For years, the Roman Catholic system has been experiencing a shortage of men entering the priesthood. Pope Francis is now considering the possibility of ordaining married men as priests, especially in rural areas.
Granted, the media exposure of priestly sexual abuse spanning decades has demythologised the gnomic claim of priestly celibacy as a “brilliant jewel” which “radiantly proclaims the reign of God.” As if self-restraint can be wished on clerics by an ink on paper, the Code of Canon Law says:
“Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity” (III: 277:1).
For the first 4 centuries of the church, most Christian leaders were married. Even popes were married up until the 9th century. In 1018, Pope Benedict VIII forbade marriage for priests and the First Lateran Council in 1123 finally prohibited it.
After the Council of Trent, the penalty for priests or nuns who violates the canon law on marriage is excommunication. How Rome will now overturn its own “infallible” decree after 10 long centuries remains an amazing spectacle to behold.
I had a Catholic friend who led a dissolute life of sex and booze even though he was a seminarian at the time. We lost contact for several years but when I saw him on Facebook recently, he was now a priest at a parish in Delta State. As we chatted, I quizzed him, “I hope you’ve stopped those stuff you used to do back then right? I know you’d be better now that you’re a priest.” He laughed “Better? I’m worse! Back in those days I was still a good guy, but now I’m doing worse stuff!”
Such an admission to an outsider like me is like a diamond in a coalmine. Celibacy is not the only root of the depravity and corruption in the Catholic clergy – power is another. A maxim says: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
It’s not as if priests, nuns or popes are inherently more prone to promiscuity than others. Many of them started out with high morals and spiritual aspirations – however unbiblical their system is – but it was the privilege, power and authority which Rome’s hierarchical system conferred on them that perverted and destroyed them. Nothing destroys an unregenerate individual faster than a position of power. Even spiritually immature Christians find it hard to stay afloat the cesspool of power.
Catholic historian, Ignaz von Dollinger, in The Pope and the Council, wrote about a legend in which Constantine burnt written accusations against the bishops when it was laid before him, saying that “the bishops were gods, and no man could dare to judge them.”
This absolutist code still pervades Rome’s hierarchy, and all forms of abuse hinge around power and control. This is the key behind the prevalence of sexual abuse within Catholicism. The authoritarianism wielded by the clergy not only absolves them of their crimes but also renders their victims utterly powerless to stand against them.
Even Rome’s ecclesiastical titles reflect this currency of power. The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Instead of addressing patriarchs as ‘Vostra Beautitudine,’ archbishops as ‘Your Grace,’ bishops as ‘My Lord,’ abbots as ‘Gracious Lord,’ one may without any breach of etiquette salute all equally as Monsignor.”
The word “monsignor” means “my Lord” and “arch” means “master,” so archbishop and arch priest literally mean master bishop and master priest which dubiously elevates them to the same footing as Jesus: “You call me Master and Lord, and rightly so.” (Jn. 13:13). But He warned: “for you have only one Master and you are all brothers” (Mt. 23:8).
The Pope is called “Most Holy Father,” but the title “Holy Father” appears only once in the Bible and it’s used for God (Jn. 17:11). Why should this title be attributed to an earthly creature? We are warned against using the religious title of “father” because it diverts the reference people should have for God/Jesus to imperfect and sinful men (Mt. 23:9).
Notably, the Catholic priest is called “another Christ” (sacerdotus alter Christus). This god-like pedestal on which priests and popes are placed gives them much power over Catholics and this religious absolutism was precisely what Jesus denounced among the Pharisees. They had their religious garbs, special seats, religious showbiz and rites which gave them so much control over the people (Mt. 23:1-12).
Christ’s death has torn apart the veil of the temple. No need to go to God through human priests again. Every Christian is now a priest and Jesus is our High Priest. All who have been washed from their sins by Christ’s blood are “priests unto God” and are “a royal priesthood” (Rev. 1:6, 1 Pt. 2:9). Rome dare not teach this truth because she will lose her hold on the laity.
The Bible commands church leaders: “Do not lord it over the group [congregation] which is in your charge, but be an example for the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). But as the centuries went by, false leaders began to lord it over the people, teaching them that they needed a priest to listen to their sins and absolve them, sprinkle them, give them last rites and say Masses for them.
A powerful system of priestcraft soon developed and Jesus, the true High Priest, became clouded from their view by dark veils of man-made traditions. Any system of priesthood – whether professing to be Christian or not – that is contrary to the priesthood of all believers which the New Testament teaches is an abomination before God.
When Pope Francis granted priests the power to absolve the sin of abortion in September 2015, it triggered a debate on social media.
Protestants pointed at the ridiculous idea of men having the power to forgive people’s sins, while Catholics responded by citing Bible verses from their echo chambers.
The Council of Trent declares that this confession to priest (sacrament of penance) is “necessary unto salvation” and places a curse on those who say otherwise.
In Catholic theology, there are two types of sin – the mortal and venial. A mortal sin is a serious offence against God’s law which kills the grace in the soul and leads to hell.
A venial sin is a less serious sin against God’s law which partially kills grace but can be removed by penance.
However, a sin is mortal when the thought, desire, word, action or omission is seriously wrong, the sinner knows it’s seriously wrong and he/she sinner fully consented to it.
A sin is venial “when the evil done is not seriously wrong; second, when the evil done is seriously wrong but the sinner sincerely believes it is only slightly wrong or does not give full consent to it” (The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism, 32, 33).
When the penitent enters the confessional – a dark booth with a kneeling place and a window – he is to reflect on his sins until the priest (the confessor) slides open the window to listen to him. He must separate out the mortal from the venial sins. To hold back a mortal sin from the priest will send him to hell.
Three things are thus required: the penitent must show contrition for his sins, confess them and do the works of expiation (penance) that the priest levies on him.
But the Bible doesn’t distinguish between “mortal” and “venial” sins, rather it declares that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Sins are transgressions of God’s law and they are all mortal.
The Bible is replete with examples of people who did not see their sin as “seriously wrong” yet were severely judged by God (Lev. 10:1-2, Num. 12:1-10, 2 Sam. 6:20-23, Acts 5:3-5). In God’s standard, there is no “venial sin.”
Granted, as time changes, what qualifies as mortal sin too changes. Many years ago, eating meat on Friday was a mortal sin, now it’s no more.
Abortion used to a serious sin which qualified a Catholic for excommunication but now, the Pope, with a stroke of his sacerdotal pen, has removed the pain of eternal punishment attached to it.
Nothing more showcases the man-centered system of Catholicism than the fact that priests can even encourage some sins (!):
“If I [a priest] know that someone has made up his mind to commit sin and there is no other way of preventing him, I may lawfully induce him to be satisfied with some less offence of God than he was bent on committing. And so, if a man was determined to commit adultery, I do nothing morally wrong, but rather the contrary, by persuading him to commit fornication instead” (Manual of Moral Theology I:201-202).
When you insist on committing a sin, he bargains with you to commit what he decides is the “lesser sin”. So in most cases, these men “strengthen the hands of evildoers so that no one turns from his wickedness” (Jer. 23:14).
Even with the razzle-dazzle, Catholics don’t confess the sins of idolatry and necromancy because Catholicism endorses them.
Jesus’ denounced such religious leaders who do not enter God’s kingdom and still prevent others from trying to enter (Matt. 23:13).
The Canon law (#989) states that all Catholics above the age of discretion must confess their serious sins at least once a year.
“All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret” (Catechism, 1456).
Now, this is a tool used by most cults: to break down the self-respect of their members by persuading them to share their most innermost secrets. Priests are mandated to resort to different tactics to draw out confessions of secret sins from the penitent:
“It is necessary that the confessor should know everything on which he has to exercise his judgement. Let him then, with wisdom and subtlety, interrogate the sinners on the sins which they may ignore, or conceal through shame” (St. John of Capistrano, The Mirror of the Clergy, 351).
In a case where a lady goes to confess a sexual sin, she must fully recount the act to the priest (who is supposed to be celibate).
He probes her mind with questions to hear all the details. It’s a two-way thing. Through these questions, the lady’s mind is polluted with sexual ideas she might not have imagined before, while the priest’s mind becomes a reservoir for filthy images. Unless he is dead below the belt, he’s titillated by the sexually graphic details he hears.
I wonder how a lady will bring herself to share sexual details she can’t share with her friends with a priest. And even if she does, one imagines the intense shame it brings.
After confession and absolution, the priest gives the penitent “work of satisfaction” for his sins. This could be to recite “Hail Mary” or “Our Father” a given number of times, or to visit the “blessed sacrament”.
The absolution granted doesn’t take effect until when the penance is done. Interestingly, priests trapped in mortal sins can still remove the sins of the laity:
“The Church asks that a priest who absolves a penitent be in the state of grace. This does not mean however that a priest in the state of mortal sin would not possess the power to forgive sins or that when exercised it would not be effective for the penitent” (Bishop Fulton Sheen, Peace of Soul, 1949, 136).
“St” Thomas Aquinas put it more bluntly that “a priest might happen to share in a sin committed by his subject, e.g by [carnal] knowledge of a woman who is his subject … If however, he were to absolve her, it would be valid” (Summa Theologica, 3:4:274-76).
In other words, a confessor may be a rabid fornicator, pedophile, homosexual or indulges in porn, yet he still has ‘the power’ to absolve Catholics of these very sins (sometimes, after his own perverse fantasies have been fuelled by their confessions!)
Little wonder there have been cases of boys sodomised by priests in the confession booth. They went to him to be cleansed from their sins, but ended up more defiled because what the priest himself needs is just a “spark” for his perverted lust to explode.
Auricular confession is mainly based on the belief that “all the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church have the power to forgive sins” – a power they claim was given to them by Jesus (Outlines of the Catholic Faith, 1979, 34). By way of reply:
1. It is God – not man – who blots out sins. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). He is the One forgives all our iniquities.
It’s irrational to suggest God would stop the power to forgive sin in Himself and restrict it only to a select group of people. If He did that, it would diminish His omnipotence.
2. Some Catholics appeal to the Old Testament, but even Trent affirms that the sacrament of penance is not in the OT.
The OT priests only made atonement on behalf of sins, they neither listened to confessions nor granted absolution.
Ezra the priest said “Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure…” (Ezra 10:11).
David said: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ And you forgave the guilt.” (Psalm 32:5).
Even the Jews listening to Jesus quizzed “who can forgive sins but God?” (Mark 2:7).
3. When the Bible speaks of “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18), it’s based on what God has done through Christ on the cross.
A believer is reconciled with God by faith in Christ’s sacrifice not by following the penance prescribed by a religion. Sin, which caused enmity, was dealt with at the cross and the veil of the temple was torn, so there is no need to go through priests to relate with God.
To gain a right standing before God, one must receive the righteousness of Christ by faith in His perfect sacrifice.
“However, when someone, without working, puts faith in the one who justifies the godless, it is this faith that is reckoned as uprightness” (Romans 4:5).
4. Catholics usually lean on some Bible verses for support:
I. John 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” (New American Bible)
Jesus gave all the apostles and disciples power and authority to act in His name. But this was a declaratory power (Mt. 16:18, 18:18). He sent them as the Father sent Him to “to bring the good news to the afflicted” (Lk. 4:18).
They were commanded to proclaim the gospel by which all who believe will receive forgiveness of sin (Matt. 28:18, Mk. 16:15, Lk. 24:44). Jesus was the one saving men from their sins; the apostles were only His emissaries. They were not “little gods” given power to forgive and retain men’s sins.
According to a commentator:
“In this Gospel’s discourse sin is primarily failing to acknowledge the revelation of God in Jesus (cf. 8:24; 9:39-41; 15:22-24). Jesus’ words and works have been depicted as bringing about a judgement which the recipients make on themselves, as they either respond in belief or expose their sinful state of unbelief” (Andrew Lincoln, The Gospel According to St. John, Hendrickson: New York, 2005, 499).
Acts 2:38 “‘You must repent,’ Peter answered, ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (New Jerusalem Bible).
Acts 10:43 “It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name”
Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God, and receive, through faith in me, forgiveness of their sins and a share in the inheritance of the sanctified”
The forgiveness of sins is received by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If the apostles had understood the words of Jesus in John 20:23 to mean listening to confessions and granting absolution as Catholicism practices, there would have been several places in the NT where they did such, but there are none.
Catholics desperately latch on to this verse and refuse to consider its proper context.
II. James 5:16 “So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another to be cured...” (NAB)
If Catholics must use this verse then as people confess to the priests, the priests must also confess to the people, since the term “one another” is used there. Obviously, the priest-laity distinction is refuted here as with the rest of the NT.
When Simon’s sin was pointed out to him, Peter told him: “Repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that this scheme of yours may be forgiven” (Acts 8:22).
He didn’t take him into a booth to hear his sins and grant absolution, rather he directed him to God who forgives sins.
The Greek word for fault (paraptoma) is different from that of sin (hamartia), though Christians do confess their sins to other believers and get prayed for. But it’s not “necessary for salvation” as Catholicism teaches.
And to say that God will not forgive a person unless he confesses to a priest and does work of expiation is totally false.
III. 2 Cor. 2:10 “But if you forgive anybody, then I too forgive that person; and whatever I have forgiven, if there is anything I have forgiven, I have done it for your sake in Christ’s presence”
The import of this chapter is about forgiveness between brethren and how this is to be handled has been addressed by Scripture (Mt. 5:23-24, 18:15). Nothing here supports confession to priests.
4. As Christians, when we sin, the Bible says we have “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the upright.” (1Jn. 2:1).
We are to confess our sins directly to Christ because He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn. 1:9).
Why go to a man – pretending to be Christ – when you can go directly to Christ to cleanse you? A Catholic will keep entering the booth as a sinner and leaving it the same because only “the blood of the lamb” can take away his/her sins (Jn. 1:29).
5. The word “penance” doesn’t occur even once in the Bible. What the Bible teaches is repentance and it’s folly for anyone to equate confession with repentance.
A person can confess a sin many times and still not repent from it. When Judas sinned, he confessed his sin to the priests and hanged himself (Mt. 27:4-5). His confession didn’t remove his guilt.
The idea of “doing works of satisfaction” is a denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s work and a rejection of Biblical justification.
Since Jesus is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins, there is no amount of “work” prescribed by man that can cleanse us from sin or guilt. Forgiveness of sins is a gift from God, all we have to do is receive it by faith.
The historical development of auricular confession has been examined here.
To a novice, the Catholic Mass is the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. That is not exactly true. Pope Paul VI sums up the Catholic belief:
“We believe that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper were changed into His Body and His Blood which were to be offered for us at the cross, so the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ enthroned gloriously in heaven, and We believe that the mysterious presence of the Lord, under the appearance of these elements which seem to our senses the same after as before the Consecration, is a true, real and substantial presence… This mysterious change is…called by the Church transubstantiation” (Official Church Teachings – Christ Our Lord, 1978, 411).
I. The belief that Jesus turned bread and wine into His body and blood at the Last Supper is supported with 3 Bible passages:
a) Matthew 26: 26-29
When Jesus “consecrated” the bread and wine, He was still literally there with the disciples. He didn’t vanish to appear as bread and wine. His statement “this is My body” there is symbolic. The Greek verb “is” (estin) used there also means “signify” and some versions render it that way.
He said: “I shall not drink of this fruit of the vine again, until I drink it with you, new wine, in the kingdom of my Father” (v. 29). Now, if the wine had changed to blood because He called it “My blood” as it’s argued, that means it also changed back into wine when He called it “fruit of the vine.”
The Lord simply blessed the bread and wine, He didn’t perform a miracle there. He “took the cup and gave thanks [Greek: Eucharistesas]” (Matt. 26:27) just as Godly people blessed and gave thanks for their meals (Deut. 8:10, Matt. 6:11; Rom. 14:6).
b) John 6:53-57
The statement latched onto is: “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Catholics refuse to consider the context of this passage. Of course, some Jews were troubled at those words and walked away because they couldn’t understand what Jesus meant. It’s unwise to deduce from their action that Jesus was teaching transubstantiation.
It’s argued that the word “to chew” (Gr: trogo) in vs 54 proves we are to literally eat Christ’s flesh, but Jesus had not instituted the Lord’s Supper here. Bear in mind also that Jesus didn’t establish a mysterious rite of eating flesh or drinking blood for that would be a violation of the Law of Moses which He came to fulfill (Lev. 7:26-27; 17:10-12).
In John 6:25, He says “I am the bread of life“. If we take this literally as Catholics have taken verse 53, then Jesus is a loaf of bread. He said in John 10:9 “I am the door...” Does this also make Him a piece of wood? No.
Psalm 91:4 says: “He [God] shall cover you with His feathers, and under his wings shall you trust.” If we take this expression literally also, then God is a big bird. Here is the point: in Biblical interpretation, a word is taken as literal when it’s used literally and figurative when used figuratively or when its literal use violates Scripture or Logic.
Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes (Matt. 13:34) and this were His audience in John 6, so He used a figurative, spiritual rather than a literal or physical language. He consistently called men to believe in Him using different analogies – seed, sheep, water, new birth, bread – to illustrate it.
He told Nicodemus that those who believed in Him would receive a new birth. He wasn’t speaking of a physical birth but a spiritual birth (John 3:16).
He promised the woman at the well “living water” and “a well of water” springing up within her. He didn’t mean physical water but spiritual cleansing (John 4:10-14). When He said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness…” (Jn. 8:12), He wasn’t speaking of physical light, but spiritual light to all who receive Him.
The “hunger and thirst” Jesus referred to in John 6:35 was spiritual since the bread was not physical. Catholics claim they are physically eating Christ, but if that is the case, they shouldn’t hunger or thirst physically either – but they do.
If the “hungering and thirsting” are spiritual terms, so are the eating and drinking. The different metaphors Jesus used – eating, drinking, coming, believing – all stand for the same: receiving Him by faith (vv. 35, 36, 47, 48, 51).
c) 1 Cor. 11:25-29
That Jesus said “this cup is the new covenant in my blood” doesn’t change the cup into the new covenant, in the same vein, the elements do not change into flesh and blood because of the words “this is my body” in Latin.
Catholics are reading a dogma officially defined in the 13th century back into this Bible passage. That is an abuse of Scripture. Paul here speaks of the Lord’s Supper, a simple meal in which Christians proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes, not an ornate sacrament which “re-presents” the sufficient sacrifice of Calvary.
II. The Eucharistic liturgy gives priests a high footing:
“Thus the priest may, in a certain manner be called the creator of his Creator, since by saying the word of consecration, he creates as it were, Jesus in the sacrament” (Alphonsus Liguori, Duties and Dignities of the Priest, 27).
How blasphemous to believe priests have the power to pull Christ down to appear as bread to be handled and swallowed! How blasphemous to think some men can create Christ!
Now, if the bread was really being changed into the flesh of Christ, why does it breed mould after a period of time? That proves it’s not changed to Christ’s body because God wouldn’t let His body experience decay. “You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay” (Ps. 16:10).
III. The Mass is defined as: “A sacrifice in which the Sacrifice of the Cross is perpetuated; – A memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, who said ‘do this in memory of me.’ Luke 22:19” (Eucharistum Mysterium, May 25, 1967).
This is where a clear contrast between Roman Catholicism and the Bible is striking. Jesus declared at the cross: “It is finished!” (Jn. 19:30). He offered the perfect sacrifice to God paid the full penalty for the sins of mankind.
His sacrifice took place once for all on the cross and is never to be repeated (and doesn’t have to) like the OT sacrifices that couldn’t take away sins (Heb 7:27, 9:25-10:2; 10:12-18). The fact that the Catholic Mass has to be repeated proves its ineffectiveness because if once is not enough, even a billion would not.
Also, it’s an impossibility to “perpetuate” or “re-present” the sacrifice of Christ at the cross because it’s a specific event that has not only occurred, but has also achieved its full purpose. One can only remember or honour an historic event.
Christ is now at the right hand of God in an immortal, resurrected and glorious body which can never die again. “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! ” (Rev. 1:18). He’s not dying or shedding His blood in heaven because He already did that once at the cross. The “dying-rising” Jesus of Catholicism is not the Jesus of the Bible.
IV. Transubstantiation is said to be a “mystery” or “miracle.” If that is the case, where is the proof that any change occurs? The bread still looks and tastes as bread and the wine still tastes as wine after consecration.
If Cyanide is added to the wine before “consecration” what priest would be willing to drink it afterwards? A miracle functions within the bounds of reality and is verifiable, otherwise it’s not a miracle.
When Catholics are asked to present an evidence for this “mystery,” they bleat “we believe it changes…we accept in faith…that they change into flesh and blood under the appearance of bread and wine.” We are not interested in beliefs without proofs.
Examine all the miracles in the Bible. When Jesus turned water into wine, everyone saw and tasted that it had changed. The water didn’t change into wine “under the appearance” of water. When God parted the Red Sea, both the Israelites and the Egyptians saw it and walked on dry land. The sea didn’t part “under the appearance” of remaining closed.
Did Jesus raise the dead “under the appearance” of remaining dead or heal the blind “under the appearance” of being unable to see? Such a fantasy is not in the Bible yet Catholics are forced to believe it.
V. The wafer (“bread”) used in the Mass is called the host (from the Latin word for “victim” or “sacrifice”). Since it’s believed to have changed into the flesh of God, it is placed in a tabernacle and worshipped by Catholics as they enter the church. It is also borne in a monstrance on procession during the Feast of Corpus Christi.
Whatever Rome may assert, this is plain idolatry and it’s strictly forbidden by Scripture. This is the false Christ “of the inner chambers” that Jesus warned us against (Matt. 24:26)
Bread gods always come with problems. During the Middle Ages discussions erupted about what should be done if a person were to vomit after receiving the host or if a mouse were to by chance eat God’s body. At the Council of Constance, it was argued whether a man who spilled some of the blood of Christ should have his beard burned (This is why till date, in most cases, only the priests drink the wine).
The Jews in Deggendorf, Bavaria, were once slaughtered by Catholics in revenge for allegedly stealing and “torturing” a consecrated host. When you believe in absurdities, you will commit atrocities.
I once saw a funny video footage of a priest trying to serve the host to a bride, it mistakenly dropped onto her chest and slid into her gown. The priest quickly dipped his two fingers into her breasts to rescue his wafer god from in there. The lady had to involuntarily hold his fingers.
I have had some Catholics tell me that Satanists break into their churches to steal their wafer Jesus so as to “torture” him in their covens! Such narratives are humourous and of course, sad. The Lord Jesus Christ is in heaven, in power and glory. He’s not being “stolen” or “tortured” as a wafer in some foul coven. Any god that has to be carried about by men cannot save in the day of trouble.
VI. Christ said: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). He is spiritually present with believers, He doesn’t have to become a bread to do so. It defies the bound of rational (and Biblical) thought to claim Jesus is physically present in the midst of millions of different groups of believers around the world.
He said: “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me [physically]” (Jn. 12:8). To suggest that millions of wafers on Catholic altars is the physical body, “whole and entire” of Christ is a hallowed lie.
VII. The complicated ritualism associated with the Catholic Mass tells a lot. An author observed that it is “a spectacle of gorgeous magnificence – lights, colors, vestments, music, incense… [with] spectators, not participants, spectators like those who were present at a performance of the ancient mystery cults” (Scott Anderson, Romanism and the Gospel, 1937, 93).
During the Mass, as a work notes, the priest makes the sign of the cross 16 times, turns towards the congregation 6 times, kisses the altar 8 times, bows his head 21 times, genuflects 8 times, strikes his breasts 10 times, blesses the altar with the sign of the cross 30 times and lifts his eyes towards heaven 11 times.
Compare this to the simple meal Christ instituted and tell me if there isn’t a wide contrast.
VIII. At the memorial supper, Jesus simply took bread and broke it. The unleavened bread symbolized His sinless body and the wine His shed blood. He and the apostles didn’t use the round wafer Rome uses. After all bread doesn’t break into round pieces.
The round, disk-shaped symbolism has links with ancient pagan rites in which initiates received a small round cake or wafer of unleavened bread – symbolizing the solar disk. In the ancient Egyptian cult, different shapes of cakes were used to symbolize their deities and the most commonly used was the round wafer symbolizing the sun god.
The “god-eating” rite was a crucial part of several ancient pagan religions. The Catholic Encyclopedia (10:404) notes: “Mithraism had a Eucharist, but the idea of a sacred banquet is as old as the human race and existed at all ages and amongst all peoples.” These same rites were also known among the the pre-colonial Central and South Americans.
The concept of transubstantiation came from paganism. It was only mixed with some New Testament principles to disguise it. As a result, many Catholics, instead of receiving Christ into their hearts by faith have been deceived to believe they receive Christ by physically eating him at Mass.