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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.

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Friday, 16 December 2016

Orange Order elects a Grand Secretary who wants permission for Orangemen to attend the Mass

The Orange Order has elected Irish Presbyterian minister Rev Mervyn Gibson to serve as the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order.

This is in spite of, or maybe because of, his recent comments where he expressed a desire that members of the Orange Order would be allowed to attend The Mass without the threat of discipline.

Forbidden attendance
At present the Orange Order has a rule that forbids members to attend or take part in a Roman Catholic Mass. This rule is seldom applied as evidenced when the then Ulster Unionist Party leader Tom Elliott and the then Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy were not disciplined for attending the funeral of a murdered Roman Catholic PSNI officer, although a complaint was made against them.

Rev Gibson when questioned, in an interview, about his own personal opinion of the rule stated that he would like to see the rule go.

His justification for doing so is that he believes his faith is strong enough to be permitted to attend the Mass.

To attend is to participate in the Mass
He may claim to have a strong faith but what he doesn't seem to know is the plain reason why Protestants shouldn't attend the Mass. To attend is to participate. This is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. To attend a requiem mass for the dead at a funeral is to participate is that which which Protestant churches have taught to be a blasphemy.

The Sacred Congregation of Rites of the Roman Catholic Church issued instructions defining what it was to participate in the Mass. It is known as 'De music sacra', which distinguished several qualities of participation. The document states [emphasis mine]:

The Mass of its nature requires that all those present participate in it, in the fashion proper to each.

This participation must primarily be interior (i.e., union with Christ the Priest; offering with and through Him).

But the participation of those present becomes fuller (plenior) if to internal attention is joined external participation, expressed, that is to say, by external actions such as the position of the body (genuflecting, standing, sitting), ceremonial gestures, or, in particular, the responses, prayers and singing . . .

It is this harmonious form of participation that is referred to in pontifical documents when they speak of active participation (participatio actuosa), the principal example of which is found in the celebrating priest and his ministers who, with due interior devotion and exact observance of the rubrics and ceremonies, minister at the altar.

Perfect participatio actuosa of the faithful, finally, is obtained when there is added sacramental participation (by communion).

Deliberate participatio actuosa of the faithful is not possible without their adequate instruction

The opening sentence makes it clear that to be present is deemed to be participating: The Mass of its nature requires that all those present participate in it, in the fashion proper to each. This is why our Protestant forebearers refused on the pain of death to be found attending the Mass. They knew what Rome taught about attendance at the Mass. 

So when Mervyn Gibson and others are content to attend the Mass they are participating in the Mass, denigrating the conduct of the martyrs and others who refused to attend. 

Despite this willingness to reject historic Protestant teaching on the doctrine of the Mass this man is elected Grand Secretary!

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