Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster talkback on Wednesday 5th October 2016 Senior Orangeman Mervyn Gibson suggested that he would personally like to see the rule that bans members of the Loyal Orange Order attending a funeral or wedding Mass changed.
He was no doubt thinking of friends and loved ones of a Roman Catholic couple getting married or of those who want to pay respects at the funeral of a Roman Catholic friend.
We have no objection to and would encourage friendship and respect among the community. However, his call for a change in the rule of the Orange Institution which bans members attending Mass, is one we cannot support and must oppose.
Perhaps the intricacies of theology are lost on many people today but we must state that the Roman Catholic Mass is NOT the same as Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
The Westminster Confession of Faith, which Rev Gibson would have signed as a Presbyterian Minister, states in regards to the Lord’s Supper-
“WCF 29:2 In this sacrament, Christ is not offered up to His Father; not any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sins of the quick or dead; but only a commemoration of that one offering up of Himself, by Himself, upon the cross, once for all: and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God, for the same, so that the popish sacrifice of the mass (as they call it) is most abominably injurious to Christ’s one, only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of His elect.”
The thirty-nine Articles of Faith of the Church of Ireland state-
“The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone.
Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.”
So the objection to the Mass is one that is commonly held by Protestant Churches. This objection does not simply hark back to a different era!
The Roman Catholic Catechism still states-
“The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.”
At the mass the Roman Catholic priest claims to bring the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven and offer Him as a sacrifice for sins as often as he desires. This is absolute blasphemy and contrary to the teaching of Scripture. We are taught in Hebrews 10:12 that Christ offered one sacrifice for sin and sat down. The work was complete. This is confirmed by the Saviour’s cry on the cross “It is finished”.
It may be claimed that attendance at the mass is to be a mark of respect but it is of great offence to the atoning work and person of the Son of God. To attend the mass is to be a partaker and supporter of its deceit, blasphemy and idolatry.
We call on all Protestants to avoid at all costs attendance at the mass. Adhere to the tenets of the Reformation, forsake the folly and deception of the Ecumenical agenda and exalt Christ Jesus the one and only Saviour for sinful man.
• This article is from the government and morals Committee of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, of which Rev Raymond Robinson is chair