The Catholic Sanctuary
and the Second Vatican Council

 by Michael Davies

Clear Distinction Between Catholic Worship
and Protestant Worship

The line of demarcation between Catholic and Protestant worship was laid down clearly at the Reformation. The most striking differences were as follows: The Catholic Mass was celebrated in Latin; the Protestant Lord's Supper in English. Much of the Mass was celebrated in an inaudible tone; the Lord's Supper was spoken audibly throughout. The Mass began with the Psalm Judica me, in which the priest stated specifically that he was going unto the altar of God, and ended with the sublime Last Gospel; in the Lord's Supper the Judica me and the Last Gospel and many traditional prayers were abolished, particularly the sacrificial Offertory Prayers. The Mass was celebrated on a sacrificial altar facing the East; the Lord's Supper was celebrated on a table facing the people. In the Mass, Holy Communion was placed on the tongue of the communicant by the anointed hand of a priest; in the Lord's Supper it was placed in the hand of the communicant. In the Mass, Holy Communion was given to the laity under one kind only; in the Lord's Supper it was always administered under both kinds.

This clear distinction between Catholic and Protestant worship remained unchanged for four centuries [until the Second Vatican Council], making it clear, as John Henry Cardinal Newman expressed it, that Catholicism and Protestantism are two different religions, and not two ways of expressing the same faith.


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