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::: OUR CATECHISM & CANON LAW
CHRIST CATHOLIC CHURCH-WORLDWIDE CATECHISIM
The Orthodox - Basilian Catechism
Revised and Blessed by...
+The Society of Clerks Secular of Saint Basil+
(+The Basilians - The Basilian Fathers+)
(+The Society of Saint Basil+)
FOREWORD BY THE +SOCIETY OF SAINT BASIL+:
Different cultures abound in various parts of the world, but no more so than in the English speaking portions of the
Americas. Thought processes are formed by the language
which the thinker uses, with the most volatile and potentially
fruitful language of today being English. Because of these
and other factors, teaching books and methods designed for
one culture and language often just do not work very well for
another culture and language. This is true for English
speaking America of today, more than for any other group in
the history of mankind.
Because of this, we have searched for a religious teaching
system, a catechism, which would work for Orthodox,
English speaking, America. The modern, large page,
cartoon image format has been examined and rejected, for it
has been found to be of little substance, often misleading and
given to nullification of thought with its Saturday morning
cartoon picture approach, and prone to subtle error in its
briefly telling a story method which when combined with the
usual pictures, binds the thought process and impedes
The philosophical discussion format most common in
Orthodoxy and now in the new Roman Catechism are very
well suited for those engaged in deep study of the Faith, but
are totally unsuitable for those of English speaking American
culture engaged in beginning to learn the Faith.
The one format which has been found to be successful in
teaching the Faith, even without a teacher, is that used in the
Baltimore Catechism series - the question and answer format
of route memory which requires individual thought and
imagination for true comprehension.
This, The Orthodox - Basilian Catechism, is unabashedly
based on the Baltimore Catechism series of the Roman
Catholic Church, and corresponds to No. 3 of that series.
Many Orthodox may find this to be unsettling, but we find no
valid reason to ignore teaching aids and formats which have
been proven to be very successful.
We therefore have adopted, and adapted, the original work
for Orthodox use, and both approve the use of this, The
Orthodox - Basilian Catechism No. 1, within our
Archdiocese, and establish it as the only authorized
Catechism for our Archdiocese. It is to be used for and by
those of all ages as the introductory catechism, particularly
those from the beginning of the ability to comprehend (from
birth) and those in the Catechumenate (converts) through
and including those who are beginning to comprehend
Confession and the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion).
+ Paul, S.S.B.,
March 29, 1999
Adopted and Approved by the Christ Catholic Church-Worldwide
By the Power and Authority vested in me By God, and the Holy Aposolic Church of Christ Catholic Church-Worldwide, it is hereby commanded by God that the following Catechism be used as the instructional and educational foundation in Religious Life and for the true faithful of Christ Catholic Church-Worldwide.
+ Dana, OSF / OSB
January 1, 2015
+ Alfred, OSF / OSB
The Holy Synod of Christ Catholic Church-Worldwide
January 1, 2015
1.The Lord's Prayer.
2.The Angelical Salutation.
3.The Apostles' Creed.
5.An Act of Faith.
6.An Act of Hope.
7.An Act of Love.
8.An Act of Contrition.
9.The Blessing before Meals.
10.Grace after Meals.
12.The Nicene Creed
The Lessons of the Catechism
1.Lesson 1 On the end of Man
2.Lesson 2 On God and His Perfections
3.Lesson 3 On the Unity and Trinity of God
4.Lesson 4 On Creation
5.Lesson 5 On Our First Parents and the Fall
6.Lesson 6 On Sin and Its Kinds
7.Lesson 7 On the Incarnation and Redemption
8.Lesson 8 On Our Lord's Passion, Death,
Resurrection and Ascension
9.Lesson 9 On the Holy Gost and His Descent
Upon the Apostles
10.Lesson 10 On the Effects of the Redemption
11.Lesson 11 On the Church
12.Lesson 12 On the Attributes and Marks of
13.Lesson 13 On the Sacraments in General
14.Lesson 14 On Baptism
15.Lesson 15 On Chrismation (Confirmation)
16.Lesson 16 On the Gifts and Fruits of the
17.Lesson 17 On the Sacrament of Penance
18.Lesson 18 On Contrition
19.Lesson 19 On Confession
20.Lesson 20 On the Manner of Making a
21.Lesson 21 On Indulgences
22.Lesson 22 On the Holy Eucharist
23.Lesson 23 On the Ends for which the
Holy Eucharist was Instituted
24.Lesson 24 On the Sacrifice of the Divine
25.Lesson 25 On Extreme Unction and Holy
26.Lesson 26 On Matrimony
27.Lesson 27 On the Sacramentals
28.Lesson 28 On Prayer
29.Lesson 29 On the Commandments of
30.Lesson 30 On the First Commandment
31.Lesson 31 The First Commandment -- On
the Honor and Invocation of the Saints
32.Lesson 32 From the Second to
the Fourth Commandment
33.Lesson 33 From the Fourth to
the Seventh Commandment
34.Lesson 34 From the Seventh to
the Tenth Commandment
35.Lesson 35 On the First and Second
Commandments of the Church
36.Lesson 36 On the Third, Fourth, Fifth
and Sixth Commandments of the Church
37.Lesson 37 On the Last Judgment and
Resurrection, Hell, Purgatory and Heaven
The Lord's Prayer.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy
kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not
into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
The Angelical Salutation.
Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with thee: blessed art
thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now
and at the hour of our death. Amen.
The Apostles' Creed.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and
earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was
conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was
buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again
from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right
hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall
come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy
Ghost the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the
life everlasting. Amen.
I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary, ever Virgin, to
blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist,
to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the Saints, that
I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word and deed,
through, my fault, through my fault, through my most
grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary, ever
Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the
Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints,
to pray to the Lord our God for me.
May the Almighty God have mercy on me, and forgive me
my sins, and bring me to everlasting life. Amen.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant me pardon,
absolution, and remission of all my sins. Amen.
An Act of Faith.
0 my God! I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three
Divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; I believe that
Thy Divine Son became man, and died for our sins, and that
he will come to, judge the living and the dead. I believe these
and all the truths which the Holy Catholic and Apostolic
Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, who canst
neither deceive nor be deceived
An Act of Hope.
0 my God! relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I
hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and
life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord
An Act of Love.
0 my God! I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart
and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I
love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all
who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have
An Act of Contrition.
0 my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and
I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the
pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my
God, who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly
resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do
penance, and to amend my life.
The Blessing before Meals.
† Bless us, 0 Lord! and these Thy gifts, which we are about
to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Grace after Meals.
† We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, 0 Almighty God,
who livest and reignest for ever; and may the souls of the
faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One; Have
mercy upon us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One; Have
mercy upon us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One; Have
mercy upon us.
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, The Father Almighty, Maker of heaven
and earth; And of all things visible and invisible; And in one
Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; begotten of
His Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God; begotten not made, being of one
substance with the Father, by Whom all things were made;
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from
heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin
Mary, and was made man. And was crucified also for us
under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried; and the
third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and
ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the
Father; and He shall come again with glory, to judge both the
quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life,
Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and
the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by
the prophets. And I believe in one Holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the
remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead;
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Manner in which a Lay Person
is to Baptize
in Case of Necessity:
Pour common water on the head or face of the person to be
baptized say while pouring it:
"I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Spirit."
N.B. Any person of either sex who has reached the use of
reason can baptize in case of necessity. A person who is not
baptied, who baptizes someone, should have the intention of
administering the Sacrament of Baptism as best he
understands it. Even if his intention is only to do that which
he has been requested, the Sacrament is valid. Baptism by a
lay person is usualy followed by Baptism “Sub Conditione”,
meaning a formal Baptism is performed but is not intended
to be administered unless the original Baptism was defective.
LESSON FIRST: On the End of Man.
Q. 126. What do we mean by the "end of man"?
A. By the "end of man" we mean the purpose for which he
was created: namely, to know, love, and serve God.
Q. 127. How do you know that man was created for God
A. I know that man was created for God alone because
everything in the world was created for something more
perfect than itself: but there is nothing in the world more
perfect than man; therefore, he was created for something
outside this world, and since he was not created for the
Angels, he must have been created for God.
Q. 128. In what respect are all men equal?
A. All men are equal in whatever is necessary for their nature
and end. They are all composed of a body and soul and spirit;
they are all created to the image and likeness of God; they are
all gifted with understanding and free will; and they have all
been created for the same end -- God. They should all be
treated equally and have the same opportunities
commensurate with their talents and abilities.
Some people think of men as being composed of body and
soul, and not of body and soul and spirit. They think of the
soul as being the upper reaches of the spirit. Both ways of
thinking are proper, but thinking of men as being composed
of body and soul and spirit makes it easier to contemplate
man’s relationship to the Holy Trinity.
Q. 129. Do not men differ in many things?
A. Men differ in many things, such as learning, wealth,
power, etc.; but these things belong to the world and not
man's nature. He came into this world without them and he
will leave it without them. Only the consequences of good or
evil done in this world will accompany men to the next.
Q. 130. Who made the world?
A. God made the world.
Q. 131. What does "world" mean in this question?
A. In this question "world" means the universe; that is, the
whole creation; all that we now see or may hereafter see.
Q. 132. Who is God?
A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.
Q. 133. What is man?
A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul and spirit,
and made to the image and likeness of God.
Q. 134. Does "man" in the Catechism mean all human
A. "Man" in the Catechism means all human beings, either
men or women, boys, girls, children, babies, and unborn
babies from the instant of conception.
Q. 135. What is a creature?
A. A creature is anything created, whether it has life or not;
body or no body. Every being, person, or thing except God
Himself may be called a creature.
Q. 136. Is this likeness in the body or in the soul or in the
A. This likeness is chiefly in the soul and in the spirit.
Q. 137. How are the soul and spirit like to God?
A. The soul is like to God because it is a spirit that will never
die, and has understanding and free will. The spirit is where
the “spark” of the Holy Spirit resides.
Q. 138. Is every invisible thing a spirit?
A. Every spirit is invisible -- which means can not be seen;
but every invisible thing is not a spirit. The wind is invisible,
and it is not a spirit.
Q. 139. Has a spirit any other quality?
A. A spirit is also indivisible; that is, it can not be divided
into parts, as we divide material things.
Q. 140. What do the words "will never die" mean?
A. By the words "will never die" we mean that the soul, when
once created, will never cease to exist, whatever be its
condition in the next world. Hence we say the soul is
immortal or gifted with immortality.
Q. 141. Why then do we say a soul is dead while in a state
of mortal sin?
A. We say a soul is dead while in a state of mortal sin,
because in that state it is as helpless as a dead body, and can
merit nothing for itself.
Q. 142. What does our "understanding" mean?
A. Our "understanding" means the "gift of reason," by which
man is distinguished from all other animals, and by which he
is enabled to think and thus acquire knowledge and regulate
Q. 143. Can we learn all truths by our reason alone?
A. We can not learn all truths by our reason alone, for some
truths are beyond the power of our reason and must be taught
to us by God.
Q. 144. What do we call the truths God teaches us?
A. Taken together, we call the truths God teaches us
revelation, and we call the manner by which He teaches them
Q. 145. What is "Free Will"?
A. "Free Will" is that gift of God by which we are enabled to
choose between one thing and another; and to do good or evil
in spite of reward or punishment.
Q. 146. Have brute animals "understanding" and "free
A. Brute animals have not "understanding" and "free will."
They have not "understanding" because they never change
their habits or better their condition. They have not "free
will" because they never show it in their actions.
Q. 147. What gift in animals supplies the place of reason?
A. In animals the gift of "instinct" supplies the place of
reason in guiding their actions.
Q. 148. What is instinct?
A. "Instinct" is a gift by which all animals are impelled to
follow the laws and habits that God has given to their nature.
Q. 149. Have men as well as brutes "instinct"?
A. Men have "instinct," and they show it when placed in
sudden danger, when they have not time to use their reason.
A falling man instantly grasps for something to support him.
Q. 150. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve
Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the
Q. 151. Why is it necessary to know God?
A. It is necessary to know God because without knowing Him
we cannot love Him; and without loving Him we cannot be
saved. We should know Him because He is infinitely true;
love Him because He is infinitely beautiful; and serve Him
because He is infinitely good.
Q. 152. Of which must we take more care, our soul or our
A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body.
Q. 153. Why must we take more care of our soul than of
A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body,
because in losing our soul we lose God and everlasting
Q. 154. What must we do to save our souls?
A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope,
and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him,
and love Him with all our heart.
Q. 155. What does "worship" mean?
A. "Worship" means to give divine honor by acts such as the
offering of prayer or sacrifice.
Q. 156. How shall we know the things which we are to
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the
Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, through which God
speaks to us.
Q. 157. What do we mean by the "Church, through which
God speaks to us"?
A. By the "Church, through which God speaks to us," we
mean the "teaching Church"; that is, the Patriarchs, Bishops,
and priests, whose duty it is to instruct us in the truths and
practices of our religion. These Truths, or Dogma, are
formed in Ecumenical Councils or meetings of all the
Bishops of the Church, or their representatives, during which
the Holy Spirit guides the Bishops into agreeing and
declaring the Truths which God reveals at that time. The last
such meeting was held during the first millennium, before
the year 1000 A.D.
Q. 158. Where shall we find the chief truths which the
A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church teaches
in the Apostles' Creed and in the Nicene Creed.
Q. 159. If we shall find only the "chief truths" in the
Apostles' Creed, where shall we find the remaining
A. We shall find the remaining truths of our Faith in the
religious writings and preachings that have been sanctioned
by the authority of the Church.
Q. 160. Name some sacred truths not mentioned in the
A. In the Apostles' Creed there is no mention of the Real
Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, nor of the
Infallibility of the Ecumenical Councils of the Church, nor of
the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, nor
of some other truths that we are bound to believe.
Q. 161. Say the Apostles' Creed.
A. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven
and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who
was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was
buried. He descended into hell: the third day He arose again
from the dead: He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right
hand of God, the Father Almighty: from thence He shall
come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy
Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the
life everlasting. Amen.
Some people say Holy Ghost instead of Holy Spirit. When
we are talking about God, they mean the same thing.
Weshould also remember that Roman Catholics often refer to
themselves as Catholics, but that the reference to the Holy
Catholic Church was made during the times of the Apostles,
and that we now call the Church The Holy Catholic and
LESSON SECOND: On God and His Perfections
Q. 162. What is a perfection?
A. A perfection is any good quality a thing should have. A
thing is perfect when it has all the good qualities it should
Q. 163. What is God?
A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.
Q. 164. What do we mean when we say God is "infinitely
A. When we say God is "infinitely perfect" we mean there is
no limit or bounds to His perfection; for He possesses all
good qualities in the highest possible degree and He alone is
Q. 165. Had God a beginning?
A. God had no beginning; He always was and He always will
Q. 166. Where is God?
A. God is everywhere.
Q. 167. How is God everywhere?
A. God is everywhere whole and entire as He is in any one
place. This is true and we must believe it, though we cannot
Q. 168. If God is everywhere, why do we not see Him?
A. We do not see God, because He is a pure spirit and cannot
be seen with bodily eyes.
Q. 169. Why do we call God a "pure spirit'?
A. We call God a pure spirit because He has no body. Our
soul is a spirit, but not a "pure" spirit, because it was created
for union with our body.
Q. 170. Why can we not see God with the eyes of our
A. We cannot see God with the eyes of our body because they
are created to see only material things, and God is not
material but spiritual.
Q 171. Does God see us?
A. God sees us and watches over us.
Q. 172. Is it necessary for God to watch over us?
A. It is necessary for God to watch over us, for without His
constant care we could not exist.
Q. 173. Does God know all things?
A. God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts,
words, and actions.
Q. 174. Can God do all things?
A. God can do all things, and nothing is hard or impossible
Q. 175. When is a thing said to be "impossible"?
A. A thing is said to be "impossible" when it cannot be done.
Many things that are impossible for creatures are possible for
Q. 176. Is God just, holy, and merciful?
A. God is all just, all holy, all merciful, as He is infinitely
Q. 177. Why must God be "just" as well as "merciful"?
A. God must be just as well as merciful because He must
fulfill His promise to punish those who merit punishment,
and because He cannot be infinite in one perfection without
being infinite in all.
Q. 178. Into what sins will the forgetfulness of God's
justice lead us?
A. The forgetfulness of God's justice will lead us into sins of
Q 179. Into what sins will the forgetfulness of God's
mercy lead us?
A. The forgetfulness of God's mercy will lead us into sins of
LESSON THIRD: On the Unity and Trinity of God
Q. 180. What does "unity," and what does "trinity"
A. "Unity" means being one, and "trinity" means three-fold
or three in one.
Q. 181. Can we find an example to fully illustrate the
mystery of the Blessed Trinity?
A. We cannot find an example to fully illustrate the mystery
of the Blessed Trinity, because the mysteries of our holy
religion are beyond comparison.
Q. 182. Is there but one God?
A. Yes; there is but one God.
Q. 183. Why can there be but one God?
A. There can be but one God because God, being supreme
and infinite, cannot have an equal.
Q. 184. What does "supreme" mean?
A. "Supreme" means the highest in authority; also the most
excellent or greatest possible in anything. Thus in all things
God is supreme. The Church speaks for God on earth and is
taught by the Holy Spirit and proclaims the truths God
teaches in the Great Ecumenical Councils of the Church.
The Bishops teach these truths to everyone.
Q. 185. When are two persons said to be equal?
A. Two persons are said to be equal when one is in no way
greater than or inferior to the other.
Q. 186. How many persons are there in God?
A. In God there are three Divine persons, really distinct, and
equal in all things --the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Q. 187. What do "divine" and "distinct" mean?
A. "Divine" means pertaining to God, and "distinct" means
separate; that is, not confounded or mixed with any other
Q. 188. Is the Father God?
A. The Father is God and the first Person of the Blessed
Q. 189. Is the Son God?
A. The Son is God and the second Person of the Blessed
Q. 190. Is the Holy Spirit God?
A. The Holy Spirit is God and the third Person of the Blessed
Q. 191. Do "first," "second," and "third" with regard to
the persons of the Blessed Trinity mean that one person
existed before the other or that one is greater than the
A. "First," "second," and "third" with regard to the persons
of the Blessed Trinity do not mean that one person was before
the other or that one is greater than the other; for all the
persons of the Trinity are eternal and equal in every respect.
These numbers are used to mark the distinction between the
persons. They do not show order of procession as some
people think, for the Father does not proceed from anyone,
the Son is eternally begotten, and the Holy Spirit proceeds
from the Father.
Q. 192. What do you mean by the Blessed Trinity?
A. By the Blessed Trinity I mean one God in three Divine
Q. 193. Are the three Divine Persons equal in all things?
A. The three Divine Persons are equal in all things.
Q. 194. Are the three Divine Persons one and the same
A. The three Divine Persons are one and the same God,
having one and the same Divine nature and substance.
195. What do we mean by the "nature" and
"substance" of a thing?
A. By the "nature" of a thing we mean the combination of all
the qualities that make the thing what it is. By the
"substance" of a thing we mean the part that never changes,
and which cannot be changed without destroying the nature
of the thing.
Q. 196. Can we fully understand how the three Divine
Persons are one and the same God?
A. We cannot fully understand how the three Divine Persons
are one and the same God, because this is a mystery.
Q. 197. What is a mystery?
A. A mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand.
Q. 198. Is every truth which we cannot understand a
A. Every truth which we cannot understand is not a mystery;
but every revealed truth which no one can understand is a
Q. 199. Should we believe truths which we cannot
A. We should and often do believe truths which we cannot
understand when we have proof of their existence.
Q. 200. Give an example of truths which all believe,
though many do not understand them.
A. All believe that the earth is round and moving, though
many do not understand it. All believe that a seed planted in
the ground will produce a flower or tree often with more than
a thousand other seeds equal to itself, though many cannot
understand how this is done.
Q. 201. Why must a divine religion have mysteries?
A. A divine religion must have mysteries because it must
have supernatural truths and God Himself must teach them.
A religion that has only natural truths, such as man can know
by reason alone, fully understand and teach, is only a human
Q. 202. Why does God require us to believe mysteries?
A. God requires us to believe mysteries that we may submit
our understanding to Him.
Q. 203. By what form of prayer do we praise the Holy
A. We praise the Holy Trinity by a form of prayer called the
Doxology, which has come down to us almost from the time
of the Apostles.
Q. 204. Say the Doxology.
A. The Doxology is: "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now,
and ever shall be, throughout all ages of ages. Amen." Some
Westerners say, “world without end” instead of “throughout
all ages of ages.”
Q. 205. Is there any other form of the Doxology?
A. There is another form of the Doxology, which is said in
the celebration of the Divine Liturgy (the Mass). It is called
the "Gloria in excelsis" or "Glory be to God on high," etc.,
the words sung by the Angels at the birth of Our Lord.
LESSON FOURTH: On Creation
Q. 206. What is the difference between making and
A. "Making" means bringing forth or forming out of some
material already existing, as workmen do. "Creating" means
bringing forth out of nothing, as God alone can do.
Q. 207. Has everything that exists been created?
A. Everything that exists except God Himself has been
Q. 208. Who created heaven and earth, and all things?
A. God created heaven and earth, and all things.
Q. 209. From what do we learn that God created heaven
and earth and all things?
A. We learn that God created heaven and earth and all things
from the Bible or Holy Scripture, in which the account of the
Creation is given.
Q. 210. Why did God create all things?
A. God created all things for His own glory and for their or
Q. 211. Did God leave all things to themselves after He
had created them?
A. God did not leave all things to themselves after He had
created them; He continues to preserve and govern them.
Q. 212. What do we call the care by which God preserves
and governs the world and all it contains?
A. We call the care by which God preserves and governs the
world and all it contains, His providence.
Q. 213. How did God create heaven and earth?
A. God created heaven and earth from nothing by His word
only; that is, by a single act of His all-powerful will.
Q. 214. Which are the chief creatures of God?
A. The chief creatures of God are angels and men.
Q. 215. How may God's creatures on earth be divided?
A. God's creatures on earth may be divided into four classes:
1. Things that exist, as air;
2. Things that exist, grow and live, as plants and trees;
3. Things that exist, grow, live and feel, as animals;
4. Things that exist, grow, live, feel and understand, as
Q. 216. What are angels?
A. Angels are pure spirits without a body, created to adore
and enjoy God in heaven.
Q. 217. If Angels have no bodies, how could they appear?
A. Angels could appear by taking bodies to render
themselves visible for a time; just as the Holy Spirit took the
form of a dove and the devil took the form of a serpent.
Q. 218. Name some persons to whom Angels appeared.
A. Angels appeared to the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph;
also to Abraham, Lot, Jacob, Tobias and others.
Q. 219. Were the angels created for any other purpose?
A. The angels were also created to assist before the throne of
God and to minister unto Him; they have often been sent as
messengers from God to man; and are also appointed our
Q. 220. Are all the Angels equal in dignity?
A. All the Angels are not equal in dignity. There are nine
choirs or classes mentioned in the Holy Scripture. The
highest are called Seraphim and the lowest simply Angels.
The Archangels are one class higher than ordinary Angels.
Q. 221. Mention some Archangels and tell what they did.
A. The Archangel Michael drove Satan out of heaven; the
Archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin that she
was to become the Mother of God. The Archangel Raphael
guided and protected Tobias.
Q. 222. Were Angels ever sent to punish men?
A. Angels were sometimes sent to punish men. An Angel
killed 185,000 men in the army of a wicked king who had
blasphemed God; an Angel also slew the first-born in the
families of the Egyptians who had persecuted God's people.
Q. 223. What do our guardian Angels do for us?
A. Our guardian Angels pray for us, protect and guide us,
and offer our prayers, good works and desires to God.
Q. 224. How do we know that Angels offer our prayers
and good works to God?
A. We know that Angels offer our prayers and good works to
God because it is so stated in Holy Scripture, and Holy
Scripture is the Word of God.
Q. 225. Why did God appoint guardian Angels if He
watches over us Himself?
A. God appointed guardian Angels to secure for us their help
and prayers, and also to show His great love for us in giving
us these special servants and faithful friends.
Q. 226. Were the angels, as God created them, good and
A. The angels, as God created them, were good and happy.
Q. 227. Did all the angels remain good and happy?
A. All the angels did not remain good and happy; many of
them sinned and were cast into hell, and these are called
devils or bad angels.
Q. 228. Do we know the number of good and bad Angels?
A. We do not know the number of the good or bad Angels,
but we know it is very great.
Q. 229. What was the devil's name before he fell, and why
was he cast out of heaven?
A. Before he fell, Satan, or the devil, was called Lucifer, or
light-bearer, a name which indicates great beauty. He was
cast out of heaven because through pride he rebelled against
Q. 230. How do the bad Angels act toward us?
A. The bad Angels try by every means to lead us into sin. The
efforts they make are called temptations of the devil.
Q. 231. Why does the devil tempt us?
A. The devil tempts us because he hates goodness, and does
not wish us to enjoy the happiness which he himself has lost.
He also hates God and does not want God to achieve God’s
goal of having us be happy with God for all eternity.
232. Can we by our own power overcome the
temptations of the devil?
A. We cannot by our own power overcome the temptations of
the devil, because the devil is wiser than we are; for, being an
Angel, he is more intelligent, and he did not lose his
intelligence by falling into sin any more than we do now.
Therefore, to overcome his temptations we need the help of
LESSON FIFTH: On our First Parents and the Fall
Q. 233. Who were the first man and woman?
A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.
Q. 234. Are there any persons in the world who are not
the descendants of Adam and Eve?
A. There are no persons in the world now, and there never
have been any, who are not the descendants of Adam and
Eve, because the whole human race had but one origin.
Q. 235. Do not the differences in color, figure, etc., which
we find in distinct races indicate a difference in first
A. The differences in color, figure, etc., which we find in
distinct races do not indicate a difference in first parents, for
these differences have been brought about in the lapse of time
by other causes, such as climate, habits, etc.
Q. 236. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they
came from the hand of God?
A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came
from the hand of God.
Q. 237. What do we mean by saying Adam and Eve "were
innocent" when they came from the hand of God?
A. When we say Adam and Eve "were innocent" when they
came from the hand of God we mean they were in the state
of original justice; that is, they were gifted with every virtue
and free from every sin.
Q. 238. How was Adam's body formed?
A. God formed Adam's body out of the clay of the earth and
then breathed into it a living soul.
Q. 239. How was Eve's body formed?
A. Eve's body was formed from a rib taken from Adam's side
during a deep sleep which God caused to come upon him.
Q. 240. Why did God make Eve from one of Adam's ribs?
A. God made Eve from one of Adam's ribs to show the close
relationship existing between husband and wife in their
marriage union which God then instituted.
Q. 241. Could man's body be developed from the body of
an inferior animal?
A. Man's body could be developed from the body of an
inferior animal if God so willed; but science does not prove
that man's body was thus formed, while revelation teaches
that it was formed directly by God from the clay of the earth.
If God reveals to us that He did develop man’s body from an
inferior animal, it will always be that it was done under
Q. 242. Could man's soul and intelligence be formed by
the development of animal life and instinct?
A. Man's soul could not be formed by the development of
animal instinct; for, being entirely spiritual, it must be
created by God, and it is united to the body as soon as the
body is prepared to receive it.
Q. 243. Did God give any command to Adam and Eve?
A. To try their obedience, God commanded Adam and Eve
not to eat of a certain fruit which grew in the garden of
Q. 244. What was the Garden of Paradise?
A. The Garden of Paradise was a large and beautiful place
prepared for man's habitation upon earth. It was supplied
with every species of plant and animal and with everything
that could contribute to man's happiness.
Q. 245. Where was the Garden of Paradise situated?
A. The exact place in which the Garden of Paradise -- called
also the Garden of Eden -- was situated is not known, for the
deluge may have so changed the surface of the earth that old
landmarks were wiped out. It was probably some place in
Asia, not far from the river Euphrates.
Q. 246. What was the tree bearing the forbidden fruit
A. The tree bearing the forbidden fruit was called "the tree of
knowledge of good and evil."
Q. 247. Do we know the name of any other tree in the
A. We know the name of another tree in the Garden called
the "tree of life." Its fruit kept the bodies of our first parents
in a state of perfect health.
Q. 248. Which were the chief blessings intended for
Adam and Eve had they remained faithful to God?
A. The chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve, had they
remained faithful to God, were a constant state of happiness
in this life and everlasting glory in the next.
Q. 249. Did Adam and Eve remain faithful to God?
A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God, but broke
His command by eating the forbidden fruit.
Q. 250. Who was the first to disobey God?
A. Eve was the first to disobey God, and she induced Adam
to do likewise.
Q. 251. How was Eve tempted to sin?
A. Eve was tempted to sin by the devil, who came in the form
of a serpent and persuaded her to break God's command.
Q. 252. Which were the chief causes that led Eve into sin?
A. The chief causes that led Eve into sin were:
1. She went into the danger of sinning by admiring what
was forbidden, instead of avoiding it.
2. She did not fly from the temptation at once, but debated
about yielding to it.
Similar conduct on our part will lead us also into sin.
Q. 253. What befell Adam and Eve on account of their
A. Adam and Eve, on account of their sin, lost innocence and
holiness, and were doomed to sickness and death.
Q. 254. What other evils befell Adam and Eve on account
of their sin?
A. Many other evils befell Adam and Eve on account of their
sin. They were driven out of Paradise and condemned to toil.
God also ordained that henceforth the earth should yield no
crops without cultivation, and that the beasts, man's former
friends, should become his savage enemies.
Q. 255. Were we to remain in the Garden of Paradise
forever if Adam had not sinned?
A. We were not to remain in the Garden of Paradise forever
even if Adam had not sinned, but after passing through the
years of our probation or trial upon earth we were to be taken,
body and soul, into heaven without suffering death.
Q. 256. What evil befell us on account of the disobedience
of our first parents?
A. On account of the disobedience of our first parents, we all
share in their sin and punishment, as we should have shared
in their happiness if they had remained faithful.
Q. 257. Is it not unjust to punish us for the sin of our first
A. It is not unjust to punish us for the sin of our first parents,
because their punishment consisted in being deprived of a
free gift of God; that is, of the gift of original justice to which
they had no strict right and which they willfully forfeited by
their act of disobedience. Also, they could only pass on to us
that which they had, and they no longer had that special
relationship with God, so they could not pass it on to us.
Q. 258. But how did the loss of the gift of original justice
leave our first parents and us in mortal sin?
A. The loss of the gift of original justice left our first parents
and us in mortal sin because it deprived them of the Grace of
God, and to be without this gift of Grace which they should
have had was to be in mortal sin. As all their children are
deprived of the same gift, they, too, come into the world in a
state of mortal sin. This form of the state of mortal sin is the
absence of God’s Essence, of Divine Grace, and is different
from the state of mortal sin which results from evil actions.
Therefore, God treats one who dies in the state of mortal sin
not caused by his own actions differently from one who dies
in a state of mortal sin caused by his own deeds.
Q. 259. What other effects followed from the sin of our
A. Our nature was corrupted by the sin of our first parents,
which darkened our understanding, weakened our will, and
left in us a strong inclination to evil.
260. What do we mean by "our nature was
A. When we say "our nature was corrupted" we mean that
our whole being, body and soul, was injured in all its parts
Q. 261. Why do we say our understanding was darkened?
A. We say our understanding was darkened because even
with much learning we have not the clear knowledge, quick
perception and retentive memory that Adam had before his
fall from grace.
Q. 262. Why do we say our will was weakened?
A. We say our will was weakened to show that our free will
was not entirely taken away by Adam's sin, and that we have
it still in our power to use our free will in doing good or evil.
Q. 263. In what does the strong inclination to evil that is
left in us consist?
A. This strong inclination to evil that is left in us consists in
the continual efforts our senses and appetites make to lead
our souls into sin. The body is inclined to rebel against the
soul, and the soul itself to rebel against God.
Q. 264. What is this strong inclination to evil called, and
why did God permit it to remain in us?
A. This strong inclination to evil is called concupiscence,
and God permits it to remain in us that by His grace we may
resist it and thus increase our merits.
Q. 265. What is the sin called which we inherit from our
A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called
Q. 266. Why is this sin called original?
A. This sin is called original because it comes down to us
from our first parents, and we are brought into the world with
its guilt on our soul.
Q. 267. Does this corruption of our nature remain in us
after original sin is forgiven?
A. This corruption of our nature and other punishments
remain in us after original sin is forgiven.
Q. 268. Was any one ever preserved from original sin?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary, through the merits of her
Divine Son, was preserved free from the guilt of original sin,
and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.
Q. 269. Why was the Blessed Virgin preserved from
A. The Blessed Virgin was preserved from original sin
because it would not be consistent with the dignity of the Son
of God to have His Mother, even for an instant, in the power
of the devil and an enemy of God.
Q. 270. How could the Blessed Virgin be preserved from
sin by her Divine Son, before her Son was born?
A. The Blessed Virgin could be preserved from sin by her
Divine Son before He was born as man, for He always existed
as God and foresaw His own future merits and the dignity of
His Mother. He therefore by His future merits provided for
her privilege of exemption from original sin.
Q. 271. What does the "Immaculate Conception" mean?
A. The Immaculate Conception means the Blessed Virgin's
own exclusive privilege of coming into existence, through
the merits of Jesus Christ, without the stain of original sin. It
does not mean, therefore, her sinless life, perpetual virginity
or the miraculous conception of Our Divine Lord by the
power of the Holy Spirit.
Q. 272. What has always been the belief of the Church
concerning this truth?
A. The Church has always believed in the Immaculate
Conception of the Blessed Virgin and to place this truth
beyond doubt has declared it an Article of Faith. It is one of
the oldest feasts in the ancient liturgical calendars.
Q. 273. To what should the thoughts of the Immaculate
Conception lead us?
A. The thoughts of the Immaculate Conception should lead
us to a great love of purity and to a desire of imitating the
Blessed Virgin in the practice of that holy virtue.
LESSON SIXTH: On Sin and Its Kinds
Q. 274. How is sin divided?
A. 1. Sin is divided into the sin we inherit called original sin,
and the sin we commit ourselves, called actual sin.
2. Actual sin is sub-divided into greater sins, called mortal,
and lesser sins, called venial.
Q. 275. In how many ways may actual sin be committed?
A. Actual sin may be committed in two ways: namely, by
willfully doing things forbidden, or by willfully neglecting
Q. 276. What is our sin called when we neglect things
A. When we neglect things commanded our sin is called a sin
of omission. Such sins as willfully neglecting to pray Divine
Liturgy (hear Mass) on Sundays, or neglecting to go to
Confession at least once a year, are sins of omission.
Q. 277. Is original sin the only kind of sin?
A. Original sin is not the only kind of sin; there is another
kind of sin, which we commit ourselves, called actual sin.
Q. 278. What is actual sin?
A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed, or omission
contrary to the law of God.
Q. 279. How many kinds of actual sin are there?
A. There are two kinds of actual sin -- mortal and venial.
Q. 280. What is mortal sin?
A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.
Q. 281. Why is this sin called mortal?
A. This sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual
life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death
and damnation on the soul.
Q. 282. How many things are necessary to make a sin
A. To make a sin mortal, three things are necessary:
1.a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent
of the will.
Q. 283. What do we mean by "grievous matter" with
regard to sin?
A. By "grievous matter" with regard to sin we mean that the
thought, word or deed by which mortal sin is committed must
be either very bad in itself or severely prohibited, and
therefore sufficient to make a mortal sin if we deliberately
yield to it.
Q. 284. What does "sufficient reflection and full consent
of the will" mean?
A. "Sufficient reflection" means that we must know the
thought, word or deed to be sinful at the time we are guilty of
it; and "full consent of the will" means that we must fully and
willfully yield to it.
Q. 285. What are sins committed without reflection or
A. Sins committed without reflection or consent are called
material sins; that is, they would be formal or real sins if we
knew their sinfulness at the time we committed them. Thus
to miss Divine Liturgy (Mass) on Sunday or a Great Feast
without knowing it to be a day of requirement or without
thinking of the requirement, would be a material sin.
Q. 286. Do past material sins become real sins as soon as
we discover their sinfulness?
A. Past material sins do not become real sins as soon as we
discover their sinfulness, unless we again repeat them with
full knowledge and consent.
Q. 287. How can we know what sins are considered
A. We can know what sins are considered mortal from Holy
Scripture; from the teaching of the Church, and from the
writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.
Q. 288. Why is it wrong to judge others guilty of sin?
A. It is wrong to judge others guilty of sin because we cannot
know for certain that their sinful act was committed with
sufficient reflection and full consent of the will.
Q. 289. What sin does he commit who without sufficient
reason believes another guilty of sin?
A. He who without sufficient reason believes another guilty
of sin commits a sin of rash judgment.
Q. 290. What is venial sin?
A. Venial sin is a slight offense against the law of God in
matters of less importance, or in matters of great importance
it is an offense committed without sufficient reflection or full
consent of the will.
Q. 291. Can we always distinguish venial from mortal
A. We cannot always distinguish venial from mortal sin, and
in such cases we must leave the decision to our confessor.
Q. 292. Can slight offenses ever become mortal sins?
A. Slight offenses can become mortal sins if we commit them
through defiant contempt for God or His law; and also when
they are followed by very evil consequences, which we
foresee in committing them.
Q. 293. Which are the effects of venial sin?
A. The effects of venial sin are the lessening of the love of
God in our heart, the making us less worthy of His help, and
the weakening of the power to resist mortal sin.
Q. 294. How can we know a thought, word or deed to be
A. We can know a thought, word or deed to be sinful if it, or
the neglect of it, is forbidden by any law of God or of His
Church, or if it is opposed to any supernatural virtue.
Q. 295. Which are the chief sources of sin?
A. The chief sources of sin are seven: Pride, Covetousness,
Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth; and they are
commonly called capital sins or the seven deadly sins. Some
people call Gossip the eighth deadly sin, and though it is a
sin, people usually gossip out of envy.
Q. 296. What is pride?
A. Pride is an excessive love of our own ability; so that we
would rather sinfully disobey than humble ourselves.
Q. 297. What effect has pride on our souls?
A. Pride begets in our souls sinful ambition, vainglory,
presumption and hypocrisy.
Q. 298. What is covetousness?
A. Covetousness is an excessive desire for worldly things.
Q. 299. What effect has covetousness on our souls?
A. Covetousness begets in our souls unkindness, dishonesty,
deceit and want of charity.
Q. 300. What is lust?
A. Lust is an excessive desire for the sinful pleasures
forbidden by the Sixth Commandment.
Q. 301. What effect has lust on our souls?
A. Lust begets in our souls a distaste for holy things, a
perverted conscience, a hatred for God, and it very frequently
leads to a complete loss of faith.
Q. 302. What is anger?
A. Anger is an excessive emotion of the mind excited against
any person or thing, or it is an excessive desire for revenge.
Q. 303. What effect has anger on our soul?
A. Anger begets in our souls impatience, hatred, irreverence,
and too often the habit of cursing.
Q. 304. What is gluttony?
A. Gluttony is an excessive desire for food or drink.
Q. 305. What kind of a sin is drunkenness?
A. Drunkenness is a sin of gluttony by which a person
deprives himself of the use of his reason by the excessive
taking of intoxicating drink.
Q. 306. Is drunkenness always a mortal sin?
A. Deliberate drunkenness is always a mortal sin if the
person be completely deprived of the use of reason by it, but
drunkenness that is not intended or desired may be excused
from mortal sin.
307. What are the chief effects of habitual
A. Habitual drunkenness injures the body, weakens the mind,
leads its victim into many vices and exposes him to the
danger of dying in a state of mortal sin.
Q. 308. What three sins seem to cause most evil in the
A. Drunkenness, dishonesty and impurity seem to cause most
evil in the world, and they are therefore to be carefully
avoided at all times.
Q. 309. What is envy?
A. Envy is a feeling of sorrow at another's good fortune and
joy at the evil which befalls him; as if we ourselves were
injured by the good and benefited by the evil that comes to
Q. 310. What effect has envy on the soul?
A. Envy begets in the soul a want of charity for our neighbor
and produces a spirit of detraction, back-biting and slander.
Q. 311. What is sloth?
A. Sloth is a laziness of the mind and body, through which
we neglect our duties on account of the labor they require.
Q. 312. What effect has sloth upon the soul?
A. Sloth begets in the soul a spirit of indifference in our
spiritual duties and a disgust for prayer.
Q. 313. Why are the seven sources of sin called capital
A. The seven sources of sin are called capital sins because
they rule over our other sins and are the causes of them.
Q. 314. What do we mean by our predominant sin or
A. By our predominant sin, or ruling passion, we mean the
sin into which we fall most frequently and which we find it
hardest to resist.
Q. 315. How can we best overcome our sins?
A. We can best overcome our sins by guarding against our
predominant or ruling sin.
Q. 316. Should we give up trying to be good when we seem
not to succeed in overcoming our faults?
A. We should not give up trying to be good when we seem
not to succeed in overcoming our faults, because our efforts
to be good will keep us from becoming worse than we are.
Q. 317. What virtues are opposed to the seven capital
A. Humility is opposed to pride; generosity to covetousness;
chastity to lust; meekness to anger; temperance to gluttony;
brotherly love to envy, and diligence to sloth.
On the Incarnation and Redemption
Q. 318. What does "incarnation" mean, and what does
A. "Incarnation" means the act of clothing with flesh. Thus
Our Lord clothed His divinity with a human body.
"Redemption" means to buy back again.
Q. 319. Did God abandon man after he fell into sin?
A. God did not abandon man after he fell into sin, but
promised him a Redeemer, who was to satisfy for man's sin
and reopen to him the gates of heaven.
Q. 320. What do we mean by the "gates of heaven"?
A. By the "gates of heaven" we mean the divine power by
which God keeps us out of heaven or admits us into it, at His
Q. 321. Who is the Redeemer?
A. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the
Redeemer of mankind.
Q. 322. What does the name "Jesus" signify and how was
this name given to Our Lord?
A. The name "Jesus" signifies Saviour or Redeemer, and this
name was given to Our Lord by an Angel who appeared to
Joseph and said: "Mary shall bring forth a Son; and thou
shalt call His name Jesus."
Q. 323. What does the name "Christ" signify?
A. The name "Christ" means the same as Messias, and
signifies Anointed; because, as in the Old Law, Prophets,
High Priests and Kings were anointed with oil; so Jesus, the
Great Prophet, High Priest and King of the New Law, was
anointed as man with the fullness of divine power.
Q. 324. How did Christ show and prove His divine power?
A. Christ showed and proved His divine power chiefly by His
miracles, which are extraordinary works that can be
performed only by power received from God, and which
have, therefore, His sanction and authority.
Q. 325. What, then, did the miracles of Jesus Christ
A. The miracles of Jesus Christ proved that whatever He said
was true, and that when He declared Himself to be the Son of
God He really was what He claimed to be.
Q. 326. Could not men have been deceived in the miracles
A. Men could not have been deceived in the miracles of
Christ because they were performed in the most open manner
and usually in the presence of great multitudes of people,
among whom were many of Christ's enemies, ever ready to
expose any deceit. And if Christ performed no real miracles,
how, then, could He have converted the world and have
persuaded sinful men to give up what they loved and do the
difficult things that the Christian religion imposes?
Q. 327. Could not false accounts of these miracles have
been written after the death of Our Lord?
A. False accounts of these miracles could not have been
written after the death of Our Lord; for then neither His
friends nor His enemies would have believed them without
proof. Moreover, the enemies of Christ did not deny the
miracles, but tried to explain them by attributing them to the
power of the devil or other causes. Again, the Apostles and
the Evangelists who wrote the accounts suffered death to
testify their belief in the words and works of Our Lord.
Q. 328. Did Jesus Christ die to redeem all men of every
age and race without exception?
A. Jesus Christ died to redeem all men of every age and race
without exception; and every person born into the world
should share in His merits, without which no one can be
Q. 329. How are the merits of Jesus Christ applied to our
A. The merits of Jesus Christ are applied to our souls through
the Sacraments, and especially through Baptism and
Penance, which restore us to the friendship of God.
Q. 330. What do you believe of Jesus Christ?
A. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second
Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true man.
Q. 331. Cannot we also be called the Children of God, and
therefore His sons and daughters?
A. We can be called the Children of God because He has
adopted us by His grace or because He is the Father who has
created us; but we are not, therefore, His real Children;
whereas, Jesus Christ, His only real and true Son, was neither
adopted nor created, but was begotten of His Father from all
Q. 332. Why is Jesus Christ true God?
A. Jesus Christ is true God because He is the true and only
Son of God the Father.
Q. 333. Why is Jesus Christ true man?
A. Jesus Christ is true man because He is the Son of the
Blessed Virgin Mary and has a body and soul and spirit like
Q. 334. Who was the foster father or guardian of Our
Lord while on earth?
A. St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin, was the
foster-father or guardian of Our Lord while on earth.
Q. 335. Is Jesus Christ in heaven as God or as man?
A. Since His Ascension Jesus Christ is in heaven both as God
and as man.
Q. 336. How many natures are there in Jesus Christ?
A. In Jesus Christ there are two natures, the nature of God
and the nature of man.
Q. 337. Is Jesus Christ more than one person?
A. No. Jesus Christ is but one Divine Person.
Q. 338. From what do we learn that Jesus Christ is but
A. We learn that Jesus Christ is but one person from Holy
Scripture and from the constant teaching of the Church,
which has condemned all those who teach the contrary.
Q. 339. Was Jesus Christ always God?
A. Jesus Christ was always God, as He is the second person
of the Blessed Trinity, equal to His Father from all eternity.
Q. 340. Was Jesus Christ always man?
A. Jesus Christ was not always man, but became man at the
time of His Incarnation.
Q. 341. What do you mean by the Incarnation?
A. By the Incarnation I mean that the Son of God was made
Q. 342. How was the Son of God made man?
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man by the
power of the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin
Q. 343. Is the Blessed Virgin Mary truly the Mother of
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary is truly the Mother of God,
because the same Divine Person who is the Son of God is also
the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Q. 344. Did the Son of God become man immediately
after the sin of our first parents?
A. The Son of God did not become man immediately after the
sin of our first parents, but was promised to them as a
Q. 345. How many years passed from the time Adam
sinned till the time the Redeemer came?
A. Using Biblical chronology, about 4,000 years passed from
the time Adam sinned till the time the Redeemer came.
Q. 346. What was the moral condition of the world just
before the coming of Our Lord?
A. Just before the coming of Our Lord the moral condition of
the world was very bad. Idolatry, injustice, cruelty,
immorality and horrid vices were common almost
Q. 347. Why was the coming of the Redeemer so long
A. The coming of the Redeemer was so long delayed that the
world -- suffering from every misery -- might learn the great
evil of sin and know that God alone could help fallen man.
Q. 348. When was the Redeemer promised to mankind?
A. The Redeemer was first promised to mankind in the
Garden of Paradise, and often afterward through Abraham
and his descendants, the patriarchs, and through numerous
Q. 349. Who were the prophets?
A. The prophets were inspired men to whom God revealed
the future, that they might with absolute certainty make it
known to the people.
Q. 350. What did the prophets foretell concerning the
A. The prophets, taken together, foretold so accurately all the
circumstances of the birth, life, death, resurrection and glory
of the Redeemer that no one who carefully studied their
writings could fail to recognize Him when He came.
351. Have all these prophecies concerning the
Redeemer been fulfilled?
A. All the prophecies concerning the Redeemer have been
fulfilled in every point by the circumstances of Christ's birth,
life, death, resurrection and glory; and He is, therefore, the
Redeemer promised to mankind from the time of Adam.
Q. 352. Where shall we find these prophecies concerning
A. We shall find these prophecies concerning the Redeemer
in the prophetic books of the Bible or Holy Scripture.
Q. 353. If the Redeemer's coming was so clearly foretold,
why did not all recognize Him when He came?
A. All did not recognize the Redeemer when He came,
because many knew only part of the prophecies; and taking
those concerning His glory and omitting those concerning
His suffering, they could not understand His life.
Q. 354. How could they be saved who lived before the Son
of God became man?
A. They who lived before the Son of God became man could
be saved by believing in a Redeemer to come, and by keeping
Q. 355. On what day was the Son of God conceived and
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man on
Annunciation Day -- the day on which the Angel Gabriel
announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the
Mother of God.
Q. 356. On what day was Christ born?
A. Christ was born on Christmas Day, in a stable at
Bethlehem, over two thousand years ago. Some people
celebrate Christmas Day on December
25th, others on
Epiphany, because we are not one hundred per cent certain
of the exact day, just like some of you older relatives might
not be sure of the exact day on which they were born. Some
scholars think He was born in April, and they might be
Q. 357. Why did the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph go to
Bethlehem just before the birth of Our Lord?
A. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph went to Bethlehem in
obedience to the Roman Emperor, who ordered all his
subjects to register their names in the towns or cities of their
ancestors. Bethlehem was the City of David, the royal
ancestor of Mary and Joseph, hence they had to register
there. All this was done by the Will of God, that the
prophecies concerning the birth of His Divine Son might be
Q. 358. Why was Christ born in a stable?
A. Christ was born in a stable because Joseph and Mary were
strangers in Bethlehem, and there was no rooms available at
the inns and they could find no other shelter. This was
permitted by Our Lord that we might learn a lesson from His
Q. 359. In giving the ancestors or forefathers of Our
Lord, why do the Gospels give the ancestors of Joseph,
who was only Christ's foster-father, and not the ancestors
of Mary, who was Christ's real parent?
A. In giving the ancestors of Our Lord, the Gospels give the
ancestors of Joseph:
1. Because the ancestors of women were not usually
recorded by the Jews; and
2. Because Mary and Joseph were members of the same
tribe, and had, therefore, the same ancestors; so that, in
giving the ancestors of Joseph, the Gospels give also those of
Mary; and this was understood by those for whom the
Gospels were intended.
Q. 360. Had Our Lord any brothers or sisters ?
A. Our Lord had no brothers or sisters born of the Ever
Virgin Mary. When the Gospels speak of His brethren they
mean only His near relations. His Blessed Mother Mary was
always a Virgin as well before and at His birth as after it. We
must also remember that Saint Joseph was much older than
the Virgin Mary, and may have been married and made
widower before he married the Virgin Mary, and may have
had children from such an earlier marriage.
Q. 361. Who were among the first to adore the Infant
A. The shepherds of Bethlehem, to whom His birth was
announced by Angels; and the Magi or three wise men, who
were guided to His crib by a miraculous star, were among the
first to adore the Infant Jesus. We recall the adoration of the
Magi on the feast of the Epiphany, which means appearance
or manifestation, namely, of Our Saviour. Since the Magi
traveled a great distance, they must have began being guided
by the miraculous star before the Infant Jesus was born, or it
may be that the Magi adored the Infant Jesus later at His
home, but we depict them as adoring Him in His crib in the
stable because tradition tells us that is when and where it
Q. 362. Who sought to kill the Infant Jesus?
A. Herod sought to kill the Infant Jesus because he thought
the influence of Christ -- the new-born King -- would deprive
him of his throne.
Q. 363. How was the Holy Infant rescued from the power
A. The Holy Infant was rescued from the power of Herod by
the flight into Egypt, when St. Joseph -- warned by an Angel
-- fled hastily into that country with Jesus and Mary.
Q. 364. How did Herod hope to accomplish his wicked
A. Herod hoped to accomplish his wicked designs by
murdering all the infants in and near Bethlehem. The day on
which we commemorate the death of these first little martyrs,
who shed their blood for Christ's sake, is called the feast of
Q. 365. How may the years of Christ's life be divided?
A. The years of Christ's life may be divided into three parts:
1. His childhood, extending from His birth to His twelfth
year, when He went with his parents to worship in
Temple of Jerusalem.
2. His hidden life, which extends from His twelfth to His
thirtieth year, during which time He dwelt with His parents
3. His public life, extending from His thirtieth year -- or
from His baptism by St. John the Baptist to His death; during
which time He taught His doctrines and established His
Q. 366. Why is Christ's life thus divided?
A. Christ's life is thus divided to show that all classes find in
Him their model. In childhood He gave an example to the
young; in His hidden life an example to those who consecrate
themselves to the service of God in a religious state; and in
His public life an example to all Christians without
Q. 367. How long did Christ live on earth?
A. Christ lived on earth about thirty-three years, and led a
most holy life in poverty and suffering.
Q. 368. Why did Christ live so long on earth?
A. Christ lived so long on earth to show us the way to heaven
by His teachings and example.
LESSON EIGHTH: On Our Lord's Passion, Death,
Resurrection, and Ascension
Q. 369. What do we mean by Our Lord's Passion?
A. By Our Lord's Passion we mean His dreadful sufferings
from His agony in the garden till the moment of His death.
Q. 370. What did Jesus Christ suffer?
A. Jesus Christ suffered a bloody sweat, a cruel scourging,
was crowned with thorns, and was crucified.
Q. 371. When did Our Lord suffer the "bloody sweat"?
A. Our Lord suffered the "bloody sweat" while drops of blood
came forth from every pore of His body, during His agony in
the Garden of Olives, near Jerusalem, where He went to pray
on the night His Passion began.
Q. 372. Who accompanied Our Lord to the Garden of
Olives on the night of His Agony?
A. The Apostles Peter, James and John, the same who had
witnessed His transfiguration on the mount, accompanied
Our Lord to the Garden of Olives, to watch and pray with
Him on the night of His agony.
Q. 373. What do we mean by the transfiguration of Our
A. By the transfiguration of Our Lord we mean the
supernatural change in His appearance when He showed
Himself to His Apostles in great glory and brilliancy in which
"His face did shine as the sun and His garments became
white as snow."
Q. 374. Who were present at the transfiguration?
A. There were present at the transfiguration -- besides the
Apostles Peter, James and John, who witnessed it -- the two
great and holy men of the Old Law, Moses and Elias, talking
with Our Lord.
Q. 375. What caused Our Lord's agony in the garden?
A It is believed Our Lord's agony in the garden was caused:
1. By his clear knowledge of all He was soon to endure;
2. By the sight of the many offenses committed against His
Father by the sins of the whole world;
3. By His knowledge of men's ingratitude for the blessings
Q. 376. Why was Christ cruelly scourged?
A. Christ was cruelly scourged by Pilate's orders, that the
sight of His bleeding body might move His enemies to spare
Q. 377. Why was Christ crowned with thorns?
A. Christ was crowned with thorns in mockery because He
had said He was a King.
Q. 378. Could Christ, if He pleased, have escaped the
tortures of His Passion?
A. Christ could, if He pleased, have escaped the tortures of
His Passion, because He foresaw them and had it in His
power to overcome His enemies.
Q. 379. Was it necessary for Christ to suffer so much in
order to redeem us?
A. It was not necessary for Christ to suffer so much in order
to redeem us, for the least of His sufferings was more than
sufficient to atone for all the sins of mankind. By suffering so
much He showed His great love for us.
Q. 380. Who betrayed Our Lord?
A. Judas, one of His Apostles, betrayed Our Lord, and from
His sin we may learn that even the good may become very
wicked by the abuse of their free will.
Q. 381. How was Christ condemned to death?
A. Through the influence of those who hated Him, Christ
was condemned to death, after an unjust trial, at which false
witnesses were induced to testify against Him.
Q. 382. On what day did Christ die?
A. Christ died on Good Friday.
Q. 383. Why do you call that day "good" on which Christ
died so sorrowful a death?
A. We call that day good on which Christ died because by His
death He showed His great love for man, and purchased for
him every blessing.
Q. 384. How long was Our Lord hanging on the cross
before He died?
A. Our Lord was hanging on the Cross about three hours
before He died. While thus suffering, His enemies stood
around blaspheming and mocking Him. By His death He
proved Himself a real mortal man, for He could not die in His
Q. 385. What do we call the words Christ spoke while
hanging on the Cross?
A. We call the words Christ spoke while hanging on the
Cross "the seven last words of Jesus on the Cross." They
teach us the dispositions we should have at the hour of death.
Q. 386. Repeat the seven last words or sayings of Jesus on
A. The seven last words or sayings of Jesus on the Cross are:
1. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,"
in which He forgives and prays for His enemies.
2. "Amen, I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in
Paradise," in which He pardons the penitent sinner.
3. "Woman, behold thy Son" -- "Behold thy Mother," in
which He gave up what was dearest to Him on earth, and
gave us Mary for our Mother.
4. "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" from
which we learn the suffering of His mind.
5. "I thirst," from which we learn the suffering of His body.
6. "All is consummated," by which He showed the
fulfillment of all the prophecies concerning Him and the
completion of the work of our redemption.
7. "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit," by which
He showed His perfect resignation to the Will of His Eternal
Q. 387. What happened at the death of Our Lord?
A. At the death of Our Lord there were darkness and
earthquake; many holy dead came forth from their graves,
and the veil concealing the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of
Jerusalem, was torn asunder.
Q. 388. What was the Holy of Holies in the temple?
A. The Holy of Holies was the sacred part of the Temple, in
which the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and where the high
priest consulted the Will of God.
Q. 389. What was the "Ark of the Covenant"?
A. The Ark of the Covenant was a precious box in which
were kept the tablets of stone bearing the written
Commandments of God, the rod which Aaron changed into
a serpent before King Pharao, and a portion of the manna
with which the Israelites were miraculously fed in the desert.
The Ark of the Covenant was a figure of the Tabernacle in
which we keep the Holy Eucharist.
Q. 390. Why was the veil of the Temple torn asunder at
the death of Christ?
A. The veil of the Temple was torn asunder at the death of
Christ because at His death the Jewish religion ceased to be
the true religion, and God no longer manifested His presence
in the Temple.
Q. 391. Why did the Jewish religion, which up to the
death of Christ had been the true religion, cease at that
time to be the true religion?
A. The Jewish religion, which, up to the death of Christ, had
been the true religion, ceased at that time to be the true
religion, because it was only a promise of the redemption and
figure of the Christian religion, and when the redemption
was accomplished and the Christian religion established by
the death of Christ, the promise and the figure were no
Q. 392. Were all the laws of the Jewish religion abolished
by the establishment of Christianity?
A. The moral laws of the Jewish religion were not abolished
by the establishment of Christianity, for Christ came not to
destroy these laws, but to make them more perfect. Its
ceremonial laws were abolished when the Temple of
Jerusalem ceased to be the House of God.
Q. 393. What do we mean by moral and ceremonial laws?
A. By "moral" laws we mean laws regarding good and evil.
By "ceremonial" laws we mean laws regulating the manner
of worshipping God in Temple or Church.
Q. 394. Where did Christ die?
A. Christ died on Mount Calvary.
Q. 395. Where was Mount Calvary, and what does the
A. Mount Calvary was the place of execution, not far from
Jerusalem; and the name signifies the "place of skulls."
Q. 396. How did Christ die?
A. Christ was nailed to the Cross, and died on it between two
Q. 397. Why was Our Lord crucified between thieves?
A. Our Lord was crucified between thieves that His enemies
might thus add to His disgrace by making Him equal to the
Q. 398. Why did Christ suffer and die?
A. Christ suffered and died for our sins.
Q. 399. How was Our Lord's body buried?
A. Our Lord's body was wrapped in a clean linen cloth and
laid in a new sepulchre or tomb cut in a rock, by Joseph of
Arimathea and other pious persons who believed in Our
Q. 400. What lessons do we learn from the sufferings and
death of Christ?
A. From the sufferings and death of Christ we learn the great
evil of sin, the hatred God bears to it, and the necessity of
satisfying for it.
Q. 401. Whither did Christ's soul go after His death?
A. After Christ's death His soul descended into hell.
Q. 402. Did Christ's soul descend into the hell of the
A. The hell into which Christ's soul descended was not the
hell of the dammed, but a place or state of rest called Limbo,
where the souls of the just were waiting for Him. However,
tradition tells us that He also broke down the gates of Hell, of
Satan’s kingdom, showing even Stan is subject to Him.
Q. 403. Why did Christ descend into Limbo?
A. Christ descended into Limbo to preach to the souls who
were in prison -- that is, to announce to them the joyful
tidings of their redemption.
Q. 404. Where was Christ's body while His soul was in
A. While Christ's soul was in Limbo His body was in the holy
Q. 405. On what day did Christ rise from the dead?
A. Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on
Pascha (Easter Sunday), the third day after His death.
Q. 406. Why is the Resurrection the greatest of Christ's
A. The Resurrection is the greatest of Christ's miracles
because all He taught and did is confirmed by it and depends
upon it. He promised to rise from the dead and without the
fulfillment of that promise we could not believe in Him.
Q. 407. Has any one ever tried to disprove the miracle of
A. Unbelievers in Christ have tried to disprove the miracle of
the resurrection as they have tried to disprove all His other
miracles; but the explanations they give to prove Christ's
miracles false are far more unlikely and harder to believe
than the miracles themselves.
Q. 408. What do we mean when we say Christ rose
"glorious" from the dead?
A. When we say Christ rose "glorious" from the dead we
mean that His body was in a glorified state; that is, gifted
with the qualities of a glorified body.
Q. 409. What are the qualities of a glorified body?
A. The qualities of a glorified body are:
1. Brilliancy, by which it gives forth light;
2. Agility, by which it moves from place to place as rapidly
as an angel;
3. Subtility, by which material things cannot shut it out;
4. Impassibility, by which it is made incapable of suffering.
Q. 410. Was Christ three full days in the tomb?
A. Christ was not three full days, but only parts of three days
in the tomb.
Q. 411. How long did Christ stay on earth after His
A. Christ stayed on earth forty days after His resurrection, to
show that He was truly risen from the dead, and to instruct
Q. 412. Was Christ visible to all and at all times during
the forty days He remained on earth after His
A. Christ was not visible to all nor at all times during the
forty days He remained on earth after His resurrection. We
know that He appeared to His apostles and others at least
nine times, though He may have appeared oftener.
Q. 413. How did Christ show that He was truly risen from
A. Christ showed that He was truly risen from the dead by
eating and conversing with His Apostles and others to whom
He appeared. He showed the wounds in His hands, feet and
side, and it was after His resurrection that He confirmed that
He had given His Apostles the power to forgive sins.
Q. 414. After Christ had remained forty days on earth,
whither did He go?
A. After forty days Christ ascended into heaven, and the day
on which be ascended into heaven is called Ascension Day.
Q. 415. Where did the ascension of Our Lord take place?
A. Christ ascended into heaven from Mount Olivet, the place
made sacred by His agony on the night before His death.
Q. 416. Who were present at the ascension and who
ascended with Christ?
A. From various parts of Scripture we may conclude there
were about 125 persons -- though traditions tell us there was
a greater number -- present at the Ascension. They were the
Apostles, the Disciples, the pious women and others who had
followed Our Blessed Lord. The souls of the just who were
waiting in Limbo for the redemption ascended with Christ.
Q. 417. Why is the paschal candle which is lighted on
Pascha (Easter) morning extinguished at the Divine
Liturgy (Mass) on Ascension Day?
A. The paschal candle which is lighted on Pascha (Easter)
morning signifies Christ's visible presence on earth, and it is
extinguished on Ascension Day to show that He, having
fulfilled all the prophecies concerning Himself and having
accomplished the work of redemption, has transferred the
visible care of His Church to His Apostles and returned in
His body to heaven.
Q. 418. Where is Christ in heaven?
A. In heaven Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father
Q. 419. What do you mean by saying that Christ sits at
the right hand of God?
A. When I say that Christ sits at the right hand of God I mean
that Christ as God is equal to His Father in all things, and
that as man He is in the highest place in heaven next to God.
LESSON NINTH: On the Holy Ghost and
His Descent upon the Apostles
Q. 420. Who is the Holy Ghost?
A. The Holy Ghost is the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Q. 421. Did the Holy Ghost ever appear?
A. The Holy Ghost appeared at times under the form of a
dove, and again under the form of tongues of fire; for, being
a pure spirit without a body, He can take any form.
Q. 422. Is the Holy Ghost called by other names?
A. The Holy Ghost is called also the Holy Spirit, the
Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth and other names given in Holy
Q. 423. From whom does the Holy Ghost proceed?
A. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father.
Q. 424. Is the Holy Ghost equal to the Father and the
A. The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, being
the same Lord and God as they are.
Q. 425. On what day did the Holy Ghost come down upon
A. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles ten days
after the Ascension of our Lord; and the day on which He
came down upon the Apostles is called Whitsunday, or
Q. 426. Why is the day on which the Holy Ghost came
down upon the Apostles called Whitsunday?
A. The day on which the Holy Ghost came down upon the
Apostles is called Whitsunday or White Sunday, probably
because the Christians who were baptized on the eve of
Pentecost wore white garments for some time afterward, as a
mark of the purity bestowed upon their souls by the
Sacrament of Baptism.
Q. 427. Why is this feast called also Pentecost?
A. This feast is called also Pentecost because Pentecost
means the fiftieth; and the Holy Ghost came down upon the
Apostles fifty days after the resurrection of Our Lord.
Q. 428. How did the Holy Ghost come down upon the
A. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles in the form
of tongues of fire.
Q. 429. What did the form of tongues of fire denote?
A. The form of tongues of fire denoted the sacred character
and divine authority of the preaching and teaching of the
Apostles, by whose words and fervor all men were to be
converted to the love of God.
Q. 430. Who sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Ghost upon the
Q. 431. Did the Apostles know that the Holy Ghost would
come down upon them?
A. The Apostles knew that the Holy Ghost would come down
upon them; for Christ promised His Apostles that after His
Ascension He would send the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth,
to teach them all truths and to abide with them forever.
Q. 432. Has any one ever denied the existence of the Holy
A. Some persons have denied the existence of the Holy
Ghost; others have denied that He is a real person equal to
the Father and the Son; but all these assertions are shown to
be false by the words of Holy Scripture and the infallible
teaching of the Church.
Q. 433. What are the sins against the Holy Ghost which
Our Lord said will not be forgiven either in this world or
in the next?
A. The sins against the Holy Ghost which Our Lord said will
not be forgiven either in this world or in the next, are sins
committed out of pure malice, and greatly opposed to the
mercy of God, and are, therefore, seldom forgiven.
Q. 434. Why did Christ send the Holy Ghost?
A. Christ sent the Holy Ghost to sanctify His Church, to
enlighten and strengthen the Apostles, and to enable them to
preach the Gospel.
Q. 435. How was the Church sanctified through the
coming of the Holy Ghost?
A. The Church was sanctified through the coming of the
Holy Ghost by receiving those graces which Christ had
merited for His ministers, the bishops and priests, and for the
souls of all those committed to their care.
Q. 436. How were the Apostles enlightened through the
coming of the Holy Ghost?
A. The Apostles were enlightened through the coming of the
Holy Ghost by receiving the grace to remember and
understand in its true meaning all that Christ had said and
done in their presence.
Q. 437. How were the Apostles strengthened through the
coming of the Holy Ghost?
A. The Apostles were strengthened through the coming of
the Holy Ghost by receiving the grace to brave every danger,
even death itself, in the performance of their sacred duties.
Q. 438. What does "Apostle," and what does "Gospel"
A. "Apostle" means a person sent, and "Gospel" means good
tidings or news. Hence the name "Gospel" is given to the
inspired history of Our Lord's life and works upon earth.
Q. 439. Name the Apostles.
A. The Apostles were: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip,
Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon,
and Judas Iscariot, in whose place Mathias was chosen.
Q. 440. Was St. Paul an Apostle?
A. St. Paul was an Apostle, but as he was not called till after
the Ascension of Our Lord he is not numbered among the
twelve. He is called the Apostle of the Gentiles; that is, of all
those who were not of the Jewish religion or members of the
Church of the Old Law.
Q. 441. How did St. Paul become an Apostle?
A. While on his way to persecute the Christians St. Paul was
miraculously converted and called to be an Apostle by Our
Lord Himself, who spoke to him. St. Paul was called Saul
before his conversion.
Q. 442. Who were the Evangelists?
A. St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John are called
Evangelists, because they wrote the four Gospels bearing
their names, and Evangelia is the Latin name for Gospels. St.
Mark and St. Luke were not Apostles, but St. Matthew and
St. John were both Apostles and Evangelists.
Q. 443. Why did not the Apostles fully understand when
Christ Himself taught them?
A. The Apostles did not fully understand when Christ
Himself taught them because during His stay with them on
earth they were only preparing to become Apostles; and their
minds were yet filled with many worldly thoughts and desires
that were to be removed at the coming of the Holy Ghost.
Q. 444. Will the Holy Ghost abide with the Church
A. The Holy Ghost will abide with the Church forever, and
guide it in the way of holiness and truth.
Q. 445. What benefit do we derive from the knowledge
that the Holy Ghost will abide with the Church forever?
A. From the knowledge that the Holy Ghost will abide with
the Church forever we are made certain that the Church can
never teach us falsehood, and can never be destroyed by the
enemies of Our Faith.
Q. 446. What visible power was given to the Apostles
through the coming of the Holy Ghost?
A. Through the coming of the Holy Ghost the Apostles
received the "gift of tongues," by which they could be
understood in every language, though they preached in only
447. Why did such wonderful gifts accompany
confirmation, or the coming of the Holy Ghost, in the first
ages of the Church?
A. Such wonderful gifts accompanied Confirmation in the
first ages of the Church to prove the power, truth and divine
character of Christianity to those who otherwise might not
believe, and to draw the attention of all to the establishment
of the Christian Church.
Q. 448. Why are these signs not continued everywhere at
the present time?
A. These signs are not continued everywhere at the present
time, because now that the Church is fully established and its
divine character and power proved in other ways, such signs
are no longer necessary.
Q. 449. Were such powers as the "gift of tongues" a part
of the Sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation)?
A. Such powers as the "gift of tongues" were not a part of the
Sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation), but they were
added to it by the Holy Ghost when necessary for the good of
LESSON TENTH: On the Effects of the Redemption
Q. 450. What is an effect?
A. An effect is that which is caused by something else, as
smoke, for example, is an effect of fire.
Q. 451. What does redemption mean?
A. Redemption means the buying back of a thing that was
given away or sold.
Q. 452. What did Adam give away by his sin, and what
did Our Lord buy back for him and us?
A. By his sin Adam gave away all right to God's promised
gifts of grace in this world and of glory in the next, and Our
Lord bought back the right that Adam threw away.
Q. 453. Which are the chief effects of the Redemption?
A. The chief effects of the Redemption are two: The
satisfaction of God's justice by Christ's sufferings and death,
and the gaining of grace for men.
Q. 454. Why do we say "chief effects"?
A. We say "chief effects" to show that these are the most
important but not the only effects of the Redemption -- for all
the benefits of our holy religion and of its influence upon the
world are the effects of the redemption.
Q. 455. Why did God's justice require satisfaction?
A. God's justice required satisfaction because it is infinite
and demands reparation for every fault. Man in his state of
sin could not make the necessary reparation, so Christ
became man and made it for him.
Q. 456. What do you mean by grace?
A. By grace I mean a supernatural gift of God bestowed on
us, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation.
Q. 457. What does "supernatural" mean?
A. Supernatural means above or greater than nature. All gifts
such as health, learning or the comforts of life, that affect our
happiness chiefly in this world, are called natural gifts, and
all gifts such as blessings that affect our happiness chiefly in
the next world are called supernatural or spiritual gifts.
Q. 458. What do you mean by "merit"?
A. Merit means the quality of deserving well or ill for our
actions. In the question above it means a right to reward for
good deeds done.
Q. 459. How many kinds of grace are there?
A. There are two kinds of grace, sanctifying grace and actual
grace. We also know that sanctifying grace is an emanation
of the essence of God, a manifestation of His essence.
Q. 460. What is the difference between sanctifying grace
and actual grace?
A. Sanctifying grace remains with us as long as we are not
guilty of mortal sin; and hence, it is often called habitual
grace; but actual grace comes to us only when we need its
help in doing or avoiding an action, and it remains with us
only while we are doing or avoiding the action.
Q. 461. What is sanctifying grace?
A. Sanctifying grace is that grace which makes the soul holy
and pleasing to God.
Q. 462. What do you call those graces or gifts of God by
which we believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him?
A. Those graces or gifts of God by which we believe in Him,
and hope in Him, and love Him, are called the Divine virtues
of Faith, Hope, and Charity.
Q. 463. What do you mean by virtue and vice?
A. Virtue is the habit of doing good, and vice is the habit of
doing evil. An act, good or bad, does not form a habit; and
hence, a virtue or a vice is the result of repeated acts of the
Q. 464. Does habit excuse us from the sins committed
A. Habit does not excuse us from the sins committed through
it, but rather makes us more guilty by showing how often we
must have committed the sin to acquire the habit. If,
however, we are seriously trying to overcome a bad habit, and
through forgetfulness yield to it, the habit may sometimes
excuse us from the sin.
Q. 465. What is Faith?
A. Faith is a Divine virtue by which we firmly believe the
truths which God has revealed.
Q. 466. What is Hope?
A. Hope is a Divine virtue by which we firmly trust that God
will give us eternal life and the means to obtain it.
Q. 467. What is Charity?
A. Charity is a Divine virtue by which we love God above all
things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for
the love of God.
Q. 468. Why are Faith, Hope and Charity called virtues?
A. Faith, Hope and Charity are called virtues because they
are not mere acts, but habits by which we always and in all
things believe God, hope in Him, and love Him.
Q. 469. What kind of virtues are Faith, Hope and
A. Faith, Hope and Charity are called infused theological
virtues to distinguish them from the four moral virtues --
Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance.
Q. 470. Why do we say the three theological virtues are
infused and the four moral virtues acquired?
A. We say the three theological virtues are infused; that is,
poured into our souls, because they are strictly gifts of God
and do not depend upon our efforts to obtain them, while the
four moral virtues
-- Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and
Temperance -- though also gifts of God, may, as natural
virtues, be acquired by our own efforts.
Q. 471. Why do we believe God, hope in Him, and love
A. We believe God and hope in Him because He is infinitely
true and cannot deceive us. We love Him because He is
infinitely good and beautiful and worthy of all love.
Q. 472. What mortal sins are opposed to Faith?
A. Atheism, which is a denial of all revealed truths, and
heresy, which is a denial of some revealed truths, and
superstition, which is a misuse of religion, are opposed to
Q. 473. Who is our neighbor?
A. Every human being capable of salvation of every age,
country, race or condition, born or in the womb, living or in
purgatory or in limbo, and especially if he needs our help, is
Q. 474. Why should we love our neighbor?
A. We should love our neighbor because he is a child of God,
redeemed by Jesus Christ, and because he is our brother
created to dwell in heaven with us.
Q. 475. What is actual grace?
A. Actual grace is that help of God which enlightens our
mind and moves our will to shun evil and do good.
Q. 476. Is grace necessary to salvation?
A. Grace is necessary to salvation, because without grace we
can do nothing to merit heaven.
Q. 477. Can we resist the grace of God?
A. We can, and unfortunately often do, resist the grace of
Q. 478. Is it a sin knowingly to resist the grace of God?
A. It is a sin, knowingly, to resist the grace of God, because
we thereby insult Him and reject His gifts without which we
cannot be saved.
Q. 479. Does God give His grace to every one?
A. God gives to everyone He creates sufficient grace to save
his soul; and if persons do not save their souls, it is because
they have not used the grace given.
Q. 480. What is the grace of perseverance?
A. The grace of perseverance is a particular gift of God
which enables us to continue in the state of grace till death.
Q. 481. Can we merit the grace of final perseverance or
know when we possess it?
A. We cannot merit the grace of final perseverance, or know
when we possess it, because it depends entirely upon God's
mercy and not upon our actions. To imagine we possess it
would lead us into the sin of presumption. Therefore, those
who say they are “saved” but who have not yet died, commit
the sin of presumption.
Q. 482. Can a person merit any supernatural reward for
good deeds performed while he is in mortal sin?
A. A person cannot merit any supernatural reward for good
deeds performed while he is in mortal sin; nevertheless, God
rewards such good deeds by giving the grace of repentance;
and, therefore, all persons, even those in mortal sin, should
ever strive to do good.
Q. 483. Does God reward anything but our good works?
A. God rewards our good intention and desire to serve Him,
even when our works are not successful. We should make this good
intention often during the day, and especially in the morning.
LESSON ELEVENTH: On the Church
Q. 484. How was the true religion preserved from Adam
till the coming of Christ?
A. The true religion was preserved from Adam till the
coming of Christ by the patriarchs, prophets and other holy
men whom God appointed and inspired to teach His Will and
Revelations to the people, and to remind them of the
Q. 485. Who were the prophets, and what was their chief
A. The prophets were men to whom God gave a knowledge
of future events connected with religion, that they might
foretell them to His people and thus give proof that the
message came from God. Their chief duty was to foretell the
time, place and circumstances of Our Saviour's coming into
the world, that men might know when and where to look for
Him, and might recognize Him when He came.
Q. 486. How could they be saved who lived before Christ
A. They who lived before Christ became man could be saved
by belief in the Redeemer to come and by keeping the
Commandments of God.
Q. 487. Was the true religion universal before the coming
A. The true religion was not universal before the coming of
Christ. It was confined to one people -- the descendants of
Abraham. All other nations worshipped false gods.
Q. 488. Which are the means instituted by Our Lord to
enable men at all times to share in the fruits of the
A. The means instituted by Our Lord to enable men at all
times to share in the fruits of His Redemption are the Church
and the Sacraments.
Q. 489. What is the Church?
A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess
the faith of Christ, partake of the same Sacraments, and are
governed by their lawful pastors, obedient to their lawful
Q. 490. How may the members of the Church on earth be
A. The members of the Church on earth may be divided into
those who teach and those who are taught. Those who teach,
namely, the patriarchs, bishops and priests, are called the
Teaching Church, or simply the Church. Those who are
taught are called the Believing Church, or simply the
Q. 491. What is the duty of the Teaching Church?
A. The duty of the Teaching Church is to continue the work
Our Lord began upon earth, namely, to teach revealed truth,
to administer the Sacraments and to labor for the salvation of
Q. 492. What is the duty of the faithful?
A. The duty of the faithful is to learn the revealed truths
taught; to receive the Sacraments, and to aid in saving souls
by their prayers, good works and alms.
Q. 493. What do you mean by "profess the faith of
A. By "profess the faith of Christ" we mean, believe all the
truths and practice the religion He has taught.
Q. 494. What do we mean by "lawful pastors"?
A. By "lawful pastors" we mean those in the Church who
have been appointed by lawful authority and who have,
therefore, a right to rule us. The lawful pastors in the Church
are: Every Priest in his own parish; every Bishop in his own
diocese, every Metropolitan and Patriarch in his own
jurisdiction, and the Councils of all the Bishops called
Ecumenical Councils when the Ecumenical Council decrees
Q. 495. Who is the invisible Head of the Church?
A. Jesus Christ is the invisible Head of the Church.
Q. 496. Who is the visible Head of the Church?
A. Each Bishop is the visible head of the Church in his own
Diocese or See. Metropolitans and Patriarchs are Bishops
who have authority over other Bishops, but some Bishops,
even though they are under a Metropolitan of Patriarch, have
great independent authority to govern their own diocese.
However, this authority to govern does not include the
authority to declare Dogma. Dogma, the teachings and
truths revealed to us by God, are established in Ecumenical
Councils of the whole Church, where the Holy Spirit reveals
Truths to the Bishops assembled for that purpose.
Q. 497. What does "vicar" mean?
A. Vicar is a name used in the Church to designate a person
who acts in the name and authority of another. Thus a Vicar
Apostolic is one who acts in the name of a Patriarch or
Metropolitan, or Synod if there is no Patriarch, and a Vicar
General is one who acts in the name of a bishop or in the
name of the head of a religious order.
Q. 498. Could any one be a Patriarch without being
Bishop of the Patriarchal See?
A. One could not be a Patriarch without being Bishop of the
Patriarchail See of the particular Church Jurisdiction, and
whoever is elected a Patriarch must give up his title to any
other diocese and take the title of Bishop of that Church
Jurisdiction. Patriarchs are usually elected for life. A
Metropolitan Primate of a Church Jurisdiction or the
Superior General of a Religious Order, especially where he
must retire when he reaches a certain age, may remain
Bishop of a Diocese in addition to the Titular See if the
Canons of that Church Jurisdiction or Religious Order
permit. In some Religious Orders, the Titular See changes to
the See of the incumbent. In some Jurisdictions and
Religious Orders, the Titular See actually is not the residence
of the Bishop, as has been the case for Antioch, and on
occasion, the Patriarchate of Rome.
Q. 499. Why is each Bishop the visible Head of the
A. Each Bishop is the visible Head of the Church because
each is a successor of the Apostles in whom Christ entrusted
His Church on earth.
Q. 500. Why are some Catholics called “Orthodox” and
some called "Roman"?
A. Catholics are called Orthodox or Roman, because in the
year 1054 A.D., the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church was
disrupted by political differences into two main political
divisions, Orthodox and Roman. Each Church recognizes
the validity of the other, but because of the Capital sins of
Pride and Covetousness by some of the Patriarchs, Clergy
and Laity, the Orthodox and Roman Churches remain
separated in many ways.
Q. 501. By what name is a bishop's diocese sometimes
A. A bishop's diocese is sometimes called his see. The
diocese of Constantinople, on account of its authority and
dignity, is called the Holy See of Constantinople, and its
bishop is called, All Holiness, and first Amongst Equals.
Each Church Jurisdiction which is a Patriarchaite is called a
Holy See, including the Patriarchiate of Rome, whose
Patriarch is called the Holy Father or Pope of Rome to
distinguish him from from other Churches which also use the
title Pope, such as the Coptic Church. Pope means father.
Q. 502. What do we call the right by which St. Peter or
his successor has always been the head of the Church and
of all its bishops?
A. We call the right by which St. Peter or his successor has
always been the head of the Church, and of all its bishops, the
Primacy of St. Peter or of the Pope. Primacy means holding
Q. 502. What is meant by The Primacy of St. Peter, or the
Primacy of the Pope of Rome?
A. By the Primacy of St. Peter, or of the Pope of Rome, is
meant holding first place. It means the Pope of Rome holds
the place of First Amongst Equals, amongst the ancient
Patriarchial Sees and Bishops of the Church. Primacy does
not mean ruler, as can be seen by St. Peter’s asking St. James
to call the first council of the Church in Jerusalem, to
determine whether or not Gentiles must become Jews before
becoming Christians. However, in the year 1054 AD, the
Roman Pope tried to make everyone in the Church subject to
his personal authority, and this, along with other political
matters, caused a split in the Church. The Patriarch of
Constantinople is now the First Amongst Equals for the
Orthodox Church, and modern Roman Popes have indicated
a willingness to forego their claim of being absolute ruler of
the Church, so there is hope for reunification of the Church.
If this happens, most reasonable Orthodox are more than
willing to have the Pope of Rome reassume the title and
posiiton of First Amongst Equals.
Q. 503. How is it shown that St. Peter or his successor has
always been the head of the Church, but that he is not the
absolute ruler of the Church?
A. I. It is shown that St. Peter or his successor has always
been the head of the Church:
1. From the words of Holy Scripture, which tell how Christ
appointed Peter Chief of the Apostles and head of the
2. From the history of the Church, which shows that Peter
and his successors have always acted and have always been
recognized as the head of the Church.
II. It is shown that St. Peter’s power was not absolute,
but shared amongst all the Bishops, because when Gentiles
wanted to become Christians, St. Peter did not decide they
did not have to become Jews first, but rather, he asked St.
James, who was Bishop of Jerusalem, to call a council of all
the Bishops of the Church. St. James called this First
Council of the Church, and the Holy Spirit guided all the
Bishops to agree that Gentiles did not have to become Jews
before becoming Christians.
Q. 504. How do we know that the rights and privileges
bestowed on St. Peter were given also to his successors?
A. We know that the rights and privileges bestowed on St.
Peter were given also to his successors, because the promises
made to St. Peter by Our Lord were to be fulfilled in the
Church till the end of time, and as Peter was not to live till
the end of time, they are fulfilled in his successors. When the
Roman Pope tried to claim this authority for himself in the
year 1054 AD, the Church decreed this Primacy transferred
to the Patriarch of Constantinople.
Q. 505. Did St. Peter establish any Church before he
came to Rome?
A. Before he came to Rome, St. Peter established a Church at
Antioch and ruled over it for several years.
Q. 506. Who are the successors of the other Apostles?
A. The successors of the other Apostles are the Bishops of the
Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Q. 507. How do we know that the bishops of the Church
are the successors of the Apostles?
A. We know that the bishops of the Church are the successors
of the Apostles because they continue the work of the
Apostles and give proof of the same authority. They have
always exercised the rights and powers that belonged to the
Apostles in making laws for the Church, in consecrating
bishops and ordaining priests.
Q. 508. Why did Christ found the Church?
A. Christ founded the Church to teach, govern, sanctify, and
save all men.
Q. 509. Are all bound to belong to the Church?
A. All are bound to belong to the Church, and he who knows
the Church to be the true Church and remains out of it
cannot be saved.
Q. 510. Is it ever possible for one to be saved who does not
know the Catholic Church to be the true Church?
A. It is possible for one to be saved who does not know the
Catholic Church to be the true Church, provided that person:
1. Has been validly baptized;
2. Firmly believes the religion he professes and practices to
be the true religion, and
3. Dies without the guilt of mortal sin on his soul.
Q. 511. Why do we say it is only a possiblity for a person
to be saved who does not know the Catholic Church to be
the true Church?
A. We say it is only a possiblity for a person to be saved who
does not know the Catholic Church to be the true Church,
because the necessary conditions are not often found,
especially that of dying in a state of grace without making use
of the Sacrament of Penance.
Q. 512. How are such persons said to belong to the
A. Such persons are said to belong to the "soul of the
church"; that is, they are really members of the Church
without knowing it. Those who share in its Sacraments and
worship are said to belong to the body or visible part of the
Q. 513. Why must the true Church be visible?
A. The true Church must be visible because its founder, Jesus
Christ, commanded us under pain of condemnation to hear
the Church; and He could not in justice command us to hear
a Church that could not be seen and known.
Q. 514. What excuses do some give for not becoming
members of the true Church?
A. The excuses some give for not becoming members of the
true church are:
1. They do not wish to leave the religion in which they
2. There are too many poor and ignorant people in the
3. One religion is as good as another if we try to serve God
in it, and be upright and honest in our lives.
Q. 515. How do you answer such excuses?
1. To say that we should remain in a false religion because
we were born in it is as untrue as to say we should not heal
our bodily diseases because we were born with them.
2. To say there are too many poor and ignorant in the
Church is to declare that it is Christ's Church; for He always
taught the poor and ignorant and instructed His Church to
continue the work.
3. To say that one religion is as good as another is to assert
that Christ labored uselessly and taught falsely; for He came
to abolish the old religion and found the new in which alone
we can be saved as He Himself declared.
Q. 516. Why can there be only one true religion?
A. There can be only one true religion, because a thing
cannot be false and true at the same time, and, therefore, all
religions that contradict the teaching of the true Church must
teach falsehood. If all religions in which men seek to serve
God are equally good and true, why did Christ disturb the
Jewish religion and the Apostles condemn heretics?
On the Attributes and Marks of the Church
Q. 517. What is an attribute?
A. An attribute is any characteristic or quality that a person
or thing may be said to have. All perfections or imperfections
Q. 518. What is a mark?
A. A mark is a given and known sign by which a thing can
be distinguished from all others of its kind. Thus a trademark
is used to distinguish the article bearing it from all imitations
of the same article.
Q. 519. How do we know that the Church must have the
four marks and three attributes usually ascribed or given
A. We know that the Church must have the four marks and
three attributes usually ascribed or given to it from the words
of Christ given in the Holy Scripture and in the teaching of
the Church from its beginning.
Q. 520. Can the Church have the four marks without the
A. The Church cannot have the four marks without the three
attributes, because the three attributes necessarily come with
the marks and without them the marks could not exist.
Q. 521. Why are both marks and attributes necessary in
A. Both marks and attributes are necessary in the Church, for
the marks teach us its external or visible qualities, while the
attributes teach us its internal or invisible qualities. It is
easier to discover the marks than the attributes; for it is easier
to see that the Church is one than that it is infallible.
Q. 522. Which are the attributes of the Church?
A. The attributes of the Church are three:
1.authority, infallibility, and indefectibility.
Q. 523. What is authority?
A. Authority is the power which one person has over another
so as to be able to justly exact obedience. Rulers have
authority over their subjects, parents over their children, and
teachers over their scholars.
Q. 524. From whom must all persons derive whatever
lawful authority they possess?
A. All persons must derive whatever lawful authority they
possess from God Himself, from whom they receive it
directly or indirectly. Therefore, to disobey our lawful
superiors is to disobey God Himself, and hence such
disobedience is always sinful.
Q. 525. What do you mean by the authority of the
A. By the authority of the Church I mean the right and power
which the Patriarchs and the Bishops, as the successors of the
Apostles, have to teach and to govern the faithful.
Q. 526. What do you mean by the infallibility of the
A. By the infallibility of the Church I mean that the Church
can not err when it teaches a doctrine of faith or morals.
Q. 527. What do we mean by a "doctrine of faith or
A. By a doctrine of faith or morals we mean the revealed
teaching that refers to whatever we must believe and do in
order to be saved.
Q. 528. How do you know that the Church can not err?
A. I know that the Church can not err because Christ
promised that the Holy Ghost would remain with it forever
and save it from error. If, therefore, the Church has erred, the
Holy Ghost must have abandoned it and Christ has failed to
keep His promise, which is a thing impossible.
Q. 529. Since the Church can not err, could it ever be
reformed in its teaching of faith or morals?
A. Since the Church can not err, it could never be reformed
in its teaching of faith or morals. Those who say the Church
needed reformation in faith or morals accuse Our Lord of
falsehood and deception.
Q. 530. When does the Church teach infallibly?
A. The Church teaches infallibly when it speaks through the
Patriarchs and Bishops united in a general council of the
Q. 531. What is necessary that the Church may speak
infallibly or ex-cathedra?
A. That the Church may speak infallibly, or ex-cathedra:
1. It must speak on a subject of faith or morals;
2. It must speak as the the Body of Christ, His Kingdom on
Earth, and to the whole Church;
3. It must indicate by certain words, such as, we define, we
proclaim, etc., that it intends to speak infallibly.
Q. 532. Are the Patriarchs and Bishops infallible in
everything they say and do?
A. The Patriarchs and Bishops are not infallible in
everything they say and do, because the Holy Ghost was not
promised to make them infallible in everything, but only in
matters of faith and morals for the whole Church when they
meet in Council of the whole Church. Nevertheless, the
Patriarchs’ and Bishops’ opinions on any subject deserve our
greatest respect on account of their learning, experience and
Q. 533. Can Patriarchs and Bishops commit sin?
A. Patriarchs and Bishops can commit sin and they must seek
forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance as others do.
Infallibility as members of a Council of the Church does not
prevent them from sinning, but from teaching falsehood
when they speaks in the voice of one in Council.
Q. 534. What does ex-cathedra mean?
A. "Cathedra" means a seat, and "ex" means out of.
Therefore, ex-cathedra means speaking from the seat or
official place held by the Apostles and their successors as
princes of the Church.
Roman Catholics mean something different when they use
the term ex-cathedra: they mean that the Roman Pope speaks
from the Chair of St. Peter as head of the whole Church, but
they are wrong for St. Peter’s Chair and the Church he
founded is at Antioch. This mistake by Roman Catholics
stems from the Great Schism of 1054 AD.
Q. 535. Why is the chief Church in a diocese called a
A. The chief Church in a diocese is called a Cathedral
because the bishop's cathedra, that is, his seat or throne, is
erected in it, and because he celebrates all important feasts
and performs all his special duties in it.
Q. 536. Has the Church always had Bishops?
A. The Church has always had Bishops, which means
“elder” and “leader”. The Apostles were the first Bishops.
As the Church spread from Jerusalem, more Bishops were
consecrated. As more people became Christians in each
area, and the Bishops needed assistance but more Bishops
were not needed, men were ordained Priests and Deacons,
having some but not all of the authority of a Bishop.
Q. 537. Have there ever been Bishops who were evil?
A. Unfortunately, there have been Bishops who were evil.
These are men who have been validly consecrated Bishop,
but who do and teach what they want rather than what Jesus
Christ teaches and does.
Q. 538. Why must the Bishops sometimes warn us on
political and other matters?
A. The Bishops must sometimes warn us on political and
other matters, because whatever nations or men do is either
good or bad, just or unjust, and wherever a Bishop discovers
falsehood, wickedness or injustice he must speak against it
and defend the truths of faith and morals. He must protect
also the temporal rights and property of the Church
committed to his care.
Q. 539. What do we mean by the "temporal power" of a
A. By the temporal power of a Bishop we mean the right
which a Bishop has as a temporal or ordinary ruler or owner
to govern the states and manage the properties that have
rightfully come into the possession of the Church, but to do
so on behalf of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true Ruler
Q. 540. How do Bishops acquire and how are they
deprived of the temporal power?
A. A Bishop can only rightfully aqcuire temporal power in a
just manner by the consent of those who had a right to bestow
it. He can be deprived of it in an unjust manner by political
changes, or by his own mismanagement, but is never allowed
to voluntarily abrogate or diminish such power.
Q. 541. How is the temporal power useful to the Church?
A. The temporal power is useful to the Church:
1. Because it gave Bishops the complete independence
necessary for the government of the Church and for the
defense of truth and virtue.
2. It enables them to do much for the spread of the true
religion by giving alms for the establishment and support of
Churches and schools in poor or pagan countries.
Q. 542. How does the Church survive financially?
A. The Church survives financially bu the donations made by
every member of the Church, and very often by the Bishops,
Priests, Deacons and other Clergy working just like everyone
else in their community and supporting the Church with their
personal income, just as St. Paul supported the Church with
the income he earned workeing as a weaver and tent maker.
Q. 543. What do you mean by the indefectibility of the
A. By the indefectibility of the Church I mean that the
Church, as Christ founded it, will last till the end of time.
Q. 544. What is the difference between the infallibility
and indefectibility of the Church?
A. When we say the Church is infallible we mean that it can
never teach error while it lasts; but when we say the Church
is indefectible, we mean that it will last forever and be
infallible forever; that it will always remain as Our Lord
founded it and never change the doctrines He taught.
Q. 545. Did Our Lord Himself make all the laws of the
A. Our Lord Himself did not make all the laws of the Church.
He gave the Church also power to make laws to suit the needs
of the times, places or persons as it judged necessary.
Q. 546. Can the Church change its laws?
A. The Church can, when necessary, change the laws it has
itself made, but it cannot change the laws that Christ has
made. Neither can the Church change any doctrine of faith
Q. 547. In whom are these attributes found in their
A. These attributes are found in their fullness in the General
and Ecumenical Councils of the entire Church, and
expressed through and in the Bishops, who are the visible
Heads of the Church, who have authority to teach the
suffragen bishops and priests under them, and people, in
matters of faith or morals, and this authority will last to the
end of the world.
Q. 548. Has the Church any marks by which it may be
A. The Church has four marks by which it may be known: it
is One; it is Holy; it is Catholic; it is Apostolic.
Q. 549. How is the Church One?
A. The Church is One because all its members agree in one
faith, are all in one communion, and are all under one head,
However, after the political problems involved in the Schism
of 1054 AD, many bishops refused to allow the Sacraments
to be given to persons of the opposing side, and refused to
allow their laity to receive the Sacraments from the opposing
side. This is wrong, for it wounds and separates the Body of
Christ on earth; and our Lord will judge very harshly those
who foster this separation.
Q. 550. How is it evident that the Church is one in
A. It is evident that the Church is one in government, for the
faithful in a parish are subject to their pastors, the pastors are
subject to the bishops of their dioceses, the bishops subject to
their Synods, and the Synods are subject to God the Son.
Q. 551. What is meant by the Hierarchy of the Church?
A. By the Hierarchy of the Church is meant the sacred body
of clerical rules who govern the Church.
Q. 552. How is it evident that the Church is one in
A. It is evident that the Church is one in worship because all
its members make use of the same sacrifice and receive the
Q. 553. How is it evident that the Church is one in faith?
A. It is evident the Church is one in faith because all
members of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, both
Orthodox Catholic and Roman Catholic, throughout the
world, believe each and every article of faith proposed by the
Q. 554. Could a person who denies only one article of our
faith be a member of the Church?
A. A person who denies even one article of our faith could
not be a member of the Church; for truth is one and we must
accept it whole and entire or not at all.
Q. 555. Are there any pious beliefs and practices in the
Church that are not articles of faith?
A. There are many pious beliefs and practices in the Church
that are not articles of faith; that is, we are not bound under
pain of sin to believe in them; yet we will often find them
useful aids to holiness, and hence they are recommended by
Q. 556. Of what sin are persons guilty who put firm belief
in religious or other practices that are either forbidden or
A. Persons who put a firm belief in religious or other
practices that are forbidden or useless are guilty of the sin of
Q. 557. Where does the Church find the revealed truths
it is bound to teach?
A. The Church finds the revealed truths it is bound to teach
in the Holy Scripture and revealed traditions.
Q. 558. What is the Holy Scripture or Bible?
A. The Holy Scripture or Bible is the collection of sacred,
inspired writings through which God has made known to us
many revealed truths. Some call them letters from Heaven to
earth, that is, from God to man.
Q. 559. What is meant by the Canon of the Sacred
A. The Canon of Sacred Scriptures means the list the Church
has prepared to teach us what sacred writings are Holy
Scripture and contain the inspired word of God.
560. Where does the Church find the revealed
A. The Church finds the revealed traditions in the decrees of
its councils; in its books of worship; in its icons, paintings
and inscriptions on tombs and monuments; in the lives of its
Saints; the writings of its Fathers, and in its own history.
Q. 561. Must we ourselves seek in the Scriptures and
traditions for what we are to believe?
A. We ourselves need not seek in the Scriptures and
traditions for what we are to believe, but we should seek them
in the Scriptures. God has appointed the Church to be our
guide to salvation and we must accept its teaching us our
infallible rule of faith. Therefore, we can learn from what the
Church teaches, and if we study the Scriptures as well, we
should do so under the guidance of the Church so-as-to avoid
error. If we do not study the Scriptures under the guidance
of the Church, then each individual may make an error in
understanding, and each individual will therefore believe
differently, but everyone can not have different beliefs and
have each different belief be true.
Q. 562. How do we show that the Holy Scriptures alone
could not be our guide to salvation and infallible rule of
A. We show that the Holy Scripture alone could not be our
guide to salvation and infallible rule of faith:
1. Because all men cannot examine or understand the Holy
Scripture; but all can listen to the teaching of the Church;
2. Because the New Testament or Christian part of the
Scripture was not written at the beginning of the Church's
existence, and, therefore, could not have been used as the rule
of faith by the first Christians;
3. Because there are many things in the Holy Scripture that
cannot be understood without the explanation given by
tradition, and hence those who take the Scripture alone for
their rule of faith are constantly disputing about its meaning
and what they are to believe.
Q. 563. How is the Church Holy?
A. The Church is Holy because its founder, Jesus Christ, is
holy; because it teaches a holy doctrine; invites all to a holy
life; and because of the eminent holiness of so many
thousands of its children.
Q. 564. How is the Church Catholic or universal?
A. The Church is Catholic or universal because it subsists in
all ages, teaches all nations, and maintains all truth.
Q. 565. How do you show that the Church is universal in
time, in place, and in doctrine?
A. 1. The Church is universal in time, for from the time of
the Apostles to the present it has existed, taught and labored
in every age;
2. It is universal in place, for it has taught throughout the
3. It is universal in doctrine, for it teaches the same
everywhere, and its doctrines are suited to all classes of
persons. It has converted all the pagan nations that have ever
Q. 566. Why does the Church use the national language of
its children instead of one language such as the Latin
A. The Church uses the national language of its children
because the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost, had each person hear
the Apostles in their own language even though the Apostles
spoke in Hebrew. This is do each individual would
understand what was being said and taught.
Q. 567. How is the Church Apostolic?
A. The Church is Apostolic because it was founded by Christ
on His Apostles, and is governed by their lawful successors,
and because it has never ceased, and never will cease, to
teach their doctrine.
Q. 568. Does the Church, by defining certain truths,
thereby make new doctrines?
A. The Church, by defining, that is, by proclaiming certain
truths, articles of faith, does not make new doctrines, but
simply teaches more clearly and with greater effort truths
that have always been believed and held by the Church.
Q. 569. What, then, is the use of defining or declaring a
truth an article of faith if it has always been believed?
A. The use of defining or declaring a truth an article of faith,
even when it has always been believed, is:
1.(1) To clearly contradict those who deny it and show their
2.(2) To remove all doubt about the exact teaching of the
Church, and to put an end to all discussion about the truth
Q. 570. In which Church are these attributes and marks
A. These attributes and marks are found in the Holy Catholic
and Apostolic Church alone. As stated above, the Church
has been severed into Orthodox and Romanl but this would
must be healed by the Bishops otherwise Jesus Christ will
heal it Himself and He will then “rake it over the heads of
those who stand in HIs way.”
Q. 571. How do you show that Protestant Churches have
not the marks of the true Church?
A. Protestant Churches have not the marks of the true
1. They are not one either in government or faith; for they
have no chief head or governing coulcil which propounds
unchanging doctrine, and they profess different beliefs. They
often change their dogma so-as-to approve the sinful desires
of the people, such as approving abortions or approving
people of the same sex living together as though they were
husband and wife;
2. They are not holy, because their doctrines are founded
on error and lead to evil consequences;
3. They are not catholic or universal in time, place or
doctrine. They have not existed in all ages nor in all places,
and their doctrines do not suit all classes;
4. They are not apostolic, for they were not established
until hundreds of years or even more than a thousand years
after the Apostles, and they do not teach the doctrines of the
Q. 572. From whom does the Church derive its undying
life and infallible authority?
A. The Church derives its undying life and infallible
authority from the Holy Ghost, the spirit of truth, who abides
with it forever.
Q. 573. By whom is the Church made and kept One, Holy,
A. The Church is made and kept One, Holy, and Catholic by
the Holy Ghost, the spirit of love and holiness, who unites
and sanctifies its members throughout the world.
LESSON THIRTEENTH: On the Sacraments in
Q. 574. What is a Sacrament?
A. A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to
Q. 575. Are these three things, namely: An outward or
visible sign, the institution of that sign by Christ, and the
giving of grace through the use of that sign, always
necessary for the existence of a Sacrament?
A. These three things, namely:
1.An outward or visible sign, the institution of that sign by
Christ, and the giving of grace through the use of that sign,
are always necessary for the existence of a Sacrament, and if
any of the three be wanting there can be no Sacrament.
Q. 576. Why does the Church use numerous ceremonies
or actions in applying the outward signs of the
A. The Church uses numerous ceremonies or actions in
applying the outward signs of the Sacraments to increase our
reverence and devotion for the Sacraments, and to explain
their meaning and effects.
Q. 577. How many Sacraments are there?
A. There are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Chrismation
(Confirmation), Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction
(Holy Anointing), Holy Orders, and Matrimony.
Q. 578. Were all the Sacraments instituted by Our Lord?
A. All the Sacraments were instituted by Our Lord, for God
alone has power to attach the gift of grace to the use of an
outward or visible sign. The Church, however, can institute
the ceremonies to be used in administering or giving the
Q. 579. How do we know there are seven Sacraments and
no more or less?
A. We know there are seven Sacraments and no more or less
because the Church always taught that truth. The number of
the Sacraments is a matter of faith, and the Church cannot be
mistaken in matters of faith.
Q. 580. Why have the Sacraments been instituted?
A. The Sacraments have been instituted as a special means
through which we are to receive the grace merited for us by
Christ. As Christ is the giver of the grace, He has the right to
determine the manner in which it shall be given, and one
who refuses to make use of the Sacraments will not receive
Q. 581. Do the Sacraments recall in any way the means by
which Our Lord merited the graces we receive through
A. The Sacraments recall in many ways the means by which
Our Lord merited the graces we receive through them.
Baptism recalls His profound humility; Chrismation
(Confirmation) His ceaseless prayer; Holy Eucharist His care
of the needy; Penance His mortified life; Extreme Unction
His model death; Holy Orders His establishment of the
priesthood, and Matrimony His close union with the Church.
Q. 582. Give, for example, the outward sign in Baptism
and Chrismation (Confirmation).
A. The outward sign in Baptism is the pouring of the water
and the saying of the words of Baptism. The outward sign in
Chrismation (Confirmation) is the anointing with oil, the
saying of the words of Chrismatiin (Confirmation) and the
placing of the bishop's hands over the person he chrismates
Q. 583. What is the use of the outward signs in the
A. Without the outward signs in the Sacraments we could not
know when or with what effect the grace of the Sacraments
enters into our souls.
Q. 584. Does the outward sign merely indicate that grace
has been given, or does the use of the outward sign with
the proper intention also give the grace of the Sacrament?
A. The outward sign is not used merely to indicate that grace
has been given, for the use of the outward sign with the
proper intention also gives the grace of the Sacrament. Hence
the right application of the outward sign is always followed
by the gift of internal grace if the Sacrament be administered
with the right intention and received with the right
Q. 585. What do we mean by the "right intention" for the
administration of the Sacraments?
A. By the right intention for the administration of the
Sacraments we mean that whoever administers a Sacrament
must have the intention of doing what Christ intended when
He instituted the Sacrament and what the Church intends
when it administers the Sacrament.
Q. 586. Is there any likeness between the thing used in the
outward sign and the grace given in each Sacrament?
A. There is a great likeness between the thing used in the
outward sign and the grace given in each Sacrament; thus
water is used for cleansing; Baptism cleanses the soul; Oil
gives strength and light; Chrismation
strengthens and enlightens the soul; Bread and wine nourish;
the Holy Eucharist nourishes the soul.
Q. 587. What do we mean by the "matter and form" of
A. By the "matter" of the Sacraments we mean the visible
things, such as water, oil, bread, wine, etc., used for the
Sacraments. By the "form" we mean the words, such as "I
baptize thee," "I chrismate (confirm) thee," etc., used in
giving or administering the Sacraments.
Q. 588. Do the needs of the soul resemble the needs of the
A. The needs of the soul do resemble the needs of the body;
for the body must be born, strengthened, nourished, healed in
affliction, helped at the hour of death, guided by authority,
and given a place in which to dwell. The soul is brought into
spiritual life by Baptism; it is strengthened by Chrismation
(Confirmation); nourished by the Holy Eucharist; healed by
Penance; helped at the hour of our death by Extreme
Unction; guided by God's ministers through the Sacrament of
Holy Orders, and it is given a body in which to dwell by the
Sacrament of Matrimony.
Q. 589. Whence have the Sacraments the power of giving
A. The Sacraments have the power of giving grace from the
merits of Jesus Christ.
Q. 590. Does the effect of the Sacraments depend on the
worthiness or unworthiness of the one who administers
A. The effect of the Sacraments does not depend on the
worthiness or unworthiness of the one who administers them,
but on the merits of Jesus Christ, who instituted them, and on
the worthy dispositions of those who receive them.
Q. 591. What grace do the Sacraments give?
A. Some of the Sacraments give sanctifying grace, and others
increase it in our souls.
Q. 592. When is a Sacrament said to give, and when is it
said to increase, grace in our souls?
A. A Sacrament is said to give grace when there is no grace
whatever in the soul, or in other words, when the soul is in
mortal sin. A Sacrament is said to increase grace when there
is already grace in the soul, to which more is added by the
Q. 593. Which are the Sacraments that give sanctifying
A. The Sacraments that give sanctifying grace are Baptism
and Penance; and they are called Sacraments of the dead.
Q. 594. Why are Baptism and Penance called Sacraments
of the dead?
A. Baptism and Penance are called Sacraments of the dead
because they take away sin, which is the death of the soul,
and give grace, which is its life.
Q. 595. May not the Sacrament of Penance be received by
one who is in a state of grace?
A. The Sacrament of Penance may be and very often is
received by one who is in a state of grace, and when thus
received it increases -- as the Sacraments of the living do --
the grace already in the soul.
596. Which are the Sacraments that increase
sanctifying grace in our soul?
A. The Sacraments that increase sanctifying grace in our
souls are: Chrismation (Confirmation), Holy Eucharist,
Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony; and they are
called Sacraments of the living.
Q. 597. What do we mean by Sacraments of the dead and
Sacraments of the living?
A. By the Sacraments of the dead we mean those Sacraments
that may be lawfully received while the soul is in a state of
mortal sin. By the Sacraments of the living we mean those
Sacraments that can be lawfully received only while the soul
is in a state of grace -- i.e., free from mortal sin. Living and
dead do not refer here to the persons, but to the condition of
the souls; for none of the Sacraments can be given to a dead
Q. 598. Why are Chrismation (Confirmation), Holy
Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and
Matrimony called Sacraments of the living?
A. Chrismation (Confirmation), Holy Eucharist, Extreme
Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony are called Sacraments
of the living because those who receive them worthily are
already living the life of grace.
Q. 599. What sin does he commit who receives the
Sacraments of the living in mortal sin?
A. He who receives the Sacraments of the living in mortal sin
commits a sacrilege, which is a great sin, because it is an
abuse of a sacred thing.
600. In what other ways besides the unworthy
reception of the Sacraments may persons commit
A. Besides the unworthy reception of the Sacraments,
persons may commit sacrilege by the abuse of a sacred
person, place or thing; for example, by willfully wounding a
person consecrated to God; by robbing or destroying a
Church; by using the sacred vessels of the Altar for unlawful
Q. 601. Besides sanctifying grace do the Sacraments give
any other grace?
A. Besides sanctifying grace the Sacraments give another
grace, called sacramental grace.
Q. 602. What is sacramental grace?
A. Sacramental grace is a special help which God gives, to
attain the end for which He instituted each Sacrament.
Q. 603. Is the Sacramental grace independent of the
sanctifying grace given in the Sacraments?
A. The Sacramental grace is not independent of the
sanctifying grace given in the Sacraments; for it is the
sanctifying grace that gives us a certain right to special helps
-- called Sacramental grace -- in each Sacrament, as often as
we have to fulfill the end of the Sacrament or are tempted
Q. 604. Give an example of how the Sacramental grace
aids us, for instance, in Chrismation (Confirmation) and
A. The end of Chrismation (Confirmation) is to strengthen
us in our faith. When we are tempted to deny our religion by
word or deed, the Sacramental Grace of Chrismation
(Confirmation) is given to us and helps us to cling to our
faith and firmly profess it. The end of Penance is to destroy
actual sin. When we are tempted to sin, the Sacramental
Grace of Penance is given to us and helps us to overcome the
temptation and persevere in a state of grace. The sacramental
grace in each of the other Sacraments is given in the same
manner, and aids us in attaining the end for which each
Sacrament was instituted and for which we receive it.
Q. 605. Do the Sacraments always give grace?
A. The Sacraments always give grace, if we receive them
with the right dispositions.
Q. 606. What do we mean by the "right dispositions" for
the reception of the Sacraments?
A. By the right dispositions for the reception of the
Sacraments we mean the proper motives and the fulfillment
of all the conditions required by God and the Church for the
worthy reception of the Sacraments.
Q. 607. Give an example of the "right dispositions" for
Penance and for the Holy Eucharist.
A. The right dispositions for Penance are:
1.To confess all our mortal sins as we know them;
2.To be sorry for them, and
3.To have the determination never to commit them or
The right dispositions for the Holy Eucharist are:
1. To know what the Holy Eucharist is;
2. To be in a state of grace, and
3. -- except in special cases of sickness -- to be fasting for
the appropriate period of time.
Q. 608. Can we receive the Sacraments more than once?
A. We can receive the Sacraments more than once, except
Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation), and Holy Orders.
Q. 609. Why can we not receive Baptism, Chrismation
(Confirmation), and Holy Orders more than once?
A. We cannot receive Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation),
and Holy Orders more than once, because they imprint a
character in the soul.
Q. 610. What is the character which these Sacraments
imprint in the soul?
A. The character which these Sacraments imprint in the soul
is a spiritual mark which remains forever.
Q. 611. Does this character remain in the soul even after
A. This character remains in the soul even after death; for the
honor and glory of those who are saved; for the shame and
punishment of those who are lost.
Q. 612. Can the Sacraments be given conditionally?
A. The Sacraments can be given conditionally as often as we
doubt whether they were properly given before, or whether
they can be validly given now.
Q. 613. What do we mean by giving a Sacrament
A. By giving a Sacrament conditionally we mean that the
person administering the Sacrament intends to give it only in
case it has not been given already or in case the person has
the right dispositions for receiving it, though the dispositions
cannot be discovered.
Q. 614. Give an example of how a Sacrament is given
A. In giving Baptism, for instance, conditionally -- or what
we call conditional Baptism -- the priest, instead of saying
absolutely, as he does in ordinary Baptism: "I baptize thee,"
etc., says: "If you are not already baptized, or if you are
capable of being baptized, I baptize thee," etc., thus stating
the sole condition on which he intends to administer the
Q. 615. Which of the Sacraments are most frequently
A. The Sacraments most frequently given conditionally are
Baptism, Penance and Extreme Unction; because in some
cases it is difficult to ascertain whether these Sacraments
have been given before or whether they have been validly
given, or whether the person about to receive them has the
right dispositions for them.
Q. 616. Name some of the more common circumstances in
which a priest is obliged to administer the Sacraments
A. Some of the more common circumstances in which a
priest is obliged to administer the Sacraments conditionally
1. When he receives converts into the Church and is not
certain of their previous baptism, he must baptize them
2. When he is called -- as in cases of accident or sudden
illness -- and doubts whether the person be alive or dead, or
whether he should be given the Sacraments, he must give
absolution and administer Extreme Unction conditionally.
617. What is the use and effect of giving the
A. The use of giving the Sacraments conditionally is that
there may be no irreverence to the Sacraments in giving them
to persons incapable or unworthy of receiving them; and yet
that no one who is capable or worthy may be deprived of
them. The effect is to supply the Sacrament where it is
needed or can be given, and to withhold it where it is not
needed or cannot be given.
Q. 618. What is the difference between the powers of a
bishop and of a priest with regard to the administration
of the Sacraments?
A. The difference between the powers of a bishop and of a
priest with regard to the administration of the Sacraments is
that a bishop can give all the Sacraments, while a priest
cannot give Holy Orders and some priests can not give
Q. 619. Can a person receive all the Sacraments?
A. A person cannot, as a rule, receive all the Sacraments; for
a woman cannot receive Holy Orders.
LESSON FOURTEENTH: On Baptism
Q. 620. When was baptism instituted?
A. Baptism was instituted, very probably, about the time Our
Lord was baptized by St. John, and its reception was
commanded when after His resurrection Our Lord said to His
Apostles: "All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth.
Going, therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Q. 621. What is Baptism?
A. Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from original
sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of
Q. 622. What were persons called in the first ages of the
Church who were being instructed and prepared for
A. Persons who were being instructed and prepared for
baptism, in the first ages of the Church, were called
catechumens, just as they are today, and they are frequently
mentioned in Church history.
Q. 623. What persons are called heirs?
A. All persons who inherit or come lawfully into the
possession of property or goods at the death of another, are
Q. 624. Why, then, are we the heirs of Christ?
A. We are the heirs of Christ because at His death we came
into the possession of God's friendship, of grace, and of the
right to enter heaven, provided we comply with the
conditions Our Lord has laid down for the gaining of this
Q. 625. What conditions has Our Lord laid down for the
gaining of this inheritance?
A. The conditions Our Lord has laid down for the gaining of
this inheritance are:
1.(1) That we receive, when possible, the Sacraments He
has instituted; and
2.(2) That we believe and practice all He has taught.
626. Did not St. John the Baptist institute the
Sacrament of Baptism?
A. St. John the Baptist did not institute the Sacrament of
Baptism, for Christ alone could institute a Sacrament. The
baptism given by St. John had the effect of a Sacramental;
that is, it did not of itself give grace, but prepared the way for
Q. 627. Are actual sins ever remitted by Baptism?
A. Actual sins and all the punishment due to them are
remitted by Baptism, if the person baptized be guilty of any.
Q. 628. That actual sins may be remitted by baptism, is it
necessary to be sorry for them?
A. That actual sins may be remitted by baptism it is necessary
to be sorry for them, just as we must be when they are
remitted by the Sacrament of Penance.
Q. 629. What punishments are due to actual sins?
A. Two punishments are due to actual sins: one, called the
eternal, is inflicted in hell; and the other, called the temporal,
is inflicted in this world or in purgatory. The Sacrament of
Penance remits or frees us from the eternal punishment and
generally only from part of the temporal. Prayer, good works
and indulgences in this world and the sufferings of purgatory
in the next remit the remainder of the temporal punishment.
Q. 630. Why is there a double punishment attached to
A. There is a double punishment attached to actual sins,
because in their commission there is a double guilt:
1. Of insulting God and of turning away from Him;
2 .Of depriving Him of the honor we owe Him, and of
turning to His enemies.
Q. 631. Is Baptism necessary to salvation?
A. Baptism is necessary to salvation, because without it we
cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Q. 632. Where will persons go who -- such as infants --
have not committed actual sin and who, through no fault
of theirs, die without baptism?
A. Persons, such as infants, who have not committed actual
sin and who, through no fault of theirs, die without baptism,
cannot enter heaven; but it is the common belief they will go
to some place similar to Limbo, where they will be free from
suffering, though deprived of the happiness of heaven.
Q. 633. Who can administer Baptism?
A. A priest is the ordinary minister of baptism; but in case of
necessity anyone who has the use of reason may baptize.
Q. 634. What do we mean by the "ordinary minister" of
A. By the "ordinary minister" of a Sacrament we mean the
one who usually does administer the Sacrament, and who has
always the right to do so.
Q. 635. Can a person who has not himself been baptized,
and who does not even believe in the Sacrament of
baptism, give it validly to another in case of necessity?
A. A person who has not himself been baptized, and who
does not even believe in the Sacrament of baptism, can give
it validly to another in case of necessity, provided:
1. He has the use of reason;
2. Knows how to give baptism, and
3. Intends to do what the Church intends in the giving of
the Sacrament. Baptism is so necessary that God affords
every opportunity for its reception.
Q. 636. Why do the consequences of original sin, such as
suffering, temptation, sickness, and death, remain after
the sin has been forgiven in baptism?
A. The consequences of original sin, such as suffering,
temptation, sickness and death, remain after the sin has been
forgiven in baptism:
1. To remind us of the misery that always follows sin; and
2. To afford us an opportunity of increasing our merit by
bearing these hardships patiently.
Q. 637. Can a person ever receive any of the other
Sacraments without first receiving baptism?
A. A person can never receive any of the other Sacraments
without first receiving baptism, because baptism makes us
members of Christ's Church, and unless we are members of
His Church we cannot receive His Sacraments.
Q. 638. How is Baptism given?
A. Whoever baptizes should pour water on the head of the
person to be baptized, and say, while pouring the water: "I
baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost."
Q. 639. If water cannot be had, in case of necessity, may
any other liquid be used for baptism?
A. If water cannot be had, in case of necessity or in any case,
no other liquid can be used, and the baptism cannot be given.
Q. 640. If it is impossible, in case of necessity, to reach the
head, may the water be poured on any other part of the
A. If it is impossible, in case of necessity, to reach the head,
the water should be poured on whatever part of the body can
be reached; but then the baptism must be given conditionally;
that is, before pronouncing the words of baptism, you must
say: "If I can baptize thee in this way, I baptize thee in the
name of the Father," etc. If the head can afterward be
reached, the water must be poured on the head and the
baptism repeated conditionally by saying: "If you are not
already baptized, I baptize thee in the name," etc.
Q. 641. Is the baptism valid if we say: "I baptize thee in
the name of the Holy Trinity," without naming the
Persons of the Trinity?
The baptism is not valid if we say: "I baptize thee in the name
of the Holy Trinity," without naming the Persons of the
Trinity; for we must use the exact words instituted by Christ.
Q. 642. Is it wrong to defer the baptism of an infant?
A. It is wrong to defer the baptism of an infant, because we
thereby expose the child to the danger of dying without the
Q. 643. Can we baptize a child against the wishes of its
A. We cannot baptize a child against the wishes of its
parents; and if the parents are not Catholics, they must not
only consent to the baptism, but also agree to bring the child
up in the Catholic religion. But if a child is surely dying, we
may baptize it without either the consent or permission of its
Q. 644. How many kinds of Baptism are there?
A. There are three kinds of Baptism: Baptism of water, of
desire, and of blood.
Q. 645. What is Baptism of water?
A. Baptism of water is that which is given by pouring water
on the head of the person to be baptized, and saying at the
same time, "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Q. 646. In how many ways was the baptism of water given
in the first ages of the Church?
A. In the first ages of the Church, baptism of water was given
in three ways, namely, by immersion or dipping, by aspersion
or sprinkling, and by infusion or pouring. Although any of
these methods would be valid, the method of infusion or
pouring is most common in the Church.
Q. 647. What are the chief ceremonies used in solemn
baptism, and what do they signify?
A. The chief ceremonies used in solemn baptism are:
1. A profession of faith and renouncement of the devil to
signify our worthiness;
2. The placing of salt in the mouth to signify the wisdom
imparted by faith;
3. The holding of the priest's stole to signify our reception
into the Church;
4. The anointing to signify the strength given by the
5. The giving of the white garment or cloth to signify our
sinless state after baptism; and
6. The giving of the lighted candle to signify the light of
faith and fire of love that should dwell in our souls.
Q. 648. Should one who, in case of necessity, has been
baptized with private baptism, be afterwards brought to
the Church to have the ceremonies of solemn baptism
A. One who, in case of necessity, has been baptized with
private baptism should afterwards be brought to the Church
to have the ceremonies of solemn baptism completed,
because these ceremonies are commanded by the Church and
bring down blessings upon us.
Q. 649. Is solemn baptism given with any special kind of
A. Solemn baptism is given with consecrated water; that is,
water mixed with holy oil and blessed for baptism on Holy
Saturday and on the Saturday before Pentecost. It is always
kept in the baptismal font in the baptistry -- a place near the
door of the Church set apart for baptism.
Q. 650. What is Baptism of desire?
A. Baptism of desire is an ardent wish to receive Baptism,
and to do all that God has ordained for our salvation.
Q. 651. What is Baptism of blood?
A. Baptism of blood is the shedding of one's blood for the
faith of Christ.
Q. 652. What is the baptism of blood most commonly
A. The baptism of blood is most commonly called
martyrdom, and those who receive it are called martyrs. It is
the death one patiently suffers from the enemies of our
religion, rather than give up the True Faith faith or virtue.
We must not seek martyrdom, though we must endure it
when it comes.
Q. 653. Is Baptism of desire or of blood sufficient to
produce the effects of Baptism of water?
A. Baptism of desire or of blood is sufficient to produce the
effects of the Baptism of water, if it is impossible to receive
the Baptism of water.
Q. 654. How do we know that the baptism of desire or of
blood will save us when it is impossible to receive the
baptism of water?
A. We know that baptism of desire or of blood will save us
when it is impossible to receive the baptism of water, from
Holy Scripture, which teaches that love of God and perfect
contrition can secure the remission of sins ; and also that Our
Lord promises salvation to those who lay down their life for
His sake or for His teaching.
Q. 655. What do we promise in Baptism?
A. In Baptism we promise to renounce the devil, with all his
works and pomps.
Q. 656. What do we mean by the "pomps" of the devil?
A. By the pomps of the devil we mean all worldly pride,
vanities and vain shows by which people are enticed into sin,
and all foolish or sinful display of ourselves or of what we
Q. 657. Why is the name of a saint given in Baptism?
A. The name of a saint is given in Baptism in order that the
person baptized may imitate his virtues and have him for a
Q. 658. What is the Saint whose name we bear called?
A. The saint whose name we bear is called our patron saint
-- to whom we should have great devotion.
Q. 659. What names should never be given in baptism?
A. These and similar names should never be given in
1. The names of noted unbelievers, heretics or enemies of
religion and virtue;
2. The names of heathen gods, and
Q. 660. Why are godfathers and godmothers given in
A. Godfathers and godmothers are given in Baptism in order
that they may promise, in the name of the child, what the
child itself would promise if it had the use of reason.
661. By what other name are godfathers and
A. Godfathers and godmothers are usually called sponsors.
Sponsors are not necessary at private baptism.
Q. 662. Can a person ever be sponsor when absent from
A. A person can be sponsor even when absent from the
baptism, provided he has been asked and has consented to be
sponsor, and provided also some one answers the questions
and touches the person to be baptized in his name. The
absent godfather or godmother is then said to be sponsor by
proxy and becomes the real godparent of the one baptized.
Q. 663. With whom do godparents, as well as the one
baptizing, create a relationship?
A. Godparents, as well as the one baptizing, create a spiritual
relationship with the person baptized (not with his parents),
and this relationship is an impediment to marriage that must
be made known to the priest in case of their future marriage
with one another. The godfather and godmother contract no
relationship with each other.
Q. 664. What questions should persons who bring a child
for baptism be able to answer?
A. Persons who bring a child for baptism should be able to
1. The exact place where the child lives;
2. The full name of its parents, and, in particular, the
maiden name, or name before her marriage, of its mother;
3. The exact day of the month on which it was born;
4. Whether or not it has received private baptism, and
5. Whether its parents be members of the Holy Catholic
and Apostolic Church.
Sponsors must know also the chief truths of our religion.
Q. 665. What is the obligation of a godfather and a
A. The obligation of a godfather and a godmother is to
instruct the child in its religious duties, if the parents neglect
to do so or die.
Q. 666. Can persons who are not members of the Holy
Catholic and Apostolic Church be sponsors for children
who are to be Baptized into the Holy Catholic and
A. Persons who are not members of the Holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church cannot be sponsors for children who are to
be Baptrized into the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church,
because they cannot perform the duties of sponsors; for if
they do not know and profess the True Faith themselves, how
can they teach it to their godchildren? Moreover, they must
answer the questions asked at baptism and declare that they
believe in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and in all
it teaches; which would be a falsehood on their part.
Q. 667. What should parents chiefly consider in the
selection of sponsors for their children?
A. In the selection of sponsors for their children parents
should chiefly consider the good character and virtue of the
sponsors, selecting model members of the Holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church to whom they would be willing at the hour
of death to entrust the care and training of their children.
Q. 668. What dispositions must adults or grown persons,
have that they may worthily receive baptism?
A. That adults may worthily receive baptism:
1. They must be willing to receive it;
2. They must have faith in Christ;
3. They must have true sorrow for their sins, and
4. They must solemnly renounce the devil and all his
works; that is, all sin.
Q. 669. What is the ceremony of churching?
A. The ceremony of churching is a particular blessing which
a mother receives at the Altar, as soon as she is able to
present herself in the Church after the birth of her child. In
this ceremony the priest invokes God's blessing on the
mother and child, while she on her part returns thanks to
LESSON FIFTEENTH: On Confirmation (Chrismation)
Q. 670. What is Confirmation (Chrismation)?
A. Confirmation (Chrismation) is a Sacrament through
which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and
perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.
671. When was Confirmation
A. The exact time at which Confirmation (Chrismation) was
instituted is not known. But as this Sacrament was
administered by the Apostles and numbered with the other
Sacraments instituted by Our Lord, it is certain that He
instituted this Sacrament also and instructed His Apostles in
its use, at some time before His ascension into heaven.
Q. 672. Why is Confirmation (Chrismation) so called?
A. Confirmation (Chrismation) is so called from its chief
effect, which is to strengthen or render us more firm in
whatever belongs to our faith and religious duties.
Q. 673. Why are we called soldiers of Jesus Christ?
A. We are called soldiers of Jesus Christ to indicate how we
must resist the attacks of our spiritual enemies and secure our
victory over them by following and obeying Our Lord.
674. May one add a new name to his own at
A. One may and should add a new name to his own at
Confirmation (Chrismation), especially when the name of a
saint has not been given in Baptism.
Q. 675. Who administers Confirmation or Chrismation?
A. The bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation or
Chrismation, and he normally delegates his authority to
Corfirm or Chrismate to the priests who Baptize infants or
Q. 676. Why do we say the bishop is the "ordinary
minister" of Confirmation (Chrismation)?
A. We say the bishop is the ordinary minister of
Confirmation (Chrismation) because it is oneof the powers
which a bishop may reserve to himself, though he rarely
does. It is more common for the bishop to reserve
Chrismation to himself in very small dioceses.
Q. 677. How is Confirmation or Chrismation given?
A. The bishop or priest extends his hands over those who are
to be confirmed (chrismated), prays that they may receive the
Holy Ghost, and anoints the forehead of each with holy
chrism in the form of a cross.
Q. 678. In Confirmation / Chrismation, what does the
extending of the bishop's or Priest’s hands over us
A. In Confirmation / Chrismation, the extending of the
bishop's or priest’s hands over us signifies the descent of the
Holy Ghost upon us and the special protection of God
through the grace of Chrismation / Confirmation.
Q. 679. What is holy chrism?
A. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive-oil and balm,
consecrated by the bishop.
Q. 680. What do the oil and balm in Holy Chrism signify?
A. In Holy Chrism, the oil signifies strength, and the balm
signifies the freedom from corruption and the sweetness
which virtue must give to our lives.
Q. 681. How many holy oils are used in the Church?
A. Three holy oils are used in the Church, namely, the oil of
the sick, the oil of catechumens, and holy chrism. In some
jurisdictions and in some dioceses, all three oils are the same,
especially in the Eastern Rite.
Q. 682. What constitutes the difference between these
A. The form of prayer or blessing alone constitutes the
difference between these oils; for they are all olive oil, but in
the Holy Chrism, balm is mixed with the oil.
Q. 683. When and by whom are the holy oils blessed?
A. The holy oils are blessed at the Divine Liturgy (Mass) on
Holy Thursday by the bishop, who alone has the right to bless
After the blessing they are distributed to the priests of the
diocese, who must then burn what remains of the old oils and
use the newly blessed oils for the coming year, although
sometimes, especially in poorer places, the oils are kept from
year to year.
Q. 684. For what are the holy oils used?
A. The holy oils are used as follows: The oil of the sick is
used for Extreme Unction and for some blessings; the oil of
catechumens is used for Baptism and Holy Orders. Holy
Chrism is used at Baptism and for the blessing of some
sacred things, such as altars, chalices, church-bells, etc.,
which are usually blessed by a bishop. In some jurisdictions
and in some dioceses, all three oils are the same, especially
in the Eastern Rite.
Q. 685. What does the bishop or priest say in anointing
the person he confirms or chrismates?
A. In anointing the person he confirms or chrismates the
bishop or priest says: "I sign thee with the sign of the cross,
and I confirm thee (or “anoint thee”) with the chrism of
salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost."
Q. 686. What is meant by anointing the forehead with
chrism in the form of a cross?
A. By anointing the forehead with chrism in the form of a
cross is meant that the Christian who is confirmed or
chrismated must openly profess and practice his faith, never
be ashamed of it; and rather die than deny it.
Q. 687. When must we openly profess and practice our
A. We must openly profess and practice our religion as often
as we cannot do otherwise without violating some law of God
or of His Church.
Q. 688. Why have we good reason never to be ashamed of
the Orthodox Catholic faith?
A. We have good reason never to be ashamed of the
Orthodox Catholic Faith because it is the Old Faith
established by Christ and taught by His Apostles; it is the
Faith for which countless Holy Martyrs suffered and died; it
is the Faith that has brought true civilization, with all its
benefits, into the world, and it is the only Faith that can truly
reform and preserve public and private morals.
Q. 689. Why does the bishop or priest give the person he
confirms or chrismates a slight blow on the cheek?
A. The bishop or priest gives the person he confirms or
chrismates a slight blow on the cheek, to put him in mind
that he must be ready to suffer everything, even death, for the
sake of Christ.
690. Is it right to test ourselves through our
imagination of what we would be willing to suffer for the
sake of Christ?
A. It is not right to test ourselves through our imagination of
what we would be willing to suffer for the sake of Christ, for
such tests may lead us into sin. When a real test comes we are
assured God will give to us, as He did to the Holy Martyrs,
sufficient grace to endure it.
Q. 691. To receive Confirmation or Chrismation worthily
is it necessary to be in the state of grace?
A. To receive Confirmation or Chrismation worthily it is
necessary to be in the state of grace.
Q. 692. What special preparation should be made to
receive Confirmation or Chrismation?
A. Persons of an age to learn should know the chief mysteries
of faith and the duties of a Christian, and be instructed in the
nature and effects of this Sacrament.
Q. 693. Why should we know the chief mysteries of faith
and the duties of a Christian in light of Confirmation or
A. We should know the Chief Mysteries of Faith and the
duties of a Christian in light of Confirmation or Chrismation
because as one cannot be a good soldier without knowing the
rules of the army to which he belongs and understanding the
commands of his leader, so one cannot be a good Christian
without knowing the laws of the Church and understanding
the commands of Christ. However, the main reason is, that
the fullness of the help we receive from Chrismation or
Confirmation, and participation in God’s uncreated Grace, is
received in proportion to our knowledge, understanding, and
participation in the Divine.
Q. 694. Is it a sin to neglect Chrismation (Confirmation)?
A. It is a sin to neglect Chrismation
especially in these evil days when faith and morals are
exposed to so many and such violent temptations.
Q. 695. What do we mean by "these evil days"?
A. By "these evil days" we mean the present age or century
in which we are living, surrounded on all sides by, unbelief,
false doctrines, bad books, bad example and temptation in
Q. 696. Is Chrismation (Confirmation) necessary for
(Confirmation) is not so necessary for
salvation that we could not be saved without it; nevertheless,
there is a divine command obliging all to receive it, if
possible. Persons who have not been Chrismated (confirmed)
in youth should make every effort to be Chrismated
(confirmed) later in life.
697. Are sponsors necessary in Chrismation
A. Sponsors are necessary in Chrismation (Confirmation),
and they must be of the same good character as those
required at Baptism, for they take upon themselves the same
duties and responsibilities. They also establish a spiritual
relationship, which, however, unlike that in Baptism, is not
an impediment to marriage.
On The Gifts And Fruits Of The Holy Ghost
698. Which are the effects of Chrismation
A. The effects of Chrismation (Confirmation) are an increase
of sanctifying grace, the strengthening of our faith, and the
gifts of the Holy Ghost.
Q. 699. Which are the gifts of the Holy Ghost?
A. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are Wisdom, Understanding,
Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord.
Q. 700. Why do we receive the gift of Fear of the Lord?
A. We receive the gift of Fear of the Lord to fill us with a
dread of sin.
Q. 701. Why do we receive the gift of Piety?
A. We receive the gift of Piety to make us love God as a
Father, and obey Him because we love Him.
Q. 702. Why do we receive the gift of Knowledge?
A. We receive the gift of Knowledge to enable us to discover
the will of God in all things.
Q. 703. Why do we receive the gift of Fortitude?
A. We receive the gift of Fortitude to strengthen us to do the
will of God in all things.
Q. 704. Why do we receive the gift of Counsel?
A. We receive the gift of Counsel to warn us of the deceits of
the devil, and of the dangers to salvation.
Q. 705. How is it clear that the devil could easily deceive
us if the Holy Ghost did not aid us?
A. It is clear that the devil could easily deceive us if the Holy
Ghost did not aid us, for just as our sins do not deprive us of
our knowledge, so the devil's sin did not deprive him of the
great intelligence and power which he possessed as an angel.
Moreover, his experience in the world extends over all ages
and places, while ours is confined to a few years and to a
limited number of places.
Q. 706. Why do we receive the gift of Understanding?
A. We receive the gift of Understanding to enable us to know
more clearly the mysteries of faith.
Q. 707. Why do we receive the gift of Wisdom?
A. We receive the gift of Wisdom to give us a relish for the
things of God, and to direct our whole life and all our actions
to His honor and glory.
Q. 708. Which are the Beatitudes?
A. The Beatitudes are:
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom
2. Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.
3. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for
they shall be filled.
5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
6. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the
children of God.
8. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Q. 709. What are the Beatitudes and why are they so
A. The Beatitudes are a portion of Our Lord's Sermon on the
Mount, and they are so called because each of them holds out
a promised reward to those who practice the virtues they
Q. 710. Where did Our Lord usually preach?
A. Our Lord usually preached wherever an opportunity of
doing good by His Words presented itself. He preached at
times in the synagogues or meeting-houses but more
frequently in the open air -- by the seashore or on the
mountain, and often by the wayside.
Q. 711. What is the meaning and use of the Beatitudes in
A. 1. In general the Beatitudes embrace whatever pertains to
the perfection of Christian life, and they invite us to the
practice of the highest Christian virtues.
2. In different forms they all promise the same reward,
namely, sanctifying grace in this life and eternal glory in the
3. They offer us encouragement and consolation for every
trial and affliction.
Q. 712. What does the first Beatitude mean by the "poor
A. The first Beatitude means by the "poor in spirit" all
persons, rich or poor, who would not offend God to possess
or retain anything that this world can give; and who, when
necessity or charity requires it, give willingly for the glory of
God. It includes also those who humbly submit to their
condition in life when it cannot be improved by moral means.
713. Who are the mourners who deserve the
consolation promised in the third Beatitude?
A. The mourners who deserve the consolation promised in
the third Beatitude are they who, out of love for God, bewail
their own sins and those of the world; and they who patiently
endure all trials that come from God or for His sake.
Q. 714. What lessons do the other Beatitudes convey?
A. The other Beatitudes convey these lessons: The meek
suppress all feelings of anger and humbly submit to whatever
befalls them by the Will of God; and they never desire to do
evil for evil. The justice after which we should seek is every
Christian virtue included under that name, and we are told
that if we earnestly desire and seek it we shall obtain it. The
persecuted for justice' sake are they who will not abandon
their faith or virtue for any cause.
Q. 715. Who may be rightly called merciful?
A. The merciful are they who practice the corporal and
spiritual works of mercy, and who aid by word or deed those
who need their help for soul or body.
Q. 716. Why are the clean of heart promised so great a
A. The clean of heart, that is, the truly virtuous, whose
thoughts, desires, words and works are pure and modest, are
promised so great a reward because the chaste and sinless
have always been the most intimate friends of God.
Q. 717. What is the duty of a peacemaker?
A. It is the duty of a peacemaker to avoid and prevent
quarrels, reconcile enemies, and to put an end to all evil
reports of others or evil speaking against them. As
peacemakers are called the children of God, disturbers of
peace should be called the children of the devil. Gossips can
not be peacemakers.
Q. 718. Why does Our Lord speak in particular of
poverty, meekness, sorrow, desire for virtue, mercy,
purity, peace and suffering?
A. Our Lord speaks in particular of poverty, meekness,
sorrow, desire for virtue, mercy, purity, peace and suffering
because these are the chief features in His own earthly life;
poverty in His birth, life and death; meekness in His
teaching; sorrow at all times. He eagerly sought to do good,
showed mercy to all, recommended chastity, brought peace,
and patiently endured suffering.
Q. 719. Which are the twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost?
A. The twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are Charity, Joy,
Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, Long-suffering,
Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency, and Chastity.
Q. 720. Why are charity, joy, peace, etc., called fruits of
the Holy Ghost?
A. Charity, joy, peace, etc., are called fruits of the Holy Ghost
because they grow in our souls out of the seven gifts of the
On the Sacrament of Penance
Q. 721. What is the Sacrament of Penance?
A. Penance is a Sacrament in which the sins committed after
Baptism are forgiven.
Q 722. Has the word Penance any other meaning?
A. The word Penance has other meanings. It means also
those punishments we inflict upon ourselves as a means of
atoning for our past sins; it means likewise that disposition
of the heart in which we detest and bewail our sins because
they were offensive to God.
Q. 723. How does the institution of the Sacrament of
Penance show the goodness of Our Lord?
A. The institution of the Sacrament of Penance shows the
goodness of Our Lord, because having once saved us through
Baptism, He might have left us to perish if we again
Q. 724. What are the natural benefits of the Sacrament of
A. The natural benefits of the Sacrament of Penance are: It
gives us in our confessor a true friend, to whom we can go in
all our trials and to whom we can confide our secrets with the
hope of obtaining advice and relief.
Q. 725. How does the Sacrament of Penance remit sin,
and restore to the soul the friendship of God?
A. The Sacrament of Penance remits sin and restores the
friendship of God to the soul by means of the absolution of
Q. 726. What is Absolution?
A. Absolution is the form of prayer or words the priest
pronounces over us with uplifted hand when he forgives the
sins we have confessed. It is given while we are saying the
Act of Contrition after receiving our Penance.
Q. 727. Does the priest ever refuse absolution to a
A. The priest must and does refuse absolution to a penitent
when he thinks the penitent is not rightly disposed for the
Sacrament. He sometimes postpones the absolution till the
next confession, either for the good of the penitent or for the
sake of better preparation -- especially when the person has
been a long time from confession. The priest must be very
careful if he delays absolution, for he may drive away from
God, someone who is trying to return to God, by delaying
Q. 728. What should a person do when the priest has
refused or postponed absolution?
A. When the priest has refused or postponed absolution, the
penitent should humbly submit to his decision, follow his
instructions, and endeavor to remove whatever prevented the
giving of the absolution and return to the same confessor
with the necessary dispositions and resolution of amendment.
Q. 729. Can the priest forgive all sins in the Sacrament of
A. The priest has the power to forgive all sins in the
Sacrament of Penance, but he may not have the authority to
forgive all. To forgive sins validly in the Sacrament of
Penance, two things are required:
1. The power to forgive sins which every priest receives at
his ordination, and
2. The right to use that power which must be given by the
bishop, who authorizes the priest to hear confessions and
pass judgment on the sins.
Q. 730. What are the sins called which the priest has no
authority to absolve?
A. The sins which the priest has no authority to absolve are
called reserved sins. Absolution from these sins can be
obtained only from the bishop, and sometimes only from
the/a Patriarch (or Primate), or by his special permission.
Persons having a reserved sin to confess cannot be absolved
from any of their sins untill the priest receives faculties or
authority to absolve the reserved sin also.
Q. 731. Why is the absolution from some sins reserved to
the Patriarch or bishop?
A. The absolution from some sins is reserved to the Patriarch
or bishop to deter or prevent, by this special restriction,
persons from committing them, either on account of the
greatness of the sin itself or on account of its evil
Q. 732. Can any priest absolve a person in danger of
death from reserved sins without the permission of the
A. Any priest can absolve a person in danger of death from
reserved sins without the permission of the bishop, because
at the hour of death the Church removes these restrictions in
order to save, if possible, the soul of the dying.
Q. 733. How do you know that the priest has the power of
absolving from the sins committed after Baptism?
A. I know that the priest has the power of absolving from the
sins committed after Baptism, because Jesus Christ granted
that power to the priests of His Church when He said:
"Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive,
they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are
Q. 734. How do we know that Our Lord, while on earth,
had the power to forgive sins?
A. We know that Our Lord, while on earth, had the power to
1. Because He was always God, and;
2. Because He frequently did forgive sins and proved their
forgiveness by miracles.
Since He had the power Himself, He could give it to His
Q. 735. Was the power to forgive sins given to the apostles
A. The power to forgive sins was not given to the apostles
alone, because it was not given for the benefit merely of those
who lived at the time of the apostles, but for all who, having
grievously sinned, after Baptism, should need forgiveness.
Since, therefore, Baptism will be given till the end of time,
and since the danger of sinning after it always remains the
power to absolve from such sins must also remain in the
Church till the end of time.
Q. 736. When was the Sacrament of Penance instituted?
A. The Sacrament of Penance was instituted after the
resurrection of Our Lord, when He gave to His apostles the
power to forgive sins, which He had promised to them before
Q. 737. Are the enemies of our religion right when they
say man cannot forgive sins?
A. The enemies of our religion are right when they say man
cannot forgive sins if they mean that he cannot forgive them
by his own power, but they are certainly wrong if they mean
that he cannot forgive them even by the power of God, for
man can do anything if God gives him the power. The priest
does not forgive sins by his own power as man, but by the
authority he receives as the minister of God.
Q. 738. How do the priests of the Church exercise the
power of forgiving sins?
A. The priests of the Church exercise the power of forgiving
sins by hearing the confession of sins, and granting pardon
for them as ministers of God and in His name.
Q. 739. How does the power to forgive sins imply the
obligation of going to confession?
A. The power to forgive sins implies the obligation of going
to confession because as sins are usually committed secretly,
the priest could never know what sins to forgive and what not
to forgive, unless the sins committed were made known to
him by the persons guilty of them.
Q. 740. Could God not forgive our sins if we confessed
them to Himself in secret?
A. Certainly, God could forgive our sins if we confessed them
to Himself in secret, but He has not promised to do so;
whereas He has promised to pardon them if we confess them
to His priests. Since He is free to pardon or not to pardon, He
has the right to establish a Sacrament through which alone
He will pardon.
Q. 741. What must we do to receive the Sacrament of
A. To receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily we must do
1. We must examine our conscience.
2. We must have sorrow for our sins.
3. We must make a firm resolution never more to offend
4. We must confess our sins to the priest.
5. We must accept the penance which the priest gives us.
Q. 742. What should we pray for in preparing for
A. In preparing for confession we should pray to the Holy
Ghost to give us light to know our sins and to understand
their guilt; for grace to detest them; for courage to confess
them and for strength to keep our resolutions.
Q. 743. What faults do many commit in preparing for
A. In preparing for confession many commit the faults:
1. Of giving too much time to the examination of
conscience and little or none in exciting themselves to true
sorrow for the sins discovered;
2. Of trying to recall every trifling circumstance, instead of
thinking of the means by which they will avoid their sins for
Q. 744. What, then, is the most important part of the
preparation for confession?
A. The most important part of the preparation for confession
is sincere sorrow for the sins committed and the firm
determination to avoid them for the future.
Q. 745. What is the chief reason that our confessions do
not always amend our way of living?
A. The chief reason that our confessions do not always
amend our way of living is our want of real earnest
preparation for them and the fact that we have not truly
convinced ourselves of the need of amendment. We often
confess our sins more from habit, necessity or fear than from
a real desire of receiving grace and of being restored to the
friendship of God.
Q. 746. What faults are to be avoided in making our
A. In making our confession we are to avoid:
1. Telling useless details, the sins of others, or the name of
2. Confessing sins we are not sure of having committed;
exaggerating our sins or their number; multiplying the
number of times a day by the number of days to get the exact
number of habitual sins;
3. Giving a vague answer, such as "sometimes," when
asked how often; waiting after each sin to be asked for the
4. Hesitating over sins through pretented modesty and thus
delaying the priests and others; telling the exact words in
each when we have committed several sins of the same kind,
cursing, for example; and, lastly, leaving the confessional
before the priest gives us a sign to go.
Q. 747. Is it wrong to go to confession out of your turn
against the will of others waiting with you?
A. It is wrong to go to confession out of our turn against the
will of others waiting with us, because:
1. It causes disorder, quarreling and scandalous conduct in
2. It is unjust, makes others angry and lessens their good
dispositions for confession;
3. It annoys and distracts the priest by the confusion and
disorder it creates.
4. It is an act of theft, a sin of stealing a place in line, of
stealing the time others are delayed and that theft can not be
repaid for one can not give back time to one from whom it
has been stolen, and the sin of creation of an occasion of sin
for others in that others may become angry.
It is better to wait than go to confession in an excited and
Q. 748. What should a penitent do who knows he cannot
perform the penance given?
A. A penitent who knows he cannot perform the penance
given should ask the priest for one that he can perform.
When we forget the penance given we must ask for it again,
for we cannot fulfill our duty by giving ourselves a penance.
The penance must be performed at the time and in the
manner the confessor directs.
Q. 749. What is the examination of conscience?
A. The examination of conscience is an earnest effort to
recall to mind all the sins we have committed since our last
Q. 750. When is our confession worthy?
A. Our confession is worthy when we have done all that is
required for a good confession, and when, through the
absolution, our sins are really forgiven.
751. How can we make a good examination of
A. We can make a good examination of conscience by calling
to memory the commandments of God, the precepts of the
Church, the seven capital sins, and the particular duties of
our state in life, to find out the sins we have committed.
752. What should we do before beginning the
examination of conscience?
A. Before beginning the examination of conscience we
should pray to God to give us light to know our sins and
grace to detest them.
LESSON EIGHTEENTH: On Contrition
Q. 753. What is contrition, or sorrow for sin?
A. Contrition, or sorrow for sin, is a hatred of sin and a true
grief of the soul for having offended God, with a firm
purpose of sinning no more.
Q. 754. Give an example of how we should hate and avoid
A. We should hate and avoid sin as one hates and avoids a
poison that almost caused his death. We may not grieve over
the death of our soul as we do over the death of a friend, and
yet our sorrow may be true; because the sorrow for sin comes
more from our reason than from our feelings.
Q. 755. What kind of sorrow should we have for our sins?
A. The sorrow we should have for our sins should be interior,
supernatural, universal, and sovereign.
Q. 756. What do you mean by saying that our sorrow
should be interior?
A. When I say that our sorrow should be interior, I mean that
it should come from the heart, and not merely from the lips.
Q. 757. What do you mean by saying that our sorrow
should be supernatural?
A. When I say that our sorrow should be supernatural, I
mean that it should be prompted by the grace of God, and
excited by motives which spring from faith, and not by
merely natural motives.
Q. 758. What do we mean by "motives that spring from
faith" and by "merely natural motives" with regard to
sorrow for sin?
A. By sorrow for sin from "motives that spring from faith,"
we mean sorrow for reasons that God has made known to us,
such as the loss of heaven, the fear of hell or purgatory, or the
dread of afflictions that come from God in punishment for
sin. By "merely natural motives" we mean sorrow for reasons
made known to us by our own experience or by the
experience of others, such as loss of character, goods or
health. A motive is whatever moves our will to do or avoid
Q. 759. What do you mean by saying that our sorrow
should be universal?
A. When I say that our sorrow should be universal, I mean
that we should be sorry for all our mortal sins without
Q. 760. Why cannot some of our mortal sins be forgiven
while the rest remain on our souls?
A. It is impossible for any of our mortal sins to be forgiven
unless they are all forgiven, because as light and darkness
cannot be together in the same place, so sanctifying grace
and mortal sin cannot dwell together. If there be grace in the
soul, there can be no mortal sin, and if there be mortal sin,
there can be no grace, for one mortal sin expels all grace.
Q. 761. What do you mean when you say that our sorrow
should be sovereign?
A. When I say that our sorrow should be sovereign, I mean
that we should grieve more for having offended God than for
any other evil that can befall us.
Q. 762. Why should we be sorry for our sins?
A. We should be sorry for our sins because sin is the greatest
of evils and an offense against God our Creator, Preserver,
and Redeemer, and because it shuts us out of heaven and
condemns us to the eternal pains of hell.
Q. 763. How do we show that sin is the greatest of all
A. We show that sin is the greatest of evils because its effects
last the longest and have the most terrible consequences. All
the misfortunes of this world can last only for a time, and we
escape them at death, whereas the evils caused by sin keep
with us for all eternity and are only increased at death.
Q. 764. How many kinds of contrition are there?
A. There are two kinds of contrition; perfect contrition and
Q. 765. What is perfect contrition?
A. Perfect contrition is that which fills us with sorrow and
hatred for sin, because it offends God, who is infinitely good
in Himself and worthy of all love.
Q. 766. When will perfect contrition obtain pardon for
mortal sin without the Sacrament of Penance?
A. Perfect contrition will obtain pardon for mortal sin
without the Sacrament of Penance when we cannot go to
confession, but with the perfect contrition we must have the
intention of going to confession as soon as possible, if we
again have the opportunity.
Q. 767. What is imperfect contrition?
A. Imperfect contrition is that by which we hate what offends
God because by it we lose heaven and deserve hell; or
because sin is so hateful in itself.
Q. 768. What other name is given to imperfect contrition
and why is it called imperfect?
A. Imperfect contrition is called attrition. It is called
imperfect only because it is less perfect than the highest
grade of contrition by which we are sorry for sin out of pure
love of God's own goodness and without any consideration of
what befalls ourselves.
Q. 769. Is imperfect contrition sufficient for a worthy
A. Imperfect contrition is sufficient for a worthy confession,
but we should endeavor to have perfect contrition.
Q. 770. What do you mean by a firm purpose of sinning
A. By a firm purpose of sinning no more I mean a fixed
resolve not only to avoid all mortal sin, but also its near
Q. 771. What do you mean by the near occasions of sin?
A. By the near occasions of sin I mean all the persons, places
and things that may easily lead us into sin.
Q. 772. Why are we bound to avoid occasions of sin?
A. We are bound to avoid occasions of sin because Our Lord
has said: "He who loves the danger will perish in it"; and as
we are bound to avoid the loss of our souls, so we are bound
to avoid the danger of their loss. The occasion is the cause of
sin, and you cannot take away the evil without removing its
Q. 773. Is a person who is determined to avoid the sin, but
who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is
possible to do so, rightly disposed for confession?
A. A person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is
unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to
do so, is not rightly disposed for confession, and he will not
be absolved if he makes known to the priest the true state of
Q. 774. How many kinds of occasions of sin are there?
A. There are four kinds of occasions of sin:
1. Near occasions, through which we always fall;
2. Remote occasions, through which we sometimes fall;
3. Voluntary occasions or those we can avoid; and
4. Involuntary occasions or those we cannot avoid.
A person who lives in a near and voluntary occasion of sin
need not expect forgiveness while he continues in that state.
Q. 775. What persons, places and things are usually
occasions of sin?
1. The persons who are occasions of sin are all those in
whose company we sin, whether they be bad of themselves or
bad only while in our company, in which case we also
become occasions of sin for them;
2. The places are usually liquor saloons, low theaters,
indecent dances, entertainments, amusements, exhibitions,
and all immoral resorts of any kind, whether we sin in them
3. The things are all bad books, indecent pictures, songs,
jokes and the like, even when they are tolerated by public
opinion and found in public places.
LESSON NINETEENTH: On Confession
Q. 776. What is Confession?
A. Confession is the telling of our sins to a duly authorized
priest, for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness.
Q. 777. Who is a duly authorized priest?
A. A duly authorized priest is one sent to hear confessions by
the lawful bishop of the diocese in which we are at the time
of our confession.
Q. 778. Is it ever allowed to write our sins and read them
to the priest in the confessional or give them to him to
A. It is allowed, when necessary, to write our sins and read
them to the priest, as persons do who have almost entirely
lost their memory. It is also allowed to give the paper to the
priest, as persons do who have lost the use of their speech. In
such cases the paper must, after the confession, be carefully
destroyed either by the priest or the penitent.
Q. 779. What is to be done when persons must make their
confession and cannot find a priest who understands their
A. Persons who must make their confession and who cannot
find a priest who understands their language, must confess as
best they can by some signs, showing what sins they wish to
confess and how they are sorry for them.
Q. 780. What sins are we bound to confess?
A. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins, but it is well
also to confess our venial sins.
Q. 781. Why is it well to confess also the venial sins we
A. It is well to confess also the venial sins we remember:
1. Because it shows our hatred of all sin, and
2. Because it is sometimes difficult to determine just when
a sin is venial and when mortal.
Q. 782. What should one do who has only venial sins to
A. One who has only venial sins to confess should tell also
some sin already confessed in his past life for which he
knows he is truly sorry; because it is not easy to be truly sorry
for slight sins and imperfections, and yet we must be sorry for
the sins confessed that our confession may be valid -- hence
we add some past sin for which we are truly sorry to those for
which we may not be sufficiently sorry.
Q. 783. Should a person stay from confession because he
thinks he has no sin to confess ?
A. A person should not stay from confession because he
thinks he has no sin to confess, for the Sacrament of Penance,
besides forgiving sin, gives an increase of sanctifying grace,
and of this we have always need, especially to resist
temptation. The Saints, who were almost without
imperfection, went to confession frequently.
784. Should a person go to Communion after
confession even when the confessor does not bid him go?
A. A person should go to Communion after confession even
when the confessor does not bid him go, because the
confessor so intends unless he positively forbids his penitent
to receive Communion. However, one who has not yet
received his first Communion should not go to Communion
after confession, even if the confessor by mistake should bid
785. Which are the chief qualities of a good
A. The chief qualities of a good Confession are three: it must
be humble, sincere, and entire.
Q. 786. When is our Confession humble?
A. Our Confession is humble when we accuse ourselves of
our sins, with a deep sense of shame and sorrow for having
Q. 787. When is our Confession sincere?
A. Our Confession is sincere when we tell our sins honestly
and truthfully, neither exaggerating nor excusing them.
Q. 788. Why is it wrong to accuse ourselves of sins we
have not committed?
A. It is wrong to accuse ourselves of sins we have not
committed, because, by our so doing, the priest cannot know
the true state of our souls, as he must do before giving us
Q. 789. When is our Confession entire?
A. Our Confession is entire when we tell the number and
kinds of our sins and the circumstances which change their
Q. 790. What do you mean by the "kinds of sin?"
A. By the "kinds of sin," we mean the particular division or
class to which the sins belong; that is, whether they be sins
of blasphemy, disobedience, anger, impurity, dishonesty, etc.
We can determine the kind of sin by discovering the
commandment or precept of the Church we have broken or
the virtue against which we have acted.
Q. 791. What do we mean by "circumstances which
change the nature of sins?"
A. By "circumstances which change the nature of sins" we
mean anything that makes it another kind of sin. Thus to
steal is a sin, but to steal from the Church makes our theft
sacrilegious. Again, impure actions are sins, but a person
must say whether they were committed alone or with others,
with relatives or strangers, with persons married or single,
etc., because these circumstances change them from one kind
of impurity to another.
Q. 792. What should we do if we cannot remember the
number of our sins?
A. If we cannot remember the number of our sins, we should
tell the number as nearly as possible, and say how often we
may have sinned in a day, a week, or a month, and how long
the habit or practice has lasted.
Q. 793. Is our Confession worthy if, without our fault, we
forget to confess a mortal sin?
A. If without our fault we forget to confess a mortal sin, our
Confession is worthy, and the sin is forgiven; but it must be
told in Confession if it again comes to our mind.
Q. 794. May a person who has forgotten to tell a mortal
sin in confession go to Holy Communion before going
again to confession?
A. A person who has forgotten to tell a mortal sin in
confession may go to communion before again going to
confession, because the forgotten sin was forgiven with those
confessed, and the confession was good and worthy.
Q. 795. Is it a grievous offense willfully to conceal a
mortal sin in Confession?
A. It is a grievous offense willfully to conceal a mortal sin in
Confession, because we thereby tell a lie to the Holy Ghost,
and make our Confession worthless.
Q. 796. How is concealing a sin telling a lie to the Holy
A. Concealing a sin is telling a lie to the Holy Ghost, because
he who conceals the sin declares in confession to God and the
priest that he committed no sins but what he has confessed,
while the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, saw him
committing the sin he now conceals and still sees it in his
soul while he denies it.
Q. 797. Why is it foolish to conceal sins in confession?
A. It is foolish to conceal sins in confession:
1. Because we thereby make our spiritual condition worse;
2. We must tell the sin sometime if we ever hope to be
3. It will be made known on the day of judgment, before the
world, whether we conceal it now or confess it.
Q. 798. What must he do who has willfully concealed a
mortal sin in Confession?
A. He who has willfully concealed a mortal sin in Confession
must not only confess it, but must also repeat all the sins he
has committed since his last worthy Confession.
Q. 799. Must one who has willfully concealed a mortal sin
in confession do more than repeat the sins committed
since his last worthy confession?
A. One who has willfully concealed a mortal sin in
confession must, besides repeating all the sins he has
committed since his last worthy confession, tell also how
often he has unworthily received absolution and Holy
Communion during the same time.
Q. 800. Why does the priest give us a penance after
A. The priest gives us a penance after Confession, that we
may satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to our sins.
Q. 801. Why should we have to satisfy for our sins if
Christ has fully satisfied for them?
A. Christ has fully satisfied for our sins and after our baptism
we were free from all guilt and had no satisfaction to make.
But when we willfully sinned after baptism, it is but just that
we should be obliged to make some satisfaction.
Q. 802. Is the slight penance the priest gives us sufficient
to satisfy for all the sins confessed?
A. The slight penance the priest gives us is not sufficient to
satisfy for all the sins confessed:
1. Because there is no real equality between the slight
penance given and the punishment deserved for sin;
2. Because we are all obliged to do penance for sins
committed, and this would not be necessary if the penance
given in confession satisfied for all.
The penance is given and accepted in confession chiefly to
show our willingness to do penance and make amends for our
Q. 803. Does not the Sacrament of Penance remit all
punishment due to sin?
A. The Sacrament of Penance remits the eternal punishment
due to sin, but it does not always remit the temporal
punishment which God requires as satisfaction for our sins.
Q. 804. Why does God require a temporal punishment as
a satisfaction for sin?
A. God requires a temporal punishment as a satisfaction for
sin to teach us the great evil of sin and to prevent us from
Q. 805. Which are the chief means by which we satisfy
God for the temporal punishment due to sin?
A. The chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal
punishment due to sin are: Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving; all
spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and the patient
suffering of the ills of life.
Q. 806. What fasting has the greatest merit?
A. The fasting imposed by the Church on certain days of the
year, and particularly during Lent, has the greatest merit.
Q. 807. What is Great Lent?
A. Great Lent is the forty days before Pascha
Sunday), during which we do penance, fast and pray to
prepare ourselves for the resurrection of Our Lord; and also
to remind us of His own fast of forty days before His Passion.
Q. 808. What do we mean by "almsgiving"?
A. By almsgiving we mean money, goods, or assistance given
to the poor or to charitable purposes. The law of God requires
all persons to give alms in proportion to their means.
Q. 809. What "ills of life" help to satisfy God for sin?
A. The ills of life that help to satisfy God for sin are sickness,
poverty, misfortune, trial, affliction, etc., especially, when we
have not brought them upon ourselves by sin.
Q. 810. How did the Christians in the first ages of the
Church do Penance?
A. The Christians in the first ages of the Church did public
penance, especially for the sins of which they were publicly
known to be guilty. Penitents were excluded for a certain
time from Divine Liturgy (Mass) or the Sacrament, and some
were obliged to stand at the door of the Church begging the
prayers of those who entered.
Q. 811. What were these severe Penances of the First
Ages of the Church called?
A. These severe penances of the first ages of the Church were
called canonical penances, because their kind and duration
were regulated by the Canons or laws of the Church.
Q. 812. How can we know spiritual from corporal works
A. We can know spiritual from corporal works of mercy, for
whatever we do for the soul is a spiritual work, and whatever
we do for the body is a corporal work.
Q. 813. Which are the chief spiritual works of mercy?
A. The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven:
1.To admonish the sinner, to instruct the ignorant, to
counsel the doubtful, to comfort the sorrowful, to bear
wrongs patiently, to forgive all injuries, and to pray for the
living and the dead.
Q. 814. When are we bound to admonish the sinner?
A. We are bound to admonish the sinner when the following
conditions are fulfilled:
1. When his fault is a mortal sin;
2. When we have authority or influence over him, and
3. When there is reason to believe that our warning will not
make him worse instead of better.
Q. 815. Who are meant by the "ignorant" we are to
instruct, and the "doubtful" we are to counsel?
A. By the ignorant we are to instruct and the doubtful we are
to counsel, are meant those particularly who are ignorant of
the truths of religion and those who are in doubt about
matters of faith. We must aid such persons as far as we can
to know and believe the truths necessary for salvation.
Q. 816. Why are we advised to bear wrong patiently and
to forgive all injuries?
A. We are advised to bear wrongs patiently and to forgive all
injuries, because, being Christians, we should imitate the
example of Our Divine Lord, who endured wrongs patiently
and who not only pardoned but prayed for those who injured
Q. 817. If, then, it be a Christian virtue to forgive all
injuries, why do Christians establish courts and prisons to
A. Christians establish courts and prisons to punish
wrongdoers, because the preservation of lawful authority,
good order in society, the protection of others, and sometimes
even the good of the guilty one himself, require that crimes
be justly punished. As God Himself punishes crime and as
lawful authority comes from Him, such authority has the
right to punish, though individuals should forgive the
injuries done to themselves personally. Prison also protects
society from the wrongdoer, and provides the wrongdoer
with the opportunity to mend his ways.
It must also be remembered that the primary purpose of the
legal system should not be to punish, but, rather, to protect
society from evil doers; and that temporal punishment is an
inducement to not sin, while Divine punishment is
punishment for the sins one commits.
Q. 818. Why is it a work of mercy to pray for the living
and the dead?
A. It is a work of mercy to aid those who are unable to aid
themselves. The living are exposed to temptations, and while
in mortal sin they are deprived of the merit of their good
works and need our prayers. The dead can in no way help
themselves and depend on us for assistance.
Q. 819. Which are the chief corporal works of mercy?
A. The chief corporal works of mercy are seven:
1.To feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe
the naked, to ransom the captive, to harbor the harborless, to
visit the sick, and to bury the dead.
Q. 820. How may we briefly state the corporal works of
A. We may briefly state the corporal works of mercy by
saying that we are obliged to help the poor in all their forms
Q. 821. How are Christians aided in the performance of
works of mercy?
A. Christians are aided in the performance of works of mercy
through the establishment of charitable institutions where
religious communities of holy men or women perform these
duties for us, provided we supply the necessary means by our
almsgiving and good works.
Q. 822. Who are religious?
A. Religious are self-sacrificing men and women who,
wishing to follow more closely the teachings of Our Lord,
dedicate their lives to the service of God and religion. They
live together in societies approved by the Church, under a
rule and guidance of a superior. They keep the vows of
chastity, poverty and obedience, and divide their time
between prayer and good works. The houses in which they
dwell are called convents or monasteries, and the societies in
which they live are called religious orders, communities or
congregations. There are also those religious who dwell
singly or in small groups in communities in the world, or
who live in seclusion, and even religious who are married -
though there is no such thing as a married Abbot or Abbess.
Married religious are usually members of societies which
follow ancient canons and precepts, or, are members of lay
organizations which are part of a monastic order.
Q. 823. Are there any religious communities of priests?
A. There are many religious communities of priests, who,
besides living according to the general laws of the Church, as
all priests do, follow certain rules laid down for their
community. Such priests are called the regular clergy,
because living by rules to distinguish them from the secular
clergy who live in their parishes under no special rule. The
chief work of the regular clergy is to study, provide study and
teaching material, teach particularly in colleges, and give
missions and retreats.
Q. 824. Why are there so many different religious
A. There are many different religious communities:
1. Because all religious are not fitted for the same work,
2. Because they desire to imitate Our Lord's life on earth as
perfectly as possible; and when each community takes one of
Christ's works and seeks to become perfect in it, the union of
all their works continues as perfectly as we can the works He
began upon earth.
On the Manner of Making a Good Confession
Q. 825. What should we do on entering the confessional?
A. On entering the confessional we should kneel, make the
sign of the Cross, and say to the priest, "Bless me, father";
then add, "I confess to Almighty God and to you, father, that
I have sinned."
Q. 826. Which are the first things we should tell the priest
A. The first things we should tell the priest in Confession are
the time of our last Confession, and whether we said the
penance and went to Holy Communion.
Q. 827. Should we tell anything else in connection with
our last confession?
A. In connection with our last confession we should tell also
what restrictions -- if any -- were placed upon us with regard
to our occasions of sin, and what obligations with regard to
the payment of debts, restitution, injuries done to others and
the like, we were commanded to fulfill.
Q. 828. After telling the time of our last Confession and
Communion what should we do?
A. After telling the time of our last Confession and
Communion we should confess all the mortal sins we have
since committed, and all the venial sins we may wish to
Q. 829. What is a general confession?
A. A general confession is the telling of the sins of our whole
life or a great part of it. It is made in the same manner as an
ordinary confession, except that it requires more time and
Q. 830. When should a General Confession be made?
A. A general confession:
1. Is necessary when we are certain that our past
confessions were bad;
2. It is useful on special occasions in our lives when some
change in our way of living is about to take place;
3. It is hurtful and must not be made when persons are
Q. 831. What are the signs of overt scruples and the
remedy against them?
A. The signs of overt scruples are chiefly:
1. To be always dissatisfied with our confessions;
2. To be self-willed in deciding what is sinful and what is
The chief remedy against them is to follow exactly the advice
of the confessor without questioning the reason or utility of
Q. 832. What must we do when the confessor asks us
A. When the confessor asks us questions we must answer
them truthfully and clearly.
Q. 833. What should we do after telling our sins?
A. After telling our sins we should listen with attention to the
advice which the confessor may think proper to give.
Q. 834. What duties does the priest perform in the
A. In the confessional the priest performs the duties:
1. Of a judge, by listening to our self-accusations and
passing sentence upon our guilt or innocence;
2. Of a father, by the good advice and encouragement he
3. Of a teacher, by his instructions, and
4. Of a physician, by discovering the afflictions of our soul
and giving us the remedies to restore it to spiritual health.
Q. 835. Why is it beneficial to go always if possible to the
A. It is beneficial to go always, if possible, to the same
confessor, because our continued confessions enable him to
see more clearly the true state of our soul and to understand
better our occasions of sin.
Q. 836. Should we remain away from confession because
we cannot go to our usual confessor?
A. We should not remain away from confession because we
cannot go to our usual confessor, for though it is well to
confess to the same priest, it is not necessary to do so. One
should never become so attached to a confessor that his
absence or the great inconvenience of going to him would
become an excuse for neglecting the Sacraments.
Q. 837. How should we end our Confession?
A. We should end our Confession by saying, "I also accuse
myself of all the sins of my past life," telling, if we choose,
one or several of our past sins.
Q. 838. What should we do while the priest is giving us
A. While the priest is giving us absolution we should from
our heart renew the Act of Contrition.
LESSON TWENTY-FIRST: On Indulgences
Q. 839. What is an Indulgence?
A. An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the
temporal punishment due to sin.
Q. 840. What does the word "indulgence" mean?
A. The word indulgence means a favor or concession. An
indulgence obtains by a very slight penance the remission of
penalties that would otherwise be severe.
Q. 841. Is an Indulgence a pardon of sin, or a license to
A. An Indulgence is not a pardon of sin, nor a license to
commit sin, and one who is in a state of mortal sin cannot
gain an Indulgence.
Q. 842. How do good works done in mortal sin profit us?
A. Good works done in mortal sin profit us by obtaining for
us the grace to repent and sometimes temporal blessings.
Mortal sin deprives us of all our merit, nevertheless God will
bestow gifts for every good deed as He will punish every evil
Q. 843. How many kinds of Indulgences are there?
A. There are two kinds of Indulgences -- Plenary and Partial.
Q. 844. What is Plenary Indulgence?
A. A Plenary Indulgence is the full remission of the temporal
punishment due to sin.
Q. 845. Is it easy to gain a Plenary Indulgence?
A. It is not easy to gain a Plenary Indulgence, as we may
understand from its great privilege. To gain a Plenary
Indulgence, we must hate sin, be heartily sorry for even our
venial sins, and have no desire for even the slightest sin.
Though we may not gain entirely each Plenary Indulgence
we seek, we always gain a part of each; that is, a partial
indulgence, greater or less in proportion to our good
846. Which are the most important Plenary
Indulgences granted by the Church?
A. The most important Plenary Indulgences granted by the
1. The special Indulgences which a a Patriarch or a
Jurisdictional Primate grants on great occasions by which he
gives special faculties to confessors for the absolution of
2. The Indulgence granted to the dying in their last agony.
Q. 847. What is a Partial Indulgence?
A. A Partial Indulgence is the remission of part of the
temporal punishment due to sin.
Q. 848. How long has the practice of granting Indulgences
been in use in the Church, and what was its origin?
A. The practice of granting Indulgences has been in use in
the Church since the time of the apostles. It had its origin in
the earnest prayers of holy persons, and especially of the
martyrs begging the Church for their sake to shorten the
severe penances of sinners, or to change them into lighter
penances. The request was frequently granted and the
penance remitted, shortened or changed, and with the
penance remitted the temporal punishment corresponding to
it was blotted out.
Q. 849. How do we show that the Church has the power
to grant Indulgences?
A. We show that the Church has the power to grant
Indulgences, because Christ has given it power to remit all
guilt without restriction, and if the Church has power, in the
Sacrament of penance, to remit the eternal punishment --
which is the greatest -- it must have power to remit the
temporal or lesser punishment, even outside the Sacrament
Q. 850. How do we know that these Indulgences have
A. We know that these Indulgences have their effect, because
the Church, through her councils, declares Indulgences
useful, and if they have no effect they would be useless, and
the Church would thus teach error in spite of Christ's
promise to guide it.
Q. 851. Have there ever existed abuses among the faithful
in the manner of using Indulgences?
A. There have existed, in past ages, some abuses among the
faithful in the manner of using Indulgences, and the Church
has always labored to correct such abuses as soon as possible.
In the use of pious practices we must be always guided by our
Q. 852. How have the enemies of the Church made use of
the abuse of Indulgences?
A. The enemies of the Church have made use of the abuse of
Indulgences to deny the doctrine of Indulgences, and to break
down the teaching and limit the power of the Church. Not to
be deceived in matters of faith, we must always distinguish
very carefully between the abuses to which a devotion may
lead and the truths upon which the devotion rests.
Q. 853. How does the Church by means of Indulgences
remit the temporal punishment due to sin?
A. The Church, by means of Indulgences, remits the
temporal punishment due to sin by applying to us the merits
of Jesus Christ, and the superabundant satisfactions of the
Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints; which merits and
satisfactions are its spiritual treasury.
Q. 854. What do we mean by the "superabundant
satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints"?
A. By the superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin
and the saints, we mean all the satisfaction over and above
what was necessary to satisfy for their own sins. As their
good works were many and their sins few -- the Blessed
Virgin being sinless
-- the satisfaction not needed for
themselves is kept by the Church in a spiritual treasury to be
used for our benefit.
Q. 855. Does the Church, by granting Indulgences, free us
from doing Penance?
A. The Church, by granting Indulgences, does not free us
from doing penance, but simply makes our penance lighter
that we may more easily satisfy for our sins and escape the
punishments they deserve.
Q. 856. Who has the power to grant Indulgences?
A. Only a Patriarch or a Jurisdictional Primate has the power
to grant Indulgences for his Church; but the bishops have
power to grant partial Indulgences in their own diocese.
Some others, by the special permission of a Patriarch or a
Jurisdictional Primate, have the right to grant certain
Q. 857. Where shall we find the Indulgences granted by
A. We shall find the Indulgences granted by the Church in
the declarations of a Patriarch or a Jurisdictional Primate,
and in the local and Ecumenical Councils of the Church.
These declarations are usually put into prayer books and
books of devotion or instruction.
Q. 858. What must we do to gain an Indulgence?
A. To gain an Indulgence we must be in the state of grace
and perform the works enjoined.
Q. 859. Besides being in a state of grace and performing
the works enjoined, what else is necessary for the gaining
of an Indulgence?
A. Besides being in a state of grace and performing the works
enjoined, it is necessary for the gaining of an Indulgence to
have at least the general intention of gaining it.
Q. 860. How and why should we make a general intention
to gain all possible Indulgences each day?
A. We should make a general intention at our morning
prayers to gain all possible Indulgences each day, because
several of the prayers we say and good works we perform
may have Indulgences attached to them, though we are not
aware of it.
Q. 861. What works are generally enjoined for the
gaining of Indulgences?
A. The works generally enjoined for the gaining of
Indulgences are: The saying of certain prayers, fasting, and
the use of certain articles of devotion; visits to Churches or
altars, and the giving of alms. For the gaining of Plenary
Indulgences it is generally required to go to confession and
Holy Communion and pray for the intention of the Patriarch
or Jurisdictional Primate.
Q. 862. What does praying for a person's intention mean?
A. Praying for a person's intention means praying for
whatever he prays for or desires to obtain through prayer --
some spiritual or temporal favors.
Q. 863. What does an Indulgence of forty days mean?
A. An Indulgence of forty days means that for the prayer or
work to which an Indulgence of forty days is attached, God
remits as much of our temporal punishment as He remitted
for forty days' canonical penance. We do not know just how
much temporal punishment God remitted for forty days'
public penance, but whatever it was, He remits the same now
when we gain an Indulgence of forty days. The same rule
applies to Indulgences of a year or any length of time.
864. Why did the Church moderate its severe
A. The Church moderated its severe penances, because when
Christians -- terrified by persecution -- grew weaker in their
faith, there was danger of some abandoning their religion
rather than submit to the penances imposed. The Church,
therefore, wishing to save as many as possible, made the
sinner's penance as light as possible.
Q. 865. To what things may Indulgences be attached?
A. Plenary or Partial Indulgences may be attached to prayers
and solid articles of devotion; to places such as churches,
altars, shrines, etc., to be visited; and by a special privilege
they are sometimes attached to the good works of certain
Q. 866. When do things lose the Indulgences attached to
A. Things lose the Indulgences attached to them:
1. When they are so changed at once as to be no longer
what they were;
2. When they are sold.
Rosaries and other indulgenced articles do not lose their
indulgences, when they are loaned or given away, for the
indulgence is not personal but attached to the article itself.
Q. 867. Will a weekly Confession suffice to gain during
the week all Indulgences to which Confession is enjoined
as one of the works?
A Weekly confession will suffice to gain during the week all
Indulgences to which confession is enjoined as one of the
works, provided we continue in a state of grace, perform the
other works enjoined and have the intention of gaining these
Q. 868. How and when may we apply Indulgences for the
benefit of the souls in Purgatory?
A. We may apply Indulgences for the benefit of the souls in
Purgatory by way of intercession; whenever this application is
mentioned and permitted by the Church in granting the Indulgence;
that is, when the Church declares that the Indulgence granted is
applicable to the souls of the living or the souls in Purgatory; so that
we may gain it for the benefit of either.
LESSON TWENTY-SECOND: On the Holy Eucharist
Q. 869. What does the word Eucharist strictly mean?
A. The word Eucharist strictly means pleasing, and this
Sacrament is so called because it renders us most pleasing to
God by the grace it imparts, and it gives us the best means of
thanking Him for all His blessings.
Q. 870. What is the Holy Eucharist?
A. The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which contains the
body and blood, soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ
under the appearances of bread and wine.
Q. 871. What do we mean when we say the Sacrament
which contains the Body and Blood?
A. When we say the Sacrament which contains the Body and
Blood, we mean the Sacrament which is the Body and Blood,
for after the Consecration there is no other substance present
in the Eucharist.
Q. 872. When is the Holy Eucharist a Sacrament, and
when is it a sacrifice?
A. The Holy Eucharist is a Sacrament when we receive it in
Holy Communion and when it remains in the Tabernacle of
the Altar. It is a sacrifice when it is offered up at Divine
Liturgy (Mass) by the separate Consecration of the bread and
wine, which signifies the separation of Our Lord's blood from
His body when He died on the Cross.
Q. 873. When did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?
A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper,
the night before He died.
Q. 874. Who were present when our Lord instituted the
A. When Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist, the twelve
Apostles were present.
Q. 875. How did our Lord institute the Holy Eucharist?
A. Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist by taking bread,
blessing, breaking, and giving to His Apostles, saying:
"Take ye and eat. This is my body"; and then, by taking the
cup of wine, blessing and giving it, saying to them: "Drink
ye all of this. This is my blood which shall be shed for the
remission of sins. Do this for a commemoration of me."
Q. 876. What happened when our Lord said, "This is my
body; this is my blood"?
A. When Our Lord said, "This is my body," the substance of
the bread was changed into the substance of His body; when
He said, "This is my blood," the substance of the wine was
changed into the substance of His blood.
Q. 877. How do we prove the Real Presence, that is, that
Our Lord is really and truly present in the Holy
A. We prove the Real Presence -- that is, that Our Lord is
really and truly present in the Holy Eucharist:
1. By showing that it is possible to change one substance
2. By showing that Christ did change the substance of
bread and wine into the substance of His body and blood;
3. By showing that He gave this power also to His Apostles
and to the priests of His Church.
Q. 878. How do we know that it is possible to change one
substance into another?
A. We know that it is possible to change one substance into
1. God changed water into blood during the plagues of
2. Christ changed water into wine at the marriage of Cana.
3. Our own food is daily changed into the substance of our
flesh and blood; and what God does gradually, He can also
do instantly by an act of His will.
Q. 879. Are these changes exactly the same as the changes
that take place in the Holy Eucharist?
A. These changes are not exactly the same as the changes
that take place in the Holy Eucharist, for in these changes the
appearance also is changed, but in the Holy Eucharist only
the substance is changed while the appearance remains the
Q. 880. How do we show that Christ did change bread
and wine into the substance of His body and blood?
A. We show that Christ did change bread and wine into the
substance of His body and blood:
1. From the words by which He promised the Holy
2. From the words by which He instituted the Holy
3. From the constant use of the Holy Eucharist in the
Church since the time of the Apostles;
4. From the impossibility of denying the Real Presence in
the Holy Eucharist, without likewise denying all that Christ
has taught and done; for we have stronger proofs for the Holy
Eucharist than for any other Christian truth.
Q. 881. Is Jesus Christ whole and entire both under the
form of bread and under the form of wine?
A. Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the form of
bread and under the form of wine.
Q. 882. How do we know that under the appearance of
bread we receive also Christ's blood; and under the
appearance of wine we receive also Christ's body?
A. We know that under the appearance of bread we receive
also Christ's blood, and under the appearance of wine we
receive also Christ's body; because in the Holy Eucharist we
receive the living body of Our Lord, and a living body cannot
exist without blood, nor can living blood exist without a
Q. 883. Is Jesus Christ present whole and entire in the
smallest portion of the Holy Eucharist, under the form of
either bread or wine?
A. Jesus Christ is present whole and entire in the smallest
portion of the Holy Eucharist under the form of either bread
or wine; for His body in the Eucharist is in a glorified state,
and as it partakes of the character of a spiritual substance, it
requires no definite size or shape.
Q. 884. Did anything remain of the bread and wine after
their substance had been changed into the substance of
the body and blood of our Lord?
A. After the substance of the bread and wine had been
changed into the substance of the body and blood of Our
Lord, there remained only the appearances of bread and
Q. 885. What do you mean by the appearances of bread
A. By the appearances of bread and wine I mean the figure,
the color, the taste, and whatever appears to the senses.
Q. 886. What is this change of the bread and wine into the
body and blood of our Lord called?
A. This change of the bread and wine into the body and blood
of Our Lord is called Transubstantiation.
Q. 887. What is the second great miracle in the Holy
A. The second great miracle in the Holy Eucharist is the
multiplication of the presence of Our Lord's body in so many
places at the same time, while the body itself is not multiplied
-- for there is but one body of Christ.
Q. 888. Are there not, then, as many bodies of Christ as
there are tabernacles in the world, or as there are Divine
Liturgies (Masses) being said at the same time?
A. There are not as many bodies of Christ as there are
tabernacles in the world, or as there are Divine Liturgies
(Masses) being said at the same time; but only one body of
Christ, which is everywhere present whole and entire in the
Holy Eucharist, as God is everywhere present, while He is
but one God.
Q. 889. How was the substance of the bread and wine
changed into the substance of the body and blood of
A. The substance of the bread and wine was changed into the
substance of the body and blood of Christ by His almighty
Q. 890. Does this change of bread and wine into the body
and blood of Christ continue to be made in the Church?
A. This change of bread and wine into the body and blood of
Christ continues to be made in the Church by Jesus Christ
through the ministry of His priests.
Q. 891. When did Christ give His priests the power to
change bread and wine into His body and blood?
A. Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and
wine into His body and blood when He said to the Apostles,
"Do this in commemoration of Me."
Q. 892. What do the words "Do this in commemoration of
A. The words "Do this in commemoration of Me" mean: Do
what I, Christ, am doing at My last supper, namely, changing
the substance of bread and wine into the substance of My
body and blood; and do it in remembrance of Me.
Q. 893. How do the priests exercise this power of
changing bread and wine into the body and blood of
A. The priests exercise this power of changing bread and
wine into the body and blood of Christ through the words of
consecration in the Divine Liturgy (Mass), which are words
of Christ: "This is my body” and “This is my blood"in
conjunction with the EPIKLESIS, which is where the Priest,
then raising his eyes, the invokes the Holy Spirit, blesses the
offerings. and at the transmuting places his hands over the
Offering, praying: AND WE BESEECH THEE, O LORD,
TO SEND DOWN THY HOLY SPIRIT UPON THESE
OFFERINGS, THAT HE WOULD MAKE THIS BREAD
THE PRECIOUS + BODY OF THY CHRIST, AND THAT
WHICH IS IN THIS CUP THE PRECIOUS + BLOOD OF
THY SON OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,TRANSMUTING
THEM BY THY HOLY SPIRIT
Q. 894. At what part of the Divine Liturgy (Mass) does
the Consecration take place?
A. The Consecration in the Divine Liturgy (Mass) takes
place at the Epiklesis, immediately before the elevation of the
Consecrated Bread and Chalice, which are raised above the
head of the priest that the people may adore Our Lord who
has just come to the altar at the words of Consecration.
(Note: The Epiklesis was added to the Divine Liturgy in the
first few hundered years of the Church. Some Jurisdictions
have the Epiklesis in a different form, and some have it
before the words “This is my body” and “This is my blood”,
and some do not use the Epiklesis at all. This does not
invalidate the Consecration; it is merely a different method
of Consecrating the Holy Eucharist.)
On the Ends for Which the Holy Eucharist Was
Q. 895. Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?
A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist:
1.To unite us to Himself and to nourish our soul with His
2.To increase sanctifying grace and all virtues in our soul.
3.To lessen our evil inclinations.
4.To be a pledge of everlasting life.
5.To fit our bodies for a glorious resurrection.
6.To continue the sacrifice of the Cross in His Church.
Q. 896. Has the Holy Eucharist any other effect?
A. The Holy Eucharist remits venial sins by disposing us to
perform acts of love and contrition. It preserves us from
mortal sin by exciting us to greater fervor and strengthening
us against temptation.
Q. 897. How are we united to Jesus Christ in the Holy
A. We are united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by
means of Holy Communion.
Q. 898. What is Holy Communion?
A. Holy Communion is the receiving of the body and blood
Q. 899. Is it not beneath the dignity of Our Lord to enter
our bodies under the appearance of ordinary food?
A. It is not beneath the dignity of Our Lord to enter our
bodies under the appearance of ordinary food any more than
it was beneath His dignity to enter the body of His Blessed
Mother and remain there as an ordinary child for nine
months or for Him to be tortured to death as happened in His
Passion. Christ's dignity, being infinite, can never be
diminished by any act on His own or on our part.
Q. 900. Why do some Jurisdictions of the Church not give
Holy Communion to the people as it does to the priest
under the appearance of wine also?
A. Some Jurisdictions of the Church do not give Holy
Communion to the people as it does to the priest under the
appearance of wine also, to avoid the danger of spilling the
Precious Blood; to prevent the irreverence some might show
if compelled to drink out of a chalice used by all, and lastly,
to refute those who denied that Our Lord's blood is present
under the appearance of bread also. These were problems
which occurred mainly in the West, so Orthodox, being
Eastern, as was most of the rest of the Holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church, from the beginning in Jerusalem, have not
experienced these problems and thus usually receive the
Precious Blood as well.
Q. 901. What is necessary to make a good Communion?
A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in the
state of sanctifying grace and to fast according to the laws of
902. What should a person do who, through
forgetfulness or any other cause, has broken the fast
necessary for Holy Communion?
A. A person who through forgetfulness or any other cause
has broken the fast necessary for Holy Communion, should
again fast and receive Holy Communion the following
morning if possible, without returning to confession. It is not
a sin to break one's fast, but it would be a mortal sin to
receive Holy Communion after knowingly breaking the fast
necessary for it. One must also remember that the local
Bishop can adjust the pre-communion fast, and often gives
his Priests authority to also adjust the fast.
Q. 903. Does he who receives Communion in mortal sin
receive the body and blood of Christ?
A. He who receives Communion in mortal sin receives the
body and blood of Christ, but does not receive His grace, and
he commits a great sacrilege.
Q. 904. Is it enough to be free from mortal sin to receive
plentifully the graces of Holy Communion?
A. To receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion it is
not enough to be free from mortal sin, but we should be free
from all affection to venial sin, and should make acts of lively
faith, of firm hope, and ardent love.
Q. 905. What is the fast necessary for Holy Communion?
A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion in the Western
Rite is the abstaining from food, alcoholic drinks and non-
alcoholic drinks for one hour before Holy Communion.
Water does not break the fast. In the Eastern Rite one
abstains from food and alcoholic drinks from vespers of the
preceeding day or from midnight, depending on the custom.
Q. 906. Does medicine taken by necessity or food taken by
accident break the fast for Holy Communion?
A. Medicine does not break the fast; food taken by accident
within the prescribed period before Communion breaks the
907. Is any one ever allowed to receive Holy
Communion when not fasting?
A. To protect the Blessed Sacrament from insult or injury, or
when in danger of death, or when permitted by the Bishop,
Holy Communion may be received without fasting.
Q. 908. Is the Holy Communion called by any other name
when given to one in danger of death?
A. When the Holy Communion is given to one in danger of
death, it is called Viaticum, and is given with its own form
of prayer. In giving Holy Communion the priest says: "May
the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ guard your soul to eternal
life." In giving Holy Viaticum he says: "Receive, brother (or
sister), the Viaticum of the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
which will guard you from the wicked enemy and lead you
into eternal life."
Q. 909. When are we bound to receive Holy Communion?
A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of
mortal sin, during Pascal Time (the Easter time) and when in
danger of death.
Q. 910. Is it well to receive Holy Communion often?
A. It is well to receive Holy Communion often, as nothing is
a greater aid to a holy life than often to receive the Author of
all grace and the Source of all good.
Q. 911. How shall we know how often we should receive
A. We shall know how often we shall receive Holy
Communion only from the advice of our confessor, by whom
we must be guided, and whom we must strictly obey in this
as well as in all matters concerning the state of our soul.
Q. 912. What is a spiritual Communion?
A. A spiritual communion is an earnest desire to receive
Communion in reality, by which desire we make all
preparations and thanksgivings that we would make in case
we really received the Holy Eucharist. Spiritual Communion
is an act of devotion that must be pleasing to God and bring
us blessings from Him.
Q. 913. What should we do after Holy Communion?
A. After Holy Communion we should spend some time in
adoring Our Lord, in thanking Him for the grace we have
received, and in asking Him for the blessings we need.
914. What length of time should we spend in
thanksgiving after Holy Communion?
A. We should spend sufficient time in Thanksgiving after
Holy Communion to show due reverence to the Blessed
Sacrament; for Our Lord is personally with us as long as the
appearance of bread and wine remains.
Q. 915. What should we be particular about when
receiving Holy Communion?
A. When receiving Holy Communion we should be
1. About the respectful manner in which we approach and
return from the altar;
2. About our personal appearance, especially neatness and
3. About raising our head, opening our mouth and putting
forth the tongue in the proper manner;
4. About swallowing the Sacred Host;
5. About removing it carefully with the tongue, in case it
should stick to the mouth, but never with the finger under
On the Sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy (Mass)
Q. 916. When and where are the bread and wine changed
into the body and blood of Christ?
A. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood
of Christ at the Consecration in the Divine Liturgy (Mass)
which occurs at the Epiklesis.
Q. 917. What is the Divine Liturgy (Mass)?
A. The Divine Liturgy (Mass) is the unbloody sacrifice of the
body and blood of Christ.
Q. 918. Why is this Sacrifice called the Divine Liturgy,
and why is it call the Mass?
A. This Sacrifice is called the Divine Liturgy, because it is
the Liturgy which contains the Consecration and Holy
Sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus christ, and therefore
it is Divine. This Sacrifice is called the "Mass" in the West
very probably from the words "Ite Missa est," used by the
priest as he tells the people to depart when the Holy Sacrifice
Q. 919. What is a sacrifice?
A. A sacrifice is the offering of an object by a priest to God
alone, and the consuming of it to acknowledge that He is the
Creator and Lord of all things.
Q. 920. Is the Divine Liturgy (Mass) the same sacrifice as
that of the Cross?
A. The Divine Liturgy (Mass) is the same sacrifice as that of
Q. 921. How is the Divine Liturgy (Mass) the same
sacrifice as that of the Cross?
A. The Divine Liturgy (Mass) is the same sacrifice as that of
the Cross because the offering and the priest are the same --
Christ our Blessed Lord; and the ends for which the sacrifice
of the Divine Liturgy (Mass) is offered are the same as those
of the sacrifice of the Cross.
Q. 922. What were the ends for which the sacrifice of the
Cross was offered?
A. The ends for which the sacrifice of the Cross was offered
1st. To honor and glorify God;
2nd. To thank Him for all the graces bestowed on the whole
3rd. To satisfy God's justice for the sins of men;
4th. To obtain all graces and blessings.
Q. 923. How are the fruits of the Divine Liturgy (Mass)
A. The fruits of the Divine Liturgy (Mass) are distributed
1.The first benefit is bestowed on the priest who says the
Divine Liturgy (Mass);
2.The second on the person for whom the Divine Liturgy
(Mass) is said, or for the intention for which it is said;
3.The third on those who are present at the Divine Liturgy
(Mass), and particularly on those who serve it, and
4.The fourth on all the faithful who are in communion with
Q. 924. Are all Divine Liturgies (Masses) of equal value in
themselves or do they differ in worth?
A. All Divine Liturgies (Masses) are equal in value in
themselves and do not differ in worth, but only in the
solemnity with which they are celebrated or in the end for
which they are offered.
Q. 925. How are Divine Liturgies (Masses) distinguished?
A. Divine Liturgies (Masses) are distinguished thus:
1. When the Divine Liturgy (Mass) is sung by a bishop,
assisted by a deacon and sub-deacon, it is called Patriarchial
in the East, and Pontifical in the West;
2. When it is sung by a priest, assisted by a deacon and
sub-deacon, it is called a Solemn Divine Liturgy (Mass);
3. When sung by a priest without deacon and sub-deacon,
it is called a Divine Liturgy (Mass) in the East and in the
West, a Missa Cantata or High Mass;
4. When the Divine Liturgy (Mass) is only read in a low
tone it is called a low or private Divine Liturgy (Mass).
Q. 926. For what end or intention may Divine Liturgy
(Mass) be offered?
A. Divine Liturgy (Mass) may be offered for any end or
intention that tends to the honor and glory of God, to the
good of the Church or the welfare of man; but never for any
object that is bad in itself, or in its aims; neither can it be
offered publicly for persons who are not members of the true
Q. 927. Explain what is meant by Requiem, Nuptial and
Votive Divine Liturgies (Masses).
A. A Requiem Divine Liturgy (Mass) is one said in black
vestments and with special prayers for the dead. A Nuptial
Divine Liturgy (Mass) is one said at the marriage of two who
are Orthodox Catholics or Roman Catholics (or members of
the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church), and it has special
prayers for their benefit. A Votive Divine Liturgy (Mass) is
one said in honor of some particular mystery or saint, on a
day not set apart by the Church for the honor of that mystery
Q. 928. From what may we learn that we are to offer up
the Holy Sacrifice with the priest?
A. We may learn that we are to offer up the Holy Sacrifice
with the priest from the words used in the Divine Liturgy
(Mass) itself; for the priest, after offering up the bread and
wine for the Sacrifice, turns to the people and says: "Pray,
brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to
God the Father Almighty," and the congregation and servers
answer: "May the Lord receive the sacrifice from thy hands
to the praise and glory of His own name, and to our benefit
and that of all His Holy Church."
Q. 929. From what did the custom of making an offering
to the priest for praying Divine Liturgy (Mass) arise?
A. The custom of making an offering to the priest for praying
Divine Liturgy (Mass) arose from the old custom of bringing
to the priest the bread and wine necessary for the celebration
of the Divine Liturgy (Mass).
Q. 930. Is it not simony, or the buying of a sacred thing,
to offer the priest money for praying Divine Liturgy
(Mass) for your intention?
A. It is not simony, or the buying of a sacred thing, to offer
the priest money for praying Divine Liturgy (Mass) for our
intention, because the priest does not take the money for the
Divine Liturgy (Mass) itself, but for the purpose of supplying
the things necessary for the Divine Liturgy (Mass) and for his
Q. 931. Is there any difference between the sacrifice of
the Cross and the sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy (Mass)?
A. Yes; the manner in which the sacrifice is offered is
different. On the Cross Christ really shed His blood and was
really slain; in the Divine Liturgy (Mass) there is no real
shedding of blood nor real death, because Christ can die no
more; but the sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy (Mass), through
the separate consecration of the bread and the wine,
represents His death on the Cross.
Q. 932. What are the chief parts of the Divine Liturgy
A. The chief parts of the Divine Liturgy (Mass) are The
Divine Liturgy (Mass) of the Catechumens (those who are
studying to become members of the Church) and The Divine
Liturgy (Mass) of the Faithful (those who are members of the
Church). The Liturgy of the Catechumens begins at the
beginning of the Liturgy, and ends just before the Gospel.
The Liturgy of the Faithful begins at the Gospel and is
composed of three parts:
1. The Offertory, at which the priests offers to God the
bread and wine to be changed at the Consecration;
2. The Consecration / Epiklesis, at which the substance of
the bread and wine are changed into the substance of
Christ's body and blood;
3. The Communion, at which the priest receives into his
own body the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of both
bread and wine, as do the Faithful.
Q. 933. At what part of the Divine Liturgy (Mass) does
the Offertory take place, and what parts of the Divine
Liturgy (Mass) are said before it?
A. The Offertory takes place immediately after the
uncovering of the chalice. The parts of the Divine Liturgy
(Mass) said before it are: The Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Prayers,
Epistle, Gospel and Creed. The Introit, Prayers, Epistle and
Gospel change in each Divine Liturgy (Mass) to correspond
with the feast celebrated.
Q. 934. What is the part of the Divine Liturgy (Mass)
called in which the Words of Consecration are found?
A. The part of the Divine Liturgy (Mass) in which the words
of Consecration are found is called the Canon, specifically at
the Epiklesis. This is the most solemn part of the Divine
Liturgy (Mass), and is rarely and but slightly changed in any
Divine Liturgy (Mass).
Q. 935. What follows the Communion of the Divine
A. Following the Communion of Divine Liturgy (Mass),
there are prayers of thanksgiving, the blessing of the people,
and sometimes the saying of the last Gospel.
Q. 936. What things are necessary for Divine Liturgy
A. The things necessary for Divine Liturgy (Mass) are:
1. An altar with linen covers, candles, crucifix, altar stone
or antimensium and liturgical book;
2. A Chalice with all needed in its use, and leavened bread
of flour from wheat and wine from the grape;
3. Vestments for the priest, and
4. An acolyte or server.
Under certain circumstances the Divine Liturgy (Mass) can
be prayed without some of these, except that it is always
required that there be bread of flour from wheat and wine
from the grape.
Q. 937. What are the altar stone and the antimensium,
and of what do they remind us?
A. The altar stone is that part of the altar upon which the
priest rests the Chalice during Divine Liturgy (Mass). This
stone contains some holy relics sealed up in it by the bishop,
and if the altar is of wood this stone is inserted just in front
of the Tabernacle. The altar stone reminds us of the early
history of the Church, when the martyrs' tombs were used for
altars by the persecuted Christians. It also reminds us that
Christ is the foundation stone of the Church. The
antimensium also serves this purpose, it being the cloth,
usually with a red outside and icons on the inside, upon
which the altar vessels are placed during Divine Liturgy
Q. 938. What lesson do we learn from the practice of
using martyrs' tombs for altars?
A. From the practice of using martyrs' tombs for altars we
learn the inconvenience, sufferings and dangers the early
Christians willingly underwent for the sake of hearing
Divine Liturgy (Mass). Since the Divine Liturgy (Mass) is
the same now as it was then, we should suffer every
inconvenience rather than be absent from Divine Liturgy
(Mass) on Sundays or holy days.
Q. 939. What things are used with the chalice during
Divine Liturgy (Mass)?
A. The things used with the chalice during Divine Liturgy
1. The purificator or cloth for wiping the inside;
2. The paten which may be a small silver or gold plate or
a plate with a stand used in handling the bread;
3. The pall or white card used for covering the chalice;
4. The corporal or linen cloth on which the chalice and
5. The asterisk or star which is placed over the paten;
6. One small veil for the paten and another for the chalice,
and the large veil wich covers both.
Q. 940. What is the host?
A. The host is the name given to the thin wafer of bread used
at Western Rite Divine Liturgy
(Mass). This name is
generally applied before and after Consecration to the large
particle of bread used by the priest, though the small particles
given to the people are also called by the same name. In the
Eastern Rite, it is called the phospora, and is a small bread
usually with designs on the top.
Q. 941. Are large and small hosts consecrated at every
Divine Liturgy (Mass)?
A. A large host is consecrated at every Divine Liturgy
(Mass), but small hosts are consecrated only at some Divine
Liturgies (Masses) at which they are to be given to the people
or placed in the Tabernacle for the Holy Communion of the
Q. 942. What vestments does the priest use at Divine
Liturgy (Mass) and what do they signify?
A. The vestments used by the priest at Divine Liturgy (Mass)
In Western Rite:
1. The Amice, a white cloth around the shoulders to signify
resistance to temptation;
2. The Alb, a long white garment to signify innocence;
3. The Cincture, a cord about the waist, to signify chastity;
4. The Maniple or hanging vestment on the left arm, to
5. The Stole or long vestment about the neck, to signify
6. The Chasuble or long vestment over all, to signify love
and remind the priest, by its cross on front and back, of the
Passion of Our Lord.
In the Eastern Rite:
1. The Cassock, or White Sticharion, or Stikhar, or
Podriznik, a long white garment, to signify purity and
2. The Stole, or Epitrakhil, is the vestment worn over the
back of the neck and joined together in front of the Priest (or
for Deacon, Orar - but it is worn in various ways at different
times during different liturgies.)
It indicates the
consecrating Grace of the Priesthood for Priests, and the
service of the angelic Cherubim and Seraphim for the
3. The Cuffs or Porutchi, for the Priest signify the binding
of Our Lord’s hands, for the Deacon, that he relies on God’s
strength, and not his own;
4. the Zone, or Belt, or Poyas, is worn over the Stole, and
signifies the gift of strength and exhorts the Priest to a
5. The Sword, or Epigonation, or Nabedrennik, is a
rectangular cloth worn at the right hip (unless the Priest also
has a Palitza in which case it is worn at the left hip) and
signifying the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and also
signifies the towel with which our Lord girded himself to
wash the disciples’ feet. It is conferred as a reward of honor;
6. The Palitza is a diamond shaped cloth suspended from
a corner at the right hip, conferred as a reward like the
Epigonation, for zeal for the faith and salvation of Christ’s
7. The Chasuble, or Phelonion, or Felon, covers all the
other garments, is open in the front, and signifies the Lord’s
promise “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light”;
8. The Bishop does not wear a Chasuble. He wears a
Dalmatic, or Sakkos, symbolic of our Lord’s coat without
seams, over which is worn a Stole, or Omofor, or
Omophorion, or Pall, which hangs down in front and back,
signifying the wanderng or lost sheep which gives the Bishop
the image of our Savior, the Good Shepherd, bearing the
wandering lost sheep back to the flock;
9. Mitre, Cross, Panagia, Mantle, Crozier, Eagle, Dikiri,
Trikiri, are other items are more appropriately considered in
a full studyof the Divine Liturgy.
Q. 943. How many colors of vestments are used, and what
do the colors signify?
A. Usually five colors of vestments are used, namely, white,
red, green, violet or purple, and black. White signifies
innocence and is used on the feasts of Our Blessed Lord, of
the Blessed Virgin, and of some saints. Red signifies love,
and is used on the feasts of the Holy Ghost, and of martyrs.
Green signifies hope, and is generally used on Sundays from
Epiphany to Pentecost. Violet signifies penance, and is used
in Lent and Advent. Black signifies sorrow, and is used on
Good Friday and at Divine Liturgies (Masses) for the dead.
Gold is often used for white on great feasts. Blue is often
used on feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Some modernists
use mottled colors respecting pagan origins of various
peoples - such use is wrong for it grants to pagan culture and
religion the respect which is due only to the true religion.
944. What is the Tabernacle and what is the
A. The Tabernacle is the tomb or house-shaped part of the
altar where the sacred vessels containing the Blessed
Sacrament are kept. The Ciborium is the large silver or gold
vessel which contains the Blessed Sacrament while in the
Tabernacle, and from which the priest gives Holy
Communion to the people during Presanctified Liturgies.
Q. 945. What is the Ostensorium or Monstrance?
A. The Ostensorium or Monstrance is the beautiful wheel-
like vessel in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and
kept during the Benediction.
Q. 946. How should we assist at Divine Liturgy (Mass)?
A. We should assist at Divine Liturgy (Mass) with great
interior recollection and piety and with every outward mark
of respect and devotion.
Q. 947. Which is the best manner of hearing Divine
A. The best manner of hearing Divine Liturgy (Mass) is to
offer it to God with the priest for the same purpose for which
it is said, to meditate on Christ's sufferings and death, and to
go to Holy Communion.
Q. 948. What is important for the proper and respectful
hearing of Divine Liturgy (Mass)?
A. For the proper and respectful hearing of Divine Liturgy
(Mass) it is important to be in our place before the priest
comes to the altar and not to leave it before the priest leaves
the altar. Thus we prevent the confusion and distraction
caused by late coming and too early leaving. Standing in the
doorways, blocking up passages and disputing about places
should, out of respect for the Holy Sacrifice, be most carefully
Q. 949. What is Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament,
and what vestments are used at it?
A. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is an act of divine
worship in which the Blessed Sacrament, placed in the
ostensorium, is exposed for the adoration of the people and is
lifted up to bless them. The vestments used at Benediction
are: A cope or large silk cloak and a humeral or shoulder
Q. 950. Why does the priest wear special vestments and
use certain ceremonies while performing his sacred
A. The priest wears special vestments and uses certain
ceremonies while performing his sacred duties:
1. To give greater solemnity and to command more
attention and respect at divine worship;
2. To instruct the people in the things that these vestments
and ceremonies signify;
3. To remind the priest himself of the importance and
sacred character of the work in which he is the representative
of Our Lord Himself.
Hence we should learn the meaning of the ceremonies of the
Q. 951. How do we show that the ceremonies of the
Church are reasonable and proper?
A. We show that the ceremonies of the Church are
reasonable and proper from the fact that all persons in
authority, rulers, judges and masters, require certain acts of
respect from their subjects, and as we know Our Lord is
present on the altar, the Church requires definite acts of
reverence and respect at the services held in His honor and in
Q. 952. Are there other reasons for the use of ceremonies?
A. There are other reasons for the use of ceremonies:
1. God commanded ceremonies to be used in the old law,
2. Our Blessed Lord Himself made use of ceremonies in
performing some of His miracles.
Q. 953. How are the persons who take part in a Solemn
Divine Liturgy (Mass) or Vespers named?
A. The persons who take part in a Solemn Divine Liturgy
(Mass) or Vespers are named as follows: The priest who says
or celebrates the Divine Liturgy
(Mass) is called the
celebrant; those who assist him as deacon and sub-deacon are
ministers; those who serve are called acolytes, and the one
who directs the ceremonies is called the master of
ceremonies. If the celebrant be a bishop in the Western Rite,
the Divine Liturgy (Mass) or Vespers is called Pontifical
Divine Liturgy (Mass) or Pontifical Vespers.
Q. 954. What is Vespers?
A. Vespers is a portion of the divine office or daily prayer of
the Church. It is sung in Churches generally on Sunday
afternoon or evening, and is usually followed by Benediction
of the Blessed Sacrament.
Q. 955. Can one satisfy for neglecting Divine Liturgy
(Mass) on Sunday by hearing Vespers on the same day?
A. One cannot satisfy for neglecting Divine Liturgy (Mass)
on Sunday by hearing Vespers on the same day, because
there is no law of the Church obliging us under pain of sin to
attend Vespers, while there is a law obliging us under pain of
mortal sin to hear Divine Liturgy (Mass).
On Extreme Unction and Holy Orders
Q. 956. What is the Sacrament of Extreme Unction or
A. Extreme Unction or Holy Anointing is the Sacrament
which, through the anointing and prayer of the priest, gives
health and strength to the soul, and sometimes to the body,
when we are in danger of death from sickness, or “in need”.
As Holy Anointing it is customary in the Eastern Rites for it
to be offered in a shorter, less formal manner, immediately
after Divine Liturgy to those in such need. This custom is
often also followed in the Western Rites.
Q. 957. Why is this Sacrament called Extreme Unction?
A. Extreme means last, and Unction means an anointing or
rubbing with oil, and because Orthodox Catholics are
anointed with oil at Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation)
and Holy Orders, the last Sacrament in which oil is used is
called Extreme Unction, or the last Unction or anointing.
Q. 958. Is this Sacrament called Extreme Unction if the
person recovers after receiving it?
A. This Sacrament is always called Extreme Unction, even if
it must be given several times to the same person, for
Extreme Unction or Holy Anointing is the proper name of the
Sacrament, and it may be given as often as a person
recovering from one attack of sickness is in danger of death
by another. The Western Rite custom is that in a lingering
illness it may be repeated after a month or six weeks, if the
person slightly recovers and again relapses into a dangerous
Q. 959. To whom may Extreme Unction be given?
A. Extreme Unction may be given to all Christians
dangerously ill, who have ever been capable of committing
after baptism and who have the right dispositions for the
Sacrament. Hence it is rarely given to children who have not
reached the use of reason, or to persons who have always
Q. 960. What are the right dispositions for Extreme
A. The right dispositions for Extreme Unction are:
1. Resignation to the Will of God with regard to our
2. A state of grace or at least contrition for sins committed,
3. A general intention or desire to receive the Sacrament.
This Sacrament is never given to heretics in danger of death,
because they cannot be supposed to have the intention
necessary for receiving it, nor the desire to make use of the
Sacrament of Penance in putting themselves in a state of
grace. The heretic who recants may receive as he recants.
Q. 961. When and by whom was Extreme Unction
A. Extreme Unction was instituted at the time of the apostles,
for James the Apostle exhorts the sick to receive it. It was
instituted by Our Lord Himself -- though we do not know at
what particular time -- for He alone can make a visible act a
means of grace, and the apostles and their successors could
never have believed Extreme Unction a Sacrament and used
it as such unless they had Our Lord's authority for so doing.
It is based in the numerous occasions where Our Lord cured
people of illness and raised the dead.
Q. 962. When should we receive Extreme Unction?
A. We should receive Extreme Unction when we are in
danger of death from sickness, or from a wound or accident,
or when there is a serious spiritual or physical ailment.
Q. 963. What parts of the body are anointed in Extreme
A. The parts of the body anointed in Extreme Unction are:
The eyes, the ears, the nose or nostrils, the lips, the hands
and the feet, because these represent our senses of sight,
hearing, smell, taste and touch, which are the means through
which we have committed most of our sins.
Q. 964. What things should be prepared in the sick-room
when the priest is coming to give the last Sacraments?
A. When the priest is coming to give the last Sacraments, the
following things should be prepared:
1. A table covered with a white cloth; a crucifix; two
lighted candles in candlesticks; holy water in a small vessel,
with a small piece of palm for a sprinkler; a glass of clean
water; a tablespoon and a napkin or cloth, to be placed under
the chin of the one receiving the Viaticum.
Besides these, if Extreme Unction also is to be given, there
should be some cotton and a small piece of bread or lemon to
purify the priest's fingers.
Q. 965. What seems most proper with regard to the things
necessary for the last Sacraments?
A. It seems most proper that the things necessary for the last
Sacraments should be carefully kept in every Orthodox
Catholic family, and should never, if possible, be used for any
Q. 966. What else is to be observed about the preparation
for the administration of the last Sacraments?
A. The further preparation for the administration of the last
Sacraments requires that out of respect for the Sacraments,
and in particular for the presence of Our Lord, everything
about the sick-room, the sick person and even the attendants,
should be made as neat and clean as possible. Especially
should the face, hands and feet of the one to be anointed be
Q. 967. Should we wait until we are in extreme danger
before we receive Extreme Unction?
A. We should not wait until we are in extreme danger before
we receive Extreme Unction, but if possible we should
receive it whilst we have the use of our senses.
Q. 968. What should we do in case of serious illness if the
sick person will not consent or is afraid to receive the
Sacraments, or, at least, wishes to put off their reception?
A. In case of serious illness, if the sick person will not
consent, or is afraid to receive the Sacraments, or, at least,
wishes to put off their reception, we should send for the priest
at once and let him do what he thinks best in the case, and
thus we will free ourselves from the responsibility of letting
an Orthodox Catholic die without the last Sacraments.
Q. 969. Which are the effects of the Sacrament of
Extreme Unction or Holy Anointing?
A. The effects of Extreme Unction or Holy Anointing are:
1. To comfort us in the pains of sickness and to strengthen
us against temptations;
2. To remit venial sins and to cleanse our soul from the
remains of sin;
3. To restore us to health, when God sees fit.
Q. 970. Will Extreme Unction or Holy Anointing take
away mortal sin if the dying person is no longer able to
A. Extreme Unction or Holy Anointing will take away mortal
sin if the dying person is no longer able to confess, provided
he has the sorrow for his sins that would be necessary for the
worthy reception of the Sacrament of Penance.
Q. 971. How do we know that this Sacrament, more than
any other, was instituted to benefit the body?
A. We know that this Sacrament more than any other was
instituted to benefit the body:
1. From the words of St. James exhorting us to receive it;
2. It is given when the soul is already purified by the graces
of Penance and Holy Viaticum;
3. One of its chief objects is to restore us to health if it be
for our spiritual good, as most of the prayers said in giving
this Sacrament indicate.
Q. 972. Since Extreme Unction or Holy Anointing may
restore us to health, should we not be glad to receive it?
A. Since Extreme Unction or Holy Anointing may restore us
to health. we should be glad to receive it, and we should not
delay its reception till we are so near death that God could
restore us only by an overt miracle. Again, this Sacrament,
like the others, gives sanctifying and sacramental grace,
which we should be eager to obtain as soon as our sickness is
sufficient to give us the privilege of receiving the last
Q. 973. What do you mean by the remains of sin?
A. By the remains of sin I mean the inclination to evil and
the weakness of the will which are the result of our sins, and
which remain after our sins have been forgiven.
Q. 974. How should we receive the Sacrament of Extreme
Unction or Holy Anointing?
A. We should receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction or
Holy Anointing in the state of grace, and with lively faith and
resignation to the will of God.
Q. 975. Who is the minister of the Sacrament of Extreme
Unction or Holy Anointing?
A. The priest is the minister of the Sacrament of Extreme
Unction or Holy Anointing.
Q. 976. What is the final preparation we should make for
the reception of the last Sacraments?
A. The final preparation we should make for the reception of
the last Sacraments consists in an earnest effort to be
resigned to God's Holy Will, to excite ourselves to true
sorrow for our sins, to profit by the graces given us, to keep
worldly thoughts from the mind, and to dispose ourselves as
best we can for the worthy reception of the Sacraments and
the blessings of a good death.
Q. 977. At what time should persons dangerously ill
attend to the final arrangement of their temporal or
A. Persons dangerously ill should attend to the final
arrangement of their temporal or worldly affairs at the very
beginning of their illness, that these things may not distract
them at the hour of death, and that they may give the last
hours of their life entirely to the care of their soul.
Q. 978. What is the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
A. Holy Orders is a Sacrament by which bishops, priests, and
other ministers of the Church are ordained and receive the
power and grace to perform their sacred duties.
Q. 979. Besides bishops and priests, who are the other
ministers of the Church?
A. Besides bishops and priests, the other ministers of the
Church are deacons and subdeacons, who, while preparing
for the priesthood, have received some of the Holy Orders,
but who have not been ordained to the full powers of the
Q. 980. Why is this Sacrament called Holy Orders?
A. This Sacrament is called Holy Orders because it is
conferred by seven different grades or steps following one
another in fixed order by which the sacred powers of the
priesthood are gradually given to the one admitted to that
Q. 981. What are the grades by which one ascends to the
A. The grades by which one ascends to the priesthood are:
1. Tonsure, or the clipping of the hair by the bishop, by
which the candidate for priesthood dedicates himself to the
service of the altar;
2. The four minor orders, Porter, Reader, Exorcist, and
Acolyte, by which he is permitted to perform certain duties
that laymen should not perform;
3. Sub-deaconship, by which he takes upon himself the
obligation of leading a life of perpetual chastity and
continence in accordance with his station in life, and of
saying daily the divine office;
4. Deaconship, by which be receives power to preach,
baptize, and give Holy Communion.
The next step, priesthood, gives him power to offer the Holy
Sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy (Mass) and forgive sins.
These orders are not all given at once, but at times fixed by
the laws of the Church.
982. Are not the different orders separate
A. These different orders are not separate Sacraments. Taken
all together, some are a preparation for the Sacrament and
the rest are but the one Sacrament of Holy Orders; as the
roots, trunk and branches form but one tree.
983. What name is given to sub-deaconship,
deaconship and priesthood?
A. Sub-deaconship, deaconship and priesthood are called
major or greater orders, because those who receive them are
bound for life to the service of the altar and they cannot
return to the service of the world to live as ordinary laymen.
Q. 984. What double power does the Church possess and
confer on her pastors?
A. The Church possesses and confers on her pastor, the
power of orders and the power of jurisdiction; that is, the
power to administer the Sacraments and sanctify the faithful,
and the power to teach and make laws that direct the faithful
to their spiritual good. A bishop has the full power of orders
and a Full Ecumenical Council of the Bishops alone has the
full power of jurisdiction.
Q. 985. How do the pastors of the Church rank according
A. The pastors of the Church rank according to authority as
1. Priests, who govern parishes or congregations in the
name of their bishop;
2. Bishops, who rule over a number of parishes or a
3. Archbishops, who have authority over a number of
dioceses or a province. These may also be Metropolitan
4. Primates, who have authority over the ecclesiastical or
Church provinces of a nation, and are usually a Metropolitan
5. Patriarchs, who have authority over a Church
Jurisdiction which usually corresponds to its national
jurisdictional name. Thus the Patriarch of Moscow is the
Metropolitan Archbishop of Moscow and the Patriarch of the
Russian Orthodox Church; the Patriarch of Jerusalem is the
Metropolitan Archbishop of Jerusalem; the Pope of Rome is
the Bishop of Rome or the Metropolitan Archbishop of Rome
and the Patriarch of the Roman Catholic Church.
6. The Jurisdictional Synod of Bishops.
Q. 986. How do the prelates or higher officers of the
Church rank in dignity?
A. The prelates or higher officers of the Church rank in
dignity as they rank in authority, except that in dignity all
Bishops of whatever rank are equal, then Vicars General and
Vicars Apostolic who may be of any rank but usually are
Mitered Archpriest or above in rank, then Mitered
Archpriests, then Archpriests which generaly correspond to
Monsignor in the Roman Church, then those specially
appointed by their Bishop ranking according to the powers
delegated to them.
Q. 987. Wht is the Synod of Bishops, its duties and
A. Each Orthodox Church, Religious Order, or Jurisdiction,
is slightly different, but generally, the Synod elects the
Patriarch or Primate, and nominates and appoints new
bishops usually under the direction or request of the Patriarch
or Primate. Usually the Synod is the repository of the final
temporal authority of its Jurisdiction,.
Q. 988. Who is a Mitered Archpriest, an Archpriest?
A. A Mitered Archpriest is in a real sense a Bishop who has
not been appinted to a See. He can ordain Priests, but only
with the approval of his Bishop. He can not consecrate or
co-consecrate a Bishop. He vests as a Bishop but in plain
vestments. An Archpriest vests as a Priest, may be given
authority to ordain to minor orders, and may be appointed
over several priests or a geographic area of a Diocese or
Archdiocese but always functions under his Bishop.
Q. 989. Who is a Vicar-General?
A. A Vicar-General is one who is appointed by the bishop to
aid him in the government of his diocese. He shares the
bishop's power and in the bishop's absence he acts for the
bishop and with his authority.
Q. 990. Who is an Abbot?
A. An Abbot is one who exercises over a religious
community of men authority similar in many things to that
exercised by a bishop over his diocese. He has also certain
privileges usually granted to bishops.
Q. 991. What is the pallium?
A. The pallium is a white woolen vestment worn by a
Patriarch or Primate and sometimes sent by him to
archbishops and bishops under him. It is the symbol of the
fullness of pastoral power, and reminds the wearer of the
Good Shepherd, whose example he must follow.
992. What is necessary to receive Holy Orders
A. To receive Holy Orders worthily it is necessary to be in the
state of grace, to have the necessary knowledge and a divine
call to this sacred office.
Q. 993. What name is given to this divine call and how can
we discover this call?
A. This divine call is named a vocation to the priestly or
religious life. We can discover it in our constant inclination
to such a life from the pure and holy motive of serving God
better in it, together with our fitness for it, or, at least, our
ability to prepare for it, also in our true piety and mastery
over our sinful passions and unlawful desires.
Q. 994. How should we finally determine our vocation?
A. We should finally determine our vocation:
1. By leading a holy life that we may be more worthy of it;
2. By praying to the Holy Ghost for light on the subject;
3. By seeking the advice of holy and prudent persons and
above all of our confessor.
Q. 995. What should parents and guardians bear in mind
with regard to their children's vocations?
A. Parents and guardians should bear in mind with regard to
their children's vocations:
1.That it is their duty to aid their children to discover their
2. That it is sinful for them to resist the Will of God by
endeavoring to turn their children from their true vocation or
to prevent them from following it by placing obstacles in
their way, and, worst of all, to urge them to enter a state of
life to which they have not been divinely called;
3. That in giving their advice they should be guided only by
the future good and happiness of their children and not by
any selfish or worldly motive which may lead to the loss of
Q. 996. How should Christians look upon the priests of the
A. Christians should look upon the priests of the Church as
the messengers of God and the dispensers of His mysteries.
Q. 997. How do we know that the priests of the Church
are the messengers of God?
A. We know that the priests of the Church are the
messengers of God, because Christ said to His apostles, and
through them to their successors: "As the Father hath sent
Me, I also send you"; that is to say, to preach the true
religion, to administer the Sacraments, to offer Sacrifice, and
to do all manner of good for the salvation of souls.
Q. 998. When did the priests of the Church receive this
threefold power to preach, to forgive sins and to
consecrate bread and wine?
A. The priests of the Church received this three-fold power
to preach, to forgive sins and to consecrate bread and wine,
when Christ said to them, through the apostles: "Go teach all
nations"; "Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven,"
and "Do this for a commemoration of Me."
Q. 999. Why should we show great respect to the priests
and bishops of the Church?
A. We should show great respect to the priests and bishops of
1. Because they are the representatives of Christ upon
2. Because they administer the Sacraments without which
we cannot be saved.
Therefore, we should be most careful in what we do, say or
think concerning God's ministers. To show our respect in
proportion to their dignity, we address the priest as Reverend
or as Father, the bishop as Right Reverend, the archbishop as
Most Reverend or Excellency, and often a Patriarch as Holy
Father or Most Holy One.
Q. 1000. Should we do more than merely respect the
ministers of God?
A. We should do more than merely respect the ministers of
God. We should earnestly and frequently pray for them, that
they may be enabled to perform the difficult and important
duties of their holy state in a manner pleasing to God.
Q. 1001. Who can confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
A. Bishops can confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Q. 1002. How do we know that there is a true priesthood
in the Church?
A. We know that there is a true priesthood in the Church:
1. Because in the Jewish religion, which was only a figure
of the Christian religion, there was a true priesthood
established by God;
2. Because Christ conferred on His apostles and not on all the
faithful the power to offer Sacrifice, distribute the Holy Eucharist
and forgive sins.
Q. 1003. But is there need of a special Sacrament of Holy
Orders to confer these powers?
A. There is need of a special Sacrament of Holy Orders to confer
1. Because the priesthood which is to continue the work of the
apostles must be visible in the Church, and it must therefore be
conferred by some visible ceremony or outward sign;
2. Because this outward sign called Holy Orders gives not only
power but grace and was instituted by Christ, Holy Orders must be
Q. 1004. Can bishops, priests and other ministers of the Church
always exercise the power they have received in Holy Orders?
A. Bishops, priests and other ministers of the Church cannot
exercise the power they have received in Holy Orders unless
authorized and sent to do so by their lawful superiors. The power
can never be taken from them, but the right to use it may be
withdrawn for causes laid down in the laws of the Church or their
Jurisdiction, or for reasons that seem good to those in authority over
them. Any use of sacred power without authority is sinful, and all
who take part in such ceremonies are guilty of sin.
Q. 1005. What is the Sacrament of Matrimony?
A. The Sacrament of Matrimony is the Sacrament which
unites a Christian man and woman in lawful marriage.
Q. 1006. When are persons lawfully married?
A. Persons are lawfully married when they comply with all
the laws of God and of the Church relating to marriage. To
marry unlawfully is a mortal sin, and it deprives the souls of
the grace of the Sacrament.
Q. 1007. When was marriage first instituted?
A. Marriage was first instituted in the Garden of Eden, when
God created Adam and Eve and made them husband and
wife, but it was not then a Sacrament, for their union did not
confer any special grace.
Q. 1008. When was the contract of marriage raised to the
dignity of a Sacrament?
A. The exact time at which the contract of marriages was
raised to the dignity of a Sacrament is not known, but the fact
that it was thus raised is certain from passages in the New
Testament and from the constant teaching of the Church ever
since the time of the apostles. Our Lord did not merely add
grace to the contract, but He made the very contract a
Sacrament, so that Christians cannot make this contract
without receiving the Sacrament. Thus Our Lord changed
the concept of a legal contract of marriage between husband
and wife into a Sacrament whereby a husband and wife
become a new person, the married person.
Q. 1009. What is the outward sign in the Sacrament of
Matrimony, and in what does the whole essence of the
A. The outward sign in the Sacrament of matrimony is the
mutual consent of the persons, expressed by words or signs
in accordance with the laws of the Church, and the
declaration by the priest that they are now a married person.
The whole essence of marriage consists in the surrender by
the persons of their bodies to each other and in declaring by
word or sign that they make this surrender and take each
other for husband and wife now and for life and become a
married person all the while maintaining their individuality
in God. They become a reflection of the Blessed Trinity, in
that the Blessed Trinity is composed of three Persons, Father,
Son and Holy Spirit, but being one God, while the married
person is composed of a husband, a wife, and God.
Q. 1010. What are the chief ends of the Sacrament of
A. The chief ends of the Sacrament of matrimony are:
1. To enable the husband and wife to aid each other in
securing the salvation of their souls; 2. To propagate or keep
up the existence of the human race by bringing children into
the world to serve God; 3. To prevent sins against the holy
virtue of purity by faithfully obeying the laws of the marriage
Q. 1011. Can a Christian man and woman be united in
lawful marriage in any other way than by the Sacrament
A. A Christian man and woman cannot be united in lawful
marriage in any other way than by the Sacrament of
Matrimony, because Christ raised marriage to the dignity of
Q. 1012. Were, then, all marriages before the coming of
Christ unlawful and invalid?
A. All marriages before the coming of Christ were not
unlawful and invalid. They were both lawful and valid when
the persons contracting them followed the dictates of their
conscience and the laws of God as they knew them; but such
marriages were only contracts. Through their evil
inclinations many forgot or neglected the true character of
marriage till Our Lord restored it to its former unity and
Q. 1013. What do we mean by impediments to marriage?
A. By impediments to marriage we mean certain restrictions,
imposed by the law of God or of the Church, that render the
marriage invalid or unlawful when they are violated in
entering into it. These restrictions regard age, health,
relationship, intention, religion and other matters affecting
the good of the Sacrament.
Q. 1014. Can the Church dispense from or remove these
impediments to marriage?
A. The Church can dispense from or remove the
impediments to marriage that arise from its own laws; but it
cannot dispense from impediments that arise from the laws
of God and nature. Every lawmaker can change or excuse
from the laws made by himself or his equals, but he cannot,
of his own authority, change or excuse from laws made by a
Q. 1015. What is required that the Church may grant,
when it is able, dispensations from the impediments to
marriage or from other laws?
A. That the Church may grant dispensations from the
impediments to marriage or from other laws, there must be a
good and urgent reason for granting such dispensations. The
Church does not grant dispensations without cause and
merely to satisfy the wishes of those who ask for them.
Q. 1016. Why does the Church sometimes require the
persons to whom dispensations are granted to pay a tax or
fee for the privilege?
A. The Church sometimes requires the persons to whom
dispensations are granted to pay a tax or fee for the privilege:
1. That persons on account of this tax be restrained from
asking for dispensations and may comply with the general
laws; 2. That the Church may not have to bear the expense of
supporting an office for granting privileges to a few.
Q. 1017. What should persons who are about to get
A. Persons who are about to get married should give their
pastor timely notice of their intention, make known to him
privately whatever they suspect might be an impediment to
the marriage, and make sure of all arrangements before
inviting their friends.
Q. 1018. What timely notice of marriage should be given
to the priest, and why?
A. At least three weeks notice of marriage should be given to
the priest, because, according to the laws of the Church, the
names of the persons about to get married must be announced
and their intended marriage published at the principal Divine
Liturgy (Mass) in their parish for three successive Sundays.
Q. 1019. Why are the banns of matrimony published in
A. The banns of matrimony are published in the Church that
any person who might know of any impediment to the
marriage may have an opportunity to declare it privately to
the priest before the marriage takes place and thus prevent an
invalid or unlawful marriage. Persons who know of such
impediments and fail to declare them in due time are guilty
1020. What things in particular should persons
arranging for their marriage make known to the priest?
A. Persons arranging for their marriage should make known
to the priest whether both are Christians and Orthodox
Catholics; whether either has been solemnly engaged or
betrhothed to another person; whether they have ever made
any vow to God with regard to chastity or the like; whether
they are related and in what degree; whether either was ever
married to any member of the other's family and whether
either was ever godparent in baptism for the other.
Q. 1021. What else must they make known?
A. They must also make known whether either was married
before and what proof can be given of the death of the former
husband or wife or the circumstances under which any prior
marriage began and ended; whether they really intend to get
married, and do so of their own will; whether they are of
lawful age; whether they are sound in body or suffering from
any deformity that might prevent their marriage, and lastly,
whether they live in the parish in which they ask to be
married, and if so, how long they have lived in it.
Q. 1022. What is particularly necessary that persons may
do their duty in the marriage state?
A. That persons may do their duty in the marriage state, it is
particularly necessary that they should be well instructed,
before entering it, in the truths and duties of their religion for
how will they teach their children these things if they are
ignorant of them themselves?
Q. 1023. Can the bond of Christian marriage be dissolved
by any human power?
A. The bond of Christian marriage cannot be dissolved by
any human power.
Q. 1024. Does not a divorce granted by courts of justice
break the bond of marriage?
A. Divorce granted by courts of justice or by any human
power does not break the bond of marriage, and one who
makes use of such a divorce to marry again while the former
husband or wife lives commits a sacrilege and lives in the sin
of adultery unless a special dispensation has been granted or
there was an impediment to the prior marriage or the prior
marriage was received blasphemously. A civil divorce may
give a sufficient reason for the persons to live apart and it
may determine their rights with regard to support, the control
of the children and other temporal things, but it has no effect
whatever upon the bond and spiritual nature of the
Q. 1025. Does not the Church sometimes allow husband
and wife to separate and live apart?
A. The Church sometimes, for very good reasons, does allow
husband and wife to separate and live apart; but that is not
dissolving the bond of marriage, or divorce as it is called, for
though separated they are still husband and wife, and neither
can marry again till the other dies or unless a special
dispensation is made or it is determined the marriagfe was
received invalidly or blasphemously.
Q. 1026. Has not the Church sometimes allowed persons
once married to separate and marry again?
A. Yes, but this is rarely done, and in receiving a subsequent
marriage the husband and wife are given penance which may
include restrictions on receiving Holy Communion. The
Church has also sometimes declared persons apparently
married free to marry again, because their first marriage was
null; that is, no marriage existed on account of some
impediment not discovered till after the ceremony.
Q. 1027. What evils follow divorce so commonly claimed
by those outside the true Church and granted by civil
A. The evils that follow divorce so commonly claimed by
those outside the true Church and granted by civil authority
are very many; but chiefly:
1. A disregard for the sacred character of the Sacrament and
for the spiritual welfare of the children; 2. The loss of the true
idea of home and family followed by bad morals and sinful
Q. 1028. Which are the effects of the Sacrament of
A. The effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony are:
1st. To sanctify the love of husband and wife; 2nd. To give
them grace to bear with each other's weaknesses; 3rd. To
enable them to bring up their children in the fear and love of
Q. 1029. What do we mean by bearing with each other's
A. By bearing with each other's weaknesses we mean that the
husband and wife must be patient with each other's faults,
bad habits or dispositions, pardon them easily, and aid each
other in overcoming them.
Q. 1030. How are parents specially fitted to bring up their
children in the fear and love of God?
A. Parents are specially fitted to bring up their children in the
fear and love of God:
1. By the special grace they receive to advise and direct their
children and to warn them against evil; 2. By the experience
they have acquired in passing through life from childhood to
the position of parents.
Children should, therefore, conscientiously seek and accept
the direction of good parents.
1031. To receive the Sacrament of Matrimony
worthily is it necessary to be in the state of grace?
A. To receive the Sacrament of Matrimony worthily it is
necessary to be in the state of grace, and it is necessary also
to comply with the laws of the Church.
Q. 1032. With what laws of the Church are we bound to
comply in receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony?
A. In receiving the Sacrament of matrimony we are bound to
comply with whatever laws of the Church concern
Matrimony; such as laws forbidding solemn marriage in Lent
and Advent; or marriage with relatives or with persons of a
different religion, and in general all laws that refer to any
impediment to marriage.
Q. 1033. In how many ways may persons be related?
A. Persons may be related in four ways. When they are
related by blood their relationship is called consanguinity;
when they are related by marriage it is called affinity; when
they are related by being god-parents in Baptism or
Confirmation, it is called spiritual affinity; when they are
related by adoption, it is called legal affinity.
Q. 1034. Who has the right to make laws concerning the
Sacrament of marriage?
A. The Church alone has the right to make laws concerning
the Sacrament of marriage, though the state also has the right
to make laws concerning the civil effects of the marriage
Q. 1035. What do we mean by laws concerning the civil
effects of the marriage contract?
A. By laws concerning the civil effects of the marriage
contract we mean laws with regard to the property or debts of
the husband and wife, the inheritance of their children, or
whatever pertains to their temporal affairs. All persons are
bound to obey the laws of their country when these laws are
not opposed to the laws of God.
1036. Does the Church forbid the marriage of
Orthodox Catholics with persons who have a different
religion or no religion at all?
A. The Church does forbid the marriage of Orthjodox
Catholics with persons who have a different religion or no
religion at all.
Q. 1037. Why does the Church forbid the marriage of
Orthodox Catholics with persons who have a different
religion or no religion at all?
A. The Church forbids the marriage of Orthodox Catholics
with persons who have a different religion, or no religion at
all, because such marriages generally lead to indifference,
loss of faith, and to the neglect of the religious education of
Q. 1038. What are the marriages of Orthodox Catholics
with persons of a different religion called, and when does
the Church permit them by dispensation?
A. The marriages of Orthodox Catholics with persons of a
different religion are called mixed marriages. The Church
permits them by dispensation only under certain conditions
and for urgent reasons; chiefly to prevent a greater evil.
Q. 1039. What are the conditions upon which the Church
will permit an Orthodox Catholic to marry one who is not
A. The conditions upon which the Church will permit an
Orthodox Catholic to marry one who is not an Orthodox
1. That the Orthodox Catholic be allowed the free exercise of
his or her religion ; 2. That the Orthodox Catholic shall try
by teaching and good example to lead the one who is not an
Orthodox Catholic to embrace the true faith; 3. That all the
children born of the marriage shall be brought up in the
Orthodox Catholic religion.
The marriage ceremony must not be repeated before a
heretical minister. Without these promises, the Church will
not consent to a mixed marriage, and if the Church does not
consent the marriage is unlawful.
Q. 1040. What penalty does the Church impose on
Orthodox Catholics who marry before a Protestant
A. Orthodox Catholics who marry before a Protestant
minister incur excommunication; that is, a censure of the
Church or spiritual penalty which prevents them from
receiving the Sacrament of Penance till the priest who hears
their confession gets special faculties or permission from the
bishop; because by such a marriage they make profession of
a false religion in acknowledging as a priest one who has
neither sacred power nor authority. Most Bishops grant all
their priests this special faculty or permission, but it is not to
be exercised injudiciously.
Q. 1041. How does the Church show its displeasure at
A. The Church shows its displeasure at mixed marriages by
the coldness with which it sanctions them, prohibiting all
religious ceremony at them by forbidding the priest to use
any sacred vestments, holy water or blessing of the ring at
such marriages; by prohibiting them also from taking place
in the Church or even in the sacristy. On the other hand, the
Church shows its joy and approval at a true Orthodox
Catholic marriage by the Nuptial Divine Liturgy (Mass) and
Q. 1042. Why should Catholics avoid mixed marriages?
A. Catholics should avoid mixed marriages:
1. Because they are displeasing to the Church and cannot
bring with them the full measure of God's grace and blessing;
2. Because the children should have the good example of
both parents in the practice of their religion; 3. Because such
marriages give rise to frequent disputes on religious
questions between husband and wife and between their
4. Because the one not an Orthodox Catholic,
disregarding the sacred character of the Sacrament, may
claim a divorce and marry again, leaving the Orthodox
Catholic married and abandoned.
Q. 1043. Does the Church seek to make converts by its
laws concerning mixed marriages?
A. The Church does not seek to make converts by its laws
concerning mixed marriages, but seeks only to keep its
children from losing their faith and becoming perverts by
constant company with persons not Orthodox Catholics. The
Church does not wish persons to becomeOrthodox Catholics
merely for the sake of marrying Orthodox Catholics. Such
conversions are, as a rule, not sincere, do no good, but rather
make such converts hypocrites and guilty of greater sins,
especially sins of sacrilege.
Q. 1044. Why do many marriages prove unhappy?
A. Many marriages prove unhappy because they are entered
into hastily and without worthy motives.
Q. 1045. When are marriages entered into hastily?
A. Marriages are entered into hastily when persons do not
sufficiently consider and investigate the character, habits and
dispositions of the one they intend to marry. It is wise to look
for lasting qualities and solid virtues in a life-long
companion and not to be carried away with characteristics
that please only for a time.
Q. 1046. When are motives for marriage worthy?
A. Motives for marriage are worthy when persons enter it for
the sake of doing God's will and fulfilling the end for which
He instituted the Sacrament. Whatever is opposed to the true
object of the Sacrament and the sanctification of the husband
and wife must be an unworthy motive.
Q. 1047. How should Christians prepare for a holy and
A. Christians should prepare for a holy and happy marriage
by receiving the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist;
by begging God to grant them a pure intention and to direct
their choice; and by seeking the advice of their parents and
the blessing of their pastors.
Q. 1048. How may parents be guilty of great injustice to
their children in case of marriage?
A. Parents may be guilty of great injustice to their children in
case of marriage by seeking the gratification of their own
aims and desires, rather than the good of their children, and
thus for selfish and unreasonable motives forcing their
children to marry persons they dislike or preventing them
from marrying the persons chosen by the dictates of their
conscience, or compelling them to marry when they have no
vocation for such a life or no true knowledge of its
1049. May persons receive the Sacrament of
Matrimony more than once?
A. Persons may receive the sacrament of Matrimony more
than once, provided they are certain of the death of the
former husband or wife, or receive special dispensation and
comply with the laws of the Church.
Q. 1050. Where and at what time of the day should
Orthodox Catholics be married?
A.Orthodox Catholics should be married before the altar in
the Church. They should be married in the morning, and
with a Nuptial Divine Liturgy (Mass) if possible.
Q. 1051. What must never be forgotten by those who
attend a marriage ceremony in the Church?
A. They who attend a marriage ceremony in the Church must
never forget the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and that
all laughing, talking, or irreverence is forbidden then as at
other times. Women must never enter into the presence of the
Blessed Sacrament with uncovered heads, and their dress
must be in keeping with the strict modesty that Our Lord's
presence demands, no matter what worldly vanity or social
manners may require.
On the Sacramentals
Q. 1052. What is a sacramental?
A. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the
Church to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and
through these movements of the heart to remit venial sin.
Q. 1053. How do the Sacramentals excite good thoughts
and increase devotion?
A. The Sacramentals excite good thoughts by recalling to our
minds some special reason for doing good and avoiding evil;
especially by reminding us of some holy person, event or
thing through which blessings have come to us. They
increase devotion by fixing our minds on particular virtues
and by helping us to understand and desire them.
Q. 1054. Do the Sacramentals of themselves remit venial
A. The Sacramentals of themselves do not remit venial sins,
but they move us to truer devotion, to greater love for God
and greater sorrow for our sins, and this devotion, love and
sorrow bring us grace, and the grace remits venial sins.
Q. 1055. Why does the Church use Sacramentals?
A. The Church uses Sacramentals to teach the faithful of
every class the truths of religion, which they may learn as
well by their sight as by their hearing; for God wishes us to
learn His laws by every possible means, by every power of
soul and body.
Q. 1056. Show by an example how Sacramentals aid the
ignorant in learning the truths of faith.
A. Sacramentals aid the ignorant in learning the truths of
faith as children learn from pictures before they are able to
read. Thus one who cannot read the account of Our Lord's
passion may learn it from Icons particularly of the Stations of
the Cross, and one who kneels before a crucifix and looks on
the bleeding head, pierced hands and wounded side, is better
able to understand Christ's sufferings than one without a
crucifix before him.
Q. 1057. What are the Stations or Way of the Cross?
A. The Stations or Way of the Cross is a devotion instituted
by the Church to aid us in meditating on Christ's passion and
death. Fourteen crosses or stations, each with a picture of
some scene in the passion, are arranged at distances apart. By
passing from one station to another and praying before each
while we meditate upon the scene it represents, we make the
Way of the Cross in memory of Christ's painful journey
during His passion, and we gain the indulgence granted for
this pious exercise.
Q. 1058. Are prayers and ceremonies of the Church also
A. Prayers and ceremonies of the Church are also
Sacramentals because they excite good thoughts and increase
devotion. Whatever the Church dedicates to a pious use or
devotes to the worship of God may be called a Sacramental.
Q. 1059. On what ground does the Church make use of
A. The Church makes use of ceremonies:
1. After the example of the Old Law, in which God described
and commanded ceremonies; 2. After the example of Our
Lord, who rubbed clay on the eyes of the blind to whom He
wished to restore sight, though He might have performed the
miracle without any external act; 3. On the authority of the
Church itself, to whom Christ gave power to do whatever was
necessary for the instruction of all men; 4. To add solemnity
to religious acts.
Q. 1060. How may persons sin in using Sacramentals?
A. Persons may sin in using Sacramentals by using them in
a way or for a purpose prohibited by the Church; also by
believing that the use of Sacramentals will save us in spite of
our sinful lives. We must remember that Sacramentals can
aid us only through the blessing the Church gives them and
through the good dispositions they excite in us. They have,
therefore, no power in themselves, and to put too much
confidence in their use leads to superstition.
Q. 1061. What is the difference between the Sacraments
and the sacramentals?
A. The difference between the Sacraments and the
1st. The Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and the
sacramentals were instituted by the Church;
Sacraments give grace of themselves when we place no
obstacle in the way; 3rd. The sacramentals excite in us pious
dispositions, by means of which we may obtain grace.
Q. 1062. May the Church increase or diminish the
number of Sacraments and Sacramentals?
A. The Church can never increase nor diminish the number
of Sacraments, for as Christ Himself instituted them, He
alone has power to change their number; but the Church may
increase or diminish the number of the Sacramentals as the
devotion of its people or the circumstances of the time and
place require, for since the Church instituted them they must
depend entirely upon its laws.
Q. 1063. Which is the chief sacramental used in the
A. The chief sacramental used in the Church is the sign of
Q. 1064. How do we make the sign of the cross?
A. We make the sign of the cross by putting the thumb and
next two fingers of the right hand together and placing them
to the forehead, then on the breast, and then to the right and
left shoulders, saying, "In the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen."
Q. 1065. What is a common fault with many in blessing
A. A common fault with many in blessing themselves is to
make a hurried motion with the hand which is in no way a
sign of the cross. They perform this act of devotion without
thought or intention, forgetting that the Church grants an
indulgence to all who bless themselves properly while they
have sorrow for their sins.
Q. 1066. Why do we make the sign of the cross?
A. We make the sign of the cross to show that we are
Christians and to profess our belief in the chief mysteries of
Q. 1067. How is the sign of the cross a profession of faith
in the chief mysteries of our religion?
A. The sign of the cross is a profession of faith in the chief
mysteries of our religion because it expresses the mysteries of
the Unity and Trinity of God and of the Incarnation and
death of our Lord.
Q. 1068. How does the sign of the cross express the
mystery of the Unity and Trinity of God?
A. The words, "In the name," express the Unity of God; the
words that follow, "of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost," express the mystery of the Trinity. The three
fingers together express the Trinity, and th two remaining
fingers the dual nature of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Q. 1069. How does the sign of the cross express the
mystery of the Incarnation and death of our Lord?
A. The sign of the cross expresses the mystery of the
Incarnation by reminding us that the Son of God, having
become man, suffered death on the cross.
Q. 1070. What other sacramental is in very frequent use?
A. Another sacramental in very frequent use is holy water.
Q. 1071. What is holy water?
A. Holy water is water blessed by the priest with solemn
prayer to beg God's blessing on those who use it, and
protection from the powers of darkness.
Q. 1072. How does the water blessed on Holy Saturday, or
Pascha (Easter) Water, as it is called, differ from the holy
water blessed at other times?
A. The water blessed on Holy Saturday, or Pascha (Easter)
Water, as it is called, differs from the holy water blessed at
other times in this, that the Pascha (Easter) water is blessed
with greater solemnity, the paschal candle, which represents
Our Lord risen from the dead, having been dipped into it
with a special prayer.
Q. 1073. Is water ever blessed in honor of certain saints?
A. Water is sometimes blessed in honor of certain saints and
for special purposes. The form of prayer to be used in such
blessings is found in the Ritual -- the book containing prayers
and ceremonies for the administration of the Sacraments and
of blessings authorized by the Church.
Q. 1074. Are there other sacramentals besides the sign of
the cross and holy water?
A. Beside the sign of the cross and holy water there are many
other sacramentals, such as blessed candles, ashes, palms,
crucifixes, images of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints,
rosaries, and scapulars.
Q. 1075. When are candles blessed in the Church and
why are they used?
A. Candles are blessed in the Church on the feast of the
Purification of the Blessed Virgin -- February 2nd. They are
used chiefly to illuminate and ornament our altars, as a mark
of reverence for the presence of Our Lord and of joy at His
Q. 1076. What praiseworthy custom is now in use in many
A. A praiseworthy custom now in use in many places is the
offering by the faithful on the feast of the Purification of
candles for the use of the altar during the year. It is pleasing
to think we have candles burning in our name on the altar of
God, and if the Jewish people yearly made offerings to their
temple, faithful Christians should not neglect their altars and
churches where God Himself dwells.
Q. 1077. When are ashes blessed in the Church and why
are they used?
A. Ashes are blessed in the Church on Ash Wednesday in
Westrern Rite. They are used to keep us in mind of our
humble origin, and of how the body of Adam, our forefather,
was formed out of the slime or clay of the earth; also to
remind us of death, when our bodies will return to dust, and
of the necessity of doing penance for our sins. These ashes
are obtained by burning the blessed palms of the previous
Q. 1078. When are palms blessed and of what do they
A. Palms are blessed on Palm Sunday. They remind us of
Our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the people,
wishing to honor Him and make Him king, strewed palm
branches and even their own garments in His path, singing:
Hosanna to the Son of David.
Q. 1079. What is the difference between a cross and a
A. A cross has no figure on it and a crucifix has a figure of
Our Lord. The word crucifix means fixed or nailed to the
Q. 1080. What is the Rosary?
A. The Rosary, called by Saint Seraphim and others The rule
Of the MOther Of God, is a form of prayer in which we say
a certain number of Our Fathers and Hail Marys, meditating
or thinking for a short time before each decade; that is, before
each Our Father and ten Hail Marys, on some particular
event in the life of Our Lord. These events are called
mysteries of the Rosary. The string of beads on which these
prayers are said is also called a Rosary. The ordinary beads
are of five decades, or one-third of the whole Rosary.
Q. 1081. Who taught the use of the Rosary in its present
A. The Rosary has been in use from the earliest days of trhe
Church, has from time to time fallen into disuse in various
gepgraphic areas but has always made a return to use. roman
Catholics believe Saint Dominic taught the use of the Rosary
in its present form, but Saint Seraphim of Savrov tells us it
has been a prayer of the Church since very ancient times.
Both Saint Dominic and Saint Seraphim used the Rosary in
instructeing their hearers in the chief truths of our holy
religion and converted many to active participation in the
Q. 1082. How do we say the Rosary, or beads?
A. To say the Rosary or beads we bless ourselves with the
cross, then say the Apostles' Creed and the Our Father on the
first large bead, then the Hail Mary on each of the three small
beads, and then Glory be to the Father, etc. Then we mention
or think of the first mystery we wish to honor, and say an Our
Father on the large bead and a Hail Mary on each small bead
of the ten that follow. At the end of every decade, or ten Hail
Marys, we say "Glory be to the Father;" etc. Then we
mention the next mystery and do as before, and so on to the
The Rule of the Mother of God, as taught and prayed by Saint
Seraphim and from ancient times, uses a more ancient form
of the Hail Mary and is begun with intention and prayer are
made before and after each Hail Mary as weall as each
Q. 1083. How many mysteries of the Rosary are there?
A. There are fifteen mysteries of the Rosary arranged in the
order in which these events occurred in the life of Our Lord,
and divided into five joyful, five sorrowful, and five glorious
Q. 1084. Say the five joyful mysteries of the Rosary.
A. The five joyful mysteries of the Rosary are:
1. The Annunciation -- the Angel Gabriel telling the Blessed
Virgin that she is to be the Mother of God; 2 The Visitation
-- the Blessed Virgin goes to visit her cousin, St. Elizabeth,
the mother of St. John the Baptist; 3. The Nativity, or birth,
of Our Lord; 4. The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the
temple -- His parents offered Him to God; 5. The finding of
the Child Jesus in the temple -- His parents had lost Him in
Jerusalem for three days.
Q. 1085. Say the five sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary.
A. The five sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary are:
1. The Agony in the Garden -- Our Lord was in dreadful
anguish and bathed in a bloody sweat; 2. The Scourging at
the Pillar -- Christ was stripped of His garments and lashed
in a cruel manner; 3. The Crowning with Thorns -- He was
mocked as a king by heartless men; 4. The Carriage of the
Cross -- from the place He was condemned to Calvary, the
place of Crucifixion; 5. The Crucifixion -- He was nailed to
the cross amid the jeers and blasphemies of His enemies.
Q. 1086. Say the five glorious mysteries of the Rosary.
A. The five glorious mysteries of the Rosary are:
1. The Resurrection of Our Lord; 2. The Ascension of Our
Lord; 3. The Coming of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles;
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin -- after death she
was taken body and soul into heaven; 5. The Coronation of
the Blessed Virgin -- on entering heaven she was made queen
of all the Angels and Saints and placed in dignity next to her
Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord.
Q. 1087. On what days, according to the pious custom of
the faithful, are the different mysteries of the Rosary
A. According to the pious custom of the faithful, the different
mysteries of the Rosary are usually said on the following
days, namely: the joyful on Mondays and Thursdays, the
sorrowful on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the glorious on
Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Q. 1088. What do the letters I. N. R. I. over the crucifix
A. The letters I. N. R. I. over the crucifix are the first letters
of four Latin words that mean Jesus of Nazareth, King of the
Jews. Our Lord did say He was king of the Jews, but He also
said that He was not their temporal or earthly king, but their
spiritual and heavenly king.
Q. 1089. To what may we attribute the desire of the Jews
to put Christ to death?
A. We may attribute the desire of the Jews to put Christ to
death to the jealously, hatred and ill-will of their priests and
the Pharisees, whose faults He rebuked and whose hypocrisy
He exposed. By their slanders and lies they induced the
people to follow them in demanding Our Lord's crucifixion.
Q. 1090. With whom did the Blessed Virgin live after the
death of Our Lord?
A. After the death of Our Lord the Blessed Virgin lived for
about eleven years with the Apostle St. John the Evangelist,
called also the Beloved Disciple. He wrote one of the four
Gospels, three Epistles, and the Apocalypse, or Book of
Revelations -- the last book of the Bible. He lived to the age
of a hundred years or more and died last of all the apostles.
Q. 1091. What do we mean by the Assumption of the
Blessed Virgin, and why do we believe in it?
A. By the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin we mean that
her body was taken up into heaven after her death. We
believe in it:
1. Because the Church cannot teach error, and yet from an
early age the Church has celebrated the Feast of the
Assumption; 2. Because no one ever claimed to have a relic
of our Blessed Mother's body, and surely the apostles, who
knew and loved her, would have secured some relic had her
body remained upon earth.
Q. 1092. What do the letters I. H. S. on an altar or sacred
A. The letters I. H. S. on an altar or sacred things means the
name Jesus; for it is in that way the Holy Name is written in
the Greek language when some of the letters are left out.
Q. 1093. What is the scapular, and why is it worn?
A. The scapular is a long, broad piece of woolen cloth
forming a part of the religious dress of monks, priests and
sisters of some religious orders. It is worn over the shoulders
and extends from the shoulders to the feet. The small
scapular made in imitation of it, and consisting of two small
pieces of cloth fastened together by strings, is worn by the
faithful as a promise or proof of their willingness to practice
some particular devotion, indicated by the kind of scapular
they wear. The full scapular was a garment designed to
protect the other garments while working.
Q. 1094. How many kinds of scapulars are there in use
among the faithful?
A. Among the faithful there are many kinds of scapulars in
use, such as the brown scapular or scapular of Mount Carmel
worn in honor of Our Lord's passion; the white, in honor of
the Holy Trinity; the blue, in honor of the Immaculate
Conception; and the black, in honor of the seven dolors of the
Blessed Virgin. When these are joined together and worn as
one they are called the five scapulars. The brown scapular is
best known and entitles its wearer to the greatest privileges
Q. 1095. What are the seven dolors of the Blessed Virgin?
A. The seven dolors of the Blessed Virgin are the chief
sorrowful events in the life of Our Blessed Lady. They are:
1. The circumcision of our Lord -- when she saw his blood
shed for the first time; 2. Her flight into Egypt -- to save the
life of the Infant Jesus, when Herod sought to kill Him; 3.
The three days she lost her Son in Jerusalem; 4. When she
saw him carrying the cross; 5. When she saw him die; 6.
When His dead body was taken down from the cross; 7.
When it was laid in the sepulchre or tomb.
Q. 1096. What are the seven dolor beads, and how do we
A. Seven dolor beads are beads constructed with seven
medals, each bearing a representation of one of the seven
dolors, and seven beads between each medal and the next. At
each medal we meditate on the proper dolor and the say a
Hail Mary on each of the bead following it.
Q. 1097. What is an Agnus Dei?
A. An Agnus Dei is a small piece of beeswax stamped with
the image of a lamb and cross. It is solemnly blessed by the
Primate or Patriarch with special prayers for those who carry
it about their person in honor of Our Blessed Redeemer,
whom we call the Lamb of God, Who taketh away the sins of
the world. The wax is usually covered with silk or some fine
Q. 1098. Is there a y other means of obtaiing God’s grace
than the Sacraments?
A. There is another means of obtaiing god’s grace, and it is
Q. 1099. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God, to
adore Him, to thank Him for His benefits, to ask His
forgiveness, and to beg of Him all the graces we need
whether for soul or body.
Q. 1100. How many kinds of prayer are there?
A. There are two kinds of prayer:
1. Mental prayer, called
meditation, in which we spend the time thinking of God or of
one or more of the truths He has revealed, that by these
thoughts we may be persuaded to lead holier lives; 2. vocal
prayer, in which we express these pious thoughts in words.
Q. 1101. Why is mental prayer most useful to us?
A. Mental prayer is most useful to us because it compels us,
while we are engaged in it, to keep our attention fixed on God
and HIs holy laws and to keep our hearts and minds liftedup
Q. 1102. How can we make a meditation?
A. We can make a meditation1. By rememberingthat we are
in the presence of God; 2. by asking the Holy Ghost to give
us grace to benefit by the meditation;
3. by reflecting
seriously on some sacred truth regarding our salvation; 4. by
drawing some good resolution from the toughts we have had,
and 5. by thanking God fore the knowledge and grace
bestowed on us through the meditation.
Q. 1103. Where may we find subjects or points for
A. We may find the subjects or points for meditation in the
words of the Our Father, Hail Mary or apostles’ Creed; also
in the questions and answers of our Cateshism, in the Holy
Bible, and in books of meditation.
Q. 1104. Is prayer necessary to salvation?
A. Prayer is necessary to salvation, and without it no one
having the use of reason can be saved.
Q. 1105. At what particular times should we pray?
A. We shoud pray particularly on sundays and holy days,
every morning and nightr, in all dangers, temptations, and
Q. 1106. How should we pray?
A. We should pray:
1st. With attention;
2nd. With a sense
of our own helplessness and dependence upon God; 3rd.
With a great desire for the graces we beg of God; 4th. With
trust in God’s goodness; 5th. With perseverance.
Q. 1107. What should our attention at prayer be?
A. Our attention at prayer should be three-fold, namely,
Attention to the words, that we may say them correctly and
distinctly; atten tion to their meaning, if we understand it,
and attention to God, to whom the words are addressed.
Q. 1108. What should be the position of the body when we
A. At prayer the most becoming positio:n of the body is
kneeling upright, but whether we pray kneeling, standing or
sitting, the position of the body should always be one
indicating reverence, respect and devotion. We may pray
even lying down or walking, for Our Lord Himself says we
should pray at all times.
Q. 1109. What should we do that we may pray well?
A. That we may pray well we should make a preparation
before prayer (1) By calling to mind the dignity of God, to
whom we are about to speak, and our own unworthiness to
appear in His presence; (2) by fixing upon the precise grace
or blessing for which we intend to ask; (3) by remembering
God's power and willingness to give if we truly need and
earnestly, humbly and confidently ask.
Q. 1110. Why does God not always grant our prayers?
A. God does not always grant our prayers for these and other
reasons: (1) Because we may not pray in the proper manner;
(2) that we may learn our dependence on Him, prove our
confidence in Him, and merit rewards by our patience and
perseverance in prayer. Prudent persons do not grant every
request; why, then, should God do so?
Q. 1111. What assurance have we that God always hears
and rewards our prayers, though He may not grant what
A. We have the assurance of Our Lord Himself that God
always hears and rewards our prayers, though He may not
grant what we ask; for Christ said: "Ask and it shall be given
you," and "if you ask the Father anything in My name, He
will give it you."
Q. 1112. Which are the prayers most recom mended to
A. The prayers most recommended to us are the Lord's
Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostles' Creed, the Confiteor,
and the Acts of Faith, Hope, Love, and Contrition.
Q. 1113. Are prayers said with distractions of any avail?
A. Prayers said, with wilful distraction are ,of no avail.
Q. 1114. Why are prayers said with wilful distraction of
A. Prayers said with wilful distraction are of no avail because
they are mere words, such as a machine might utter, and
since there is no lifting up of the mind or heart with them
they cannot be prayer.
Q. 1115. Do, then, the distractions which we often have at
prayer deprive our prayers of all merit?
A. The distractions which we often have at prayer do not
deprive our prayers of all merit, because they are not wilful
when we try to keep them away, for God rewards our good
intentions and the efforts we make to pray well.
Q. 1116. What, then, is a distraction?
A. A distraction is any thought that, during prayer, enters our
mind to turn our thoughts and hearts from God and from the
sacred duty we are performing.
Q. 1117. What are the fruits of prayer?
A. The fruits of prayer are: It strengthens our faith, nourishes
our hope, increases our love for God, keeps us humble, merits
grace and atones for sin.
Q. 1118. Why should we pray when God knows our
A. We pray not to remind God or tell Him of what we need,
but to acknowledge that He is the Supreme Giver, to adore
and worship Him by showing our entire dependence upon
Him for every gift to soul or body.
Q. 1119. What little prayers may we say even at work?
A. Even at work we may say little aspirations such as "My
God, pardon my sins; Blessed be the Holy Name of Jesus;
Holy Spirit, enlighten me; Holy Mary, pray for me," &c.
Q. 1120. Did Our Lord Himself pray, and why?
A. Our Lord Himself very frequently prayed, often spending
the whole night in prayer. He prayed before everv important
action, not that He needed to pray, but to set us an example
of how and when we should prav.
Q. 1121. Why does the Church conclude most of its
prayers with the words "through Jesus Christ Our
A. The Churh concludes most of its prayers with the words
"through Jesus Christ Our Lord" because it is only through
His merits that we can obtain grace, and because "there is no
other name given to men whereby we must be saved."
Q. 1122. Was any special promise made in favor of the
united prayers of two or more persons?
A. A special promise was made in favor of the united prayers
of two or more persons when Our Lord said: "Where there
are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in
the midst of them." Therefore, the united prayers of a
congregation, sodality or family, and, above all, the public
prayers of the whole Church, have great influence with God.
We should join in public prayers out of true devotion, and not
from habit, or, worse, to display our piety.
Q. 1123. What is the most suitable place for prayer?
A. The most suitable place for prayer is in the Church - the
house of prayer - made holy by special blessings and, above
all, by the Real Presence of Jesus dwelling in the Tabernacle.
Still, Our Lord exhorts us to pray also in secret, for His
Father, who seeth in secret, will repay us.
Q. 1124 For what should we pray?
A. We should pray (1) For ourselves, for the blessings of soul
and body that we may be devoted servants of Crod; (2) for the
Church, for all spiritual and temporal wants, that the true
faith may be everywhere known and professed; (3) for our
relatives, friends and benefactors, particularly for those we
may in any way have injured; (4) for all men, for the
protection of the good and conversion of the wicked, that
virtue may flourish and vice disappear; (5) for our spiritual
rulers, our Patriarchs, Primates, our bishops, priests and
religious communities, that they may faithfully perform their
sacred duties; (6) for our country and temporal rulers, that
they may use their power for the good of their subjects and
for the honor and glory of God.
On the Commandments of God
Q. 1125. Is it enough to belong to God's Church in order
to be saved?
A. It is not enough to belong to the Church in order to be
saved, but we must also keep the Commandments of God and
of the Church.
Q. 1126. Are not the commandments of the Church also
commandments of God?
A. The commandments of the Church are also
commandments of God, for they are made by His authority
and under the guidance of the Holy Ghost; nevertheless, the
Church can change or abolish its own commandments, while
it cannot change or abolish the commandments given
directly by God Himself.
Q. 1127. Which are the Commandments that contain the
whole law of God?
A. The Commandments which contain the whole law of God
are these two:
1st. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart,
with thy whole soul, with thy whole strength, and with thy
whole mind; 2nd. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Q. 1128. Why do these two Commandments of the love of
God and of our neighbor contain the whole law of God?
A. These two Commandments of the love of God and of our
neighbor contain the whole law of God because all the other
Commandments are given either to help us to keep these two,
or to direct us how to shun what is opposed to them.
Q. 1129. Explain further how the two commandments of
the love of God and of our neighbor contain the teaching
of the whole ten commandments.
A. The two commandments of the love of God and of our
neighbor contain the teaching of the whole ten
commandments because the first three of the ten
commandments refer to God and oblige us to worship Him
alone, respect His name and serve Him as He wills, and these
things we will do if we love Him; secondly, the last seven of
the ten commandments refer to our neighbor and forbid us to
injure him in body, soul, goods or reputation, and if we love
him we will do him no injury in any of these, but, on the
contrary, aid him as far as we can.
Q. 1130. Which are the Commandments of God?
A. The Commandments of God are these ten:
1st. I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land
of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have
strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a
graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven
above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in
the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor
serve them. 2nd. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord
thy God in vain. 3rd. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath
day. 4th. Honor thy father and thy mother. 5th. Thou shalt
not kill. 6th. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 7th. Thou shalt
not steal. 8th. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy
neighbor. 9th. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. 10th.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.
Q. 1131. What does the first commandment mean by a
"graven thing" or "the likeness of anything" in heaven,
in the earth or in the waters?
A. The first commandment means by a "graven thing" or
"the likeness of anything" in heaven, in the earth or in the
waters, the statue, picture or image of any creature in heaven
or of any animal on land or in water intended for an idol and
to be worshipped as a god.
Q. 1132. Who gave the Ten Commandments?
A. God Himself gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on
Mount Sinai, and Christ our Lord confirmed them.
Q. 1133. How and when were the Commandments give to
A. The Commandments, written on two tables of stone, were
given to Moses in the midst of fire and smoke, thunder and
lightning, from which God spoke to him on the mountain,
about fifty days after the Israelites were delivered from the
bondage of Egypt and while they were on their journey
through the desert to the Promised Land.
Q. 1134. What do we mean when we say Christ confirmed
A. When we say Christ confirmed the Commandments we
mean that He strongly approved them, and gave us by His
teaching a fuller and clearer knowledge of their meaning and
Q. 1135. Was anyone obliged to keep the Commandments
before they were given to Moses?
A. All persons, from the beginning of the world, were
obliged to keep the Commandments, for it was always sinful
to blaspheme God, murder, steal or violate any of the
Commandments, though they were not written till the time of
Q. 1136. How many kinds of laws had the Jews before the
coming of Our Lord?
A. Before the coming of Our Lord the Jews had three kinds
1st.Civil laws, regulating the affairs of their nation; 2nd.
Ceremonial laws, governing their worship in the temple; 3rd.
Moral laws, guiding their religious belief and actions.
1137. To which of these laws did the Ten
A. The Ten Commandments belong to the moral law,
because they are a compendium or short account of what we
must do in order to save our souls; just as the Apostles' Creed
is a compendium of what we must believe.
Q. 1138. When did the civil and ceremonial laws of the
Jews cease to exist?
A. The civil laws of the Jews ceased to exist when the Jewish
people, shortly before the coming of Christ, ceased to be an
independent nation. The ceremonial laws ceased to exist
when the Jewish religion ceased to be the true religion; that
is, when Christ established the Christian religion, of which
the Jewish religion was only a figure or promise.
Q. 1139. Why were not also the moral laws of the Jews
abolished when the Christian religion was established?
A. The moral laws of the Jews could not be abolished by the
establishment of the Christian religion because they regard
truth and virtue and have been revealed by God, and
whatever God has revealed as true must be always true, and
whatever He has condemned as bad in itself must be always
On the First Commandment
Q. 1140. What is the first Commandment?
A. The first Commandment is: I am the Lord thy God: thou
shalt not have strange gods before me.
Q. 1141. What does the commandment mean by "strange
A. By strange gods the commandment means idols or false
gods, which the Israelites frequently worshipped when,
through their sins, they had abandoned the true God.
Q. 1142. How may we, in a sense, worship strange gods?
A. We, in a sense, may worship strange gods by giving up the
salvation of our souls for wealth, honors, society, worldly
pleasures, etc., so that we would offend God, renounce our
faith or give up the practice of our religion for their sake.
Q. 1143. How does the first Commandment help us to
keep the great Commandment of the love of God?
A. The first Commandment helps us to keep the great
Commandment of the love of God because it commands us to
adore God alone.
Q. 1144. How do we adore God?
A. We adore God by faith, hope, and charity, by prayer and
Q. 1145. By what prayers do we adore God?
A. We adore God by all our prayers, but in particular by the
public prayers of the Church, and, above all, by the Holy
Sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy (Mass).
Q. 1146. How may the first Commandment be broken?
A. The first Commandment make be broken by giving to a
creature the honor which belongs to God alone; by false
worship; and by attributing to a creature a perfection which
belongs to God alone.
Q. 1147. What is the honor which belongs to God alone?
A. The honor which belongs to God alone is a divine honor,
in which we offer Him sacrifice, incense or prayer, solely for
His own sake and for His own glory. To give such honor to
any creature, however holy, would be idolatry.
Q. 1148. How do we offer God false worship?
A. We offer God false worship by rejecting the religion He
has instituted and following one pleasing to ourselves, with
a form of worship He has never authorized, approved or
Q. 1149. Why must we serve God in the form of religion
He has instituted and in no other?
A. We must serve God in the form of religion He has
instituted and in no other, because heaven is not a right, but
a promised reward, a free gift of God, which we must merit
in the manner He directs and pleases.
Q. 1150. When do we attribute to a creature a perfection
which belongs to God alone?
A. We attribute to a creature a perfection which belongs to
God alone when we believe it possesses knowledge or power
independently of God, so that it may, without His aid, make
known the future or perform miracles.
Q. 1151. Do those who make use of spells and charms, or
who believe in dreams, in mediums, spiritists, fortune-
tellers, and the like, sin against the first Commandment?
A. Those who make use of spells and charms, or who believe
in dreams, in mediums, spiritists, fortune-tellers, and the
like, sin against the first Commandment, because they
attribute to creatures perfections which belong to God alone.
Q. 1152. What are spells and charms?
A. Spells and charms are certain words, by the saying of
which superstitious persons believe they can avert evil, bring
good fortune or produce some supernatural or wonderful
effect. They may be also objects or articles worn about the
body for the same purpose.
Q. 1153. Are not Agnus Deis, medals, scapulars, etc.,
which we wear about our bodies also charms?
A. Agnus Deis, medals, scapulars, etc., which we wear about
our bodies, are not charms, for we do not expect any help
from these things themselves, but, through the blessing they
have received from the Church, we expect help from God, the
Blessed Mother, or the Saint in whose honor we wear them.
On the contrary, they who wear charms expect help from the
charms themselves, or from some evil spirit.
Q. 1154. What must we carefully guard against in all our
devotions and religious practices?
A. In all our devotions and religious practices we must
carefully guard against expecting God to perform miracles
when natural causes may bring about what we hope for. God
will sometimes miraculously help us, but, as a rule, only
when all natural means have failed.
Q. 1155. What are dreams and why is it forbidden to
believe in them?
A. Dreams are the thoughts we have in sleep, when our will
is unable to guide them. It is forbidden to believe in them,
because they are often ridiculous, unreasonable, or wicked,
and are not governed by either reason or faith.
Q. 1156. Are bad dreams sinful in themselves?
A. Bad dreams are not sinful in themselves, because we
cannot prevent them, but we may make them sinful:
1. By taking pleasure in them when we awake, and 2. By bad
reading or immodest looks, thoughts, word or actions before
going to sleep; for by any of these things we may make
ourselves responsible for the bad dreams.
Q. 1157. Did not God frequently in the Old Law make use
of dreams as a means of making known His will?
A. God did frequently in the Old Law make use of dreams as
a means of making known His Will; but on such occasions
He always gave proof that what He made known was not a
mere dream, but rather a revelation or inspiration. He no
longer makes use of such means, for He now makes known
His will through the inspiration of His Church.
Q. 1158. What are mediums and spiritists?
A. Mediums and spiritists are persons who pretend to
converse with the dead or with spirits of the other world.
They pretend also to give this power to others, that they may
know what is going on in heaven, purgatory or hell.
Q. 1159. What other practice is very dangerous to faith
A. Another practice very dangerous to faith and morals is the
use of mesmerism or hypnotism, because it is liable to sinful
abuses, for it deprives a person for a time of the control of his
reason and will and places his body and mind entirely in the
power of another.
Q. 1160. What are fortune tellers?
A. Fortune tellers are imposters who, learning the past, or
guessing at it, pretend to know also the future and to be able
to reveal it to anyone who pays for the knowledge. They
pretend also to know whatever concerns things lost or stolen,
and the secret thoughts, actions or intentions of others.
Q. 1161. How do we, by believing in spells, charms,
mediums, spiritists and fortune tellers, attribute to
creatures the perfections of God?
A. By believing in spells, charms, mediums, spiritists and
fortune tellers we attribute to creatures the perfections of God
because we expect these creatures to perform miracles, reveal
the hidden judgments of God, and make known His designs
for the future with regard to His creatures, things that only
God Himself may do.
Q. 1162. Is it sinful to consult mediums, spiritists, fortune
tellers and the like when we do not believe in them, but
through mere curiosity to hear what they may say?
A. It is sinful to consult mediums, spiritists, fortune tellers
and the like even when we do not believe in them, but
through mere curiosity, to hear what they may say:
1. Because it is wrong to expose ourselves to the danger of
sinning even though we do not sin; 2. Because we may give
scandal to others who are not certain that we go through
3. Because by our pretended belief we
encourage these impostors to continue their wicked practices.
Q. 1163. Are sins against faith, hope, and charity also sins
against the first Commandment?
A. Sins against faith, hope and charity are also sins against
the first Commandment.
Q. 1164. How does a person sin against faith?
A. A person sins against faith:
1. By not trying to know what God has taught; 2. By refusing
to believe all that God has taught; 3. By neglecting to profess
his belief in what God has taught.
Q. 1165. How do we fail to try to know what God has
A. We fail to try to know what God has taught by neglecting
to learn the Christian doctrine.
Q. 1166. What means have we of learning the Christian
A. We have many means of learning the Christian doctrine:
In youth we have Catechism and special instructions suited
to our age; later we have sermons, missions, retreats,
religious sodalities and societies through which we may
learn. At all times, we have books of instruction, and, above
all, the priests of the Church, ever ready to teach us. God will
not excuse our ignorance if we neglect to learn our religion
when He has given us the means.
Q. 1167. Should we learn the Christian doctrine merely
for our own sake?
A. We should learn the Christian doctrine not merely for our
own sake, but for the sake also of others who may sincerely
wish to learn from us the truths of our holy faith.
Q. 1168. How should such instruction be given to those
who ask it of us?
A. Such instruction should be given to those who ask it of us
in a kind and Christian spirit, without dispute or bitterness.
We should never attempt to explain the truths of our religion
unless we are certain of what we say. When we are unable to
answer what is asked we should send those who inquire to
the priest or to others better instructed than ourselves.
Q. 1169. Who are they who do not believe all that God has
A. They who do not believe all that God has taught are the
heretics and infidels.
Q. 1170. Name the different classes of unbelievers and tell
what they are.
A. The different classes of unbelievers are:
1. Atheists, who deny there is a God; 2. Deists, who admit
there is a God, but deny that He revealed a religion; 3.
Agnostics, who will neither admit nor deny the existence of
God; 4. Infidels, who have never been baptized, and who,
through want of faith, refuse to be baptized; 5. Heretics, who
have been baptized Christians, but do not believe all the
articles of faith; 6. Schismatics, who have been baptized and
believe all the articles of faith, but do not submit to the
authority of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; 7.
Apostates, who have rejected the true religion, in which they
formerly believed, to join a false religion; 8. Rationalists and
Materialists (such as humanists and students of the so called
enlightenment”), who believe only in material things.
Q. 1171. Will the denial of only one article of faith make
a person a heretic?
A. The denial of only one article of faith will make a person
a heretic and guilty of mortal sin, because the Holy Scripture
says: "Whosoever shall keep the whole law but offend in one
point is become guilty of all."
Q. 1172. What is an article of faith?
A. An article of faith is a revealed truth so important and so
certain that no one can deny or doubt it without rejecting the
testimony of God. The Church very clearly points out what
truths are articles of faith that we may distinguish them from
pious beliefs and traditions, so that no one can be guilty of
the sin of heresy without knowing it.
Q. 1173. Who are they who neglect to profess their belief
in what God has taught?
A. They who neglect to profess their belief in what God has
taught are all those who fail to acknowledge the true Church
in which they really believe.
Q. 1174. How do persons who are members of the Church
neglect to profess their belief?
A. Persons who are members of the Church neglect to profess
their belief by living contrary to the teachings of the Church:
that is, by neglecting Divine Liturgy
(Mass) or the
Sacraments, doing injury to their neighbor, and disgracing
their religion by sinful and scandalous lives.
Q. 1175. What chiefly prevents persons who believe in the
Church from becoming members of it?
A. A want of Christian courage chiefly prevents persons who
believe in the Church from becoming members of it. They
fear too much the opinion or displeasure of others, the loss of
position or wealth, and, in general, the trials they may have
to suffer for the sake of the true faith.
Q. 1176. What does Our Lord say of those who neglect the
true religion for the sake of relatives or friends, or from
fear of suffering?
A. Our Lord says of those who neglect the true religion for
the sake of relatives or friends, or from fear of suffering: "He
that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of
Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me, is not
worthy of Me"; also: "And whosoever does not carry his cross
and come after Me cannot be My disciple."
Q. 1177. What excuse do some give for neglecting to seek
and embrace the true religion?
A. Some give as an excuse for neglecting to seek and
embrace the true religion that we should live in the religion
in which we were born, and that one religion is as good as
another if we believe we are serving God.
Q. 1178. How do we show that such an excuse is false and
A. We show that such an excuse is false and absurd because:
1. It is false and absurd to say that we should remain in error
after we have discovered it; 2. Because if one religion is as
good as another, Our Lord would not have abolished the
Jewish religion, nor the apostles have preached against
Q. 1179. Can they who fail to profess their faith in the
true Church in which they believe expect to be saved
while in that state?
A. They who fail to profess their faith in the true Church in
which they believe cannot expect to be saved while in that
state, for Christ has said: "Whosoever shall deny me before
men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in
Q. 1180. Are we obliged to make open profession of our
A. We are obliged to make open profession of our faith as
often as God's honor, our neighbor's spiritual good or our
own requires it. "Whosoever," says Christ, "shall confess me
before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is
Q. 1181. When does God's honor, our neighbor's spiritual
good, or our own good require us to make an open
profession of our faith ?
A. God's honor, our neighbor's spiritual good, or our own
good requires us to make an open profession of our faith as
often as we cannot conceal our religion without violating
some law of God or of His Church, or without giving scandal
to others or exposing ourselves to the danger of sinning.
Pious practices not commanded may often be omitted without
any denial of faith.
Q. 1182. Which are the sins against hope?
A. The sins against hope are presumption and despair.
Q. 1183. What is presumption?
A. Presumption is a rash expectation of salvation without
making proper use of the necessary means to obtain it.
Q. 1184. How may we be guilty of presumption?
A. We may be guilty of presumption:
1. By putting off confession when in a state of mortal sin; 2.
By delaying the amendment of our lives and repentance for
past sins; 3. By being indifferent about the number of times
we yield to any temptation after we have once yielded and
broken our resolution to resist it; 4. By thinking we can avoid
sin without avoiding its near occasion; 5. By relying too
much on ourselves and neglecting to follow the advice of our
confessor in regard to the sins we confess.
Q. 1185. What is despair?
A. Despair is the loss of hope in God's mercy.
Q. 1186. How may we be guilty of despair?
A. We may be guilty of despair by believing that we cannot
resist certain temptations, overcome certain sins or amend
our lives so as to be pleasing to God.
Q. 1187. Are all sins of presumption and despair equally
A. All sins of presumption and despair are not equally great.
They may be very slight or very great in proportion to the
degree in which we deny the justice or mercy of God.
Q. 1188. How do we sin against the love of God?
A. We sin against the love of God by all sin, but particularly
by mortal sin.
The First Commandment -- On the Honor and
Invocation of the Saints
1189. Does the first Commandment forbid the
honoring of the saints?
A. The first Commandment does not forbid the honoring of
the saints, but rather approves of it; because by honoring the
saints, who are the chosen friends of God, we honor God
Q. 1190. What does "invocation" mean?
A. Invocation means calling upon another for help or
protection, particularly when we are in need or danger. It is
used specially with regard to calling upon God or the saints,
and hence it means prayer.
Q. 1191. How do we show that by honoring the Saints we
honor God Himself?
A. We honor the Saints because they honor God. Therefore,
it is for His sake that we honor them, and hence by honoring
them we honor Him.
Q. 1192. Give another reason why we honor God by
honoring the Saints.
A. Another reason why we honor God by honoring the Saints
is this: As we honor our country by honoring its heroes, so do
we honor our religion by honoring its Saints. By honoring
our religion we honor God, who taught it. Therefore, by
honoring the Saints we honor God, for love of whom they
became religious heroes in their faith.
Q. 1193. Does the first Commandment forbid us to pray
to the saints?
A. The first Commandment does not forbid us to pray to the
Q. 1194. Why does the first commandment not forbid us
to pray to the Saints?
A. The first commandment does not forbid us to pray to the
Saints, because if we are allowed to ask the prayers of our
fellow-creatures upon earth we should be allowed also to ask
the prayers of our fellow-creatures in heaven. Moreover, the
Saints must have an interest in our welfare, because whatever
tends to make us good, tends also to the glory of God.
Q. 1195. What do we mean by praying to the saints?
A. By praying to the saints we mean the asking of their help
Q. 1196. Do we not slight God Himself by addressing our
prayers to saints?
A. We do not slight God Himself by addressing our prayers
to saints, but, on the contrary, show a greater respect for His
majesty and sanctity, acknowledging, by our prayers to the
saints, that we are unworthy to address Him for ourselves,
and that we, therefore, ask His holy friends to obtain for us
what we ourselves are not worthy to ask.
Q. 1197. How do we know that the saints hear us?
A. We know that the saints hear us, because they are with
God, who makes our prayers known to them.
Q. 1198. Why do we believe that the saints will help us?
A. We believe that the saints will help us because both they
and we are members of the same Church, and they love us as
Q. 1199. How are the saints and we members of the same
A. The saints and we are members of the same Church,
because the Church in heaven and the Church on earth are
one and the same Church, and all its members are in
communion with one another.
Q. 1200. What is the communion of the members of the
A. The Communion of the members of the Church is called
the Communion of Saints.
Q. 1201. What does the communion of saints mean?
A. The communion of saints means the union which exists
between the members of the Church on earth with one
another, and with the blessed in Heaven, and with the
suffering souls in Purgatory.
Q. 1202. What benefits are derived from the communion
A. The following benefits are derived from the communion
of saints: the faithful on earth assist one another by their
prayers and good works, and they are aided by the
intercession of the saints in Heaven, while both the saints in
Heaven and the faithful on earth help the souls in Purgatory.
Q. 1203. How can we best honor the Saints, and where
shall we learn their virtues?
A. We can best honor the saints by imitating their virtues,
and we shall learn their virtues from the written accounts of
their lives. Among the Saints we shall find models for every
age, condition or state of life.
Q. 1204. Does the first Commandment forbid us to honor
A. The first Commandment does not forbid us to honor
relics, because relics are the bodies of the saints or objects
directly connected with them or with our Lord.
Q. 1205. How many kinds or classes of relics are there?
A. There are three kinds or classes of relics:
1. The body or part of the body of a saint; 2. Articles, such as
clothing or books, used by the saint; 3. Articles that have
touched a relic of the body or other relic.
Q. 1206. What is there special about a relic of the true
cross on which Our Lord Died, and also about the
instruments of His Passion?
A. The relics of the true Cross and relics of the thorns, nails,
etc., used in the Passion are entitled to a very special
veneration, and they have certain privileges with regard to
their use and the manner of keeping them that other relics
have not. A relic of the true Cross is never kept or carried
with other relics.
Q. 1207. What veneration does the Church permit us to
give to relics?
A. The Church permits us to give relics a veneration similar
to that we give images. We do not venerate the relics for their
own sake, but for the sake of the persons they represent. The
souls of canonized saints are certainly in heaven, and we are
certain that their bodies also will be there. Therefore, we may
honor their bodies because they are to be glorified in heaven
and were sanctified upon earth.
1208. What care does the Church take in the
examination and distribution of relics?
A. The Church takes the greatest care in the examination and
distribution of relics.
1. The canonization or beatification of the person whose relic
we receive must be certain. 2. The relics are sent in sealed
packets, that must be opened only by the bishop of the
diocese to which the relics are sent, and each relic or packet
must be accompanied by a document or written paper
proving its genuineness. 3. The relics cannot be exposed for
public veneration until the bishop examines them and
pronounces them authentic; that is, that they are what they
are claimed to be.
Q. 1209. What should we be certain of before using any
relic or giving it to another?
A. Before using any relic or giving it to another we should be
certain that all the requirements of the Church concerning it
have been fulfilled, and that the relic really is, as far as it is
possible for any one to know, what we believe it to be.
Q. 1210. Has God Himself honored relics?
A. God Himself has frequently honored relics by permitting
miracles to be wrought through them. There is an example
given in the Bible, in the IV Book of Kings, where it is
related that a dead man was restored to life when his body
touched the bones, that is, the relics of the holy prophet
Q. 1211. Does the first Commandment forbid the making
A. The first Commandment does forbid the making of
images if they are made to be adored as gods, but it does not
forbid the making of them to put us in mind of Jesus Christ,
His Blessed Mother, and the saints.
Q. 1212 How do we show that it is only the worship and
not the making of images that is forbidden by the first
A. We show that it is only the worship and not the making of
images that is forbidden by the first commandment:
1. Because no one thinks it sinful to carve statues or make
photographs or paintings of relatives or friends; 2. Because
God Himself commanded the making of images for the
temple after He had given the first commandment, and God
never contradicts Himself.
Q. 1213. Is it right to show respect to the pictures and
images of Christ and His saints?
A. It is right to show respect to the pictures and images of
Christ and His saints, because they are the representations
and memorials of them.
Q. 1214. Have we in this country any civil custom similar
to that of honoring the pictures and images of saints?
A. We have, in this country, a civil custom similar to that of
honoring pictures and images of saints, for, on Decoration or
Memorial Day, patriotic citizens place flowers, flags, or
emblems about the statues of our deceased civil heroes, to
honor the persons these statues represent; for just as we can
dishonor a man by abusing his image, so we can honor him
by treating it with respect and reverence.
Q. 1215. Is it allowed to pray to the crucifix or to the
images and relics of the saints?
A. It is not allowed to pray to the crucifix or images and
relics of the saints, for they have no life, nor power to help
us, nor sense to hear us.
Q. 1216. Why do we pray before the crucifix and the
images and relics of the saints?
A. We pray before the crucifix and the images and relics of
the saints because they enliven our devotion by exciting pious
affections and desires, and by reminding us of Christ and of
the saints, that we may imitate their virtues.
From the Second to the Fourth Commandment
Q. 1217. What is the second Commandment?
A. The second Commandment is: Thou shalt not take the
name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Q. 1218. What do you mean by taking God's name in
A. By taking God's name in vain I mean taking it without
reverence, as in cursing or using in a light and careless
manner, as in exclamation.
1219. What are we commanded by the second
A. We are commanded by the second Commandment to
speak with reverence of God and of the saints, and of all holy
things, and to keep our lawful oaths and vows.
Q. 1220. Is it sinful to use the words of Holy Scripture in
a bad or worldly sense?
A. It is sinful to use the words of Holy Scripture in a bad or
worldly sense, to joke in them or ridicule their sacred
meaning, or in general to give them any meaning but the one
we believe God has intended them to convey.
Q. 1221. What is an oath?
A. An oath is the calling upon God to witness the truth of
what we say.
Q. 1222. How is an oath usually taken?
A. An oath is usually taken by laying the hand on the Bible
or by lifting the hand towards heaven as a sign that we call
God to witness that what we are saying is under oath and to
the best of our knowledge really true.
Q. 1223. What is perjury?
A. Perjury is the sin one commits who knowingly takes a
false oath; that is, swears to the truth of what he knows to be
false. Perjury is a crime against the law of our country and a
mortal sin before God.
Q. 1224. Who have the right to make us take an oath?
A. All persons to whom the law of our country has given such
authority have the right to make us take an oath. They are
chiefly judges, magistrates and public officials, whose duty it
is to enforce the laws. In religious matters bishops and others
to whom authority is given have also the right to make us
take an oath.
Q. 1225. When may we take an oath?
A. We may take an oath when it is ordered by lawful
authority or required for God's honor or for our own or our
Q. 1226. When may an oath be required for God's honor
or for our own or our neighbor's good?
A. An oath may be required for God's honor or for our own
or our neighbor's good when we are called upon to defend our
religion against false charges; or to protect our own or our
neighbor's property or good name; or when we are required
to give testimony that will enable the lawful authorities to
discover the guilt or innocence of a person accused.
Q. 1227. Is it ever allowed to promise under oath, in
secret societies or elsewhere, to obey another in whatever
good or evil he commands?
A. It is never allowed to promise under oath, in secret
societies or elsewhere, to obey another in whatever good or
evil he commands, for by such an oath we would declare
ourselves ready and willing to commit sin, if ordered to do
so, while God commands us to avoid even the danger of
sinning. Hence the Church forbids us to join any society in
which such oaths are taken by its members.
Q. 1228. What societies in general are we forbidden to
A. In general we are forbidden to join:
1. All societies condemned by the Church; 2. All societies of
which the object is unlawful and the means used sinful; 3.
Societies in which the rights and freedom of our conscience
are violated by rash or dangerous oaths; 4. Societies in which
any false religious ceremony or form of worship is used.
1229. Are trades unions and benefit societies
A. Trades unions and benefit societies are not in themselves
forbidden because they have lawful ends, which they can
secure by lawful means. The Church encourages every
society that lawfully aids its members spiritually or
temporally, and censures or disowns every society that uses
sinful or unlawful means to secure even a good end; for the
Church can never permit anyone to do evil that good may
come of it.
Q. 1230. Is it lawful to vow or promise strict obedience to
a religious superior?
A. It is lawful to vow or promise strict obedience to a
religious superior, because such superior can exact obedience
only in things that have the sanction of God or of His
Q. 1231. What is necessary to make an oath lawful?
A. To make an oath lawful it is necessary that what we swear
to be true, and that there be a sufficient cause for taking an
Q. 1232. What is a vow?
A. A vow is a deliberate promise made to God to do
something that is pleasing to Him.
Q. 1233. Which are the vows most frequently made?
A. The vows most frequently made are the three vows of
poverty, chastity and obedience, taken by persons living in
religious communities or consecrated to God. Persons living
in the world are sometimes permitted to make such vows
privately, but this should never be done without the advice
and consent of their confessor.
Q. 1234. What do the vows of poverty, chastity and
A. The vows of poverty, chastity and obedience require that
those who make them shall not possess or keep any property
or goods for themselves alone; that they shall not marry or be
guilty of any immodest acts, and that they shall strictly obey
their lawful superiors.
1235. Has it always been a custom with pious
Christians to make vows and promises to God?
A. It has always been a custom with pious Christians to make
vows and promises to God; to beg His help for some special
end, or to thank Him for some benefit received. They have
promised pilgrimages, good works or alms and they have
vowed to erect churches, convents, hospitals or schools.
Q. 1236. What is a pilgrimage?
A. A pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place made in a
religious manner and for a religious purpose.
Q. 1237. Is it a sin not to fulfill our vows?
A. Not to fulfill our vows is a sin, mortal or venial, according
to the nature of the vow and the intention we had in making
Q. 1238. Are we bound to keep an unlawful oath or vow?
A. We are not bound, but, on the contrary, positively
forbidden to keep an unlawful oath or vow. We are guilty of
sin in taking such an oath or making such a vow, and we
would be guilty of still greater sin by keeping them.
1239. What is forbidden by the second
A. The second Commandment forbids all false, rash, unjust,
and unnecessary oaths, blasphemy, cursing, and profane
Q. 1240. When is an oath rash, unjust or unnecessary?
A. An oath is rash when we are not sure of the truth of what
we swear; it is unjust when it injures another unlawfully; and
it is unnecessary when there is no good reason for taking it.
Q. 1241. What is blasphemy, and what are profane
A. Blasphemy is any word or action intended as an insult to
God. To say He is cruel or find fault with His works is
blasphemy. It is a much greater sin than cursing or taking
God's name in vain. Profane words mean here bad, irreverent
or irreligious words.
Q. 1242. What is the third Commandment?
A. The third Commandment is: Remember thou keep holy
the Sabbath day.
1243. What are we commanded by the third
A. By the third Commandment we are commanded to keep
holy the Lord's day and the great feasts or holydays of
obligation, on which we are to give our time to the service
and worship of God.
Q. 1244. What are great feasts or holydays of obligation?
A. Great feasts or holydays of obligation are special feasts of
the Church on which we are bound, under pain of mortal sin,
to hear Divine Liturgy (Mass) and to keep from servile or
bodily labors when it can be done without great loss or
inconvenience. Whoever, on account of their circumstances,
cannot give up work on holydays of obligation should make
every effort to hear Divine Liturgy (Mass) and should also
explain in confession the necessity of working on holydays.
Q. 1245. How are we to worship God on Sundays and
great feasts or holydays of obligation?
A. We are to worship God on Sundays and great feasts or
holydays of obligation by hearing Divine Liturgy (Mass), by
prayer, and by other good works.
Q. 1246. Name some of the good works recommended for
A. Some of the good works recommended for Sunday are:
The reading of religious books or papers, teaching
Catechism, bringing relief to the poor or sick, visiting the
Blessed Sacrament, attending Vespers, Rosary or other
devotions in the Church; also attending the meetings of
religious sodalities or societies. It is not necessary to spend
the whole Sunday in such good works, but we should give
some time to them, that for the love of God we may do a little
more than what is strictly commanded.
Q. 1247. Is it forbidden, then, to seek any pleasure or
enjoyment on Sunday?
A. It is not forbidden to seek lawful pleasure or enjoyment on
Sunday, especially to those who are occupied during the
week, for God did not intend the keeping of the Sunday to be
a punishment, but a benefit to us. Therefore, after
participating in divine Liturgy (Mass) we may take such
recreation as is necessary or useful for us; but we should
avoid any vulgar, noisy or disgraceful amusements that turn
the day of rest and prayer into a day of scandal and sin.
Q. 1248. Are the Sabbath day and the Sunday the same?
A. The Sabbath day and the Sunday are not the same. The
Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, and is the day which
was kept holy in the old law; the Sunday is the first day of the
week, and is the day which is kept holy in the new law.
Q. 1249. What is meant by the Old and New Law?
A. The Old Law means the law or religion given to the Jews;
the New Law means the law or religion given to Christians.
Q. 1250. Why does the Church command us to keep the
Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath?
A. The Church commands us to keep the Sunday holy instead
of the Sabbath because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead,
and on Sunday He sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.
Q. 1251. Do we keep Sunday instead of Saturday holy for
any other reason?
A. We keep Sunday instead of Saturday holy also to teach
that the Old Law is not now binding upon us, but that we
must keep the New Law, which takes its place.
Q. 1252. What is forbidden by the third Commandment?
A. The third Commandment forbids all unnecessary servile work
and whatever else may hinder the due observance of the Lord's day.
Q. 1253. What are servile works?
A. Servile works are those which require labor rather of body than
Q. 1254. From what do servile works derive their name?
A. Servile works derive their name from the fact that such works
were formerly done by slaves. Therefore, reading, writing, studying
and, in general, all works that slaves did not perform are not
considered servile works.
Q. 1255. Are servile works on Sunday ever lawful?
A. Servile works are lawful on Sundays when the honor of God, the
good of our neighbor, or necessity requires them.
Q. 1256. Give some examples of when the honor of God, the
good of our neighbor or necessity may require servile works on
A. The honor of God, the good of our neighbor or necessity may
require servile works on Sunday, in such cases as the preparation of
a place for Divine Liturgy (Holy Mass), the saving of property in
storms or accidents, the cooking of meals and similar works.
From the Fourth to the Seventh Commandment
Q. 1257. What is the fourth Commandment?
A. The fourth Commandment is: Honor thy father and thy
1258. What does the word "honor" in this
A. The word "honor" in this commandment includes the
doing of everything necessary for our parents' spiritual and
temporal welfare, the showing of proper respect, and the
fulfillment of all our duties to them.
1259. What are we commanded by the fourth
A. We are commanded by the fourth Commandment to
honor, love and obey our parents in all that is not sin.
Q. 1260. Why should we refuse to obey parents or
superiors who command us to sin?
A. We should refuse to obey parents or superiors who
command us to sin because they are not then acting with
God's authority, but contrary to it and in violation of His
Q. 1261. Are we bound to honor and obey others than our
A. We are also bound to honor and obey our bishops, pastors,
magistrates, teachers, and other lawful superiors.
Q. 1262. Who are meant by magistrates?
A. By magistrates are meant all officials of whatever rank
who have a lawful right to rule over us and our temporal
possessions or affairs.
Q. 1263. Who are meant by lawful superiors?
A. By lawful superiors are meant all persons to whom we are
in any way subject, such as employers or others under whose
authority we live or work.
Q. 1264. What is the duty of servants or workmen to their
A. The duty of servants or workmen to their employers is to
serve them faithfully and honestly, according to their
agreement, and to guard against injuring their property or
Q. 1265. Have parents and superiors any duties toward
those who are under their charge?
A. It is the duty of parents and superiors to take good care of
all under their charge and give them proper direction and
Q. 1266. If parents or superiors neglect their duty or
abuse their authority in any particular, should we follow
their direction and example in that particular?
A. If parents or superiors neglect their duty or abuse their
authority in any particular we should not follow their
direction or example in that particular, but follow the dictates
of our conscience in the performance of our duty.
Q. 1267. What is the duty of employers to their servants
A. The duty of employers to their servants or workmen is to
see that they are kindly and fairly treated and provided for,
according to their agreement, and that they are justly paid
their wages at the proper time.
1268. What is forbidden by the fourth
A. The fourth Commandment forbids all disobedience,
contempt, and stubbornness towards our parents or lawful
Q. 1269. What is meant by contempt and stubbornness?
A. By contempt is meant willful disrespect for lawful
authority, and by stubbornness is meant willful determination
not to yield to lawful authority.
Q. 1270. What is the fifth Commandment?
A. The fifth Commandment is: Thou shalt not kill.
Q. 1271. What killing does this commandment forbid?
A. This commandment forbids the killing only of human
Q. 1272. How do we know that this commandment forbids
the killing only of human beings?
A. We know that this commandment forbids the killing only
of human beings because, after giving this commandment,
God commanded that animals be killed for sacrifice in the
temple of Jerusalem, and God never contradicts Himself.
1273. What are we commanded by the fifth
A. We are commanded by the fifth Commandment to live in
peace and union with our neighbor, to respect his rights, to
seek his spiritual and bodily welfare, and to take proper care
of our own life and health.
Q. 1274. What sin is it to destroy one's own life, or commit
suicide, as this act is called?
A. It is a mortal sin to destroy one's own life or commit
suicide, as this act is called, and persons who willfully and
knowingly commit such an act die in a state of mortal sin and
are deprived of Christian burial. It is also wrong to expose
one's self unnecessarily to the danger of death by rash or
foolhardy feats of daring.
Q. 1275. Is it ever lawful for any cause to deliberately and
intentionally take away the life of an innocent person?
A. It is never lawful for any cause to deliberately and
intentionally take away the life of an innocent person. Such
deeds are always murder, and can never be excused for any
reason, however important or necessary.
Q. 1276. Under what circumstances may human life be
A. Human life may be lawfully taken:
1. In self-defense, when we are unjustly attacked and have no
other means of saving our own lives; 2. In a just war, when
the safety or rights of the nation require it; 3. By the lawful
execution of a criminal, fairly tried and found guilty of a
crime punishable by death when the preservation of law and
order and the good of the community require such execution.
Such execution can not be for the purpose of punishing the
criminal, for only God can punish in that manner. Such
execution must be only when the criminal is so dangerous as
to present a real and extremely dangerous threat to the well-
being of the community should he be allowed to live.
Q. 1277. What is forbidden by the fifth Commandment?
A. The fifth Commandment forbids all willful murder,
fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, and bad example.
Q. 1278. Can the fifth commandment be broken by giving
scandal or bad example and by inducing others to sin?
A. The fifth commandment can be broken by giving scandal
or bad example and inducing others to sin, because such acts
may destroy the life of the soul by leading it into mortal sin.
Q. 1279. What is scandal?
A. Scandal is any sinful word, deed or omission that disposes
others to sin, or lessens their respect for God and holy
Q. 1280. Why are fighting, anger, hatred and revenge
forbidden by the fifth commandment?
A. Fighting, anger, hatred and revenge are forbidden by the
fifth commandment because they are sinful in themselves
and may lead to murder. The commandments forbid not only
whatever violates them, but also whatever may lead to their
Q. 1281. What is the sixth Commandment?
A. The sixth Commandment is: Thou shalt not commit
1282. What are we commanded by the sixth
A. We are commanded by the sixth Commandment to be
pure in thought and modest in all our looks, words, and
Q. 1283. It is a sin to listen to immodest conversation,
songs or jokes?
A. It is a sin to listen to immodest conversation, songs or
jokes when we can avoid it, or to show in any way that we
take pleasure in such things.
Q. 1284. What is forbidden by the sixth Commandment?
A. The sixth Commandment forbids all unchaste freedom
with another's wife or husband; also all immodesty with
ourselves or others in looks, dress, words, and actions.
Q. 1285. Why are sins of impurity the most dangerous?
A. Sins of impurity are the most dangerous:
1. Because they have the most numerous temptations; 2.
Because, if deliberate, they are always mortal, and
Because, more than other sins, they lead to the loss of faith.
4. Because they ply on one of the most deeply seated natural
instincts, that of procreation and continuation of the human
Q. 1286. Does the sixth Commandment forbid the reading
of bad and immodest books and newspapers?
A. The sixth Commandment does forbid the reading of bad
and immodest books and newspapers.
Q. 1287. What should be done with immodest book and
A. Immodest books and newspapers should be destroyed as
soon as possible, and if we cannot destroy them ourselves we
should induce their owners to do so.
Q. 1288. What books does the Church consider bad?
A. The Church considers bad all books containing teaching
contrary to faith or morals, or that willfully misrepresent
Catholic doctrine and practice.
Q. 1289. What places are dangerous to the virtue of
A. Indecent theaters and similar places of amusement such as
InterNet pronography sires are dangerous to the virtue of
purity, because their entertainments are frequently intended
to suggest immodest things.
From the Seventh to the End of the Tenth
Q. 1290. What is the seventh Commandment?
A. The seventh Commandment is: Thou shalt not steal.
Q. 1291. What sin is it to steal?
A. To steal is a mortal or venial sin, according to the amount
stolen either at once or at different times, and from whom the
theft is made and their circumstances. Circumstances may
make the sin greater or less, and they should be explained in
Q. 1292. Is stealing ever a sacrilege?
A. Stealing is a sacrilege when the thing stolen belongs to the
Church and when the stealing takes place in the Church.
Q. 1293. What sins are equivalent to stealing?
A. All sins of cheating, defrauding or wronging others of
their property; also all sins of borrowing or buying with the
intention of never repaying are equivalent to stealing.
Q. 1294. In what other ways may persons sin against
A. Persons may sin against honesty also by knowingly
receiving, buying or sharing in stolen goods; likewise by
giving or taking bribes for dishonest purposes.
Q. 1295. What are we commanded by the seventh
A. By the seventh Commandment we are commanded to give
to all men what belongs to them and to respect their property.
Q. 1296. How may persons working for others be guilty of
A. Persons working for others may be guilty of dishonesty by
idling the time for which they are paid; also by doing bad
work or supplying bad material without their employer's
knowledge, or in taking things from work such as office
supplies, or using equipment at work for personal purposes.
Q. 1297. In what other way may a person be guilty of
A. A person may be guilty of dishonesty in getting money or
goods by false pretenses and by using either for purposes for
which they were not given.
1298. What is forbidden by the seventh
A. The seventh Commandment forbids all unjust taking or
keeping what belongs to another.
Q. 1299. What must we do with things found?
A. We must return things found to their lawful owners as
soon as possible, and we must also use reasonable means to
find the owners if they are unknown to us.
Q. 1300. What must we do if we discover we have bought
A. If we discover we have bought stolen goods and know
their lawful owners we must return the goods to them as soon
as possible without demanding compensation from the owner
for what we paid for the goods.
Q. 1301. Are we bound to restore ill-gotten goods?
A. We are bound to restore ill-gotten goods, or the value of
them, as far as we are able; otherwise we cannot be forgiven.
Q. 1302. What must we do if we cannot restore all we owe,
or if the person to whom we should restore be dead?
A. If we cannot restore all we owe, we must restore as much
as we can, and if the person to whom we should restore be
dead we must restore to his children or heirs, and if these
cannot be found we may give alms to the poor.
Q. 1303. What must one do who cannot pay his debts and
yet wishes to receive the Sacraments?
A. One who cannot pay his debts and yet wishes to receive
the Sacraments must sincerely promise and intend to pay
them as soon as possible, and must without delay make every
effort to do so.
Q. 1304. Are we obliged to repair the damage we have
A. We are bound to repair the damage we have unjustly
Q. 1305. What is the eighth Commandment?
A. The eighth Commandment is: Thou shalt not bear false
witness against thy neighbor.
1306. What are we commanded by the eighth
A. We are commanded by the eighth Commandment to speak
the truth in all things, and to be careful of the honor and
reputation of every one.
Q. 1307. What is a lie?
A. A lie is a sin committed by knowingly saying what is
untrue with the intention of deceiving. To swear to a lie
makes the sin greater, and such swearing is called perjury.
Pretense, hypocrisy, false praise, boasting, etc., are similar to
Q. 1308. How can we know the degree of sinfulness in a
A. We can know the degree of sinfulness in a lie by the
amount of harm it does and from the intention we had in
Q. 1309. Will a good reason for telling a lie excuse it?
A. No reason, however good, will excuse the telling of a lie,
because a lie is always bad in itself. It is never allowed, even
for a good intention to do a thing that is bad in itself.
1310. What is forbidden by the eighth
A. The eighth Commandment forbids all rash judgments,
backbiting, slanders, and lies.
Q. 1311. What are rash judgment, backbiting, slander
A. Rash judgment is believing a person guilty of sin without
a sufficient cause. Backbiting is saying evil things of another
in his absence. Slander is telling lies about another with the
intention of injuring him. Detraction is revealing the sins of
another without necessity.
Q. 1312. Is it ever allowed to tell the faults of another?
A. It is allowed to tell the faults of another when it is
necessary to make them known to his parents or superiors,
that the faults may be corrected and the wrong doer
prevented from greater sin.
Q. 1313. What is tale-bearing, and why is it wrong?
A. Tale-bearing is the act of telling persons what others have
said about them, especially if the things said be evil. It is
wrong, because it gives rise to anger, hatred and ill-will, and
is often the cause of greater sins. Gossip is specificaly
Q. 1314. What must they do who have lied about their
neighbor and seriously injured his character?
A. They who have lied about their neighbor and seriously
injured his character must repair the injury done as far as
they are able, otherwise they will not be forgiven.
Q. 1315. What is the ninth Commandment?
A. The ninth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy
1316. What are we commanded by the ninth
A. We are commanded by the ninth Commandment to keep
ourselves pure in thought and desire.
Q. 1317. What is forbidden by the ninth Commandment?
A. The ninth Commandment forbids unchaste thoughts,
desires of another's wife or husband, and all other unlawful
impure thoughts and desires.
Q. 1318. Are impure thoughts and desires always sins?
A. Impure thoughts and desires are always sins, unless they
displease us and we try to banish them.
Q. 1319. What is the tenth Commandment?
A. The tenth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy
Q. 1320. What does covet mean?
A. Covet means to wish to get wrongfully what another
possesses or to begrudge his own to him.
1321. What are we commanded by the tenth
A. By the tenth Commandment we are commanded to be
content with what we have, and to rejoice in our neighbor's
Q. 1322. Should we not, then, try to improve our position
in the world?
A. We should try to improve our position in the world,
provided we can do so honestly and without exposing
ourselves to greater temptation or sin.
Q. 1323. What is forbidden by the tenth Commandment?
A. The tenth Commandment forbids all desires to take or
keep wrongfully what belongs to another.
Q. 1324. In what does the sixth commandment differ from
the ninth, and the seventh differ from the tenth?
A. The sixth commandment differs from the ninth in this,
that the sixth refers chiefly to external acts of impurity, while
the ninth refers more to sins of thought against purity. The
seventh commandment refers chiefly to external acts of
dishonesty, while the tenth refers more to thoughts against
On the First and Second Commandments of the Church
Q. 1325. Are not the commandments of the Church also
commandments of God?
A. The commandments of the Church are also
commandments of God, because they are made by His
authority, and we are bound under pain of sin to observe
1326. What is the difference between the
commandments of God and the Commandments of the
A. The commandments of God were given by God Himself to
Moses on Mount Sinai; the commandments of the Church
were given on different occasions by the lawful authorities of
the Church. The Commandments given by God Himself
cannot be changed by the Church; but the commandments
made by the Church itself may be changed by its authority as
Q. 1327. Which are the chief commandments of the
A. The chief commandments of the Church are six:
1. To participate in Divine Liturgy (Mass) on Sundays and
holydays of obligation. 2. To fast and abstain on the days
appointed. 3. To confess at least once a year. 4.To receive the
Holy Eucharist during the Paschal (Easter) time. 5. To
contribute to the support of our pastors. 6. Not to marry
persons who are not Orthodox Catholics, or who are related
to us within the third degree of kindred, nor privately without
witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.
Q. 1328. Why has the Church made commandments?
A. The Church has made commandments to teach the
faithful how to worship God and to guard them from the
neglect of their religious duties.
Q. 1329. Is it a mortal sin not to participate in Divine
Liturgy (Mass) on a Sunday or a holyday of obligation?
A. It is a mortal sin not to participate in Divine Liturgy
(Mass) on a Sunday or a holyday of obligation, unless we are
excused for a serious reason. They also commit a mortal sin
who, having others under their charge, hinder them from
participating in Divine Liturgy (Mass), without a sufficient
Q. 1330. What is a "serious reason" excusing one from
the obligation of participate in Divine Liturgy (Mass)?
A A "serious reason" excusing one from the obligation of
participating in Divine Liturgy (Mass) is any reason that
makes it impossible or very difficult to attend Divine Liturgy
(Mass), such as severe illness, great distance from the
Church, or the need of certain works that cannot be neglected
Q. 1331. Are children obliged, under pain of mortal sin,
the same as grown persons, to participate in Divine
Liturgy (Mass) on Sundays and holydays of obligation?
A. Children who have reached the use of reason are obliged
under pain of mortal sin, the same as grown persons, to
participate in Divine Liturgy
(Mass) on Sundays and
holydays of obligation; but if they are prevented from so
doing by parents, or others, then the sin falls on those who
Q. 1332. Why were holydays instituted by the church?
A. Holydays were instituted by the Church to recall to our
minds the great mysteries of religion and the virtues and
rewards of the saints.
Q. 1333. How many holydays of obligation in the Western
Rite, and Great Feasts in the Eastern Rite, are there in
this country, the United States of America?
A. In this country, the United States of America, there are
eleven holydays of obligation for those who follow the
Western Rite, namely:
1. Feast of The Circumcision (Jan. 1);
2. Epiphany (Theophany) (Jan. 6);
3. Feast of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Ever Virgin
Mary (Mar. 19);
4. Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles and Martyrs (Jun. 29);
5. The Assumptionof the Blessed Virgin Mary (Aug. 15);
6. All Saints Day (Nov. 1);
7. Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8);
8. The Nativity of Christ (Christmass) (Dec. 25);
9. Easter sunday (Pascha), the Resurrection of Our Lord;
10. Ascension Thursday;
11. Feast of Corpus Christi;
and thirteen great feast days for those who follow the Eastern
1. Theophany (Epiphany, the Holy Manifestation of God)
2. The Presentation of the Theotokos (Feb. 2);
3. The Annunciationof the Theotokos (Mar 25);
4. The Transfiguration (Aug. 6);
5. The Nativity of the Theotokos (Sep. 8);
6. Elevation/Exhaultationof the Holy Cross (Sep. 14);
7. Entry of The Holy Theotokos (Nov. 21);
8. The Nativity oif Christ (Dec. 25);
9. The Presentation of Jesus (First Sun after Theophany);
10. Palm sunday;
11. Pascha (Easter), The Resurrection of Our Lord;
12. Ascension Thursday;
Q. 1334. How should we keep the holydays of obligation
and great feasts?
A. We should keep the holydays of obligation and great feasts
as we should keep the Sunday.
Q. 1335. Why are certain holydays called holydays of
obligation or great feasts?
A. Certain holydays are called holydays of obligation or great
feasts because on such days we are obliged under pain of
mortal sin to participate in Divine Liturgy (Mass) and keep
from servile works as we do on Sundays.
Q. 1336. What should one do who is obliged to work on a
holyday of obligation or great feast?
A. One who is obliged to work on a holyday of obligation or
great fease should, if possible, participate in Divine Liturgy
(Mass) before going to work, and should also explain this
necessity in confession, so as to obtain the confessor's advice
on the subject.
Q. 1337. What do you mean by fast-days?
A. By fast-days I mean days on which we are allowed but one
Q. 1338. Is it permitted on fast days to take any food
besides the one full meal?
A. It is permitted on fast days, besides the one full meal, to
take two other meatless meals, to maintain strength,
according to each one's needs. But together these two
meatless meals should not equal another full meal.
Q. 1339. Who are obliged to fast?
A. All persons over 21 and under 59 years of age, and whose
health and occupation will permit them to fast.
Q. 1340. Does the Church excuse any classes of persons
from the obligation of fasting?
A. The Church does excuse certain classes of persons from
the obligation of fasting on account of their age, the
condition of their health, the nature of their work, or the
circumstances in which they live. These things are explained
in the Regulations for Lent, read publicly in the Churches
Q. 1341. What should one do who doubts whether or not
he is obliged to fast?
A. In doubt concerning fast, a parish priest or confessor
should be consulted.
Q. 1342. When do fast days chiefly occur in the year?
A. Fast days chiefly occur in the year during Great Lent and
Advent, on the Ember days and on the vigils or eves and
preceeding days of some great feasts. A vigil falling on a
Sunday is not observed.
Q. 1343. What do you mean by Great Lent, Advent,
Ember days and the vigils of great feasts?
A. Great Lent is the seven weeks of penance preceding
Pascha - Easter. Advent is the four weeks of preparation
preceding Christmas. Ember days are three days set apart in
each of the four seasons of the year as special days of prayer
and thanksgiving. Vigils are the days immediately preceding
great feasts and spent in spiritual preparation for them.
Q. 1344. What do you mean by days of abstinence?
A. By days of abstinence I mean days on which no meat at all
may be taken (complete abstinence) or on which meat may be
taken only once a day (partial abstinence). This is explained
in the regulations for Great Lent. All the Fridays of the year
are days of abstinence except when a Holyday of obligation
or Great Feast falls on a Friday outside of Lent. All
Wednesdays are optional days of abstinance.
Q. 1345. Are children and persons unable to fast bound to
abstain on days of abstinence?
A. Children, from the age of seven years, and persons who
are unable to fast are bound to abstain on days of abstinence,
unless they are excused for sufficient reason.
Q. 1346. Why does the Church command us to fast and
A. The Church commands us to fast and abstain, in order
that we may mortify our passions and satisfy for our sins.
Q. 1347. What is meant by our passions and what by
A. By our passions are meant our sinful desires and
inclinations. Mortifying them means restraining them and
overcoming them so that they have less power to lead us into
Q. 1348. Why does the Church command us to abstain
from flesh-meat on Fridays?
A. The Church commands us to abstain from flesh-meat on
Fridays in honor of the day on which our Saviour died.
On the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments
of the Church
Q. 1349. What is meant by the command of confessing at
least once a year?
A. By the command of confessing at least once a year is
meant that we are obliged, under pain of mortal sin, to go to
confession within the year.
Q. 1350. Should we confess only once a year?
A. We should confess frequently, if we wish to lead a good
Q. 1351. Should we go to confession at our usual time even
if we think we have not committed sin since our last
A. We should go to confession at our usual time even if we
think we have not committed sin since our last confession,
because the Sacrament of Penance has for its object not only
to forgive sins, but also to bestow grace and strengthen the
soul against temptation.
Q. 1352. Should children go to confession?
A. Children should go to confession when they are old
enough to commit sin, which is commonly about the age of
Q. 1353. What sin does he commit who neglects to receive
Communion during the Pascha (Easter) time?
A. He who neglects to receive Communion during the Pascha
(Easter) time commits a mortal sin.
Q. 1354. What is the Pascha (Easter) Time?
A. The Pascha (Easter) Time is, in this country, the United
States of America, the time between the first Sunday of Lent
and Trinity Sunday.
Q. 1355. When is Trinity Sunday?
A. Trinity Sunday is the Sunday after Pentecost, or eight
weeks after Pascha - Easter Sunday; so that there are fourteen
weeks in which one may comply with the command of the
Church to receive Holy Communion between the first Sunday
of Lent and Trinity Sunday.
Q. 1356. Are we obliged to contribute to the support of
A. We are obliged to contribute to the support of our pastors,
and to bear our share in the expense of the Church and
Q. 1357. Where did the duty of contributing to the
support of the Church and clergy originate?
A. The duty of contributing to the support of the Church and
clergy originated in the Old Law, when God commanded all
the people to contribute to the support of the temple and of its
Q. 1358. What does the obligation of supporting the
Church and school imply?
A. The obligation of supporting the Church and school
implies the duty of making use of the Church and school by
attending religious worship in the one and by giving
Orthodox Catholic education in the other; because if the
Church and school were not necessary for our spiritual
welfare we would not be commanded to support them.
Q. 1359. Does the fifth commandment of the Church
include the support only of our pastors and the Church
A. The fifth commandment of the Church includes the
support also of our Patriarch or Primate, bishops, priests,
missions, religious institutions and religion in general.
Q. 1360. What is the meaning of the commandment not to
marry within the third degree of kindred?
A. The meaning of the commandment not to marry within
the third degree of kindred is that no one is allowed to marry
another within the third degree of blood relationship.
1361. Who are in the third degree of blood
A. Second cousins are in the third degree of blood
relationship, and persons whose relationship is nearer than
second cousins are in closer degrees of kindred. It is unlawful
for persons thus related to marry without a dispensation or
special permission of the Church.
Q. 1362. Are there other relationships besides blood
relationship that render marriage unlawful without a
A. There are other relationships besides blood relationship
that render marriage unlawful without a dispensation,
namely, the relationships contracted by marriage, which are
called degrees of affinity, and the relationship contracted by
being sponsors at Baptism, which is called spiritual affinity.
Q. 1363. What should persons about to marry do, if they
suspect they are related to each other?
A. Persons about to marry, if they suspect they are related to
each other, should make known the facts to the priest, that he
may examine the degree of relationship and procure a
dispensation if necessary.
Q. 1364. What is the meaning of the command not to
A. The command not to marry privately means that none
should marry without the blessing of God's priests or without
Q. 1365. What sin is it for Orthjodox Catholics to be
married before the minister of another religion?
A. It is a mortal sin for Orthodox Catholics to be married
before the minister of another religion, and they who attempt
to do so incur excommunication, and absolution from their
sin is reserved to the bishop or the priests to whom he
delegates this faculty.
Q. 1366. What is the meaning of the precept not to
solemnize marriage at forbidden times?
A. The meaning of the precept not to solemnize marriage at
forbidden times is that during Lent and Advent the marriage
ceremony should not be performed with pomp or a nuptial
Divine Liturgy (Mass).
Q. 1367. What is the nuptial Divine Liturgy (Mass)?
A. The nuptial Divine Liturgy (Mass) is a Divine Liturgy
(Mass) appointed by the Church to invoke a special blessing
upon the married couple.
Q. 1368. Should Orthodox Catholics be married at a
nuptial Divine Liturgy (Mass)?
A. Orthodox Catholics should be married at a nuptial Divine
Liturgy (Mass), because they thereby show greater reverence
for the holy Sacrament and bring richer blessings upon their
wedded life through the special prayers of that special Divine
Q. 1369. What restrictions does the Church place on the
ceremonies of marriage when one of the persons is not an
Orthodox Catholic or is not recognized by the Orthodox
Church as a member of The Holy Catholic and Apostolic
A. The Church places several restrictions on the ceremonies
of marriage when one of the persons is not an Orthodox
Catholic or is not recognized by the Orthodox Church as a
member of The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The
marriage cannot take place in the church; the priest cannot
wear his sacred vestments nor use holy water nor bless the
ring nor the marriage itself. The Church places these
restrictions to show her dislike for such marriages,
commonly called mixed marriages.
Q. 1370. Why does the Church dislike mixed marriages?
A. The Church dislikes mixed marriages because such
marriages are frequently unhappy, give rise to many
disputes, endanger the faith of the Orthodox Catholic
member of the family, and prevent the religious education of
On the Last Judgment and the Resurrection, Hell,
Purgatory, and Heaven
Q. 1371. When will Christ judge us?
A. Christ will judge us immediately after our death, and on
the last day.
Q. 1372. What is the judgment called which we have to
undergo immediately after death?
A. The judgment we have to undergo immediately after death
is called the Particular Judgment.
Q. 1373. Where will the particular judgment be held?
A. The particular judgment will be held in the place where
each person dies, and the soul will go immediately to its
reward or punishment.
Q. 1374. What is the judgment called which all men have
to undergo on the last day?
A. The judgment which all men have to undergo on the last
day is called the General Judgment.
1375. Will the sentence given at the particular
judgment be changed at the general judgment?
A. The sentence given at the particular judgment will not be
changed at the general judgment, but it will be repeated and
made public to all.
Q. 1376. Why does Christ judge men immediately after
A. Christ judges men immediately after death to reward or
punish them according to their deeds.
Q. 1377. How may we daily prepare for our judgment?
A. We may daily prepare for our judgment by a good
examination of conscience, in which we will discover our
sins and learn to fear the punishment they deserve.
Q. 1378. What are the rewards or punishments appointed
for men's souls after the Particular Judgment?
A. The rewards or punishments appointed for men's souls
after the Particular Judgment are Heaven, Purgatory, and
Q. 1379. What is Hell?
A. Hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned, and in
which they are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity,
and are in dreadful torments.
Q. 1380. Will the damned suffer in both mind and body?
A. The damned will suffer in both mind and body, because
both mind and body had a share in their sins. The mind
suffers the "pain of loss" in which it is tortured by the thought
of having lost God forever, and the body suffers the "pain of
sense" by which it is tortured in all its members and senses.
Q. 1381. What is Purgatory?
A. Purgatory is the state in which those suffer for a time who
die guilty of venial sins, or without having satisfied for the
punishment due to their sins.
Q. 1382. Why is this state called Purgatory?
A. This state is called Purgatory because in it the souls are
purged or purified from all their stains; and it is not,
therefore, a permanent or lasting state for the soul.
1383. Are the souls in Purgatory sure of their
A. The souls in Purgatory are sure of their salvation, and they
will enter heaven as soon as they are completely purified and
made worthy to enjoy that presence of God which is called
the Beatific Vision, and accept harmony in and of the House
Q. 1384. Do we know what souls are in Purgatory, and
how long they have to remain there?
A. We do not know what souls are in Purgatory nor how long
they have to remain there; hence we continue to pray for all
persons who have died apparently in the true faith and free
from mortal sin. They are called the faithful departed.
Q. 1385. Can the faithful on earth help the souls in
A. The faithful on earth can help the souls in Purgatory by
their prayers, fasts, alms, deeds; by indulgences, and by
having Masses said for them.
Q. 1386. Since God loves the souls in Purgatory, why does
He punish them?
A. Though God loves the souls in Purgatory, He punishes
them because His holiness requires that nothing defiled may
enter heaven and His justice requires that everyone be
punished or rewarded according to what he deserves. It is
through this purification that the soul becomes worthy in the
person and in the person’s desires and behavior.
Q. 1387. If every one is judged immediately after death,
what need is there of a general judgment?
A. There is need of a general judgment, though every one is
judged immediately after death, that the providence of God,
which, on earth, often permits the good to suffer and the
wicked to prosper, may in the end appear just before all men.
Q. 1388. What is meant by "the Providence of God"?
A. By "the Providence of God" is meant the manner in which
He preserves, provides for, rules and governs the world and
directs all things by His infinite Will.
1389. Are there other reasons for the general
A. There are other reasons for the general judgment, and
especially that Christ Our Lord may receive from the whole
world the honor denied Him at His first coming, and that all
may be forced to acknowledge Him their God and Redeemer.
1390. Will our bodies share in the reward or
punishment of our souls?
A. Our bodies will share in the reward or punishment of our
souls, because through the resurrection they will again be
united to them.
Q. 1391. When will the general resurrection or rising of
all the dead take place?
A. The general resurrection or rising of all the dead will take
place at the general judgment, when the same bodies in
which we lived on earth will come forth from the grave and
be united to our souls and remain united with them forever
either in heaven or in hell.
Q. 1392. In what state will the bodies of the just rise?
A. The bodies of the just will rise glorious and immortal.
Q. 1393. Will the bodies of the damned also rise?
A. The bodies of the damned will also rise, but they will be
condemned to eternal punishment.
Q. 1394. Why do we show respect for the bodies of the
A. We show respect for the bodies of the dead because they
were the dwelling-place of the soul, the medium through
which it received the Sacraments, and because they were
created to occupy a place in heaven.
Q. 1395. What is Heaven?
A. Heaven is the state of everlasting life in which we see God
face to face, are made like unto Him in glory, and enjoy
Q. 1396. In what does the happiness in heaven consist?
A. The happiness in heaven consists in seeing the beauty of
God, in knowing Him as He is, and in having every desire
Q. 1397. What does St. Paul say of heaven?
A. St. Paul says of heaven, "That eye hath not seen. nor ear
heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man what
things God hath prepared for them that love Him." (I. Cor.
Q. 1398. Are the rewards in heaven and the punishments
in hell the same for all who enter into either of these
A. The rewards of heaven and the punishments in hell are
not the same for all who enter into either of these states,
because each one's reward or punishment is in proportion to
the amount of good or evil he has done in this world. But as
heaven and hell are everlasting, each one will enjoy his
reward or suffer his punishment forever.
Q. 1399. What words should we bear always in mind?
A. We should bear always in mind these words of our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ: "What doth it profit a man if he
gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul, or
what exchange shall a man give for his soul? For the Son of
man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels;
and then will He render to every man according to his
Q. 1400. Name some of the more essential religious truths
we must know and believe.
A. Some of the more essential religious truths we must know
and believe are:
1. That there is but one God, and He will reward the good
and punish the wicked.
2. That in God there are three Divine Persons: the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these Divine Persons are called
the Blessed Trinity.
3. That Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed
Trinity, became man and died for our redemption.
4. That the grace of God is necessary for our salvation.
5. That the human soul is immortal.
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