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DACRIFICE OF THE MASS. DOCTRINE OF THE MASS, ACCORDING TO THE DOUAY CATE
CHISM, ACCORDING TO THE FRENCH CATECHISM. FURTHER DESCRIPTION OF IT BY A POPISH PRIEST. DECREE OF COUNCIL OF TRENT. ERRORS OF THE DOCTRINE.
SATURDAY, September 18th, 1819. “The sacrifice of the mass,” says a late learned author, “is the most considerable part of worship in the Roman church. It is their juge sacrificium, their daily and continual offering, and the principal thing in which their religion does consist. It is, they tell us, of the greatest profit and advantage to all persons, and I am sure their priests make it so to themselves; for by this alone, a great number of them get
their livings, by making merchandise of the holy sacrament, and by selling the blood of Christ at a dearer rate than Judas did. The saying of masses keeps the church of Rome more priests in pay, than any prince in Christendom can maintain soldiers; and it has raised more money by them, than the richest bank or exchequer in the world was ever owner of. It is indeed the truest patrimony of their church, and has enriched it more than any thing else. It was that which founded their greatest monasteries, and their richest abbeys; and it had wellnigh brought all the estates in this kingdom into the church, had not the statute of mortmain put a check to it. The donation of Constantine, were it ever so true, and the grants of Charles and Pepin, were they ever so large, and the gifts of all their benefactors put together, are infinitely outdone by it. The gain of it has been so manifestly great, that one cannot, but on that account, a little suspect its godliness." Discourse of the Sacrifice of the Mass, by Mr. Payne, late Prebendary of Westminster, page 1.
Before entering on a discussion of this subject, it will be right to tell what it is. I shall, therefore, give the doctrine as it is laid down by the Douay Catechism, which AMICUS VERITATIS says is approved by the whole church :
" Q. Is the eucharist a sacrament only? A. No, it is also a sacrifice. Q. What is a sacrifice ? A. It is a supreme act of religion, due to Almighty God. Q. How is this performed ? A. By offerings made to him, in testimony of his being the sovereign Lord of all things. Q. In what did the sacrifices of the old law consist? A. Chiefly in bloody sacrifices of beasts, which the priests offered in the temple, as figures of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, which was then to come. Q. In what consists the sacrifice of the new law ? A. In the voluntary and bloody oblation which Christ made to his eternal Father, by dying on the cross for our redemption. Q. But this is past, how have we now any sacrifice in the new law ? A. By the standing memorial and continuance of it in the blessed eucharist. Q. Why do you say that the eucharist is a standing memorial of Christ's sacrifice on the cross? A. because Christ, at his last supper, commanded it should be offered as a remembrance of his passion to the end of the world; and this is what is performed in the sacrifice of the mass. Q. Why is it a continuance of Christ's sacrifice ? A. Because Jesus Christ, who is a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedec, having offered himself once in a bloody
manner on the altar of the cross, continues daily to offer him.
self, by the ministry of his priests, in an unbloody manner, under the form of bread and wine. So that the sacrifice offered on the cross, and the sacrifice of the mass, are one and the same, as to the chief priest who offers it, and the thing which is offered ; and differ only in the manner of ofiering. Q. What therefore is the mass ? A. It is the sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, under the form of bread and wine, in memory of his death and passion for the remission of our sins. Q. Who said the first mass ? A. Jesus Christ. Q. When did he say it ? A. At his last supper, when he instituted the holy eucharist. Q. To whom is the sacrifice of the mass offered ? A. To God only. Q. Is it not sometimes offered to the saints ? A. No, masses are sometimes said in honour and memory of the saints, in thanksgiving to God for the benefits he has been pleased to bestow upon them; and that they, joining their prayers to ours, may intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate here on earth. Q. What benefit receive we by this sacrifice ? A. It is a daily application of the merits of Christ, for the relief of our necessities, by laying before the eternal Father, the infinite value of his Son's bitter passion. Q. What are the benefits the living receive by it? A. They are many: 1. It applies the merits of our Saviour's passion for the remission of our sins. 2. It procures new graces and blessings for us, by virtue of the said passion. 3. It is the most acceptable offering we can make to Almighty God, in thanksgiving for all his benefits. Q. Does it avail the faithful departed ? A. It is not to be doubted, but as St. Augustine, Serm. 26, de verbis Apostoli, cap. 2, says, by this wholesome sacrifice, which is offered for them, they are so far helped, as to be treated with more mercy than their sins deserve. Q. Is it not a prejudice to the faithful, that the mass is said in an unknown language? A. No; for the mass contains only those prayers which the priest alone is commanded to say, as the mediator between God and his people. Neither are the people ignorant of what is said, since they have the mass expounded and Englished in their ordinary prayer-books."
From this long extract, the reader will see what is the most modified and moderate view which Papists give of this great act of their worship. The Douay Catechism, being calculated for the meridian of Scotland, is much less gross, both in sentiment and expression, than most others that are issued by the church of Rome. It does not, for instance, say in plain words, that the mass is a real propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead, though as much is implied in the words which represent it as the very same sacrifice that Christ offered on the cross, and in the words which it ascribes to St. Augustine, that the dead are so far helped by it, “as to be treated with more mercy than their sins deserve;" from which last expression, I remark, in passing, that it seems to be a doctrine held by Papists, that their sins deserve some mercy. The mass only helps them to more than they would otherwise deserve. All the world is acquainted with the popish doctrine of the merit of good works; but I suppose this will be the first time the world has been informed that they ascribe some merit to their sins; and that these deserve mercy, though but in a small degree, with out the additional merit of the mass.
The Catechism for the use of all the Churches in the French empire, more explicitly declares the mass to be a sacrifice of propitiation.
Speaking of the souls of the dead, it is asked and answered, "Are these souls any wise relieved by this sacrifice? A. Yes: they are very much relieved. Q. Why? A. Because, in it Jesus Christ is offered as the common propitiation for all mankind." The thing is asserted still more plainly in " The grounds of Catholic doctrine, contained in the profession of faith published by Pope Pius IV.," in which we read as follows :-“Q. What is the Catholic doctrine as to the mass ? A. That in the mass, there is offered unto God, a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead. Q. What do you mean by the mass ? A. The consecration and oblation of the body and blood of Christ, under the sacramental veils or appearances of bread and wine : so that the mass was instituted by Christ himself, at his last supper: Christ himself said the first mass; and ordained that his apostles and their successors should do the like. Do this in remembrance of me. Luke xxii. 19. Q. What do you mean by a propitiatory sacrifice ? A. A sacrifice for obtaining mercy, or by which God is moved to mercy.” There is an error in the last expression, which I have marked by italics, distinct from the error of the mass sacrifice, though connected with it, and which I shall expose by and by; but, at present, I wish to give a full view of the subject, as it is set down by popish authors.
The following is from a work entitled, “Holy Altar and Sacrifice explained,” by the Rev. Father Pacificus Baker, of the order of St. Francis :—"Many are the spiritual graces and benefits which the devout Christian gains, by seriously attending to, and assisting at, this holy sacrifice. First, By the sacrifice of the mass, the fruits of Christ's bloody sacrifice of himself on the altar of his cross, are applied to our souls. This sacrifice of the mass being the same with that on the cross, differing only in the manner. On the cross, Christ offered himself in a bloody manner, shedding every drop of his sacred blood, as a sacrifice of redemption for mankind. In the mass he offers himself by the ministry of the priest, in an unbloody manner. Hence, the mass is called, by the holy fathers, an incruental, or unbloody sacrifice; for, as the council of Trent declares, Sess. xxii. 6. 2, it is one and the same host (or body) and the same offerer, now, by the ministry of the priest
, who offered himself on the cross, differing only in the manner of offering, the fruits of which unbloody oblation are here most plentifully received. Secondly, The mass is latreutical, that is, a holocaust, or oblation, offered to God, in acknowledgment of his supreme majesty and dominion over us; worshipping him herein with divine worship, due to him alone and not to any creature, how excellent and perfect soever. Thirdly, It is a eucharistic sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for, as well as commemoration of, the inestimable benefit of Christ's passion, and of praise and thanksgiving for all the blessings we have received, spiritual and temporal. Fourihly, It is an impetratory sacrifice, by which we may obtain whatever we ask, if we ask as we ought, according to what our Saviour says ; “ Ask and you shall receive;" John xvi. For the Father will not deny what we ask in his Son's name, much less when we ask by his Son, who is here offered to him. With him he has given us all things. With him he will refuse us nothing. Fifthly, It is a propitiatory sacrifice, by which we may obtain pardon of our sins, our daily failings and offences
against God, by the merits of Christ's passion, here renewed and offered up for us."
I believe no real sacrifice ever made on earth contained so many things as are here ascribed to the mass, not even the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. This certainly was not unbloody, or incruental, as the reverend father says that of the mass is : and I would question very much the propriety of calling the sacrifice of Christ eucharistical. If the mass, then, have two ingredients which the sacrifice of Christ had not, it is absurd to call it the very same sacrifice. The sacrifice of Christ was undoubtedly propitiatory; and the principal error of the church of Rome, on this subject, consists in ascribing the same character to their mass.
When Papists are pushed upon such a subject as this, they will not admit the authority of individual authors, however great, or even of such catechisms as are recommended by their priests, and in general and daily use. The Douay Catechism, as I have said, does not use the word propitiatory; and, therefore, a Scottish Papist, when assailed by a Protestant, may disavow the doctrine as not in his catechism. On the other hand, should he be accused by one of his own brethren, of not holding that fundamental doctrine of his church, that the mass is a real propitiatory sacrifice, he will get out by referring to his catechism, in which the mass is declared to be the very same sacrifice which Christ offered on the cross, which is allowed on all hands to be propitiatory.
But that none of my popish readers may have it in their power to evade the question, or deny that their church holds this doctrine, on account of any defect in my authorities, I shall now cite the highest authority known in their church, that is, the council of Trent, which may justly be said to be higher with them than the Bible itself; for that council not only decreed many things contrary to the Bible, but actually added to it a number of books whose authors never dreamed that they wrote under divine inspiration, or that their works should be exalted to an equality with the word of God.
The holy council has decreed thus:-" If any shall say, that in the mass a true and proper sacrifice is not offered to God, let him be accursed. If any shall say in those words, (Do this in rememberance of me,) Christ did not institute his apostles to be priests, or that he did not ordain that they and other priests should offer his body and blood, let him be accursed.” “If any shall say, the sacrifice of the mass is only of praise and thanksgiving, or a bare commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, and not a propitiatory sacrifice; or that it profits him alone that takes it, and ought not to be offered for quick and dead, for sins, punishments, and satisfactions, and other necessities, let him be accursed." Concil. Trid. Sess. 22, de Sacrific. Missæ. can. 1, 2, 3.
This is the doctrine of the church of Rome distinctly laid down. Every popish priest takes a solemn oath to abide by it, and all that the council of Trent has decreed ; and we see by the above, that a solemn curse is pronounced against all who say that the mass is not a propitiatory sacrifice; and that it ought not to be offered for the quick and dead, for sins, punishments, and satisfactions. I consider myself, therefore, as standing under the curse of the most holy and infallible
church; but while advocating the truth of God, I can, without anxiety about the matter, use the words of the psalmist :—" Let them curse, but bless thou."
One of the worst features of modern popery, is the affected liberality of Papists. Their fawning and flattering of their Protestant brethren, as they now condescend to call us, are infinitely more disgusting than their cursing and wrath. The wolf is never so dangerous as when he appears in a sheep's coat. Modern Papists affect all the meekness of the lamb, because they want what they call emancipation, that is, nothing less than a place in the legislature and government of the kingdom. But they know that they look upon Protestants as heretics accursed. They will not tell us so just now, though all their priests have sworn to it, and all the faithful must believe as their priests bid them. They speak in very mild language, at present, because they want something which Protestants have in their power to deny them. They condescend even so far as to use the phrase, “ our dissenting brethren," hoping that dissenters will be flattered by their condescension, that they will be induced to forward their cause, and help them to places of power, and to that ascendancy which is their ultimate object. But their soft words and fair speeches can deceive only the hearts of the simple. Their affected moderation is gross hypocrisy, while they carry, under the cloak, all the cursing and bitterness of their fathers against those who will not fall down and worship their mass idol. If it be not so, let them renounce the council of Trent, and withdraw their solemn curses against those who deny their mass sacrifice, and trust in the sacrifice of Christ alone. I have no doubt many of them will even do this to serve a purpose; but when the purpose is gained, they will find out that they were incompetent to make the renunciation. Though the pope himself were to withdraw these curses, and though he were to grant leave to all the Papists in Britain and Ireland to disavow them, it would be found, when they had attained the object which they have in view, that the pope was incompetent to set aside a solemn decree of a general council, confirmed by the pope of the day. Those who shall live to witness popish ascendancy in this country, will have a better understanding of this than my present readers have. The curses which have been accumulating for ages upon the heads of all who deny that the mass is a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead, will break forth with dreadful fury upon all who shall refuse to bow the knee to the idol which the church of Rome has set up. In the days of the council of Trent, curses were not empty sounds. The church of Rome boasts of being unchanged and unchangeable; and this is almost the only true thing which she utters amidst her thousands of lies. She will therefore be what she was in the days of that council, whenever she has the opportunity and the power.
But to return to the mass itself,—it is said to be a propitiatory sacrifice. Such the council of Trent declares it to be; and the expression refers to that which reconciles sinners to their offended Creator. This is expressly asserted in the New Testament of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. “ Him hath God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood.” Rom. iii. 25. And “ God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself,” &c. 2 Cor. v. 19. I shall show, by