A new Roman Catholic report on the mass
ROMAN Catholic bishops in Britain and Ireland have issued an 80-page report on the mass entitled One Bread One Body. This is intended to tighten up the present situation, where rules are being bent to allow non-Roman Catholics to take part in the mass. Priests must now consult their bishop before non-Roman Catholics will be allowed to partake, unless they are in danger of death.
“There can be no indiscriminate sharing of the Eucharist,” declared Cardinal Basil Hume, the leading Roman Catholic cleric in England and Wales. He went on to put his finger on one main factor motivating the hierarchy to produce this new report: “One of the dangers we are experiencing is a lack of reverence among Catholics for the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist”. This would seem to indicate that the bishops are conscious of an increasing unwillingness on the part of Roman Catholics to accept the doctrine – opposed by Scripture, and even by common sense – that the Saviour is physically present in the wafer and the wine of the mass.
Non-Roman Catholics may, however, continue to join a Roman Catholic spouse in the mass, but only for a “unique occasion for joy or for sorrow”, such as a first mass, a marriage or a funeral. They may also be admitted to mass if “no minister of the reformed tradition is available”. Incidentally, was this the loophole which permitted British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to reports, to participate in the mass while on holiday in Tuscany during the summer, although forbidden to do so in his own country? And, as it is required of such non-Roman Catholics that they must accept the doctrine of transubstantiation, does this mean that the Prime Minister has indicated that this is his personal belief?
At the press conference launching this document in Scotland, Cardinal Winning referred to those who might feel pain at being excluded from the mass: “It is our pain also, but principles come before feelings.” Well, of course principles come before feelings, but we have to ask, What is the basis of these principles? The fundamental problem about Rome is that she departed long ago from the sole authority of Scripture; her principles are not scriptural. Her doctrines have become an unholy amalgam of what is revealed and what is merely human; biblical doctrine has become polluted by the addition of traditions which contradict the truth – and in the case of the mass, biblical doctrine has become polluted to the point of blasphemy. No Protestant has any reason to feel hurt at being banned from partaking of it, especially when Scripture specifically directs us, “Flee from idolatry.”
Roman Catholics are absolutely forbidden to receive sacraments from any minister belonging to a Church “rooted in the Reformation”. The official reason is that such ministers have not been ordained by a bishop standing in the apostolical succession – the supposedly continuous line stretching back to the Apostles. Lying behind this prohibition, however, is the fact that such ministers do not own allegiance to the Pope. Yes, Rome, standing on the false ground of a claimed Papal power to define doctrine apart from Scripture, considers transubstantiation to be a vital doctrine in and of itself. But the publication of this report does look like an exercise in asserting the authority of the Church, and that of the Pope at its head. To maintain the power of the Church against any possible threat is always the first consideration in any decision made by Rome.
-K. D. M.
Subject to strong delusions
SCRIPTURE says of certain people who receive not “the love of the truth that they might be saved”, that “God shall send them a strong delusion that they may believe a lie” (2 Thess. 2:11). This solemn fact has frequently been demonstrated for example, many people who rejected the truth,have been left to swallow the teachings of cults, and have remained in that deluded state to the end of their days.
Another instance took place recently in the case of some of the estimated 100,000 people who gathered from as far away as Mexico, and surrounded a hilltop farm near Atlanta, USA, on 13 October. They believed that a woman there, Mrs Nancy Fowler, a divorced former nurse, would communicate with the Virgin Mary that day, and they expected to receive a sign from God.
Nancy Fowler has had a huge following since 13 October 1990, when she claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in her sitting room. She has had massive sales of videos and books promoting her claims.
Thousands of those who gathered this year on 13 October, claimed that as Mrs Fowler waited in her “apparitions room” they received a sign, such as an aroma of roses, a rosary turning to gold, feeling a heartbeat in a statue of the Virgin Mary, a paralysed child moving her limbs, or the sun changing colour.
How sad that thousands upon thousands of people are being deluded by such charlatanism, and that one woman, for example, declared, “I have smelled the roses, I have seen the colours, I have been near to God today.” Even sadder is the fact that they love to have it so.
How great therefore is the need for the light of truth to reach and be blessed to such people in their darkness. Only then will they see that nearness to God is given by the working of the Holy Spirit, the belief of the gospel, and the application of “the blood of the cross”. Then, too, they will cease to believe these and other “signs and lying wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9).