Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | July 12, 2009

Quotes from Concord — The Mass

At the outset, we must again make this preliminary statement: we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously keep and defend it. Masses are celebrated among us every Lord’s Day and on the other festivals. The Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observed, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other such things.

The adversaries have a long speech about the use of the Latin language in the Mass. In this speech, they joke about how it benefits an unlearned hearer to hear, in the faith of the Church, a Mass that he does not understand [cf. 1 Corinthians 14:9–12]. They clearly imagine that the mere work of hearing is a service, that it benefits without being understood. We are unwilling to rebelliously pursue these things, but we leave them to the judgment of the reader. We mention them only for the purpose of stating, in passing, that we keep also the Latin lessons and prayers.

However, ceremonies should be celebrated to teach people Scripture, that those admonished by the Word may conceive faith and godly fear, and may also pray. (This is the intent of ceremonies.) So, we keep the Latin language to aid those who are learning and understand Latin. We mix with it German hymns so that the people also may have something to learn, and by which faith and godly fear may be produced. This custom has always existed in the churches. Some more frequently, and others more rarely, introduced German hymns into the service. Yet almost everywhere the people sang something in their own tongue.  However, it has never been written or presented that people benefit from hearing lessons they cannot understand or that ceremonies benefit, not because they teach or admonish, but by the outward act (ex opere operato) because they are performed that way or are looked upon. Away with such pharisaic opinions!

— The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV (XII): The Mass, paragraphs 1-5 (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, Reader’s Edition, p220).

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