Monday, November 16, 2015

Questions for Catholics - Part 7 - The Mass and Call No Man Father

In Prasch's final entry he states:
Jacob Prasch
But I have one final question for my Roman Catholic friends. And I assure you I have many friends, I am not speaking antagonistically or with hostility to any Catholic people. I'm only asking you these questions which I’d like you to answer, I invite you to answer. Engage with me, there’s one more I’d like to ask you.
I hope he's sincere and is really asking for engagement.  If there are any questions he feels I have not answered, or answered fully, I hope he does not hesitate to engage the discussion.
I am told that the doctrine of the mass says Jesus must die and again and again and again sacramentally. The same sacrifice that took place on Calvary happens in the mass: He dies sacramentally. He has to die again, again, and again. Remembering that the Lord’s Supper – communion, the Eucharist as Catholics would define it – comes from the Jewish Passover which is a memorial, you remember something already happened, the Roman Church rather says, “No, it continues to happen sacramentally.”
I'm reading from the epistle to the Hebrews 7:27, Christ…
who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. Why is there daily mass when it says we don't need a daily Mass? The Old Testament sacrifices that took place daily with the priests in the temple were symbols of what the Messiah would do. Given the fact that He came and did it, we don't need it anymore according to the epistle to the Hebrews.
The epistle to the Hebrews 9:12
and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He……that is, Christ…
…entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  If it’s “eternal” it means it’s forever and ever without end, without beginning as such – it’s eternal. He did it once and for all for all eternity. Why is there a mass?
Chapter 10 of Hebrews, verse 12…
but He……that is, Christ…
… having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, One sacrifice for sins for all time. Verse 14…
For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.  If something is perfection, by definition it cannot be improved upon. How can you improve upon perfection?
Given the fact that Rome claims Peter was the first pope, can it be explained why, in his epistle in 1 Peter 3:18, St. Peter says Christ diedonce to bear the sins? Once – perfection – for all eternity! We don’t need a priest to do it again and again like in the Old Testament, the Priest has come. It’s a good question.
Well, it's a good question from one who is ignorant of Catholic teaching.  Prasch is actually pretty close to the answer, but seems to have "missed it by that much."  The Mass is not a new offering, over and over again, it is a re-presentation of the same Sacrifice of Christ.  God is timeless, as are acts of God.  When Jesus was crucified on the Cross, that One Sacrifice is for all time and the Mass "taps into" that eternal Sacrifice.  The Mass does not re-crucify Christ, that one act was done - but at the same time is an eternal act.  Jesus Himself commanded that we "do this" every time we partake in the Eucharist (1 Cor. 11:25 and Luke 22:19).  To not use the ceremony (the Mass) which He Himself instituted would be contrary to His command.  Again, this is not the imperfect sacrifices of the Old Testament priests, but the Perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  When the New Testament priests offer this Sacrifice, it is not by their own authority, but in "alter christus," it is through Jesus Christ Himself, operating through the priest, that He, Jesus, offers the same Sacrifice for us in the Mass.  Again, it's not a new or repeated sacrifice, it is the same Sacrifice that we "tap into" through the Mystery of Faith.

It truly takes Faith to accept this Mystery too, as Jesus Christ hides Himself under the appearance of bread and wine, but the reality of Faith is that it is no longer bread and wine, though the accidents (those things we sense) still appear to be bread and wine, the substance (that which it really is) is the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  If you lack the faith to accept this, then pray to Jesus that He gives you sufficient faith to accept Him at His Word.  

Why do we need the Mass?  Because Jesus told us how we are to remember and celebrate His suffering and victory.  To not "do this" would be to disobey Him.  That's why we need the Mass.
A famous priest who was a Catholic theologian, the author of eight books, on a video admitted he didn't have the answer. Understand something: What astounded me coming from a Catholic background on my mother’s side was that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for teaching as precepts of God the inventions of men. (Mt. 15:9; Mk. 7:7)
The last thing Jesus said in the Apocalypse is don’t add to the Bible. (Rev. 22:18-19) In his First epistle to the Corinthians 4:6 St. Paul said, “Learn not to exceed what is written”. Moses says don’t add to it, (Dt. 4:2) Jesus said if you do you’ll be condemned to hell. 
Before changing the subject, Prasch presented the above warnings not to add to or change the Scriptures.  I'd like to know who this "famous priest" is and see the context of that video, but the context from the Scriptures he refers to do not really say what he presents them as saying.  Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7 speak to Isaiah's prophesy of the Pharisees and scribes because they rejected God's word for the sake of their korban tradition, specifically the precept to honor your father and mother was over-ruled by a korban which allowed for sons to circumvent the obligation to care for one's parents by consecrating to God that which would have been used to support them in their old age.  Revelation 22:18-19 speaks specifically to the Book of Revelation, not to "the Bible" which had not been put together as a book nor in the form of the "canon" we're familiar with now (that would not happen for nearly 400 years).  Deuteronomy 4:2 speaks to Mosaic Law, which I am quite certain Mr. Prasch does not fully adhere to, and if he does not then to use this passage is quite hypocritical.  Jesus, contrary to what Mr. Prasch said, quotes Old Testament Scripture several times and then says, "but I say..." so does Prasch accuse Jesus of the same thing he accuses Catholics?  

In short, the inconsistency and inaccuracy of Prasch's arguments are exposed.  
Find me indulgences, purgatory, or the mass in the New Testament. Penance? Whose sins you shall forgive? That was talking about leading people to Christ. Show me one place in the book of Acts where the early Christians went to confession to a priest. Or a better question, show me a priest.
It could be said that each of Prasch's challenges can be covered in Matthew 16:18-19 and Matthew 18:18 - the Church was given the authority to bind or loose whatsoever she chooses.  As for indulgences, these are specifically under the authority just mentioned, but there are examples in Scripture:
In the Old Testament, Judah Maccabee finds the bodies of soldiers who died wearing superstitious amulets during one of the Lord’s battles. Judah and his men "turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out" (2 Macc. 12:42) (qtd on Catholic Answers).
Prasch's first objection will likely be that 2 Maccabees is from the Deuterocanonicals (he may call that the Apocrypha, which is not an accurate name as apocrypha means "hidden" and those books were never hidden).  The point is, however, that the books of the Maccabees reflect what the Jews thought, believed and practiced.  Scripture also refers to sins being forgiven in both this world and the next:
32 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.  (Matt. 12:32).
Being relieved of sin "in the world to come" is an indulgence, it is scriptural.

As for Purgatory, there are several scriptural references, including the two just previously mentioned.  We also have Rev. 21:27 (nothing impure can enter Heaven),  1 Cor. 3:13 (our works will be tested, as by fire) and St. Peter makes the same analogy in 1 Peter 1:7 as well as Zechariah 13:9 and Proverbs 17:3-13.  References to indulgences and Purgatory are clearly there for those who are not blind to see them.

As for the Mass, please Mr. Prasch!  The central point of the Mass is the Eucharist and that is straight out of Scripture.  The rest of the Mass, if you study it even minimally, comes from Scripture too.  The structure actually has Jewish roots, as our religion really isn't a new religion, it is a completion of the Jewish faith.
There is no such thing as a priest in the New Testament because we are all called priests by Peter. (1 Peter 2:5,9) St. Peter said we are all priests with Christ as the High Priest. There is no “priest”, the word is “presbyter” where you get the word “Presbyterian”. It meant the elders of a congregation. There was no priesthood other than the priesthood of all Christians.  
Actually, the English word "priest" comes from the Greek word "presbyter," which Prasch admits is part of the New Testament, in fact is mentioned several times throughout.  One of the responsibilities of the "elder," if you wish, was to perform the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist with his congregation.  St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of St. John the Apostle, wrote of the distinctions between the authority of the bishops as separate from the authority of presbyters and deacons.

Yes, we are all called to a priesthood of believers, but what does that really mean, especially to the non-Catholic?  We are all called to offer up our own sacrifices too.  When we suffer, we can offer up those sufferings in union with the suffering of our Lord on the Cross.  Out of our abundance, we can offer up a portion to the needy.  If we don't have an abundance of money, we can always offer up prayers for those in need - especially for those who cann0t petition for themselves, the ones in most need of His mercy. 
Jesus said call no man your father as a religious title. In Matthew 23, St. Matthew quotes Jesus As saying, “Call no man your father”. (Mt. 23:9) Jesus forbade us to call the pope a “holy father” or to call the priest “our father”. He forbade it as a religious title. “Call no man your father”. There’s no priest, He said don’t even call somebody that, One is your Father who is in heaven.
Nathan, who also authors on this blog, wrote an article on "Call No Man Father" in response to this same challenge back in 2013.  John Salza in his Apologetics 101 series has the following (2 minute) video:
The bottom line here is Prasch, as well as other assumably well-meaning Protestants who also often take this passage out of context, misses the point.  The point is not to be like the Pharisees.  In the verse just previous, Matthew 23:8 tells us not to call anyone "rabbi" or "teacher," yet 
With sincerity I've asked these questions. Who do I believe, Mary or the Vatican? Who do I believe, St. Paul or the Vatican? Who do I believe, St. Peter or the Vatican? Who do I believe, St. Matthew or the Vatican? Who do I believe, Jesus Christ or the Vatican? I had to make a decision, so do you. Whom will you believe?
And with all sincerity, your questions have all been answered.  Do we believe Mary or the Vatican?  We believe both.  Mary points us to Christ, and so does the Vatican.  The same is true of the other questions.  To decide not to to believe Catholicism is to not believe in what Jesus Christ taught us.  After His Resurrection, He spent another 40 days with the Apostles, our first bishops, teaching them how His Church was to be run.  As He commands them to do as He did - as He was sent, He also sends them. (John 20:21).  This means that they too had to go out and select more bishops, and those bishops were to select others - and it is in that succession of bishops that we find His True Church.  Outside of that succession you do not have the fullness of His Truth.  His desire is that we be one, just He and the Father are one, (John 17:20-21).  Yes, you have made a decision - but your journey is not at its end.  As the Prodigal Son did, it's time for you to come home.

I do hope you will engage this discussion, as there is so much more that can be said on each topic.  It has also not gone un-noticed by me that you have been recovering from a severe illness while I've been writing these responses.  You have been in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope you fully recover.  When you are well enough, do look me up.

AMDG,
Scott Windsor<<<
Scott Windsor
Part 6 - Doctrine of Demons?
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