Growing up Protestant, I had a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic Church, about both her practices and her beliefs. Since the Mass is the principal form of worship in the Catholic Church, I thought it’d be nice to use it to respond to some of the false claims made about the Church. First among them…
Catholics Pray to Mary and the Saints
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
That comes from the Confiteor, which is recited by all Catholics at Mass. So, if you’re speaking Ye Old English, then you could say we “pray” to Mary. What we’re really doing though is requesting, from Mary, the Saints, Angels, and one another, intercessory prayer.
Catholics Make Mary Equal to Christ
Lord Jesus Christ, only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.
That comes from the Gloria, which is sung or recited at nearly every Mass. So, I’m pretty confident that the Catholic Church is clear about Jesus alone being Lord, even above Mary.
Catholics Aren’t Christians
For he assumed at his first coming
the lowliness of human flesh,
and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago,
and opened for us the way to eternal salvation,
that, when he comes again in glory and majesty
and all is at last made manifest,
we who watch for that day
may inherit the great promise
in which now we dare to hope.
From one of the Preface prayers for Advent. Sounds awfully Christian to me, and this is the least of the evidence. Not one element of the Mass fails to convey the glory due Jesus Christ and his role as Messiah and Savior.
Catholics Think Jesus is Still on the Cross
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
This, of course, is an excerpt of the Nicene Creed, said at virtually every Mass. So, no. Catholics know that Jesus is in Heaven, not on the cross. The reason why Catholics almost always depict a cross with Christ on it is because it is that crucified man who we worship, and just as St. Paul did, “we preach Christ crucified”.
Catholics Believe in Salvation by Works
To us, also, your servants, who, though sinners,
hope in your abundant mercies,
graciously grant some share
and fellowship with your holy apostles and martyrs:
and all your saints;
admit us, we beseech you,
into their company,
not weighing our merits,
but granting us your pardon,
through Christ our lord.
This prayer comes shortly after the consecration of the bread and wine. When within the Catholic Mass exists a prayer asking God to not consider our merits, it’s kinda impossible to maintain that Catholics think their merits will get them to heaven.
Catholics Repeatedly Sacrifice Christ
Look with favor on the oblation of your Church,
in which we show forth
the paschal Sacrifice of Christ that has been handed on to us,
and grant that, by the power of the Spirit of your love,
we may be counted now and until the day of eternity
among the members of your Son,
in whose Body and Blood we have communion.
This too follows the consecration. That “oblation” refers immediately to the consecrated Bread and Wine. Those “show forth the paschal Sacrifice of Christ”. In other words, they truly are the Body and Blood of Christ, but they aren’t sacrificed anew. Rather, that singular sacrifice on Calvary is made present at every Mass. One and the same sacrifice re-presented.