Project Canterbury

Missale Romanum; Or, the Depth and Mystery of Roman Mass:
Laid Open and Explained, for the Use of Both Reformed and Un-Reformed Christians.

By Daniel Brevint

Oxford: Printed for J. Vincent, 1847.
London: Hatchard and Son, 1847.

Chapter II.--Of the ancient word and signification of Mass or Missa: and that the present Roman Mass is quite contrary to it.

Mass or Missa is a word almost as old, as the corruption of the Latin tongue, whence it comes; but much older than the corruption of the Latin Church, in that part of service which it was used to signify.

There are more than a thousand years passed, since that Missa, or Mass, signified generally the whole public service of the Church: and, more especially, that part of the morning service, which after the reading of holy scriptures, and sermon, and some prayers, doth proceed to the celebrating of that most holy sacrament, which we do call holy communion. And it came to be called Missa, that is dismission, [Alcuin. de Div. Off de Celebr. Miss. ex Isidor.] or sending away, because [Exposit. Ordinis Rom. l. 2.] no man was suffered to stand and remain in the Church, that either could not, or would not, receive the holy sacrament: and therefore such persons, of what condition soever, as had a mind only to see and hear what was then said and done, were all without any exception dismissed, and, if need were, turned out, after one of the Deacons, or Exorcists, had cried with a loud voice, [Greg. l. 2. Dial c. 23.] Si quis non communicat, det locum; that is, whosoever will not receive, let him go forth. Ancient Latin bishops, before the rust of times had spoiled all, peremptorily enjoined it so. After consecration, says Pope Calixtus, [De Consecr. Dist. 2. Peracta.] let every one receive, who will not be turned out of doors. The Primitive Greek Church was not in this point less severe, wherefore S. Chrysostom preached in a public assembly, [S. Chrysost. Ephes. c. i. Hom. 3. anaiscuntoV kai itamoV esthkwV] that whosoever doth not receive the holy mysteries, and stands there to hear and behold, is an impudent and rash fellow; and like that unworthy guest in the Gospel, (Matt. 22,) whom our Saviour commanded to be bound hand and foot, and turned out: not because he sat at table, says He, but because, before any sitting, he had been so bold as to come in.

To this very purpose it was ordered by another express Canon, Si quis intrat Ecclesiam, &c., that is, if any man enter into the Church to hear the Scriptures, and at his own pleasure abstain from receiving the Sacraments, &c., we do enjoin, that such a man be expelled out of the Catholic Church, till he undergo penance. [Collect. Canonum S. Mart. Bracar. c. 83.] Such a sin was it in those days to recede from the express and original institution of Christ, Do this, take, and eat, &c.

Hence any one, that is not quite blinded by his private concerns, may see, 1. How wrongfully the Roman service now a days, (whence no man is dismissed, who comes to behold and to hear, but not to receive,) bears still the name of Mass. 2. How contrary it is to the old way of the ancient Church, as well as to the ordinance of Christ. 3. What kind of devotion it is in Roman Catholics, to go duly every morning to hear Mass, which express canons of the Church censure, no less than a most scandalous and disorderly action, with excommunication and penance. If the ancient office of the exorcist were revived, whose business it was, as it appears by the old Roman Order, [Ordo Rom. de Div. Offic. Romae. 1593. p. 63.] to cast out the devils, and to bid the people that did not communicate, to go out; if ancient Fathers, and Popes, and Councils, were hearkened to, I am very sure, that the best entertainment that Roman Catholics could expect from their devout and daily Mass hearing, were, if not to be excommunicated and expelled out of the Catholic Church among demoniacs and infidels, at the least, instead of kneeling before an altar, to be desired to go and walk in the churchyard. The very word Mass, that is dismissing or sending away, may intimate to them thus much: and thus, this very title, which Roman priests do keep up still, as an ancient ornament to disguise and grace their new service, stands against them, as an original evidence both to discover and condemn it.

Project Canterbury