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So without further delay, I wish to give you an excellent excerpt from Chapter 4 (p 26-27). It tells us more then I could ever say on the subject. I will highlight in red... the parts which really jumped off the page for me... and I can not argue with them because Mr. Davies is quoting St. Augustine here.
"As the Church is the body of this head", wrote St. Augustine, "through Him she learns to offer Herself." Furthermore, although the intrinsic value of the Sacrifice of the Mass, like that of the Cross, is infinite, Christ being both High priest and Sacrificial Victim, its extrinsic value is limited as regards the fruits of any particular Mass. The value of a particular Mass "is dependent on the greater or lesser holiness of the reigning Pope, the bishops and the clergy throughout the world. The holier the Church in Her members (especially the Pope and the Episcopate), the more agreeable must be Her sacrifice in the eyes of God...With Christ and the Church is associated in the third place the celebrating priest, the representative through whom Christ offers up the Sacrifice. If he be a man of great personal devotion, and purity, there will accrue an additional fruit, which will benefit himself and those in whose favor he applies the Mass. Hence the faithful are guided by a sound instinct when they prefer to have the Mass celebrated by an upright and holy priest rather than by an unworthy one... In the fourth place must be mentioned those who take an active part in the Mass, e.g., the servers, sacristan, Organist, singers and, finally the whole congregation." Needless to say, the application of the fruits of the Mass to the living for whom it is offered or who participate in it will be governed by their own dispositions (see Appendix I). Note: I will be adding this very important index soon [02/06/2012]
"This lack of dispositions cannot exist in the case of the suffering souls in Purgatory, and with them, therefore, the desired effect, whether it be the alleviation of their sufferings, or the shortening of their time of purgation, must infallibly be produced." The effectiveness of the fruits in their case will be governed only by the holiness and fervor of the Church as a whole and Her particular members involved in offering this particular Mass. Once the Protestant leaders "had adopted the doctrine of justification by faith only, and had thrown over the reality of sanctifying grace as the supernatural life of the soul, there was nothing for it but to give up belief in operative and grace-producing sacraments. So the Real Presence and Transubstantiation had to go, and the Eucharist had to loose altogether it's sacrificial character and to be retained simply as a memorial of the Last Supper whereby the soul is moved to prayer and enabled in some way to enter into communion with and to receive Jesus Christ... Hence it is not surprising that, to a great extent, belief in the Mass became the touchstone of Catholic orthodoxy and that all through the centuries of controversies with protestantism, Catholic theologians should have used all their powers of argument and all their resources of learning in it's defense.
The teaching that every Mass produced fruit which the celebrant could apply to both the living and the dead was above all else "good work" par excellence. It was quite incompatible with their doctrine of Justification and must therefore be rejected, as it will be made clear in chapter VII.
There can also be no doubt that the protestant heresiarchs fully realized that it was the Mass that mattered. It was upon the Mass that they directed the full force of their attack.