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Mass Deception
By: Timothy F. Kauffman

If any of our readers happen to be subscribers to a cable network, they may have occasionally flipped past Mother Angelica's Eternal Word Television Network, or EWTN, a globally broadcast Roman Catholic cable channel. Among the many regularly featured Roman Catholic programs is one that we would invite our readership to view: the Daily Mass which airs from Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Birmingham four times daily during the week. Though we do not recommend a regular viewing of the subject matter, we think this segment is worth seeing at least once. It portrays for us - in the most graphic way possible - our reasons for rejecting the Roman Catholic Mass sacrifice.

Before we go any further, we wish to explain that our use of the term "sacrifice" regarding the Mass is a deliberate one for the Mass is truly a sacrifice in which a "victim" is "immolated" on an altar. It has all the makings of a sacrifice and thus it is properly so-called by the Roman Catholic Church:

"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'" (1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1367).
"And forasmuch as, in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner, who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross; the holy Synod teaches, that this sacrifice is truly propitiatory…For the Lord, appeased by the oblation thereof,….forgives even heinous crimes and sins" (Council of Trent, Session 22, Chapter 2).
One need not view the Daily Mass very long before being struck with the base familiarity of the setting used for this sacrifice. The altar is of course in plain view with a tabernacle and candlesticks nearby, while the priest stands at the ready to offer this sacrifice of appeasement to God. Two angels, cast in bronze, find themselves forever prostrating themselves to the right and to the left of the altar, presumably to worship the presence of the divinity of Christ in the bread to be offered. Between these two cherubims, the priest will perform his rites by which he thinks and teaches that sins can be, to some degree, removed or at least put off.

Now, to the eye unaided by the revelation of the light of Christ, this situation seems perfectly arranged for the appeasement of the wrath of an angry God, and speaks through images of the grace bestowed to us in Christ Jesus. The carnal man finds nothing at all objectionable either about the setting itself or about the ritual which is to be performed there. Christians, however, find the whole performance rather troubling. We shall explain why.

To begin, we cannot help but notice how accurately this sanctuary has been designed to reflect the ministrations of a Levitical priest in the Old Testament. Right down to the cherubims of the glory on either side of what Rome thinks to be the mercy seat: the altar of immolation of the victim to be sacrificed. The whole scene is resonant of that design which Moses received from God Himself:

"And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be" (Exodus 25:18-20).
The setting of the Roman Mass therefore gives the appearance of being biblical, but it is not.

The first doctrine to which the Mass sacrifice draws attention is that of transubstantiation: the Roman Catholic teaching that the bread of the altar contains in itself the soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, as well as His blood, and, of course, His body. It is in this manner that the whole Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity is to be immolated to propitiate the wrath of God. To immolate means to sacrifice, kill, or destroy. This is what the priest is alleged to do when he serves at the altar to offer the transubstantiated wafer sacrifice to God. Though we fully deny the Roman dogma of transubstantiation, we will let it stand for now in order to show the greater futility of the Romish Mass which is professed to satisfy the wrath of God and forgive sin.

We note from the beginning that the Roman priest finds himself bound by the same limitations which prevented the Levitical priests of the Old Testament from offering sacrifices which could take away sins. For example, the Roman priest performs at the altar a sacrifice with someone else's blood. Also, the priest is obviously a man who is not Christ. Likewise, the Roman priest freely confesses that he presents the sacrifice to God for his own sins and for those of the people. Even if the doctrine of transubstantiation were true (and it is not) all three of these problems would render the Mass ineffective as a sacrifice for sins.

The epistle to the Hebrews, when comparing the Old Covenant with the New Covenant, makes much of the fact that under the old priestly caste, the sacrifices offered in the temple were of no effect in removing sin, "as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own" (Hebrews 9:25b). Literally, when someone besides Christ acts as a priestly mediator, his mediation is of no effect since he does not offer his own blood, even if the blood is perfect blood. When the Roman Catholic priest asserts that he transubstantiates the bread into Christ's blood to be offered by him to God, he in the same instant tacitly confesses that his sacrifice accomplishes nothing at all.

The Scriptures also state that Christ, being the sole mediator of the New Covenant, shares the altar with no man. He alone ministers at the sacrificial altar of the New covenant:

"For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar" (Hebrews 7:13).
We remind the reader that this was written after Christ's death, and therefore, rules out any New Testament priestly caste apart from the priest-hood of all believers. No other man has ever served at Christ's altar, not before - and certainly not since - his ministrations on the cross. For the Roman Catholic priest to assert that he serves at the same altar as Christ is to confess openly that he ministers at the altar of a different Christ than the one spoken of in the Bible.

To continue, the effectiveness of the sacrifice is equally dependent on two criteria: 1) the purity of the priest who ministers, and 2) the purity of the blood being offered. Christ was Himself the perfect High Priest and the perfect sacrifice:

"For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted about the heavens" (Hebrews 7;26).
There is no Roman Catholic priest who would presume to be sinless. Therefore, there is no Roman priest who has ever offered a Mass sacrifice that was capable of removing sin. The scriptures rule out the efficacy of the ministrations of any priest who has to offer a sacrifice for his own sins:

"He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself" (Hebrews 7:27).
Of course, the Roman religion has a ready answer for these objections. To solve the problem of someone who is not Christ offering "Christ's blood," and having another man, a sinful man, minister at Christ's altar, the priest is said to be acting "in the person of Christ," or in persona Christi (1994 Catechism, paragraph 1548). That is, though we see with our eyes of flesh a non-Christ offering the non-blood of Christ, we are expected with eyes of faith instead to see Christ Himself offering His own blood-wafer to the Father.

If it were true ( and it is not) that the bread changes into Christ's blood and the priest somehow acts in the person of Christ, this would seem to quell any of the above objections both to the manner in which the Mass sacrifice is offered, and the efficacy of the sacrifice itself. However, Rome's solution, instead of solving the problem actually adds two more.

First, the method of the Mass sacrifice has Christ offering Himself in an earthly temple which, despite its remarkable similarity to Moses' design specifications in Exodus 25, is till only a copy of it, which itself was merely a copy of the Heavenly one. Second, this present picture of the Roman priest offering "Christ's blood" in the person of Christ, still has him doing so repeatedly. That is, it has Christ immolating himself (suffering) over and over again. He is presumed to offer Himself on a sacrificial altar every time any Roman priest offers a Mass sacrifice anywhere in the world until the end of time.

If any would ask why we should take exception to the Mass on these grounds, we answer that the Scriptures speak plainly against it. To say that Christ repeatedly offers His own blood (i.e., His sufferings) to the Father over and over again in a temple made by hands is to say that He does precisely what the Scriptures say he does not:

"For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own; for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world" (Hebrews 9:24-26a).
But Rome's error at this point again multiplies itself two-fold. First, Rome has Christ offering His sacrifice to God in a way that the Scriptures say He did not do it, and second, Rome has Christ offering His sacrifice to God in a way that the Scriptures say cannot remove sin. Christ "appeared once to put away sin," says the Word. Rome has Him appearing many times (through the Roman priest) in an earthly temple made with hands, and not putting away sin at all. In fact, Rome has Him suffering (being immolated) over and over again until the end of the world. Rome's Christ (who is "not-Christ" and is no savior at all) must offer his sacrifice repeatedly in the Mass because it is understood that the Mass does not "put away sin" at all. If it did, once would be enough, but Rome's work of "putting away sins" is never done. And since it does not "put away sin" through one offering, an infinite number of Masses will never be enough either.

But even here Rome has its explanations. Although from the plain view of it we see the sacrifice being offered in an earthly temple, Rome actually holds that the sacrifice is only performed on earth (in an earthly sanctuary), but is actually offered in Heaven (in the Heavenly sanctuary). We will here cite the part of the Liturgy of the Mass where Rome has the sacrifice of Christ's blood being actually offered on the altar in Heaven. We ask the reader to pay special attention to the identity of the person that Rome has offering the sacrifice on the Heavenly altar:

"We offer to you, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice…. Look with favor on these offerings and accept them….Almighty God, we pray that your angel may take this sacrifice to your altar in heaven. Then, as we receive from this altar the sacred body and blood of your Son, let us be filled with every grace and blessing" (Sunday Missal Prayerbook and Hymnal for 1994, p. 27. See also the 1994 Catechism, paragraph 1383).
Perhaps after a perusal of this citation from the liturgy of the Mass, the reader can see our concern. While Rome thinks it has solved the problem of Christ's sacrifice being offered in a temple made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, it has added yet another problem. The offering of Christ is now pictured to be presented on an altar in Heaven (as the Scriptures say it was), but now it is an angel who is offering the sacrifice. Thus, the sacrifice of the Mass introduces yet another error in that it is now an angel offering blood that is not his own to God repeatedly as a sacrifice for sins. Thus, Rome compounds her error.

But these are not all of Rome's problems regarding the Mass sacrifice. So confident are the Scriptures that Christ's sacrifice of Himself, properly offered in a Heavenly temple, is effective in removing sin, that their clear testimony is that He did so only once, for all time, and now lives forever. And because our Priest offered a sacrifice which was so thoroughly effective, He does not need to continue to offer that same sacrifice over and over again. He can now rest and sit down at His Father's right hand without having to worry about whether another priest will need to come to finish His ministrations. He knows that all priests who preceded Him could not remove sin because they came and ministered and died. Their mortality was their weakness, and this is why they were many in number and needed successors. Christ knows that there was no need of numerous priests to follow after Him, for their weakness as well would be their mortality, rendering them incapable of removing sin. Christ, however, was effective in the ministrations of the sacrifice because He, being perfect, lives forever and now makes intercession for the elect as the permanent and final occupant of that High Priestly role. He knows that Rome's priesthood is no priesthood at all because it attempts to undo all that He has done:

"This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:22-25).
This passage makes it abundantly clear that Christ's priestly work is effective precisely because He needs no other priests to finish or carry on His work. But this passage also states something else. The mark of a sacrificial system that cannot secure eternal redemption is the continuation of its sacrifices. The mark of a deficient priesthood is the necessity of many in number to perpetuate the inferior sacrificial system as each inferior priest dies.

The news that Christ's sacrifice has put away sins once and for all is marvelous news to the believer, but Rome's priesthood cannot stand the hearing of it. This Good News of Christ's High Priestly ministry puts an end to everything that Rome's sacrificial priesthood wants to carry on. No worse news can fall on the ears of a Roman priest than this: Christ's sacrifice has put away sins once and for all. But the Christian Hebrews to whom the epistle was written, among whom were no doubt some of the Levitical tribe of priests, understood the significance of it. We have proof from the Scriptures that the converted Levites, upon hearing the gospel, did not rush to construct duplicates of their Levitical altars in order to continue their ministrations. They did not do what EWTN has done. And though they might have recognized the setting of the sacrifice were they to see EWTN's daily Mass, they would stare aghast in wonder that what had been so close to disappearing in their time had been revived illegitimately. Even in their day, such things were passing away and close to disappearing-even the description of it was only by way of reminder of something that had since passed out of practice (Hebrews:8;13). We leave the reader with the following passage to contemplate, and to wonder what the Christian Hebrews would have thought if Mother Angelica could, through EWTN, broadcast Rome's deception to the first century Christian Church:

"Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing. Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and to divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation" (Hebrews 9:1-10).
Unfortunately for Roman Catholics, the words "the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest" continues to be true for them, and will remain their fetter of bondage until they repent of error and confess that what they now practice was intended to be merely a foreshadowing of the gospel, and not the gospel itself. The Way into the holiest of all has been revealed to us in Christ, but the Roman priestly caste would not have us know this, "for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in" (Matthew 23:13).