CATHOLICISM AND CHRISTIANITY:

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THEM

The Bible says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” With allmy heart I want to see those who are Catholic set free. That is the reason I have written this report. Catholics need to know the truth of real salvation and we Christians need to know the truth about Catholicism that we may witness to them meaningfully so that they may know the true love of Jesus and have eternal life. And eternal life is exactly what is at stake as this comparison reveals.

New York Cardinal O’Connor said in The New York Times Feb.1, 1980,B4:

“(Catholic) Church teaching is that I don’t know, at any given moment, what my eternal future will be. I can hope, pray, do my very best – but I still don’t know. Pope John II doesn’t know absolutely that he will go to heaven, nor does Mother Teresa of Calcutta.”

Yet those of us who are born-again know with absolute certainty what eternity holds for us:

1 John 5:11-13 (Amplified Bible)

11And this is that testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 

12He who possesses the Son has that life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life. 

13I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have life, yes, eternal life.

There is a great deal of information contained in the following pages but for the sake of your Catholic relatives and neighbors please try to read it. If you are a Christian, you, like me, will feel great sadness as you see how the Catholic people are being deceived. You will read about grace and salvation; “it is finished”; Jesus as Savior, Redeemer and Mediator; the Inerrancy of the Bible; Mary – and yet none of these in the Catholic Church are what you think they are. Then you will read of what the Catholic Church practices during their Sacrifice of the Mass and their Communion. Surely, Vatican II changed all this…but it didn’t and that is also documented.

Please realize that I never knew any of this information the entire 36 years I was a Catholic, being as devout as I knew how. I wish someone had loved me enough to tell me sooner.

The following contain excerpts and/or references from Roman Catholicism: Scripture vs. Tradition by Mike Gendron, head of “Proclaiming the Gospel;” James G. McCarthy, author of The Gospel According to Rome and Conversations with Catholics; and T.A.McMahon of “The Berean Call.” All are former Catholics and present-day born-again Christians with ministries to Catholics.

Annotated bracketed references to Catholic doctrine were obtained from the official Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Austin Flannery edition of Vatican Council II: The Concilar and Post Concilar Documents.

It is important to realize that most of the clergy and lay people that teach Roman Catholic doctrine are not deceiving people with malicious intent. They are simply passing on what has been passed on to them, sincerely believing that they have the truth. Catholics must believe ALL dogmas of their church or be anathema (eternally condemned and accursed) by their church. Prayer, love, compassion and understanding are needed along with the power of the Word of God to penetrate their hearts. Patience is needed to untangle Roman Catholics from the dogmatic web in which they are held captive. (Roman Catholicism: Scripture vs. Tradition by Mike Gendron)

It must also be remembered that there are those in the Catholic Church who love the Lord and have had a genuine born-again experience yet remain in that church out of ignorance of her doctrines. Yet 95% of Latin Americans who were Catholic who became born-again left the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) within a matter of two years after they were saved.

2Co 11:2 For I am zealous for you with a godly eagerness and a divine jealousy, for I have betrothed you to one Husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. [Hos. 2:19, 20] 

2Co 11:3 But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ. [Gen. 3:4] 

2Co 11:4 For [you seem readily to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; 

CATHOLICS AND CHRISTIANS: ESSENTIAL DOCTRINAL DIFFERENCES

The RCCupholds four fundamentals of the Christian faith: 

·the Trinity (there are three Persons in one Divine Godhead); 

·the virgin birth (Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin); 

·the bodily resurrection of Jesus (Jesus died and rose again) and 

·the deity of Christ (Jesus is the Son of God). 

However, that is where their paths part:

·the RCC states that Christ’s work of redemption is not finished and that His atonement is not sufficient. 

·it states that the Bible is the Word of God, but holds tradition and laws passed down by the Pope above the Word of God. 

·in addition, the RCC also erroneously believes that Mary is co-Redeemer and co-Mediator with Jesus. 

·finally, Catholic teaching opposes the doctrine most essential to the Christian faith – the doctrine of justification by faith alone. The RCC not only denies this doctrine but also condemns anyone who believes it.

GRACE AND SALVATION

According to the Bible, justification is not earned; it is a gift. God justifies believers “as a gift by His grace” (Romans 3:24). If God does something by grace, then “it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Romans 11:6). That is why God does not ask sinners to work for justification but to believe. He justifies “the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

The RCC, on the other hand, maintains that justification by faith without works is heresy“If anyone says that the faith which justifies is nothing else but trust in the divine mercy which pardons sins because of Christ; or that it is that trust alone by which we are justified: let him be anathema.” Council of Trent, session 6, Decree on Justification, canon 12.

Faith alone, says the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), is insufficient grounds for justification [1815]: “If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone: let him be anathema (accursed).” Council of Trent, session 6, Decree on Justification, canon 9.

Catholic salvation, i.e., qualifying for heaven is a lifelong process. It begins with the sacrament of Baptism; nearly all of one billion Catholics are baptized as infants. Catholics refer to their baptism as the sacrament through which they are “born again” or justified and through which they first receive “sanctifying grace.” This grace is necessary in order to be eligible to earn salvation, which is why Catholics claim to be “saved by grace alone.”

The sacraments of Penance (Reconciliation), Holy Eucharist (Communion), and Confirmation are crucial to staying and growing in the state of sanctifying grace. Also contributing to this salvation process are a host of extra-biblical teachings and practices (liturgies, indulgences, good works, sufferings, penances, rituals, rosaries, Holy Days of Obligations, etc.) which are said to bolster one in grace. All that, however, can be lost by committing a “mortal sin,” which eradicates the sanctifying grace required to get to heaven. If a Catholic dies without sanctifying grace, he or she is condemned to hell for eternity. Upon confession and a priest’s absolution of a mortal sin or sins, Catholics are restored to a state of sanctifying grace and re-justified. Upon their death they enter purgatory where they must be purified from all their temporal sins through suffering its purging flames. It is noteworthy that the Word of God consistently affirms that sins are expiated (cleansed) by blood not by fire. Biblically, the fires of purgatory cannot purge or atone for sin. 

PURGATORY, INDULGENCES AND UNCERTAINTY

OR THE CERTAINTY OF CHRIST’S “IT IS FINISHED”

Roman Catholicism believes that even though a sin has been forgiven, punishment must still be paid [1473]. This “temporal” punishment can be paid through acts of penance in this life, such as saying the rosary or doing good deeds, or it can be paid in the next life in purgatory [1030-1032,1472]. The living may also help the dead loved one who is in purgatory by acquiring special credits called indulgences that cancel out temporal punishment [1032,1471]. Indulgences include all the prayers and good works of all the saints, praying the rosary, etc. Only the church can dispense these indulgences. The church affirmed the existence of purgatory at each of the last three ecumenical councils including Vatican II. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes purgatory as a place of “cleansing fire” [1031]

Belief in the existence of purgatory is also expressed at every Mass. During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, prayers are offered for the dead. Usually the Mass itself is also offered for someone suffering in purgatory. 

Biblical response: Eternal life is not a reward, but the unmerited gift of God.

Ro 6: 23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

The Scriptures teach that Jesus “released us from our sins by His blood” (Rev 1:5). They make no mention of acts of penance, indulgences, or a place such as purgatory through which the penalty of sin can be satisfied. If a sinner must pay the temporal punishment for his sins, that is the equivalent of saying that Jesus’ blood was insufficient.

Biblical salvation has no need of a place such as purgatory:

1.1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

2.Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

3.Heb 9:14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (His blood can cleanse the vilest sinner)

4.1Jn 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 1Jn 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (There is no temporal punishment remaining for which the believer must atone.Jesus paid it all: He Himself is the atonement for all our sins).

The Roman Catholic Church RCC teaches that "an indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven which...may be applied to the living or the dead" (1471).

The Bible, on the other hand, states that "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin" (Heb 9:22). "Since these sins have been forgiven, there is no further offering for sin" (Heb 10:18).

Indulgences are absolutely contrary to Scripture because they undermine the total cleansing of Jesus' blood.  By stating that indulgences are needed to further cleanse the sinner, indulgences make man's actions of higher worth than Jesus' blood. 

Have you ever wondered why Christians have an empty cross on their altars but Catholics have a crucifix with Jesus still hanging on the cross on their altars? The answer is very simple: the RCCdenies that Jesus' work on the cross is finished.  "The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist (Mass)are one single sacrifice...the same Christ who offered Himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner in the Eucharist"(1367).  "Every time this mystery is celebrated the work of our redemption is carried on" (1405). The sacrifice "is offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead" (1414). Over and over again in Roman Catholicism, Jesus dies on the cross as the eternal victim. In fact, the round wafer that is used in Communion is called a “host” for a reason. It comes from the Latin word “hostia” which means “victim.”

The Bible completely refutes this notion:

Heb 10:14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Heb 7:21b “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’ Heb 7:22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. Heb 7:23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; Heb 7:24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Heb 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Heb 7:26 Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Heb 7:27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. Heb 7:28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

JESUS AS SAVIOR,REDEEMER AND MEDIATOR

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that "by His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has only “opened” heaven to us" (1026 -references are from 1994 Catholic catechism). Each person attains his own salvation by grace and good works (1477).

In contrast, the Bible states that: "He saved us not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of His mercy" (Titus 3:5)

The RCC teaches that Mary is the sinless co-Redeemer.  "Without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and work of her son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with Him...being obedient, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race"  (494)

The Bible says nothing about Mary being involved in salvation. It affirms only the precious blood of Jesus as the basis of our redemption: "For you know it was not with perishable things...that you are redeemed...but with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Pe 1: 17-18).

The RCC teaches that Mary "did not lay aside her saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.She is Advocate…and Mediatrix” (969)

The Bible says: "God is one, one also is the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Ti 2:5, 1 Jn 2:1)

THE INERRANCY OF THE BIBLE 

VERSUS CATHOLIC TRADITION AND PAPAL INFALLIBILITY

2Ti 3:16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness2Ti 3:17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

1Co 2:13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

The Bible is the Word of God. As such there can be no higher authority. The Lord has given many warnings against tampering with His Word by either adding or subtracting from it.

Pr 30:5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Pr30:6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

Dt 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.

The RCC, however, does not seem to heed these warnings. As just one example, the Catholic Church does not profess the simple Ten Commandments, eliminating the second commandment to have no idols before God and to create no graven images.  The RCC takes the Biblical tenth Commandment and makes it into two instead of one. Hence, the RCC Ten Commandments are not the Biblical Ten Commandments.

The Catholic Church also adds tradition and papal infallibility* to the teachings of the Bible, thereby placing both above the inerrancy of the Bible.(Mt 15:6 states: “So for the sake of your tradition, you have set aside the Word of God and made it null and void.”)

*Infallibility: The belief that the pope and bishops are said to be incapable of error when proclaiming definite doctrines involving faith and morals. The Pope and bishops are also said to be a part of the magesterium.

The word Pope comes from the Latin for “father”; magesterium from the word for “master.”In the forward of the Crossing the Threshold of Hope(the autobiography of John Paul II), the editor, Vittorio Messori, states:

The leader of the Catholic Church is defined …as the Vicar of Christ…The Pope is considered the man on earth who represents the Son of God who “takes the place” of the Second Person of the omnipotent God of the Trinity…Catholics believe this and therefore call him “Holy Father” or “Your Holiness” (pp.3, 4).

The First Vatican Council decreed that in matters of “faith and morals the Pope possesses…that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine.”

While Catholics may read the Bible, only bishops of the church have the right to interpret its meaning and teach with authority:

The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God…has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ (Second Vatican Council)

Biblical Response:

Do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. (Mt 23:8)

Paul, the writer of so many epistles, warned against anyone’s infallibility in their own flesh. He stressed that only Scripture was infallible:

But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed (Gal 1:8)

The basis for most of what Catholics believe about the papacy is found in their interpretation of Mt 16: 13-20, containing the verse “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build My church.” A careful examination will prove that the context of these verses is not about Peter but about the identity of Jesus. When Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?”, Peter declares that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus replies that this revelation came from God.

The main thrust of these verses centers around Jesus, not Peter. Peter’s name in the Greek was Petros. If Jesus had meant the foundational rock that He was building His church upon to be Peter, Jesus would have said “ You are Peter (Petros) and upon this rock (Petros) I will build my church.” Simple, direct, easy to understand and consistent. But this is not what Jesus said. Instead, He said, “You are Petros and upon this petra I will build My church.” Petros, Peter’s name, means a small stone, a pebble. – hardly strong enough to build a mighty church upon. Petra – in referring to Jesus Himself – means bedrock, a strong foundation on which His Church could rightly and logically be built. The word for bedrock is also found in Mt 7: 24,25 the foundation upon which a wise man builds his house.

Is the use of the word “petra” for God and not for a man consistent throughout the Bible? Yes,indeed.

·1Sa 2:2 Neither is there any rock like our God

·Ps 81:31 And Who is a rock, save our God?

·Isa 44:8 Is there any God beside Me or is there any other rock

·     Additionally see Ps 28:1; 31:3,4; 61:2,3; 62:6,7; 71:3; 94:22; 95:1;118:22,23; Deut 32: 3,4 and 15,18; 2Sam 22:2; Isa 28:16

Let’s look at the New Testament for further proof that the “petra” spoken of in Mt 16 is Jesus, not Peter. In 1 Cor 10:4 it states that the “rock (petra) was Christ.” In Romans 9: 33 Jesus is described as a “rock (petra) of offense.” Jesus is the bedrock, the foundation of our faith and the foundation upon which the church is built ( see also 1 Cor 3:11; Eph2:20; Mt 21:42; Acts4:11,12; Ro 9:32,33).

Perhaps the most convincing proof of Jesus being the Rock of our salvation is found, fittingly enough, in 1 Peter 2: 6-8 in which Peter himself describes Jesus as the “chief cornerstonese.” It is also in 1 Peter 5:4 that Peter describes Jesus, not himself, as “the chief shepherd” a term popes have used to speak of themselves. Conversely, how then does Peter describe, not Jesus, but himself? 1Peter 5:1 states that Peter calls himself a “fellow elder,” not head of the church or supreme pontiff, simply an elder, one of a number of elders. Peter also recognizes no priestly class at all except (1Peter 2:9) “the royal priesthood” of which all believers are a part. (See also Rev 1: 5,6 “Jesus Christ…has made us kings and priests unto God.”)

MARY OF THE BIBLE AND THE MARY OF CATHOLICISM

(the following information is excerpted from T.A. McMahon’s article entitled Mary Who?):

“…The only trustworthy account of Mary is found in the Scriptures where information is presented by those who knew her personally and, more importantly, whose writings were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.Fewer than 90 Bible verses address the life of Mary.In them we find a wonderful humble servant of the Lord who rejoices in Him as her Savior (Lk 1: 47)… Mary’s ministry was simply the birth and nurturing of the child Jesus. Once He reached adulthood, she played no influential part in His earthly service.It’s at the wedding feast of Cana, which began the public ministry of Jesus, that her last words are recorded.Fittingly, she tells the servants, ‘ Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it’ (Jn 2:5)… Mary then fades into the background.

Search the Scriptures as you will and you will find no leadership role for Mary among the Apostles.She taught no doctrine. We never hear of the Apostles seeking her out for counsel.Other than the gospels, Mary is mentioned only once in the New Testament, where the Book of Acts tells us of her simple participation in a prayer meeting along with her sons.The teaching that Mary was a perpetual virgin is contradicted by many verses (Mt 12:46; Mk 6:3; Jn 7: 3,5; 1Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19; Ps 69:8,etc.)…The Apostle Peter, a contemporary of Mary and regarded by Catholics as the first pope, wrote nothing about her. The Apostle Paul…made no mention of the alleged importance of devotions to Mary…The Apostle John, who wrote the last book of the Bible and was given the care of Mary by Jesus Himself, says nothing about venerating her…Although mankind is being drawn into every kind of spiritual deception in the last days before the return of Jesus, it is especially sad that the real mother of Jesus, the remarkable ‘handmaiden of the Lord’ (Lk 1:38) is so terribly misrepresented, thereby drawing millions away from her Son…

(Conversely), the Mary of Catholicism was immaculately conceived, the Mother of God, a perpetual virgin, Mediatrix between God and man, and the Queen of Heaven…” (excerpts ended).

The Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is NOT the Christian doctrine which states that Jesus was born without sin. Rather, it states that Mary was born free of any sin.

What then does the Catholic church believe about Mary? (all reference numbers in brackets are from the authorized Catholic Catechism)

Immaculate Conception: “We declare…the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God…was preserved free from all stain of original sin…”[491] 

(editorial note: this is not referring to the virgin birth or Christ’s conception).

Biblical Response: She herself acknowledged she was a sinner who needed to be redeemed when she prayed, “My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior (Lk 1:46,47). (also Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12).

The Virgin Mother of God: The Catholic Church teaches that, following the birth of Jesus, Mary remained an “immaculate and perpetual” virgin [266] 

Biblical Response: “Mary was the mother of the human Jesus but not the mother of God; God can have no mother” (McCarthy p. 191). Mary also did not remain a virgin after Jesus was born; she had other children. Jn2:12; Mt 12:46; Mk 3:31; Lk 8:19; Mt 13: 55,56; Mk 6:3,4; Jn 7: 2-10; Jn 7:5; Acts 1:14; Gal 1:19; Gal 2: 9-12 – all make references to the brothers and sisters of the Lord. The original Greek word used speaks of a relationship of shared parentage. 

The Assumption of Mary: “In view of Mary’s sinless perfection, Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary’s body did not undergo decay at the end of her life but that God miraculously took her up to heaven” (McCarthy p. 188). This is known as the doctrine of the Assumption. When in heaven, God crowned her Queen of Heaven and Earth [966].

Biblical Response: There are no scripture references that substantiate this claim. The Assumption of Mary is a tradition of the Catholic Church that has been elevated to the same level as Holy Scripture. In Matthew 15:6 Jesus states:” For the sake of your traditions, you have made null and void the Word of God.” Mark 7: 7-8 concurs: In vain do they worship Me, teaching to be obeyed as doctrines the precepts of men. You disregard the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men. 

Mary as Co-Redeemer: The Catholic Church teaches that Mary “being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” (Second Vatican Council). According to the Church, Mary’s sufferings at the cross were so intense that they brought her to the very threshold of death. She “participated with Jesus in the very painful act of redemption” [300] She is therefore called by the Church “our co-redemptor.”[304] In addition, “just as Christ, because he redeemed us, is by a special title our King and Lord, so too is Blessed Mary, our Queen and our Mistress, because of the unique way in which she co-operated in our redemption.” [Papal edict: Ad Coeli Reginam 307 – To the Queen of Heaven] 

Biblical Response:Scripture is clear in stating that the Lord alone is our redeemer. It is in God’s “beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1: 13,14). God justifies sinners “through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 3:24). See also 1Peter 1: 18,19. 

Mary, Mediatress of All Grace: On p. 203 of his book James McCarthy states: “Roman Catholicism also teaches that Mary earned the privilege of being the one through whom God would dispense all grace to the world” [Ad Diem 308]. According to the Catholic Church, Christ “grants all graces to mankind through her,”[309] and “nothing is imparted to us except through Mary.”[310] The Church teaches that “nothing comes to us except through Mary’s mediation, for such is God’s will.”[313]

Biblical Response: “For there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Tim 2:5). See also Jn 14:13,14; 1Pe 5:7.

THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS AND HOLY COMMUNION

Roman Catholicism teaches that Christ instituted the Mass at the Last Supper. When He pronounced over the bread “This is My body” and over the wine “This is My blood” (Mt 26:26,28) He changed them [621]. The bread became His literal body; the wine became His literal blood [1339]. This is the doctrine of transubstantiation. Christ then offered them as a sacrifice to the Father and gave them to His disciples to eat and drink. This was the first Eucharist. 

According to the Catholic Church, the Mass is “a true and proper sacrifice,” [171] not merely a symbolic rite. The Catholic Catechism teaches that the reason the Mass is the same sacrifice as that of Calvary is because the victim in each case was Jesus Christ. In fact, they refer to the bread of the Eucharist as the “host” which is the Latin word hostia, which literally means “victim.” In the sacrifice of the Mass Christ is immolated [183]. Immolation is the sacrificial killing of a victim. Christ does not suffer and pour out His blood at the Mass, however – it is “an unbloody immolation” [184] by which He becomes sacramentally present under the appearances of bread and wine, a “most holy victim” [1085,1353,1362,136,1367,1383,1409,1545]. The sacrifice is real and the offering is real: the priest “offers the immaculate Victim to God the Father, in the Holy Spirit.” [173] The Church teaches that the sacrifice of the cross and the sacrifice of the Mass are “one and the same sacrifice” [175].

The climax of the Catholic Mass occurs during the consecration when the priest changes the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. The bread and wine become “God and man” [136] for the Eucharist is considered to be the incarnate Christ. 

In the most blessedsacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially contained.” [200] (emphasis in original)

The Eucharist, according to Catholicism, makes the Catholic more like Christ, for “partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ has no less an effect than to change us into what we have received.” [143] 

Catholics are also to “hold the Eucharist in highest honor…worshipping it with supreme adoration…with the same worship that we offer to God” [147,148].When the priest during the Mass holds up the “Eucharistic wafer” and saysThis is the Lamb of God, happy are those who are called to His supper”, he is saying that the wafer is literally the Lamb of God, Jesus.

Biblical response: For a Jew, drinking human blood would have been more than repulsive; it would have been unlawful. The law of Moses strictly forbade it (Leviticus 17:10-14). Additionally the council at Jerusalem could not have instructed Gentile Christians to “abstain…from blood”(Acts 15:29) if Christians routinely drank blood at the Lord’s Supper.

The disciples were accustomed to Jesus using figurative language in His teaching. On different occasions, Christ referred to His body as a temple (Jn 2:19), new life as living water (Jn 4:10), His disciples as salt (Mt 5: 13). The Gospel of John records seven figurative statements that Jesus made about Himself. Each uses the same verb that is translated “is” in Jesus’ words “ This is My body.” Jesus said:

·I am the bread of life (Jn 6:48); 

·I am the light of the world (Jn 8:12);

·I am the door (Jn 10:9); 

·I am the good shepherd (Jn 10:11); 

·I am the resurrection and the life (Jn 11:25); 

·I am the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6) and 

·I am the true vine (Jn 15:1). 

All of these are meant to be understood in their figurative sense. Following the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples:

These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; and hour is coming when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. (John 16:25)

When Jesus refers to the new covenant, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood” (1 Cor 11:25), it is obvious the cup was not the covenant itself but the symbol of the covenant. In addition, at the Last Supper Jesus instructed His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). The word translated “remembrance” means a calling to mind. Jesus wanted His disciples to call to mind His work of salvation on the cross. With the symbols of His body and blood before them – the bread and wine, they were to “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor 11:26).

“When Paul wrote that “Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7), he put the verb in a form expressing the action as an event in past time. Christ is not being sacrificed; He has been sacrificed on the cross.Just before the Lord gave up His spirit on the cross, He cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). His sacrificial work of redemption was done. To translate it in the original, it would read “It has been finished and stands complete.” The whole debt is paid” (McCarthy pp.162-63).

Roman Catholicism misrepresents the finished work of Christ on the cross by saying that the sacrifice of the cross is continued in the Mass. The Bible says only one perfect sacrifice was needed:

·The Bible teaches that Christ presented the sacrifice of His life to the Father only once. He “entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12). 

·The Father accepted the perfect sacrifice of Christ without reservation. “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:18). 

·For this reason Scripture repeatedly calls the cross the “once-for-all” offering of Christ (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12,26,28; 10:10; Romans 6:10; 1 Peter 3:18). 

·Through the full payment by Him “all that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:39).

WHAT DID VATICAN II REALLY CHANGE?

In the 1960’s after Vatican II was convened, the Roman Catholic Church made some sweeping reforms that attempted to bridge the gap between Catholicism and Protestantism:

·The Sacrifice of the Mass could now be offered in the local language instead of in Latin.

· Catholics were no longer forbidden to read a Protestant Bible or attend a Protestant church service.

· The priest now faced the congregation at an altar instead of having his back to them.

· There were no longer just old Catholic hymns and responses sung. Now up-beat folk songs were allowed.

But notice what did not change:

·There is still the mandatory priest who stands at a mandatory altar, still offering Jesus up as an eternal victim at the Sacrifice of the Mass.

·The crucifix with Christ still on the Cross is ever-present.

·Yes, Catholics can now read a Protestant Bible but no private interpretation is allowed and only the magesterium’s interpretation is permitted.

·There are still novenas(nine-day prayer vigils) and rosaries offered to Mary, who is still co-Redeemer, co-Mediatrix, Queen of Heaven.

·The Pope is still considered to be infallible, even when his encyclicals contradict the Bible.

·Tradition is still given equal ranking with Scripture.

·The adoration of the wafer – not of Jesus – still continues at Catholic Communion, as does the priest’s ability by means of transubstantiation to transform the bread and wine into the living body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus.

Some things changed, but not one fundamental doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church changed at all.

Vatican II is thought by most Catholics and non-Catholics to have changed centuries-old doctrines of the Catholic Church, especially those that evangelical Christians were troubled by.  As has been seen, however, this is not the case. In fact it reaffirmed the canons and decrees of previous key councils:

‘This sacred council accepts loyally the venerable faith of our ancestors…and it proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicea, of the Council of Florence (purgatory) and of the Council of Trent (masses said for the dead , papal infallibility, Catholic sacraments necessary for salvation)’ (Austin Flannery, Vol. 1, p.412).

The Council of Trent denounced the Reformation and damned evangelicals’ beliefs with more than 100 anathemas. All of these condemnations of the gospel of God’s grace are endorsed and reaffirmed by Vatican II” (Dave Hunt: A Woman Rides the Beast).

(excerpt follows from T.A.McMahon’s tract Why It Matters, Part I):

“The following citations are from the Council of Trent, which met over a nineteen-year period primarily to denounce the teachings of the Protestant Reformation. Although the Council met in the sixteenth century, its decrees were reaffirmed by both Vatican I & II. Consider Catholicism’s position on what evangelicals uphold as the gospel (that is, salvation is by grace through
faith alone in Christ alone who, through His sacrificial death on the cross, paid the full penalty for all the sins of humanity):

6th Session, Canon 9: If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification…let him be anathema (accursed, eternally condemned).

6th Session, Canon 12: If anyone shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema.

6th Session, Canon 30: If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.

7th Session, Canon 4: If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law [canons and decrees of the Church] are not necessary for salvation but…without them…men obtain from God alone through faith alone the grace of justification, let him be anathema.

As the above decrees demand, Roman Catholicism requires more than faith in Christ for salvation…The clear denunciation of the Biblical gospel by the Council of Trent, with its more than 100 anathemas, and reaffirmations by the Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s, comes from the highest Roman Catholic authority (College of Cardinals and the Pope)…Few lay Catholics are familiar with the Code of Canon Law, containing more than 1,750 laws which dictate Church rules and practice. (Yet these rules and practices must be obeyed in order for a Catholic to be considered a Catholic by that Church).

(Since Vatican II) Rome has donned evangelical apparel and added some biblical accessories (although her unbiblical salvation remains the same). (Seemingly), her goal has been to seduce evangelical Christians into believing that Roman Catholicism is proclaiming the same gospel and the same Jesus…

(Yet it might be asked) Haven’t the modifications instituted by Vatican II, the ecumenical dialogues with evangelical denominations and the ‘Evangelicals and Catholics Together’ accord at least demonstrated that the Roman Catholic Church is indeed changing and becoming more biblical? Augustin Cardinal Bea, president at the time of the Vatican Secretariat for
Promoting Christian Unity, makes clear Rome’s intentions:

‘The Roman Catholic Church would be gravely misunderstood if it should be concluded that her present ecumenical adventuresomeness and openness meant that she was prepared to reexamine any of her fixed dogmatic positions. What the Church is prepared to do is take…a more imaginative and contemporary presentation of these fixed positions’” (excerpt ended).

OUR RESPONSIBILITY

Our greatest responsibility is to pray and to do so with deep compassion and love. When we share these truths with Catholics, we must do so with a tenderness of spirit for unless the truth is told with love they will not be able to receive it. We do not need to come to them with “lofty words of eloquence or persuasiveness of human wisdom.”We need only share “Jesus Christ, the
Messiah, and Him crucified “ (1Cor 2: 1-4).

If we, or any organization, continue to call Catholics Christians, the true gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ alone will never be presented to those deceived Catholics, nor will born-again Catholics ever know the truth of Catholicism. They will perish. In Christian love must we not draw the line between what is true Christianity and what is not?  To continue to accept Catholics as Christians is not the love of God Who wishes all to be saved and come unto a knowledge of the truth (1 Ti 2:4).

The purpose of this paper was simply to make the truth known. The love that will be needed to share it can come only from prayerful time with the Lord. He has a deep burden for those caught in the web of the Catholic Church. As we pray He will share that burden with us that we may share His love and truth with them.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

BOOKS:

Conversations With Catholics by James McCarthy You can obtain it through: www.gnfc.org

Preparing Catholics for Eternity by Mike Gendron is available through: www.pro-gospel.org

(both these books are extremely readable and unthreatening)

All Roads Lead to Rome by Michael de Semlyen
The Gospel According to Rome by James G. McCarthy
Protestants and Catholics: Do They Now Agree? By John Ankerberg and John Weldon
The Secrets of Romanism by Joseph Zacchello
The Two Babylons by  Alexander Hislop
A Woman Rides the Beast by Dave Hunt

WEB SITES and MINISTRIES:

http://www.pro-gospel.org  Mike Gendron, Proclaiming the Gospel  P.O. Box 940871  Plano, TX 75094.
e-mail: ptg@pro-gospel.org
http://www.gnfc.org
http://www.reachingcatholics.org/articles.html

NEWSLETTER:

Proclaiming the Gospel is a free monthly newsletter put out by Mike Gendron. It is excellent because it gives solid, yet easy to understand teaching and it does so in love. Simply contact Mike and Jane Gendron at ptg@pro-gospel.org