Wednesday 23rd May 2012 the first of 2 public debates on ‘The Eucharist’ took place in Dundalk
Baptist Church. Roman Catholic priest, Patrick McCafferty
put forward Rome’s teachings on the issues being debated and for the Evangelical
Christian viewpoint Rob Zins of CWRC (www.cwrc-rz.org) spoke.
The debate was divided into 2 parts [4 Video parts] and the first part addressed
‘Transubstantiation’. You can now watch
2 segments of video that cover this portion of the debate.
'THE EUCHARIST' Debate - Part 1
'THE EUCHARIST' Debate - Part 2
It is not my intention to make lengthy additions to what Rob Zins said in the course of the debate but I would just like to make the following observations.
The 1994 Catholic Catechism states in Paragraph 1367 ‘The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice. The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross, only the manner of offering is different. In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner’.
As you will read later in this article, in the wake of the debates and in an email to me Patrick was quite forceful in labelling the views of Evangelical Christians like Rob and me as being ‘nonsense’. Well, as he has coined the word, I can only state that the claims made in this Paragraph 1367 truly are ‘nonsense’.
Some time ago I noted the following differences between ‘Calvary’ and ‘The Eucharist’ which Rome claims are ‘one single sacrifice’.
1. Different locations. ‘Calvary’ was just outside the city of Jerusalem and most likely situated on Mount Moriah. From a Seminary College web site I noted the following in an article about ‘The Hills of Jerusalem’ – ‘Psalms 125 also states that “as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth even forever.” This is a very pretty verse, but what does it mean, and how can it impact our life today? What does it mean when it says that the Lord surrounds his people like the mountains surround Jerusalem? In order to understand this verse, one must have a basic understanding of the geography of the land around Jerusalem. Let’s consider the mountains that surround Jerusalem. There are seven mountains that surround Jerusalem. The first mountain that we will consider is Moriah. It was in this area that the first and the second temples were built. Rabbinical legend says that Moriah was the first land to appear during creation. It is further taught that it was from the red dirt of Moriah that Adam was created. Moriah was the top of the range known as Zion. Rabbinical legend also states that Moriah was in the center of the Garden of Eden and that this exact center of Eden was the location of the future Holy of Holies. It is also taught that Moriah was the place where Adam was buried. According to Genesis 22, Moriah is the place that Abraham took Isaac to offer him as sacrifice before the Lord. It was also the place where David bought the threshing floor because he “did not want to offer to God something that cost him nothing.” Moriah, from the root marah, was the place of God’s presence’. In contrast to that one location of ‘Calvary’, on a daily basis, ‘The Eucharist’ is offered in multiple locations around the world. In the light of these differing locations how can these possibly constitute ‘one single sacrifice’?
2. Different altar. The Catechism acknowledges that the Sacrifice of Christ at ‘Calvary’ was made on ‘the altar of the cross’. On a daily basis all around the world ‘The Eucharist’ is offered on Roman Catholic hand-made ‘altars’ (complete with bone relics of ‘martyrs’ – in my December 2002 News From The Front located on http://www.takeheed.net/News_From_The_Front/news24.htm I wrote the following in the article on ‘Power to Change’ – ‘Here is an extract from the service of CONSECRATION OF A FIXED ALTAR as outlined on the Catholic Encyclopaedia website ‘When the relics have been carried to the church, the consecrator anoints with holy chrism, at the four corners, the sepulchre of the altar, in which the relics are to be enclosed, thereby sanctifying the cavity in which the venerated remains of the martyrs are to rest, and then reverently places therein the case containing the relics and incenses them’.). In the light of these differing altars how can these possibly constitute ‘one single sacrifice’?
3. Different offerer. At ‘Calvary’ Christ ALONE offered Himself in sacrifice as we read in Hebrews 9:14 – no-one assisted Him yet at ‘The Eucharist’ we read the claim by Rome that Christ offers Himself ‘through the ministry of priests’. In the light of these differing offerers how can these possibly constitute ‘one single sacrifice’?
4. Different victim. Rome claims that at ‘Calvary’ and in ‘The Eucharist’ that ‘The victim is one and the same’, but as you will have heard in the debate they are not. At ‘Calvary’ the Lord was “not yet glorified” (John 7:39) but according to Rome their ‘victim’ is the ‘glorified’ Christ. In Paragraph 1365 of Rome’s Catechism we read ‘In the Eucharist Christ gives us THE VERY BODY which he gave up for us on the cross’. In Paragraph 1413 of Rome’s Catechism it refers to the ‘transubstantiated’ Christ as being ‘living and glorious’. In the light of these differing ‘victims’ how can these possibly constitute ‘one single sacrifice’?
5. Different manner. The Catholic Catechism actually acknowledges the difference here when it says ‘only the manner of offering is different… the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner… is offered in an unbloody manner’. I believe this different ‘manner’ is of truly vital significance as I shall explain later in the article. Meantime I want to highlight that, speaking figuratively of His forthcoming death on the cross, Christ at the last supper said this concerning “the cup” in Matthew 26:27-28 “ Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament which is SHED for many for the remission of sins”. Christ was pointing forward to how on the cross He would visibly and literally “shed” (Vine’s Dictionary – ‘pour out’) His blood and He did that on the cross and that was why it was a sacrifice offered in a ‘bloody manner’. In ‘The Eucharist’ there is no such visible, literal ‘shedding’ (‘pouring out’) of blood and Rome concedes that their sacrifice is offered in an ‘unbloody manner’. However Rome very craftily states in Paragraph 1365 of her Catechism ‘In the Eucharist Christ gives us… the very blood which he poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’ – note that Rome does not say that in the Eucharist the blood is ‘poured out’ but rather that the blood poured out at Calvary is ‘given’ . In the light of this admission by Rome of the difference in the manner of offering (and, as we have already seen in the light of points 1-4, their use of the word ‘only’ is totally inappropriate) how can these possibly constitute ‘one single sacrifice’?.
6. Different presentation. The Sacrifice of ‘Calvary’ was historic, offered once, in time, and is “finished” (John 19:30) and repeatedly in the book of Hebrews the finality of the one historic and finished sacrifice made by Christ, in time, is emphasized over and over again – see Hebrews 9:26-28; Hebrews 10:12-14. In contrast the sacrifice of ‘The Eucharist’ is repeated constantly on a daily basis around the world and claims basically to perpetuate what Rome views is not an historic sacrifice, offered once in time, but is rather an ‘eternal’ sacrifice. ‘Calvary’ was a historic, one-time, finished sacrifice that in and of itself cannot be perpetuated. The only and glorious thing that is “eternal” about ‘Calvary’ is the blessing that it secured for God’s people and that is “eternal redemption” (see Hebrews 9:12). Reverently speaking ‘the benefits’ of Calvary are “eternal” but the Sacrifice itself is not. In the light of these differing ‘presentations’ how can these possibly constitute ‘one single sacrifice’?
7. Different outcome. The Sacrifice of ‘Calvary’ secured a New Covenant between God and His chosen people and under it He twice promised in the book of Hebrews to His justified people, “their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12 & Hebrews 10:17). No Roman Catholic is allowed to claim to possess such a permanent blessing concerning the permanent forgiveness of their sins and in fact to do so would constitute the ‘mortal’ sin’ of presumption. Having partaken of ‘The Eucharist’ their ‘venial sins’ are dealt with and a temporary but wholly insecure (until the next sin is committed) state of ‘justification’ is entered into (It should be noted that ‘mortal sins’ cannot be forgiven at ‘The Eucharist’ but must first be dealt with in the confessional and absolution pronounced by the priest hearing confession). In the light of these differing ‘outcomes’ how can these possibly constitute ‘one single sacrifice’?
In the debate you will have noticed that Rob questioned Patrick about the official Roman Catholic ‘prohibition’ by both the Council of Constance and the Council of Trent against laypeople partaking of the wine during Rome’s Mass - they are restricted by these Councils to receiving the bread only. Patrick suggested that these prohibitions in Constance (by implication) and Trent (by specific reference) had been in some way ‘rescinded’ and that laypeople, where and whenever possible, should now partake of both elements. What is the real position on all of this? Well, let me quote official sanctioned sources on the issue.
The Council of Constance (1414-1418) stated the following listed under
Session 13 (June 1415) under a heading of
(Condemnation of communion under both kinds, recently
revived among the Bohemians by Jakoubek of Stribro)
The Council of Trent (1545-1564) stated the following listed under
Session 21 (July 1562) under a heading of
(Laymen and Clerics, when not offering the Sacrifice, are
not bound by Divine Law to Communion under both species)
Are these prohibitions still ‘official’ policy? Well, as regards The Council of Trent, which Patrick specifically referred, to we read the following in the documents of Vatican II: Volume 1; Page 412 – ‘This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable faith of our ancestors… and it proposes again the decrees of… the Council of Trent’.
Patrick has however sent Rob links to an article by a professor of Liturgical Theology at a private American Catholic university and an article by a Catholic grouping based in Ohio. Whilst these documents set out some conditions under which it would appear that laypeople can ask to receive both ‘forms’ during Mass (according to the General Instruction to the Roman Missal it would appear that in certain approved circumstances ‘intinction’ is permitted – what is ‘intinction’ you may ask – well the definition given is ‘dipping the Sacred Host in the Precious Blood’, - the equivalent of what we do when we ‘dunk’ a biscuit in our tea) these only serve to show what a confused, contradictory, man-made religion Roman Catholicism truly is – if I were a Roman Catholic I think I would want to know ‘officially’ if I am ‘anathema’ if I take both ‘forms’ as Trent (reaffirmed by Vatican II) assert.
I want now to move to the second part of the debate that addressed ‘PROPITIATION’ and you can now watch this below.
'THE EUCHARIST' Debate - Part 3
'THE EUCHARIST' Debate - Part 4
Patrick’s opening remarks about ‘propitiation’ were quite astonishing. First he admitted that he had to refresh his memory as to what ‘propitiation’ was namely ‘to appease someone who is angry, in this case God’. He was quite correct in this definition of ‘propitiation’ and it matches in part what I quoted in my article advertising the debates – I wrote –
These definitions are from ‘accredited’ Roman Catholic sources and yet Patrick said ‘That was never what I received from Eucharistic Theology that God had to be placated in that way, rather I and the Church see it as making present the once and for all finished perfect sacrifice’. Patrick is trying to say that even though ‘The Eucharist’ is described explicitly as a ‘propitiatory sacrifice’ that’s not how he understands it – listen to The Council of Trent in Session 22: Chapter II –
I think it would not be overstating the case to say that in his presentation Rob totally demolished Patrick’s presentation on ‘propitiation’ and in the course of it Rob also, on the basis of what the Scriptures teach, totally demolished the case for having the Roman Catholic priesthood as it is constituted.
Patrick constantly refuted allegations that ‘The Eucharist’ is a ‘repeat’ sacrifice of Calvary even though Rob I think only once used the word ‘repeat’ – in the Saturday night debate Rob referred regularly to ‘The Eucharist’ as being a ‘perpetuation’ of the Sacrifice of Calvary and Patrick never attempted to refute that terminology.
Patrick sought to liken his and his fellow priests’ roles at Mass to merely ‘officiating’ in the same way that Pastor Murphy of Dundalk Baptist would oversee a normal service – not so! According to Rome her priests possess much greater power than merely ‘officiating’ – Listen to Paragraph 1411 of Rome’s Catechism – ‘ONLY validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord”. If there’s no validly ordained priest then there’s no transubstantiated Christ and ‘Eucharist’. At a Worldwide Retreat for Priests held in the Vatican in 1984 Mother Teresa said "At the word of a priest that little piece of bread becomes the body of Christ, the Bread of Life. Then you give this living Bread to us so that we too might live and become holy...I was so struck with the thought that ONLY when the priest is there can we have our altar and our tabernacle and our Jesus. Only… the priest can put Jesus there for us...we cannot bring him (Jesus) unless you first give him to us. This is why I love priests so much.”
You will then note that Patrick once more in his closing comments referred to Calvary as ‘an eternal moment’ – not so! As I said earlier - ‘Calvary’ was a historic, one-time, finished sacrifice that in and of itself cannot be perpetuated… Reverently speaking ‘the benefits’ of Calvary are “eternal” but the Sacrifice itself is not.
Originally I had thought of having in the debates 2 people on each side to represent the Evangelical and Roman Catholic views on these two issues of ‘transubstantiation’ and ‘propitiation’ but that didn’t come to pass. If it had I would most likely have myself spoken to the issue of ‘propitiation’ and I had thought of a question that I would have put to the Roman Catholic representatives. It would have been along these lines –
In the web site article giving details of these debates I mentioned that they were prompted by the World Eucharistic Congress scheduled to be held in Dublin (10th – 17th June 2012). Former priest Richard Bennett has written a comprehensive article on this planned Congress and it can be viewed on his web site – the lead in to his article reads as follows –
Finally, in the wake of the debates, some folks asked me if Patrick, who I readily concede was under much emotional strain, was perhaps less committed to the teachings of Rome and was more in a ‘searching’ mode. My personal view was that he was just as committed to Rome today as he was when he debated with Rob back in the latter half of the 1990s. In the course of a couple of email exchanges with Patrick after the debates he wrote the following to me –
If anything is ‘nonsense’ it is the portion that Patrick wrote that I have highlighted in yellow. Patrick has written ‘transubstantiation…does not matter’ – what sort of thinking is that? Prior to the consecration in the mass the bread is just bread but after the validly ordained priest says words of consecration a significant change is claimed to take place so that the bread now becomes a ‘glorified Christ’ who is offered to God so that His anger can be propitiated and sins can be forgiven – if there’s no ‘transubstantiation’ then the sacrifice would be ineffective and Patrick says ‘transubstantiation…does not matter’.
Christians today need no sin-pardoning, sacrifice-offering priests as found in the Roman Catholic religion but rather we rejoice that today “We have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need… For such an high priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the people’s; for this he did once when he offered up himself… But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God… Now where remission of these is, there is NO MORE offering for sin” (Hebrews 4:15-16: Hebrews 7:26-27; Hebrews 10:12 & 18). Please pray for Patrick.
Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 2nd June 2012