Is the Mass the center of practicing the catholic religion?

Dear Goya,

I don’t have to be as smart as anyone on this forum. I just want simple faith of the apostles and early church. I may not understand as much as you, but whats in that missal is the documented history of the practice and faith of the apostles. It also contains the entire explanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which IS the very same covenant of Jesus Christ Lord and Savior. The church is the Holy of Holies, Tabernacle of the Most High!

Those who confess their sins and bind themselves to Jesus’ sacrifice like the apostles and martyrs become purified to receive the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. They receive Jesus Body and Blood and become living tabernacles of the Most High. They then go out from the churches and carry God with them in their hearts to sanctify the world into a Christian world. Their works become christian their thoughts become christian, their actions become christian, their societies become christian, their stories become christian, their food becomes christian, their towns villages cities economy everything becomes christian! Change the world!

C’mon Catholics Get your game on!

So true… I don’t know what this guy’s thinking…

Secondly, the Mass, while extremely important, and in fact, the highest expression of the Faith, is not the end all and be all of the Faith.

What we do between masses, is at least as important as what we do at mass.

Going to mass regularly, but living like a heathen, nullifies any benefit Mass could bestow on us. Participating in mass, while harboring every intent to return to sin, disrespects the mass, and the sacrifice. Makes it hollow.

Conversely, neglecting mass, refusing to participate in mass, though living the life of a saint outside of ‘church’, disrespects Christ, in that one is placing too much emphasis on their own ability, and failing to properly thank the Lord, as He calls us to–note the word Eucharist comes from the Greek word ‘eucharistia’, and means ‘thanks giving’.

The mass is a sacrifice–but it is also a ‘thanksgiving’–or giving ‘thanks’ to/thanking–the Lord–by offering the sacrificial lamb–God the Father’s only begotten Son–to Him–just as Christ instructed His hand chosen Apostles to do…and as they instructed their successors…on down the line…

Thirdly, while I do not discount the beneficence of the missal…you seem to be overstating its value and place. It is a book. It guides us through the mass. It does not substitute the Mass itself, nor the Bible, nor the Catechism, and certainly not the Faith itself–which is as much (actually more) a call to how we live, than to how we think.


I have struggled to respond sense my last post, I have to say I am a little confused by some of the responses.

If you look at my post, you’ll see I said ‘what is IN the missal’, namely the description of the Mass.

In the mass, the priest in persona Christi says ‘this is the eternal covenant’ as did Christ. Catholicism teaches it is one and the same sacrificial covenant of Jesus Christ does it not?

Amen! The missal is not a binding document. It is not the catechism. That outdated (1954) missal has been re-focused and replaced. Set it aside and read the catechism or the current missal!

Try to avoid falling into a pattern of putting an outdated document under the microscope and trying to decide the faith based solely on it. The comments you are citing are only a method of practicing the faith that is subject to change as the world changes.

Remember that Saint Paul had to become all things to all people. This demonstrates that the ways in which we implement and act on our faith must also change.

What we celebrate in the mass will not and cannot change.


Why are you once again stuck on an outdated missal? Didn’t you do this before when you had all of the trouble here? Why are you doing this again? PLEASE put that missal down and read the catechism! If you do not, you appear to be attempting to bind Catholics to a pastoral style that has been updated.

As well, why are you arriving and leaving at CAF, following the same pattern of being excited about the faith, then critiquing it as if you know better?

Come on, play fair. Your posts reveal a high degree literacy and understanding. You have been advised, numerous times, to contact a priest and discuss the faith with him - if you are truly interested.

I believe this would be true of Catholic Teaching. Outside the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our works are nothing. It is through faith that we who are accepted by the Father, are done so through the Lord Jesus.

In the Mass, the bread and wine that we bring to the altar are a symbol of our labors in the field and our joy of fellowship and experiences. They are the good works we were reborn to do. They are done with God’s grace assisting and guiding. All by Christ’s merits. Christ’s merits were gained for us through His body. This is what is given to us to receive as Eucharist. We participate in the life of Jesus by receiving Him in Sacrament, in true belief in our hearts, and as a result of this comes the Father’s will being done with our participation and cooperation.

Hope this helps with where you are coming from

Yes, because communion with God is the center of life for all Christians. That’s why Jesus came, to make us partakers of Himself, restoring the relationship with God that was shattered at the Fall of man.

I’m not able to understand your point. I’m not about to put aside the treasure chest of books left to me by my grandfather. I’m sure you can understand that these hold special meaning to me on many levels.

If your recommending I get a complete missal that includes all the calendar days, I already have it! In fact, that’s where I started ‘looking back in time’ because there are the feast days for the martyrs with little notes about them.

The method of my study is start with the bible and get as close to the church of the Acts of the Apostles as possible, then grow in knowledge and wisdom from there by studying the era of martyrs and early churches like the coptics and so on.

Then bit by bit see if what you are preaching stacks up with what the bible says and how apostles lived, taught and preached.

The one missal I have has all mass prayers for each calendar day with the latin and the english. I don’t know latin so I have to assume the english translation is up to date.

I’ve tried to check a few words on my own, but I’ll stick with trying to absorb what’s there in the english translation.

But anyway, no, I’m not going to start in the present and work backwards.

I’m going to work from the past to the present because that makes way more sense to me.

I’m sure anyone could agree that the apostles and early church had a simpler easy to understand church without having to rely on mountains of documents to explain what the bible says, what the apostles did and taught and what they passed down

The method of my study is start with the bible and get as close to the church of the Acts of the Apostles as possible, then grow in knowledge and wisdom from there by studying the era of martyrs and early churches like the coptics and so on.

That seems a bit backwards to me. :confused:

If you want to understand Christianity, you would start with the origin of Christianity, the Catholic Church. Starting with the Bible exposes your prejudice to Protestantism.

If you were studying Hinduism, you would join a Hindu Church. If you were studying Islam, you would join a mosque. If you were studying Judaism, you would join a synagogue. Same with Christianity. You join the Catholic Church (if you want to join the original founding Christian Church.)

Would you study the Koran and then join a mosque? How would you know what you are reading, and how MUSLIMS see their own Scripture?

Same with Christianity, you must first start with the most authentic Church in order to understand what Christians believe is taught in the Scriptures.

Protestantism is a phony religion. It is based on private judgement of what the Scriptures mean. This is NOT the Church founded by Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

I explained in my last response that I inherited these books and they are near and dear to me on many levels.

I’ve also got the catechism but because I’ve been brainwashed by several pastors I’ve had to deal with, I can’t look at it. Reading it at this moment in time, ‘brings on the debate and the arguments’. I don’t want to hear the James White stuff ramble through my head. I’m trying to sort this out from a very basic 2+2=4 method.

In terms of priests and pastors, please don’t get me started. I’ve not yet responded to another comment I made about discrepancies with catholicism because I’m not ready to debate nor do I want to. I am on a discovery mission and I’m sticking to it.

If that’s not welcome in a Catholic Apologetics forum, then, I guess I’m back to flying solo in the discovery process.

In terms of changes, styles, updates, again you miss my point. I’m searching for the Church started by Jesus. The church of the Acts of the Apostles and the early church of the martyrs and saints.

I’m not looking for any other church. Why would I want do do that? Do you want a corrupted version the way in which the Apostles and early church understood and lived the Gospel? Or do you want the real one holy apostolic version?

When I find the one holy apostolic version, then that’s the one I want. Whether or not that is catholic will be determined by the evidence.

What you say makes sense. Thank you!

Agreed. Thank you!

OK. That is why I am studying the bible AND the catholic missal I have. I am using this approach for a number of reasons. In the catholic missal you have a calendar of remembrance of the martyrs and saints. When I read this, it occurred to me that this remembrance is a communion of the saints. That the saints and martyrs are all joined to Christ’s sacrifice on calvary through the holy sacrifice of the Mass, the New Covenant. Christians say “I believe in the communion of saints”. But I never understood “communion of saints”? By reading the missal and the prayers in the missal I was transported back in time to the era of Christian persecution. The meaning of the Apostles creed became more clear!

What’s interesting though, and this is something I just came to understand a little better, I think, due to your post, is that becoming partakers of God’s nature is something Adam never did-it’s what he should have done, what God desired him to do, and that act was described as eating from the Tree of Life. This was to actively, consciously, respond to and embrace God, as his God, something Adam refused to do by his act of rebellion, by eating of the forbidden fruit instead.

So the relationship that was shattered at the fall, as the catechism puts it, is not merely restored by becoming reconciled with and communing with God-rather its elevated to an even higher state. We’re now partaking of the Tree of Life, Jesus, the Lord Himself. And this is why the Fall is sometimes referred to as the “Blessed Fault”, a much greater good ultimately ensuing from the evil which man’s rebellion ushered in to his world.

Oh wow! I never knew that. This is amazing! What incredible mercy!

I second Ambrose SJ’s suggestion.

However, if you insist on beginning with a book, because books seem to resonate with you more–perhaps due to your protestant upbringing–I suggest a timeless classic:

St. Augustine’s Confessions.

It is often considered the first autobiography (though it is actually structured as a prayer). In it, St. Augustine recounts his faith journey, and conversion.

You seem determined to get bogged down with doctrine–or perhaps, inclined to ‘nail Catholicism’ down to doctrine, so that you may summarily dismiss it, and say: “…see? it was such and such doctrine that turned me away”.

It’s your life, and your faith journey, and by you’re God given free will, it’s certainly your prerogative to do with it, what you will.

My humble suggestion however, is that you approach it with open mind, heart and ears, and prayerful disposition.

As St. Paul famously admonished: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

St. Augustine’s Confessions is about the best ‘place’ I can think of, to begin.

‘Doctrines’ make almost ZERO sense, out of context. For example, if you don’t know about the councils that yielded certain dogmatic proclamations–e.g.–Ephesus/431 AD/Mary, Theotokos–i.e.–that Mary is ‘Mother of God’–it can be misleading, easily twisted, and/or confused (e.g.–"…What? Mary, a creature, the ‘mother’ of the Creator of the universe? That’s just crazy…"–that btw, is a common MIS-understanding of what Ephesus/Theotokos stands for–in case that sounds familiar to you…)–it can be very confusing, and lead to misunderstandings.

The missal doesn’t tell you how the doctrines came into being; it is rather, a summary of existing doctrine; fruit of doctrine; expression of doctrine. But not doctrine itself. That’s why the Church has an initiation process. Diving into the deep end of the pool without even knowing how to dog paddle, is just a formula for disaster.

With that analogy in mind, I’d say St. Augustine’s Confessions, is like taking a walk on the beach, and letting the waves hit your ankles and shins, while you remain comfortably on land.


With respect AmbroseSJ, I would not put advice in this manner. We believe the Holy Scriptures to be God’s Word. We dont put the Church over Scripture. Scripture came through the Church, for the Church.

What I think you desire to do, is to express that we should allow Church Teaching, in Tradition and interpretation guide our study of Scripture.

This does not ddraw us away from our dependence on the Holy Spirit. This is the genuine concern of Christians studying the Catholic faith and her interpretations. The Church has taught us all the way back from Paul, to Jerome, to Augustine, etc, to not be ignorant of the Scriptures. They are the foundational Apostolic Revelations! There are only 12 passages in Scripture which are officially interpreted by the Church. These can even contain more than one meaning, so long as they do not contradict the foremost defined by the Church. We can find many true meanings to our personal relationship with the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures.

But ultimately, the Word became flesh because that was necessary! And what Jesus instituted with His flesh, and His people is continued unadultered in the Mass.

So I say, please start with the Scriptures, but remember not to form doctrines unless we know all of Scripture, and do not contradict anything in it. Then you will find the Catholic Church’s Teachings to make more sense.

I think Amos seems to be asking appropriate questions, and in an appropriate place. I encourage him to open his heart to the Mass. He seems to be on his way;)


Blessed Fulton J. Sheen


Hence the Mass is to us the crowning act of Christian worship. A pulpit in which the words of our Lord are repeated does not unite us to Him; a choir in which sweet sentiments are sung brings us no closer to His Cross than to His garments. A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and is meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the , and not the pulpit or the choir or the organ, is the center of worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His
Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. With Him we are united, in spite of our nothingness; in a certain sense, we lose our individuality for the time being; we unite our intellect and our will, our heart and our soul, our body and our blood, so intimately with Christ, that the Heavenly Father sees not so much us with our imperfection, but rather sees us , the Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. The Mass is for that reason the greatest event in the history of mankind; the only Holy Act which keeps the wrath of God from a sinful world, because it holds the Cross between heaven and earth, thus renewing that decisive moment when our sad and tragic humanity journeyed suddenly forth to the fullness of supernatural life.


I would only caution against starting with the bible. First of all, no two persons on earth agree on the entire content of the bible. Interpretation is everything, which is why we have so many denominations in bible Christianity.

Rather, begin with the ancient, pre-bible Church and move forward. You already know that it is apostolic. Since the 1,500s, that apostolic nature has been rejected by virtually all protestant denominations.

A huge hint here is that both Peter and Paul, undeniably pillars of the Church, went to Rome and died as martyrs there. Rome was the enemy of Israel and the center of world power at that time. Their remains are there today. Only one Church is headquartered there, and from there it has spread across the globe.

As to the faith becoming complex, it has had 2,000 years to develop as God has revealed through the Church fathers clarifications of that which was once for all delivered to the Saints. Remember that the Apostles did not understand all - Jesus constantly chided them for their lack of understanding.

Doctrines develop as human understanding increases. When man first discovered the atom, he knew extremely little about it. Subsequent study has revealed much more and the volumes written about atoms and atomic theory fill libraries. That does not change the atom, or man, but merely reflects man’s increased understanding of something that is unchangeable.

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