R3010-151 Good Friday And The Mass

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IN OUR ISSUE of February 15 we referred to Good Friday as representing to Roman Catholics the “great Mass day.” One of our readers, formerly a Roman Catholic, calls our attention to the fact that on this one day the Mass service is less used than on any other day of all the year, and wants to have our explanation. We reply that the word Mass signifies “oblation,” “offering”; and that the Roman Catholic Church does specially set apart Good Friday as the day of all the year for celebrating the great “oblation” “offering” or “Mass” which our Lord Jesus gave for us at Calvary. However, it is customary among Catholics to reserve this word Mass as the special name for what they term “the unbloody

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sacrifice,” which their priests perform repeatedly, daily, for the cancelation of sins of the people.

The original bloody “offering,” “oblation” or Mass at Calvary, Catholics recognize as the basis of atonement—canceling original sin and making possible the sinners acceptance with God. “The sacrifice of the Mass” offered by priests, repeats the original “oblation,” Mass or “offering,” for divine appeasement, in connection with subsequent, personal sins. We quote from Deharbe’s Roman Catholic Catechism, pages 263, 265, 288, as follows:—

“The Sacrifice of the Mass was instituted by Jesus Christ, when at the Last Supper he offered himself up under the appearances of bread and wine to his Heavenly Father, and commanded his Apostles thenceforth to celebrate this his sacrifice.

“The Mass is the perpetual Sacrifice of the New Law, in which Christ our Lord offers himself, by the hands of the priest, in an unbloody manner, under the appearances of bread and wine to his Heavenly Father, as he once offered himself on the cross in a bloody manner. The sacrifice of the Mass is essentially the same Sacrifice as that of the cross; the only difference is in the manner of offering. Because, in both it is the same High-Priest who offers, and the same Victim who is offered—namely, Jesus Christ our Lord; and because in the Sacrifice of the Mass the oblation [synonym for Mass] which Christ made of himself on the cross, for us, to the Father, is commemorated and continued. … By it we obtain from the Divine mercy, (1) Graces of contrition and repentance for the forgiveness of sins; and (2) Remission of temporal punishment deserved for sins. … The temporal punishment due to our sins is that punishment which we have to suffer here on earth or in Purgatory.”

The difference between the Romanist and the Protestant view then is, chiefly, that the latter would claim that there was but one offering “oblation” or “Mass” for the sins of the whole world, and that its sacrifice was finished at Calvary; and that the Lord’s Supper merely commemorates this; while the former claim that the sacrificing of the “oblation” “offering” [or Mass] is to be continuously repeated, in an unbloody form.

In the same article Z.W.T., page 64, we say, “Every Roman Catholic who makes the slightest claim to faithfulness to his church is expected to be present and participate in the services of Good Friday, whether he attends Mass at any other time of the year or not.” We regret this error. Instead of saying Good Friday we should have said Easter-time—that is, Passover-time—which begins on Palm Sunday and continues two weeks—till Low Sunday. The Council of Lateran (A.D. 1215) commanded that all the “faithful” must receive communion at least once a year, and that within the Easter-time. Altho the distinctions are quite small, and in our opinion nothing of importance is involved, we suggest that any who think otherwise have our full consent to the cutting off of said page, 64, so as not to loosen the front page, before handing out any of those papers.


— May 15, 1902 —