove a lance through His ribs and into His heart. Immediately there came out blood and water (John 19:34). Also See The Crucifixion Described
Not only does Rome purport to continue this horrific sacrifice with Jesus as its "victim;" it dares to say the sacrifice on its altar forgives sins.
As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God. Holy Communion separates us from sin. I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy (1393, 1414).
What absurdity! The perfect and actual sacrifice of Jesus, who poured out genuine blood and died a real death is said to be insufficient to forgive all sins, but its blasphemous re-presentation on Catholic altars is said to forgive sins that Jesus could not. Yes, the Catholic Mass blatantly denies the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement that is so clearly stated in Scripture. In the book of Hebrews we read the believer’s redemption is eternal because of a finished transaction.
"By His [Christ’s] own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (9:12). We also read, "So Christ was once [not many times] offered to bear the sins of many" (9:28). Again, "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [no re-presentations] for all" (10:10). Continuing, "But this Man [Jesus] after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.... For by one offering [not many] He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified" (10:12,14).
It is perfectly clear that this one offering of Jesus took away sins. We also read: "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin" (10:17,18).
God’s promises revealed in the Gospel are null and void to those who teach and believe the doctrine of the Mass. Those deluded followers who faithfully participate in the Mass throughout their lives are not offered the peace of heaven on their death bed, but the fires of purgatory. Once they die, purgatory demands more Masses to get them out, and so the deception and bondage perpetuates. See Purgatory
The sacrifice of the Mass more closely resembles the Old Testament animal sacrifices which had to be repeated and could never take away sins. By re-presenting Jesus as a sacrificial "victim" in the Mass, the Catholic Church keeps Him cursed on the cross and forsaken by God instead of glorified at His Father’s right hand. Catholic priests have robbed the Lord Jesus of His highly priestly office of intercession, assuming the responsibility themselves. Yet, their role as priest is spurious and fraudulent. The only true priesthood on earth that is recognized in the New Testament is the spiritual priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 2:9).
When the doctrine and practice of the Mass is tested against the word of God, the only standard for measuring truth, we find definite and conclusive misinterpretations, errors, fallacies and heresies:
1. Jesus was never a "victim" but went to the cross in humble obedience to His Father (Phil. 2:8).
2. When Jesus demand that men eat His flesh and drink His blood, He said it had a spiritual meaning, not a literal one (John 6:63). He often spoke to them in figurative language (John 16:25). The Jews were familiar with "eating and drinking" being used figuratively to describe appropriating divine blessings to one’s innermost being (Jer. 15:16; Isa. 55:1-3). To take His words literally would cause everyone to become cannibals, that is, to eat human flesh.
3. If we take Christ’s words literally then "eating and drinking" is necessary for eternal life. This directly opposes hundreds of scriptures that reveal salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone. If eating and drinking is necessary for salvation it presents a dilemma, "What is a person eats and drinks but does not believe?" Or "what if a person believes but does not eat and drink?"
4. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper as a memorial not a sacrifice (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24).
5. The sacrifice of Christ was a once for all event (Heb. 9:12,26,28; 10:10,12,14).
6. A sacrifice without blood cannot atone for sins (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22).
7. Catholic priests violate Christ’s unique role as mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5).
8. No where in the first century Church do we find priests offering sacrifices for sin or Masses for the dead (Acts).
9. Prayers and rituals for the dead are abominations before God (Deut. 18:9,11; 26:13-14).
10. The alleged changes of bread and wine into flesh and blood are not miracles but counterfeits because they remain unchanged in appearance, substance and taste. True biblical miracles were real and observable.
11. Worship of the elements of the Mass is idolatry (Ex. 20:4-5).
12. Jesus will return to earth the same way He left, not in the form of a wafer (Acts 1:11).
13. Drinking blood was forbidden. Jesus would not have asked the Jews to break the law (Lev. 17:10-14).
Clearly the Mass violates biblical integrity and is a powerful deception that holds its adherents in bondage. May the truth of God’s word set Catholics free. His word promises eternal life through Christ’s once-for-all and finished sacrifice. The Lord’s Supper is a blessed memorial for all who believe this!