BASIC R.C. BELIEF
From THE WHAT AND WHY OF CATHOLICISM with the Imprimatur of the late
Cardinal Spellman. "The Sacrifice of the Mass forms a pivot upon which all
else turns. If it is what Catholics believe it is, then here is the
greatest external manifestation of the love of God for man and the most
magnificent testimonial to the validity of Catholicism; but if it be false,
it is the worse farce and blasphemy every perpitrated upon God or man, and
the Catholic faith collapses into nothingness."
From A CATHOLIC DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY, Volume I, page 9. "Let any crumb of
the Holy Body which falls to the ground be searched for and if it be found,
let the place be scraped should it be of earth and the dust therefrom mixed
with water and given to the faithful as a draught of blessing."
From DEVOTIONS TO THE HOLY SOULS, Catholic Truth Society of Ireland, Imp.
Colmanus a Doneraile, page 34. THE HOLY MASS - ITS TREMENDOUS VALUE DURING
LIFE AND AFTER DEATH. At the hour of Death the Masses you have heard will
be your greatest consolation. Every Mass will go with you to Judgment and
plead for pardon. At every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment
due to your sins, more or less according to your fervor. Assisting devoutly
at Mass you render to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord the greatest homage.
He supplies for many of your negligences and omissions. He forgives you all
the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgives you all your
unknown sins which you have never confessed. The power of Satan over you is
diminished. You afford the souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.
One Mass heard during your life will be of more benefit to you than many
heard for you after your death. You are preserved from many dangers and
misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your
Purgatory by every Mass. Every Mass wins for you a higher degree of glory
in Heaven. You receice the priest's blessing, which Our Lord ratifies in
Heaven. You kneel amidst a multitude of holy angels, who are present at the
adorable sacrifice, with reverential awe. You are blessed in your temporal
goods and affairs."
John O'Brien, THE FAITH OF MILLIONS, "The Mass with its colorful vestments
and vivid ceremonies is a dramatic re-enactment in an unbloody manner of
the sacrifice of Christ in Calvary."
Often referred to as Holy Mass or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is the
heart of Roman Catholic theology. Its devotional value for individuals
cannot be exaggerated and it is the supreme Act of Worship upon which the
Roman Catholic Church stands or falls.
Attendance at Mass every week and on Holydays of Obligation is a law
binding all Roman Catholics. To deliberately miss Mass is a mortal sin.
Many Roman Catholics don't understand the Mass, but feel holier after
attending this beautiful religious service.
Priests generally offer Mass daily and, when the needs of the parish
demand it, can offer more than one on Sunday.
Mass is an unbloody renewal or continuation of the sacrifice of Christ.
The fruits of His redemption are applied to men at Mass, which Christ
instituted at the Last Supper.
Although the Tridentine Mass (from the Council of Trent) has been
superseded by the New Mass, that Council's teaching on the Mass is still
valid. It is:
(a) When the words of consecration are spoken, the elements become the
Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ under the appearances of bread and
wine. The sacrifice is completed by the priest's consuming the elements.
(b) This Sacrifice is identical to the Sacrifice of the Cross; Christ is
the Victim and Priest in both. The difference is in the manner: bloody on
the Cross and bloodless in the Mass.
(c) It is a propitiatory sacrifice, atoning for the sins of the living
by whom, and the dead for whom, it is offered.
(d) Its efficacy is derived from the Sacrifice of Calvary, whose super-
abundant merits it offers to men.
(e) The Mass may be celebrated in honor and memory of the saints.
(f) Christ instituted the Mass at the Last Supper.
The symbols and ceremonies of the Mass were added by the Church, whom
God authorized to clothe this ceremony with appropriate decoration.
The name "Mass" is derived from the concluding words, "Ite, missa est":
Go, it is the dismissal.
From HERE I AM, Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration. "If some people
were to ask me, `Where is your God?' I would not have to map out some
pilgrimage route to a distant land, but simply point to the tabernacle."
From Church Bulletin of a R.C. Church in Oakland, CA 6/30/57. "During the
past few months there have been a number of people leaving the Church a few
minutes after they have received Holy Communion at 6:15 on First Friday.
This is a great dishonor to Our Blessed Lord. The Church tells us that
Jesus remains in our bodies 15 minutes after we have received Communion;
that means that our thanksgiving ought to be at least 15 minutes long, and
that we should not leave the Church until our Lord is no longer with us."
From THE CATHOLIC ENCLYCLOPEDIA. "In Mithraism, a sacred meal of bread and
wine was celebrated. Mithraism had a Euchatrist, but the idea of a sacred
banquet is as old as the human race and existed at all ages and among all
From CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, Vol IX, page 307-8. "From what date was there a
fixed and regulated service such as we can describe as a formal liturgy
(Mass)? With regard to this question it must be said that an Apostolic
liturgy, in the sense of an arrangement of prayers and ceremonies like our
present ritual of the Mass, did not exist."
In 1570, Pope Pius decreed, concerning the Canon of the Mass, "that nothing
at any time may be added, subtracted or revised . . . for if anyone shall
presume to do so, let it be known to him that the wrath of Almighty God
shall be upon him."
Cyprian (210-258) held that the Eucharistic administrator was a priest
(hierus). This was the first time this term had been used in this way, and
it was an early step toward the present Sacrifice of the Mass. No New
Testament minister had ever been designated as a "hierus."
Transubstantiation was defined by the 4th Lateran Council (1215) and
explained by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) using Aristotlian philosophy
and the terms "substance" and "accidents."
Pope Gelasius (492-496) said, "The substance or nature of the bread doth
not cease to be."
Cardinal Bellarmine (17th century) said, "It cannot be that bread should be
the Body of Christ."
The cup was withheld from the laity at the Council of Constance (1415). The
Council of Trent said, "Whoever shall say that it is a commandment of God
that every Christian should receive the Eucharist under both kinds, let him
be accursed," Pope Leo I (440) declared that to abstain from the chalice
was heresy; Gelasius I (492) ordered that Communion should be administered
in both kinds; Paschal (1118) added, "which custom we therefore teach and
command to be always observed in Holy Church." Pope Gregory the Great said,
"Cursed be anyone that does not receive both and teaches others not to take
both bread and wine."
Votive masses are masses said for the earnest concerns (vota) of the
From THE DIGNITY AND DUTIES OF THE PRIEST, St. Alphonsus Ligouori. "With
regard to the power of the priests over the real body of Christ, it is of
faith that when they pronounce the words of consecration, the incarnate God
has obliged himself to obey and come into their hands under the appearance
of bread and wine. We are struck with wonder when we find that in obedience
to the words of his priests - hoc est corpus meum - God Himself descends on
the altar, and that He comes whenever they call Him, and as often as they
call Him, and places Himself in their hands, even though they should be
His enemies. And after having come He remains entirely at their disposal
and they move Him about as they please from one place to another. They may,
if they wish, shut Him up in the tabernacle, or expose Him on the altar, or
carry Him outside the church; they may, if they choose, eat His flesh, and
give Him for the food of others."
From THE QUESTION BOX, Conway. "The practice of giving the priest a money
alms for a Mass dates from the 7th or 8th century. The custom is approved
by tradition, i.e., the church's approval for the past 1200 years
From TREMENDOUS VALUE OF HOLY MASS distributed by M/M Frank Foran, 7306
West Archer Ave., Summit, IL 60501, with ecclesiastical approval. "At the
hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest
"Every Mass will go with you to Judgment and plead for pardon for you.
"By every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your
sins, more or less, according to your fervor.
"By devoutly assisting at Holy Mass you render the greatest homage
possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord.
"Through the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of
your negligences and omissions.
"He forgives all your venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He
forgives you of all your unknown sins whiuch you never confessed. The power
of Satan over you is diminished.
"By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the
greatest possible relief.
"One Holy Mass heard during your life will be of more benefit to you
than many heard for you after your death."
From FATHER SMITH INSTRUCTS JACKSON, page 155. "Father Smith: From the
beginning of the world the form of worship known as sacrifice was the kind
by which the Almighty was adored. A sacrifice is the offering of a victim
by a priest to God alone, and the destruction of it in some way to
acknowledge that He is the Creator and Lord of all things.
"You see, sacrifice contains an acknowlegement of the creature's
relationship to the Creator, as does no other form of worship. In
sacrifice a visible object is offered to God, then destroyed, to denote
that we owe everything to Him, and that we deserve to be destroyed for our
sins. . . In the Mass, as on Calvary, Christ offers the sacrifice to adore
God, to thank Him for His favors, to ask Him to bestow His blessings on all
men, and to satisfy His justice for the sins committed against Him."
The ceremonial purification after Mass is called the Ablutions. The priest
purifies his chalice with wine, then with water and wine, then washes his
fingers with which he touched the Sacred Host. These actions are
accompanied with appropriate prayers and come just before the end of the
Mass (CATHOLIC WORD BOOK, Knights of Columbus).
POST VATICAN II
Pope Paul VI, 6/30/68 in CREDO OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD. "We believe that the
Mass . . . is the Sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on
our altars. . . the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed
into the Body and Blood of Christ enthroned gloriously inn Heaven, and we
believe that the mysterious presence of our Lord, under what continues to
appear to our senses as before, is the true, real and substantial presence.
. . This mysterious change is very appropriately called by the Church
transubstantiation. . . the bread and the wine have ceased to exist after
Pope Paul VI, quoted in Alden Hatch's biography, page 222. "It cannot be
tolerated that any individual on his own authority modify the formulas
which were used by the Council of Trent to express belief in the
Eucharistic mystery." This is precisely what Paul VI did when, in a non-
infallible statemrent, he requested that Catholics embrace the New Mass.
The New Mass, authorized by Pope Paul VI after Vatican II, uses the
vernacular instead of Latin and many prayers have been omitted. While much
easier to follow in the Missal, the New Mass has alienated traditional
Roman Catholics who, in numbers alarming to the papacy, insist on using the
old Latin Mass.
Traditionalist charges against the New Mass:
1. Expurgations: Prayer at foot of altar, Aufer a Novis, Oramus Te,
Monda Cor Meum, Dominus Sit. 35 prayers, or 70%, disgarded. 25 Signs of the
2. Mistranslations - notably the Confiteor
3. Changing the Canon
4. New Form of Consecration
5. Validity and Liciety
6. Dishonoring Mary
7. There is a purpose in archaisms
8. The indiscriminate Rite of Peace
11. Language of the Mass.
Traditionalists contend that the Canon of the Mass has been tampered with
in the New Mass, and that consecration of the elements is not effected, so
therefore transubstantiation does not take place and no real sacrifice is
The Catholic Church, which "never changes", put out an authoritative
(but not infallible) book in 1913. It was written by Priest Joseph Baierl
and published by The Seminary Press complete with Nihil Obstat and
Imprimatur. The book explains "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" in the form
of questions and answers.
"Q: Why does the Church continue to use a dead language in the divine
service? A: (Latin) is a dead language and consequently does not change its
form and meaning. A living language is continually changing. If we were to
use a living language in the divine service, all sorts of errors and false
meanings might creep in..."
The Apostolic Constitution MISSALE ROMANUM (April 1969) set the form of the
New Mass as we have it now.
While some progressive Catholic priests shy away from the use of the word
sacrifice (in a comic book presentation of the Mass sent by Michael
Manning, the word was not used once) Jesuit R.J. Kessinger in EUCHARIST,
CENTER OF CHRISTIAN LIFE (1972) asserts, "It is the sacrifice that makes
the real difference between the Lutheran service and the Catholic Mass."
"The sacrifice on the altar is no mere commemoration of Calvary, but a true
and proper act of sacrifice, whereby Christ the high priest, by an unbloody
immolation offers himself a most acceptable victim to the eternal father,
as he did on the cross." (THE CATHOLIC CATECHISM, 1975, John Hardin, S.J.,
Others are trying to modify the meaning of the word, calling sacrifice "an
offering of a gift to God, in the name of the people, by a man chosen by
God." The dictionary gives, as a synonym for sacrifice the word immolate,
which means to kill or destroy. The Hebrew word used in the Bible for
sacrifice is zebach, which means to slaughter.
From ST. PETER'S CATECHISM, (1972),page 48. "The Mass is a real sacrifice
because in it a Victim is offered by a priest for the purpose of
reconciling man with God."
From POCKET CATHOLIC DICTIONARY, John Hardin, S.J. "Mass intentions refer
to the particular purpose for which a specific Mass is offered. This may be
to honor God or thank him for blessings received. But technically a Mass
intention means that the sacrifice is offered for some person(s) living or
dead. Also called the application of a Mass, it pertains to the ministerial
fruits of the Mass. These fruits are both extensively and intensively
finite in virtue of the positive will of Christ. Other things being equal,
the more often the sacrifice is offered the more benefit.
From THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA (1975), Imp. Archbishop Cousins, Milwaukee.
"The sacrifice of the Mass is really the holy and living representation and
at the same time the unbloody and efficacious oblation of the Lord's
Passion and that blood-stained sacrifice which was offered for us on the
cross. By the declaration of the Council of Trent, Christ is recognized as
the offering Priest, the Victim offered, and the immolation in the
sacramental order." (page 375,376)
Anglican/Roman Catholic unity statement on the Eucharist. "When his people
are gathered at the Eucharist to commemorate his saving acts for our
redemption, Christ makes effective among us the eternal benefits of his
victory." This statement declines to call the Eucharist a sacrifice; it
prefers to employ the word "memorial". This is defined as "the making
efective in the present of an event in the past."
From AD LIMINA TALKS, Paul VI, page 36, "The Eucharist is of supreme
importance in our ministry . . . making present Christ's salvific
From THE MASS TODAY, Mark Tierney, O.S.B., "It is a proven fact that Mass
has been changed from time to time down the centuries. The Church now
wishes to return to more authentic ways of celebrating the Mass."
Malachi 1:11 speaks of a pure offering; the imperfections of the
propitiation effected at Mass prove it doesn't mean the Mass (Hebrews 13:15-
16; Romans 12:1).
Cardinal Newman admitted that many of the additions (Bells, Vestments,
Incense) were of pagan origin; some scholars trace these back to the Old
Testament priesthood (see Acts 15:10).
The Bible reveals God's completed redemptive work in Christ; the trappings
of the Mass make it a mystery, reverting back to Old Testament priestly
functions which were shadows. The clear denunciation of these in Hebrews
10:11-18 also refers to the Mass.
The invalidity of the Mass is proved by its being continued. If any Mass
could validly apply the infinite merits of Christ's sacrifice for men, one
Mass would suffice for eternity, since His work is infinite. The fact that
a priest offers Mass for the same people every Sunday proves that last
Sunday's Mass is invalid, for it accomplished no eternal Divine work. Note
especially Hebrews 10:12, one sacrifice; 10:14, by one offering; 10:18, no
more offering for sin.
Leviticus 6:30. "And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought
into the tabernacle of the congregation withal in the holy place, shall be
eaten: it shall be burnt in the fire." If the Mass is an offering for sin,
and according to THE CATHOLIC CATECHISM, Jesus offers Himself as He did on
the Cross. If this is the case, the sacrifice cannot be eaten. (Gregory
From EXTENSION, The National Catholic monthly, July 1952. "It is true,
however, that St. Paul mentions the obligation of hearing Mass on Sunday in
From THE CATHOLIC REGISTER, 6/23/84. "To assist at the sacrifice of the
Mass is like being present at Calvary."
From THE CATHOLIC VOICE, 6/2/80. "The Vatican Congregation for the
Sacraments and Divine Worship has called a halt to `varied and frequent
abuses' in the Eucharistic liturgy being reported from various parts of the
"Although it praised some liturgical reform, the congregation listed the
following among abuses which have been reported:
"The joining of the laity in the recitation of the Eucharistic prayer.
"Homilies given by lay people.
"The distribution of Communion by lay people while priests refrain from
"Use of non-scriptural texts in the liturgy of the Word
"Use of unauthorized Eucharistic prayers.
"The `manipulation ' of liturgical texts for social and political ends.
"Abandonment of liturgical vestmnents.
"Celebration of Mass outside a Church without real need.
"The Vatican Congregation further said women are not permitted to act as
altar servers, although they may be lectors, or readers, for the scripture
readings and may proclaim the intentions for prayer of the faithful before
"The Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship issued its
directives in an Instruction on Certain Norms Concerning Worship, called
INAESTIMABILE DONUM (The Invaluable Gift), from the first words of its
"Reading of ther Gospel and the preaching of the homily are reserved to
priests and deacons, the congregation said.
"Lay Eucharistic ministers, the congregation said, can distribute
Communion `when there is no priest, deacon, or acolyte, when the priest is
impeded by illness or advanced age, or when the number of the faithful
going to Communion is so large as to make the celebration of the Mass
"Pope John Paul II approved the document April 17 and it was issued by
the Vatican May 23 (1980)."
From THE CATHOLIC DIGEST, October 1978, page 58ff. "SINCE THE LAST SUPPER",
"`Changes' have been going on since the beginning.
"1. THE LAST SUPPER
"2. MASS OF THE APOSTLES. For early Christians, a meal was always a
religious occcasion, and the Mass would make it especially so.
"3. THE YEAR 150. Quote from Justin Martryr, `After baptizing the one
who has believed and given his assent, we escort him to the place of
assembly. Then bread and chalice are presented to the one presiding. The
deacons permit each one present to partake of bread and wine.'
"4. MASS IN THE FOURTH CENTURY. Toward the end of the third century
occasional abuses crept in, such as overeating and overdrinking, so the
ordinary meal before Communion was gradually discontinued.
"5. THE PAPAL MASS, following the reform of Gregory the Great.
"6. THE 8TH TO 11TH CENTURIES. Charlemagne imposed the Latin liturgy on
all his empire, but priests and people found this kind of Mass too
classical and arid, and began to add their own prayers.
"7. THE 12TH TO 15TH CENTURIES. More and more the people at Mass had
been reduced to spectators.
"8. THE TRIDENTINE MASS. The Council of Trent in 1545 prescribed Mass
ceremonies down to the smallest detail - rubrics told the priest how he was
to keep the thumb and forefinger joined after the Consecration - and its
form remained unchanged until the 20th century. Even after 1900, change was
"9. VATICAN II. The New Mass."
From CATHOLIC VOICE (Fr Frank Sheedy Questions and Answers). "Q: We used to
be members of a parish but left because the pastor of the congregation,
instead of saying Christ gave the bread and wine to the disciples, changed
the word `gave' to `shared.' I felt it was illicit and maybe close to
making the Mass invalid. Also at the end of the Mass the Eucharistic
ministers pour the Blood of Christ down a drain that goes into the ground.
I feel this is a sacrelige. Is it right?
"A: When a priest says Mass, he does not act in his own name but as a
representative of and in the name of the Church. He is forbidden by law to
change any of the set parts of the Mass, particularly the consecration. The
change you mention is illicit. It would not, however, invalidate the Mass
since it is not the essential words of the consecration which are usually
printed in the missalette in bold or larger type. The matter of disposing
of the Sacred Blood is also illicit. The Norms of Eucharistic Practice (14)
state: `The consecrated wine is to be consumed immediately after Communion
and may not be kept. Care must be taken to consecrate only the amount of
wine neeeded for Communion.' The fault is in consecrating too much wine. It
is better to be short than to give scandal by dumping what remains in the
From CATHOLIC UPDATE, April 1979. "IS THE MASS STILL A SACRIFICE? A good
working definition of sacrifice is the offering of a gift back to God as an
expression of our desire for union with him. Let's go back to the
definition given by THE BALTIMORE CATECHISM, `The offering of a victim by a
priest to God alone, and the destruction of it in some way to acknowledge
that he is Creator and Lord of all things.' Such a definition suggests that
the most important elements of sacrifice are the proper person offering it
and the destruction of the victim to know God's lordship over all things.
Yet John McKenzie in DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE, John Castelot in JEROME BIBLE
COMMENTARY and Robert Daly in THE ORIGINS OF THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF
SACRIFICE agree that destruction is not the main object of sacrifice."
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