While the U.S. Catholic Bishops are currently meeting to discuss slight changes to the mass, delegates of the Christian Reformed Church in West Michigan are discussing how to resolve a historic condemnation of the Catholic mass, which appears in their Heidelberg Catechism.

The Protestant catechism declares that the Catholic mass is “a condemnable idolatry” and, essentially, that it denies that Christ's crucifixion paid for humanity's sins once and for all. But delegates to the CRC Synod spent about three hours Wednesday attempting to tone down the 1563 Protestant doctrine, reported The Grand Rapids Press.

Two years ago, the Christian Reformed Church Synod said the controversial passage should no longer apply as written. Advocates said the catechism got the Catholic mass wrong in the midst of the Reformation's theology war.

According to The Grand Rapids Press, the Christian Reformed Church had consulted with Catholic bishops and their findings were reviewed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

But at this recent meeting, delegates were unable to decide what should replace the catechism’s condemnation of the Catholic mass.

Delegates reportedly debated a compromise. A study committee proposed keeping the passage for historic purposes but putting it in brackets, accompanied by a footnote explaining members are not required to recognize it.
But delegates got tangled in the wording of the footnote and sent the issue back to committee for fine tuning.