The card came in a small, unobtrusive envelope with a San Diego return address on the back. It was sent to the ministry Post Office box, “Attn James White.” I opened it to find a card with a drawing of a Roman Catholic chalice and wafer on the front, and the title, “For Your Intentions.” I opened it to find the following:
At the request of
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
will be offered for the intentions of
JAMES R. WHITE
Rev. Nabil Morannes
Then, in handwriting, was written:
Mass was offered for your intentions at the headquarters of Catholic Answers June 21, 2000
Well, if the folks who sent this intended to get my attention, they succeeded. I had never received a “Mass card” before, or at least if I did, I do not remember it (and given the impression this one left, I doubt I would forget such an event).
As I pondered the card I started to wonder what had motivated someone to do this. The first thought, given the long history of hit-pieces in This Rock magazine, was that it had been done to see if I would explode and provide CA with “fodder” to use to further their “James White is a nasty man, don’t listen to him, please” campaign. I discussed it with some others (including one Roman Catholic via IRC), and got various theories as to what the motivation would be for having a mass said for me at the headquarters of Catholic Answers. Finally I came to the conclusion that the date (June 21) was the key: someone I knew had just gone to work for Catholic Answers that week, and I decided that the card reflected their desires.
Just today a Roman Catholic wrote to me and indicated that he was praying to “Our Lady” and a few various saints for my conversion to Holy Mother Church. I had the same response as I did to the mass card: what a sad system of belief! What hopelessness when one has to utilize such means and methods! To say masses for “intentions” as if this religious rite will do something…to pray to saints who do not even hear you, are utterly unaware you are calling upon them….what emptiness!
As I considered these things, I decided to write a short response back to the folks, whoever they are, who decided to offer a mass in my name on June 21. Here’s my reply:
To Whom It May Concern:
I am in receipt of the mass card you sent to me in June. As I’m sure you expect, I’m not writing to say “thank you.” It would be fundamentally inconsistent of me to ever give thanks for the offering of a mass, since my study of God’s Holy Word has convinced me the Roman Mass is a blasphemy against the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. It accomplishes nothing, outside of perpetuating the myths of transubstantiation and a sacramental priesthood. I have a theory I know why this took place, and who was behind it, but I assure you that I need no medieval religious rite to make my “intentions” known to God. As a Christian I am invited to boldly come before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), not by any righteousness of my own, but solely by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. I look to Him, and Him alone, as the one who can save me “completely” since He ever lives to make intercession for me (Hebrews 7:24-25), not by being transubstantiated into wine and a wafer on an altar, but by the one offering of His perfect sacrifice on Calvary. Instead of appearing on Roman altars, my Lord Jesus is ever in the presence of the Father, interceding for me (Hebrews 9:12, 24). He is seated there, His work of sacrifice being accomplished (Hebrews 10:12), with the result that all those for whom He died are perfected by His work in their behalf (Hebrews 10:14). The Roman Mass is not a “re-presentation” of that one sacrifice, as you claim, for it does not result in the perfection of anyone.
I continue to pray that God will be merciful in showing you all the power of His grace, the truth of His gospel. And since my God is not dependent upon the actions or sacraments of men, I truly believe my request is infinitely greater than any offering of masses for the “intentions” of myself or anyone else. I do hope you will come to know that.
In the service of the risen Christ,
Added information as of 8/17/00: I was informed by “Shell,” a Roman Catholic woman who has visited our chat channel a number of times, that she was the person who requested the Mass be said at CA headquarters for me. She also indicated, in a follow-up message, that she did not pay any monies for the saying of the Mass.