Northern Ireland news

Catholic priest describes Mass is 'evil' remarks as 'grotesque'

Fr Patrick McCafferty has branded as “grotesque” claims by a Free Presbyterian minister that Catholic Mass is ‘evil’.
Connla Young

A PROMINENT Catholic priest has branded as “grotesque” claims by a Free Presbyterian minister that Catholic Mass is ‘evil’.

Fr Patrick McCafferty, parish priest of Corpus Christi parish in Ballymurphy in west Belfast, claimed “ignorance” lay at the heart of Rev Peter McIntyre’s remarks.

The minister of Clogher Valley Free Presbyterian Church was writing in the Ulster Bulwark magazine, the official organ of the Evangelical Protestant Society.

Focusing on the Requiem Mass - said at funerals - he claimed “there can be no greater assault on the Gospel”.

Rev McIntyre said it is “impossible” for a Protestant to attend Catholic Mass as a “neutral observer”.

“A church is a place of worship,” he wrote.

“To be present is to be part of the worship, and as at any Mass, the wafer is translated into Christ and this becomes the object of worship.

“Do we not owe it to Christ to be separate from such evils which grossly offend the Christ who offered himself for us?”

Writing in the Irish News yesterday, Rev McIntyre denied being sectarian and said “the word evil must be appreciated in its true biblical context”.

Fr McCafferty last night responded, claiming that “ignorance of what the Catholic Church truly believes about the Mass lies at the heart of Rev McIntyre’s grotesque description, of the holiest of all that is holy, as 'evil'."

He added: “A theology based on ignorance is no theology worthy of the name.”

 

Fr Patrick McCafferty's platform piece in full:

IGNORANCE of what the Catholic Church truly believes about the Mass lies at the heart of Rev McIntyre’s grotesque description, of the Holiest of all that is holy, as “evil”. A theology based on ignorance is no theology worthy of the name.

Firstly, let me affirm our faith, as Catholic Christians, in the real presence of the Risen Christ in the unleavened bread and the wine in the chalice, after they have been changed, by the power of the Holy Spirit, into the body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ.

Our firm belief is based on the Lord’s own clear teaching in the Gospel (John 6:51-59).

When the Lord first taught this doctrine, in the Synagogue at Capernaum, He lost many followers. Far from calling them back to explain that He was speaking only metaphorically, He turned to His disciples and asked them were they also going to leave Him?

The Lord Jesus meant what He said about the Holy Eucharist. Our faith in His real presence is simple acceptance of His clear words in the Scriptures.

We share this faith with the early Christians. The early fathers of the Church bear witness to the real presence. Our faith in Jesus’s Eucharistic presence is absolutely unshakeable.

The core of Rev McIntyre’s false apprehension of what the Mass truly means is revealed in his assertion that Christ “is sacrificed every time Mass is celebrated”. This statement of Rev McIntyre’s is utterly false.

Christ is not sacrificed every time Holy Mass is celebrated. His once and for all sacrifice offered on the Cross is made really present.

It is not repeated. It is not ‘offered again’. Absolutely not. Rather, the glorious and eternal victory achieved by the Lord’s Cross and Resurrection is proclaimed and set forth, ‘until He comes’ (I Corinthians 11:26).

Far from being a “dishonour” to the Son of God, Holy Mass is His own prayer, the offering of His very self, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to the eternal glory of His Father.

It is His own gift entrusted to His Church, until we come at last to His eternal banquet, in the heavenly homeland.

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