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Except for two Sundays in the year, the Last Gospel at the end of the Mass is the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John. 

But why is there a Last Gospel, especially that of Saint John ???

Historically, beginning in about the 13th Century, all Mass Celebrants (i.e. all Bishops and Priests) were required to recite the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John (1:1-14), as the Last Gospel, on the way back to the Sacristy.

But since it was easier to recite it at the Holy Altar before returning to the Sacristy, the Liturgical Custom began of reciting all of these 14 verses of Chapter 1 of the Gospel of Saint John at the Gospel Side of the Holy Altar. 

Pope Saint Pius V, Antonio-Michele Ghislieri [Friday, January 7, 1566 - Monday, May 1, 1572], retained this Last Gospel in his Missale Romanum of Tuesday, July 14, 1570 A.D.

The reason for reciting a Last Gospel at the Mass, which is the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John (1:1-14), was due to the infection of the Clergy with the Heresy of Catharism which had its roots in older heresies such as Manichæanism and Docetism which, in turn, eventually spawned the Heresy of Albigensian. 

The problem was that it was difficult to determine if the Mass Celebrant, whether a Bishop or a Priest, was a Cathar,  Manichæan, or an Albigensian Heretic.  How to solve this problem ???

The answer was the requirement of the recitation of the first fourteen verses of the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint John as the Last Gospel. 

Why  ???

Because the text of this Last Gospel publicly certifies that the Mass Celebrant, in a very public and very clear way, does believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. 

In other words, when the Mass Celebrant recites the Last Gospel (John 1:1-14), that Bishop or Priest who Offers that Holy Sacrifice of the Mass thereby publicly ratifies all that he did during that Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, especially that he has in fact really and truly effected Transubstantiation during the Double Consecration.

But it also means that this particular Mass Celebrant publicly attests to the fact that he is not a Cathar,  Manichæan, or an Albigensian Heretic. 

Why  ???

Because Cathar,  Manichæan, and Albigensian Heretics deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ claiming that Jesus Christ is not God the Son but only a finite man, something which is contrary to the express Divinely Revealed Teachings of Saint John the Apostle in his Epistles and especially in the beginning of his Gospel, of which chapter one, verses one to fourteen, compose the Last Gospel of the Mass.

For example, Saint John uses the words et Verbum caro factum est (and the Word was made flesh)  (John 1:14). Based upon the principle of lex orandi, lex credendi (the law of praying is the law of believing [Pope Celestine I],  i.e. you believe what you pray and you pray what you believe), anyone who recites this Last Gospel gives public testimony to the fact that he, the Mass Celebrant, does in fact believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son, the Eternal Logos or Divine Word of God, as Saint John so clearly teaches in the very first verse of his Gospel saying: In the beginning was the Word (i.e. God the Son, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

But Cathar,  Manichæan, and Albigensian Heretics can not truly say the words: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). 

Neither can such Heretics say: And the Word was made flesh (John 1:14). 

Nor, can  they  genuflect  as  they  say  these  words.

Therefore, their inability, or today - their refusal - to do these things publicly, reveals to all present that perhaps they could be suspected of being "born again" Cathar,  Manichæan, and/or Albigensian Heretics  ???

Because the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John is used for the Last Gospel, and since it clearly teaches the Divinity of Jesus Christ in several places, the Cathar,  Manichæan, and Albigensian Heretics who are Bishops (of whatever rank of ecclesiastical jurisdiction) and Priests, do not say this Last Gospel.  Does this somehow "prove" that they, thereby, automatically admit that they are Cathar,  Manichæan, and/or Albigensian Heretics  ???  IF this was the 13th Century, when this first became required, the answer would certainly be "yes"!  So what, IF anything, has really changed since then  ???  The text of the Last Gospel has not changed!

By the same token. Prelates and Priest who are Faithful to the Catholic Traditional Faith, Mass, and Sacraments, should, for obvious reasons, have no problem reciting this Last Gospel, and who also genuflect at the words et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh) (John 1:14).

Has history now repeated itself  ???

Thank you for Reading!  :)

God Bless You!  :pray:

A Catholic Catholic - Father Jim
Because if it was earlier it'd be second to last.

:tiphat: thank you, thank you.
Thanks, Father! I'd known since my 'Anglo-Catholic' days that it was originally recited on the way to the Sacristy, because that's how we did it, but I had no idea why the opening of St John's Gospel was the Last Gospel.
But seriously that is interesting. The last gospel as a sort of oath of faith.
(09-30-2011, 01:17 AM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]Thanks, Father! I'd known since my 'Anglo-Catholic' days that it was originally recited on the way to the Sacristy, because that's how we did it, but I had no idea why the opening of St John's Gospel was the Last Gospel.

Hi jovan66102!   :)

You are most welcome!  :)

God Bless You!  :pray:

A Catholic Catholic - Father Jim

(09-30-2011, 01:21 AM)Louis_Martin Wrote: [ -> ]But seriously that is interesting. The last gospel as a sort of oath of faith.

Hi Louis Martin!  :)

I like your idea:

Quote:The last gospel as a sort of oath of faith.


Thanks for reading!  :)

God Bless You!  :pray:

A Catholic Catholic - Father Jim
Thanks, Father Jim. This explains a lot.

tim
Very interesting.

But can you explain what would happen when the Feast of a Saint was celebrated at Sunday Mass? It as not that long ago that this used to occur on a fairly regular basis. In those situations the Last Gospel would be for the Sunday in the Liturgical Year as the Gospel read at Mass would be taken from the Proper of the Saint, or maybe even the Common of the Saints.

In those situations, and as you say, 2 times these days, do the priests chant it on the way back to the Sacristy? Or was it a mere exception to the rule and is not prayed in these present and past occurences?
(09-30-2011, 12:43 PM)Adam Wayne Wrote: [ -> ]Very interesting.

But can you explain what would happen when the Feast of a Saint was celebrated at Sunday Mass? It as not that long ago that this used to occur on a fairly regular basis. In those situations the Last Gospel would be for the Sunday in the Liturgical Year as the Gospel read at Mass would be taken from the Proper of the Saint, or maybe even the Common of the Saints.

In those situations, and as you say, 2 times these days, do the priests chant it on the way back to the Sacristy? Or was it a mere exception to the rule and is not prayed in these present and past occurences?

I believe this only happened with a certain rank of a feast. Not all feasts.  And, yes the passage from John was not said.

You can see in this missal from 1815 that the Last Gospel is normally from John.  http://books.google.com/books?id=E3cWAAAAYAAJ&dq=1815%20daily%20missal&pg=PA45#v=onepage&q&f=false

I have actually read the Last Gospel is much older dating from the earliest period of the church, as it was essentially the first creed of the church.   
(09-30-2011, 12:43 PM)Adam Wayne Wrote: [ -> ]But can you explain what would happen when the Feast of a Saint was celebrated at Sunday Mass? It as not that long ago that this used to occur on a fairly regular basis. In those situations the Last Gospel would be for the Sunday in the Liturgical Year as the Gospel read at Mass would be taken from the Proper of the Saint, or maybe even the Common of the Saints.

Proper Last Gospels were read instead of the beginning of John. If the Gospel was from the Common, it wasn't used. On Christmas, at the third Mass, the Gospel was from the Epiphany; on Palm Sunday, it was from the procession, if the procession was not done, or from John.
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