The Baltimore Catchecism, , at sacred-texts.com
A. God made the world.
A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.
A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.
A. This likeness is chiefly in the soul.
A. The soul is like God because it is a spirit that will never die, and has understanding and free will.
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 next.
A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body.
A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body, because in losing our soul we lose God and everlasting happiness.
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.
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.
A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church teaches in the Apostles' Creed.
A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.
A. God had no beginning; He always was and He always will be.
A. God is everywhere.
A. We do not see God, because He is a pure spirit and cannot be seen with bodily eyes.
A. God sees us and watches over us.
A. God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts, words, and actions.
A. God can do all things, and nothing is hard or impossible to Him.
A. Yes; there is but one God.
A. There can be but one God, because God, being supreme and infinite, cannot have an equal.
A. The Father is God and the first Person of the Blessed Trinity.
A. The Son is God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
A. The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
A. By the Blessed Trinity I mean one God in three Divine Persons.
A. The three Divine Persons are equal in all things.
A. The three Divine Persons are one and the same God, having one and the same Divine nature and substance.
A. We cannot fully understand how the three Divine Persons are one and the same God, because this is a mystery.
A. A mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand.
A. God created heaven and earth, and all things.
A. God created heaven and earth from nothing by His word only; that is, by a single act of His all-powerful will.
A. The chief creatures of God are angels and men.
A. Angels are pure spirits without a body, created to adore and enjoy God in heaven.
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 guardians.
A. The angels, as God created them, were 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.
A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.
A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God.
A. To try their obedience God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of a certain fruit which grew in the garden of Paradise.
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.
A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God; but broke His command by eating the forbidden fruit.
A. Adam and Eve, on account of their sin, lost innocence and holiness, and were doomed to sickness and death.
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.
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.
A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called original sin.
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.
A. This corruption of our nature and other punishments remain in us after original sin is forgiven.
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.
A. Original sin is not the only kind of sin; there is another kind of sin, which we commit ourselves, called actual sin.
A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the law of God.
A. There are two kinds of actual sin-mortal and venial.
A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.
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.
A. To make a sin mortal three things are necessary: a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.
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.
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.
A. The chief sources of sin are seven: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth; and they are commonly called capital sins.
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.
A. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind.
A. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true man.
A. Jesus Christ is true God because He is the true and only Son of God the Father.
A. Jesus Christ is true man because He is the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary and has a body and soul like ours.
A. In Jesus Christ there are two natures, the nature of God and the nature of man.
A. No, Jesus Christ is but one Divine Person.
A. Jesus Christ was always God, as He is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, equal to His Father from all eternity.
A. Jesus Christ was not always man, but became man at the time of His Incarnation.
A. By the Incarnation I mean that the Son of God was made man.
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
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.
A. The Son of God did not become man immediately after the sin of our first parents, but was promised to them as a Redeemer.
A. They who lived before the Son of God became man could be saved by believing in a Redeemer to come, and by keeping the commandments.
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.
A. Christ was born on Christmas day in a stable at Bethlehem, over nineteen hundred years ago.
A. Christ lived on earth about thirty-three years, and led a most holy life in poverty and suffering.
A. Jesus Christ suffered a bloody sweat, a cruel scourging, was crowned with thorns, and was crucified.
A. Christ died on Good Friday.
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.
A. Christ died on Mount Calvary.
A. Christ was nailed to the Cross and died on it between two thieves.
A. Christ suffered and died for our sins.
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.
A. After Christ's death His soul descended into hell.
A. The hell into which Christ's soul descended was not the hell of the damned, but a place or state of rest called Limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting for Him.
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.
A. While Christ's soul was in Limbo His body was in the holy sepulchre.
A. Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death.
A. Christ stayed on earth forty days after His resurrection to show that He was truly risen from the dead, and to instruct His Apostles.
A. After forty days Christ ascended into heaven, and the day on which He ascended into heaven is called Ascension day.
A. In heaven Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
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.
A. The Holy Ghost is the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
A. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.
A. The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, being the same Lord and God as They are.
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 Pentecost.
A. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire.
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.
A. Christ sent the Holy Ghost to sanctify His Church, to enlighten and strengthen the Apostles, and to enable them to preach the Gospel.
A. The Holy Ghost will abide with the Church forever, and guide it in the way of holiness and truth.
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.
A. By grace I mean a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation.
A. There are two kinds of grace, sanctifying grace and actual grace.
A. Sanctifying grace is that grace which makes the soul holy and pleasing to God.
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.
A. Faith is a Divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed.
A. Hope is a Divine virtue by which we firmly trust that God will give us eternal life and the means to obtain it.
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.
A. Actual grace is that help of God which enlightens our mind and moves our will to shun evil and do good.
A. Grace is necessary to salvation, because without grace we can do nothing to merit heaven.
A. We can and unfortunately often do resist the grace of God.
A. The grace of perseverance is a particular gift of God which enables us to continue in the state of grace till death.
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.
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 under one visible head.
A. Jesus Christ is the invisible Head of the Church.
A. Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the visible Head of the Church.
A. The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the visible Head of the Church because lie is the successor of St. Peter, whom Christ made the chief of the Apostles and the visible Head of the Church.
A. The successors of the other Apostles are the bishops of the Holy Catholic Church.
A. Christ founded the Church to teach, govern, sanctify, and save all men.
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.
A. The attributes of the Church are three: authority infallibility, and indefectibility.
A. By the authority of the Church I mean the right and power which the Pope and the bishops, as the successors of the Apostles, have to teach and to govern the faithful.
A. By the infallibility of the Church I mean that the Church cannot err when it teaches a doctrine of faith or morals.
A. The Church teaches infallibly when it speaks through the Pope and the bishops, united in general council, or through the Pope alone when he proclaims to all the faithful a doctrine of faith or morals.
A. By the indefectibility of the Church I mean that the Church, as Christ founded it, will last till the end of time.
A. These attributes are found in their fullness in the Pope, the visible Head of the Church, whose infallible authority to teach bishops, priests, and people in matters of faith or morals will last till the end of the world.
A. The Church has four marks by which it may be known: it is One; it is Holy; it is Catholic; it is Apostolic.
A. The Church is One because all its members agree in one faith, are all in one communion, and are all under one Head.
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.
A. The Church is Catholic or universal because it subsists in all ages, teaches all nations, and maintains all truth.
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.
A. These attributes and marks are found in the Holy Roman Catholic Church alone.
A. The Church derives its undying life and infallible authority from the Holy Ghost, the spirit of truth, who abides with it forever.
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.
A. A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.
A. There are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.
A. The Sacraments have the power of giving grace from the merits of Jesus Christ.
A. Some of the Sacraments give sanctifying grace, and others increase it in our souls.
A. The Sacraments that give sanctifying grace are Baptism and Penance; and they are 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.
A. The Sacraments that increase sanctifying grace in our soul are: Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony; and they are called Sacraments of the living.
A. 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.
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.
A. Besides sanctifying grace the Sacraments give another grace, called sacramental.
A. Sacramental grace is a special help which God gives, to attain the end for which He instituted each Sacrament.
A. The Sacraments always give grace, if we receive them with the right dispositions.
A. We can receive the Sacraments more than once, except Baptism. Confirmation, and Holy Orders.
A. We cannot receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders more than once, because they imprint a character in the soul.
A. The character which these Sacraments imprint in the soul is a spiritual mark which remains forever.
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.
A. Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and heirs of heaven.
A. Actual sins and all the punishment due to them are remitted by Baptism, if the person baptized be guilty of any.
A. Baptism is necessary to salvation, because without it we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
A. The priest is the ordinary minister of Baptism; but in case of necessity any one who has the use of reason may baptize.
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.
A. There are three kinds of Baptism: Baptism of water, of desire, and of blood.
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.
A. Baptism of desire is an ardent wish to receive Baptism, and to do all that God has ordained for our salvation.
A. Baptism of blood is the shedding of one's blood for the faith of Christ.
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.
A. In Baptism we promise to renounce the devil with all his works and pomps.
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 protector.
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.
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.
A. Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.
A. The bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation.
A. The bishop extends his hands over those who are to be confirmed, prays that they may receive the Holy Ghost, and anoints the forehead of each with holy chrism in the form of a cross.
A. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive-oil and balm, consecrated by the bishop.
A. In anointing the person he confirms the bishop says: I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
A. By anointing the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross is meant, that the Christian who is confirmed must openly profess and practice his faith, never be ashamed of it, and rather die than deny it.
A. The bishop gives the person he confirms 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.
A. To receive Confirmation worthily it is necessary to be in the state of grace.
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.
A. It is a sin to neglect Confirmation, especially in these evil days when faith and morals are exposed to so many and such violent temptations.
A. The effects of Confirmation are an increase of sanctifying grace, the strengthening of our faith, and 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.
A. We receive the gift of Fear of the Lord to fill us with a dread of sin.
A. We receive the gift of Piety to make us love God as a Father and obey Him because we love Him.
A. We receive the gift of Knowledge to enable us to discover the will of God in all things.
A. We receive the gift of Fortitude to strengthen us to do the will of God in all things.
A. We receive the gift of Counsel to warn us of the deceits of the devil, and of the dangers to salvation.
A. We receive the gift of Understanding to enable us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith.
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.
A. The Beatitudes are:
A. The twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, Long-suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency, and Chastity.
A. Penance is a Sacrament in which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.
A. The Sacrament of Penance remits sins and restores the friendship of God to the soul by means of the absolution of the priest.
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 retained."
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.
A. To receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily we must do five things:
A. The examination of conscience is an earnest effort to recall to mind all the sins we have committed since our last worthy confession.
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.
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.
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.
A. The sorrow we should have for our sins should be interior, supernatural, universal, and sovereign.
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.
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.
A. When I say that our sorrow should be universal, I mean that we should be sorry for all our mortal sins without exception.
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.
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.
A. There are two kinds of contrition: perfect contrition and imperfect 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.
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.
A. Imperfect contrition is sufficient for a worthy confession, but we should endeavor to have perfect contrition.
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 occasions.
A. By the near occasions of sin I mean all the persons, places, and things that may easily lead us into sin.
A. Confession is the telling of our sins to a duly authorized priest, for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness.
A. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins. but it is well also to confess our venial sins.
A. The chief qualities of a good Confession are three: it must be humble, sincere, and entire.
A. Our Confession is humble, when we accuse our selves of our sins, with a deep sense of shame and sorrow for having offended God.
A. Our Confession is sincere, when we tell our sins honestly and truthfully, neither exaggerating nor excusing them.
A. Our Confession is entire, when we tell the number and kinds of our sins and the circumstances which change their nature.
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.
A. If without our fault we forget to confess a mortal sin, Tour Confession is worthy, and the sin is forgiven; but it must be told in Confession if it again comes to our mind.
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.
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.
A. The priest gives us a penance after Confession, that we may satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to our sins.
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.
A. God requires a temporal punishment as a satisfaction for sin, to teach us the great evil of sin and to prevent us from falling again.
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.
A. The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven: 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.
A. The chief corporal works of mercy are seven: 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.
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.
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.
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 mention.
A. When the confessor asks us questions we must answer them truthfully and clearly.
A. After telling our sins we should listen with attention to the advice which the confessor may think proper to give.
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.
A. While the priest is giving us absolution we should from our heart renew the Act of Contrition.
A. An Indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.
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.
A. There are two kinds of Indulgences-Plenary and Partial.
A. A Plenary Indulgence is the full remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.
A. A Partial Indulgence is the remission of a part of 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.
A. To gain an Indulgence we must be in the state of grace and perform the works enjoined.
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.
A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the night before He died.
A. When our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist the twelve Apostles were present.
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.
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.
A. Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the form of bread and Under the form of wine.
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 wine.
A. By the appearances of bread and wine I mean the figure, the color, the taste, and whatever appears to the senses.
A. This change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord is called Transubstantiation.
A. The substance of the bread and wine was changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ by His almighty power.
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.
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.
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 Mass, which are the words of Christ: This is My body; this is My blood.
A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist:
A. We are united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by means of Holy Communion.
A. Holy Communion is the receiving of the body and blood of Christ.
A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in the state of sanctifying grace, to have a right intention, and to obey the laws of fasting. (See Q. 257.)
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.
A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion is to abstain from all food, beverages, and alcoholic drinks for one hour before Holy Communion. Water may be taken at any time. The sick may take food, non-alcoholic drinks, and any medicine up to Communion time. *
* This answer has been changed in the 1977 printing to bring it up to date with the current rules.
A. Any one in danger of death is allowed to receive Holy Communion when not fasting or when it is necessary to save the Blessed Sacrament from insult or injury.
A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of mortal sin, during the Easter time and when in danger of death.
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.
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.
A. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ at the Consecration in the Mass.
A. The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ.
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.
A. The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross.
A. The 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 Mass is offered are the same as those of the sacrifice of the Cross.
A. The ends for which the sacrifice of the Cross was offered were:
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 Mass there is no real shedding of blood nor real death, because Christ can die no more; but the sacrifice of the Mass, through the separate consecration of the bread and the wine, represents His death on the Cross.
A. We should assist at Mass with great interior recollection and piety and with every outward mark of respect and devotion.
A. The best manner of hearing 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.
A. Extreme Unction 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.
A. We should receive Extreme Unction when we are in danger of death from sickness, or from a wound or accident.
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.
A. The effects of Extreme Unction are:
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.
A. We should receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction in the state of grace, and with lively faith and resignation to the will of God.
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.
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.
A. Christians should look upon the priests of the Church as the messengers of God and the dispensers of His mysteries.
A. Bishops can confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
A. The Sacrament of Matrimony is the Sacrament which unites a Christian man and woman in lawful marriage.
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 a Sacrament.
A. The bond of Christian marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power.
A. The effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony are:
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.
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 contract.
A. The Church does forbid the marriage of Catholics with persons who have a different religion or no religion at all.
A. Many marriages prove unhappy because they are entered into hastily and without worthy motives.
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.
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.
A. The difference between the Sacraments and the sacramentals is:
A. The chief sacramental used in the Church is the sign of the Cross.
A. We make the sign of the Cross by putting the right hand to the forehead, then on the breast, and then to the left and right shoulders, saying, In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
A. We make the sign of the Cross to show that we are Christians and to profess our belief 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.
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.
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.
A. Another sacramental in very frequent use 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.
A. Besides 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.
A. There is another means of obtaining God's grace, and it is prayer.
A. Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God to adore Him, to thankHim for His benefits, to ask His forgiveness, and to beg of Him all the graces we need whether for soul or body.
A. Prayer is necessary to salvation, and without it no one having the use of reason can be saved.
A. We should pray particularly on Sundays and holydays, every morning and night, in all dangers, temptations, and afflictions.
A. We should pray:
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.
A. Prayers said with willful distractions are of no avail.
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.
A. The Commandments which contain the whole law of God are these two:
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.
A. The Commandments of God are these ten.
A. God Himself gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. and Christ our Lord confirmed them.
A. The first Commandment is: I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
A. The first Commandment helps us to keep the great Commandment of the love of God because it commands us to adore God alone.
A. We adore God by faith, hope, and charity, by prayer and sacrifice.
A. The first Commandment may 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.
A. Those who make use of spells and charms, or who believe in dreams, in mediums, spiritists, fortunetellers and the like, sin against the first Commandment, because they attribute to creatures perfections which belong to God alone.
A. Sins against faith, hope, and charity are also sins against the first Commandment.
A. A person sins against faith:
A. We fail to try to know what God has taught by neglecting to learn the Christian doctrine.
A. They who do not believe all that God has taught are the heretics and infidels.
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.
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: " Whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
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 in heaven."
A. The sins against hope are presumption and despair.
A. Presumption is a rash expectation of salvation without making proper use of the necessary means to obtain it.
A. Despair is the loss of hope in God's mercy.
A. We sin against the love of God by all sin, but particularly by mortal sin.
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 Himself.
A. The first Commandment does not forbid us to pray to the saints.
A. By praying to the saints we mean the asking of their help and prayers.
A. We know that the saints hear us, because they are with God, who makes our prayers known to them.
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 their brethren.
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.
A. The communion of the members of the Church is called the communion of saints.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A. We pray before the crucifix and 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.
A. The second Commandment is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
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.
A. An oath is the calling upon God to witness the truth of what we say.
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 neighbor's good.
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 oath.
A. A vow is a deliberate promise made to God to do something that is pleasing to Him.
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 it.
A. The second Commandment forbids all false, rash, unjust, and unnecessary oaths, blasphemy, cursing, and profane words.
A. The third Commandment is: Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
A. By the third Commandment we are commanded to keep holy the Lord's day and the holydays of obligation, on which we are to give our time to the service and worship of God.
A. We are to worship God on Sundays and holydays of obligation by hearing Mass, by prayer, and by other good works.
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 tile day which is kept holy in the New Law.
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.
A. The third Commandment forbids all unnecessary servile work and whatever else may hinder the due observance of the Lord's day.
A. Servile works are those which require labor rather of body than of mind.
A. Servile works are lawful on Sunday when the honor of God, the good of our neighbor, or necessity requires them.
A. The fourth Commandment is: Honor thy father and thy mother.
A. We are commanded by the fourth Commandment to honor, love, and obey our parents in all that is not sin.
A. We are also bound to honor and obey our bishops, pastors, magistrates, teachers, and other lawful superiors.
A. It is the duty of parents and superiors to take good care of all under their charge and give them proper direction and example.
A. The fourth Commandment forbids all disobedience, contempt, and stubbornness towards our parents or lawful superiors.
A. The fifth Commandment is: Thou shalt not kill.
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.
A. The fifth Commandment forbids all willful murder, fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, and bad example.
A. The sixth Commandment is: Thou shalt not commit adultery.
A. We are commanded by the sixth Commandment to be pure in thought and modest in all our looks, words, and actions.
A. The sixth commandment forbids all unchaste freedom with anothers wife or husband; also all immodesty with ourselves or others in looks, dress, words, or actions.
A. The sixth Commandment does forbid the reading of bad and immodest books and newspapers.
A. The seventh Commandment is: Thou shalt not steal.
A. By the seventh Commandment we are commanded to give to all men what belongs to them and to respect their property.
A. The seventh Commandment forbids all unjust taking or keeping what belongs to another.
A. We are bound to restore ill-gotten goods, or the value of them, as far as we are able; otherwise we can. not be forgiven.
A. The eighth Commandment is: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
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.
A. The eighth Commandment forbids all rash judgments, backbiting, slanders, and lies.
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.
A. The ninth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
A. We are commanded by the ninth Commandment to keep ourselves pure in thought and desire.
A. The ninth Commandment forbids unchaste thoughts, desires of anothers wife or husband, and all other unlawful impure thoughts and desires.
A. Impure thoughts and desires are always sins, unless they displease us and we try to banish them.
A. The tenth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.
A. By the tenth Commandment we are commanded to be content with what we have. and to rejoice in our neighbor's welfare.
A. The tenth Commandment forbids all desires to take or keep wrongfully what belongs to another.
A. The chief commandments of the Church are six:
A. It is a mortal sin not to hear 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 hearing Mass, without a sufficient reason.
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.
A. We should keep the holydays of obligation as we should keep the Sunday.
A. By fast-days I mean days on which we are allowed but one full meal.
A. By days of abstinence I mean days on which we are forbidden to eat flesh-meat, but are allowed the usual number of meals.
A. The Church commands us to fast and abstain, in order that we may mortify our passions and satisfy for our sins.
A. The Church commands us to abstain from flesh-meat on Fridays, in honor of the day on which our Saviour died.
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.
A. We should confess frequently, if we wish to lead a good life.
A. Children should go to Confession when they are old enough to commit sin, which is commonly about the age of seven years.
A. He who neglects to receive Communion during the Easter time commits a mortal sin.
A. The Easter time is, in this country, the time between the first Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday.
A. We are obliged to contribute to the support of our pastors, and to bear our share in the expenses of the church and school.
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.
A. The command not to marry privately means that none should marry without the blessing of God's priests or without witnesses.
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 Mass.
A. A nuptial Mass is a Mass appointed by the Church to invoke a special blessing upon the married couple.
A. Catholics should be married at a nuptial Mass, because they thereby show greater reverence for the holy Sacrament and bring richer blessings upon their wedded life.
A. Christ will judge us immediately after our death, and on the last day.
A. The judgment we have to undergo immediately after death is called the Particular Judgment.
A. The judgment which all men have to undergo on the last day is called the General Judgment.
A. Christ judges men immediately after death to reward or punish them according to their deeds.
A. The rewards or punishments appointed for men's souls after the Particular Judgment are Heaven, Purgatory, and 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.
A. Purgatory is a 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.
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.
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.
A. Our bodies will share in the reward or punishment of our souls, because through the resurrection they will again be united to them.
A. The bodies of the just will rise glorious and immortal.
A. The bodies of the damned will also rise, but they will be condemned to eternal punishment.
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 eternal happiness.
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 works."