Myth: Catholic’s “re-sacrifice” Jesus at Mass

Myth Catholics Resacrifice Jesus At Mass

No, we don’t “re-sacrifice” Jesus at Mass.

Our “worship service” is The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and yes, there is a very real sacrifice. In fact, it is the ultimate and most complete sacrifice possible. It is the one perfect sacrifice of our Lord and Savior in atonement for our sins.

What happens at Mass is not in any way a new sacrifice or re-sacrifice. It is the passion and death of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. We are present at that sacrifice. Sometimes, for simplicity, we describe it as a “re-presentation.”

I will let you in on a little secret. Mass is not actually a re-presentation either. The Oberammergau passion play is a re-presentation. There is no actual sacrifice there, only the enactment of one. Jesus is not present in the literal sense – they are just actors.

The Mass is the ancient Christian liturgy, celebrated by priests ordained through an unbroken chain of succession to the Apostles. Every priest can trace his priestly lineage all the way back to St. Peter, the first pope.

Assemble on the Lord’s day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice (Matthew 5:23-24). For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, “Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations” (Malachi 1:11,14).

Didache 14; 70 A.D.

In the Catholic sanctuary, the altar is more than a table to hold scripture. It is the altar of sacrifice upon which bread and wine, no different than that which Jesus consecrated at the last supper, are taken by God’s angel to His altar in heaven (Eucharistic Prayer I – Roman Canon). From Him we receive the sacred body and blood of His Son. The priest in persona Christi (in the person of Christ) says the words of consecration but the words are of Jesus and the place is the last supper, His passion and Calvary. We are there, along with all the angels and saints of heaven.

“When you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over that sacrifice praying, and all the people empurpled by that precious blood, can you think that you are still among men and on earth? Or are you not lifted up to heaven?” (The Priesthood 1118 – 3, 4, 177; 387 A.D.).

“Reverence, therefore, reverence this table, of which we are all communicants! Christ, slain for us, the sacrificial victim who is placed thereon!” (Homilies on Romans 8:8; 391 A.D.).

Saint John Chrysostom
Doctor of the Church

We do not “attend” Mass. The eternal heavenly liturgy is transcendent and outside of time as heaven itself briefly touches us. We are in fact, participants concurrently with those at every other Mass throughout the world, concurrently with those at every past Mass and concurrently with those at every Mass yet to come.

Mass is holy, not entertaining. From the Mass we receive the Eucharist, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. We fall to our knees at His real presence.

For most of Christian history, this is how all Christians worshiped. It is still how Catholics worship and always will be. To the Protestant ear, it may sound hard to believe – much as disciples found Jesus words in the Bread of Life Discourse (John 6:22) hard. The Eucharist truly is the real presence of our Lord and the Mass solidly biblical (see also this and this).

Scott Hahn was a curious Protestant minister when he attended his first Mass. In plainclothes, sitting in the very back, he expected to witness the ultimate sacrilege. He was far from the first person surprised by the truth:

As the Mass moved on, however, something hit me. My Bible wasn’t just beside me. It was before me — in the words of the Mass! One line was from Isaiah, another from the Psalms, another from Paul. The experience was overwhelming. I wanted to stop everything and shout, “Hey, can I explain what’s happening from Scripture? This is great!” Still, I maintained my observer status. I remained on the sidelines until I heard the priest pronounce the words of consecration: “This is My Body…   This is the cup of My Blood.”

Then I felt all my doubt drain away. As I saw the priest raise that white host, I felt a prayer surge from my heart in a whisper: “My Lord and my God. That’s really you!”

Myth: Catholics oppose science

Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT)

Nothing could be further from the facts. Catholics love truth, science reveals truth – ergo, Catholics love science! It is through science that we explore the beauty and richness of God’s ordered and intelligible creation. Science and Catholicism are completely compatible without qualification.

Those without faith will tell you that “the right to look through telescopes and speculate about the result was obstructed by the Church.” Let’s just say that the truth is not in them. J. L. Heilbron (former professor and vice chancellor of UC Berkeley) notes “the Roman Catholic Church gave more financial aid and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries, from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment, than any other, and, probably, all other, institutions.”

You might be surprised who proposed the theory of the expanding universe (the “big bang”), Hubble’s law and the first estimation of the Hubble constant. It was NOT Edwin Hubble! In fact, it was Georges Lemaître. That is, Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître – a Catholic priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Leuven.

At this point I had intended to include a list of famous Catholic scientists. Since such a list would be immense, I was thinking a more manageable list would be only Catholic scientists who were priests – similar to Monsignor Lemaître mentioned above. Most people would likely assume such a list to be tiny. Alas, even Wikipedia lists 236 priests who “have made significant contributions to science“.

Of course, there was the Galileo incident – commonly misreported by secularists, anti-Catholics and others against the Church. Even in their misreporting, one can see that the Church and science were not separate. In a nutshell, the issue the Church had with Galileo was that he published as fact that which, at the time (and for many decades later), was an unproven theory. Modern scientists do not accept such behavior either. Galileo also did not win any friends when he jumped far outside of his area of competence to lecture Church authorities publicly on the true meaning of Holy Scripture. To learn more, see this and this.

We still build observatories. Our roots here go back to Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, ultimately resulting in the Observatory of the Roman College (1774), the Observatory of the Capitol (1827) and the Vatican Observatory (1789, refounded 1891 by Pope Leo XIII). In subsequent years more were built, including the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) in Arizona in 1993.

Much of my focus above was on astronomy. The Church has been just as involved in every other field be it physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine and other scientific disciplines.

BTW, guess who invented the University System? It wasn’t the Greeks or Romans, Eastern mystics or even mathematically literate Arabs. It most certainly wasn’t atheists. It was the Catholic Church from centuries before the Renaissance the Catholic Church has built and operated universities throughout the world. Most major universities trace their roots to the Church.

An excellent source of additional information is Thomas Woods’ How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Online, two extensive archives on the Church in science are at the Catholic Education Resource Center and at Catholic Answers. Numerous, well-researched, detailed articles are available from both.

Elsewhere: Jack Chick vs. Our Lady


I have written previously about Jack Chick. You will recall that he is the prolific, fundamentalist anti-Catholic writer of absurd “tracts” attacking the faith. These cartoon exposés are packed full of blatant lies, half-truths and misrepresentations of our faith. They are ideal for the poorly catechized who are prone to believing what they read in comic book form without checking any of it for accuracy.

Don’t underestimate Chick’s influence. He has printed 750 million copies of this trash. Some churches distribute it.

One of the pieces in Chick’s portfolio is called “Why is Mary Crying?” attacking our veneration of the Mother of God. It is a shameful, offensive piece – one of many in his seemingly endless series.

Godwin Delali Adadzie is a recent convert in Ghana. Gadel writes an excellent apologetics blog called Catholic Fiction – Myths and Half-Truths Busted! (tag line: “So that NO SILLY ALLEGATION against Holy Mother Church, no matter how complex, should ever go unanswered again”).

Gadel’s latest piece looks at this Chick tract, point-by-point:

Chick 1 20110909

Is Mary the Mother of God?

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 KJV)

This is the very first indicator of Mary as the mother of God. Of course, Mary is a creature and did not create God. That is not the point over here. She is a creature that God the Father chose to bring forth His only Begotten Son. In other words Mary is the Mother of God the Son since Jesus is God.

Also, Saint Paul reminds us:

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5 KJV)

Chick 2 20110909

The Scripture didn’t say Mary sinned either. Again I shall repeat what I’ve said already since Jack Chick likes to be repeating things in the hope of convincing / confusing his readers.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23 KJV)

All doesn’t means all but many as indicated in the original Koine Greek word used for all, “pantes”

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV)

The Bible makes it very clear that not all have died for example Enoch and Elijah and also not all will make it to heaven. This proves that all doesn’t always means every single person. A great case for Mary’s sinlessness as taught by the Catholic Church.

Chick 3 20110909

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1 Timothy 2:1-5 KJV)

Catholics asking Mary to pray for them is just like asking a fellow Christian to pray for you, the only difference here is that Mary is closer to God, although we are all members of the same Body of Christ.

Praying to Mary neither takes away the sole mediatorship of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church has never taught that Mary is the Mediator between God and men! The Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercessory prayer to Jesus on behalf of us is only possible because of Christ and her relationship to us through His Mystical Body, the Church.

The fact, that the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, was made clear when Saul of Tarsus was persecuting the Church and Christ Jesus revealed to him on his journey to Damascus that he was persecuting Him.

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (Acts 9:3-5 KJV)

The complete article is much longer and quite good. Read it at Why Is Mary Crying? Chick Cartoon Tracts.

On a related note, if you are Protestant and wonder what Catholics believe about Mary and why, there is a superb video I recommend. It will not only address your questions, but do so on a solidly scriptural basis. Please take a few minutes to view The Truth About Mary and Scripture.

Myth: Whore of Babylon

Whore Of Babylon

The Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon. So says one bizarre, outrageous myth common in some Christian communities. The roots of this come from twisted interpretations of Holy Scripture:

Then one of the seven angels who were holding the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come here. I will show you the judgment on the great harlot who lives near the many waters. The kings of the earth have had intercourse with her, and the inhabitants of the earth became drunk on the wine of her harlotry.” Then he carried me away in spirit to a deserted place where I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names, with seven heads and ten horns. The woman was wearing purple and scarlet and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held in her hand a gold cup that was filled with the abominable and sordid deeds of her harlotry. On her forehead was written a name, which is a mystery, “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.” I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the holy ones and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her I was greatly amazed.

The relatively clear books of the Bible are interpreted in hugely different ways by various Christian communities. This is an obvious problem for those professing sola scriptura (the false belief that the Bible is EXCLUSIVELY the authoritative word of God and that it is somehow “self-interpreting”). The symbolism of Revelation makes personal, non-authoritative interpretation that much more difficult.

So, who is the harlot referred to in Revelation? Probably pagan Rome or apostate Jerusalem. That is what St. John may have envisioned when he wrote it and that is historically the view of Catholic (and many Protestant) theologians. (See the Further Reading notes below for a thorough exploration.)

To entertain that it could be the Catholic Church, one would have to believe that somehow this chapter slipped by Holy Mother Church’s attention when she canonized the Bible, that Sacred Tradition vanished and her authority ended at that moment. Also, that her own Apostle (and a first bishop) John indicts the Church created by Jesus himself in favor of “churches” to be created against unity 1,400 years later.

Those who believe that are indeed susceptible to wild tales spun by others (the Jack Chick tracts come to mind), while denying the need or existence of any true authority to interpret the Bible (unlike every other word ever written). None-the-less, these many clever story tellers implore you to interpret it THEIR way (which they insist is correct). Unfortunately, good people can be misled.

Unlike other communities, the Holy Bible comes from the Catholic Church…   the Church does not come from the Bible. Remember that the Catholic Church canonized the Bible in the first place, a process that took about 400 years. What is and is not in the Bible, the order of the books, the numbering of the verses – everything. The Bible is the fruit of the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church. Of course, the New Testament writers themselves were Catholic as were all the Church fathers and Saints. Only the Church could select the content infallibly under the protection of the Holy Spirit who remains with her today and to the end of time. The Bible was never intended to replace Sacred Tradition or the authority of the Church. That notion did not exist for the first 1,000 years after the Bible was canonized. It was invented only then by self-appointed “reformers.”

Who started this Catholic church is the whore of Babylon myth? A Catholic man who broke his vows to the Church and God. A man who, alone and on his own authority, denied Sacred Tradition and the authority given by Jesus to the Church, with whom He is inseparable. A man who changed Holy Scripture to suit his evolving personal beliefs. A man who shattered Christian unity leading many to schism and heresy, who was followed by more men who built-on that with their own adjustments. The man was Martin Luther.

It was Luther who first made the association of the Catholic Church to harlot of Babylon and the Pope to the Antichrist in his angry attack On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church. Luther declares “I now know of a certainty that the papacy is the kingdom of Babylon.” (See also the Lutheran Book of Concord which continues this theme.)

The irony of this is that when Martin Luther removed (by first demoting) Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach, and 1 & 2 Maccabees from his Bible, he wanted to go further but his political support base objected. On the chopping block were parts of Daniel, Esther, and all of James, Jude and Revelation. Yes – Revelation, the same book he drew on to attack the one true Church. Of Revelation he said that he could “in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it.” The complete Bible, unlike Martin Luther’s subset, remains unchanged from Saint Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation in 397AD.

Today, the “whore of Babylon” myth is perpetuated and expanded (out of ignorance) by some Christian communities other than Lutherans. As you can tell, I am “down on the reformers” (particularly Luther) because of the long-lasting and deep damage they did to the Body of Christ. My view of Protestants, these many generations later, is however different than my view of their various founders. I was Protestant of a particular denomination because I was born into it, studied it, believed it. We were taught little about what other Christians believed. The same is true of many others in my denomination. The same is true of many in other denominations. The same is true of many Catholics. Once divided along these many branches, it is very difficult to restore the unity Jesus wants for His Church.

My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you. I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

No, the Catholic Church is not the whore of Babylon nor is the Holy Father, the successor in the Chair of St. Peter, the Antichrist. This is simply an anti-Catholic attack on the Church. Attacks we expect, but it is particularly sad coming from our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Further Reading:

Myth: Jack Chick tracts

Myth Jack Chick Tracts

This is not a single myth, but a collection. Actually – more of a lifetime achievement award for quantity and absurdness from one Jack T. Chick.

In his prolific career as a comic producer, Chick produced “tracts” addressing fundamentalist Christian beliefs and anti-Catholic exposés. For example, Chick explains the Holy Eucharist in his tract entitled “The Death Cookie” (I can’t imagine how he could be any more offensive). From Chick, we learn that the Catholic Church has deliberately caused many of the world’s problems. Among the numerous, dastardly deeds:

  • started the American Civil War (to undermine the Union)
  • arranged Lincoln’s assassination
  • invented and promoted Communism
  • masterminded the 1917 Russian Revolution
  • instigated the Bolshevik Revolution and the murder of the czar’s family
  • started World War II (and backed Hitler, Mussolini and Franco)
  • created the Holocaust
  • formed the KKK
  • maintains a database in a “big computer” with the name of every Protestant in the world (for future persecution)
  • the Jesuits run an extensive conspiracy through the Illuminati, the Council on Foreign Relations, international bankers, the Mafia, the Club of Rome, the Masons and the New Age movement
  • founded Islam, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Scientists

Jack Chick has not exposed all of this to hurt Catholics individually, just to save them from the Roman Catholic Church. If Chick were just some random nutcase, most people would never have heard of him. Unfortunately he has been very successful in distributing his tracts…   reportedly over 750 million copies.

There is some good news and some bad news. The good news is that most Christian book stores now refuse to offer this nonsense. The bad news is that the tracts are still produced and – believe it or not – distributed by some misled, fundamentalist churches.

For more information, read the Catholic Answers special report:  The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick.