THE MASS (part 2)
ADORATION OF THE HOST
Following the ‘consecration’, the communion wafer used in the Roman Catholic Mass is referred to as the ‘Host’, from the Latin word hostia meaning ‘victim’ or ‘sacrifice’, and is literally worshipped as God! This dogma of Rome was introduced 11 years after the inception of Transubstantiation.
At one point during the Mass, the priest elevates the Host, which the congregation are instructed to look upon with deep faith and adoration, literally worshipping it with the words, ‘My Lord and my God.’ ‘Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents’, contains the following statement: "It is necessary to instruct the faithful that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Saviour and that the same worship and adoration given to God is owed to Him present under the sacramental signs." The sacramental signs spoken of here are the communion bread and wine.
The ‘Credo of the People’, written by Pope Paul VI, states in part: "...it is our very sweet duty to honor and adore in the blessed Host which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word, whom they cannot see, and who, without leaving heaven is made present before us."
The adoration of the Host is so important a teaching in the Roman Catholic Church, that there even exists in various Orders of Nuns, the ‘Cult of Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament’, which is devoted to a literal 24 hour-a-day worship of the Jesus Wafer-god, or Host!
For approximately the past 700 years, a feast day called ‘Corpus Cristi’ (the Body of Christ) has been held annually throughout the world. It is a day in which the Host is paraded around the local Roman Catholic church, as well as through city streets, and is looked upon and worshipped by thousands who believe it to be God!!
Many alleged miracles have been attributed to the Host, with some hosts reportedly having been seen bleeding. The Church of Rome maintains a curse to this day upon any who deny the worship of the Host. The Council of Trent (1545-1562) declared in cannon 6: "Whosoever shall affirm that Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, is not to be adored in the holy eucharist with the external signs of that worship which is due to God, and therefore that the eucharist is not to be honored with extraordinary festive celebration, nor solemnly carried about in processions, according to the laudable and universal rites and customs of the holy Church, nor publicly presented to the people for their adoration, and that those who worship the same are idolaters, let him be accursed."
The adoration of the Host, as taught by the Roman Catholic Church, was commenced by Bishop Pierre de Corbie in celebration of Louis VII's victory over the Albigenses. The victory celebrations drew a great number of people, who continued the adoration of the Host day and night. This practice was eventually approved by the Pope himself.
The early Church, however, did not worship the Host, a fact acknowledged by The Catholic Encyclopedia: "No trace of existence of any such extraliturgical cultus of the Blessed Sacrament can be found in the records of the early Church. It first appears in the later Middle-Ages."42 Associations for the Perpetual Adoration of the Host multiplied in number after 1592, when special indulgences were granted to them.
In ancient pagan Rome, where such worship of a wafer-god was not practiced, a man was considered mad who believed that which he ate to be a god. "But what was too absurd for Pagan Romans is no absurdity at all for the Pope. The host, or consecrated wafer, is the great god of the Roman Catholic Church. That host is enshrined in a box adorned with gold and silver and precious stones.’"43
Interestingly, the very teaching that holds that the communion wafer should be believed to be Jesus Christ Himself and is to be worshipped as such, "...seems to be exactly the type of idolatry that both the Old and New Testaments decry as rebellion against God and refusal of His reality as Spirit."44 "With the sagacity characteristic of her long career, the Roman Catholic Church takes advantage of that weakness in human nature which seeks some visible and outward object of worship. In the consecrated ‘host’ she presents to her people a god whom they can see and feel."45 Jesus said: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth" (John 4:24).
The Church of Rome openly admits that there is not one shred of evidence, even in their own Bible, to support the worship of the communion bread, which Roman Catholicism presents to its followers as Jesus Christ Himself. In answer to this dilemma, The Catholic Encyclopedia replies: "In the absence of Scriptural proof, the Church finds a warrant for, and a propriety in, rendering Divine worship to the Blessed Sacrament in the most ancient and constant tradition..."46 It is true to say that any teachings that are based upon tradition rather than the Word of God are merely the instructions of men and are diametrically opposed to the Word of God. Jesus Christ said: "You nullify the Word of God in favor of your tradition..." (Mark 7:13).
"...if the doctrine of transubstantiation is false, then the ‘host’ is no more the body of Christ than is any other piece of bread. And if the soul and divinity of Christ are not present, then the worship of it is sheer idolatry, of the same kind as that of pagan tribes who worship fetishes."47
The true Christian is not to, and does not ever, worship or bow down to any symbol or image of anything that is in heaven or on earth or under the earth. This is the Second Commandment of God and may be readily observed in any Roman Catholic Bible, in the Book of Exodus chapter 20. However, it is strangely and conveniently omitted in the majority of the more often read Roman Catholic Catechisms.
ROMAN CATHOLIC ‘PROOF’ OF A PERPETUAL SACRIFICE
The two most central and significant teachings of the Roman Catholic Church concerning the Mass are Transubstantiation—the purported changing of bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ—and the Mass—a bloodless sacrifice, a continuation of the same offering that Jesus made upon the cross, and, therefore, considered as effective as His death at Calvary.
"As the sacrifices in Old Testament times prefigured the great Sacrifice on the cross so it is said, the Mass continues that offering."48 The Question & Answer Catholic Catechism declares: "The Mass in no way detracts from the one, unique sacrifice of the Cross because the Mass is the same Sacrifice as that of the Cross, to continue on earth until the end of time...The Mass, therefore, no less than the Cross, is expiatory for sins..."
It is the contention of Roman Catholicism that the Lord Jesus Christ first offered Himself to God on the night before His crucifixion, under the appearance of bread and wine at the Last Supper. We find this explained in the book, ‘The Catholic Religion’: "He offered Himself, under the appearances of bread and wine, to God the Father to atone for the sins of the world. The following day He offered that same sacrifice on the cross, shedding His blood and giving His life."49
Former Roman Catholic priest, Charles Chiniquy, comments: "When a priest of Rome, I was bound, with all the Roman Catholics, to believe that Christ had taken His own Body, with His own hands, to His mouth; and that He had eaten Himself, not in a spiritual, but in a substantial material way! After eating Himself, He had given it to each of His apostles, who then ate Him also!!"50
Furthermore, Roman Catholicism alleges that on the night He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus not only "...instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of His body and blood..." but that, "He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross through the centuries."51 This is symbolized by Rome in her portrayal of Christ Jesus as still being nailed to the cross.
Contrary to the teachings of Rome, there is no mention whatsoever of a so-called perpetual offering of the one true sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere in the Roman Catholic Bible. The Word of God consistently speaks of only ONE sacrifice, offered ONCE for all time, which His people are commanded not to repeat, but to commemorate.
Not so, according to the Roman Catholic Church, who strongly contends that the ‘sacrificial offering’ performed by her priests during Mass is a renewal of the true sacrifice of the Cross. The Catholic Encyclopedia says: "Christ...commanded that His bloody sacrifice on the cross should be daily renewed by an unbloody sacrifice of His body and blood in the Mass under the simple elements of bread and wine." Consequently, according to Rome, Jesus is "...present in our churches not only in a spiritual manner, but really, truly, and substantially as the victim of a sacrifice."52
In stark contrast to the ‘daily sacrifices’ of the Roman Catholic Church, their own Bible states quite clearly that "...we have been consecrated through the OFFERING of the body and blood of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL" (Hebrews 10:10). The Roman Catholic Bible also says: "...this One (Jesus) offered ONE sacrifice for sins, and took His seat forever at the right hand of God; now He waits until His enemies are made His footstool" (Hebrews 10:12,13).
The Lord Jesus Christ does not leave heaven to enter Roman Catholic churches to offer Himself repeatedly in order to redeem His people from their sins, but has in reality "...entered ONCE FOR ALL into the Sanctuary (in heaven) ...with His own blood, thus OBTAINING eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12). "Where there is a continual offering for sin, as when the sacrament of the mass is offered daily, it means that sins are really never taken away, and that those who are called priests pretend to continue the unfinished work of Christ."53
If Christ’s offering for sin needs to be continually repeated, as is affirmed by Roman Catholicism, then it becomes no different to any other sacrifice offered for sin that required repetition. However, the sacrifice of the Perfect Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ, was so unique that it required only ONE offering, effective for all time and for all for whom it was made!!
Jesus Christ said whilst on the Cross: "...It is finished..." (John 19:30). The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus was merely referring to His earthly life, but a careful study of the Roman Catholic Bible will promptly reveal that the Lord Jesus spoke of His saving work, the eternal redemption of God’s chosen. All that was required for His work of salvation for those God had given Him ended on that Cross. The Resurrection that followed three days later was God’s seal of approval on Christ’s atoning work at Calvary. God the Son died on that Cross; He was Resurrected on the third day, and is now SAT DOWN at the Father’s right hand till His enemies be made His footstool.
Roman altars are NOT frequented by the Lord Jesus Christ offering Himself again and again to the Father, for this He did ONCE AND FOR ALL at Calvary!! The following two verses of Scripture absolutely and eternally stand in denial of the Roman Catholic doctrine of a perpetual sacrifice: "NOT THAT HE MIGHT OFFER HIMSELF REPEATEDLY, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, He would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. BUT NOW ONCE FOR ALL HAS HE APPEARED AT THE END OF THE AGES TO TAKE AWAY SIN BY HIS SACRIFICE" (Hebrews 9:25,26).
To teach the need for repetition of Christ’s once for all offering to God is to go against the Roman Catholic Bible’s declaration that Jesus Christ’s work of atonement was completed upon the Cross. It stands to reason that if a thing is completed, it does not require repetition. Yet again we find the teachings of Roman Catholicism in complete contrast with the Holy Word of God. "Jesus Christ died once, as the Scriptures so emphatically and repeatedly state; and since He was Deity Incarnate, He was a Person of infinite value and dignity and His work therefore was fully efficacious and complete for the accomplishing of what He intended, namely, the redemption of those for whom He died."54
What is also strikingly amiss in Rome’s teaching, is the claim of an unbloody sacrifice. In other words, there is no death upon the Roman Catholic altar. The Roman Catechism describes a sacrifice as the "...highest act of religion in which a priest offers a victim to God, to acknowledge God’s supreme dominion over us and our total dependence on Him."55
According to the Collin’s English Dictionary, the word sacrifice can mean one of two things: It is either (1) ‘...the ritualistic killing of a person, or animal, with the intention of propitiating or pleasing a deity"; or (2) a symbolic offering to a deity.’ The Roman Catholic sacrifice of the Mass does not fit either description. Rome says that Jesus does not ‘die again’ upon their altars and, they add, that their offering is not merely symbolical, but equal to that of the cross; that Jesus Christ is actually and physically present.
As was noted earlier, Roman Catholicism contends that the sacrifice of the Mass is as effective for the forgiveness of sins as was Christ’s death at Calvary: "The graces conferred by the Mass as a sacrament are twofold. Through the Mass we obtain forgiveness for venial sins and the remission of temporal punishment still due for past sins."56 Yet the Roman Catholic Bible clearly states: "Where there is forgiveness...there is NO LONGER OFFERING FOR SIN" (Hebrews 10:18). For the true Christian, whose sins have been forgiven and whose redemption has been obtained through Christ’s atoning work on the cross, there is no further offering necessary. And as there is no further offering necessary, there is no need for an altar or of a concept such as ‘The Sacrifice of the Mass’.
Subsequently, according to the above Scripture from The Roman Catholic Bible, one can only reach the conclusion that the ‘unbloody’ sacrifice of the Mass is "...an heretical addition to the plan of God, and a forbidden means of seeking the remission of sins....The witness of the infallible Word of God condemns the Mass...as false and heretical. It is an offense to God and falsely offers hope of salvation and of the pardon of sins, and it falsely offers the promise of ‘grace’ to those who participate."57
Moreover, the ‘unbloody sacrifice’ of the Roman Catholic Church can have no effectiveness for remission of sins, for it is bloodless. Again, Leviticus 17:11 states: "...IT IS THE BLOOD as the seat of life, WHICH MAKES ATONEMENT." Also, the Letter to the Hebrews informs us: "...WITHOUT the shedding of blood THERE IS NO FORGIVENESS" (9:22). Dear Roman Catholic, the blood of Jesus Christ has been shed upon the cross, and, therefore, forgiveness has been obtained. No further offering need be made.
"The so-called sacrifice in the mass certainly is not identical with that on Calvary, regardless of what the priests may say. There is in the mass no real Christ, no suffering, and no bleeding. And a bloodless sacrifice is ineffectual.....Since admittedly there is no blood in the mass, it simply cannot be a sacrifice for sin." 58
Another problem that emerges for Rome is the fact that the Roman Catholic altar is a contradiction in terms: "It was probably the invention of the priesthood which brought in the altar. THE EARLY CHURCHES HAD NO ALTAR. The Jewish altar, done away in Christ, was a massive structure of brass on which a constantly burning fire consumed the Jewish offerings. It was a type, of course, of the Cross on which Christ ‘once for all’ (Hebrews. 9:26) offered Himself. An altar without fire is a contradiction in terms, just as the ’unbloody sacrifice of the mass’ is a contradiction of the clear teaching of Scripture..."59
The Roman Catholic Church also teaches that the words of the Lord Jesus found in Luke 22:19, "...do this in memory of Me," signify His ordaining the apostles as priests and giving them the power to ordain priests. The Roman Catechism, in commenting on Jesus’ words, declares that Jesus (1) "Ordained His apostles priests; (2) gave them power to ordain priests; and (3) commanded all priests in like manner to consecrate, offer and administer His Body and Blood."60 However, Hebrews 7:25 tells us that the priesthood of Jesus Christ is unchangeable and, therefore, cannot be transferred to others: "...but He, because He remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away." Remarkably, the footnotes to Hebrews 7:20-25 in the Roman Catholic Bible agree with this: "...Jesus becomes the guarantee of a permanent covenant that does not require a succession of priests as did the Levitical priesthood because His high priesthood is ETERNAL AND UNCHANGEABLE." In yet another case of Romanism shooting itself in the foot, these comments are a denial of the necessity, and therefore the credibility, of its own priesthood!
Even in light of this evidence, Roman Catholicism still upholds the curse pronounced by the Council of Trent upon anyone who "...saith that by those words, ‘do this for the commemoration of Me’, Christ did not institute the apostles priests, or did not acclaim that they and other priests should offer His own body and blood: let him be anathema."
What Jesus simply did at the Last Supper was to show the apostles that, when they would eat the bread and drink the wine, it was to be done in memory of Him, it was not a sacrificial act. Jesus said: "...My house shall be called a house of PRAYER for all peoples...", not a house of sacrifice! (Mark 11:17; Isaiah 56:7). The apostle Paul said: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you PROCLAIM the death of the Lord until He comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26). It is vitally important for the Roman Catholic to here note that Paul did not say ‘we repeat the death of the Lord’, but that we do PROCLAIM the death of the Lord; we memorialize it; we perpetuate, not the sacrifice itself, but the MEMORY of it.
The Lord’s Supper was held at the time of the Jewish Passover, which itself is a ceremony filled with symbolism in the form of this representing that, and was part of the traditional Passover meal, which had no connection whatsoever with the Old Testament sacrificial system. "...The key word throughout the Passover observance is ‘remember’: we do this to remember that, and we do that to remember this. The emphasis in the last Passover was the concept of ‘in remembrance of Me.’"61
The words of Jesus in Luke 22:19,20: "...This is My body, which will be given for you....This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which will be shed for you", clearly refer to His once for all offering and can in no way be referring to its repetition. His body WAS ‘given’ and his blood WAS ‘shed’.
Jesus’ Words are unmistakable: "...do this IN MEMORY OF ME..." (Luke 22:19). If Christ was present on Roman Catholic altars, as is the claim made by Roman Catholicism, the Mass could not qualify as a memorial, since the One being remembered would be present. One cannot have both. A memorial is something held in honor of one who is NOT PRESENT!!
Lucien Vinet, the former Roman Catholic priest, comments: "A memorial cannot be the real and actual thing. If Christ had left us His real Self we would not need a memorial. Pictures of our dear ones are fine memorials of them but cannot be the actual and real presence of those we love. The first Christians celebrated holy communion, but never believed that Christ was corporeally and substantially present among them after Ascension Day. To them, communion was a memorial of Christ, but not the actual physical body and blood of the Lord."62
How the Roman Catholic Church has turned the simple instructions given to the apostles by the Lord Jesus Christ at the Last Supper into a contrived and unbiblical drama! The Roman Catholic priest undergoes extensive training in Seminary in order for him to perform the mass, for which he needs a remarkable memory: "...he (the priest) makes the sign of the cross 16 times; turns towards the congregation 6 times; lifts his eyes to heaven 11 times; kisses the altar 8 times; folds his hands 4 times; strikes his breast 10 times; bows his head 21 times; genuflects 8 times; bows his shoulders 7 times; blesses the altar with the sign of the cross 30 times; lays his hands flat on the altar 29 times; prays secretly 11 times; prays aloud 13 times; takes the bread and wine and allegedly turns it into the body and blood of Christ; covers and uncovers the chalice 10 times; goes to and fro 20 times; and in addition performs numerous other acts. If the priest forgets even one element of the drama, he commits a great sin and technically may invalidate the entire mass. Add to the above the highly colored robes of the clergy, the candles, bells, incense, music etc., and you see something of the complexity of the program."63 A program totally without any Biblical support, but one that finds ample support in the traditions of paganism.
The Roman Catholic Bible contains no such elaborate ceremony as seen in the mass with its accompanying drama, but in contrast, tells of a simple meal made up of bread and wine eaten in memory of Christ. All the Lord Jesus did was take the bread, break the bread and offer it to His disciples. He then took the cup, telling all the disciples to take and drink from it.
Such a ceremony as the mass is completely foreign to the pages of the Roman Catholic Bible, which portrays true Christianity as simple and free of the elaborate rituals and ceremonies, that paganism and Roman Catholicism have in common. The Bible does not contain any directions on how to organize such a ceremony as the mass. It is the invention of men. "Search the Gospels, the Book of Acts, and the Epistles, and you find many admonitions to prayer, praise, preaching the Gospel, etc., but not one word about the mass. The apostle Paul gave many instructions and exhortations concerning the government and duties of the churches, but he says nothing about the sacrifice of the mass."64
"We can only conclude that the mass is a medieval superstition, designed to throw a veil of mystery over the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper....From a simple memorial feast it became a miraculous re-enactment of the sacrifice on calvary...the purpose was to exalt the hierarchy, to clothe it with an air of mystery, and, particularly as regards the mass, make the priest appear to have supernatural powers."65