“Gregorian masses” – just more religious calculus

In the interest of thoroughness I’d like to elaborate a bit on a previous post in which I referred to “Gregorian masses” (see here). I usually try to pursue the rationale behind Catholic rituals and ceremonies beyond the superficial to their self-refuting conclusions but for some reason I failed to carry forward my argument regarding Gregorian masses to its finality.

Briefly, Catholics are taught they must spend an indeterminate amount of time in “purgatory” to be cleansed from the guilt of “venial” (minor) sins and to pay the penalty for any remaining temporal punishment for “mortal” (major) sins already forgiven by a priest. Catholic theologians once taught the flames of purgatory were as excruciating as those in Hell but contemporary teaching now tends toward viewing purgatory as more of a way-station where deep-longing has replaced suffering.

According to Catholic theology, time in purgatory may be shortened by receiving “indulgences” from the church. “Plenary” (full) indulgences pardon all of the punishment/cleansing due in purgatory up to the point of reception while “partial” indulgences remove only an indeterminate portion. Indulgences may be applied to oneself or to deceased loved ones in accordance with official guidelines.

Are you still with me? The vast majority of Roman Catholics could not explain their church’s teaching on indulgences.

Catholics are taught that individual masses offered up for the deceased souls in purgatory will shorten their stay, although no one can say for how long. The suggested “stipend” for a mass intention is $10-$15. A tradition arose in the 6th century which claimed that thirty masses offered for a deceased person over thirty consecutive days, termed “Gregorian masses,” would be sure to release a soul from purgatory. See here. But the tradition stipulates the thirty masses cannot be said intermittently. They MUST be said over the course of thirty consecutive days for the plenary indulgence to be granted. The suggested “offering” for this series of masses ranges from $150-$300 depending on the priest or monastery a person deals with.

Okay, so now we finally get to carry this ritual to its illogical conclusion as I should have done initially.

Let’s just suppose a pious Catholic named Joe pays…er…I mean, contributes $300 to his parish priest to offer up thirty consecutive masses for the soul of his deceased mother who may or may not be in purgatory. The priest subsequently says twenty-nine masses over the course of twenty-nine consecutive days for the soul of the mother. But on the twenty-ninth day, immediately following mass, a flash fire destroys the church, killing both the priest and Joe. The result? The thirtieth and final Gregorian mass in the series was never conducted. So what is the status of Joe’s mother? Must she remain in purgatory as the Gregorian mass tradition stipulates since the series was not completed or will her remaining time in purgatory be pro-rated because of the 29 masses that were said?

And let’s not forget about the suffering soul in purgatory whose relatives are too poor or too cheap to shell out $300 to the priest for Gregorian masses. What about him? Why do the wealthy receive preferential treatment?

Catholics will charge that I’m being outrageously petty here for the sake of argument but, no, if you build a legalistic religious system, you must account for all eventualities. Catholic rituals, ceremonies, and traditions are refuted by logic and God’s Word.

I’m so grateful my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, released me from the chains of Catholic legalism and ritualism. Jesus paid the penalty for ALL of my sins on the cross.

Accept Jesus as your Savior by faith alone and ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12


What does the Bible say about Purgatory?
https://www.gotquestions.org/purgatory.html

Wheat and grapes ONLY!!! Another case of straining for gnats but missing salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.

For Catholics, the mass is the absolute centerpiece of their belief system. During the ritual, the priest allegedly changes bread wafers and wine into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. The attendees then line up to consume the Jesus wafers and wine, believing that, during the fifteen minutes their stomach acids are breaking them down, the consecrated elements impart graces that will enable them to avoid sin so that they will hopefully be able to merit Heaven.

This morning, I was listening to the 11/27/13 podcast of “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show (The Station of the Cross, WLOF, 101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY) with moderator Mike Denz and host, Catholic priest, Peter Calabrese, taking questions from listeners, and a couple of interesting questions came up regarding the bread wafers and wine used in the Catholic mass.

Mike Denz: “We have a question from Pauline who emailed us and she wants to know,…during Prohibition in the United States…did priests have access to wine for communion and, if not, did they only consecrate the hosts? And then the second (question) is, what do priests do for communion if they are in regions that do not have access to the standard bread and wine?”

Priest Calabrese responded that during Prohibition there were no restrictions on alcoholic wine for religious purposes. Regarding the second question, Calabrese said church law mandates the bread wafers used at mass can only be made from wheat flour and the wine can only be made from grapes.

Catholic Canon Law #924 states, “The Most Sacred Eucharistic Sacrifice must be celebrated with bread and wine, with which a small quantity of water is to be mixed. The bread must be made of wheat alone recently made so that there is no danger of corruption. The wine must be natural wine of the grape and not corrupt.”

If wheat wafers and grape wine are not readily available in a certain locale, they must be imported. Calabrese noted that an exception was made when the Jesuits exported Catholicism to the Far East in the 16th century and wheat and grapes were not available so rice wafers and rice wine were substituted, but this was only a temporary measure and was eventually rescinded.

What this means is, if the elements are made with something other than wheat and grapes, then the sacrament is “invalidated.” The priest can only change the elements into Jesus if they are made from wheat flour and grapes!

Oy vey.

No, I’m not making any of this up (see the article below).

The Catholic doctrine that priests change bread wafers and wine into the literal body and blood of Jesus, a woefully faulty interpretation of John 6 and the Last Supper passages, and that physically eating these elements imparts eternal life, defies a spiritual understanding of Scripture on many levels. Belief/trusting in Christ as Savior by faith alone is the meaning of John 6, not eating Jesus wafers. And the painfully scrupulous particularity regarding the ingredients of the elements just further illustrates the fact that Catholicism took a terribly wrong turn with all of this.

But the Catholic system is FILLED with these types of technical particularities that rival the elaborate legalities of the Pharisees of first-century Judea. I’m so glad Jesus freed me from the chains of Catholic legalism and ritual. Religious sacraments and ceremony don’t save. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior today.


Do hosts used for the Holy Eucharist have to be made of wheat?
http://catholicstraightanswers.com/do-hosts-used-for-the-holy-eucharist-have-to-be-made-of-wheat-what-if-someone-is-allergic-to-wheat/

Happy Confirmation???…

GGGG

Surveys show that about fifty-percent of Americans will be attending church this Sunday to celebrate Easter. Some of the ministers at those churches will be preaching the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith alone in the resurrected Jesus Christ, but the vast majority will be preaching some variation of the “just be a good person” false gospel. Holidays with their religious rituals and traditions are extremely important to a large number of people. For many, it’s a link to their childhood and simpler times. But the majority of religious holiday celebrants don’t know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

The other day I was scanning the news and came across the story below about reality TV personality, Teresa Giudice, and her daughter’s Catholic confirmation. No, I definitely don’t watch “Real Housewives of New Jersey” but I did hear about the recent prison incarcerations of both Teresa and her husband so the article sparked my curiosity.

Anyway, what about young Gia Giudice’s confirmation? I’ve posted before about the confirmation ritual and what it all supposedly means. See here. In confirmation, the recipient of the sacrament is anointed with oil by the local bishop by which the Holy Spirit allegedly seals them as a full-fledged member of the Catholic church. For the vast majority of Roman Catholics, confirmation is one of the sacramental/cultural milestones of life along with baptism, first communion, marriage, and last rites/burial. These cultural Catholics have no real interest in Jesus Christ. They don’t attend church except for holidays, baptisms, weddings and funerals, which is just as well because at their church they would hear that salvation is by sacramental grace and merit. They don’t read God’s Word. They have no desire for God and they’re not seeking Him. But those milestone sacramental traditions are still EXTREMELY important to them.

Please review the article below showing sixteen-year-old, Gia Giudice, celebrating her confirmation with her mother and the rest of her family at a restaurant party held in her honor. Allegedly, this girl has just come forward to confirm her “faith” and to be sealed by the Holy Spirit. Yet this sixteen-year-old is dressed like an “entertainer” at a “gentlemen’s club.” Is she trusting in Christ alone as her Savior? Has she really been sealed by the Holy Spirit? I’m guessing confirmation for Miss Giudice was just a religious ritual that’s on life’s to-do list for Catholic families that still bother. They don’t read God’s Word and they don’t know Christ. They have never heard the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone in their churches.

I don’t mean to pick on Miss Giudice and her family but they symbolize the Catholic status quo. The Catholic church deceives millions upon millions just like the Giudices who participate in the milestone sacramental rituals and think they’re just fine in the eyes of God. My evangelical friends, Roman Catholics are a mission field!


Teresa Giudice Celebrates Daughter Gia Giudice’s Confirmation with Family Party
Teresa Giudice Celebrates Daughter Gia Giudice’s Confirmation with Family Party

Is Jesus sacrificed 350,000 times every day on Catholic altars or is He seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for those who trust in Him as their Savior by faith?

The Catholic church often boasts that its mass is the New Testament version of thepriest Old Testament sacrificial system. Under the Mosaic Law, Hebrew priests offered daily animal sacrifices to God. Priests were clothed in specific attire that was full of symbolism.

At the mass, Catholic priests also claim to offer up a sacrifice to God. They don’t sacrifice animals as was done in Old Testament times but they claim they change bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. The immolated Jesus “host” is then offered up to God the Father as a sacrifice for the sins of the congregants and anyone else who is mentioned.

But what does God say about such a practice?

Have you ever read the Book of Hebrews in the Bible? It says there is no more sacrificial priesthood and daily offerings. Jesus offered Himself up ONCE as a sacrifice for sins. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for all those who receive Him as Savior by faith. He is NOT a victim on Catholic altars offered up 350,000 times daily by priests. The mass is the most important part of the Catholic religious system which teaches its members must receive grace from the sacraments so that they can obey the Ten Commandments and church rules to be able to possibly merit salvation. I say “possibly” because a Catholic can never be sure they’ve done enough to merit their salvation. The mass and the entire Roman system makes the Catholic entirely dependent on the clergy for their salvation. That’s no accident.

The Book of Hebrews is a clear refutation of the Catholic mass. Are you going to believe the Bible or the Catholic church?

Exposing the Heresies of the Catholic Church: The Mass
https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B130228/exposing-the-heresies-of-the-catholic-church-the-mass

The Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is so simple a child can understand it, unlike Rome’s convoluted system of sacramental grace and merit.

The Catholic priest must wear specific attire during the mass (see photo). Did the Christians of the early church wear such robes and elaborate finery. The priest must say specifics words and prayers in exact sequence (the “liturgy”) for the mass to be valid. Were the Christians of the early church slaves to such formal ritualism?

“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

Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by simple faith. Rituals and religious legalism don’t save.

Confirmation hoax

Growing up, my five older sisters and I were all indoctrinated into the Roman Catholicfir religion. We all attended Catholic parochial school and high school. I was baptized as an infant and participated in my first confession and first communion in the first grade and was confirmed as a Roman Catholic in fifth grade. Of all the Catholic sacraments, confirmation is probably the least prominent. The Roman church defines confirmation as follows:

“Confirmation is a true sacrament instituted by Christ and different from baptism. It is administered by laying-on of hands and anointing with chrism accompanied by prayer. The chrism is blessed by the bishop and the bishop administers the sacrament. All baptized persons can and should be confirmed. The effect of the sacrament of confirmation is to give strength in faith and for the confession of faith and to impress an indelible character.”
http://www.catholic.org/prayers/sacrament.php?id=3

With confirmation, the Catholic is supposedly declaring, “I was baptized as an infant without my consent, but I continue forward as a Catholic by choice.” However, confirmation wasn’t really a choice for any of us. It was something my classmates and I were required to do as part of our religious indoctrination. We were only ten or eleven-years-old and none of us had ever heard the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone up to that point or throughout all of our years in Catholicism.

The nuns and priests told us it was required that we go to confession prior to being confirmed. Going to confession was definitely not one of my favorite things to do and I hadn’t gone in quite a long time. Catholics are taught they must confess their “mortal” sins to a priest and they must go to confession at least once a year or incur another mortal sin. Yet, Catholic research shows only 12 percent of Catholics go to confession at least yearly. The notion of recalling a year’s worth of sins is absolutely preposterous to a believer.

I figured I better obey the nuns so I went to confession on the Saturday prior to Confirmation. I entered the dark, tri-part confessional and waited for the priest to finish up with the penitent on the other side. Boy, I was nervous and my hands were sweating profusely. The priest finally slid open the small panel to my booth and I began my rote confession.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been a month since my last confession.” I lied. It had actually been a couple of years since my last confession but I was embarrassed and afraid to admit that. I then proceeded with my obligatory list of sins. It went something like, “I lied to my mother five times. I yelled at my sisters ten times. I disobeyed my father three times. I cheated on a test in school.” I had no idea how many times I had actually committed these sins so I tried to come up with a believable number.

I continued, “I was mean to a younger kid in the neighborhood….”

“Stop!” Father Lynch had cut me off mid-sentence. My eyes turned as BIG as Kennedy half-dollars. Sounding more than a little exasperated, he blurted out, “You’re wasting my time and yours!” What? I was one shocked and confused ten-year-old boy. Tears welled up in my eyes. I was only doing what I had been ordered to do and this is what happens? Father gave me some perfunctory Hail Marys and Our Fathers to pray as penance for my annoying venial sins and quickly dismissed me. I couldn’t get out fast enough and I resolved that moment to never enter a confessional booth ever again as long as I lived.

We all went through the confirmation ceremony the following week. Bishop Hogan prayed over each of us and applied some blessed holy oil to our foreheads. None of us children knew Jesus Christ as our Savior. It was all empty ritual. Afterwards, my family and my first cousin, Rick, my chosen confirmation sponsor, went out to dinner to celebrate the big event. I received several gifts from my family but neither myself or anyone else knew Jesus Christ.

Seventeen years later, through God’s Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, I repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. Praise God! Religious ceremonies and rituals do not save. All of my five sisters, who went through confirmation just as I did, are now self-proclaimed agnostics or atheists. They never knew Christ. As a child of God through Jesus Christ, I can now come boldly to the throne of grace to confess my sins. A sinful man cannot be a mediator between God and myself. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator. Thank you Lord that I can come directly to You any hour of the day or night. I know You’ll never turn me away.

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” – 1 Timothy 2:5

Likewise, it’s the Holy Spirit Who seals all genuine believers, it’s not a ritualistic sacrament imparted by a sinful man.

“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Thank you, Lord, for leading me out of religious legalism and saving me!

Showing proper respect to the Jesus wafer

Evangelicals go to church on Sundays and other days to worship the Lord with fellowGEN believers through prayer, song, and instruction in the Word. The Lord is present with us spiritually as we worship Him together.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20

Roman Catholics go to church on Sunday for a quite a different reason. Catholics are taught by their church that priests change bread wafers and wine into the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Catholics gather together to worship the consecrated wafer and consume it. Catholics are taught that after they take the wafer into their mouth and swallow it, Jesus is physically inside of them for 15 minutes until the stomach acids completely break down the bread wafer. During those fifteen minutes, the Jesus wafer allegedly imparts graces to the individual so that they are better able to avoid committing mortal sins. Catholics are taught they must perfectly obey the Ten Commandments in order to merit Heaven. Minor venial sins will sidetrack them to Purgatory for an indefinite period. After all the supplicants have received their Jesus wafer, the priest places the leftovers in a locked box called the tabernacle, situated on church altars.

Today, I was listening to the 6/9/16 podcast of  the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show on the Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, NY, with host, Steve Quebral, and Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, taking questions from the listeners. Steve started off the show by complaining that Catholics often don’t show proper respect to the Jesus wafer while they’re in church and he asked Rick to review the rules of proper mass etiquette.

Rick broke it down into three basic steps:

  1. Catholic must enter the church quietly, respectfully, and reverently. Rick remarked that the Jesus wafer is “resting” in the tabernacle and Catholics must acknowledge its presence with the proper respect.
  2. Before entering their pew, a Catholic must look at the tabernacle and genuflect on one knee in homage to the Jesus wafer.
  3. While they are sitting, kneeling, and standing in the pew during the mass the Catholic must focus their attention on the Jesus wafers in the tabernacle and the Jesus wafers newly consecrated by the priest.

Those are the basics. For more detailed instructions on proper mass etiquette see the pdf below:

http://www.st-mm.com/documents/Faith%20Formation/Catholic%20Mass%20Etiquette,%20I,II,III.pdf

Catholic friend, Jesus is not a bread wafer and He’s not locked away in a little box. The Bible says He’s currently seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for all who accept Him as Savior by faith. Man-made rituals and long religious laundry lists don’t save. God made His Good News of salvation so simple even a ten-year-old child can understand it. There is no distinction between “mortal” sin and “venial” sin. Sin is sin and we’re all sinners – sinners deserve eternal punishment – Jesus Christ, God the Son, paid the penalty for our sins on the cross – Jesus rose from the grave, defeating sin and death and offers the gift of eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who repent of their sins and receive Him as Savior by faith. We don’t need priests, altars, and daily sacrifices anymore. Jesus did it all! Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior today and ask Him to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches God’s Word without compromise.

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 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 24:23-27

Necco wafers and communion

Remember Necco candy wafers? Way back in “the day,” us Catholic kids used to take turnsNecco pretending we were priests and we would give the white candy wafers to our friends saying, “Body of Christ” and they would answer, “Amen,” right before we put the candy into their mouths. Ach! That candy was nasty stuff except for the brown/chocolate variety, which was at least palatable. But you could only use the white wafers for the priest game.

Roman Catholicism seriously misinterprets John 6 and the Last Supper passages. You don’t receive Jesus by ingesting a bread wafer that’s allegedly changed into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus. You accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith.

On special days during the year, all the children at my Catholic grammar school were brought into the connecting church for mass and everyone got in line to eat the Jesus wafer. But nothing changed. The unkindness and bullying continued just as before. Even with the nuns and lay teachers. No one had really received Jesus. It was all just an empty ritual. Eating the Jesus wafer had the same effect as eating the candy wafer.

Go to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to save you. He paid the penalty for your sins. Receive Him as your Savior by faith. If you genuinely accept Jesus Christ as your Savior you won’t have to do it again. Then grow in grace by reading God’s Word daily and going to Him in prayer. Ask the Lord to lead you to an evangelical church in your area that preaches His Word without compromise.

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24