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Objections have been raised by those who claim that the ‘concelebrated event’ would not have the effect I ascribe to it. Thus some claim that the valid orders of the Catholic clergy present would in effect ‘overrule’ the invalid orders of the Protestant minister. Let me start by putting this event in context. It would have come about as the result of an ‘Inter-Church Process’ authorised by Pope John Paul II. As stated when he came to Britain he was urged by the leaders of the BCC to allow the hierarchy to take part in their organisation. According to the official account of this visit, Dr Philip Morgan, the General Secretary of the British Council of Churches, (BCC), had expressed the view that it would be 'an enormous gain to the BCC and to the Roman Catholic Church if she became a member. In his account of discussions with the Pope, he claimed 'The Pope…agreed that the growing sense of spiritual communion must not be allowed to remain abstract. Ways had to be found to give it visible expression in the life of the churches. His appreciative references to co-operation between the Roman Catholic Church and the British Council of Churches indicated one possible way in which progress could be made. In response to the conversations the Pope invited representatives of the BCC together with representatives of the Episcopal Conferences of Great Britain, to continue the discussions in Rome. The linking of the hierarchies of England and Wales with the BCC could be most important' ('The Pope in Britain', Peter Jennings and Eamonn McCabe, Bodley Head, London 1982 p. 32, emphasised).
The account states that the Pope made this invitation to BCC and SCC leaders on 29th May '82: 'Clearly in a short and informal meeting like this we cannot discuss everything. It is my hope, and I am sure it is yours also, that our meeting this morning will not be the end of this fruitful exchange but the beginning. I would like to think that, before too long, some of you would be prepared to visit Rome together with some representatives of the Episcopal Conferences of Great Britain and to have further conversations with the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and other offices of the Roman Curia..' (p. 74, emphasised).
A booklet published on BCC auspices reveals 'in May 1983 there was a visit to Rome led by the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (the Rt Rev Alistair Haggart) and made up of BCC and Roman Catholic leaders. They explored... what could be done to bring about closer working together, even if full unity itself was not possible. From the tentative steps came the Inter-Church Process 'Not Strangers But Pilgrims' (emphasized). The outcome was: 'On 7th May 1985, at Lambeth Palace the leaders of thirty-two Churches in England, Scotland and Wales met formally and agreed to launch 'a three-year Inter-Church Process' ('Strangers No Longer' by Derek Palmer, Hodder and Stoughton 1990). This 'Process' led to the Catholic Church joining the ecumenical organisation. But why was the head of the Scottish Episcopal Church leading the above delegation? Was it to represent an Episcopal confrere who had spearheaded the Process in Scotland - Canon Wright?
It is significant that when in 1992, the Pope met the Scottish Bishops, he commended them for joining the new ecumenical body launched by Canon Wright. ('Osservatore Romano 4.11.92). His approval was thus evident throughout That clear support effectively implicates the rest of the Church in the outcome. Remember that the entry of the Catholic Church into this organisation was hailed as the first stage towards a re-union of the churches. But one part of the Church cannot formulate ‘unity’ with Protestantism without implicating the rest. Thus the papal support for the plan, far from validating it, merely gives it a false legitimacy. Those mounting a ‘concelebrated Mass’ could, by the same token, claim a spurious mandate.
Then we should consider the nature of the Mass itself. Each Mass is as it were the sole Mass ever celebrated. This is because each Mass is not a separate sacrifice, but a re-presentation of the one perfect sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. So in a sense it is incorrect to refer to ‘masses’ in the plural - as there is no ‘multiplicity of Christs’.29 There is only one Christ who becomes present on the Church’s one altar – signifying the ‘Holy place’. So a substantial subversion of that sacrifice somewhere by the action envisaged, would have effects on the whole Church, abolishing the Mass.
As for the objection that valid orders ‘would overrule the invalid’, surely the intention would be paramount? And as the primary intention of the Catholic clergy would be to confer acceptance on Protestant ‘orders’, their intention would be defective. When actors in a film depict the marriage ceremony, no one is married. And as in the case we envisage, the intention would not be to validly celebrate Mass but to demonstrate acceptance for something which a Pope definitively declared as 'totally void and worthless' - it is impossible that that such an act of deception could truly consecrate bread and wine into Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
Of course some might still ask: how can the setting up of an idol on the altar, totally abolish the Mass? This begs a question: what role does the Mass fulfil? The answer is it establishes and perpetuates God’s Covenant. At the Last Supper Christ consecrated bread and wine into His Body and Blood, ending with the words - ‘this is the New Covenant in My Blood’. A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties, and the New Covenant is the fulfilment of the earlier covenant of Mt Sinai, in which the Jews undertook to keep the Ten Commandments, in return for God’s sovereign protection. The First Commandment enjoins ‘Thou shalt not have false gods before me’, and God warned that disobedience would be punished (Ex 20:5,6). Hence when King Manasses of Judah authorised the worship of an idol in the Temple of Jerusalem (2 Kings 21:7-15) the Jews were punished by being taken captive to Babylon for seventy years, while the Temple lay in ruins. This was the outcome of setting up an idol within God’s sanctuary.
This has a relevance for the subject of the last days, because Christ revealed that their starting-point as ‘when you see abomination of desolation of which the prophet Daniel spoke, set up in the Holy place’ (Matt 24:15). This evidently refers to an idol being set up in a sanctuary of the Church, and as this is followed by the great persecution of the last days - it is logical to conclude that that persecution is the outcome of this idolatry, this ultimate sacrilege, within the Church's sanctuary. The end-time scenario is one in which ‘false Christs’ will appear working ‘great signs and portents’ though Satan’s power, in an attempt to lead people into apostasy, and an era of persecution. It therefore presupposes the end of that Covenant which formerly protected the Church, which thus implies the abolition of the means by which it was established. I now challenge those who still reject my hypothesis to explain: