The glorification of altar rails and such like*

I grew up during a very tumultuous time for Roman Catholics, during the implementation of the dramatic window dressing changes of Vatican II, and I’d like to share a few memories from that time.

Prior to Vatican II, all Catholic altars had a wooden or carved stone rail around them. The rail signified that the altar, where the priests allegedly changed bread wafers and wine into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ and where surplus consecrated Jesus wafers were stored in the “tabernacle,” was an especially holy area. Just as the “common” Israelites were forbidden from stepping foot on Mt. Sinai or entering into the restricted areas of the Tabernacle and Temple, Catholics were generally not allowed to enter the altar area.

I was an altar boy from fifth through eighth grades and my first couple of years serving were prior to the Vatican II changes. The priests conducted the mass in Latin and the altar boys’ responses were in Latin even though we did not understand one word we were saying. The priests had their backs to the congregation and wooden rails were around the altar. I felt very privileged to be able assist the priests inside the restricted altar area.

Several men officiated as priests at the parish while I was an altar server and all of them struck me as a bit strange compared to my father, uncles, and other adult men I knew, but none more so than “father” Lynch.

The other priests at least made awkward attempts at civility towards us altar boys, but not Lynch. When we entered the church sacristy to prepare for mass, Lynch could barely be bothered to say hello. He never offered a smile. I sensed he had a keen dislike for us (or was he struggling with some other issue?). During the mass liturgy, the priests were required to read passages from the huge altar “missal” (i.e., a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year). Lynch was a short, squat fellow and very near-sighted. He would have us boys stand on one of the lower steps leading up to the altar and he would place the huge, heavy book on our heads, not always gently, which he would then read from. It was very humiliating (and physically uncomfortable) to have to stand in front of the congregation with the heavy book on our heads. Lynch enjoyed demeaning us.

When it came time to distribute the Jesus wafers, the supplicants would kneel down along the altar rail and the priests would place the wafer on each person’s tongue while we altar boys walked backward, next to the priest, placing a round “patten” under the chins of the supplicant in order to catch a possible falling Jesus wafer. Lynch would always distribute communion twice as fast as the other priests and we altar boys had a difficult time keeping our balance as we walked backward and tried to properly position the patten under people’s chins in synch with the pace of the frenetic priest.

Vatican II dramatically changed the rubrics of the mass. The mass liturgy was changed to English and priests turned around and faced the congregation. The altar rails were removed so that the congregants could feel like they were more like participants in the ritual rather than just observers. But despite all the window dressing changes, the core doctrines of Catholicism remained. Catholics continue to be taught the false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Catholic traditionalists deeply resented the changes wrought by Vatican II and still clamor for the mass to be said in Latin, for the priest to face “ad orientem,” toward the altar, and for the reinstallation of altar rails. In Catholicism, the ritual and ceremony, the shell, has always been the focus rather than the Pearl of Great Price, which is salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Priests are not needed. Altars are not needed. Sacrifice for sin was finished for all time by Jesus Christ at Calvary. Place your trust in Jesus as your Savior by faith alone. Jesus Christ removes all rails and barriers between sinners and God, but you must accept Him as your Savior. Won’t you repent of your sin and place your trust in Him?

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” – Matthew 27:50-51

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” – Ephesians 2:13-14

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

Priest Lynch, above, died in 2011. I never witnessed the smile displayed in this photo.

* “and such like” – for you non-Baptists out there, this phrase means “and similar things.”


Moses and the Catholic mass

After being raised in Catholicism, I began to drift away from the church in my teen years, even though the high school I attended was Catholic. But after marriage and the birth of our two boys, I felt an obligation to raise our children in the church, so I began attending mass again. At the same time, I was reading the New Testament in my Catholic Bible, but I was having an increasingly difficult time reconciling Catholic doctrine with Scripture. Although it was many years ago, I do recall the Book of Hebrews being the final straw for me; especially the passages about the limitations of human priests, Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice for sin, and how Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father. These truths did not square with Catholicism’s perpetual sacrifice of the mass in which priests allegedly sacrifice their wafer Jesus for sin 350,000 times daily on Catholic altars around the world. After much internal turmoil, I finally stopped attending mass and I eventually accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone a couple of years later.

The Old Testament is filled with wonderful foreshadowings of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone. One of the most amazing is the account of Moses striking the rock in Exodus 17:1-7. God commanded Moses, who represents the Law, to strike the rock at Horeb so that it would bring forth water for the thirsty Israelites. When the Israelites complained again about no water at Meribah in Numbers 20:2-13, God commanded Moses to speak to the rock, but instead Moses struck the rock twice in anger because of the Israelites’ complaints. Because of his disobedience, Moses was not allowed to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. That job would go to a fellow by the name of Joshua (translated as Jesus in Greek).

The symbolism is extraordinary. Jesus Christ is the Rock of living waters (1 Cor. 10:4) and He died (was struck) once as a perfect sacrifice for sin because sinful man could not meet the requirements of the Law. God’s salvation flowed out to all men through Christ as a free gift that they receive by faith alone. Jesus cannot be sacrificed (struck) again. Everyone must repent of their sins and come to Christ in prayerful supplication (speaking) to Him and accept Him as Savior. Jesus exclaimed, “It is finished,” with His dying breath. There is no more sacrifice for sin. The sacerdotal priesthood was abolished. The Temple veil in Jerusalem was rent in two from top to bottom by the Lord at the moment of Christ’s death. Men now have direct access to the Father through the mediation of the resurrected Son. The Law (Moses) cannot bring people to salvation. It is Joshua/Jesus who leads all those who trust in Him to salvation!

Catholics insist they do not “repeat” Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary with the mass, but claim to “re-present” the exact same sacrifice over and over. This is sophistry! Sacrifice for sin is done and Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father, not on Catholic altars. But without sacrifice, there is no need for priests, so the fraudulent mass continues.

As I was driving to work yesterday morning, I was prayerfully mulling over what to write for the next post and the thought came to me that I should write something once again about how Moses’ striking of the rock in disobedience has similarities to the anti-Biblical perpetual sacrifice of the Catholic mass. While I was still driving, a pastor on the Christian radio station I was listening to started preaching on Numbers 20 and Moses striking the rock. Hmm, what a coincidence. When I got to work, I put on my headset and listened to a video that was recently posted by fellow WordPress Christian blogger, Hope. Of course, it also turned out to be a sermon on Numbers 20 and Moses striking the rock! See here. Wow! Some Catholic really needs to hear about Moses and the anti-Biblical mass today! Thanks, Hope!

Hurricane “dispensation” exemplifies Catholicism’s salvation-by-merit system

After being pounded by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the Southeast portion of the country is feeling the effects of Hurricane Nate this weekend. I see from the latest news reports that Nate has officially been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, but it’s still doing damage.

Catholics in the affected area are in a quandary. Their church teaches that members who do not attend mass on Sundays commit grave sin and doom their soul to hell for eternity unless the sin is confessed to as priest.

What to do, what to do?

Catholics in Louisiana can relax because New Orleans archbishop, Gregory Aymond (see photo), issued a formal dispensation on Friday excusing all members impacted by the storm from attending mandatory mass.

Aymond states in his declaration, “Regarding the Sunday obligation for Catholics, if a person cannot get to church for Mass or if traveling causes danger he/she is dispensed from the obligation to celebrate Mass.”

Hmm. Not so fast. It seems to me that this type of declaration is wide open to personal interpretation. How dangerous does travel to church have to be? Must the route be blocked with downed power lines, flooded streets, or fallen tree limbs to be considered dangerous? We must be precise because it’s the difference between Heaven and hell. I anticipate that many unscrupulous Catholics living on the periphery or even outside of the storm’s path will take advantage of the declaration as an excuse to stay home and watch ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown this morning. They will all surely pick up a mortal sin and go to hell. But what is the exact dividing line on this? What are the precise dangerous conditions that will allow a Catholic to stay home from church today without committing mortal sin? Catholics need to know!!! There’s even more complications. Aymond’s stay-home declaration applies to the Catholics in his archdiocese, but what about those living outside of his jurisdiction who are impacted by the storm? Must they consult their own bishop? What if their own bishop hasn’t issued a dispensation, but they have been impacted by the storm? What about Catholics who are traveling in and out of impacted areas on Sunday? What is their exact obligation?

Of course, there are no good answers to any of these questions. It’s all legalistic nonsense. But Catholicism is full of such exactingly vague formulas. Accept Christ as your Savior by faith alone. You cannot obey your way into Heaven.

Catholics may skip Mass if Tropical Storm Nate poses threat, archbishop says

The Catholic mass: How a simple memorial became a pompous, elaborate ritual

The Mass vs. The Lord’s Supper
By H. A. Ironside
CrossReach Publications, 2016, 33 pages, $1.99

H. A. Ironside was pastor of Moody Church in Chicago from 1929 to 1948. In this ebook pamphlet, first published by Loizeaux Brothers in 1926, Ironside compares the Roman Catholic mass with Scripture.

I believe few evangelicals truly understand the anti-Biblical nature of the Catholic mass. The mass is the pinnacle of Catholic worship. Every Sunday, Catholics are required to attend the mass ritual under threat of mortal sin. At the mass, the Roman Catholic church teaches that its priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The Jesus elements are then offered up to God the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of the congregants and anyone else who is named (i.e., the pope, the local bishop, souls in purgatory, etc.). Only congregants who are in an alleged “state of grace,” meaning they have no unconfessed serious mortal sins on their souls, may line up and receive the Jesus wafer and wine from the priest. After they consume the elements, Catholics are taught that Jesus is physically present inside of them for approximately 15 minutes, as the elements are acted upon by the digestive acids in their stomach, imparting graces that will allegedly help them to avoid sin so they can continue in a “state of grace.” Catholics are taught they must merit their salvation by successfully obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!).

Ironside compares the mass to the accounts of the Last Supper in the synoptic Gospels. It’s clear Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper as a simple yet profound memorial to His sacrifice on the cross in which He paid the penalty for the sins of all those who accept Him as Savior by faith alone. The Book of Hebrews stands as a witness against a sacrificial priesthood and the perpetual sacrifice of Jesus at the mass. Yes, the Lord’s Supper celebrated by Bible Christians is a sobering occasion for genuine believers who take the symbolic elements of bread and wine/grape juice and gratefully reflect on how their Savior suffered and died to pay for their sins, but we do not worship the elements. In contrast to Rome’s spiritually deadly misinterpretation of John 6, it’s not physically eating Jesus that imparts eternal life (argh!), but salvation comes by belief/trust in Christ as Savior through faith alone.

Because Catholics are taught the bread wafers are literally turned into Jesus Christ, they are told they must accord them proper worship. Surplus consecrated wafers are stored in a locked box called a tabernacle. When Catholics enter a church, they bow their heads and genuflect upon one knee in homage to the Jesus wafers in the tabernacle. The parish priest will occasionally exhibit a large Jesus wafer in an elaborate, see-through sunburst container, called a “monstrance,” and the faithful gather at the church to participate in “perpetual adoration” of the wafer god. Because of the deification of the consecrated elements, the Roman church developed elaborate procedures to be followed by priests for occasions when the “host” suffers accidental desecration, e.g., the wafer accidentally drops on the floor, an insect flies into the wine, a supplicant involuntarily vomits the wafer, etc., etc., etc. The complicated rubrics of the mass liturgy are spelled out in the 1500 pages(!) of the official Roman Missal.

How did the simple Last Supper memorial of the early church devolve into the elaborate ritual of the mass with its sacrificial priests and Jesus host? Ironside explains that as the church became increasingly institutionalized, it incorporated many of the elements of paganism, especially those elements that advantaged the clergy. Wafers and cakes consecrated by priests to pagan deities had been a regular part of pagan sacrificial worship in the ancient world.

It’s estimated the mass is said about 350,000 times every day throughout the world. That’s 350,000 times a day Christ is supposedly re-sacrificed for sin. But God’s Word clearly tells us there is no longer a sacrificial priesthood and no more sacrifice for sin. Jesus Christ is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for all those who accept Him as Savior by faith alone. He is not present on Catholic altars as a sacrificial victim.

“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrews 10:11-14

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” – Matthew 24:24-27.

This short booklet is a good introduction to the errors of the Catholic mass. Order from Amazon here.

Postscript: Due to the wonders of modern technology, Catholics are now able to worship the Jesus wafer 24/7 via live webcam. One of many examples of live webcams used by Catholics to worship the wafer god from the convenience of their home or office is this one that originates from St. Martin of Tours Catholic church in Louisville, Kentucky (the large, white bread wafer is visible through the circular window in the middle of the monstrance). Brothers and sisters in Christ, consider the hundreds of millions of lost Catholics who worship and pray to bread wafers like the one in this webcam, and who believe that “receiving Christ” means eating a Jesus wafer.

Face forward! No, face backward! Forward! Backward! Forward! Backward!

A few days ago, I was listening to the 8/8/17 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show (The Station of the Cross, WLOF [Our Lady of Fatima], 101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY), with this particular broadcast featuring Jesuit priest, Robert McTeigue, and moderator, Steve Quebral.

A variety of topics were discussed including the current controversy that’s raging throughout the church over the “Ad Orientem” question.

Ad Orientum? What exactly is that, you ask? Okay, allow me to share a little background information.

Back in the early 1960s, moderate and liberal Catholic prelates pushed for church practices to be modernized. The old, dusty rituals were done pretty much as they had been done for centuries, including the mass being conducted in Latin. “Who wants to sit through an hour-long liturgical ritual they can’t understand?,” they asked. Pope John XXIII  obliged and called together the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which made several changes to the mass liturgy including, among other things, removing the altar rails, changing the language to the vernacular, and having the priest face the congregation instead of showing them his back. The new, modernized version of the mass was dubbed “Novus Ordo” or New Order. Conservative Catholics were enraged by these alterations, which seemed to them to make the mass less dignified and less “holy.” They were angry then and they’ve been angry ever since.

As I mentioned, one of the alterations to the mass was changing the posture of the priest from facing away from the congregants, i.e., “Ad Orientum” (literally, facing eastward toward the altar – older churches always had the entrance of the church at the west end) to facing the congregants (“Versus Populum” or facing the people). Conservatives know they cannot change all masses back to Latin (Latin masses were restored on a very limited basis in 2007 by pope Benedict XVI to appease conservatives) or reinstall communion rails, but they can fight for the priest to turn around 180 degrees as he says mass, as it was done before Vatican II. Last year, conservative cardinal Robert Sarah, who holds the position of Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, urged priests and bishops to start celebrating masses “Ad Orientem” once again at regular, “Novus Ordo” masses. Pope Francis, hardly a fan of turning back the clock to pre-Vatican II days, quickly rejected Sarah’s appeal, but many conservative priests and bishops have taken up the “Ad Orientum” battle cry. Some have arbitrarily begun saying mass “Ad Orientum” once again.

In the “Calling All Catholics” segment, conservative Jesuit, McTeigue, spent quite a bit of time arguing for the return to the “Ad Orientum” posture.

If you’re an evangelical reading this post, you may wonder why all the fuss about which way the priest faces at mass. After all, wouldn’t it make sense for the priest to face the congregants? But this kind of debate over the intricate details of the liturgy is common within Catholicism. Every mass all over the world is supposed to follow the exact same prescribed formula. If a neglectful or rebellious priest deviates from the official script one iota, some pious retiree with too much time on his or her hands will be on the phone to the diocesan office within the hour. The lesson is, DO NOT mess with people’s rituals and traditions.

But in the big picture, it really doesn’t matter which way the priest faces during the mass because the entire liturgy of the mass is anti-Biblical. The priest does not actually change the bread wafer and wine into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Neither does the priest actually offer the Jesus wafer and wine as a sacrifice for the sins of the congregants. Rather, God the Son, Jesus Christ, offered the perfect sacrifice for sin once and for all on the cross at Calvary and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for all those who accept Him as their Savior by faith alone. There is NO MORE sacrifice for sin as God’s Word plainly says:

“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrews 10:11-14

There’s nothing in the empty mass ritual that conveys that an individual must repent of their sins and come to Christ and receive Him as Savior personally by faith alone. For Catholics, the idol of ritualism takes the place of saving faith in Christ. Trust in Christ, not in rituals and religious legalism.

Explaining the Heresy of the Catholic Mass, Part 1

Explaining the Heresy of the Catholic Mass, Part 2

Catholicism’s Feast of the Ascension and why it makes absolutely no sense

This coming Thursday, May 25th, Roman Catholics all over the world will be celebrating the Feast of the Ascension, which commemorates the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven forty days after His resurrection. I have a few thoughts about this Catholic feast day that I would like to share:


The Feast of the Ascension is a “Holy Day of Obligation” for Catholics, which means they are required to attend mass on that day. Every Catholic who neglects to attend mass on Thursday and every other HDO and Sundays without a valid excuse earns a “mortal” sin, which means they will go directly to hell if they die before confessing the sin to a priest. Despite the threat of eternal damnation for missing mass on a HDO, most American Catholics can’t be bothered. Only 35% of American Catholics responded via survey that they “always,” “frequently,” or “usually” attend mass on a HDO. See here.


The Catholic liturgical calendar is filled with various “solemnities,” “feasts,” and “memorials” but don’t confuse the three. What are the differences between the categories? Like all things in Catholicism, it’s very complicated. See here. From a believer’s perspective, it’s very sad to think about Catholics being compelled to attend these religious rituals although they have no saving relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. But who can blame the 65% of American Catholics who won’t be attending obligatory mass on Thursday when their pope fallaciously claims even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their consciences and are “good”?


The 35% of American Catholics who do attend obligatory mass on Thursday will allegedly be celebrating the bodily ascension of Jesus to Heaven. Yes, God’s Word teaches Jesus rose to Heaven. Scripture also says Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for all who accept Him as Savior by faith.

But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” – Luke 22:69

“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” – Hebrews 7:25

But the Catholic church conducts 350,000 masses every day all over the world in which priests allegedly bring Christ down from Heaven to take the literal place of bread and wine so as to be re-offered as a sacrificial victim for the sins of the congregants.

“When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the Victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than that of monarchs and emperors: it is greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim. Indeed it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. While the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man—not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.” – Catholic priest, Father John O’Brien, in “Faith of Millions” (first published in 1938, last published in 1974)

Irony of ironies. Pious Catholics will be attending mass on Thursday to celebrate the ascension of Jesus into Heaven but part of the celebration will entail the priest allegedly bringing Jesus back down from Heaven so he can be re-sacrificed again, and again, and again…


If you smell some rotten fish in all of this non-scriptural religious rigmarole, you’re not alone. Millions of Catholics over the ages have questioned their ritualistic and legalistic religion, accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and left Catholicism.

Religious ritual doesn’t save. Only Jesus saves. After you’ve repented of your sins and prayed to Jesus to save you, ask Him to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s word without compromise.

How do I become a Christian?

What are the Holy Days of Obligation?

Dead bones religion

I just love me a good sermon from the Word of God from a Spirit-filled preacher. If you know the Lord and you’ve been to a Jesus-preaching, Gospel-focused, evangelical church with a pastor who has surrendered his heart to God, you know what I’m talking about. A Spirit-filled, godly evangelical preacher can expound on a single Bible verse for an hour and believers’ hearts will dance with joy at His Word.

Sadly, millions of people attend churches – Catholic and most mainline Protestant – where the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is never preached. Congregants will hear snippets of the Bible and some platitudes about the God of love and being a good neighbor, but there are no convicting words from Scripture about their sinful condition and no invitation to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone.

Have you ever attended a Catholic mass? As part of the formalities, the priest gives a short talk called a “homily” (from the Greek homilia – to have communion or hold intercourse with a person). The Vatican advises its clergy to limit their homilies to around eight minutes so as to leave enough time for all of the many rituals of the 45-minute mass.

A homily’s listenability varies widely depending on the priest. Many of these men are socially withdrawn and were initially attracted to the priesthood because of the isolation it offered. Public speaking is generally not their forte. Beyond that, none of these priests preach the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Rather, they propagate a joyless religious system of sacramental grace and merit that leads no one to Heaven.

I was browsing the internet the other day and came across podcasts of the homilies from Peace of Christ Catholic parish. Peace of Christ incorporates three former parishes on the eastside of Rochester, N.Y., including the one I attended as a child and teen. Below is a link to the 9-minute homily given by current pastor, “father” Robert Schrader, on Sunday, April 30, 2017. I invite you to take a listen, even for only a couple of minutes if you’re pressed for time. Argh, this brings back memories of so many Christ-less Sunday mornings! Schrader is obviously reading his prepared homily from a sheet of paper. It’s excruciatingly dry and boring. There’s no joy, no passion, and most importantly, no Gospel of salvation by grace through faith! As a believer, I recoil from this message that’s spiritually DOA.

Take a listen to Schrader’s homily below. You’ll be amazed.

Robert Schrader, homily for 4/30/17

It’s a chore for Catholics to have to sit through these tedious, monotone homilies as well as the accompanying dead liturgical rituals of the mass. Many Catholics legitimately ask themselves, “Why bother?,” when their pope teaches that even atheists can merit Heaven if they follow their consciences and are “good.” Catholic sources report only 20% of Catholics attend obligatory weekly mass while a whopping 56% say they attend mass only “a few times a year,” “rarely,” or “never.”

Praise God, there’s an alternative to “dead bones” religion. His name is Jesus Christ. God the Son came into this world and lived a perfect life so that He could offer it up as a sacrifice for your sins and mine. But Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God as a free gift to all those who accept Him by faith alone. No one can merit Heaven by trying to follow the Ten Commandments or their conscience. No one. Go to Jesus in prayer and accept Him as your Savior by faith alone and then ask the Lord to help you find an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise.

“Martyrs” or deluded victims of religious error?


This past weekend I was watching the local news and I saw the story far below about a large group of Catholics, led by the area’s bishop, that gathered at a parish in the city to honor the memory of a priest and a nun – George Weinmann, 77, and Lilian Marie McLaughlin, 26, (pictured) – who both perished fifty years ago in February 1967 when they went into the burning church building of a former parish in the area to “rescue” communion wafers.

Yes, you read that correctly.

They died trying to “save” communion wafers.

The Catholic church teaches its priests change bread wafers into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Catholics line up at mass to consume the Jesus wafers, believing as they are taught that eating the Jesus wafer confers graces that will enable them to resist sin and merit Heaven. Priests store any leftover Jesus wafers in a locked box called a tabernacle where they are reverenced and worshipped as the physical Son of God. Weinmann and McLaughlin entered the burning church to “rescue” the Jesus wafers aka the Blessed Sacrament from the flames.


I’m saddened for Weinmann and McLaughlin, that they believed the bread wafers were actually Jesus and perished trying to “save” him. I’m saddened for all Roman Catholics, represented by the people who gathered together in this news story, who follow their church’s deadly misinterpretation of John 6 and the Last Supper passages in the Gospels and believe receiving Jesus means literally eating him and then try to obey the Ten Commandments to earn their salvation rather than accepting Jesus as Savior by faith and trusting in Him alone.

So sad.

Service Honors Rochester Fatal Church Fire Victims

Catholic calisthenics: Sit, stand, kneel, sit, stand, kneel…


The Roman Catholic mass is a mystery to most evangelicals. If an evangelical attends a Catholic church for a wedding or a funeral and a mass is performed they’ll witness many things they’re not used to.

During the mass, the Catholic priest goes through an elaborate liturgical ritual in which he prays specific prayers in a specific order and the attending Catholics respond in rote exactly as they’ve been directed. You can visit Catholics churches in twenty different countries and the ritual is exactly the same. The ultimate focus of the mass is when the priest allegedly changes bread wafers and wine into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. The priest then offers up the immolated Jesus host to God the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of the congregation and anyone else who is named. The attendees then line up to receive the Jesus wafer from the priest and consume it, believing as they’ve been taught that the Jesus wafer will impart graces enabling them to avoid sin so they can merit Heaven. If the priest did not follow the prescribed liturgical formula exactly, the mass could be completely invalid.

One thing that often makes a big impression on evangelical visitors to a Catholic mass is how often the attendees are required to change their posture; from sitting to standing, to kneeling, etc. It’s all part of the elaborate ritual and is not to be deviated from. During the course of the mass the Catholic is required to assume the following postures in this order:

  • Stand
  • Sit
  • Stand
  • Sit
  • Stand
  • Sit
  • Stand
  • Kneel
  • Stand
  • Kneel or Stand
  • Stand
  • Sit or Kneel
  • Stand*

Up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down. The slavish ritualism is striking to behold.

I was an altar boy from 5th grade through 8th grade. After having to memorize all the spoken responses in Latin, the church changed the rote prayers of the mass to English. Argh! Once I became comfortable with the routine again, one of my favorite things to do as an altar boy was to observe the mass attendees. A large percentage looked like mass was the last place they wanted to be. Catholics are told by their church that if they miss weekly mass on Sunday it’s a “mortal” sin and they’re going to hell and many of those who still bother to attend mass (only 22% of American Catholics attended obligatory weekly mass in 2016) are there strictly because of this threat.

But there were some people at mass who were very enthusiastic about the ritual and those tended to be older women. They were the first to stand, the first to kneel, and the first to sit down. They were also the first and the loudest in saying the responses. Their demeanor seemed to express to the rest of the congregation, “You poor, unpious saps need to refer to the missalette, but look at me! I’m such an outstanding religious person that I’ve got this whole thing down pat and I know it even better than father (the priest).” If a priest deviates from the ritual by even one iota, one of these self-appointed holier-than-thous will be on the phone to the bishop’s office the following day. Yes, God said even the things we do that we think are good deeds are like filthy rags in his sight.

God’s Word says there’s no need for priests and sacrifices any longer. Jesus did away with the Old Testament sacrificial system and precluded the ersatz Catholic sacrifice of the mass when He cried, “It is finished” on the cross. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and High Priest. He is the only Mediator between God and men. Accept Christ and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrews 10:11-14

*Postures and Gestures at Mass

Nail-biters doomed to hell?

It may seem a little quirky for a guy who writes a blog titled, “excatholic4christ,” tonb regularly listen to Catholic talk radio but that’s what I do. It’s part of my daily routine. I listen to podcasts of a daily talk show called “Calling All Catholics,” which is broadcast out of nearby Buffalo, New York on WLOF 101.7 FM and features Catholic priests responding to questions from listeners. It’s sadly entertaining to me. The priests give out information that is mostly unscriptural but it keeps me on my toes and periodically gives me fodder for this blog.

My favorite priest to listen to by a large margin is Rick Poblocki who appears on the show Tuesdays and Thursdays. Rick is an old-fashioned, blustering priest who sticks to the rule book and makes the proverbial bull in a china shop look like a graceful ballerina.

A couple of weeks ago Rick took a call from a mother who was very concerned about her daughter receiving communion. Just to give you a little background, when I was a young Catholic we were taught that we had to fast from all food and drink, with the exception of water, beginning at midnight prior to receiving communion on Sunday morning. For Catholics who went to 11 a.m. or 12 noon mass on Sunday, that was a long stretch and more than a few people became weak-kneed or even fainted during mass. Catholics are taught that the priest changes the bread wafers into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ and they didn’t want people eating the Jesus wafer and making him swim in a pool of masticated bacon, eggs, toast, and orange juice in their stomachs. We were taught that it was a “mortal” sin to eat anything after midnight before receiving communion.

On November 21, 1964, pope Paul VI changed the fast period from midnight to only one hour before receiving communion. But what about all the people who went to hell prior to 1964 because they had violated the midnight fast? Did they all receive a “Get Out of Hell Free” card from the pope? Yes, I’m being slightly facetious but, seriously, how does one explain the far-reaching consequences of such a change? How could one infallible pope abrogate the binding law of previous infallible popes in a matter of eternal significance?

On several of his shows, I’ve heard father Rick talk about the 60-minute fast prior to receiving communion. According to Rick’s brand of strident Catholicism, 60 minutes means exactly 60 minutes. Unscrupulous Catholics who try to cut corners and eat something 50 or 55 minutes before receiving communion commit “mortal” sin and are doomed to hell unless they confess their sin to a priest. Stopwatch anyone? What about 59 minutes? Can 59 minutes be rounded up, Rick?

Okay, now let’s return back to the anxious mother who called the show. The poor woman was distressed because her daughter was a nail-biter and she was worried the nail fragments her daughter swallowed less than one hour prior to receiving communion were a violation of the 60-minute fast resulting in “mortal” sin. Rick assured the woman that finger nail fragments were not digestible and were not classified as food so her daughter was okay. As another example of this ritualistic legalism, there are Catholics who think chewing gum before receiving communion is allowable since you don’t actually swallow it. Not so fast! The church specifies that, “Chewing gum as such would not break the fast but swallowing the juices and flavors released by the chewing process would do so.” Got that?

I am so grateful to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for freeing me from the chains of Catholic legalism and saving me. Repent of your sins and accept Christ as your Savior by faith. The religious treadmill does not save.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1