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Why Neither Mass is Acceptable

The Mass must properly show forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his complete and finished “once for all times” holy sacrifice on the cross for all who come to believe in him. However, both the Traditional Latin (Pius V) Mass and the Novus Ordo (New Order or Pauline) Mass, instead insist on portraying a constant and required re-offering of Christ as necessary to take away sins and both also teach that only small (venial) sins are taken away, not serious (mortal) sins. Therefore, neither is acceptable because neither accurately reflects the complete forgiveness that Christ won for all those who believe, which is the Gospel found in the word of God, the Bible. For more on this, go to Why the Gospel Mass? (Also see  the Gospel Mass to see what is acceptable, what is fully biblical.)

Also click on another Alternate Modern Mass

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My guess is that there are few Catholics alive today who don’t have at least some reverence for the way in which they worship. Whether they know much about the Mass or not, it is, at the very least, a familiar form of worship for them. I went to Mass for more than 40 years and when I was ordained, I celebrated the Mass. The more I celebrated, the more I came to understand the words—and how those words were in conflict with the very word of God, the Bible.

Upholding and defending the one, complete and finished sacrifice of Christ

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)

The argument should not be whether the Traditional Latin Mass (Pius V) is superior to the Novus Ordo in English but whether either of them truly reflects the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, the Bible clearly indicates that neither of them do.  And certainly, it is not necessarily their goal to conform to the Bible, the word of God—but to conform to the church’s (ever-changing, yet somehow always the same) tradition. Though the church claims an equality between the Bible and tradition—most of this website amply proves otherwise (see especially the dogma link).

So how is it that today’s Mass, both the Traditional Latin often known as the Tridentine Mass or “Gregorian Rite” and the Novus Ordo, fail to reflect the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Christ died once and for all for the sins of many (those he has chosen for everlasting life) but, according to these Masses, Christ is offered in an unbloodied manner, again and again, in order to turn back the wrath of God for our sins. As the Council of Trent teaches:

“And forasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated (sacrificed) in an unbloody manner, who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross; the holy Synod teaches, that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory…For the Lord, appeased by the oblation thereof, …forgives even heinous crimes and sins.” (Council of Trent, Session 22, Chapter 2)

This decision and teaching, which the bishops of the Council of Trent “require the faithful to believe or lose their salvation” is in direct conflict with the word of God, which repeatedly tells us that Christ appeased God’s wrath “once for all time” on the cross:

Biblical references

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.

Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for sins once and for all when he offered himself. Hebrews 7:27-28

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves, but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood having obtained redemption. Hebrews 9:12

Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:26

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:28

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10

But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:12-14

Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these (sins) have been forgive, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins. Hebrews 10:17-18

"Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." Romans 6:9

How much more plain can the word of God make it? The Lord’s sacrifice upon the cross is a full, perfect, sufficient, once-for-all time, sacrifice for the sins of all who come to believe in him. It need not be repeated or re-offered, even if we could somehow do so. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

The Mass then is not the holy sacrifice itself but a commemoration of that “once for all times” holy sacrifice of Christ. As the Lord himself puts it, “Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

"But go, and learn what this means. 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'" (Matthew 9: 13)

So the Mass should not be viewed as a sacrifice but a commemoration of the one sacrifice and no, “commemoration” does not mean an “empty memorial” (more on this later). Nowhere in the Bible does Christ tell us to re-offer him to the Father again and again. Yet this is exactly what both the Traditional Latin Mass and Novus Ordo attempt to make us believe is required. (Go to “An Analysis of the Canon” to see for yourself.)

A "continuous sacrifice" to support the structure

Why does the hierarchy of the Church want us to believe this? Because they have attempted, and quite successfully so, to systematize what they would have us believe is the Christian faith. These particular Masses are the “centerpieces” of their priestly “system” of Christianity. Without a belief in the Mass as a holy sacrifice, there is a fear that priests and bishops, who supposedly act in the person of Christ “persona Christi” (see Catechism #1548) to perform or make possible this ongoing and required sacrifice to God the Father, would be less necessary or certainly less authoritative in the eyes of the people. This cannot be allowed to happen in a hierarchical system—since it might bring such a system tumbling down. (When something is built on man’s teaching instead of Christ’s it is by nature wobbly—built on shifting sands.)

Thus we see the Latin Mass supporters constantly pointing to what they see as a “devaluing of the priesthood” in the newer Mass or Novus Ordo which they claim is less sacrificial in nature than their Mass.  They contend the priest is more of a presider than what he was truly meant to be—an "alter Christ" or "another" Christ, a persona Christi. But again, all of this is simply debate among people who put their faith more in ritual and ritual languages of the church and its “authoritative” tradition than in Christ and his holy word. They have forgotten the Gospel and today’s “Masses” certainly reflect that. (Go to “An Analysis of the Canon” to see how far from the Gospel these Masses have strayed.)

I mean, come on, if the Traditional Latin Mass vs. Novus Ordo was even a worthy debate, I would argue that because Jesus said the first Mass at his Last Supper in a form of Aramaic that that should be the language we use for the Mass. In the same vein, the argument that Latin somehow made the church more universal was really only good as long as most people used Latin to carry out business and trade—therefore more people were familiar with it and could more readily understand it. As we know, that time has long since passed and it is well known that English has replaced Latin in those venues. In addition, whether they are aware of it or not, the Pius V Latin Mass is a much more decorative replacement for what is described as a very austere and simple original Roman Rite. (click here for brief history link)

Though they claim that they seek to unify the church through a return to the Latin Mass, what they want is a return to the uniformity of yesterday in hopes that antiquity can somehow solve the glaring problems of the church. They have always sought uniformity as "the cure" and that is why so much of what they teach is really an effort at that goal and not the goal of preaching and teaching the Gospel. If people were honest, the real bottom line is that we are still dealing with a lot of superstition in the church. “God hears and responds to Latin better than English because the church used Latin so long that God got used to it.” How ridiculous! But way too close to home, way too close to the truth, for the comfort of most. 

All this from a hierarchical system that Christ absolutely warned his apostles against ever constructing:

"Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister: And whosever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all" (Mark 10:42-44, also see Luke 22:25-26)  

“For one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.” (Matthew 23:8)

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..." (1 Timothy 2:5)

So does a commemoration vs. sacrifice, affect Holy Communion?

Leaving behind their bible-less debates, the question may well arise: Because it is a commemoration of the one true sacrifice and not a true sacrifice in itself, does that somehow mean that Christ’s body and blood is not provided those who receive the bread and wine at Holy Communion? Of course not. Christ himself promised us his body and blood and that is exactly what we receive. He  never asked us to renew his sacrifice. We don’t have to “re-sacrifice” Christ before we can have him—though I could certainly see where that thought could arise amidst the confusion that we call the Mass.  We simply obey Christ’s commands to “do this” in remembrance of him and we receive what he tells us we receive. We can’t explain how Christ gives us his body and blood, we simply believe on his promise.

Here’s where we turn to yet another required Roman Catholic belief that tries to convince us that the Church has somehow managed to explain what Christ himself chose not to explain—just how it is that bread and wine are changed to his body and blood at Holy Communion. It is called "transubstantiation." It is derived from a formula of "accidents and substances" concocted by the pagan philosopher Aristotle. In the Roman Church's teaching on Holy Communion, the "accident" is a description for the fact that the bread still looks and tastes like bread but its "substance" has been changed to the true body of Jesus Christ through the priest's prayers of consecration. It teaches the same for the wine. Yes, it still looks and tastes like wine (accident) but its substance has been totally changed to the blood of Christ. 

First, Christ never told us the bread and the wine had to be “changed” in order to be his body and blood. He simply commanded us to believe that when we do this in remembrance of him that we receive his body and blood—and what’s more important—the forgiveness of sins that they (his body and blood) were poured out for. Here’s where we begin our return to the Gospel and set aside nonsense such as the Roman Catholic Church’s required-for-salvation belief in “transubstantiation” as the required-for-salvation explanation for how it is that the bread and wine we receive "become" Christ’s body and blood.

To think that we so desperately require an explanation for this great blessing of Christ’s body and blood says a lot about our apparent need to be confident not in God, but in our ourselves. Perhaps we reason; if we can explain it, then and only then can we truly believe it. What a prideful people we are! So prideful that we will borrow a formulation from a pagan philosopher to help us explain what Christ chose not to explain.

We also need not be bothered with Martin Luther’s explanation that Christ’s body and blood are “in, with and under” the bread and the wine or Calvin’s comments that we simply “and only spiritually” receive Christ’s body and blood. All of these may be well-meaning attempts to aid our troubled and deficient human minds but none of them work. Our human frustrations over these attempts to explain what we cannot explain should simply return us to the fact that this is not about us and our ability to explain all the mysteries of Christ. It is about Christ and what he has done for us and the gift of faith in him that he alone gives us, a gift of faith that extends to the very words he spoke—as found in the Bible. We did not “reason our way” to Christ. He chose us and gave us the faith to believe in him. He and he alone makes us see that what he has done for us is indeed “reasonable” in fact wonderful—everlasting life with him!

Christ’s own words at the Last Supper are very clear:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

     Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-27)

How beautiful that Christ would leave us this last testament, this last covenant to show forth his Gospel of salvation  and seal it for all who believe in him by involving us in the simple and nourishing acts of eating and drinking for the forgiveness of our sins. He gathers us in a community of worshiping believers who come together to acknowledge their sins and his victory over those sins, to praise him and celebrate the salvation he has won for each us. We come together to receive Him and his good news through word and sacrament. “Drink from it all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.”

And yet, the Roman Catholic Church itself, which calls Holy Communion or the Eucharist the “pinnacle” of the Mass, has chosen to devalue that pinnacle in favor of its authoritative pope, bishop and priest system by teaching that only "venial or small" sins are forgiven when we receive Christ’s body and blood. Only the confession of our sins to a priest can forgive our serious, grave or mortal sins. Remember, venial sins are sins that will not keep us from entering heaven should we die suddenly with them on our soul. The Roman Church teaches that Christ’s body and blood removes only these small sinsthe ones that don't really matter all that much anyway, the ones that will simply get us some time in purgatory, according to the Roman Church:

The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal (serious, grave) sins—that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church.” (Catholic Catechism #1395)

Once again it is uniformity (as in “full communion or full agreement” with the Church) and not the body and blood of Christ nor his words of promise to forgive our sins that is important to the hierarchy. It is the “priestly power” of forgiveness or absolution that matters here. According to the Roman Church, it matters more that you go to a priest to seek reconciliation with God than it is to obey his word and trust in his promise:  "If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

And so, does the Roman Catholic Church really have such a high view of the Eucharist? As it turns out, what the Church really believes is important about the Eucharist is that “it preserves us from future mortal sins.” (Catechism #1395) Not surprisingly, that too came from the Council of Trent. The Church teaches us that receiving Christ’s body and blood is really more of an “insurance policy” against committing certain “serious” sins than it is as Christ himself explained it “poured out for the forgiveness of sins.” Yet another step away from the true Gospel.

Now that we know, what will we do?

It’s astounding, isn’t it? All those times we went to Mass and did not know fully what we were believing or what the Church was teaching us. And certainly, we had no idea how far removed so much of it was from the biblical Gospel.

The problem now is—we know. Or is that a problem—or is it not instead reason for rejoicing!We know that the Mass of continual re-offering or sacrifice of the Christ is not the Mass of the Gospel. We know that Christ died once and for all times—to take away sins and win eternal life for all who believe. “He who believes in me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47) We also know that very bad things are in store for those who preach and teach a different gospel than the one that Christ has given us. As you have likely read before on other pages of this website—the word of God warns of eternal condemnation for those who preach a different gospel:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:8-9)

Eternal condemnation—an eternity in hell—for those who refuse to repent and continue to preach or teach a different gospel than the one Paul preached. And what was the true Gospel he preached? Yes, we better know and we better make sure we preach it correctly: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:30) And how does that mesh with the Gospel that Christ preached—perfectly: “He who believes in me has everlasting life.” (6:47)

What will become of the Roman Church?

And so what will become of this great church that has raised many of us from our infancy and provided us with Masses both old and new that do not tell us the true Gospel of Jesus Christ? What will become of the one we have learned to call "Holy Father" who says his glorious teachings are absolutely "irreformable?" And what will happen to his glorious city that many have had the opportunity to visit and marvel to behold? What will happen to us and our Protestant friends who figure we find ourselves in such close agreement?

The book of Revelation tells us about a great city, represented by a woman riding a beast. She bares a label on her forehead: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

In chapter 17 of Revelation, the woman herself is described as a city that sits on seven hills, she is dressed in purple and scarlet, glittering with gold and precious stones. She is drunk with the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. She is called a great prostitute who committed adultery with the kings of the earth and the wine of her adulteries intoxicated the earth’s inhabitants. It says she rules over the kings of the earth, and sits on many waters and the waters are described as “peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.”

In chapter 18, we are told she has become a home for demons, a haunt for every evil spirit. To the bitter end she is unrepentant and prideful: “I sit as a queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.” Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. (Revelation 18:7-8)  We are told that God has judged her for the way she has treated the saints and apostles and prophets. Chapter 18 concludes with another accusation against the woman: “By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth.”

The only hopeful note sounded in the whole of chapter 18 is a voice from heaven which says: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.”

Should we have at least an alternative Mass to turn to—one that reflects the Gospel much better than the one we use today? As radical as it may sound—the evidence indicates that we very much need one and one is now posted on this website for your consideration click here. Perhaps then, us Catholics can get a start in really worshipping the Lord in spirit and in truth—in offering him what he really wants: “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2) 

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:15-16)

Well, if we keep those verses in mind, we should get a good start on a new offertory, don't you think? --God Bless, Bro. Jim

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