March 9, 2011 | Rev. Robert J. Thomas, Calvary Ministries to Catholics | www.excatholic.baptist.org |
In spite of what our Catholic friends say, it is possible for non-Catholics to both know and to understand the teachings of the Catholic Church. It has absolutely nothing to do with not being a Catholic or having left the “one true Holy Mother Church without which there is no salvation.” Our Catholic friends have already acknowledged that there are vast doctrinal differences between Romanism and Biblical Christianity. These vast differences are well established and documented. Previously our Catholic friends have taken issue with our use of their official documents and the comparison of them with the clear facts of Scripture. With very few exceptions they refuse to discuss just the Scripture opting rather to convey what they perceive as the truth from the perspective of Rome. I am repeatedly asked by my Catholic friends to go to numerous Catholic websites to find out the truth about Catholicism. I am very familiar with the content of these sites. Once again, I will refer all who read this to visit just one website: www.dodone.org. Dr. Bill Jackson has devoted over fifty years of his life to exposing the doctrinal errors of Catholicism. Over the years he has debated many Catholic apologists and he truly understands Catholicism.
As a Catholic I was taught that the Mass was a propitiatory (to appease or make atonement) sacrifice of infinite value which can remit or forgive sins. The Catholic Church teaches that Christ instituted the Eucharist in order to perpetuate His sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. According to Romanism, every time a priest offers the Mass, the wrath of God against sin is assuaged. The Mass, even as the cross itself, is a propitiatory or appeasing sacrifice for both the living and the dead.
Council of Trent – “And inasmuch as in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, the holy council teaches that this is truly propitiatory and has this effect, that if we, contrite and penitent, draw nigh to God, we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid. For, appeased by this sacrifice, the Lord grants the grace and gift of penitence and pardons even the gravest crimes and sins. …Wherefore, according to the tradition of the apostles, it is rightly offered not only for sins, punishments, satisfactions and other necessities of the faithful who are living, but also for those departed in Christ but not fully purified.”
Vatican Council II – “Priests are taken from among men and appointed for men in the things which pertain to God, in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. Hence the Eucharist shows itself to be the source and the apex of the whole work of preaching the gospel. The faithful, already marked with the sacred seal of baptism and confirmation, are through the reception of the Eucharist fully joined to the body of Christ.” Furthermore the New Catholic Catechism also declares that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice.
“The mass is an unbloody sacrifice which atones for the sins of the living and the dead [1367, 1371, 1414].”
“Each sacrifice of the Mass appeases God’s wrath against sin [1371, 1414].”
“The faithful receive the benefits of the cross in fullest measure through the Sacrifice of the Mass [1366, 1407].”
From the preceding we can obviously conclude that the Eucharistic sacrifice is propitiatory and is essential for salvation. However, it must be understood that there are limitations to the forgiveness received from the Sacrifice of the Mass. Roman Catholicism teaches that there are different classes of sin, venial and mortal, with different degrees of punishment attached. Temporal punishments due to venial sins, where the guilt and eternal punishment have been remitted, can be satisfied by the Sacrifice of the Mass.
On the other hand mortal sin is not immediately forgiven by the Mass, but is forgiven through the Confessional. Also, according to Catholic theology, the Mass is effective only up to the present time, not to any future sins, and the position a Catholic gains by receiving the Eucharist can be lost through committing a mortal sin at a later time. If I have misstated any of the official teachings of the Catholic Church, prove me wrong. The propitiation received through the Mass is finite in its effects which is the reason that the faithful Catholic can attend literally thousands of masses and still need to spend time in Purgatory to “finish” the process of purification and sanctification.
What then is the Catholic Church really teaching? They are teaching that Christ’s one time sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, in and of itself, was incomplete. Furthermore, they are teaching that there is a way of propitiation or satisfaction for sins, apart from the work of Christ. The Catholic position makes the finished work of Christ dependent upon man’s works and actions and not on His completed and finished work of redemption. The Bible no where speaks of a partial forgiveness; rather it proclaims a complete and total forgiveness for those who are in Christ. The complete forgiveness that is promised by God in Christ refutes any possibility of the continuing punishment for sin. If the sin is forgiven, God has no basis upon which to punish.
I Peter 2:24 – “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye are healed.”
Isaiah 53:5 – “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Jeremiah 31:34 – “for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
The real dilemma that our Catholic friends face is that they have never fully understood what the intention of Christ was when He came into the world. Why did Christ leave heaven and come to this earth?
Luke 19:10 – “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He came to seek and to save the lost human race.”
I Timothy 1:15 – “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Did Jesus in fact accomplish the work for which He came? He certainly did and because of his propitiatory sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, the entire Roman Catholic worship system including the Eucharist is worthless.
Romans 3:25 – “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”
Notice that the blood of Christ is set forth as the basis for the propitiation. There is only one way to have sins forgiven and not three or four as the Catholic Church teaches. Jesus Christ is the only way in which sin can be forgiven, remitted and satisfied.
Hebrews 2:17 – “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
I John 2:1,2 – “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
I John 4:9,10 – “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
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– John 8:32-”Ye shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.”