Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 61.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada

Q. When did the custom of communicating in both kinds, cease, and what reasons were there to order only one kind ?

A. It ceased by degrees. And the reasons were these: first, there was danger of great irreverences, by spilling the consecrated wine, when the communicants were very numerous. Secondly, lest the wine being reserved for the sick, it should grow sour and be corrupted. Thirdly, to confound those heretics, who believed Christ's body was without his blood. And lastly, this discipline of the Church was confirmed by the general council of Constance, in the year 1414; to put a stop to the Hussites, and other heretics, who held that both kinds were of divine precept.

Q. Can the Church still order or permit both kinds to be received ?

A. Yes, if she shall judge the reasons to be sufficient.

Q. But did not Christ expressly command the receiving in both kinds, when he said, drink ye all of it ? Matt. xxvi. xxvii.

A. These words were addressed to the twelve Apostles only, no other being present at the last supper, and the precept was by them all fulfilled; u and they all drank of it." St. Mark xiv. 23. And this command is constantly observed by the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church, as often as they consecrate. But this is no more an argument for the laity's being obliged to drink the cup, than their being obliged to consecrate, to forgive sins, or preach the gospel; St. Luke xxii. 19; St. John xx. 22; St. Matt, xxviii. 19. Because we find in the Scripture, Christ commanded the Apostles so to do.

Q. Are priests obliged to receive both kinds ?

A. Yes, when they consecrate; and the reason is, because the eucharist is a sacrifice, as well as a sacrament. Now, unless both kinds are consecrated and offered by the priest, and received, it does not represent Christ's passion,

Q. May not deacons consecrate?

A. By no means: do this, was directed to bishops and priests only. However, deacons may be the extraordinary distributors of the sacrament; as it was sometime a practice in the primitive ages.

Q. What is a sacrifice, and how does that appellation agree with the eucharist?

A. A sacrifice, properly so called, is an external oblation or offering made to God alone, by a lawful minister, with a change in the thing offered by consumption, in testimony of his supreme power. Now this agrees with the eucharist, because the eucharist is on oblation of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, offered under the outward and sensible signs of bread and wine, to God alone, by the ministry of the priests of the Church, lawfully consecrated and empowered by Christ; and this oblation is accompanied with a real change and destruction of the bread and wine, by the consecration of them into the body and blood of Christ, and a real exhibiting of Christ our victim, heretofore immolated upon the cross, and here mystically dying, in the separate consecration of the two different species; and this oblation is made to God, to acknowledge his sovereign power, to render him our homage, and for all other ends for which sacrifices are offered to his divine Majesty.

Q. What are the ends for which sacrifice in the old law was offered, and is still to be offered, to God ?

A. For these four ends. First, for God's own honor and glory, by acknowledging his sovereignty, and paying him our homage. Secondly, to give God thanks for all his blessings. Thirdly, to beg pardon for our sins. Fourthly, to obtain grace and all blessings from his divine Majesty.

Q. Have the servants of God, from the beginning of the world, been always accustomed to honor him with sacrifices ?

A. Yes, they have. Witness the sacrifice of Abel; Gen. iv. The sacrifice of Noah; Gen. viii. The sacrifice of Melchizedek; Gen. xiv. The sacrifices of Abraham ; Gen. xv. et xxii. The sacrifices of Job, i. et xiii. And the many different kinds of sacrifices prescribed in the law of Moses.

Q. How is a sacrifice, properly so called, distinguished from other oblations, viz.: Prayer, good works, and a contrite heart ?

A. These want requisites, viz.: They are either spiritual oblations only, or are not offered only by a priest; nor is there any change to testify God's supreme dominion.

Q. How many kinds of sacrifice belonged to the old law?

A. Chiefly five: first, holocaust, where the whole was consumed or burnt, and thereby given fully to God without reserve, for the more perfect acknowledgment of his sovereignty. Secondly, propitiatory, or sin-offerings, for appeasing God's anger and remitting sin. Thirdly, eucharistic, for returning thanks. Fourthly, impetratory, for obtaining blessings; and fifthly, pacific, or peace-offerings, which were both eucharistic and propitiatory.

Q. Why are all those sacrifices now abolished ?

A. Because, they were but figures of the sacrifice of Christ; and therefore, were to give place to his sacrifice, as being only figures of the truth.

Q. Were the sacrifices of the old law figures of the sacrifice of the new?

A. Yes, both of Christ's passion, and of the eucharist.

Q. What is the mass, and from whence is the word derived ?

A. The mass, in one sense, may be called the liturgy of the Catholic Church; but, properly speaking, it is the sacrifice, or oblation of Christ's body and blood, under the appearance, or species, of bread and wine: and consists in the consecration of the bread and wine, into the body and blood of Christ; and the offering up of this same body and blood to God, by the ministry of the priest, for a perpetual memorial of Christ's sacrifice upon the cross. As to the word mass, some are of opinion that it comes from the Hebrew word missach, which signifies a voluntary offering; Deut, xvi. 10.

But others are of opinion, that it is derived from the Latin word, missio, or missa, that is, dismission, or sending away; because the catechumens and others, were formerly dismissed, as not being permitted to be present at this sacrifice, only from the beginning till the offertory, and the gospel and sermon being ended, the deacon publicly said, ite missa est, go out all you who are infidels, catechumens, and penitents: for the mass of the faithful is now to begin. Hence, at the end of the mass, the words, ite missa est, are still retained, and now the meaning is, depart, for the mass is ended. But be this as it will, the name is of very ancient use in the Church, as appears from St. Ambrose, St. Leo, and St. Gregory.*

Q. How does the sacrifice of the mass differ from the sacrifice Christ made upon the cross ?

A. There is no difference as to the host, or thing offered, nor as to the principal priest who offers; the chief offerer being Christ himself. The difference therefore is only in the manner of the offering, the one was bloody, the other unbloody; for in the sacrifice of the cross Christ really died, and therefore it was a bloody sacrifice; in the sacrifice of the mass, he only dies mystically, inasmuch as his death is represented in the consecrating apart the bread and wine, to denote the shedding of his sacred blood from his body at the time of his death, and therefore this is an unbloody sacrifice, and of course a commemorating sacrifice, which has all its virtue from the sacrifice of the cross.

Q. Is the sacrifice of the mass offered to saints ?

A. No; only to God; the saints are only mentioned, to give praise, and thanksgiving to jGod for them, and that they may join in prayer with us, and for us.

Q. Is the mass a true and proper sacrifice?

A. Yes, it is.

Q. How can it be a true and proper sacrifice, since a true sacrifice requires a change, or mactation, or immolation, in the thing offered now in the mass these things are not to be found.

A. In bloody sacrifices a mactation, or slaying, was necessary, but not in others; Melchisedec's was a true and proper sacrifice, and so were the pacific sacrifices of the old law; however, in the sacrifice of the mass there is a real change, by the real conversion of the bread into his body, as also a mystical immolation or death; when the body and blood, are, as it were, separated by distinct consecrations.