Is the Roman Catholic Mass Biblical?
The Catholic Mass is a daily ritual performed by Roman Catholic priests. Because the Sunday morning mass is the most well-attended mass of the week, many believe that the event is essentially equivalent to the Sunday morning Worship services held by Protestant churches. This could not be further from the truth; there are a number of practices that set the Catholic Mass apart from Christian Lord’s Day worship. The events of the Mass demonstrate the vast and unbiblical amount of power vested in the Roman Catholic Priesthood and should be very concerning to Bible-believing Christians.
Perhaps the most notable, and most troubling, aspect of the Mass is the sacrament of the Eucharist. According to Paragraph #1336 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the Mass seeks to “re-present” Jesus as a sacrifice during the observance of the Eucharist. CCC Paragraph #1367 communicates that the atoning Sacrifice of Jesus and the Eucharist are one in the same. In other words, every time the Catholic Church observes the Eucharist during Mass, it is re-sacrificing Jesus. John O’Brien explains this well in his book The Faith of Millions, “The priest brings Christ down from heaven and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal victim for the sins of man, not once but a thousand times.” These doctrines, as presented in the CCC, conflict with the biblical account. As recorded in John 19:30, Jesus exclaimed “Tetelestai” as he died upon a Roman cross. This verb is often rendered in English translations of the Bible as “It is finished!”. Its use indicates that the sin debt of the elect, for whom Christ died, has been paid in full. The Greek perfect tense in which this verb is presented indicates that the debt has been paid in full with a perpetual effect; it has been paid in full once and for all. Since the sin debt of the elect has been fully and perpetually paid, no further works are needed; Jesus need not be re-sacrificed in the Catholic Mass. The author of Hebrews put is this way “Christ (has) offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:12 ESV).
The work that Jesus did on the cross was complete and is sufficient. Because the Roman Catholic Church is centered around the false Roman Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist, Christians should neither attend nor promote it. Doing so, only supports and perpetuates the unbiblical claims of the Roman Catholic Church and its powerful class of priests. Priests are not only in control of the Eucharist, which is an essential sacrament of the Roman Catholic Church, they are also vested with the power to forgive sins.
CCC paragraph #1461 states that priests have, “the power to forgive all sins.” In CCC paragraph #1468, it is asserted that Indulgences can actually reconcile sinners with God. Furthermore, CCC paragraph #1471 affirms that indulgences (which are a remission of some or all sins) can even be applied to the dead. The Roman Catholic system of confession, indulgences, and penance is a system of works righteousness. Paul wrote in his epistle to the Galatians, “…we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16, ESV) Paul wrote a similar statement to the Ephesian church, “…by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV). Paul’s statements contradict the Roman Catholic doctrines of Confession and Penance. According to these doctrines, one must confess his sins to a priest at least once a year and perform the penance prescribed for those sins in order to receive saving grace. These doctrines were codified in Canon 21 by the Fourth Council of the Lateran and are included in paragraph #1424 of the CCC.
The Catholic Mass and the Catholic Priest are unbiblcial and should be repudiated by bible-believing Christians.
[Contributed by Brandon Hines]
[Edited by Seth Dunn]