|The Mass is a Sacrifice
W Christ’s mission was to render to God the glory that man had refused to give. He became incarnate for the love of the Father. Now, it was His obedient death on the cross that showed the greatest love, as it was a laying down of His life, and it was the most perfect act of the virtue of religion: sacrifice. Even insofar as His Incarnation benefits men, His death is the most important of actions, as only it has meritorious and satisfactory value. Hence, the Mass, greatest act of religion, must be a true sacrifice, wherein Our Lord is offered on the altar.
W Our Lord’s death was most important again in that it was the only action in which He merited something for Himself, i.e. the glorification of His physical body and the sanctification unto glory of His Mystical Body. By His death, He merited in a new way what He had previously merited from the first moment of His earthly existence.
W The Mass is firstly a true, ritual sacrifice, and secondly a memorial insofar as it is an image representing the sacrifice of the Cross. It is a true sacrifice, not because it is a memorial, but because transubstantiation makes Our Lord truly present.
W Mediator Dei:the mysteries of Redemption are present and operative, but do not operate in the obscure manner as given by the new theology. The Mass renews the sacrifice of the Cross, but is not a memorial making the historical sacrifice present again.
W The Mass is a sacrifice in its own right. By the double consecration of the separate species, an unbloody immolation takes place. The sacrifice is a memorial, but only insofar as it represents the death of Our Lord; it does not make the mysteries of the life of Our Lord actually present.
W The Mass has objective meaning through the sacramental immolation of Our Lord accomplished by the double consecration, accompanied with the offering and consummation of this Victim by the ordained priest. The faithful enter this picture only incidentally.
|The Mass is a Memorial
Revealed mysteries are to be considered from an historical point of view è NT is to be analyzed in light of the OT è the essential nature of the Eucharist is tied up in the essence of the Jewish Passover. The Passover was three things: a) a memorial of the deed which saved them; b) the declaration and celebration of the present Covenant; c) a prophecy of the future fulfillment of God’s promises. Therefore, the Mass must do the same.
The focus is more on Christ’s mysteries than Christ Himself, Priest and Victim. And, of these mysteries, His death certainly finds a place, but foremost are His Resurrection and Ascension, since His central mission is to reveal the unchanged love of the Father (in the new scheme of Redemption) and the Resurrection and Ascension are accomplished by the Father’s power.
As Our Lord used the rite of the old Passover when instituting the Eucharist, so the Mass is primarily the memorial of the Lord, since only the memorial aspect of this rite is described.
As the Jewish memorial was able to make God present again and renew the effects of His salvation, so too the Eucharist is not a simple remembrance but makes present the deeds by which Christ wrought salvation. While the old Passover simply made present to the memory of the believers events of the past, the new Passover makes Our Lord’s death and Resurrection present, as well as future mysteries yet to happen. In short, it encompasses the whole work of salvation in a dynamic and invisible unity.
The Mass is not a sacrifice in its own right, but rather the actual sacrifice of the Cross brought from history into the present moment. The sacrifice is in this re-presenting of Christ’s mysteries, not in an exterior rite.
The Eucharist conveys an objective memory by means of an action, but for this action to constitute an objective one, it must be a social action, one of the community è this communal action is a meal, the Jewish ritual meal of the Passover during which Our Lord instituted the Eucharist.
| Principle: Christ died on the Cross in order to satisfy the debt of punishment demanded by divine justice offended by sin.
Arguments of authority
W Trent: The doctrine that Our Lord’s death on the Cross made vicarious satisfaction for sin is part of the deposit of the Faith, as is the propitiatory end of the Mass.
W Roman Catechism: teaches that Our Lord made the highest satisfaction or compensation possible to God by His death on the Cross.
W The dogma of Our Lord’s vicarious satisfaction has always been defended by the Church, and especially recently to protect against liberal Protestantism, as seen in the prepared canons of Vatican I, Humani Generis of Pius XII, and a preparatory schema of Vatican II.
| Principle: There is no debt to be paid to satisfy divine justice offended by sin è no propitiatory aspect in the New Mass. Redemption is the revelation of the eternal covenant that God has made with man. It is the revelation of God’s unchanging love toward man, in spite of sin, an eternal Covenant which never has been destroyed. It gives nothing back to God, but gives God back to man, showing him that God always loved him and did not cast him off, even after sin.
|Trent: the Mass is a) a true sacrifice, real and visible; b) it represents, commemorates and applies the sacrifice of the Cross; c) it is not merely a commemoration.
W A Visible Sacrifice: a) the sacrifice is represented visibly, which can only be done through the species of bread and wine; b) the Mass is linked with the Passover because the latter ceremony was the visible sacrificing of a victim. Conclusion: repraesentare is used to mean an image resembling the thing represented
W A True and Proper Sacrifice – Mass is truly and properly a sacrifice, which is only possible if there be a true victim and real immolation
W Not a mere commemoration – Trent condemns calling the Mass a purely conceptual reminder of the Cross, i.e. only referring to the Mass as a sacrifice in a figurative way.
|Paschal Mystery: The Mass a memorial meal, but it is also a sacrifice in that it is an objective memorial.
An Invisible Sacrifice – The Mass is only a sacrifice insofar as it makes the sacrifice of the Cross present. And this sacrifice is incomplete without the Resurrection and Ascension; therefore a mere sacramental representation of Calvary is not sufficient to include all the mysteries of salvation, which the memorial sacrifice does. Repraesentare means making really present what is remembered. This is the objective aspect of the Liturgy.
An Analogical Sacrifice – Mass is a sacrifice, only as an objective memorial containing the sacrifice of Christ è no true victim or real immolation
A Figurative Sacrifice – the notion of a memorial, whether objective in terms of the Paschal Mystery or subjective in terms of Protestant theology, never admits a literal application of the term “sacrifice” to the Mass
|W All of the sacraments work ex opere operato. There are seven and only seven sacraments instituted by Christ. Trent condemns those who say that sacraments were only to nourish the faith.
W Trent: the Eucharist is present truly, really and substantially.
W Clarity of symbols – A sign must be a distinct and separate entity from the thing signified. This is clearly the case for all of the seven sacraments.
W Pascendi: condemnation of the identification of formulae of the faith with the sacraments.
|The distinctions of efficacy ex opere operato and ex opere operantis can no longer be applied, as the entire body of the liturgy is a sacrament. The efficacy of the sacraments is wholly dependent on the faith of the recipients interpreting the symbol of the sacrament; this makes the sacraments efficacious.
The divine presence depends on the interpretation of its symbols (bread and wine) given by man, as in the Old Testament natural blessings were seen under the same symbols.
Blurring of symbols – Christ is separated from His divinity which He signifies, and the Catholic Church is made distinct from the Church of Christ which it signifies.
The new sacramental theology seems to identify the formulae of faith with the sacraments.