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PART 1: THE MASS AND THE BIBLE
Mrs. Nancy Hearn Griffin
You are well aware of the fact that the Christmas season is a holy period of the year, in which Christians endeavor to add to the joy of others. This is often done through the presentation of gifts that add to the appreciation of the glorious event that the Catholic Church designated Christmas, Christ's-Mass. But not so with you, judging by the offensive book you sent me, "The Mass in Contrast to the Bible". In it you insult the members of the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, which is dear to my heart, as well as the hearts of millions of persons blest with incorporation therein.
The "Introduction" to your diatribe was fittingly written by a renegade priest; one of the religious Benedict Arnolds who violated the vow of obedience made to God at the time of his ordination. It is either conceit, pride, assumption of superior intellectual judgment, or downright immorality, or a combination of all of them, that prompts him, as well as all other vow-violators, to presumptuously imagining that everyone who is faithful to things he disagrees with is out of step with right judgment.
Hence it was not a surprise to find your volume introduced with the declaration that the Mass and Purgatory "form the most lucrative business invented by clever men by which the Roman Church continually augments its wealth and property holdings ... "
As far as the question of Purgatory is concerned, the Biblical and traditional belief therein, was presented to you in a letter written over a year ago, in answer to your other offensive book, the "Legends of St. Ann and Mary" (published in The Pilot of Sept. 12, 1953). Your assumption of superior Christian Bible knowledge to that of Catholic Church authorities was knocked sky-high in my letter, to which you failed to respond. Your misuse, for instance, of 1 Timothy 5:2 was exposed, through which you endeavored to repudiate belief in the mediatorship of the Mother of Christ.
You were shown to have endeavored to further your anti-Catholic end by detaching the declaration "There is one God, one Mediator between man and God, the man Jesus" from its connecting sentence, "Who made Himself a redemption FOR ALL", which was shown to be a universal, and all-inclusive power that Catholics hold to be exercised by the Supreme Mediator, Jesus Christ, and by Him alone. But that did not, and does not, bar the Blessed Mother Mary and the other Saints in Heaven, or even you and me, from offering prayers to God for the benefit of others, which is being mediators in the secondary sense of that theological term.
One need not go further than the first paragraph of your insulting Christmas gift, to prove its inanity. In it you declare that "The Mass, an invention of the Catholic Church, practiced in the latter part of the fourth century, was added as 'dogma of transubstantiation' during the Lateran Council 1215, presided over by Pope Innocent III".
The term transubstantiation, like the term Mass, is of Catholic Church origin, but the action thus designated was originated by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper. The dogmatic designation, during the middle ages, of the primary act in the Sacrifice Christ instituted as transubstantiation, is far from being a new doctrine as the dogma of the Assumption, which was dogmatically proclaimed only a few years ago. [By "new dogma" the author means in the explicit formulation, not the implicit belief from the beginning as he relates below.---The Web Master.] The Catholic Church does not invent doctrines, she makes no claim to possess such a power. The Catholic Church only defines doctrines that have been explicitly or implicitly proclaimed by her Founder, Jesus Christ; and in so doing the Catholic Church is Divinely protected from error by the Holy Spirit.
From your standard of false reasoning one would conclude, as said above, that the doctrine of the Assumption, which was not dogmatically proclaimed until a little over four years ago, is an invention of Pope Pius XII. Belief in the Assumption into Heaven of the Blessed Virgin Mary dates back to the Apostles. There is evidence recorded that Mary died in the presence of the Apostles; that her tomb, opened at the request of St. Thomas, was found to be empty; therefore the Apostles concluded that her body had been taken into Heaven, as were the bodies of Enoch (Heb. 11:5) and Elias (4 Kings 2:1). They believed that Jesus took His flesh from His Mother Mary; that it is unreasonable to believe that such sacred flesh ever saw corruption.
Transubstantiation, the heart of the Sacrifice of the Mass, which you brazenly dub "the most ridiculous and blasphemous farce ever imposed upon any people", is the priestly conversion of the substance of bread into the Body of Christ; and the wine into His Blood. It is the reenactment of the Holy Act Jesus performed during the Last Supper; which He commanded to be done in remembrance of His Sacrifice for the sins of the world. It is the Unbloody Sacrifice foretold by Malachias (1:11); which was to take the place of the sacrifices offered by the Jewish High Priest during the centuries when Judaism was the religion of Almighty God.
I have before me the translations of more than a dozen Mass declarations of foremost Christian authorities of the first centuries,---copies of which may most likely be found in your city library. In them the Eucharist Sacrifice, the "breaking of bread" as the Mass was designated, is positively proclaimed. Among them is the first letter of St. Clement, the 4th Pope, which contains the liturgy of the Mass of his time. A more complete account is found in the writings of St. Justin. There is also a story told by Tertullian, ecclesiastical writer of the 2nd century, of the heathen husband who would not permit his Christian wife to leave home, lest she would go to Mass and Communion in the Church that you assume to have invented the Mass in the 4th century. Then there is the Didache (Teachings of the Twelve Apostles), written between the years 80-100 A.D., viz:---"On the Lord's Day you shall assemble and break bread and give thanks after Confession, in order that your sacrifice may be pure. Let no one who is at enmity with his friend join you in your assembly till the two be reconciled, lest your sacrifice be profaned. For this is the sacrifice spoken of by the Lord; in every place and time offer to Me a pure sacrifice; for a great King am I says the Lord, and wonderful is My name among the Gentiles".
Perhaps you know not what you do; you know not that you crucify Christ, whom you claim to love, when you bear false witness against the Church in which He abides, May God forgive you.
PART 2: A PROTESTANT ATTENDED MASS
It was interesting to read an article in the National Journal of Congregational Christian Churches, headed "We Visited A Catholic Church," in which Mrs. Helen Cracraft Siler of Seattle, Washington, tells how favorably she, and a friend, were impressed with the prayerful spirit of the crowded Cathedral visited, that had just dismissed a crowd that attended the previous Mass. It caused her to conclude that "Most Protestants need to go to Mass." Right, Mrs. Siler is, Protestants should attend Mass, as an intelligent understanding of the Mass means a proper understanding of Who Christ is; what Christ did for us at the Last Supper and on Mount Calvary; as well as what Christ told us to do to fortify ourselves in the battle of life.
A proper understanding of the Mass would bring Protestants to the realization that Christ is with us: That the priest at the altar personifies Christ, through the delegated power of Christ: That the Bread of Life the priest distributes nourishes souls as did Christ at the Last Supper: That the Catholic Church is Christ in His Mystical Body.