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It is offered both at weddings and funerals. In most places, it is available every day. But on Sunday, it is an obligation to attend.
We are speaking of what Catholics call the Mass, aka the Eucharist or the divine liturgy. For Catholics, there is no other religious service more important. But the majority of baptized Catholics around the world simply don’t see the need to attend.
The sacrifice that transcends time
Instinctively, those who believe in God know that they owe him worship. After all, we’ve received everything from him. So we ought to give him thanks and offer him a pleasing sacrifice
Really present in priest and people
It is true that God is present everywhere, including when we pray to him alone or when two or three of us gather in his name. However,
We encounter Jesus, the living Word
Third, the Lord is present in the Eucharist in the Word of God. Some describe the Protestant Church as the church of the Bible and the Catholic Church as the church of
This is my body, my blood
The final and most special way that the Lord is present in the Eucharist is in his Body and Blood, present to us under the sig
The feast of faith
The Eucharist is a meal. It’s the Lord’s Supper as well as a holy sacrifice. Christ becomes present so that we can not only see him under the appearances of bread and wine but also receive him into ourselves. Very tangibly, he becomes our food
Sacrosanctum Concilium—The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
The liturgy is no doubt the most neuralgic area of post-conciliar life. It is here that we are treated to some of the most egregious examples of ecclesial mythology. One of the first myths foisted on the laity is that Vatican II taught that Christ is as present in the liturgical assembly as he is in the eucharistic species. Here’s what the Council Fathers really said:
Inter Mirifica—Decree on the Means of Social Communication
Snide remarks about Catholic media outlets being reduced to “house organs” notwithstanding, the Council certainly envisioned our commitment to establishing Catholic media as tools of evangelization:
Lumen Gentium—Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
Catholics have been instructed by some theologians not to take too seriously the “institutional” Church, inasmuch as Vatican II did away with the Catholic hierarchical model. The conciliar bishops, in contrast, seem to provide a rather strenuous theological basis for a traditional ecclesiology:
Unitatis Redintegratio—Decree on Ecumenism
We saw earlier that the bishops at Vatican II, in their Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, did not hesitate to give “the whole truth and nothing but the truth” about who the Church is and how she sees herself. An equally forceful declaration finds its way into their Decree on Ecumenism:
Perfectae Caritatis—Decree on the Renewal of Religious Life
Abandoning traditional apostolates, moving out of religious houses, eschewing authority systems, discarding identifiable garb—all these have contributed to this downward spiral. Leaders of this new vision of religious life regularly appeal to Vatican II for justification for their campaign.
Not a single item of such an agenda can find even a hint of support in the Decree on the Renewal of Religious Life;
Optatam Totius—Decree on the Training of Priests
“Students who follow the venerable tradition of celibacy according to the holy and fixed laws of their own rite are to be educated to this state with great care. For renouncing thereby the companionship of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 19:12), they embrace the Lord with an undivided love altogether befitting the new covenant, bear witness to the resurrection of the world to come (cf. Luke 20:36), and obtain a most suitable aid for the continual exercise of that perfect charity whereby they can become all things to all men in their priestly ministry. Let them deeply realize how gratefully that state ought to be received, not, indeed, only as commanded by ecclesiastical law, but as a precious gift of God for which they should humbly pray” (OT 10)…
Gravissimum Educationis—Declaration on Christian Education
Some Catholics argue that Catholic schools are a relic of “ghetto Catholicism,” while some parents maintain that they can legitimately homeschool their children when Catholic schools are available. Both camps bump up against an eminently clear and unnuanced norm: “The Council also reminds Catholic parents of the duty of entrusting their children to Catholic schools wherever and whenever it is possible and of supporting these schools to the best of their ability and of cooperating with them for the education of their children” (GE 8)…
Dei Verbum—Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation
Along with the above problem comes a hermeneutic of suspicion that what Scripture seems to teach it really doesn’t, especially if it flies in the face of “modern” concerns or positions. The Council Fathers took aim at this mentality, particularly when it undermines the historicity of the Gospels:
Apostolicam Actuositatem—Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People
Vatican II is often dubbed “the Council of the laity,” and with good reason. Its calls for lay involvement would have gladdened the heart of someone like Cardinal Newman who, when asked what he thought was the role of the laity in the Church, responded, “We’d look rather silly without them, wouldn’t we?” But just what did the Council have in mind?
First of all, it is important to get the terminology straight. Not once does a conciliar document refer to any work of the laity as a ministry…
Dignitatis Humanae—Declaration on Religious Liberty
One of the most contentious documents for some “traditionalists” is the Decree on Religious Liberty. Yet in this decree one finds another clear statement about the uniqueness of the Catholic Church, as well as the necessity for all men to conform themselves to the truth about God. Thus, while “liberals” crow about the document’s (rightful) emphasis on the inviolability of conscience and “conservatives” decry what they see as the fostering of religious indifferentism, we find the following assertions, which sound an awful lot like the immemorial position of the Church on these matters:
Ad Gentes Divinitus—Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity
In grammar school, when we were taught to be “mission-minded,” it was taken as a given of Catholic life. That truth was powerfully reinforced at Vatican II: “The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature” (GD 2). That truth became so lost in post-conciliar revisionism that, 25 years later, Pope John Paul II had to devote an entire encyclical (Redemptoris Missio) to what had been previously considered a truism…
Stake Your Claim
It is nothing but diabolical that the teachings of this Council should be hijacked by “left” or by “right”—and it is high time for the record to be set straight. So, if you:
“Have you been born again, my friend?” Thousands of Catholics have been asked this question by well-meaning Fundamentalists or Evangelicals. Of course, by “born again” the Protestant usually means: “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior through the recitation of ‘the sinner’s prayer?”” How is a Catholic to respond?
The simple Catholic response is: “Yes, I have been born again—when I was baptized.” In fact, Jesus’ famous “born again” discourse of John 3:3-5, which is where we find the words “born again” in Scripture, teaches us about the essential nature of baptism:
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicode’mus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Amniotic Fluid vs. Baptismal Water
Washing of Water by the Word
The Catholic Response
I Peter 3:20-21
I Cor. 12:13
The Catholic Church has always looked to the good thief as an example par excellence of conversion (see Luke 23:39-43). This is why he is called good. But for some Protestants, the good thief, traditionally named St. Dismas, is good for a different reason than his last-minute conversion.
It would seem that his story justifies doctrines held by many Protestants. For example, Dismas was saved without baptism, which at first glance could give reason to believe that baptism is not necessary for salvation.
Another doctrine held by many Protestants that the narrative seems to justify is that works are not necessary for salvation. I remember several years ago, while I was sitting in the optometrist’s chair with the big tech-y glasses on, my doctor attempted to persuade me that the good thief didn’t do any good works to receive his reward of salvation, he simply had faith. My doctor was trying to use Dismas’s story to justify his belief that we’re justified by faith alone.
Finally, on the surface, the story of Dismas appears to justify the Protestant rejection of purgatory. How could purgatory exist, so the argument goes, when Jesus told Dismas he would be with him in heaven on that day?
Saved without baptism
Saved without works
No pit stop necessary
The other day I received a rather lengthy email from a fellow responding to a chapter in my book, Nuts and Bolts – A Practical How-To Guide for Explaining and Defending the CatholicFaith, specifically responding to my defense of calling priests “father.”
Score One Up For the Protestants
An Earthy Argument
The Catholic Response
What Does the Bible Say?
The context of Matthew 23 emphasizes the sin of pride among the scribes and Pharisees. They loved to be called “teacher”, “father”, or “Rabbi,” but their pride pointed men to themselves rather than to God the Father from whom they received true fatherhood and in whom their fatherhood subsisted. Outside of God the Father, there are no fathers at all in the true sense of the term. But in God, we have all sorts of true “fathers.”
Ultimately, Jesus is condemning the usurpation of the fatherhood of God in Matthew’s Gospel, not the proper participation in that fatherhood.
Even though I was brought up in a devoutly Evangelical home, I wasn’t baptized until I was 21 years old. We attended an independent Bible church with an essentially Baptist theology, and the irony about this Baptist theology is that it actually de-emphasized baptism. What mattered was being “born again” or “saved,” if we had responded to an altar call and “accepted Jesus into our hearts.” This personal experience was all that was necessary to assure us of eternal salvation. Baptism and communion (while they were not dispensed with altogether) remained unnecessary symbols of our inner faith.Travel the Romans RoadBorn of Water and the SpiritIs It Enough to Believe and Confess?Baptism of Blood, Baptism of DesireIncorporate It
Here’s a wonderful apologetic article wrote by Mr. Mark Shea [5 Myths about 7 Books] that dealt on these an untenable standards:
Christ and the Apostles frequently quoted Old Testament Scripture as their authority, but they never quoted from the deuterocanonical books, nor did they even mention them. Clearly, if these books were part of Scripture, the Lord would have cited them.
The deuterocanonical books contain historical, geographical, and moral errors, so they can’t be inspired Scripture.
The deuterocanonical books themselves deny that they are inspired Scripture.
One of the most unfortunate misunderstandings about the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist is that it consists of sacrificing Jesus Christ again – that at every Mass Christ is continually killed, continually suffering, continually dying, day in and day out. This misconception is partially due to the malice of certain detractors, and partially to an honest confusion over the relation of the Mass to the Sacrifice of the Cross. The Catholic Church does teach that the Eucharist is truly a sacrifice, and that it is truly our Lord Jesus Christ; therefore it is not too much of a stretch for those unfamiliar with Catholic teaching to wrongly assume that we believe our Lord is being killed at every Mass. While it is beyond the scope of this article to give a comprehensive treatment of the theology of the Eucharist, let us at least lay this bugbear to rest by showing that the Church does not and has never taught that Christ is sacrificed again in the Mass, as well as elucidate the true Catholic teaching on this particular point.
The Sacrifice of the Mass and Calvary
May 01, 2013
The idea that Jesus of Nazareth is a fictional character, like Batman, is a fringe view among historians. This view, commonly called mythicism, was first argued seriously by the quirky nineteenth-century German critic Bruno Bauer. Karl Marx was one of Bauer’s students, and after mythicism became popularized by Arthur Drew’s 1909 book The Christ Myth, this view became the de facto belief among communists. The Soviet Union mandated the teaching of mythicism in public schools and banned materials that attempted to refute it (Leslie Houlden, Jesus: The Complete Guide, 729).
But scholars, both religious and nonreligious, outside the former USSR reject mythicism. John Dominic Crossan, who co-founded the skeptical Jesus Seminar, denies that Jesus rose from the dead but not that he was an historical person. He writes, “That [Jesus] was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be” (Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, 145).
Do your homework
Jewish evidence for Jesus
Roman evidence for Jesus
Christian evidence for Jesus
Paul’s mysterious silence
“Dying and rising” copycats
One of the great deceptions of our time is that serious sin is only a remote possibility for most peopleWe must be more serious and matureSimply listing mortal sins is not sufficientNevertheless, the Lord, in love, wants to warn us urgently of the sins that exclude us from HeavenRather than continue with a lot of commentary, I’d like to post five biblical lists
- Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were (1 Cor 6:9-10). (List #1)
Finally, here is a general warning from the Lord:
The Written Word
Oral Transmission of the Word
The Right to Interpret
The aim of the Rosary
Protestants sometimes charge Catholics with “vain repetition”
So what is “vain repetition?”
That’s what Jesus means in the second half of Matthew 6:7
The Rosary is not an emptying out but a filling up
This Eastern form of meditation is actually not only vain, but spiritually dangerous
The Rosary is powerful and transformative
At a certain point in my life it became clear that I could not remain a typical American Evangelical. But where would I end up? One option I considered was becoming Eastern Orthodox.
For an Evangelical discovering more traditional forms of Christianity, accepting certain Catholic beliefs (purgatory, indulgences, papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, etc.) is very difficult.Word FightsFilioqueThe PapacyFractured Unity
October 01, 2008
I am probably a rather unusual convert to Catholicism, in that my spiritual journey to Rome involved both the other major world divisions of Christianity—Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy.
Not Quite “Catholic”
Does Orthodoxy Make Sense?
Proposition 1: Infallibility is to be recognized in the solemn doctrinal decisions of ecumenical councils.
An Insufficient Proposal
Proposition 2: Infallibility is to be recognized in the solemn doctrinal decisions of those councils which are not only papally confirmed as ecumenical, but which are also subsequently accepted as such by the whole Church.
A Murky Question of Membership
Proposition 3: Infallibility is to be recognized in the solemn doctrinal decisions of those councils which are not only papally confirmed as ecumenical, but which are also subsequently accepted as such by the whole community of those Christians who adhere to true doctrine.
Proposition 4: Christians can come to know with certainty what is true doctrine by recognizing the solemn doctrinal decisions of those councils which are not only papally confirmed as ecumenical, but which are also subsequently accepted as such by the whole community of those Christians who adhere to true doctrine.
A Problem at the Root
One Mediator, Two Priesthoods
So I Send You
Not Just Anyone
The Perfect Future
To put it simply: God’s power being released “from heaven” is contingent upon a future event of Peter and his successors acting on earth. That, in a nutshell, could be a dictionary definition of priest.
At first, it seems like such a revelationTake, for example, the church at SmyrnaAnd this is the way that ChristiansSo why is this important?This isn’t just about rejecting the Church’s teaching authority
The Catechism says of Mary:This Adoptionist heresy manifests itselfOther Protestants say that “Mother of God”
Who is the rebellious Korah?
Old and new priestly prerogatives
Let the light shine
We must read the New in light of the Old, and the Old in light of the New.
December 14, 2017
The Facebook Challenge
1. Pliny the Younger
3. Flavius Josephus
The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s Paschal mystery, making present his unique sacrifice in the liturgy of the Church.
1. Sacramental nature of the Holy Eucharist.
1.1. What is the Eucharist?
1.2 Names given to this sacrament
1.3 The Eucharist in the sacramental order of the Church
2. The promise of the Eucharist and its institution by Christ
2.1 The promise
2.2 Institution of the sacrament and its Paschal context
2.3 Meaning and content of the Lord’s command
3. Liturgical celebration of the Eucharist
3.1 The fundamental structure of the celebration
The notion that the Church restricts access to ScriptureIt is widely believed that Luther was first to translate the Bible into GermanThe sixth century was witness to…The Real Story
Scriptural Basis for Confession – Where is Confession in the Bible?
Objection #1: Only God can forgive sin.
Objection 1A: Do I have to confess my sins to a priest? A priest is just a man – what power does he have to forgive sin?
Objection #2. The Bible says that if I believe that Jesus is Lord, I’ll be saved. Doesn’t the need for Confession mean Christ’s work was lacking in some way?
Objection #3: Why do I have to go to a priest for confession instead of going straight to God? After all, the Bible says that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
Objection #4: Confession is nothing more than a permission slip to keep sinning. Since people keep sinning even after going to Confession, doesn’t that mean it doesn’t work?
Sadly, this is not an uncommon tacticUnfortunately, slavery returned to European societyYet despite the many papal condemnations of slavery
So Long “Solas”The Ancient, Catholic ChurchThe Old Testament CanonThe Perpetual Virginity of MaryBaptismal Regeneration
The Annunciation and Virgin BirthJesus and MiraclesJesus as ProphetThe Divine NatureSo, we can find some common ground
Why aren’t more Christians rich?Why wasn’t Jesus rich?The poor can be rich
Where does the Bible say we are not purified of sin after death?Where does the Bible say we should make Jesus our personal Lord and Savior?Where does the Bible say all revelation ceased after the apostolic age?
Words and Works
Fide, not Sola Fide
Luke’s accountPhenomena-what?Before and afterWe can admit that there is a mystery…
The Church’s understanding of the papal ministry…A second kind of evidence…A final line of evidence…Jesus prays in John 17:21…
Value, Dignity, and the Christian Worldview
Naturalism, Value, and Dignity
The Problem of “Equal” Value
Reception and the Sense of the Faithful
Clarifying the “Sense of the Faithful”
The ITC on Reception
Conditions for the Sense of the Faithful
Opinion Polls and the Sense of the Faithful
August 22, 2011 by Fr. Bartunek
Understanding “Grave Matter”
Sins vs Mistakes
Why Communion and Mortal Sin Don’t Go Together
THE GRAVITY OF SIN: MORTAL AND VENIAL SIN
Where does this verse appear in Scripture?
WHO’S WHO IN THIS PASSAGE?
Who is the serpent?
Who is the serpent’s seed?
PROPHESY #1: IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
PROPHESY #2: THE VIRGIN BIRTHPROPHESY #3: DEFEAT OF SATAN BY THE MESSIAHPROPHESY AS PROOF
“Give us this day our supernatural bread.”Working in the Fourth Century A.D., St. Jerome translated the Bible from Greek into Latin, creating the Vulgate Bible. St. Jerome translated epiousios as “supersubstantial.” What’s also interesting is where St. Jerome was working: Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ. Do you know what “Bethlehem” means in Hebrew? “House of bread“.
Forgiveness in the age to comePaying your duesA temporary prisonA Maccabean milieuConclusion
Patti Armstrong Jul. 6, 2016
No Exceptions Allowed
“The fact that these transformations have occurred in a Christian context cannot be avoided,” he said. “And neither can the fact that they confirm the original and enduring doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.”
Exodus 20:4 is part of the first commandment that begins in verse 3 and stretches through part of verse five:By lifting out part of the first commandment appearing to prohibit the making of “any likeness of anything,” not only do you have God contradicting himself in later commanding the making of statues, but you also end up making the first two commandments repetitive.Though the commandments are said to be “ten” in Exodus 34:28, they are not numbered by the inspired authors of Sacred Scripture. If you count the “you shall nots” along with the two positive commandments of keeping holy the Sabbath and honoring father and mother, you end up with 13 commandments.
Flowery, poetic language that is not intrinsically literal in nature or intent.
Interpreting the words in context (especially a Christological context).
To speak of a human being as participating in “saving” others is perfectly biblical:
1 Corinthians 9:22
1 Timothy 4:16
2 Corinthians 4:15
Here are 12 quotes from the Early Church that leave Protestants grasping at straws to explain them away. Read all 12. These are not obscure men or obscure writings. They are saints who are firmly within the mainstream of Christian history. Another 12 quotes could have been selected just as well. If a Protestant disagrees, he must ask himself, how were these guys all so clueless and why did later generations of Christians revere them so much? There must be Christian writers from the same period who were “in the right” about these topics, so can you find them?
The Promises of the Contraception AdvocatesThe concerns and predictions of Pope Paul VIThe divorce rate did not decline; it skyrocketedAbortion rates did not decline; they skyrocketed as wellWomen’s dignityAs for preventing/reducing STDs and AIDSAdd to this list of effectsDeclining birth ratesConclusion: Time will prove where wisdom lies. What have we learned over these decades of contraception? First, we have learned that it is a huge failure in meeting its promises; it has backfired, making things worse rather than better. Marriage, families, and children have all taken a huge hit. Bad behavior has been encouraged and all the bad consequences that flow from it are flourishing. Most people seem largely uninterested in this data. Hearts have become numb and minds have gone to sleep. I hope that you will consider this information thoughtfully and share it with others. Time has proven where wisdom lies. It is time to admit the obvious.