Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Reformers and their Catholic Beliefs

It’s not so uncommon to run into a fundamentalist Christian who celebrates the reformers for leaving the “Roman” Catholic Church and “reforming” it. What IS uncommon, however, is running into a fundamentalist Christian who knows what these “reformers” actually taught and believed. Obviously, not all that they taught would be surprising, and less surprising is the fact that some of them disagreed with one another. But there are a few things that seem to shock some Protestants when they realize what their predecessors believed. I believe the reason it can be shocking is because Protestantism is an ever-changing thing, with no actual authority to draw a line anywhere on any topic, because every person is essentially free to interpret Scripture however they see fit, or however they feel the Spirit is guiding them, regardless of conflict with others. There is no basis at all for any person within Protestantism, including the so-called “Pillars of the Reformation”, to say what is or is not Truth. This was a fact that Luther realized too late, as he would eventually lament, and then berate those who disagreed with him.

Below are 4 examples of doctrines which are normally viewed as “particularly Catholic” doctrines, yet which the reformers, at least in part, taught and believed. My question to Christians who reject the following doctrines would be: if you hold the reformers in such high esteem as to celebrate their “wisdom” and “insight” in taking the “true” Church into “freedom” and “right understanding of the Word”…in other words, if you celebrate “Reformation Day” without seeing it as a cause of division in Christ’s Body, why do you now renounce what your forefathers believed? On whose authority do you rest your claim that they got it wrong, and you or your pastor suddenly (in the 18th, 19th, 20th, etc…century) got it right?

From the perspective of a guy looking in from the outside, what I see is that this “authority” you exercise is none other than your own self. In the meantime, I will rely on the Authority that Christ gave us, the “pillar and bulwark of Truth” (1Tim 3:15).



-Regenerative Baptism/Infant Baptism

Martin Luther
"This fountain [in Zech 13:1] might well and properly be understood as referring to Baptism, in which the Spirit is given and all sins are washed away." [Luther's Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, St. Louis: Concordia, 1973, 20:331]

[regarding Acts 2:37-41] "Who is to be baptized? All nations, that is, all human beings, young and old are to be baptized...Little children should be baptized when they are brought to Baptism by those who have authority over them. How do you prove that infants, too, are to be baptized? Infants, too, are to be baptized because they are included in the words 'all nations'; [and] because Holy Baptism is the only means whereby infants, who, too, must be born again, can ordinarily be regenerated and brought to faith( Mk 10:13; Jn 3:5-6)." [Luther's Small Catechism, rev.ed., St. Louis: Concordia, 1965, 172-73]

[regarding Gal 3:27] "He must put off his old activities, so that from sons of Adam we may be changed into sons of God. This does not happen by a change of clothing or by any laws or works; it happens by the rebirth and renewal that takes place in Baptism, as Paul says, 'As many of you as were baptized have put on Christ'...Paul is speaking about a 'putting on', not by imitation by birth. He does not say: 'Through Baptism you have received a token...that is what the sectarians [Anabaptists] imagine when they make Baptism a mere token, that is, a small and empty sign." [Luther's Works, 26:352-53]

John Calvin
"Doubtless the design of Satan in assaulting infant baptism with all his forces is to keep out of view, and gradually efface, the attestation of divine grace which the promise itself presents to our eyes...Wherefore, if we would not maliciously obscure the kindness of God, let us present to him our infants, to whom he has assigned a place among his friends and family, that is, the members of the Church." [Institutes of the Christian Religion, closing of Chapter 16 which is devoted to defending infant baptism, 1536, trans. Henry Beveridge, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1983, 2:554]

[regarding Rom 6:3-4] "Paul proves his assertion that Christ destroys sin in His people from the effect of baptism, by which we are initiated into faith in Him. It is beyond question that we put on Christ in Baptism." [Calvin's New Testament Commentaries, 1540, trans. Ross Parker, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1980, 8:122]


-Mary, Mother of God

Martin Luther
"In this work whereby she was made the Mother of God, so many and such good things were given her that no one can grasp them....Not only was Mary the mother of Him who is born [Bethlehem], but of Him who, before the world, was eternally born of the Father, from a Mother in time and at the same time man and God." (Weimer, The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, Vol. 7, page 572)

John Calvin
"It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of His Son, granted her the highest honor....Elizabeth calls Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God." (Calvini Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Braunschweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, Vol. 45, page 348 and 335)


Ulrich Zwingli
"It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the son of God." (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, in Evang. Luc., Op. Comp., Vol. 6,I, page 639)


-Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Martin Luther
“It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin… Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact.” ( Works of Luther, Vol. 11, pages 319-320; Vol. 6, page 510.)

John Calvin
“There have been certain folk who have wished to suggest from this passage [Matthew 1:25] that the Virgin Mary had other children than the Son of God, and that Joseph had then dwelt with her later; but what folly this is! For the gospel writer did not wish to record what happened afterwards; he simply wished to make clear Joseph’s obedience and to show that Joseph had been well and truly assured that it was God who had sent His angel to Mary. He had therefore never dwelt with her nor had he shared her company… And beside this Our Lord Jesus Christ is called the first-born. This is not because there was a second or a third, but because the gospel writer is paying regard to the precedence. Scripture speaks thus of naming the first-born whether or no there was any question of the second.” (Sermon on Matthew 1:22-25. Published in 1562.)

Ulrich Zwingli
“I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel, as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin.” ( Zwingli Opera, Vol. 1, page 424.)


Heinrich Bullinger
“And we also believe and teach that the eternal Son of the eternal God became the Son of Man…born of the ever virgin Mary…” (Second Helvetic Confession, Chapter XI, Section 4, 1562.)

I won’t guarantee the accuracy of my Latin-English translation, but here is the full quote in the original Latin:

4. Eundem quoque æterni Dei æternum Filium credimus et docemus hominis factum esse filium, ex semine Abrahæ atque Davidis, non ex viri coitu, quod Ebion dixit, sed conceptum purissime ex Spiritu Sancto, et natum ex Maria semper virgine: sicut diligenter nobis historia explicat evangelica (Matt. i. ). Et Paulus ait: Nullibi angelos adsumit, sed semen Abrahæ (Heb. ii. 16). Joannes item Apostolus, qui non credit, Jesum Christum in carne venisse, ex Deo non est (1 Joh. iv. 3). Caro ergo Christi nec phantastica fuit, nec cœlitus adlata, sicuti Valentinus et Marcion somniabant. - (Italics in original, bolding added, excerpt from Dave Armstrong’s Socrates58 blog.)

John Wesley (founder of Methodist church)
“I believe that he was made man, joining the human nature with the divine in one person; being conceived by the singular operation of the Holy Ghost, and born of the blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as before she brought him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.” (John Wesley, “A Letter to a Roman Catholic”, July 18, 1749, Dublin.)


-Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist

Martin Luther
"Who, but the devil, has granted such license of wresting the words of the holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men.” (Luther’s Collected Works, Wittenburg Edition, no. 7 p, 391) (emphasis in source)

"Of all the fathers, as many as you can name, not one has ever spoken about the sacrament as these fanatics do. None of them uses such an expression as, 'It is simply bread and wine,' or 'Christ's body and blood are not present.' Yet this subject is so frequently discussed by them, it is impossible that they should not at some time have let slip such and expression as, 'It is simply bread,' or 'Not that the body of Christ is physically present,' or the like, since they are greatly concerned not to mislead the people; actually, they simply proceed to speak as if no one doubted that Christ's body and blood are present. Certainly among so many fathers and so many writings a negative argument should have turned up at least once, as happens in other articles; but actually they all stand uniformly and consistently on the affirmative side" (Luther's Works, St. Louis, MI: Concordia Publishing, 1961, Volume 37, 54)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Prophecy of Malachi 1:11

Over the past few years I have lost count of how many times I've heard various prophesies, dreams and visions from Scripture get tossed around to 'prove' that "the world will end on [such-n-such date]", or "Rome is the great harlot", or "the rapture will leave the sinners behind [in such-n-such fashion for such amount of time]".  Of course, it only takes a closer look at Scripture and history to see that these assertions are a gross misapplication of Scripture.  But there is one prophecy in particular that seems to get ignored.  While hunting through the various prophesies to 'prove' one thing or another, this one, for whatever reason, is simply overlooked by those folks who otherwise 'seem' like they are out to uncover the truth.  It is a prophecy tucked into the first chapter of the book of Malachi while the Israelites were being reprimanded by God.

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.” (Mal 1:11)

Some later translations, such as the KJV and New American Standard, use future-tense verbs ("...my name will be great...incense is going to be offered...").What exactly is being said here?  Let's take a look.*

"...For from the rising of the sun to its setting...".  Catholics should be very familiar with this because we hear it at Mass, sometimes as "...from east to west...".  In the corrected translation of the English, Catholics will hear the following in Eucharistic Prayer III: 

"You are indeed Holy, O Lord,
and all you have created rightly gives you praise,
for through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
by the power and working of the Holy Spirit,
you give life to all things and make them holy,
and you never cease to gather a people to yourself,
so that from the rising of the sun to its setting
a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name."

I suppose you can look at it how you want.  It can be a linear timeline, so to speak, as in "from dawn to dusk", or a global view suggesting "all around the world"  I would be willing to bet that it has a deeper meaning than meets the eye and is not limited to just one or the other of those.

"...my name is great among the nations...".  This is how we see that it was a prophecy of a time to come, which had not yet been fulfilled when Malachi was recorded.  God's Name was not yet "great among the nations" in that time because most nations were pagan. God had not yet been proclaimed to all the nations.  As I noted earlier, some later translations use future tense verbs here.  Every Christian should be able to identify with this because every Christian is called to profess Christ to all the nations...to spread the Gospel message to all the world.  In the past 2,000 years I think it's fair to say that we've reached the far corners of the globe to proclaim Christ.  Already hundreds of years ago, missionaries were setting out to the most remote parts of the world, often times being martyred for doing so.  Though I have no doubt that our work is far from complete since our very nature as humans demands continual proclamation of Christ to 'new-born' ears who have not yet heard the Gospel.

"...and in every place incense is offered to my name...".  It's very clear here that God, speaking through His prophet, expects to have incense offered to His Name in every place in a time when His Name is great among the nations, as part of this prophecy.  This should be very familiar to Catholics, some Lutherans and Anglicans/Episcopalians, and perhaps others who have not abandoned the use of incense in their worship.

"...and a pure offering...".  A pure offering.  Think about this for a moment.  A pure offering.  Some translations say "clean oblation".  What is the ONLY offering that we could make to God which is PURE or clean?  I think the only answer here is "Christ".  Jesus Christ is the only pure offering that could be made to God.  And wasn't this prophecy fulfilled in Christ on Calvary?  Of course it was.  But there's more to it than that because, when Christ was offered, rather, when He offered Himself once for all (cff. Rom 6:10, Hb 7:27, 10:1-13), God's Name was still not "great among the nations".  Most nations were still "Gentile" or "heathen" at this time.  Pagan worship was still the norm...hence the command of Christ to His Apostles to "...go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28: 19-20).  The world had not yet been converted to Christ.  This pure offering is directly linked to the incense which was to be offered in God's Name, that Name being great among the nations:   "...and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts".  But how can Christ, the "pure offering", be offered in future tense as this prophecy is fulfilled along with God's Name becoming great among the nations?  Well, for a Catholic that's an easy one:  Christ's once-for-all Sacrifice is re-presented for ALL God's people to participate in, even those who were not alive in the year 33 AD to be present at Calvary, through the Mass.  You see, in the Catholic Mass, the Priest, submitting himself to the actions of Christ through him, obediently does the Will of Christ:  "Do this in remembrance of me" (Lk 22:19) to make present for us the once-for-all Sacrifice that Christ offered.

This is a prophecy for a time to come when God’s Name is "great among the nations” and “in every place” from East to West (and/or morning to night) “incense” is offered and a “pure offering” is made. What is the ONLY pure offering that can be made to God?  Jesus Christ.  And how is Christ offered?  In the Catholic Church, His once-for-all Sacrifice is re-presented at the Mass, where "from the rising of the sun to its setting" [every single day, all around the world in every time zone, morning and night] God's Name being "great among the nations", "incense is offered to [His] name, and a pure offering [Christ]". 

Does your church offer a pure offering with incense, every day, from the rising of the sun to its setting, in every nation throughout the world the way that Malachi 1:11 prophesies?  If not, why not? 



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*This passage seems to speak on more than one level, as God's Word often does.  In digging deeper to find what the Church actually teaches on this passage, I was directed to a reference to it in the writings of the Council of Trent which endorses the above view.  I would also like to thank "Cathoholic" for the pertinent Catechism references that will follow the quotes from the council:

Chap. 1.[ The Institution of the Most HolySacrifice of the Mass ] *

938 Since under the former Testament (as the Apostle Paul bears witness) there was no consummation because of the weakness of the Levitical priesthood, it was necessary (God the Father of mercies ordaining it thus) that another priest according to the order of Melchisedech [ Gen. 14:18 ;Ps. 109:4;Heb. 7:11] arise, our Lord Jesus Christ, who could perfect [ Heb. 10:14] all who were to be sanctified, and lead them to perfection. He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once to God the Father upon the altar of the Cross by the mediation of death, so that He might accomplish an eternal redemption for them [edd.: illic,there], nevertheless, that His sacerdotal office might not come to an end with His death [Heb. 7:24, 27] at the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, so that He might leave to His beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice [can. 1] (as the nature of man demands), whereby that bloody sacrifice once to be completed on the Cross might be represented, and the memory of it remain even to the end of the world [ 1 Cor. 11:23 ff.] and its saving grace be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit, declaring Himself constituted "a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech" Ps. 109:4; offered to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine, and under the symbols of those same things gave to the apostles (whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament), so that they might partake, and He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood in these words to make offering: "Do this in commemoration of me, etc." [ Luke 22:19;1 Cor. 11:23], as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught [can. 2]. For, after He had celebrated the ancient feast of the Passover, which the multitude of the children of Israel sacrificed [Exod. 12:1 ff.] in memory of their exodus from Egypt, He instituted a new Passover, Himself to be immolated under visible signs by the Church through the priests, in memory of His own passage from this world to the Father, when by the shedding of His blood He redeemed us and "delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into His kingdom [Col. 1:13 ].

939 And this, indeed, is that "clean oblation" which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness or malice on the part of those who offer it; which the Lord foretold through Malachias must be offered in every place as a clean oblation [Mal. 1:11 ] to His name, which would be great among the gentiles, and which the Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians has clearly indicated, when he says that they who are defiled by participation of the "table of the devils" cannot become partakers of the table of the Lord [ 1 Cor. 10:21], understanding by table in each case, the altar. It is finally that [sacrifice] which was prefigured by various types of sacrifices, in the period of nature and the Law [ Gen. 4:4;8:20;12:8;22; Ex: passim], inasmuch as it comprises all good things signified by them, as being the consummation and perfection of them all.
(Pius IV 1559-1565, Council of Trent, conclusion,
Session XXII, Sept. 17, 1562, The Doctrine on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass*, Scriptural references in original.)

CCC 611 The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice (1Cor 11:25).  Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it (cf. Lk 22:19).  By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant: "For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth" (Jn 17:19, cf. Council of Trent:  DS 1752, 1764).

CCC 1330 The memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection.
The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering. The terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, "sacrifice of praise," spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used, (Heb 13:15; cf. 1Pet 2:5; Ps 116:13, 17; Mal 1:11) since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.

The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments. The Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name.


CCC 1350 The presentation of the offerings (the Offertory). Then, sometimes in procession, the bread and wine are brought to the altar; they will be offered by the priest in the name of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice in which they will become his body and blood. It is the very action of Christ at the Last Supper - "taking the bread and a cup." "The Church alone offers this pure oblation to the Creator, when she offers what comes forth from his creation with thanksgiving" (Irenaeus Adv. haeres. 4,18,4: PG 7/1, 1027; cf. Mal 1:11).  The presentation of the offerings at the altar takes up the gesture of Melchizedek and commits the Creator's gifts into the hands of Christ who, in his sacrifice, brings to perfection all human attempts to offer sacrifices.


CCC 2643 The Eucharist contains and expresses all forms of prayer: it is "the pure offering" of the whole Body of Christ to the glory of God's name (cf. Mal 1:11) and, according to the traditions of East and West, it is the "sacrifice of praise." (Catechism of the Catholic Church )

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Scripture in the Mass: How Biblical *IS* it?


I've heard it said before that Catholics don't hear as much of the Bible during our services, nor do we read the Bible as much as non-Catholics. I've even heard that the Church doesn't want Catholics to read the Bible. While I believe that ALL Christians can and should read their Bibles more often and learn the Scriptures, I will say these statements are false.

I do have a feeling that if you asked the average Catholic if he/she reads the Bible regularly, you’d get a “no”. But, I think it’s likely that a non-Catholic would say the same thing, and I don’t think this speaks to the character of the Church, rather to the fallen nature of people who have not put God’s Word high up on their priority reading list.

A set of polls [1] last year on Catholic Answers Forums showed that the Catholics there spend at least as much energy and time in learning the Scriptures as the non-Catholics. While these polls are limited in what they convey, reaching only a small audience, I believe they accurately portray how like-minded Christians (those who are on a particular discussion forum, for example) would respond, regardless of being Catholic or non-Catholic. On all sides there are those who take Scripture study seriously, and those who have barely cracked open a Bible in their lives.

Regarding the notion that the Church would prefer that we not read it, the Church places such high importance on Catholics reading the Bible that it has actually attached an indulgence to private and public Bible study.

"A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who read sacred Scripture with the veneration due God’s word and as a form of spiritual reading. The indulgence will be a plenary one when such reading is for at least one-half hour." (Handbook of Indulgences, p. 80)

The Church has also used explicit language to express the importance of learning the Scriptures in an effort to learn more about Christ.

The Church forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful . . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 133)

But my favorite of these statements is the first. I've read at least three testimonies of people who were under this impression and decided to put it to the test. Each found that Scripture was read some percentage more in the Catholic Mass than at a non-Catholic service. The most recent gentleman timed it with a stop watch and found that, for every half-minute of actual Scripture reading in a non-Catholic service, he was hearing at least 3 minutes in the Catholic Church. (I welcome anyone to do this and post your results here.) And not only did the Catholics Mass offer more Scripture, reading from the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, AND Gospel, but the Church actually does this EVERY SINGLE DAY...even publically listing out in advance the daily readings for the liturgical year so that every Catholic (and even non-Catholic if they choose) can follow along with the same readings each day even if they don't attend that day's Mass or service.

But that's not even the whole of the reality because those Scripture readings only account for the actual readings during the Liturgy of the Word. The Church goes further still in topping non-Catholic services in the amount of Scripture heard during the Mass because the entire Mass, from beginning to end, not only quotes from the Scriptures, but acts out the prophecies and descriptions that Scripture gives to us. Malachi 1:11 and a chunk of Revelation come to life during the Mass. The prayers that the Priest says are taken largely from Scripture. The responses of the faithful, the profession of faith, the entire liturgy...it is either directly quoted from the Bible, or an acting out of some part of Scripture.

How much Scripture do Catholics hear during Mass? Arguably more than any other Christian hears during their service, except MAYBE the more traditional Lutherans and Anglicans who have held on to the sacramentality of worship. And not only on Sundays, but every single day of the year, even if we choose to simply read the readings for ourselves instead of attend the weekday Masses…not including our own personal devotional time to Scripture reading. To drive home this point, here is a direct quote I took from Dale Freeberg’s “The Burning Bush” [2] which is an updated version of the article put together by “Catechetics Online” [3]. I changed the Scripture references to a blue font for easier reading, and added a few more which exist/are perpetuated in the Mass with the help of a couple of other sites [4]. Yes, oh yes, it is true: Catholics who practice their faith are exposed to more Scripture than arguably any other Christian, and to lead into yet another common misunderstanding about Catholics: the Mass is VERY Biblical, as you are about to see.

Greeting
Priest: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19, cf. John 14:13-14, Acts 2:21)
People: Amen (1 Chr 16:36)
Priest: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor 13:13; cf. 2Cor 1:2; Phil 1:2, Eph 1:2; Mt 1:23, 28:20)
People: And with your spirit. (cff. Gal 6:18, Ruth 2:4; 2Tim 4:22)

[When the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water takes place: Ez 36:25; Num 8:7a]

Liturgy of the Word

Penitential Rite (cff. Ps 51:5, Lk 18:9-14)
All: I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, (Jas 5:16) in my thoughts and in my words (Jas 3:6) in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, (Jas 4:17; Rom. 12:16) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; 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.(1Thess 5:25; cf. Lev 5:5; Neh 1:5-9; Dan 9:3-19; Jas 4:17)

Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. (1 John 1:9, cf. Ps 41:4)

People: Amen (1 Chr 16:36, Neh 8:6; Ps 41:13; Rom 16:27; Heb 13:20-21; Rev 7:16 )

All: Lord have mercy. (Tb 8:4) Christ have mercy. (1 Tim 1:2) Lord have mercy. (cf. Mt 15:22, 17:15, 20:30-31; Ps 123:3)

Gloria

All: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. (Luke 2:14; cf. Rev 4:11, 5:11-14)
We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, (Rev 22:9)
we give you thanks for your great glory, (Rev 7:12, Eph 5:20)
Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father (Rev 19:6, cf. Ps 148:13)
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, (2 John 3; cf. Ps 2:7; John 1:14)Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; (John 1:29)
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. (Rom 8:34)
For you alone are the Holy One, (Luke 4:34)
you alone are the Lord, (Rev 15:4) you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, (Luke 1:32)
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father, Amen (John 14:26)


[The Liturgy of the Word consists of four readings from Scripture: the first is typically from the Old Testament, the second a psalm, followed by a reading from one of the epistles. Finally, the Gospel is proclaimed during which the people stand out of respect for the Word. The chosen readings change daily.] (cf. Acts 15:21, Lk 4:16-22; Col 3:16; Eph 5:18-20)


“The Word of the Lord.” [following the readings] (1Pet 1:25)
“Thanks be to God.” (Rom 6:17,; 2Cor 9:15)
Gospel Acclamations (Psalms 146-150, among many other Psalms; Rev 19:1-6; Ps 24:7-10; 1Thess 2:12; 2Tim 4:18; Dan 4:34, 37; 1Pet 1:7; Phil 1:11)
“The Gospel of the Lord.” [following the Gospel] (Rom 16:25; Mk 1:1)
“Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ!”

A Sermon on the readings follows. (2 Tim 4:1-2, cf. Lk 24:25-47; Acts 2:14-36, 7:2-53, 8:30-35, 13:15-44, 17:1-11; 1Tim 4:13, 2Tim 3:16-17)

Profession of Faith (cf. Mk 9:24; John 11:27, 14:1; 1Jn 5:10)
All: I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, (Gen 14:19) of all things visible and invisible. (Col 1:16) I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of God, (Luke 1:35) born of the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father; (Heb 1:3) through him all things were made. (John 1:2-3) For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: (John 3:13) and by the power of the Holy Spirit he was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, (Matt 1:18) and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, (John 19:16) he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Cor 15:3-4) He ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51) and is seated at the right hand of the Father. (Col 3:1) He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1) and his kingdom will have no end. (Luke 1:33) I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life, (Acts 2:17) who proceeds from the Father and the Son, (John 14:16) who with the Father and Son is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets. (1 Peter 1:10-11) I believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church. (Rom 12:5) I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. (Rom 6:5) Amen

Liturgy of the Eucharist

[The gifts are brought to the altar. These include the bread and wine and the offering collected from the people.] (Malachi 3:10, Mt 5:23-24; cf. Gen 14:18-20, 18:1-8; Ex 12:1-28, 43-51, 13:3-10, 23:14-15, 34:18; Lev 23:4-14; Num 9:1-14, 28:16-25; Deut 16:1-8; 2Kng 4:42-44; Mk 6:30-44, etc...)
Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. (Eccl. 3:13) It will become for us the bread of life. (John 6:35; cf. 1Chron 29:10-11; Ps 72:18-19, 119:10, Lk 1:68)
People: Blessed be God forever. (Ps 68:35-36; cf. Gen 14:20; Ps 66:20)
Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink. (Luke 22:17-18)
People: Blessed be God forever. (Ps 68:36)
Priest: Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. (Heb. 12:28, cf. Mal 1:11)
People: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our sake and the good of all his holy Church. (Ps 50:23)
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord. (Lam 3:41)
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. (Col 3:17)
People: It is right and just. (Col 1:3)

Preface Acclamation
All: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. (Is 6:3) Hosanna in the highest.(cf. Rev 4:8) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. (Mark 11:9-10, Ps 118:26; Mt 21:9; Lk 19:38; John 12:13)
Eucharistic prayer [There are four of these, based on ancient prayers of the Church. Eucharistic Prayer Two follows as an example:]
Priest: You are Holy indeed, O Lord the fount of all holiness. (2 Macc. 14:36) Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion (John 10:17-18) he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take this all of you, and eat of it: For this is my body which will be given up for you. In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice and, once more giving thanks, he gave the it to his disciples, saying: Take this, all of you, and drink from it: For this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant. Which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this is memory of me. (Mark 14:22-25, Mt 26:26-28; Lk 22:17-20; 1Cor 10:16-22; 1Cor 11:22-29; cf. Lv 2:2) Let us proclaim the mystery of faith. (cf. 1Tim 3:16)
All: When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again. (1Cor 11:26, cf. 1Cor 16:22; Mt 8:25; Lk 4:42; Rom 8:21)
Priest: Therefore, as we celebrate the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, we offer you, Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation, (John 6:51) giving thanks that you have held us worthy to be in your presence and minister to you. Humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor.10:17) Remember, Lord, your Church spread throughout the world; bring her to the fullness of charity, together with our Pope and our bishop, and all the clergy. Remember our brothers and sisters who have fallen asleep and all who have died in your mercy: welcome them into the light of your face. (2 Macc 12:45-46) Have mercy on us all, we pray, that with the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with the apostles and with all the saints who have pleased you throughout the ages, may we merit to be co-heirs to eternal life, and may praise and glorify you through your Son, Jesus Christ. (2 Thes 1:4-5) Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.

All: Amen. (Rom 11:36)

Communion Rite
The Lord's Prayer:
All: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matt 6:9-13, cf. Lk 11:2-4; Mk 14:36; Gal 4:6)
Priest: Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days that by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. (John 17:15, Titus 2:13)
All: For the kingdom the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen (after Mt 6:13 in some early manuscripts; cf. Rev 4:11, 11:15; 1Chron 29:11)

Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles; I leave you peace, my peace I give to you. (John 14:27) Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live forever and ever.

Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always! (John 20:19; cf. John 16:33, 20:21, 26)

People: And with your spirit!

[The priest then directs the people to exchange a sign, such as a handshake or a kiss, or a word of God's peace to one another.]

Breaking of the Bread
All: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace. (John 1:29, 36; Rev 5:6-13, 22:1-3)
Communion
Priest: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb. (Rev. 19:9; John 1:29, 36)

People: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. (Matt 8:8, cf. Lk 7:1-10)

[Communion is distributed to the faithful at the altar by the priest and lay ministers.]

Dismissal (there are 4 variations that are reflected in the following: Mk 16:15; Ps 115:1; 1Cor 10:31; 2Thess 1:12; Ex 4:18; Deut 10:11-13; Judg 18:6; 1Sam 1:17; Mk 5:34; Lk 7:50, 8:48)

Priest: Blessed be the name of the Lord. Now and forever. (Dan 2:20) May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:51) Go in peace (Luke 7:50) to love and serve the Lord. (2 Chr 35:3) [During the blessing the people make the Sign of the Cross, the traditional sign of the baptized and a public sign of their belief in the power of God.]
People: Thanks be to God. (2 Cor 9:15)

Additional daily prayers Catholics are encouraged to recite:
The Canticle of Mary (Magnificat) – Lk 1:46-53
The Canticle of Zechariah (Benedictus) – Lk 1:68-79
The Canticle of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis) – Lk 2:29-32
The Hail MaryLk 1:26-28, 31-35, 41-48; cf. Deut 7:12-13, 28:4

How many other churches in the world "forcefully and specifically" compel "all the Christian faithful" to read the Bible?  How many of you reading this go to a church that attaches an "indulgence [for] the Christian faithful who read sacred Scripture with the veneration due God’s word and as a form of spiritual reading"?  How many reading this attend a Sunday service which relies so heavily on the Scriptures as the Catholic Mass does?  I think the evidence here clearly shows that the Catholic Church is THE "Bible Church". 



[1] Catholics and Bible Reading Poll  (Catholic Answers Forums)
Non-Catholics and Bible Reading Poll

[2] "The Burning Bush" - Scripture in the Mass

[3] "Catechetics Online" - Scripture in the Order of the Mass

[4] "Catholic Resources" - Biblical Texts related to Catholic Liturgy, Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
"Seeking Divine Mercy" - The Structure of the Catholic Mass