For those who are not aware of the Catholic Church’s New Evangelization program, let me provide a brief overview. The Catholic Church plans to establish the kingdom of God on earth and win the world to the Catholic Jesus (i.e., the Eucharistic Christ). This will be accomplished when the world (including the separated brethren*) comes under the rule and reign of Rome and this Eucharistic Jesus.
The Eucharistic Jesus is supposedly Christ’s presence that a Catholic priest summons through the power of transubstantiation, the focal point of the Mass.
Many Christians believe the Christian tradition of communion is the same as the Catholic tradition of the Eucharist. But this is not so. The Eucharist (i.e., transubstantiation) is a Catholic term for communion when the bread and the wine are said to be transformed into the very body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Catechism states:
In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.”2
The host is then placed in what is called a monstrance and can then be worshiped as if worshiping Jesus Himself. The implications are tied directly to salvation itself. With the Eucharist, salvation becomes sacramental (participation in a ritual) as opposed to justification by faith in Christ alone, described in Galatians 2:16. While this mystical experience is a form of idolatry (as well as the very heart of Catholicism), there is a growing interest by evangelical Christians in this practice, particularly by the emerging church.
The Catholic Church leadership, concerned with apathy for the Eucharist within the Catholic ranks, is hoping to “rekindle the amazement”3 of the Eucharist through what is called their “New Evangelization program.”4 With a two-fold purpose—to keep present Catholics and to bring evangelicals into the Catholic Church—church leadership has a plan to re-emphasize the Eucharist as the focus of the Catholic faith. By saying “rekindle the amazement,” they mean bring out the mystical, supernatural element of the Eucharist.
All Catholics are expected to worship the host (Eucharistic adoration of the transformed wafer), and church leadership says it is anathema (to be accursed) to reject this teaching. At the Council of Trent, the official Catholic position was:
If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that He is in it only as in a sign, or figure or force, let him be anathema.5
If anyone says that Christ received in the Eucharist is received spiritually only and not also sacramentally and really, let him be anathema.6
While it is true that during the Reformation and Counter Reformation, many who refused to believe in transubstantiation were tortured and executed for their faith in the Gospel, time has a way of forgetting the facts of history.
In April of 2003, the previous pope wrote an encyclical promoting the “New Evangelization” program for the purpose of “rekindling amazement” for the Eucharist.7
Then in October of 2004, John Paul II initiated “The Year of the Eucharist” as part of his evangelistic plan to bring the world to the Eucharistic Christ. Following Pope John Paul’s death in April of 2005, Pope Benedict XVI picked up his predecessor’s mission immediately. He called the “faithful to intensify” devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus, and said the Eucharist is the “heart of Christian life.”8
Benedict hoped to perpetuate his pontificate where the previous pope left off. The article states:
Pope Benedict asked the faithful to “intensify in coming months love and devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus and to express in a courageous and clear way the real presence of the Lord.”9
Pope Benedict XVI suggested that praying to Mary would help “all Christians” draw closer to the Eucharistic Christ:
Mary is the “Eucharistic woman”.… Let us pray to the Virgin that all Christians may deepen their faith in the Eucharistic mystery, so that they live in constant communion with Jesus and are his valid witnesses.10
It is important to note here that the entire premise of the Catholic Mass is critically flawed. During each Mass, the Eucharistic Jesus is offered as an unbloody sacrifice. This repeated offering is in contradiction to the one-time new covenant offering of Hebrews 9:28:
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Notice the verse indicates one offering, not numerous ones. The reason for this is apparent—in the essence of any sacrifice, there has to be some element of suffering, pain, or loss. Christ suffered for our sins, and God accepted this as a one-time offering for sin. Isaiah 53:10 explains: “Yet it pleased the LORD [the Father] to bruise him,” and “he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” It also says that when God, the Father sees, “the travail of his [Christ’s] soul,” He “shall be satisfied” (vs. 11).
Calvary was the only offering that was or ever could be accepted by God—for it was the only one that contained the “travail of his soul.” If the Mass, which Catholic apologists openly acknowledge, does not contain the suffering of Christ (which it doesn’t), then it cannot be presented as an offering, because it does not fit the Isaiah 53 context.
Further, Hebrews 12:2 says Christ “endured the cross, despising the shame.” Thus, the Mass cannot be the same as the Cross, for Jesus would constantly be in a state of shame. Therefore, the Mass is empty. It cannot atone for sins.
To read more about the connection between the emerging church and the road to Rome, read Roger Oakland’s book, Faith Undone.
1. According to Catholic teaching, the Eucharist is the central component of the Mass. It is believed that when a priest consecrates the Communion bread, the wafer is no longer bread, but the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. For a better understanding of the Eucharist and the Catholic’s New Evangelization plan , read Roger Oakland’s book, Another Jesus, Lighthouse Trails Edition, Summer 2007. Also for extensive research on Catholicism, see the website of former Catholic priest, Richard Bennett (Berean Beacon): http://www.berean beacon.org.
2. Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 1374, page 383.6
3. H. J. Schroeder, The Canons and Decrees of The Council of Trent (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1978), page 79, Canon 1.
4. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “The New Evangelization” (http://www.ewtn.com/new_evangelization/Ratzinger.htm).
5. H. J. Schroeder, The Canons and Decrees of The Council of Trent, op. cit., p. 79. Canon 1.
6. Ibid., page 80, Canon 8.
7. Zenit: The World Seen From Rome, “Why the Pope Would Write an Encyclical on the Eucharist: To Rekindle Amazement,” cited April 17, 2003, http://www.zenit.org.
8. “Pope Benedict calls on faithful to intensify devotion to Eucharistic Jesus,” http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=3686.
10. “Pope Benedict on Corpus Christi” (Zenit News, June 2006).
11. “Exploring a Catholic Rite” (Newsday, Long Island, NY, June 19, 2006).