Saturday, March 29, 2008

Do Catholics Sacrifice Jesus Christ At Mass?

The answer is yes, they do! That is the express teaching of the Catholic Catechism. The Catholic Mass is a literal sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The priest literally sacrifices Jesus Christ on the altar, and thus magically transforms the bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. When I have discussed this subject with Catholics, they usually deny it. But the teaching of the Catechism is explicit and unmistakable:

1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since 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 offered in an unbloody manner. . . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."

1382 The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord's body and blood.

1388 . . . As the Second Vatican Council says: "That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended."

1651 . . . They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, . . .

Catholics usually try to avoid the obvious meaning of these passages by arguing that the Mass is only a memorial of the sacrifice of Christ, not a re-doing of that sacrifice. They may point to the first sentence of paragraph 1367 which says: “The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: ‘The victim is one and the same . . .,’” while ignoring all the rest. But that won’t work. The language of the Catechism is unmistakable. It categorically identifies the Mass as a sacrifice, period. It is not a “memorial” of that sacrifice, not even a “re-enactment” of it; it is itself a sacrifice. And that sacrifice is that of Jesus Christ, who is repeatedly or perpetually offered every time the Mass is celebrated. There is a big difference between saying that something is a “memorial” of something, and saying that it is the thing itself. The Catechism defines the Mass as being the thing itself. If we reduce the above passages to its core elements, the meaning becomes clearer:

The victim [Christ] . . . now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different. . . . the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner. . . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory.

The Mass is at the same time . . . the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated.

They should be encouraged to . . . attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, . . .

The latest Oxford English Dictionary defines “perpetuate” to mean: “make something continue indefinitely”. The slightly older 1990 edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines “perpetuate” to mean: “make perpetual”; and it defines “perpetual” to mean: “1 eternal; lasting forever or indefinitely. 2 continuous, uninterrupted. 3 frequent, much repeated”. The Collins English Dictionary defines “perpetuate” to mean: “to cause to continue”. The Mass is designed to perpetuate the sacrifice of Christ. It makes it to continue. It makes it “continuous and uninterrupted” and “frequent and much repeated”. That is the definition of the Mass.

All of this of course is entirely unbiblical and unscriptural, and departs radically from it. The Bible teaches that the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is performed purely in remembrance of the sufferings of Christ; nothing more nor less. It was also a very simple ceremony of breaking bread in memory of the sacrifice of the Son of God. There was no theatre and no fanfare. All the theatrics, the paraphernalia, the chantings and trappings were added later, after the Church had apostatized:

Matthew 26:

26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Mark 14:

22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.

24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

Luke 22:

14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:

16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

That set the pattern that the early Christians followed in celebrating the sacrament; and that was what the Apostles had taught them to do:

1 Corinthians 11:

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew [i.e. signify, represent, remember] the Lord's death till he come.

27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

There were no chantings, no theatre, no new sacrifice, and none of the paraphernalia of the Mass. And it was done in remembrance of the Lord’s sufferings. There was no suggestion of it being a repeat of the sacrifice of Christ, or of the emblems turning literally into flesh and blood.

People often ask LDS: “How do you know that the Christian church apostatized?” These are examples of some of the many reasons. As Isaiah prophesied: “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5). These are some of the examples of “changing ordinances” and “breaking the everlasting covenant”.