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ENTERED according to the Act of Congress, in the year
1843, by EUGENE CUMMISKEY, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania,
The object of the present publication, is to instruct the members of the Roman Catholic Church on the nature of the most solemn act of their religion. The Saviour who established that religion, charged his apostles, saying, That which I speak to you in 'he dark, speak ye in the light ; and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops.* And the Council of Trent lays a solemn. injunction upon pastors frequently to explain to the peopie the nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. To discharge his duty by obeying those distinct directions of Christ and of his Church, in the best manner he could, was the intention of the editor of this work. He was also of opinion that many well disposed members of other communions might be greatly benefited by its perusal; as he generally found them not only uninformed of the Catholic doctrines, but having on their minds the most extraordinary and erroneous iinpressions as to the belief of Roman Catholics.
The work consists, first, of an historical and instructive explanation of the plan and decorations of a Roman Catholic Church, of the vestments of the
* Matt. x. 27. .
different Clergymen who may officiate therein, of the nature and institutions of the various ceremonies of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and of those prayers which appeared to need explanation.
The doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church is, “That in the Mass, there is offered to God, a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead,” and “ that the victim offered to God, is the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine.” Assuming this doctrine to be true in all its parts, the Editor trusts the candid reader will find, upon examination, that the ceremonies are not only not ridiculous, but are deeply significant, highly instructive, wisely instituted, and greatly edifying. Every Roman Catholic gecessarily believes this doctrine in its fullest extent and plainest meaning, otherwise he would cease to be a nember of the Church: as he is also suppose ? te. know the grounds upon which this doctrine resis, for if he be ignorant of them, his ignorance is the consequence of his neglect, it was deemed quite unnecessary to enter upon those grounds in the explanation to the Catholic reader; and to enter upon them with sufficient accuracy and expansion, to satisfy the mind of any other person, would require more space than could be conveniently given, or than would, indeed, be compatible with a principal object of the compiler-to keep the price of the book as low as possible.
To establish the doctrinal parts of the Liturgy,
would require the proofs of the “ Real presence " of “ Transubstantiation,” of “Communion of Saints,” of “ The intercession of Angels and of Saints,” of “respecting the relics of Saints,” of “the existence of Purgatory," of "praying for the dead,” and for the validity of the Sacrifice, of “the indelible character of Holy Orders,” as well as of “the distinction of Orders,” and “their divine institution." This range would be far too extensive to comprise in such a prefatory explanation, as the Missal required; and the subjects were too important to be only slightly touched upon, in place of being fully examined. Hence the Editor determined to avoid them altogether, and to refer those who may be desirous of information upon such topics, to the works written expressly for the elucidation and vindication of those doctrines. Therefore the explanation does not contain a single argument in support of doctrine.
The next part of the work is the translation of the Missal. The Editor has not advanced any positions of his own; his labour has been to compress, to connect, and to translate what had been diffusely written upon the subject by some of the best and earliest writers of the Church: indeed he could give nothing new; for the glory of the Church in which he has the honour to hold so responsible a station, as it is also a proof of her integrity, is that she has never deviated from *the form of sound words which she has heard from the Apostles, but f the things which she has heard of them by many witnesses, the samt s? * Tim. 1. 13
;2 Tim. ii. 9