Of The Last Things (2016)
Fr. Martin Fuchs´s sermon on 13th November 2016, Prague, Czech republic
There are differences in the following points:
1. Protestants do not believe in a purgatory.
2. Protestants don’t help the deceased, neither through Holy Masses, nor through a prayer, nor through indulgences.
3. Protestants don’t place the crucifix on a grave.
4. Protestants don’t use the holy water and blessed candles.
1. Protestants do not believe in a purgatory
For them the deceased are either in heaven or in hell. But we don’t have to pray for those who are in heaven and we can’t pray for those in hell.
“He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.“ (Mark 16:16)
Protestants say goodbye to the deceased. They pay tribute to their works and are grateful to them. They eat and drink in their honour.
When Fischer – an actor who played in a thriller series – was buried in Munich, it was reported that thousands of people waited in vain for a prayer. They honoured his life and looked forward to the funeral feast in order to enjoy the favourite dish of the deceased.
Catholics believe in a purgatory, in a place of purification. This place is not directly mentioned in the Holy Scripture but only indirectly.
In the Second Book of Machabees (12:40) Judas Machabee arranges for sacrifices in the temple in favour of the dead soldiers. This only makes sense when the benefits of the sacrifice may also be granted to the deceased.
In the New Testament, we can read about the sin against the Holy Spirit. This sin can neither be forgiven in this world nor in the world to come. Sins may be remised in the world to come, but neither in hell nor in heaven. (Matthew 12:32) Then there must be a place in the world to come where it is possible to get remission of the sins.
Furthermore the purgatory is mentioned in today’s Gospel. There it says that the ungrateful servant cast his fellow servant in prison till he paid the debt (Matthew 18:30). This prison insinuates a prison in the world to come, a place of purification.
And in the first letter to the Corinthians (3:10-15), saint Paul says that a missionary who builds on the right foundation which is Christ, but who uses only wood, hay or stubble, will not pass the test, when his work shall be tried in fire on the day of the Lord. His work shall burn, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.
The Magisterium teaches on the purgatory by the Council of Florence in 1439 and by the Council of Trent from 1545-1563. It is a dogma that there is a purgatory and that we can help the poor souls by doing good works.
There are proofs that the prayer for the deceased was a tradition in early times already: in the missal, inscriptions on tombstones, altarpieces etc.
Saint Thomas says: “The one who denies purgatory contradicts divine justice. For many die in a state of grace, but they have not done enough penitence yet.“
2. Protestants don’t help poor souls of the deceased, neither through Holy Masses, nor through a prayer, nor through indulgences
They sing in church, but they don’t celebrate Mass.
Celebrating the Lord’s Supper is not a sacrifice.
Catholics help the poor souls through the Holy Mass.
This is the greatest work on earth because Christ offers himself to his heavenly Father. We cannot perform a greater work for the poor souls than by having the Holy Mass celebrated for them.
And in every Mass, even in such which is not celebrated for the deceased, there is a special memento of the deceased.
Catholics help the poor souls with prayers and pilgrimages, just as Judas Machabee had sacrifices made for the souls of the deceased soldiers.
Catholics help the poor souls with works of penance and with indulgences.
Protestants pretend that the dogma of indulgences is not to be found in the Holy Scripture.
However, we have to consider that not everything is written down in the Holy Scripture. Furthermore the Church has the authority not only to remit sins, to bind, and to release, but also to release everything in connection with the remission of sins.
When in a private firm a director is nominated, this nomination includes every business which is his duty, be it the renting of a location, the hiring of an employee, the purchase of certain products etc. It is not necessary to describe every duty of his job.
Catholics help the poor souls with alms and other good works. They also help them with catching up on omissions, paying debts for example.
3. Catholics place the crucifix on their graves, Protestants a mere cross
Through Jesus Christ, the cross is a sign of victory for us, only through Him it became a sign of salvation. In the Old Testament there were many crosses on which people were hung up, but none of these crosses had the power to release even a venial sin. A glance at the cross shows us how we have to die, not worthy of a human being but worthy of a Christian. We have to accept death, regardless of the way in which it may strike us.
4. Protestants don’t use holy water and blessed candles
There is no holy water in a Protestant church. The holy water is a blessing of the Church. It acts through the prayers of the Church. The Church uses blessings just as Christ used them. He blessed bread and food, he blessed the Apostles before His Ascension, he blessed the children, etc.
We, of course, cannot administer a sacrament or a blessing to a deceased because his merits end when he dies. The whole funeral ceremony and the holy water are blessings which mean that the prayers of the Church are granted to the deceased.
Look at a cemetery, the way in which a funeral is performed, shows us the faith of people. We do not want to judge anybody but there are many people who grew up in the false faith. If they find anything contradictory in their religion, they have to look for another religion.
The point is that there is only one truth because there is only one God and thus only one faith.
Nowadays, if we attend a funeral performed by the postconciliar Church, we realize how protestantized Catholics have become. They celebrate the Resurrection Mass, they light the Easter candle, they act as if we all rise to heaven.
Yes, we believe in the resurrection of life, but we cannot be sure that the deceased will obtain it. Saint John speaks in his Gospel also about a resurrection of judgment (John 5:29).
We can be sure only in the case of a child who died before reaching the age of reason that the deceased will infallibly rise happily.
In the postconciliar Church they honour the life of the deceased but they don’t pray for him. Often there is only a worship instead of a Mass followed by the distribution of the Holy Communion to everybody whether they are baptized or not, whether they are Catholic or not, whether they are in a state of grace or not. Even public sinners – people who live in concubinage or in a homosexual partnership – can receive the Holy Communion.
We are authorized to attend a non-Catholic or a modernist funeral – archbishop Lefebvre considered the Novus ordo-Mass as a non-Catholic service – only in a passive manner, i.e. if we have serious reasons, for example a funeral of a business friend or a relative. Furthermore we are not allowed to take an active part in the funeral, for instance to play the organ or to receive the Communion.
Let us help the poor souls! Let us prepare for eternal life and let us take care to ensure that we have a Catholic funeral! Amen.