Requiem Mass — Or Resurrected Messiah?
By Rev. Dr. George Logan, D. Min., Ph.D. Th. D. Minister of Wynnum Presbyterian Church, Queensland, Australia

Used by Permission of the author.
This text Copyright © 1997 First Presbyterian Church of Rowlett


I have known Dr. Logan for many years. He is a sweet but uncompromising Calvinist, and valiant for the truth of God’s Holy Word. Like myself, he has known Romanism from the inside — and desires to win all who will listen with the unadulterated Gospel of our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I commend his tract without hesitation. May it enjoy a wide readership world-wide!

Rev. Professor Dr. Francis Nigel Lee

Dept. of Systematic Theology and Church History

Queensland Presbyterian Theological Hall

Queensland, Australia

July, 1997

Requiem Mass — Or Resurrected Messiah?

I was born and bred a Roman Catholic, having been sent to a Roman Catholic orphanage in the second year of my earthly existence. My dad, just before he went "up north" to fight in the Second World War, made my mother promise that if anything should happen to him, and he was killed, then she should see and insist that I be brought up in the Catholic faith until the age of twenty-one years.

At that stage, when my father left for the war, my mother was pregnant with me. I was born while he was still "up north," but I never had the privilege of meeting him. He never came back for he was killed with many other South African soldiers.

Upon hearing of my father’s decease, my mother fell to pieces, took to the bottle and this resulted in me being sent to the orphanage with two of my sisters, the whereabouts of whom to this day I know not.

We attended mass daily, sometimes twice a day with "Benediction" in the evenings. I sang in the choir and at the close of my "orphanage days," was the head altar boy.

There is an instance (among many others) which is still very vivid in my mind, indelibly imprinted there, where time shall not have the opportunity to erase it. I well remember it as though it happened but yesterday, though the actual incident was some forty five years ago. We had gone to catechism classes where we were receiving teaching from "Father Pius," the then Roman Catholic priest who had the spiritual oversight of the orphanage. "Father Pius" was to me then, and as I reflect back to those many years ago, he is still to me, a very godly man who walked humbly with his Maker. He had a reverence for the sanctuary (church building) which I have not seen in anyone else since. He was utterly sincere (though I now believe sincerely wrong) in what he believed regarding his faith, which faith, he endeavored to instill in us young boys.

We were receiving teaching on the subject of purgatory. It was related to death, the judgment and what happens to the soul after death. It all seemed so scary, so true. I just could not sleep properly for many a night, nor could I focus my concentration on anything else. All I could think of, was my dad whom I had never met. Where was he now? What happened to his soul when he was killed? Was he in heaven? I did not really want to think of the possibility of my own father being tormented and punished in the flames of hell. It literally scared the day-lights out of me. I became exceedingly worried. The "biblical" teaching (as I thought it then to be) by this humble priest concerning the souls of the dead, came with a tremendous force to my little mind and it had a great impact upon my thinking and living in those days.

I could take it no longer. I found my way to the priest’s vestry and related with tears in my eyes what my thoughts of the past days and nights had been. I told him that I was very worried about my dad. All the comfort which the priest then tried to give, rolled off me like water on a duck’s back. Eventually I asked him, "Father Pius, is my dad in heaven?" He paused for just a moment. "No, he is not," he said. Then, shivering before this holy man, finding it so very difficult to get the words out, I asked again, "Is he in hell?" In a calm voice he tried to assure me that my dad was not there. "Then, WHERE is he?" I blurted out. "He is in purgatory," was the reply I received. I knew exactly what he meant. My father was being "cleansed" by the flames in purgatory, and until God found him pure, he would remain in this state and condition. He would be saved: but only, as by fire.

"You mean to say, that he is being cleansed by the fire?" I asked. "Yes," was the reply. The priest saw my state of mind, he watched the tears flowing uncontrollably down those little checks, he saw before him a little boy, no more than nine years of age, shaking and trembling at the thought of his dad in this terrible agony. Then he continued, "But you can get him out, if you want to." "How?" I inquired. "Well, I can say the ‘requiem mass’ for your father, but it will cost you five shillings." Five shillings? Where would I get the money from? I was just an orphan who had neither money nor any source of income.

"When can you say the mass for my dad?" I pleadingly asked.

"As soon as you give me the money," was his reply. Looking back now to what happened then, I must honestly confess that I do not believe that "Father Pius" was being mercenary. I believe he was doing his job, doing what he had learned and carrying out what he taught his catechism class. I believe that he really did believe what he told me there that day was the truth.

It was only in later years that I questioned the logic and reasoning of it all. How did the priest know where my father was? He had never met my dad, nor seen him. He neither knew nor inquired what kind of life my dad lived, in fact, he knew nothing of my father. Why could the priest not say the mass without being paid? If the Roman Catholic Church is so concerned about souls in purgatory, why then, with all their accumulated wealth, could they not get everyone out? And even if they were not a wealthy church, why was the priest not given permission to say the mass out of genuine Christian love, mercy, compassion and kindness? But questions such as these did not enter my agitated mind at that time.

Two days later I again made my way to the priest’s vestry. "I do not have five shillings for you to say the mass," I said, "But I do have two shillings and six pence which I have been able to get." (This was in 1948 and I had "borrowed" the money from several other young urchins.) With a voice calmly reassuring, the priest said, "That will be enough. I’ll accept it and say the ‘requiem mass’ as soon as I can arrange with the ‘sisters’ (nuns) to have the right vestments available for the occasion." (Black was the color to be worn for requiem masses.)

With a heart relieved and saying a quick "thank you" to God in heaven, I quickly handed the two shillings and six pence over to "Father Pius," who did say the mass a few days later. In my little mind as a young boy, I was quite comforted to know that I was able (good works) to help my very own dad whom I had never seen (but for whom I longed), fly to heaven, all due to a requiem mass being said on his behalf, through the priestly function of a Roman Catholic priest, and all for the price of a mere two shillings and six pence. I did not realize at the time, that what all this meant in monetary terms and also in logic, was that my dad’s soul was only worth two shillings and sixpence to the Catholic church, — and perhaps to God.

I left the orphanage at the age of fourteen and was sent to Marist Brothers College in Observatory, Northern Johannesburg where I was to finish my education. However, this was not to be the case, for, due to discrimination — coming from a VERY poor family (I never ever lived with my mother), I was not "one of the boys" as far as the Brothers were concerned. They took little notice of me, not seeming to care whether or not I understood what was being taught in the class rooms. As a result, I refused to attend the school, even on pain of a severe thrashing and further punishment from an uncle (with the agreement of my mother). A school inspector came to speak to me, and I was then transferred to a Government school, where I felt "at home" and made many friends.

While at school I still attended mass, but by the time I left High School, church attendance was zero as I felt that the church services meant nothing to me. It was quite irrelevant.

In my twentieth year, God "arrested" me one day while driving a motor car. He placed the fear of hell, judgment and eternity before me, and in the providence of our Lord, Christ met with me and changed my whole life, attitude and thinking.

Having learned the Roman Catholic Catechism off by heart together with all the Latin prayers which we had to say at the mass, one can well imagine just how much a change took place in my life, when Jesus found me.

So it was with a sense of anticipation that this dissertation was commenced, for it reminded me again and again of my liberation from sin, slavery, idolatry and Satan. It has been a sheer joy to know that Christ suffered "once for all" and that He, my Substitute, took my sins upon Himself, was punished in my stead, and that His righteousness has been imputed to me.

My salvation is ALL of Christ, from beginning to end and as the apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

It is ALL of grace, the free, unmerited grace of God. Grace that was unsought by a hell deserving sinner such as I. But GOD, who is rich in mercy, made "me" alive even when I was dead in sin and transgression. He raised me up with Christ and sealed me with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages, He might show the incomparable riches of His grace expressed in His kindness to me in Christ Jesus.

"Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name." Psalm 103:1.