If Calvalry is seen as a Holy Mass and Jesus is the sacrifice then who presided as the priest celebrant?
Calvary was the real immolation of Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is not viewed in Catholicism as a ”Holy Mass”.
Calvary is not a Mass. There is no consecration and no communion. Calvary is the immolation of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. There in no consecration or communions as in a real mass.
There is a need for a clear statement or quote from a Catholic source and it has not been forthcoming in the body of the above question along with its’ linked source.
Catholics view the Mass as the repetition of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary and Christ offered himself the day before in view of the sacrifice at Calvary.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states what the Mass is as follows and does not call Calvary a mass:
1382The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord's body and blood. But the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.
For Catholics, the first ”Mass” was at the Last Supper in which Christ instituted the Eucharist and it was completed the next day at Calvary.
The Holy Mass is the re-presentation of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, in a real liturgical manner. At the Last Supper (also known as the First Eucharist), Jesus created the Mass for each one of us to be present at His great sacrifice, even through time and space. The word “Mass” comes to us from the Latin word “missa” (dismissed, or sent). At the end of the Latin Mass, the priest says, “Ita missa est,” or “Go, you are sent.” The word “Christmas” is an abbreviation for “Christ’s Mass.” Let’s explore why the Mass is what it is, and why it is so important to our salvation.
The Passover meal that Jesus began in the upper room was not finished there. The fourth cup of the Passover meal, the cup of consummation, is not mentioned in the Gospels. The meal broke up after the cup of blessing was drunk and a hymn was sung (Matthew 26). Jesus even said that He would not drink again of the fruit of the vine until later. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he prayed in Matthew 26:39:
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
Finally, on the cross, Jesus drank the sour wine and said in John 19:30: “It is consummated.” The Passover meal that was started in the upper room was finished on the cross, forever tying the Eucharist to the crucifixion of Christ.
The Mass as Sacrifice
It is important to remember that in the Mass, Jesus is both priest and victim. We learn in Hebrews 6:20 that Jesus is a high priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek, both the King of Salem (shalom, or peace) and the High Priest, in Genesis 14:18, offered blessed bread and wine to Abraham in honor of his victory over his enemies and the rescue of Lot. After the golden calf incident, priests in the Old Testament belonged to the tribe of Levi, and they offered sacrifices for sin, only they offered animal sacrifices instead of bread and wine. God commanded these animal sacrifices because the Israelites, while slaves in Egypt for 400 years, had begun to imitate the Egyptians and worship cattle, sheep, and goats. By having to kill these former “deities,” the Jews were weaning themselves off of the gods of Egypt. - The Mass: Calvary Made Present for Each Generation
Jesus as our High Priest, offered himself for our redemption.
…26Such a high priest truly befits us—One who is holy, innocent, undefiled, set apart from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer daily sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people; He sacrificed for sin once for all when He offered up Himself. 28For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.… - Hebrews 7:27
Christ in his humanity offered himself as a spotless Victim for our salvation.
Validly ordained priests act in the person of Christ when they say the words of the sacrifice of Mass. It should be noted that Catholic priests do not act in person of the Father when saying the words of the consecration of the Mass. Calvary was accomplished the Jesus Christ, while offering his body as a sacrifice for our humanity while united to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The Sacred Trinity was present at Calvary.
In persona Christi is a Latin phrase meaning "in the person of Christ", an important concept in Roman Catholicism and, in varying degrees, to other Christian traditions. A priest is In persona Christi, because he acts as Christ and as God. An extended term, In persona Christi capitis, “in the person of Christ the head,” was introduced in by the bishops of the Vatican Council II in the Decree on the Ministry and Live of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis, December 7, 1965.
Roman Catholic understanding
In Roman Catholicism, the priest acts in the person of Christ in pronouncing the words that comprise part of a sacramental rite. For example, in the Mass, the Words of Institution, by which the bread becomes the Body of Christ and the wine becomes the Precious Blood. The priest and bishop act in the person of Christ the head in their leadership of the Church.
Pope Pius XII (1947)
- Only to the apostles, and thenceforth to those on whom their successors have imposed hands, is granted the power of the priesthood, in virtue of which they represent the person of Jesus Christ before their people, acting at the same time as representatives of their people before God….
The august sacrifice of the altar, then, is no mere empty commemoration of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, but a true and proper act of sacrifice, whereby the High Priest by an unbloody immolation offers Himself a most acceptable victim to the Eternal Father, as He did upon the cross. “It is one and the same victim; the same person now offers it by the ministry of His priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner of offering alone being different.”
The priest is the same, Jesus Christ, whose sacred Person His minister represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is made like to the High Priest and possesses the power of performing actions in virtue of Christ's very person.
Bishops of Vatican Council II (1964)
… Priests, although they do not possess the highest degree of the priesthood, and although they are dependent on the bishops in the exercise of their power, nevertheless they are united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity. By the power of the sacrament of Orders, in the image of Christ the eternal high Priest, they are consecrated to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful and to celebrate divine worship, so that they are true priests of the New Testament. Partakers of the function of Christ the sole Mediator, on their level of ministry, they announce the divine word to all. They exercise their sacred function especially in the eucharistic worship or the celebration of the Mass by which acting in the person of Christ…
At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed “not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service”.
Pope Paul VI (1967)
- … acting in the person of Christ, the priest unites himself most intimately with the offering, and places on the altar his entire life, which bears the marks of the holocaust.
Pope John Paul II (1980)
- The priest offers the holy Sacrifice in persona Christi… Awareness of this reality throws a certain light on the character and significance of the priest celebrant who, by confecting the holy Sacrifice and acting “in persona Christi,” is sacramentally (and ineffably) brought into that most profound sacredness, and made part of it, spiritually linking with it in turn all those participating in the eucharistic assembly.
Typical Version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997)
875: … No one can bestow grace on himself; it must be given and offered. This fact presupposes ministers of grace, authorized and empowered by Christ. From him, bishops and priests receive the mission and faculty (“the sacred power”) to act in persona Christi Capitis; deacons receive the strength to serve the people of God in the diaconia of liturgy, word, and charity, in communion with the bishop and his presbyterate. The ministry in which Christ's emissaries do and give by God's grace what they cannot do and give by their own powers, is called a “sacrament” by the Church's tradition. Indeed, the ministry of the Church is conferred by a special sacrament.”
Pope Benedict XVI (2007)
Celebrating the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday with the priests of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI said that priests should prepare themselves thoroughly to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments, remembering that they act in the person of Christ.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D puts it quite nicely the concept of Christ’s supreme sacrifice on the Cross. Jesus offered the first Mass the eve of his Passion. Once the words of consecration were said at the Last Supper, all that remain was for Jesus to complete the immolation on the Cross the next day.
If then Death was the supreme moment for which Christ lived, it was therefore the He wished to have remembered. He did not ask that men should write down His Words into a Scripture; He did not ask that His kindness to the poor should be recorded in history; but He did ask that men remember His Death. And in order that its memory might not be any haphazard narrative on the part of men, He Himself instituted the precise way it should be recalled.
The memorial was instituted the night before He died, at what has since been called "The Last Supper." Taking bread into His Hands, He said: "This is my body, which shall be delivered for you," i.e., delivered unto death. Then over the chalice of wine, He said, "This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins." Thus in an unbloody symbol of the parting of the Blood from the Body, by the separate consecration of Bread and Wine, did Christ pledge Himself to death in the sight of God and men, and represent His death which was to come the next afternoon at three. He was offering Himself as a Victim to be immolated, and that men might never forget that "greater love than this no man hash, that a man lay down his life for his friends," He gave the divine command to the Church: "Do this for a commemoration of me."
The following day that which He had prefigured and foreshadowed, He realized in its completeness, as He was crucified between two thieves and His Blood drained from His Body for the redemption of the world.
The Church which Christ founded has not only preserved the Word He spoke, and the wonders He wrought; it has also taken Him seriously when He said: "Do this for a commemoration of me." And that action whereby we re-enact His Death on the Cross the Sacrifice of the Mass, in which we do as a memorial what He did at the Last Supper as the prefiguration of His Passion.
Hence the Mass is to us the crowning act of Christian worship. A pulpit in which the words of our Lord are repeated does not unite us to Him; a choir in which sweet sentiments are sung brings us no closer to His Cross than to His garments. A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and is meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the , and not the pulpit or the choir or the organ, is the center of worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. With Him we are united, in spite of our nothingness; in a certain sense, we lose our individuality for the time being; we unite our intellect and our will, our heart and our soul, our body and our blood, so intimately with Christ, that the Heavenly Father sees not so much us with our imperfection, but rather sees us , the Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. The Mass is for that reason the greatest event in the history of mankind; the only Holy Act which keeps the wrath of God from a sinful world, because it holds the Cross between heaven and earth, thus renewing that decisive moment when our sad and tragic humanity journeyed suddenly forth to the fullness of supernatural life. -
Calvary and the Mass