Archive for the ‘Mass’ Category

Offered Often or Once?

September 15, 2009

We’re sometimes told that it an incorrect “either/or” mentality that causes us to reject the sacrifices of the mass on the basis that Christ was offered only once and not often. Yet Scripture itself has that mentality.

Hebrews 9:24-28
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Notice that there is a continual either/or mentality exhibited in the text. Jesus is not in a holy place that men built (sorry, my Roman Catholic friends, he is not in your golden tabernacles) but in heaven itself. It is an either/or.

Again, it is not “often” like the priests of old but “once in the end of the world.” It is not both, but either/or.

He will appear a second time, coming from heaven to judge the world in righteousness on the last day. That is when he will come back to earth, not pulled down by priestly incantations however biblical the words are that they utter.

The Bible expresses it in either/or terminology. You cannot have it both ways. The Bible says Jesus offered himself once. Rome says that Jesus offers himself daily, even while elsewhere inconsistently affirming the Biblical truth.


Of course, the most excellent prayer of all is the one offered daily at the altar by Christ Jesus, the High Priest, to God the Father when the holy sacrifice of Redemption is renewed.

– Pius XII, Fidei Donum, Section 52, 21 April 1957

And likewise:

Above all, you will be ministers of the Eucharist: you will receive this sacrament as a priceless inheritance in which the mystery of Christ’s sacrifice is renewed daily and the decisive event of his Death and Resurrection for the world’s salvation continues. You will celebrate the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine, as he himself offered it for the first time in the Upper Room, on the eve of his Passion. You will thus be personally associated with the mystery of the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for his sheep.

– John Paul II, Priestly Ordinations, Section 2, 3 May 1988

And again:

The third end proposed is that of expiation, propitiation and reconciliation. Certainly, no one was better fitted to make satisfaction to Almighty God for all the sins of men than was Christ. Therefore, He desired to be immolated upon the cross “as a propitiation for our sins, not for ours only but also for those of the whole world” and likewise He 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.

– Pius XII, Mediator Dei, Section 73, 20 November 1947

Alternatively, the priestly role is given to the church and specifically the priests, but still it is a daily thing:


There is one amongst all others, the loss of which is more deplorable than words can express; We allude to the most holy Sacrifice in which Jesus Christ, both Priest and Victim, daily offers Himself to His Father, through the ministry of His priests on earth. By virtue of this Sacrifice the infinite merits of Christ, gained by His Precious Blood shed once upon the Cross for the salvation of men, are applied to our souls.

– Leo XIII, Caritatis Studium, Section 9, 25 July 1898

And again:

Without priests the Church would not be able to live that fundamental obedience which is at the very heart of her existence and her mission in history, an obedience in response to the command of Christ: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19) and “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19; cf. 1 Cor. 11.24), i.e:, an obedience to the command to announce the Gospel and to renew daily the sacrifice of the giving of his body and the shedding of his blood for the life of the world.

– John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis, Section 1, 25 March 1992

And similarly:

Most abundant, assuredly, are the salutary benefits which are stored up in this most venerable mystery, regarded as a Sacrifice; a Sacrifice which the Church is accordingly wont to offer daily “for the salvation of the whole world.”

– Leo XIII, Mirae Caritatis, Section 17, 28 May 1902

And consequently we even see this embodied in Canon law:

they are to nourish their spiritual life from the two-fold table of sacred scripture and the Eucharist; therefore, priests are earnestly invited to offer the eucharistic sacrifice daily and deacons to participate in its offering daily;

Code of Canon Law, Book 2, Part 1, Title, 3, Chapter 3, Canon 276, Section 2, Subsection 2

Offered once or offered often? You can pick the Bible or you can pick Roman Catholic theology, but since the Bible expresses itself in a mutually exclusive way, you cannot have it both ways. It is not both once and often, but only either once or often. The Old Covenant sacrifices were often, the New Covenant sacrifice is once for all time. While Roman Catholic theology will affirm that Christ is offered once for all (in some places), in many other places (some of which are illustrated above) Rome makes the offering of Christ a daily event, not a once-for-all event. As such, Rome’s theology is unbiblical and ought to be rejected and/or reformed.


Why Say Mass Sacrifices Christ Again?

August 3, 2009

Luka asked:

If You truly understand how both biblical statements: that Christ died once for sins, and that -at the same time- He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, are simultaneously correct, then why do You persist in Your conviction that Mass or Liturgy sacrifice Christ “again”? :-|

I answer:

a) As I pointed out at this link, the term “from the foundation of the world” is best understood as modifying “written” not “slain.”

b) As also pointed out there, if the term were to be referred to “slain” we would simply understand that as being a figurative expression as to the intent and purpose of the lamb from all eternity, namely to be slain.

c) One of our complaints about the Roman masses is that they don’t claim to represent the sacrifice of Christ, but actually to involve the sacrificing of Christ. The Lord’s Supper does illustrate for us the death of Christ: it is the true icon of his body and blood, which was shed for many for the remission of sins. The historical event of the cross, however, is complete. It is finished. It cannot be repeated or continued.


Knox on the Idolatry of the Mass

March 20, 2009

One occasionally hears from us, Reformed apologists, reference to the fact that the mass is idolatry. Perhaps this seems like pure polemic, unsupported by argument. Frankly, often it is simply thrown out there without supporting argument. So, I’d like to provide for your consideration, an explanation of the issue provided by John Knox (link).

Here’s how it begins, to whet your appetite:

This day I do appear in your presence, honourable audience, to give a reason why so constantly I do affirm the Mass to be, and at all times to have been, idolatry and abomination before God. And because men of great erudition in your audience affirmed the contrary, most gladly would I that they were present here, either in person, or else by their learned men, to ponder and weigh the causes moving me thereto. For unless I evidently prove my intent by God’s holy scriptures, I will recant it as wicked doctrine, and confess myself most worthy of grievous punishment.

Knox goes on to substantiate his claims, all the while carefully adhering to the standard of the Holy Scriptures.


Comparing the Mass to Animal Sacrifices

April 6, 2008

Reginald, who had been providing some interaction on 2 Thessalonians 2:15 appears to have lost interest in that discussion because he didn’t like this comment I made in passing in another (completely unrelated) discussion:

As to (1), the application to transubstantiation is too easy. So, I’ll leave it at that.

Reginald doesn’t really explain why he doesn’t like the comment. Perhaps he sees something unspoken behind the comment. Perhaps he simply doesn’t understand the comment. It really has nothing to do with the 2 Thessalonians 2:15 discussion, and in fact it was made in response to this comment by one of my other readers:

1. A Santiera priest was told by the courts that he could not offer his animal sacrifices in the Dallas/Ft. Worth city/county lines per the city’s ordinance.

The context was religious persecution that I had described in this earlier post (link).

Now, I don’t mind if Reginald wants to take offense at my comment or use that as a reason not to interact on the unrelated topic of 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

I just think its worth spelling out the argument:

1. Greater Dallas has decided that animal sacrifices cannot be made within its city limits.
2. These days, biologists classify man as an animal.
3. In the mass, it is claimed by Roman Catholics (including Reginald) that the substance of the bread and wine is changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ.
4. Furthermore, calling the mass a sacrifice is perfectly orthodox Catholic theology: “So priests must instruct their people to offer to God the Father the Divine Victim in the Sacrifice of the Mass” (emphasis original – link to original) – even in the ecumenicism of post-V2:

“There can never be any repetition of that act; it happened once and for all (Hebrews 10:10). Nevertheless, the Eucharist truly has a sacrificial character because Christ is really present there in the very act of his supreme self-gift to his Father. The sacramental presence of Christ himself is at once the sacramental presence of his sacrifice also, because the Christ who is present is he who has entered the sanctuary once and for all bearing his own blood to secure an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).[109] He now lives forever, exercising a perpetual priesthood, making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:24-25). Catholics regret any impression they may have given of a repetition of Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, but they also reject the overreaction which denies a sacrificial character to the Eucharist.” (source)

In view of those four essentially indisputable facts, it seems as though if Muslims took over the Greater Dallas machine they could use the same prohibition on animal sacrifices against the Mass, and forbid Catholics from conducting the Mass within the city limits.

(Update: I came across this Muslim comment to a Catholic today, which tends to confirm that they would see things that way: “Since Muslims are forbidden to partake in cannibalism, I shall leave the “body and blood” bit to you who are allowed to indulge in such practices. I do not follow the example of John Paul, that is for YOU as Catholic to do {referring to JP2 kissing the Koran}. I follow the example of Jesus [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] and I call on the one true God, HIS own God [John 20:17; Rev. 3:12], who is not he himself. I thought you would do likewise.” (braces added – square brackets in original)

Reginald considers this vinegar, but he doesn’t explain why. While I don’t mind people taking offense at what I write (thanks Carrie!), I’d not want to give Reginald or anyone else needless offense.

I’d love to hear his explanation.


P.S. Updated to correct a typo caught by Carrie.

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