Harm of Attending the Mass: 2. Why it is Sinful to Attend a Papal Mass


Harm of Attending the Mass_Why it is Sinful to Attend a Papal Mass

1. How Evil the Mass is
2. Why it is Sinful to Attend a Papal Mass
3. Reasons for Going to Mass Answered

John Bradford,
Hurt of Hearing Mass,
Chapter 6.

1. It is Idolatry.

First, out of the second commandment, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…” This precept forbiddeth all kind of outward idolatry, as the first doth all kind of inward idolatry, to this end that God’s true worship inwardly and outwardly might be observed. But now the mass is an outward idol, and the service of God there used is idolatry. Therefore they which are present at the mass, honesting it with their corporal presence (as all they do which being there do not in open and exterior fact publicly disallow the same), they, I say, are open and manifest idolaters, and incur the danger of idolatry, that is, God’s heavy wrath and eternal damnation: which thing I trow be no trifle, but to fools which make sin a thing of nothing. Howbeit I think best to make this more plain.

That the second commandment, “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image,” &c., speaketh of outward idolatry, as the first, “Thou shalt have none other gods,” &c., speaketh of inward and spiritual idolatry, I trust all men of any knowledge easily perceive. For, when God in the first commandment hath told us what he is unto us, even our Lord and our God, with all that ever he is and hath (for he that giveth himself to be ours giveth all that ever he hath to be ours also), then of equity he requireth that we should be content with him, and give ourselves to him to be his with all that ever we have: and therefore, first, we should “have none other gods but he;” that is, we should trust in none, love none, fear none, call upon none, worship none, but only him which [is] El schaddai, “an omnisufficient God” and Jehovah unto us.

Now, because man consisteth of two parts, the soul and the body, in that the Lord doth give himself wholly to us to be our Lord and God, he will that we give ourselves wholly unto him, to be his people. And therefore, as in the first commandment he wholly demandeth the soul, will, understanding, and heart, that is, our faith, fear, love, thankfulness, invocation, and inward adoration or worshipping, to be given to him only, and for his sake, as he shall appoint; so in the second commandment, “Thou shalt not make to thyself,” &c., he generally requireth for the outward service of him, that we should follow his word in serving of him, and take it no less than idolatry or image service, whatsoever thing is indented [i.e. agreed for] by man, saint or angel, and not by him, concerning his worship and service. And to say the truth it is no marvel, for we see that there is no acceptable service done to man except it be according to the will of him to whom it is to be done, and not simply according to the will of him that doth it.

Now, inasmuch as “none knoweth the will of man but the spirit of man” (1 Cor. 2), and he to whom by his word or signification he revealeth it, shall not we, yea, must not we of necessity, give so much to God? Then it is requisite that in God’s service, which is acceptable to God, we must have for it the word of God, and not simply our good intents, the wisdom of man, general councils, custom, doctors, acts of parliament, or goodly outward shows and appearances: for, as Christ saith, “that which is in great estimation before men is abomination before God” (Luke 16), if it be not according to his word. But of and for the mass where have we God’s word? Nay, alas! as I have already shewed, it is a pitchy, patched poke, made of many a man, and that at divers times, and is clean contrary to God and his word. Therefore, it being done to the service of God, as it is done, it is abomination and a great idol in God’s sight. So that the conclusion of my reason is strong, that such as dishonest it not by their absence, or by their word and fact publicly when they be present at it, but being there only in heart disallow it, the same, whosoever they be, are grievous sinners, and breakers of the second commandment, and so guilty of the threat following, namely of God’s “visitation upon their children for their sins, unto the third and fourth generation” (Ex. 20): for, in that they disallow and disworship it not with their bodies, they do worship it, although they bow not down to it as most men do. For in God’s service there is no mean: he that loveth not hateth, he that worshippeth not disworshippeth, and so contrariwise.

Two Kinds of Idolaters, Spiritual and Corporal.

But, to make all “as plain as a pack-staff,” let us note that there are two kinds of idolaters, one known to God only, the other to man also. To God only are they idolaters which serve God in the sight of man, according to his word, but their hearts are halting, deceivable, guileful, and hypocritical in God’s sight. To man also are they idolaters which exteriorly worship contrary to God’s word: of this latter sort of idolaters there are three diverse kinds.

Corporal Idolaters are of Three Sorts.

1. One [is] of them which be obstinate defenders of their idolatry against God’s word and manifest written verities, which they “seeing will not see,” &c. (Mat. 13:13), and therefore justly of God are blinded, as the wicked bishops and prelates of the papistical church be, with their champions and parasites. These had need to take heed that they sin not “against the Holy Ghost” (Mat. 12:31).

2. Another sort is of them which are simple and ignorant, who through common error are seduced, being persuaded that the thing they do pleaseth God, and is God’s true service. Such are the simple souls of the country, whose eyes God I trust will open in his time, that they may see his truth: as, if they would be so diligent to inquire thereabouts, as they are in going any journey, which to them is unknown, of such as they meet withal, they could not but easily and soon perceive; and therefore ignorance cannot excuse their willful negligence: howbeit it is not to be doubted but that God in his time, if they reject not his grace, will open to them his truth. Let us, as be careful we confirm them not in their error, by halting and bearing with them in this their evil, so privately after our vocation, and as we would be done by, admonish them of this error, above all things praying unto God for them, that “with their blind guides they fall not” into the pit of perdition. This kind of idolaters is nothing so evil as the other; for the other do sin against the Holy Ghost, it is to be feared, but the error of these is savable.

3. The third and last sort is of them which indeed know the thing they use is not allowed of God, and therefore in heart they consent not unto it, although outwardly they seem not to disallow it. These are unlike to the second, for they fall of simplicity and a zeal, but not according to knowledge; but these do it wittingly and for lack of zeal, and yet of knowledge, and therefore surely are much more to be blamed than the other, to whom they are a grievous offence, confirming them in their error, that therein they should continue without conscience. And such be our mass-gospellers [i.e. mass evangelists] and popish protestants, which can “serve both God and mammon” (Mat. 6), take Elias’ part and Baal priests’ part (1 Kings 18), carry water in the one hand and fire in the other.

I would wish that, such as these be, would mark with themselves the causes wherefore they go to the mass, which they know is evil. If they do it of obstinacy and malice, then are they to be reckoned amongst the number of the foremost sort, which are to be suspected of the sin “against the Holy Ghost.” If they do it to get any worldly estimation or promotion thereby, or to keep still that which they have gotten (as I fear me many do), let them dread that they, doing as Judas did, drink not with him at the length. If they do it for company’s sake or neighbourhood, let them consider the thing better, and mark into whose company they are called (1 Cor. 1); and so set before them the example of Jehoshaphat companying with Ahab to his great peril (1 Kings 22), and divers other more examples, whereof the scripture is not barren. If they do it for fear of the loss of goods, name, friends, liberty, life, &c, let them consider that Jesus Christ affirmeth such as be not ready so to do, in no point the same to be worthy of him (Mat. 10:35-38). Read the places. And hereunto let them consider what estate they be in, as whether [they] be public or private persons, learned or unlearned, rich or poor, young or old, master or servant, householder, &c. These all considered, and the horrible greatness of the evil they allow and confirm by their not disallowing in deed, with examples of God’s plagues upon such as have dissembled so with God and man, will help to make away them out of their security, to repent if they be fallen, and to take more heed if they be not fallen. The which thing God grant. Amen.

2. To go to mass is a breach of the third commandment.

But now, to bring more reasons to prove that to be at mass in body and not openly to disallow it is sin, although the spirit and heart consent not thereto — already out of the second commandment we see it is idolatry — now let us see how near it toucheth blasphemy out of the third commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Here out we may well gather that to be at mass in body, and not as in heart so in word openly to reprove it, is a breach of this commandment, term the sin as we will. For the end of this commandment is not only to inform us, how with our tongues we should abstain from taking God’s name in vain, but much rather how we should use the name of God in prayer, confession of God’s truth and religion, thanksgiving and preaching purely the gospel if we be ministers: if we be none, yet the other three, prayer, confession, and thanksgiving, pertain unto us, of what state soever we be.

Now, what using of the tongue in thanksgiving is in them which are present at that which overthroweth utterly the true worshipping of their Christ and God, without reproving it? What confessing of religion doth their tongue exercise, which hold their peace, and with their presence do honest that which setteth up another salvation than that which Christ brought, and bought dearly by the shedding and price of his precious blood? What use of their tongue in true prayer have they, which in holding their tongue say, “Amen,” to all the blasphemous prayers of the mass? If indeed their Christ be between the priest’s hands, if that which the priest doth be the self same sacrifice which Christ did on the cross himself for our redemption, then let them hold their tongue at God’s name, and do as they do. But if their Christ be “in heaven, on the right hand of the Father” (Acts 1; Phil 3; Mark 16; Heb. 7-10), concerning the corporal presence of his humanity, as he is everywhere by his virtue, grace, and Divinity; if Christ’s sacrifice on the cross be but one and never more to be reiterate; in that God hath given them tongues, and now commandeth them not to use the same in vain, tying them in their teeth, when he would have them used and exercised in confessing him before men, I would they would tell me, why they are mute and play mum at this horrible dishonour done to their sovereign lord, why take they his name being called on them as on his people in vain? The name of the Lord our God is called upon all that be his people, and that not in vain, but to be called upon, praised, and confessed of them all, when either his glory or their brother’s necessity requireth it. But, to omit the necessity to our brethren in this case, which nippeth the conscience, I trow, where doth God’s glory more require that we should confess his name and true service than in the mass? which of all things that ever was is most horrible adversary to it.

Conclude therefore I well may, that it is a thorough out breach of this commandment, and a taking of God’s name in vain, to be at mass and not reprove it. And what the punishment of this commandment is God sheweth, when he saith that he “will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Look well hereon, guiltless though you be before the magistrates here, if in bodily presence you honest it, yet you are not guiltless before God. Choose now therefore whose hands you will fall into: if into God’s hands, that is horrible, and none can deliver you: if into the hand of man, surely they cannot pull as much as one hair of your heads further than your good Father will, that is, than shall make to your eternal joy.

3. To go to mass breaketh the fourth commandment.

Let us now go to the fourth commandment, of the sanctifying of the sabbath-day; and we shall see no less occasion than we have done to gather going to the mass, and not disallowing it publicly in word and deed, to be sin and a breach of this commandment also. For in it the Lord requireth rest from bodily labour to the end of sanctification, except we should put no difference between the end of rest on the sabbath-day appointed to man, from that which is appointed to the beast. The end therefore, I say, of the rest in the sabbath to man is sanctification: that is, man is commanded to rest from bodily labour and other exercises, that he may with diligence and reverence hear God’s word in his ministry, learn his law, use his sacraments and ceremonies as he hath ordained, convent [i.e. come together] to common prayer in the place appointed and other holy exercises, helping to the conservation of the ministry, propagation of the gospel, and increase of love and charity one towards another: all which things still remain to us commanded in our resting times from our travails and labours for this life, although the Jews’ seventh day be abrogated and taken away. This considered, who cannot but see the mass, which maketh to the profanation and unhallowing both of body and soul, to be forbidden? If the end of my rest should serve to sanctification, then can it not serve to the mass, which is abomination. If I may not use my rest simply for the pleasure of my body, which God alloweth, except I look to another end, namely, that I may be more able to endure the works of my vocation more to God’s glory and my neighbour’s commodity, much more then I may not use my rest for the pleasure of another in that which God disalloweth.

But, to make this more evident, no man of any reading or godly consideration of the scriptures cannot but see, the principal thing God in this commandment did respect was the ministry of his word and sacraments, by the which God gathereth his church, increaseth it, and conserveth it: and therefore of all things he could worst away with the breach of this commandment. Read how he commanded the man to be “stoned to death” for “gathering sticks on the sabbath-day;” and in the prophets, how he cried out all was marred when this commandment was broken (Jer. 17; Ezek. 20). Now the mass (before I have shewed) is the only weeding worm and rooting sow of the gospel and sacraments for being truly preached and ministered, so that wheresoever the one is the other cannot be. True preaching and massing, true using Christ’s supper and Sir John Masser’s [i.e. offerer of the mass] dinner, be as contrary as light and darkness. Wherefore, as the mass is the end of Satan’s commandment, and directly impugneth the end of God’s commandment, here as the mass doers grievously offend, so the mass hearers and see-ers without disallowing it openly run into the same peril and vengeance of God, that is, to the gathering of stakes to be burned in hell-fire: look well therefore hereon. The pope and his prelates say, ‘If thou come not to hear mass, but disallow it, thou shalt fry a faggot in Smithfield.‘ God almighty saith, ‘If thou keep thee not from the mass, or if thou come to it and do not openly disallow it, thou shalt fry a faggot in hell-fire.

Choose now whether thou wilt take heed, ‘in flying from the smoke thou shalt into the fire.’ Make not man thy god, but fear the Lord and “sanctify him in thine heart.” Pray with David, “O Lord, knit and enforce my heart truly to fear thee.” (Psa. 86).

4. To go to mass breaketh all the second table generally and particularly.

As now out of the first table I have shewed that every commandment therein is broken up by hearing and seeing mass (for there is no commandment broken but the first commandment is broken tofore), so could I shew out of the second table, that it is a breach of all and every commandment there. It confirmeth the magistrate in his evil, when he seeth men without gainsaying obey his law as though it were good and godly: so that they which hear mass at the commandment of the magistrate are partakers also of the magistrate’s evil, by their disobedience to God in this point confirming the law: for, if they would disallow it, and obey God more than man, giving their heads to the block, rather than to hear or see mass, it would not be but, as the wicked law would be infirmed, so the magistrate would call the matter into a further enquiry, and so the truth to take place. And hereof will I write an history.

In the time of Valens the emperor, which favoured the opinion of Arius, and therefore laboured that the same might be received of the whole empire, there was at Edessa, a city of Mesopotamia, a church whereto the Christians of right judgment did resort. And therefore the emperor, being there, commanded the lieutenant of the city to put so many to death as did resort thither, being greatly displeased that he had used no greater tyranny against them. Now this lieutenant, rather favouring the Christians than otherwise, gave warning that they should not resort to the church the next day, because he was commanded to slay them. Howbeit they, not considering so much death as the confession of their faith, resorted more to the temple than ever they did: so that on the other day, when the lieutenant with a band of men went to the templeward to execute the emperor’s commandment, he chanced to see a woman running with a child in her hand, which she haled to come apace in such sort, that the lieutenant, marvelling at her haste, commanded one to call her. And she being come, he demanded whither and wherefore she hasted so with the child: and, when he perceived by her answer, it was to the church whither he was going to execute the emperor’s commandment, he demanded whether she had not had knowledge what he was commanded to do. She answered, ‘Yes.‘ — ‘Then,‘ quoth he, ‘art not thou afraid?‘ — ‘No,‘ said she, ‘I pray God I may give my life in so good a cause.‘ — ‘Why,‘ quoth he, ‘dost thou take thy child with thee?‘ — She answered, ‘That he may die with me, for I had rather take him with me to God, than leave him behind me, for you to carry him to the devil; as by your false religion you will, if he should believe and do as you do.’ The lieutenant hearing these words, as they amazed him to hear and see the constancy of the woman, so they caused him to return immediately, and to make relation hereof to the emperor, who hearing it ceased from his cruelty.

This history is written in the seventh book of the Tripartite History, the thirty-second chapter [originally from Socrates’ Ecclesiastical History, Book 4, ch. 18]: which I have rehearsed for this purpose, that men might see hereby, how that constancy to God’s cause could not but cause the magistrate the more to consider what he commandeth.

But, to return to my former treatise, to go to mass, or to church where mass is, breaketh, you see, the first commandment of the second table. Again it is a murdering of the soul, and the mass-mongers are procurers and abettors of others to fall into the destruction of their souls: for the obstinate papist triumpheth and is confirmed, the strong gospeller is weakened, the weaker gospeller is utterly overthrown by thy going to mass, which hast knowledge of the truths. Moreover they are bawds, to bring the spouses of Christ to become Satan’s whores. Besides this, they that are mass hunters are receivers and concealers of theft, and spoiling of Christ and his glory; yea, undoubtedly they are traitors, and guilty of high treason against God. Last of all, they are false witnesses against their neighbours, against God’s church (as though the mass-church were the catholic church), yea, against Christ and his word by their going to mass, thereby witnessing the mass to be a true service of God, and a badge of his church, where their own consciences say they lie, and so condemneth them.

As for the last commandment of lusting [i.e. coveting], in that the same is an inward thing, as the first commandment is, and this which I spake of, namely going to the mass, is an outward act, I cannot therefore well apply it to them; albeit, to say the truth, there is no sin counted outwardly, but these two commandments, the first and the last, are broken before the sin come to the knowledge of any man.

And thus it is plain enough, I trow, that the hearing or going to church where mass is, or seeing of mass, although in spirit it be abhorred, is no small sin, but such a sin as breaketh all God’s law generally, and every commandment particularly. O then how grievous a sin is this! Look well on it, my dear brethren, to whom this my simple counsel shall come, “in the tender mercies of God I beseech you” (Gal. 3). If “he that continueth not in all things written in God’s law be accursed” (Deut. 27), alas, how terribly is he accursed that continueth in nothing, but is a transgressor in all things! And such be popish protestants, mass-gospellers, or, as they would be called, bodily mass-mongers and spiritual gospellers.

More Reasons to Prove Going to Mass to be Sin.

Now, although this, which I have occasioned to be marked out of the decalogue or ten commandments, be enough for this matter, yet will I hereto add some more reasons, or at least occasion men so to do, by collecting and gathering divers sentences in such brevity as I can.

1.He that is not with me is against me,” saith our Saviour, “and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Mat. 12; Luke 11). Now in that the mass is neither Christ nor in any point with him, but of all things on earth most against him (as before I have shewed), let them mark what they do by this sentence of Christ, that go to mass; and, if they be not wilfully blind, they shall see that they are against Christ, that is, anti-christ’s, in this point, and gather with the devil.

2.Woe be to him,” saith the Truth, “by whom an offence doth come,” (Mat. 18) that is, which doth or saith anything whereby any are justly occasioned to evil, letted to do good, or confirmed in their naughty doctrine and customs. “It were better for such,” if Christ say truly, “to have a millstone hanged about their neck, and to be cast into the bottom of the sea.” And will you yet go to mass, thee to occasion others to go with you, to let the godly which would not go if you went not, to confirm the papists in their idolatry?

3. Paul willeth us to “glorify God in our souls and our bodies” (1 Cor. 11), as well requiring the body to be applied to the setting forth of God’s glory as the soul; and no marvel, for God hath made it “his temple, that his holy Spirit should dwell therein” (1 Cor 3), and gave his precious blood also therefor that it might be in eternal felicity with the soul. Yea, he hath coupled our flesh in himself unto his Godhead, to be one Person, one Christ, God and man, so great is the dignity thereof. And therefore full worthily warneth Paul, that we should keep ourselves clean from all that which would stain, not “the spirit” only, but “the flesh” and body also (2 Cor. 7:1). So that a man with half an eye may see the mass-sayers and see-ers in body, though the spirit be absent, little to consider what they do.

4. Paul would not allow a Christian to come to the table in the idol’s temple, lest thereby “the weak brother might perish” (1 Cor. 8). And would he allow coming to mass, trow you, which is another manner of matter? “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1 Cor. 10:21).

5. If that the thing were indifferent or lawful to be present at mass in body, in mind disallowing it, yet in that the end of our liberty is not what we may do, but what is best to be done, what most edifieth, seeing that going to mass is so far from edifying that it destroyeth, easily may we see that it is not to be used.

6. But, alas! this is far from lawful. It is a “Bethaven” (Hos. 4:15), “an house of iniquity;” and Paul willeth that they that “call on the name of the Lord should depart from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:19): and how then should they come to mass, if they should depart from it?

7.If I should build up again that which I pulled down, I then should make myself an offender” (Gal. 2), saith the apostle: and what be they than that now by going to mass build it up again? which by going from it, and speaking against it, have holpen to pull it down.

8.What agreement is there between light and darkness? what concord is with Christ and Belial” (2 Cor. 6), with the Christian and the pope’s minion (the mass I mean), “with the temple of God and idols?” saith Paul. ‘Wherefore come away from the mass,‘ saith the Lord, ‘and separate yourselves from them that come to it,’ “and I will receive you.

9. Paul would have the Corinthians to shun the company of whoremongers and idolaters (1 Cor. 5): and will he license now them to come and company with massers in their chiefest idolatry? This were to make Paul’s preaching, not “yea, yea, and nay, nay,” but “yea and nay.

10.If any man come unto you,” saith St. John, “and bring not this doctrine with him,” you shall not so much as greet him, lest you be partakers of his evil (2 John). And what doctrine is more contrary to God and his gospel than is the mass? The mass-sayers then and approvers should not we seek too, which may not receive them if they should seek unto us, except we would communicate with their evil.

11.No man that putteth his hand to the plough and looketh back is meet for God’s kingdom” (Luke 9): much more then are we unmeet therefore if we, I say not, “look back,” but run and go back to see and hear that which justly we have forsaken.

12. What happened to Korah and his allowers, that he should take on him the priesthood without calling? And will nothing happen to our arrogant massers, that without calling take upon them Christ’s priesthood, and to such as allow and seem to allow them? Read the history, Numbers 16.

13. John the evangelist durst not tarry in the house where Cerinthus the heretic was, which denied Christ’s manhood; and indeed the house fell, and slew him and all that ever remained in the house with him (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 4, ch. 14). And shall not we fear God’s vengeance, to be in company at mass with her minions? which deny Christ both God and man, making their own handywork as good as he, yea, he himself, say they.

14. O deaf ears, that will not hear the blast of the angel’s trump, warning us to come from amongst these whorish Babylonians, belly-god mass-mongers, lest we perish with them! “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4), saith God. If thou be one of God’s people, thou must come from her: but, if thou be not, tarry still.

15. Yea, he not only commandeth us to come out from her, but to declare ourselves to be open enemies against her. “Reward her,” saith he, “as she hath rewarded you.” Read the place, and mark it well, Revelation 18.

16. O Lord God! that men think it be a trifle to make their bodies, [instead] of Christ and his church, the members of antichrist of Rome and his church.

17. Will men never consider that they shall “receive according to that they do in their body, be it good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10) and not simply according to their conscience?

18. Read how earnestly God commandeth the destruction even of the most dearest friend, that shall but devise or counsel thee to “go after a strange god,” as the mass and the god therein is (Deut. 12).

19. When thou goest to mass, see whither thou goest, forsooth even to the devil: for thou departest from verity [i.e. truth], and so from God. Now there is no mean [i.e. middle]: if thou be not with God, thou art with the devil. But thou wilt say, in conscience thou departest not from the verity. Well but yet thou doest it in body: be sure, as before is said, thou shalt “receive according to that is done in the body.

20. Lot’s wife looked but back, and was “turned into a saltstone.” And so are the hearts of our popish protestants, I fear me, hardened from fearing God, in that they look, yea, go back again to their sodomitical minion.

21. The good father Mattathias would in no point disemble, as though he had worshipped (1 Macc. 2); but our mass-gospellers are far unlike to him.

22. We pray to be “delivered from evil,Libera nos a malo, [Deliver us from evil] (Mat. 6); and yet we, knowing the mass to be evil, resort unto it.

23.Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom 14), but to go see or hear mass, though but in body, “is not of faith,” for faith hangeth on God’s word, and God’s word is not herefore: therefore it is sin.

24.Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth” (Rom. 14:22): mark by the contrary, whether our mass-gospellers are not unhappy and accursed by Paul’s judgment.

25.Halting,” saith the apostle, “hindereth, yea, bringeth out of the way” (Heb. 12). And what other thing is it to go to mass in body, and to be away in spirit, but a plain “halting,” a “serving of two masters” (Mat. 6)? which none can do, if Christ be true.

26. If Jehu were judge, these bodily massers should drink with their brethren the Baalites. Read the history, and see whether he judged not, of their outward coming, whose servants they were, 2 Kings 10.

27.He that denieth Christ before men shall be of him denied before God”  (Mat. 10:33; c.f. 2 Tim. 2:12) but mass hearers “deny Christ before men” in fact and deed, although in tongue they profess other wise. For there is three kinds of denial, in heart, in word, and in deed; in heart, as the wicked do, saying, “There is no God,” Psa. 14 and 53; in word, Mat. 10, Mark 8; in deed, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” Titus 1:16. Now, though the mass-gospellers do not, as they say, deny God’s truth in heart and in word, yet, in that they by going to mass do it in deed, let them take better heed what they do, lest in deed Christ deny them at the last day.

28. St. Paul to “the belief of the heart” requireth “the confession of the mouth” (Rom. 10): howbeit our popish protestants think this needs not. But yet Christ saith, “He that is ashamed of me,” that is, of my true religion and gospel, “before this faithless generation, I will be ashamed of him before the angels of God in heaven” (Mark 8:38). O heavy sentence!

29.He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled therewith,” (Ecclesiasticus 13:1) saith Solomon. And shall not their bodies be something smutted with the filthiness of the mass, that honest it with their presence?

30. If in the old law the touching of a carrion defiled him that touched it, at the least for a day’s space (Hag. 2; Lev. 11), in that there is no carrion so stinking in God’s sight as the mass, let him a that goeth to it, howsoever he be minded, or abideth in the church where it is — let them, I say, know that he is defiled so foul that all the holy water in Rome, Paris, and London, cannot purge him therefrom.

31. Unto these our popish protestants I cannot but say, as Elias said, “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21): if the mass be God and God’s ordinance, follow it.

32. When Elias lamented that all was gone astray but he, all were defiled with Baal, although in heart there were many hated Baal, as they thought, and would have confessed if Jezebel had not been, God said that he had “left seven thousand which had not bowed their knee to Baal” (1 Kings 19:18). He saith not, “which in heart hate Baal,” but, “which hath not bowed their knee to Baal;” of that outward sign demonstrating his servants. And so now let us not think, good brethren, any to be his true worshippers but such as not only in heart, but also in deed, detest the mass.

33. Therefore saith David, that God will not suffer “the sceptre of the ungodly” to lie long on the lot of his children, lest his people “should stretch forth their hands to iniquity” (Psa. 125:3). He saith not ‘their hearts,‘ but “their hands,” of the bodily fact noting his people.

34. St. Paul willeth us to “separate ourselves from such as teach other doctrine, and will not consent to the sound doctrine of our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Rom. 16; 1 Tim. 6; 2 Tim. 3). Wherefore, in that the massers teach another doctrine than Christ or his apostles ever taught, and by their massing depart from the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ, by God’s commandment we must separate ourselves from them, as no part of Christ’s catholic church, brag they thereof never so much.

35. Peter would that we being “an holy people” should be pure, not in a piece but “in all our conversation” (1 Peter 2:12); and Paul would that we should abstain ab omni specie mali, “from all appearance of evil,” “being as light (or lanterns) in the midst of a froward generation,” and not darkness as that be. And how may this be? Forsooth by “holding fast the word of God,” and following it, for so he teacheth there: read the place, Philippians 2.

36. Azariah (Abednego) and his two companions knew they could not but displease God, if with any outward shew they would have seemed to allow the idol Nebuchadnezzar caused to be set up, and therefore hazarded the fire (Dan. 3): which our mass-gospellers will not do, to alter and turn the queen’s heart, as, by they three not obeying Nebuchadnezzar’s precept, God turned his heart.

37. The body shall not be partaker of the sentence given to the soul in judgment of that whereof in this life it is not partaker with the spirit and soul. This is Tertullian’s reason, On the Resurrection of the Flesh.

38.If thine eye be single,” and true faith in thine heart, then all thy body and actions cannot but be pure: but, “if they be dark,” it is a token thine eye and “light within thee to be darkness.” This argueth faith to faint in them which defile their bodies in being present at the mass; for, as it is impossible for light to be in a house, and not to show itself at the slifters [i.e. crevice], door, and windows of the same, so is it impossible, true faith of God’s gospel to be in the heart of that man which coming to mass uttereth it not by something, whereby men may perceive the light of faith inwardly in the bosom. And therefore Christians are called “towns set upon hills,” “candles upon bushel-tops,” and commanded that “their light should shine before men” (Mat. 5:14-16): which these massing-gospellers allow not, but think that a man can carry faith in the heart, and not utter it at the mass in word or deed ; where it is no more possible, than a man to carry fire in his bosom, and not to burn his clothes (Prov. 6:27).

39.Our fellowship,” saith St. John, “is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3): he saith not, “with the mass,” which is mere darkness; and therefore, to signify the same, God hath suffered them to shew it by the candle-light they must have at it, and further, that they that go to it wot [i.e. know] not whither they go, nor what they do. “Our fellowship,” I say, “is with God the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” but yet so that we must “walk in light,” for else “we lie, and the truth is not in us.” “If any man,” saith he, “walk in darkness” (as, God knoweth, they do, which be at mass, and reprove it not openly), and “saith he hath fellowship with God, the same is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 1:6-7).



4 thoughts on “Harm of Attending the Mass: 2. Why it is Sinful to Attend a Papal Mass

  1. This article is offensive and repugnant. The author makes assertions without support and clearly has a foundational misunderstanding of Catholic doctrine. I would go so far as to suggest he has never even attended a mass. Breaks the fourth commandment? Seriously? This is a joke. He presupposes the Catholic Church is sinful, worships idols, and is Antichrist incarnate. This is ludicrous and is not supported anywhere in this article. It should break our hearts to see one group of Christians saying that another group is actively worshiping Satan and his angels, which clearly is not in accord with reality. Regardless of your interpretation, the Catholic Church has been around since the time of the apostles, who were themselves instructed by Jesus. I don’t think the apostles intended to worship Satan when they partook of the sacrament of the Eucharist and preached His Kingdom.

    In short, this article is repulsive and serves only as an act of discord between the Church of Christ, where there should be no division (I Cor 1:10-17). Indeed, the Reformation brought about many good things, but Reformed theology does not give anyone the right to call another believer Satan-worshipers and Antichrist.

    This organization has disappointed time and again at being divisive when we ought to focus on the life of the Church (any church which holds to the Nicene faith) for the life of the world.


  2. I am an ex Roman Catholic and convert to the Reformed faith and Protestantism. I am now a Presbyterian. When someone comes to know the real Jesus Christ, there is no excusing or loving the false Mass and its communion wafer idol. Most in the pews think they are following “god” and do not realize what is happening. I did not either, as a Catholic, I had been trained from childhood on, to see the Mass as “holy” and as “god’s will” and to believe the Eucharist wafer was really “Jesus’s” body and blood and that only a fully and properly ordained Catholic priest had the power to turn the wafer into ‘the wafer god”! The Roman Catholic mass is an invention of men and such inventions and additions are expressly forbidden in Scripture. The finished Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary on which we rest our faith and which we commemorate in praise and thanksgiving is His sacrifice alone: II Corinthians 5:21 states, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” This was Christ’s sacrifice and His alone.

    Roman Catholic theology debases Christ’s finished and complete offering of Himself on Calvary’s cross in every mass that is said as Roman Catholic worship. Roman Catholic doctrine teaches people that they are able to help in Christ’s offering of Himself by taking part in the so-called sacramental representation of His offering (Mass) and to assist in propitiating God’s wrath by also offering themselves at the same time. But such action by people is not possible because Christ was the only one as God-man Who could make such an offering for sin. In a strict sense it is blasphemy a showing of contempt and lack of reverence for God. It is a violation of the Third Commandment, which required that the name and reputation of the Lord be upheld, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

    The mass is a man-made form of worship and actually is in contradiction to what the scriptures teach. As a protestant I now agree with the Reformers John Calvin and John Knox regarding the proper form of Christian worship and the sacrament of the Lords Supper. I renounce the Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation and all Roman Catholic teachings which contradict and some cases go against the scriptures. It is why I have renounced my former Roman Catholic faith as did the Reformers who were at one time like me Roman Catholic and declare and affirm myself today as a reformed Protestant and a Presbyterian.

    I also now believe the Roman Catholic mass is an abomination and a further insult to Christ as the Roman Catholic church incorrectly teaches that the mass is a continuation of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. It is abominable because it defies the scriptural direction to us ‘It is finished’ we can as men do no more. It has been completed by Christ alone. We are saved not because of what we continue to do but because Christ did it for us; we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, the wonderful Protestant doctrine of Justification.

    I now find the celebration of the Lords Supper as a Protestant and as a Presbyterian more meaningful and believe Christ is present also without the injurious teaching to the true nature of the sacrament which Roman Catholicism calls transubstantiation. I now believe that the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine. In the supper Christ becomes present to us because of our faith and our ascending to Jesus and thus the Father in heaven and the Lord who is the giver of the sacrament. The elements which are symbols are not changed into Christ’s actual body and blood. ~ Dudley Davis ~


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