The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page
The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page
   
 

Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives

 

Catechism & Catechesis


Return to:  Home > Archives Index > Catechism & Catechesis Index

The Faith

A Popular Guide Based on The Catechism of the Catholic Church

by John A. Hardon, S.J.

Copyright © 1995, Servant Publications


Contents

Acknowledgments

Foreword

General Introduction:

    Understanding The Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Understanding the Faith Taught by The Catechism

    Understanding Why The Catechism is so Important

    Understanding How to Use The Catechism

    Preparatory Note

Prologue


Part One:  The Profession of Faith

SECTION I:  “I BELIEVE”—“WE BELIEVE”

Chapter One:  The Human Capacity for God

Chapter Two:  God’s Initiative

   Article 1: Revelation

   Article 2: Revelation Communicated

   Article 3: Sacred Scripture

Chapter Three.  Humanity’s Response

   Article 1: “I Believe

   Article 2: “We Believe


SECTION II:  THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

Introduction: The Creeds of the Faith

Chapter One:  “I Believe in God the Father

   Article 1: “I Believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth

Chapter Two:  “I Believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God

   Article 2:“…and in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, Our Savior

   Article 3:“He Was Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and Was Born of the Virgin Mary

   Paragraph 1: The Son of God Became Man

   Paragraph 2: “Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and Born of the Virgin Mary

   Paragraph 3: The Mysteries of the Life of Christ

   Article 4: “Jesus Christ Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was Crucified, and Was Buried

   Article 5: “Jesus Christ Descended into Hell, and on the Third Day He Rose Again

   Article 6: “He Ascended into Heaven and Is Seated at the Right Hand of the Father
   Article 7: “He Will Come again to Judge the Living and the Dead

Chapter Three:  “I Believe in the Holy Spirit

   Article 8: “I Believe in the Holy Spirit
   Article 9: “I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church
   Article 10: “I Believe in the Forgiveness of Sins
   Article 11: “I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body
   Article 12: “I Believe in Life Everlasting

 

Part Two: The Celebration of the Sacred Mystery

Introduction

SECTION I:  THE SACRAMENTAL ECONOMY

Chapter One:  The Paschal Mystery in the Time of the Church

   Article 1: The Liturgy—Work of the Holy Trinity
   Article 2: The Paschal Mystery in the Sacraments of the Church

Chapter Two:  Sacramental Celebration of the Paschal Mystery

   Article 1: Celebrating the Liturgy of the Church
   Article 2: Liturgical Diversity and Unity of the Mystery


SECTION II:  THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH

Chapter One:  The Sacraments of Christian Initiation

   Article 1: Baptism
   Article 2: Confirmation
   Article 3: The Eucharist

Chapter Two:  The Sacraments of Healing

   Article 4: Penance and Reconciliation
   Article 5: Anointing of the Sick

Chapter Three:  The Sacraments in the Service of Communion

   Article 6: Holy Orders
   Article 7: Matrimony

Chapter Four:  Other Celebrations of the Liturgy

   Article 1: Sacramentals
   Article 2: Christian Funerals


Part Three:  The Life in Christ

Introduction

SECTION I:  THE VOCATION OF MAN: LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

Chapter One:  The Dignity of the Human Person

   Article 1: Man, the Image of God
   Article 2: Our Vocation to Happiness
   Article 3: Human Freedom
   Article 4: The Morality of Human Acts
   Article 5: The Morality of Passions
   Article 6: The Moral Conscience
   Article 7: The Virtues
   Article 8: Sin

Chapter Two:  The Human Community

   Article 1: The Person and Society
   Article 2: Participation in the Social Life
   Article 3: Social Justice

Chapter Three:  Divine Salvation:Law and Grace

   Article 1: The Moral Law
   Article 2: Grace and Justification
   Article 3: The Church, Mother and Teacher


SECTION II:  THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Introduction

Chapter One:  “You Shall Love the Lord Your God with All Your Heart”

   Article 1: The First Commandment
   Article 2: The Second Commandment
   Article 3: The Third Commandment

Chapter Two:  “You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”

   Article 4: The Fourth Commandment
   Article 5: The Fifth Commandment
   Article 6: The Sixth Commandment
   Article 7: The Seventh Commandment
   Article 8: The Eighth Commandment
   Article 9: The Ninth Commandment
   Article 10: The Tenth Commandment


Part Four:  Christian Prayer

SECTION I:  PRAYER IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE: WHAT IS PRAYER?

Chapter One:  “The Revelation of Prayer”

   Article 1: In the Old Testament
   Article 2: In the Fullness of Time
   Article 3: In the Age of the Church

Chapter Two:  “The Tradition of Prayer”

   Article 1: Sources of Prayer
   Article 2: How to Pray
   Article 3: Guides for Prayer

Chapter Three:  “The Life of Prayer”

   Article 1: Expressions of Prayer
   Article 2: The Struggle of Prayer
   Article 3: The Prayer of Jesus in His Last Hour


SECTION II:  THE LORD’S PRAYER

Chapter One:  The Lord’s Prayer as a Summary of the Gospel

Chapter Two:  “Our Father Who Art in Heaven”

Chapter Three:  The Seven Petitions

    1. “Hallowed Be Thy Name”
    2. “Thy Kingdom Come”
    3. “Thy Will Be Done on Earth As It Is in Heaven”
    4. “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”
    5. “Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass against Us”
    6. “Lead Us Not into Temptation”
    7. “Deliver Us from Evil”

Chapter Four:  The Final Doxology

Index



Acknowledgments

THE AUTHOR OWES SPECIAL THANKS to many people whose generous assistance has made possible the publication of this book.

To Heidi Hess and her associates at Servant Publications, for their patient cooperation in editing the manuscript.

To my Jesuit Provincial, V. Rev. Joseph Daoust, S.J., for the Imprimi potest.

To His Eminence James Cardinal Hickey, for his encouraging Foreword.

To Bishop Alvaro Corrado, S.J., for his Imprimatur.

To Mrs. Carol Egan, for long hours of word processing the manuscript and assembling the Index.

To His Eminence Jose Cardinal Sanchez, for his strong moral support.

To Mr. and Mrs. John (Dolores) O’Connell, for their indispensable help as coordinators in the publication of this manual for The Catechism of the Catholic Church.





Foreword

THE PUBLICATION OF The Catechism of the Catholic Church is one of the most significant events in the life of the Church in this century and beyond. The new Catechism is an authoritative, reliable and complete summary of what the Catholic Church believes and teaches.

In preparing a question-and-answer compendium of the Catechism, Fr. John Hardon, S.J., has done the English-speaking Catholics a great service. This compendium renders the content of the new Catechism accessible to many readers and serves as an invitation to them to read the complete text. Fr. Hardon helps the reader to see the principal points of doctrine, moral teaching and spirituality conveyed so beautifully in the Catechism.

I believe that Fr. Hardon’s latest book will be especially useful in helping both parents and teachers to train young people in the faith. Our young people need to know clear, concise and accurate ways of expressing what the Church believes and teaches. It is important for them to commit these doctrinal statements to memory, for these serve as building blocks for the development of a strong life of faith and active membership in the Church, the Body of Christ.

With that pastoral need in mind, I am happy to commend Fr. Hardon’s new book. I hope and pray that it will be well received.

James Cardinal Hickey

Archbishop of Washington





GENERAL INTRODUCTION


Understanding The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The twentieth century is the most critical in the history of Christianity. The decades since 1900 are more than so many years that might just as well apply to any other period of history. They mark the beginning of a new age in human civilization and, correspondingly, of the Christian religion.

What does this have to do with our subject, “Understanding The Catechism of the Catholic Church”? Everything. Unless we realize the providential period through which the Church is now passing, we shall look upon The Catechism of the Catholic Church as just another book, or just another piece of religious literature.

This catechism is of historic importance. Depending on how seriously we take it, the future of the Catholic Church will be shaped accordingly. We may legitimately look forward to the twenty-first century as the most glorious since the coming of Christ. But we must capitalize on the gift He is giving us in The Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Understanding the Faith Taught by The Catechism

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter The Catechism) is not a mere collection of doctrines. It provides the groundwork for understanding what we Catholics believe. On this level, The Catechism is unique.

The Holy Spirit guiding the Church knows that the modern world is the most academically sophisticated in history. In America alone, over five million students go to college every year. We are trained to the hilt in every humanistic subject under the sun. But most Catholics are undereducated in the faith. The result is predictable. By the time they finish even their secondary education, they find themselves in conflict in their own minds. They are trained in science, history, and world literature. At the same time, their minds have been, to say the least, undertrained in the religion they profess. What happens? They abandon their Catholic faith as a remnant of childhood.

The Catechism provides the beginning of what should be considered the single greatest Catholic need in the world today, namely, to understand what we believe.

Recall the sower parable of Our Lord as narrated by St. Matthew. The sower in the parable sows all good seed, but on four different kinds of ground. Only the last soil produces any yield. It is especially the first fruitless soil that applies to these reflections here.

In the words of Christ, as the sower sowed the seed, “some seeds fell on the edge of the path; and the birds came and ate them up.”

When the disciples asked Jesus to explain the parable, He told them, “When anyone hears the words of the kingdom without understanding, the Evil One comes and carries off what was sown in his heart. This is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path” (Matthew 13:10, 18-19).

That’s it! It is both that simple and that serious. The seed of God’s revealed truth has been sown in our hearts at Baptism. But that was only the beginning. We must do everything in our power to grasp the meaning of what we believe. Otherwise, the devil will come along and steal the faith from our hearts.

There has never been a substitute for understanding our Christian religion. There is no substitute today. But now this understanding is absolutely imperative. The world in which we live is too determined to take from our hearts what we believe.

That is why The Catechism is such a providential godsend. It not only provides the believing Catholic with information about what to believe; it also gives us an explanation of the meaning of what we believe.

Of course, The Catechism is only a start. But it promises to be a powerful initiative for waking up a sleeping Catholic world to the duty we have to know:

  • what we are to believe on the revealed word of God;

  • what the faith we profess is all about;

  • that Christianity is the most credible religion in the world and, within Christianity, that the Catholic Church has the fullness of the truth;

  • that, as a result, we Catholics have a grave responsibility for educating a world that is starving for knowledge of Christ and His truth.

Understanding Why The Catechism is so Important

It is one thing to know theoretically what Catholics are to believe. It is something else to know where to find the true faith expressed in straightforward and unambiguous language.

The confusion among Catholics on even the most fundamental doctrines of faith and morals is widespread.

There is no ambiguity in The Catechism. People may not want to accept what The Catechism teaches. That is their problem.

Someone somewhere in the Church founded by Christ must be in a position to tell the faithful, “This is true, and that is false,” or, “This is morally good, and that is morally bad.” Otherwise, the very existence of Christianity is in danger and the survival of the Catholic Church in any given country or locality is in jeopardy.

That is why The Catechism has not been released one month too soon. It is the hope of restoring unity in a widely dismembered Christianity.


Understanding How to Use The Catechism

We still have one important aspect to explain. It is also the most important practical question that needs raising. How is The Catechism to be put into apostolic use?

Before going any further, certain things should be made clear.

  • The Catechism is no mere reference work that we may occasionally consult, like a standard dictionary or encyclopedia.

  • The Catechism is no mere summary of religious ideas or ideals that provides a readable handbook on how Catholics think.

No, The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an indispensable arm of instruction on every level of the teaching apostolate.

We now have a one-volume reservoir of Catholic truth and practice for everyone who wants to bring others to Christ, if they are not yet Christian; to deepen and solidify the faith of those who have been baptized.

The question, however, still remains: How to use The Catechism in the apostolate of evangelization and catechesis?

KnowThe Catechism.  Our most fundamental duty is to know The Catechism. How do you come to know anything? By reading, by discussing, by hearing it explained by competent persons.

Speed reading of The Catechism would be self-defeating. If anything, The Catechism should be not only read but prayerfully meditated. I mean it. Set aside some time for reflecting, in God’s presence, what The Catechism teaches through more than fie hundred pages of print.

How much time people waste in useless reading, or worse. Is it too much for Christ to expect us to spend a few hours a week in reading, alone or with others, what promises to be the food that feeds the soul on revealed truth?

Trust The Catechism.  Already, critics have appeared who discredit The Catechism on both sides of the spectrum.

  • Some criticize it for being outmoded and out of touch with the times.

  • Others criticize it for giving in to Modernism and therefore discredit what the Vicar of Christ is offering the believing faithful for their spiritual sustenance.

Pay no attention to these critics. To distrust The Catechism is to play into the hand of the spirit of division, who fears nothing more than security of doctrine among the followers of Christ.

Adapt The Catechism.  The Catechism is not simple reading. But neither is it sophisticated and out of touch with the vocabulary of the people. In any case, The Catechism contains all the essentials for Catholic faith, morality, and divine worship.

In using The Catechism to teach others, adjust the language to the mentality of those you are teaching. Adapt the ideas, without watering them down. Accommodate what The Catechism says to the mental and spiritual level of those with whom you are sharing God’s truth.

Live The Catechism.  This is no pious platitude. Teaching the true faith is unlike any other form of pedagogy.

The purpose of teaching the Catholic faith is to enable those you are teaching to practice the virtues that Christ expects of His followers. Very well. But how do you enable those you teach to practice what they have learned? You don’t! Only Christ can give them the grace they need to practice what they believe. So how do they get the grace they need? From Christ, of course. But through you, their teachers.

What are we saying? We are saying that God uses holy people as channels of His grace to others. In the measure of our own union with Him, He will communicate to those we teach the light and strength they need to live the Christian fait. God uses humble people to give others the gift of humility. He uses chaste people as conduits of His grace of chastity, patient people to inspire patience, prayerful people to make others prayerful.

In a word, if we live The Catechism, we become instruments of divine faith to everyone whose life we touch. This, we may say, is the law of spiritual generation. Sanctity is reproductive; holiness is procreative.

Share The Catechism.  As we close this introduction on understanding The Catechism of the Catholic Church, we should make on thing clear. On the last day, we shall be judged on our practice of charity. How we hope that when Christ appears, He will say to us, “Come, blessed of my Father, and possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; thirsty and you gave me to drink; naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison and you visited me.”

How does this affect our apostolic use of The Catechism of the Catholic Church? Profoundly! This masterpiece of sacred wisdom provides us with all the resources we need to meet the spiritual needs of our times. But we must be convinced that we have at hand, in the words of our Holy Father, the means of saving the soul of our society.


Preparatory Note

This compendium of The Catechism of the Catholic Church is just that: a compendium. It concentrates all the essentials of the catechism in question-and-answer form.

The source of the compendium is the original French, Catechisme de l’Eglise Catholique, issued by Pope John Paul II October 11, 1002, on two memorable anniversaries:

  • the quincentennial of Christopher Columbus’ bringing the Catholic faith to the New World, October 11, 1492;

  • the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, October 11, 1962.

Why the publication of this compendium? In order to provide a reliable digest of all the main areas covered by The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Another reason is to offer, in clear and simple language, a reference source for what the larger catechism treats at greater length and in more detail.

My prayer is that those who use the compendium will find it a valuable means of “getting to the heart” of the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ, our Way, our Truth, and our Life.


John A. Hardon, S.J.

Editor’s Note:The numbers that appear in parentheses in the right margins of this work serve as cross-reference guides to The Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Prologue

1. Why did God create us?

God created us to know and love Him with our whole heart, and thus come to share in His own divine happiness for all eternity.

(1)

2. How do we come to know and love God?

We come to know and love God by freely responding to the call of His divine Son, Jesus Christ, through the Apostles whom He sent to preach the Gospel to all nations.

(1-2)

3.Are we to hand on the Gospel to others?

Yes, we have the duty to hand on the treasure of the Gospel that we have received from the Apostles and their faithful successors over the centuries.

(3)

4. How do we pass on the Gospel?

We do so by professing our faith, living it with other believers, and celebrating it though the sacraments and prayer.

(4)

5. What is catechesis?

Catechesis is the Church’s effort to make disciples by enabling people to believe in Jesus Christ and thus build up His Mystical Body, which is the Church He founded.

(5)

6. How is catechesis a form of education?

Catechesis is education in Christian doctrine of children, young people, and adults. Catechetical instruction is given in an organized way for training believers in the fullness of the Christian life.

(5-6)

7. What are the outstanding periods in catechetical history?

They are periods when the Church had special need for self-renewal and reformation. Such were the age of the Fathers of the Church like Sts. Cyril of Jerusalem, John Chrysostom, Ambrose, and Augustine. Such, too, was the sixteenth century, when the Roman catechism was published after the Council of Trent. Such is the period after the Second Vatican Council, which council Pope John Paul II called the great catechism of modern times.

(7-10)

8. What is the purpose of The Catechism of the Catholic Church?

Its purpose is to provide an organic synthesis of the essential and fundamental Catholic doctrines of faith and morals. These doctrines are presented in the light of the Second Vatican Council and the whole of the Church’s Tradition. Their main sources are Sacred Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and the Magisterium, or teaching authority of the Church.

(11-12)

9. What is the basic structure of The Catechism?

Its basic structure is inspired by the great catechisms of Catholic Tradition. The four pillars of its foundation are the profession of baptismal faith, or the Creed; the Sacraments of faith; the life of faith, or the Commandments; and the prayer of faith, the Lord’s Prayer.

(13)

10. What is the special emphasis of The Catechism?

Its special emphasis is on explaining Catholic doctrine to deepen our understanding of what we believe and thus to provide for deeper roots in our Christian life and a more effective witness of our faith to others.

(23)

11. How is The Catechism to be adapted to different people?

The Catechism is to be adapted especially to the religious maturity and the mental level of those who are being taught. All the while, however, the fullness of the faith is to be communicated.

(24)

12. What is the basic principle for teaching The Catechism?

The basic principle for teaching The Catechism is divinely revealed love. Everything we believe and everything we hope for is founded on the fact that God is infinite love who became incarnate out of love for us. We are to spend our lives here on earth giving ourselves in selfless love to God in return.

(25)




Part One

The Profession of Faith

Section I: “I Believe” — “We Believe”


Before we look at our Catholic faith to see what the Church’s creeds tell us we must believe, we should first ask ourselves, “What does it mean to believe?”

(26)


Chapter One: The Human Capacity for God

I.  The Desire for God

13. What is the deepest desire of every human being?

Our deepest desire is to know and love God. Our minds want to know the truth, and our wills want to be happy. Both desires can be satisfied only by knowing and loving God.

(27)

14. Is man a religious being?

Yes, in the depths of their hearts all human persons want to know and respond to God. This knowledge and love of God is what makes a person religious.

(28)

15. Does everyone always act on these religious instincts?

No, selfishness and sin, scandal, and suffering can estrange people from God.

(29)

16. Does God abandon those who ignore Him?

No, on the contrary, God continues to call all human beings to know and love their Creator. He knows that we shall find true happiness only in Him, by Whom and for Whom we were made.

(30)


II.  Ways of Coming to Know God

17. What is the natural way of coming to know God?

We can know God naturally by the use of our native reason, reflecting on the world of nature created by God.

(31)

18. What does this mean?

It means that the beauty and power, wisdom, and goodness in the world are a proof of the beauty, power, wisdom, and goodness of God. He made the world and keeps it in constant existence as a reflection of His own divinity.

(32)

19. Do we have to be open to seeing God in His creation?

Yes, our sincere desire for the truth, for virtue, for true freedom, and for happiness is a precondition for recognizing God in the world that He made.

(33)

20. To what does the history of humanity testify?

It testifies to the universal search for God. Unlike the world, He is the being who must exist, who alone is without beginning and without end.

(34)

21. How can we enter into real intimacy with God?

We can do so only by the help of His grace. Building on our knowledge of God by reason, we can come to freely accept His supernatural revelation of Himself by faith.

(35)


III.  The Knowledge of God According to the Church

22. Can we know God by reason alone?

Yes, we can. In fact, we must know Him by reason. Otherwise we would lack the necessary foundation for a credible faith in His revealed Word.

(36)

23. Do we need divine revelation even to know the naturally knowable truths of religion?

Yes, we need supernatural revelation because our minds are darkened by passion, the imagination, and sin. We call this the moral necessity for everyone to know religious and moral truths easily, firmly, and without error.

(37-38)


IV.  How Can We Speak about God?

24. Can we dialogue with persons who have no religion or whose religion is different from ours?

Yes, because our knowledge of God is reasonable.

(39)

25. Is our language about God limited?

Yes, it is limited by our human capacity for thinking and knowing.

(40)

26. Are all creatures a reflection of God?

Yes, so much so that the more we know about the perfections of creatures, the more we can know about the attributes of their Creator.

(41)

27. Why must we purify our language about God?

We must do so because our natural tendency is to speak about the infinite God in the finite and changeable terms of His creatures.

(42)

28. How can we describe our knowledge of God?

We can never penetrate the inner Being of God. We can only know that He is not like His creatures and know how they are related to Him.

(43)



Chapter Two: God's Initiative

Beyond what we can naturally know about God, He has freely revealed Himself in the person and mission of Jesus Christ.



Article I: Revelation

I.  God’s Plan Revealed

29. Why has God revealed Himself?

He has revealed Himself and the mystery of His will in order to draw us nearer to Himself and enable us to know and love Him as the adopted children of His grace.

(51-52)

30. What was God’s plan of revelation?

It was a gradual disclosing of Himself over the centuries until He finally revealed Himself in the person and mission of Jesus Christ.

(53)

II.  The Stages of Revelation

31. How did God reveal Himself at the beginning of the human race?

He revealed Himself to our first parents, and did not withdraw His self-manifestation even after they sinned.

(54-55)

32. What was God’s covenant with Noah?

After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah by which the stability of the course of nature against catastrophe was assured. Also, the basic precepts of the law were revealed.

(56)

33. What is paganism?

Paganism is the constant threat to pervert God’s plan for the human race. It is a combination of idolatry and polytheism that continued after the flood and the covenant with Noah. It has been active to this day.

(57)

34. How long did the covenant with Noah continue?

It paved the way for the covenant with Abraham and remained active until the coming of Christ.

(58)

35. Why did God choose Abraham?

God chose Abram, a Chaldean, to leave his own people and become Abraham, “the father of a multitude of nations.” He is also the father of all believers. His descendants were the stewards of the promise made to the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament. When Christ came, the Gentiles who believed in Jesus were grafted onto the Chosen People.

(59-60)

36. Are any Old Testament figures honored as saints by the Church?

Yes, personages like Adam and Eve, Abraham and David, Esther and Judith, Deborah and Hannah are venerated as saints and invoked by the Christian faithful.

(61)

37. Who are the people of Israel?

They are the descendants of Abraham, whom God chose as His very own. Through Moses, He gave them the Law to know and worship the one true God and await the Messiah who would save His people from their sins.

(62)

38. How did God form His people, Israel?

He formed them into a priestly nation that would become the channel of revealed truth to the whole world. This truth was kept alive by the prophets sent by God, and by the holy women of Israel, the greatest of whom was the Blessed Virgin Mary.

(63-64)

III.  Jesus the Christ: Mediator and Fullness of All Revelation

39. How is Christ the final Revelation?

As the Son of God who became man, Jesus Christ is the completion of God’s revelation. In Jesus, God has revealed everything the world needs to know for its salvation and sanctification. This is called “public revelation.”

(65)

40. Will there be any further revelation?

No, the objective content of God’s revelation was completed in Jesus Christ. But we are to grow in our subjective understanding and living of this revelation all through life and, in fact, until the end of the world.

(66)

41. What, then, are private revelations?

Private revelations are supernatural communications that God gives to certain chosen persons. These revelations must be approved by the Church. Their purpose is to help people grasp and live out the public revelation, which is necessary for the human race.

(67)

Article 2: Revelation Communicated

Since God wants everyone to be saved, He wants His revealed truth to be made known to all nations in every generation.


I.  The Apostolic Tradition

42. To whom did Christ entrust the preaching of the Gospel?

He entrusted the preaching of the Gospel to the Apostles. They were to proclaim the fullness of His saving truth and moral laws to all people.

(75)

43. How did the Apostles fulfill their mission?

They did so “orally,” by what they said, and in written form, by both the Apostles themselves and by others who were associated with the Apostles.

(76)

44. What is Tradition?

Tradition can be understood in two different ways that are closely related to each other:
  • Sacred Tradition is the oral and personal communications of divine revelation that began at the dawn of human history and continued through the Apostolic Age. In this sense, it is distinct from Sacred Scripture.

  • Tradition is the carrying on of divine revelation as found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and as preserved, explained, and spread by the bishops as successors of the Apostles.

(77-79)

II.  Connection between Tradition and Scripture

45. How are Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition related to each other?

Both have the same divine source. They complement one another, and together they form a single reality with the same goal, which is to make the mystery of Christ present and fruitful to the end of time.

(80-82)

46. What are ecclesial traditions?

Ecclesial traditions are the various theological, liturgical, and disciplinary expressions of Tradition that have come down over the centuries. Ecclesial traditions are, therefore, changeable and even removable under the Church’s authority—as, for example, the Eucharistic fast.

(83)

III.  Interpretation of the Faith Heritage

47. To whom did the Apostles entrust the heritage of faith?

The Apostles entrusted the heritage of faith (depositum fidei), contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole Church.

(84)

48. Who in the Church has authority to interpret the heritage of faith?

Only the Magisterium, or teaching authority in the Church, has the divine right to interpret the heritage of faith. The Magisterium is the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

(85)

49. What is the role of the Magisterium?

The Magisterium is the servant of God’s Word. Its role is to listen to this Word, preserve it, and teach it to the faithful.

(86)

50. What are dogmas of faith?

Dogmas are truths that are either divinely revealed or necessarily connected with revelation and which the Church teaches as irrevocably binding on all the faithful to accept. Some examples of dogmas are the Divinity of Christ, the Real Presence, and the Immaculate Conception.

(88)

51. How are dogmas related to the spiritual life?

Dogmas provide the faith foundation for the spiritual life. And our fidelity in the spiritual life enlightens our understanding of the dogmas and enables us to put them into generous practice.

(89)

52. How are the dogmas interrelated?

They are related in a “hierarchy of truths.” Some dogmas are more basic than others. But all are expressions of the same deposit of faith.

(90)

53. Do all the faithful share in the right understanding and passing on of revealed truth?

Yes, by virtue of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the faithful, they are enabled to grasp the meaning of God’s revelation and pass it on to others without error.

(91-92)

54. What is the sense of faith?

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the sense of faith is the instinctive adherence to what God has revealed, a deeper penetration into its meaning, and a more generous response to its responsibilities.

(93)

55. How does the Church grow in understanding the faith?

The Church grows in her understanding of the faith: through prayerful contemplation, study, and research; through the experience of living the faith; through the preaching of the episcopal successors of the Apostles.

(94)

56. How are Sacred Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium to be used?

They are to be used together, not in competition but by each assisting the others for the salvation of souls.

(95)


Article 3: Sacred Scripture

57. How is Christ the unique Word of Sacred Scripture?

Christ is the unique Word of Sacred Scripture in two ways:
    • The Scriptures are the wisdom of God revealed to us in human words and language.

    • The Scriptures reveal the Word of God who became Man and therefore human like us in all things except sin.

(101-102)

58. How are the Bible and the Eucharist related?

The Church is nourished both on the Word of God revealed in the Bible and on the Word of God who became flesh and physically gives Himself to us in Holy Communion.

(103)

59. Why is the Bible a source of nourishment?

The Bible nourishes the faithful because it is literally the Word of God.

(104)

60. How is God the author of Sacred Scripture?

He is the author of Sacred Scripture because everything in the Bible has been inspired by the Holy Spirit.

(105)

61. How did God inspire the human authors of the Bible?

He inspired them by choosing certain people to write, as true authors, all that He wanted them to write and only that.

(106)

62. Does the Bible teach the truth?

Yes, the Bible teaches the truth because the Holy Spirit, who is the Truth, is the author of the Bible.

(107)

63. Why is Christianity not a religion of the book?

It is not a religion of the book because, while using the Bible, the Church is constantly enlightened by Christ through the Holy Spirit to understand the Scriptures.

(108)

64. How are we to interpret the Scriptures?

We must be attentive to both what the human writer wanted to say and what the Holy Spirit intended to communicate.

(109)

65. How can we find what the human author intended to say?

We must consider the time and culture, the literary forms then current, and the manner of thinking and speaking in vogue when the text was written.

(110)

66. What are the norms for interpreting the Bible as divinely inspired?

There are three basic norms:
    • Pay attention to the content and unity of the Bible as a whole.

    • Read the Bible in the light of the Church’s entire Tradition.

    • Be attentive to the analogy of faith, which means the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and in the context of the whole of Revelation.

(112-114)

67. What are the senses of Scripture?

They are the meanings that the biblical words are meant to convey.

(115)

68. How many senses do the Scriptures express?

There are two main senses of Scripture, namely the literal and the spiritual.
    1. The literal sense is that which the actual words directly convey. This again is twofold.

      • The precise literal sense is that which the written words have in their own exact meaning, like the narrative of the Passion.

      • The literal figurative sense is the meaning expressed in a metaphor, as when Christ is spoken of as a lamb, or a lion, or a vine.

    2. The spiritual or mystical sense is not in the words themselves but is suggested by the things signified by the words. This can be:

      • allegorical, when some account in the Bible refers to a doctrine of the faith. For example, the story of Jonah refers to Christ’s burial and resurrection.

      • moral, when a biblical event teaches us a lesson for our spiritual life. For example, Abraham’s faith teaches us the obligation to believe in Christ.

      • immortal, when realities or events have a meaning for eternity. For example, the Church on earth is a sign of our heavenly destiny.

(116-117)

69. What is the canon of Scripture?

The canon of Scripture is the catalogue of books that the Church recognizes as divinely inspired.

(120)

70. What are the inspired books of the Bible?

In biblical order, the following are the books of the Old and New Testaments:
 Old Testament

Genesis (Gn)Proverbs (Prv)
Exodus (Ex)Ecclesiastes (Eccl)
Leviticus (Lv)Songof Songs (Sg)
Numbers (Nm)Wisdom (Wis)
Deuteronomy (Dt)Ecclesiasticus (Sir)
Joshua (Jos)Isaiah (Is)
Judges (Jgs)Jeremiah (Jer)
Ruth (Ru)Lamentations (Lam)
1 Samuel (1 Sam)Baruch (Bar)
2 Samuel (2 Sam)Ezekiel (Ez)
1 Kings (1 Kgs)Daniel (Dn)
2 Kings (2 Kgs)Hosea (Hos)
1 Chronicles (1 Chr)Joel (Jl)
2 Chronicles (2 Chr)Amos (Am)
Ezra (Ezr)Obadiah (Ob)
Nehemiah (Neh)Jonah (Jon)
Tobit (Tb)Micah (Mi)
Judith (Jdt)Nahum (Na)
Esther (Est)Habakkuk (Hb)
1 Maccabees (1 Mc)Zephaniah (Zep)
2 Maccabees (2 Mc)Haggai (Hg)
Job (Jb)Zechariah (Zc)
Psalms (Ps(s)Malachi (Mal)
 
 New Testament

Matthew (Mt)Timothy (1 Tim)
Mark (Mk)Timothy (2 Tim)
Luke (Lk)Titus (Ti)
John (Jn)Philemon (Phlm)
Acts (Acts)Hebrews (Heb)
Romans (Rm)James (Jas)
1 Corinthians (1 Cor)1 Peter (1 Pt)
2 Corinthians (2 Cor)2 Peter (2 Pt)
Galatians (Gal)1 John (1 Jn)
Ephesians (Eph)2 John (2 Jn)
Philippians (Phil)3 John (3 Jn)
Colossians (Col)Jude (Jude)
1 Thessalonians (1 Th)Revelation (Rv)
2 Thessalonians (2 Th) 

(120)

71. How important are the books of the Old Testament?

They are an essential part of the Bible for several reasons:
    • They are all divinely inspired.
    • They bear witness to God’s redemptive love.
    • They prepare us for the final coming of Christ, even as they prepared Israel for His first coming.
    • They are in integral part of the liturgy.
    • They are integrated into the New Testament.
    • They provide us with an indispensable understanding of God’s providence.

(121-123)

72. What are the New Testament Scriptures?

They are the ultimate truth of divine revelation, whose central object is Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God.

(124)

73. How are the Gospels the principal writings of the Bible?

They are the principle writings of the Bible because they give us the primary witness of the life and teachings of our Savior, the Incarnate Word.

(125)

74. What are the three stages in the formation of the Gospels?

They are, in sequence:
    • the actual historical events of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ;
    • the oral tradition, passed on by the Apostles under the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
    • the written Gospels, which give us the honest truth about Jesus.

(126)

75. How are the Gospels unique in the Church’s history?

The Gospels are unique in the veneration they have received over the centuries in the Church’s liturgy and in their role in producing saints.

(127)

76. What is the unity of the Old and New Testaments?

It is a unity based on typology. This means that what God did under the old covenant prefigures what He would do in the fullness of time in the person of his Divine Son, Jesus Christ.

(128)

77. How are the two testaments related?

As St. Augustine tells us, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old, while the Old Testament is unveiled in the New. Each testament needs the other to give us the fullness of God’s revealed Word.

(129-130)

78. What are some biblical directives of the Second Vatican Council?

The Council tells us:
    • “Access to the Sacred Scriptures should be opened wide to the Christian faithful” (Dei Verbum, 22).

    • “The study of the ‘sacred page’ should be the very soul of sacred theology” (Dei Verbum, 24).

(131-132)

79. Why should the faithful frequently read the Scriptures?

Because, as St. Jerome says, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Jesus Christ” (Dei Verbum, 25).

(133)


Chapter Three: Humanity's Response

Faith is our response to God’s revelation. He speaks and thus reveals Himself; when we listen, we believe.

(142-143)

Article 1:  “I Believe”

80. What is the obedience of faith?

It is the free submission to God’s Word because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself.

(144)

81. How is Abraham the father of all who believe?

Abraham is the father of all who believe because:
    • He was chosen to be the ancestor of all believers on account of his faith.
    • He fulfilled the definition of faith in the New Testament, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things that are not seen” (Heb 11:1, NAB).
    • His faith was a prelude of what our greater faith should be, “believing in Jesus, the Son of God.”

(145-147)

82. How is the Virgin Mary our highest pattern of faith?

Mary is the supreme model of faith because:
    • She believed the angel’s words that she was to be the mother of the Most High.
    • Throughout her life on earth, she believed that all the promises made by God would be fulfilled.

(148-149)

83. What is divine faith?

Divine faith is a free assent to everything revealed by God.

(150)

84. What is divine faith for Christians?

For Christians, divine faith is believing in Jesus Christ. It is a commitment to Christ as God-become-man, and acceptance of everything that Jesus taught.

(151)

85. What is divine faith in the Holy Spirit?

It is a commitment to Christ because we share in His Holy Spirit, who, we believe, is truly God.

(152)

86. What do we believe by divine faith?

We believe everything “contained in the Word of God, written or handed down and . . . proposed for belief by the Church as having been divinely revealed” (Dei Filius, 3).

(152)

87. How is faith a gift from God?

Faith is a gift from God because it “can exist only with the help of God’s preceding grace, and the interior help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and turns it to God, opens the eyes of the mind, and gives ‘to all joy in assenting to the truth and believing it’” (Dei Filius, 3).

(153)

88. How is divine faith a human act?

Divine faith is a human act because it is fully consistent with our human nature. We naturally trust people and accept their word. How much more should we trust the word of God?

(154)

89. How do we define divine faith?

Divine faith is an act of the intellect, assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.

(155)

90. What is the credibility of our faith?

Our faith is credible because it is perfectly reasonable to believe what God has revealed. To believe anyone, we must know by reason that the person has knowledge of what he or she is saying and is honest in saying it. God is all-knowing, thus He cannot be deceived, and all-truthful, so He cannot deceive. The only question is, how can we be sure that God has spoken? We can be sure He has spoken when He performs miracles that testify to His revelation. That is why Christ worked so many miracles during His public ministry. That is also why He continues working miracles in His Church, to verify the truth of her teaching.

(156)

91. Why is divine faith certain?

It is certain because it is founded on the word of God, who cannot lie.

(157)

92. Are we to understand our faith?

Yes, with God’s grace and our own effort we are to grow in our understanding of what we believe. Of course, we shall never fully understand or comprehend God’s revelation. We have a duty to grow in our grasp of the meaning of what we believe. Otherwise, as Christ warns us in the parable of the sower, we run the risk of losing our faith.

(158)

93. What is freedom of the faith?

Our faith is a voluntary submission of our intellect to accept what God has revealed. We believe with the mind, but our will must freely command the mind to believe. We must want to believe.

(160)

94. Is divine faith necessary for salvation?

Yes, as the New Testament says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” And the absolute minimum is to “believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb 11:6).

(161)

95. Must we persevere in the faith?

Yes, because we can lose the gift of faith. We must, therefore, practice the faith, pray for perseverance, and nourish the faith by hearing and meditating on the Word of God.

(162)

96. How is faith the beginning of eternal life?

Faith is the beginning of eternal life because by believing in God’s revealed Word already on earth, we begin to enjoy a foretaste of the peace of mind and happiness of heart awaiting us in a heavenly eternity.

(163)

97. What does it mean that we walk by faith, not by sight?

This means that we must expect our faith to be tested by trials and temptations. Here on earth, we perceive God as in a mirror, dimly, and only in part (1 Cor 13:12).

(164)

98. What should we do when our faith is tested?

We should turn to the great models of faith in the Bible, like Abraham and Our Lady. We should find inspiration in the lives of the saints, whose faith was so tried.

(165)


Article 2:  “We Believe”

99. How is faith a social virtue?

Faith is a social virtue because every believer has received his faith from other believers. Moreover, we have the duty to share our faith with others. Finally, our faith supports the faith of others, even as their faith sustains us in our believing in the Word of God.

(166)

100. How should we profess our faith?

We should profess our faith personally, as individuals, and socially, as co-believers with other Christians. Thus, the Church tells us to say “I believe” and “We believe.”

(167)


101. How does our salvation come through the Church?

Our salvation comes through the Church because she nourishes and sustains our faith through her teaching, her sacraments, and her treasury of merit as the Mystical Body of Christ.

(168-169)

102. What is the language of faith?

The language of faith is the expression of the truths we believe, which are preserved and handed on in set formulas of doctrine.

(170)

103. How is the Church the pillar and bulwark of faith?

She is this by faithfully guarding the words of Christ and passing them on from generation to generation, teaching her children to understand and put them into practice in their lives.

(171)

104. How has the Church preserved the one faith received from the Lord?

In spite of the variety of nations and languages, the Church has kept the one faith intact by the grace of the Holy Spirit. This unity of faith is both a historical continuity over the centuries and a geographic identity throughout the world. It testifies to the fact that humanity has only one God and one Father.

(172-175)




Section II: The Profession of the Christian Faith

Introduction: The Creeds of the Faith

From apostolic times, the Church expressed and transmitted the faith in brief formulas for all believers.

(186)

These formulas are called “professions of faith” because they synthesize what believing Christians profess to believe. They are also called “Creeds,” from the Latin word credo (I believe). Finally, they are called “symbols of faith,” from the Greek word symbolon (a collection or summary).

(187-188)

105. When is the believer’s first profession of faith made?

It is made at Baptism. Since Baptism is conferred in the name of the Trinity, the faith is professed in three parts:
    • faith in God the Father and the creation of the world;
    • faith in God the Son and the redemption of the human race;
    • faith in God the Holy Spirit and the sanctification of mankind.

(189-190)

106. What are the articles of the Creed?

They are the individual truths of faith, each distinct from the others, like the separate members of our body that are united in one whole.

(191)

107. Are there many creeds?

Yes, in the two millennia of the Church’s history, many professions of faith were formulated. Each creed was meant to serve a special need. Among the more important symbols of faith are:
    • the Athanasian Creed, from the late fourth century, attributed to St. Athanasius;
    • the creeds of certain councils of the Church, like those of Toledo (400 A.D.) and Trent (1564 A.D.);
    • the creeds of the Bishops of Rome, like that of Pope Paul VI (1968 A.D.).

(192-193)

108. What are the two most important creeds?

They are the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds.

(193-195)

109. What is the Apostles’ Creed?

This is the creed that professes the faith of the Twelve Apostles.

(194)

110. What is the Nicene Creed?

Also called the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, it comes from the first two general councils of the Church, Nicea in 325 A.D. and Constantinople in 381 A.D. To this day, it is professed by all the great Churches of the East and West.

(195)

111. On what creed is The Catechism based?

It is based on the Apostles’ Creed, which is really the oldest Catholic catechism. However, we shall constantly refer to the Nicene Creed to supplement and make more explicit the teaching of the Apostles’ Creed.

(196)

112. Why is the Apostles’ Creed called “the treasure of our soul”?

St. Ambrose used this name to show how the articles of the Apostles’ Creed are like the principle of our supernatural life of faith.

(197)


Chapter One: “I Believe in God the Father”

We begin our profession of faith with God. He is the origin, or beginning of everything created, and the end or purpose for which everything in the world exists.

We open the Creed with the first Person of the Holy Trinity, and with creation, which is the foundation of everything that God has made.

(198)


Article 1: “I Believe in God the Father Almight, Creator of Heaven and Earth”

I. “I (We) Believe in One God”

113. Why does the Apostles’ Creed open with the words “I believe in God”?

The reason is that this is the most fundamental truth of our faith. Everything else we believe depends on this, even as everything else derives from our belief in the existence of God.

(199)

114. Why does the Nicene Creed begin with “We believe in one God”?

There are three reasons for this:
    • The plural “we” is used to emphasize the social character of our faith as a believing community.
    • The attribute of God’s oneness is affirmed to exclude any kind of polytheism or plurality of gods.
    • Also, the oneness of God is professed to bring out the fact that God is only one in nature, even though there are three divine Persons in God.

(200)

115. What are the principle attributes of the one God?

As professed by the Creed of the Fourth Lateran Council, “We firmly believe and confess without reservation that there is only one true God, eternal, infinite and unchangeable, incomprehensible, almighty, and ineffable, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; three Persons indeed, but one essence, substance or nature entirely simple” (November 30, 1215).
The occasion for this declaration of faith was the rise of the Albigensian heresy, which claimed there are at least two gods, one the author of what is good and the other the creator of evil.

(202)

116. Did God reveal His name?

Yes, God revealed Himself progressively under various names. These names told the Israelites not only who God is, but that He is a personal God and not some impersonal force.

(203-204)

117. What was the most fundamental divine name revealed by God?

It was the revelation he made to Moses from the burning bush on Mount Sinai. He declared, “I Am Who Am” (Ex 3:13-15). By this He meant that God’s essence is to exist. He is the Being who simply is. He can never not be, or become, or change. He must exist. He is, in the deepest sense of the word, Necessary Being.

(205-206)

118. Did God also reveal His faithfulness?

Yes, He told the Chosen People “I am the God of your fathers,” and He promised, “I will be with you” (Ex 3: 6, 12).

(207)

119. What are we by comparison with God?

We are insignificant. In fact, except for God we would be nothing. Yet God loves us and is merciful to us if we repent of our sins. That is why He told His people that He is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger” (Ex 34:6).

(208, 210)

120. What title did the Israelites substitute for the name of God?

The title “Lord,” which is also the title that Christians give to Jesus, who is God.

(209)

121. What is the basic difference between God and His creatures?

It is the unchangeableness of God. Thus, the psalmist says to the Lord, comparing Him with creatures, “Like clothing, you change them, and they are changed, but you are the same” (Ps 102:26-27).

(212)

122. What does it mean to say that “God alone is”?

It means that God is the fullness of being and perfection. He alone is His very Being.

(213)

123. What is distinctive about God’s love for us?

God’s love for us is steadfast, faithful, and constant (Ps 136:2).

(214)

124. How is God the Truth?

Since truth is conformity of mind with reality, God is Truth three times over:
    • He is Truth because whatever He has made or done conforms with the mind of God.
    • He is Truth because whatever God knows conforms with reality.
    • He is Truth because whatever He says conforms to the mind of God.
On all three levels, Jesus Christ is the Truth because He is God Incarnate.

(215-217)

125. How is God Love?

God is Love in Himself and in His love for us.
    • In Himself, the Holy Trinity is the eternal exchange of love among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
    • In loving us, His love is everlasting, merciful, and self-revealing in sending us His only Son and the Holy Spirit.

(218-221)

126. What are the implications of our faith in one God?

Because of our faith in God:
    • we know His greatness and majesty;
    • we thank Him for giving us everything we are and have;
    • we know the unity and dignity of all people, made in the image and likeness of God;
    • we use creatures to bring us closer to God and remove creatures when they turn us away from God;
    • we see and trust God in every circumstance of life, knowing there is no such thing as chance with God.

(222-227)


II.  “The Father”

127. On what does the faith of all Christians depend?

It depends on our belief in the Holy Trinity as the central mystery of Christianity.

(232-233)

128. How is the Trinity the central mystery of Christianity?

It is the central mystery because it reveals God as He is in Himself, in His relation to us, who came from the Trinity and are destined to return to the Trinity as our eternal destiny.

(234)

129. What is the difference between “theology” and “economy”?

Theology is the mystery of God revealing Himself. Economy is the mystery of God’s relationship with us.

(236)

130. How is the Trinity a strict mystery?

As a strict mystery, the Trinity could not be rationally conceived before revelation, and cannot be rationally comprehended (fully understood) since revelation.

(237)

131. How is God revealed as Father?

God is revealed as Father especially in two ways:
    • God is the first origin and supreme authority of everything created.
    • God is supremely good and loving toward all of His children.

(239)

132. Can we speak of gender in God?

Absolutely not, and that for two reasons:
    • God is Pure Spirit. Not having a body, He cannot have any gender or sex. He is neither male nor female.
    • The fatherhood in God is the eternal generation of the Second Person by the First Person of the Trinity. This was revealed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became man.

(239-240)

133. What do we believe about Jesus as the Son of God?

As professed in the Nicene Creed, “We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father.”

(242)

134. What did Christ reveal about the Holy Spirit?

He revealed two great mysteries:
    • that the Holy Spirit is a distinct Divine Person in relation to Jesus and the Father;
    • that the Holy Spirit is sent to the Apostles and the Church both by the Father and the Son, and by the Son in a special way once He returned to the Father.

(243-244)

135. What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?

As professed in the Nicene Creed, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshipped and glorified.”

(245)

136. How do the Latin and Eastern traditions differ regarding faith in the Holy Spirit?

In the Eastern tradition, the original Nicene Creed says, “The Holy Spirit…proceeds from the Father.” The Latin version adds the words “…and the Son.” Thus, the Latin Church emphasizes the communion “of one being” between Father and Son. If not exaggerated, these additional words do not affect the identity of faith professed by Eastern and Western Christianity.

(246-248)

137. What were the beginnings of the Church’s profession of faith in the Trinity?

The Church’s faith in the Trinity was first found in the administration of Baptism and thus incorporated in the Apostolic writings, religious instruction, prayer, and the Eucharistic liturgy.

(249)

138. How did the Church deepen her understanding of the mystery of the Trinity?

Under the challenge of prevalent errors, the Church clarified her understanding of the Trinity in three ways:
    • by speaking of “substance” and “essence” when referring to the divine Being in its unity;
    • by speaking of “persons,” or “hypostases,” when referring to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as distinct individuals;
    • by speaking of “relation” to bring out the distinction of each Divine Person to the others.

(250-252)

139. How do we profess our faith in the dogma of the Trinity?

We profess our faith in the Trinity in three ways:
    • We confess that there is only one God, that the Trinity is one in being.
    • We confess that the three Divine Persons are really distinct among Themselves. The Father is not the Son, nor is the Holy Spirit the Father or the Son. God is not a solitary. He is the Divine Community of the Holy Trinity.
    • We confess that the three Persons do not divide God’s unity. Rather they express their relationship to one another.

(253-256)

140. How is the divine economy the work of the Holy Trinity?

Whatever God does outside of His own Trinitarian life is always done by all three Persons of the Trinity. Just as They have only one divine nature, so They have only one divine operation.
Yet, each of the divine Persons also reveals His own distinct properties in the work that is objectively done by the whole Trinity.

(257-259)

141. What is the final goal of the whole divine economy?

The final goal is that we may enter into the unity of the Trinity in a heavenly eternity. But even now, we are the dwelling place of the Holy Trinity. Our duty is to realize and respond to this marvelous privilege by our faithful love of the Trinity, and grow in God’s love in return for His generosity.

(260)


III. “The Almighty”

142. What do we mean by professing that God is almighty?

We mean that “nothing will be impossible with God” (Lk1:37). We mean that He is Lord of the universe that He created, which remains totally at His disposal. We mean that He is Lord of history, governing human hearts and events according to His will.

(268-269)

143. How does God especially show His almighty power?

He does so most clearly by forgiving our sins.

(270)

144. Is the power of God arbitrary?

No, because God always exercises His power according to His wise intelligence and just will.

(271)


145. How is our faith in God’s almighty power especially tried?

Our faith in God’s omnipotence is especially tried by the evil and suffering we see and experience in our lives.

(272)

146. What is our strongest support in coping with evil and suffering?

Our strongest support in coping with evil and suffering is Christ crucified and glorified. Only this faith can glory in its weakness in order to draw on the power of Christ. Our highest model is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who believed that nothing is impossible with God, who does great things, even miracles, for those who humbly trust in His holy name.

(273-274)


IV.  “The Creator”

147. What are the two basic questions of all times?

They are: “Where do we come from?” and “Where are we going?”

(279-282)

148. How are these two questions related?

They are related as condition and consequence. The condition is that we were created by God. The inevitable consequence is that we must have been created for God.

(279-282)

149. What have been the principal challenges to our faith in creation by God?

There have been especially five such challenges:
    • pantheism, which claims that the world is God or is becoming God or is emanating from God;
    • manichaeism, which claims that there are two gods, one the source of all that is good, and the other of everything that is evil;
    • gnosticism, which claims that at least the material world is evil, even a depravation of the deity, and must, therefore, be rejected or surpassed;
    • deism, which claims that God made the world like a watch, and then abandoned it to its own power and limitations;
    • materialism, which claims that the world is merely the interplay of material (nonspiritual) elements that have always existed.

(283-285)

150. Can the existence of God the Creator be known by the light of human reason?

Yes, that is why St. Paul says the pagans of his day were inexcusable. They were “those men who in wickedness held back the truth of God, seeing that what may be known about God is manifest to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen—His everlasting power also and divinity—being understood through the things that are made” (Rom 1:18-20).

(286)

151. Has God revealed the truth about creation beyond what we know from reason?

Yes, He has done so, especially in forming the Chosen People of Israel.

(287)

152. How is creation related to God’s covenant with His Chosen People?

The truth of creation is the first and most powerful witness to God’s all-powerful love.

(288)

153. How important are the first three chapters of Genesis for understanding creation?

They are most important for relating creation, sin, and God’s promise of salvation.

(289)

154. What are we told in the first verse of Genesis?

We are told that God began everything that exists beyond Himself, that He alone is Creator, and that everything that exists in the world depends on Him who gave it existence.

(290)

155. What do the opening verses of St. John’s Gospel tell us?

They tell us that God created everything by His eternal Word, His beloved Son.

(291)

156. Is creation the work of the entire Trinity?

Yes, we may say, with St. Irenaeus, that God the Father made all things “by the Son and the Spirit” who are “His hands.”

(292)

157. Why did God create the world?

God created the world “in order to manifest His perfection through the benefits He bestows on creatures” (First Vatican Council, 1).

(293)

158. Did God create the world for His glory?

Yes, He created the world so that His rational creatures might glorify Him by knowing and loving Him and thus sharing in His happiness in time and eternity.

(294)

159. Did God create in perfect freedom?

Yes, the world is not the product of any necessity, or blind fate, or chance. It proceeds from the free will of God. He wants His creatures to participate in His being, wisdom, and goodness.

(295)

160. Did God create out of nothing?

Yes, in creating, God needed nothing that already existed, nor did He need any help, nor is creation a necessary emanation from the divine substance. God created freely out of nothing.

(296)

161. What follows from the power of God to create out of nothing?

Given His almighty power to create, God can also:
    • restore sinners to His friendship;
    • raise back to life the bodies of the dead on the last day;
    • bring into existence that which does not exist;
    • give the gift of divine faith to those who do not yet believe.

(297-298)

162. What kind of a world has God created?

God has created a good and orderly world. It is orderly because it is directed to a divinely ordained purpose. It is good because it comes from God’s goodness and is destined for our blessedness.

(299)

163. Is God present in the world?

Yes, God’s presence sustains the world in existence. Yet, God is infinitely superior to the world He created.

(300)

164. How does God sustain the world?

God sustains the world not only in existence but by giving creatures the power to act and so to reach their appointed destiny.

(301)

165. What is divine providence?

As expressed by the First Vatican Council, “God, in His providence, watches over and governs all things that He made, reaching from end to end with might and disposing of all things with gentleness” (April 24, 1870).

(302)

166. What do the Scriptures tell us about divine providence?

They are unanimous in teaching us that God is concretely and practically and immediately exercising His loving care over all creatures and all the events of human history. Thus, “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the decision of the Lord that endures” (Prv 19:21).

(303)

167. Why do the Scriptures so often speak exclusively of God doing something?

The reason is to emphasize that God is the main cause of everything that, as we say, happens. It is also to remind us to trust God always in every event and situation of life.

(304)

168. What does Jesus teach us about providence?

Our Lord urges us to have childlike confidence in His providence. Our one concern should be to do His will.

(305)

169. What is the role of secondary causes in the world?

Secondary causes are the contributions that creatures, especially human beings, make for the fulfillment of God’s providential plans. He gives us the privilege of working with Him by freely cooperating in His designs for the universe.

(306)

170. Is our free will part of divine providence?

Yes, God gives us the power and the dignity of using our free will for the fulfillment of His designs. Without often realizing it, we are cooperating with Him by our actions, prayers, and sacrifices in the fulfillment of His divine providence.

(307-308)

171. What are the two kinds of evil in the world?

They are moral and physical evil.

(310-311)

172. What is moral evil?

Moral evil is sin. It is evil because it is contrary to the will of God. It is moral evil because it is caused by a free created will acting against the will of God. He does not want moral evil as an end or as a means.

(311)

173. Why does God permit moral evil?

He permits moral evil out of consideration of human (and angelic) freedom, and because He has the wisdom and the power to cause good to arise from the evil. In the end, moral evil will serve the supreme purpose of the universe, which is the glorification of God, since it reveals His mercy in forgiving and His justice in punishing.

(311-312)

174. What is physical evil?

Physical evil is the privation of a natural physical good. It is evil because something is lacking in what it should be. It is physical because the lack or privation is in the nature (physis in Greek) of a thing. The privation may be material, like the size or strength of a body; or it may be spiritual, like ignorance in the mind or courage in the will. When this privation is consciously experienced, it is painful suffering which may also be called a physical evil.

(310)

175. Why is there physical evil?

There is physical evil because God willed that there be limitations in the world He created. These limitations provide us with the opportunity to develop the world in which we live. Yet, as the Second Vatican Council reminds us, such “earthy progress #133; is of vital concern to the Kingdom of God, insofar as it can contribute to the better ordering of human society” (Gaudium et spes, 39).

(310, 1048-1049)

176. How did God draw great good from the greatest moral evil?

The greatest moral evil was the rejection and murder of Jesus Christ. Yet, out of this crime, God brought the greatest blessing, the glorification of the Savior and the redemption of the human race.

(312)

177. What does St. Paul teach about God drawing good out of everything?

He says, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God” (Rom 8:28). But note the condition. God draws good out of everything for those who love Him. Everything in their lives becomes a grace of God.

(313)

178. When shall we know the mysterious ways of God in our lives?

We shall know the mysterious ways of God in our lives when we reach our heavenly destiny, when we see God “face-to-face.” But while now on earth, we must live by faith and trust in His divine providence.

(314)

179. What do we include when we say that God is “Creator of heaven and earth”?

In the words of the Nicene Creed, we include “all that is seen and unseen,” in other words, everything.

(325)

180. How do we distinguish between “heaven” and “earth”?

By heaven we mean both the abode where God dwells with His angels and saints, and what we popularly call “the sky,” including the sun, moon, stars, and planets above the earth.

(325)

By earth we mean both human beings and the world of our own planet, the Earth which we occupy.

(326)

181. What was the order or sequence of creation?

In the definition of the Fourth Lateran Council, God “the Creator of all things visible and invisible, spiritual and corporeal . . . by His almighty power, from the very beginning of time has created both orders of creatures in the same way out of nothing, the spiritual or angelic world and the corporeal or visible universe. And afterwards He formed the creature man” (November 11-30, 1215).

(327)

182. How do we know that angels exist?

We have the unanimous witness of both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

(328)


183. Who are the angels?

The angels are pure created spirits with intelligence and will. Each is an individual person who is immortal and surpasses all visible creatures in natural perfection.

(329-330)

184. What is the function of the angels?

Their function is to be servants and messengers of God.

(329)

185. How are the angels related to Christ?

The angels were created by Christ, the Word of God. They were created for Him as the messengers of His plan of salvation.

(331)

186. How have the angels been active since the dawn of human history?

The angels have been serving God’s salvific providence from the origins of human history. Thus, they closed the earthly paradise to our first parents; they protected Lot, delivered Hagar, saved Abraham, led God’s Chosen People, helped the prophets, and finally announced the births of St. John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.

(332)

187. How were the angels associated with the earthly life of Christ?

The angels announced His birth, protected Him from Herod, served Him in the desert, strengthened Him in His agony, announced His Resurrection, and promised His return after the Ascension.

(333)

188. What is the role of the angels in the life of the Church?

The life of the Church over the centuries has benefitted from the mysterious assistance of the angels. This is shown in the Church’s devotion to the angels, which runs like an angelic theme in the liturgy. There are feast days in honor of the angels, and the faithful are urged to invoke the holy angels.

(334-335)

189. What is the role of the angels in our life?

In the words of St. Basil, “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd for the conduct of life.” As believers, we know that the angels are part of our company as people united with God.

(336)

190. How does Scripture present the order of creation?

Scripture presents the order of creation in symbolic terms as a succession of six days.

(337)

191. What does the Book of Genesis give us?

It gives us an account of how and when everything in the visible world began.

(338)

192. Does each creature possess its own goodness and perfection?

Yes, each creature in its own way reflects the infinite wisdom and goodness of God.

(339)

193. What is our duty in the use of creatures?

We must respect the goodness of all creatures, avoid their disorderly use, and thus avert disastrous consequences on people and the environment.

(340)

194. Are creatures dependent on one another?

Yes, their interdependence is both for their own perfection and for our benefit.

(340)

195. What is the beauty of the universe?

Beauty is that which attracts on being seen. It is the result of order and harmony in things. The beauty of the universe is the reflection of the infinite beauty of God, whom we should honor and praise by the submission of our minds and wills to His wisdom and power.

(341)

196. Is there a hierarchy in creatures?

Yes, there is a hierarchy or gradation in creatures, with some more perfect than others. Yet, God cares for all of them and above all cares for us.

(342)


197. Who is at the summit of creation?

Man is the summit of God’s creation as shown in the clear distinction the Bible makes between man’s origin and that of all other creatures.

(343)

198. Is there solidarity among creatures?

Yes, all have the same Creator and all are intended by Him to give Him glory as a part of creation.

(344)

199. What is the significance of the Sabbath?

The Sabbath teaches us many things;
    • that we are to be faithful to the laws by which God rules the world He created;
    • that our primary duty is to worship the Creator.

(345-348)

200. What is the culmination of creation?

The culmination of creation is the Redemption. Just as the Sabbath closed the first creation, so the Redemption spurs the new creation. Thus, for us Christians, Sunday became the symbol of a divine work greater than creation. Our salvation was completed when Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week.

(349)

201. How do we human beings occupy a unique place in creation?

We are unique because we have been made in the image and likeness of God; we unite in ourselves the spiritual and material world; and we are destined to share in the eternal goodness of God Himself.

(355-356)

202. What is our dignity as human persons?

As human persons, each of us is capable of knowing, possessing, and giving ourselves to one another. Moreover, we are personally called by divine grace to a covenant with God. He offers us the privilege of believing in and loving Him as our Creator and Lord.

(357)

203. Can we say that God created everything for us?

Yes, He wants us to use everything according to His will as a means of reaching our eternal destiny.

(358)

204. How are Christ and Adam related?

Christ is the Creator and the destiny of Adam. He is, therefore, the Second Adam as the one from whom the first Adam came; He is also the goal or purpose for whom the first Adam was made.

(359)

205. What is the unity of the human race?

The human race forms one family because we were all made by one God; we all have one human nature; we were all redeemed by one Savior; we all have one heavenly goal; and we all have the same basic means for reaching there.

(360-361)

206. What is a human person?

A human person is both a bodily and a spiritual being.

(362)

207. How is man a spiritual person?

Man is a spiritual person because his body is animated by a spiritual principle of life called the soul. This is the main reason why man is created in the image of God.

(363)

208. How does man’s body share in the dignity of the image of God?

The body shares in the image of God for two reasons:
    • It is intended to be a temple of the Holy Spirit.
    • It is destined to rise on the last day.

(364)

209. How are body and soul united in us?

Although our body is material (made of quantitative parts), when united with the soul, it is a living body. Body and soul together form one human nature.

(365)

210. What are the main qualities of the human soul?

The soul is immediately created by God at the time of human conception. It is naturally immortal and will be reunited with the body at the final resurrection.

(366)

211. What is the difference between soul and spirit?

In the language of St. Paul, the human spirit is the soul animated by supernatural grace and, therefore, capable of the beatific vision of God.

(367)

212. What is the biblical meaning of “heart”?

The heart often signifies the human will whereby we choose for or against God.

(368)

213. How are the equality and difference between man and woman willed by God?

God willed man and woman, as human persons, to be perfectly equal in dignity. But each gender reflects distinctive attributes of God’s wisdom and goodness.

(369)

214. Is God an image of man?

Absolutely not. God is a pure spirit, without gender. But men and women somehow reflect the divine attributes of a father, mother, and spouse.

(370)

215. How are man and woman created for each other?

God made man and woman to complement each other. In Genesis, we read how the first man looked upon the first woman with admiration and a loving sense of unity. In marriage, they are together to cooperate with God for the transmission of human life.

(371-372)

216. How are man and woman to “subdue” the earth?

They are to do so according to God’s will and His all-wise providence, in other words, not arbitrarily or destructively.

(373)


217. What was the condition of our first parents in paradise?

They were in God’s friendship and in harmony with themselves and the world around them. They were in the state of grace, which the Church calls original justice or holiness.

(374-375)

218. What were the main gifts of original justice?

The main gifts of original justice were bodily immortality, the absence of pain, and the triple harmony of the universe, of peace between man and woman, and of peace between our first parents and the rest of the created world.

(376)

219. Did our first parents have self-mastery before they sinned?

Yes, before they fell, they had mastery over “carnal allurements, enticement for the eye [and] the life of empty show” (1 Jn 2:16).

(377)

220. Is work a punishment for sin?

Work, as a distasteful burden, is a punishment for sin. But before the Fall, work was a pleasant collaboration of man and woman with God in the development of the visible world.

(378)

221. What did our first parents lose by their sin?

They lost all the foregoing peaceful harmony of original justice for themselves and their descendants.

(379)

222. Can we comprehend the mystery of evil in the world?

We cannot comprehend the mystery of evil as sin and pain. But we can begin to understand it through the eyes of faith in Jesus Christ, who alone has overcome the evil in the world.

(385)

223. What is the basic root of sin?

The basic root of sin is man’s rejection of God and opposition to the divine Will.

(386)

224. What is the reality of sin?

The reality of sin is the fact that sin is an abuse of the liberty that God has given to persons who were created to love Him and one another.

(387)

225. How do we know the reality of sin?

Only by the light of revelation can we clearly understand the reality of sin, especially original sin.

(387)

226. Has the New Testament clarified the meaning of sin?

Yes, immeasurably. With the coming of Christ, His death and Resurrection, and by the light of His Holy Spirit, we can now see the meaning of sin as it could never have been seen before.

(388)


227. How important is the doctrine of original sin?

Most important. Without the doctrine of original sin, as taught by the Church, you undermine the mystery of Christ. Why? Because we all come into the world as sinners. We all need, and we are all assured, the grace of salvation that comes to us uniquely through Jesus Christ.

(389)

228. What does Genesis teach us about original sin?

It reveals with the certitude of faith that all human history is marred by the original voluntary sin committed by our first parents.

(390)

229. How was the devil involved in the sin of our first parents?

Out of envy, the devil (slanderer) seduced our first parents. Also called Satan (adversary), he and his fellow angels were created in God’s friendship but became evil by their own self-will.

(391)

230. What was the Fall of the angels?

The angels fell when they freely chose to rebel against God. As a result, they are irrevocably separated from Him.

(392)

231. Will the devils ever be reconciled with God?

No, no less than unrepentant human beings who die in their sin, devils will never be reconciled with God.

(393)

232. What is the worst harm caused by the Devil?

The worst harm is the deceptive seduction of our first parents.

(394)

233. What is the mystery of Satan?

It is the fact that God allows the evil spirit to tempt human beings to sin and thus cause great spiritual and even physical harm. However, in His providence, God will draw great good out of this satanic evil.

(395)

234. How is man’s freedom put to the test?

Since the origins of the human race, man’s freedom is tested by enabling him to recognize and choose to obey the laws of God.

(396)

235. What was the sin of our first parents?

Tempted by the devil, they abused their freedom by distrusting their Creator and refusing to obey His commandment. All sin, at root, is disobedience of God.

(397)

236. What, in essence, was original sin?

It was man’s preferring himself to God. Destined to be divinized by God in glory, man chose to be like God, but without God and contrary to His will.

(398)

237. How does the Bible describe the result of the sin of Adam and Eve?

It tells us they lost the grace of God as soon as they acted on their false image of a God who is jealous of His divinity.

(399)

238. What were the results of original sin?

Original sin deprived man of spiritual control over the body and introduced tensions between men and women, causing their relations to become marked by concupiscence and self-assertion. Visible creation became hostile to humanity. Moreover, death was brought into human history.

(400)

239. What has been the history of the human race since the Fall of our first parents?

It has been the history of sin. To this day, man is at odds with himself, with others, and with all created things. Why? Because many human beings refuse to acknowledge God as their origin and destiny.

(401)

240. Did Adam’s sin affect all mankind?

Yes, as taught by St. Paul, “through one man, sin entered into the world and through sin, death, and thus death has passed unto all men because all have sinned.” That is why Christ had to redeem all mankind: “As from the offense of the one man the result was unto condemnation to all men, so from the justice of the one, the result is unto justification of life to all men” (Rom 5:12, 18).

(402)


241. What follows from this universality of sin?

As a result, all mankind is subject to misery, inclination to evil, and death. Also for this reason, the Church baptizes even infants who have committed no personal sin.

(403)

242. How did Adam’s sin become the sin of all his descendants?

Adam sinned as head of the human race. By sinning, he lost divine grace not only for himself but for all his posterity. Thus, the human nature which Adam and Eve passed on is deprived of God’s friendship for their descendants. They contract this original guilt without having personally offended God.

(404)

243. What is the effect of original sin in us?

We come into the world without the grace that would entitle us to heaven. Moreover, our nature wounded, we become mortal, are ignorant, weakened in our wills, inclined to sin, and subject to suffering. Baptism restores our title to heaven, but the other effects of original sin remain.

(405)

244. Where does the Church teach about the effects of original sin?

Her teaching is mainly found in two general councils: the Council of Orange (529 A.D.) in response to Pelagianism, which claimed we can live a good moral life without God’s grace; and the Council of Trent (1546 A.D.) in response to historic Protestantism, which claimed that original sin depraved human nature and deprived us of freedom of will.

(406)

245. Does everyone believe that we now have a wounded nature inclined to sin?

No, with disastrous results in education, politics, the social sciences, and morality.

(407)

246. What is the “sin of the world”?

The “sin of the world” is another name for the fact that everyone has a fallen human nature and has personally sinned. It also means that we are all affected by the sins of society and its sinful structures.

(408)

247. How does this affect all of us?

As a result, we must “continually fight to ally ourselves with the good, for only with great effort and the help of God’s grace can we achieve unity within ourselves” (Gaudium et spes, 37, 2).

(409)

248.What is the “First Gospel”?

This is the promise of a Redeemer, made by God after the Fall of our first parents in the third chapter of the Book of Genesis. The Redeemer would be a descendant of Eve.

(410)

249. Does the “First Gospel” also foretell the Blessed Virgin Mary?

Yes, this is the interpretation of the “First Gospel” by many Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Mary would be preserved from all stain of original sin and never commit sin. She would be the first and outstanding beneficiary of Christ’s redemption.

(411)

250. Why did God allow our first parents to sin?

He allowed it in order that greater good might result. Christ’s redemption brought us more blessings than would have come to the world if our first parents had not sinned.

(412)


Chapter Two: “I Believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God”

As announced by the angels on Christmas morning, the Gospel or “Good News” is the fulfillment of the prophecy made to Abraham and his descendants. We believe with St. Peter that Jesus, born of a Jewish mother, is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16). It is on this faith that Christ built His Church.

(422-424)

Our duty is to proclaim to the world what we believe, namely “the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8).

Jesus Christ, therefore, is at the heart of catechesis. Everything else is taught with reference to Him. Actually, it is He above all who teaches. Others teach only as His representatives. Thus, every catechist should be able to say the mysterious words of Jesus: “My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me” (Jn 7:16).

The implications for us are staggering. We who have been called to teach Christ must know Him and love Him ourselves. Inspired by this loving knowledge, we shall lead others to believe in Jesus Christ.

(425-429)


Article 2: “…and in Jesus Christ, the Only Son of God, Our Savior”

I.  Jesus

251. What does the name “Jesus” mean?

Jesus means “God saves.” Implied in this name is that since God became man, and God alone can forgive sins, Jesus forgives sins because He is God.

(430)

252. Did Israel believe in a redeeming God?

Yes, having been redeemed from the bondage of Egypt, Israel gradually came to realize that God was to save everyone from the slavery of sin.

(431)

253. How is Christ the Redeemer of all mankind?

He is the Redeemer of all mankind because everyone who believes in Him and invokes His name can be saved.

(432)

254. How was the world redeemed by Christ’s blood?

God reconciled a sinful world by sending His own Son to become man precisely so that, as man, He could shed His blood for our salvation. All the bloody sacrifices of the Old Law were preludes to the one Sacrifice of Calvary.

(433)

255. How important is the name of Jesus?

Most important. It is at once a profession of faith in the incarnation, a petition for mercy, an act of adoration, the most powerful prayer of petition, and a divine promise of working miracles for those who believe in this name.

(434-435)


II.  Christ

256. Why was the name “Christ” given to Jesus?

Because Jesus fulfilled the Messianic expectations. He is the Messiah foretold to Israel. Messiah, or Christos in the Greek, means “Anointed.” In the Old Testament, kings, priests, and prophets were anointed to enable them to fulfill their divine mission. Jesus’ humanity was “anointed” with the divinity to enable Him as the God-man to carry out the mission of redeeming the human race.

(436)

257. Why was Jesus born of the house of David?

In order to fulfill the Messianic prophecies. Both Mary, His virginal mother, and Joseph, His foster father, were of the family of David.

(437)

258. What was Jesus’ Messianic consecration?

It was twofold: to fulfill the prophecies foretold to Israel; and to accomplish the work of the world’s redemption.

(438)

259. Did all of Jesus’ contemporaries recognize Him as the true Messiah?

No, many saw in Him the fulfillment of their expectations for deliverance from political tyranny.

(439)

260. How is the true Messianic kingship of Christ recognized?

It is recognized only through the Cross. This was clearly revealed by Christ, who predicted His passion immediately after Peter professed his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

(440)


III.  Only Son of God

261. What is the ordinary meaning of “Son of God”?

As found in the Old Testament and with many of Christ’s contemporaries, it meant a special intimacy as an adopted child of God.

(441)

262. What did Peter mean when he professed Jesus to be the Son of God?

Under divine inspiration, he professed to believe that Jesus is literally the living God in human form. This, too, was St. Paul’s profession that, from the beginning, was the center of the apostolic faith first confessed by Peter to become the foundation of the Church founded by Christ.

(442)

263. Did Jesus Claim to be one in being with God the Father?

Yes, He declared that He was the Son who alone knows the Father. He always knows the Father. He always distinguished between His relation to God as “my Father” and our relation to God as “your Father.” In fact, it was on this claim of being uniquely the Son of God that Jesus was condemned by the Sanhedrin.

(443)

264. How do we know that Jesus’ divine sonship was absolutely unique?

From the testimony of the Father at the baptism and transfiguration of Jesus; and from the affirmation by Jesus of His coeternal existence with the Father.

(444)

265. What was the crowning proof of Christ’s oneness with God the Father?

It was Christ’s resurrection from the dead. He laid down His life and, by the divine power He shared with the Father, He took it up again, as He had predicted.

(445)


IV.  Lord

266. What is the meaning of the word “Lord” as applied to Jesus in the New Testament?

It means “God.” We know this from the Greek Old Testament, which translated the Hebrew term for God as Kyrios (Lord). The New Testament regularly refers to Jesus as Lord.

(446)

267. How did Christ’s miracles testify to His divinity?

His miracles were manifestations of His own divine power, even to raising people from the dead.

(447)

268. Did Christ’s contemporaries profess their faith in His lordship as God?

Yes, under divine inspiration, they called Him “Lord,” to profess their faith in His dominion over creation. The crowning profession of this faith was that of the Apostle Thomas, who addressed the risen Savior as “My Lord and my God.”

(448)

269. Did the first confessions of the Christian faith speak of Jesus as “Lord”?

Yes, without exception. This shows the early unanimous Christian faith in Christ’s divinity.

(449)

270. What was implied in the early Church’s assertion of Christ’s lordship?

Faith was implied in Christ’s sovereignty, with God the Father, as Lord of the world and of human history.

(450)

271. Does Christian prayer profess the lordship of Christ?

Yes, over the centuries, the Church has prayed “through Christ our Lord,” and “The Lord be with you, “ and “Come, Lord Jesus.”

(451)


Article 3: “He Was Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and was Born of the Virgin Mary”

Paragraph 1:  The Son of God Became Man

I.  Why the Word Became Flesh

272. Why did the Son of God become man?

  • He became man to reconcile us sinners with God. We were sick and had to be healed; fallen and had to be raised up; dead and had to be brought back to life again.

(456-457)

  • He became man to teach us the meaning of true love, “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that those who believe in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting’ (Jn 3:16).
  • He became man to be our pattern of holiness. By imitating His virtues as a man, we become more and more like Him, the all-holy God.
  • He became man to make us sharers in His divine nature.

(458-460)

II.  The Incarnation

273. What is the Incarnation?

It is the enfleshment (Latin caro means “flesh”) of the Second Person of the Trinity. Although Christ “was by nature God . . . He emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave and being made in the form of man” (Phil 2:6-7). As man, Christ could submit His human will to the Father, and thus offer Himself in the sacrifice of the Cross.

(461-462)

274. How important is faith in the Incarnation?

It is the basic mystery of Christianity. It is also the foundation of Christian joy.

(463)


III. True God and True Man

275. How is Christ true God and true man?

The full explanation is a mystery. What we know is that Christ is not partly human and partly God, nor is He a mixture of humanity and divinity.

(464)

276. What does homoousios mean?

As defined by the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.), Christ is “begotten, not made, one in being (homoousios) with the Father.” This was a refutation of Arius, who claimed that the Son of God was a creature who came into existence.

(465)

277. What does Theotokos mean?

As defined by the Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.), “If anyone does not profess that Emmanuel is truly God and that the Holy Virgin is therefore Mother of God (Theotokos), for she gave birth in the flesh to the Word of God made flesh: let him be anathema.” This was directed against Nestorians, who claimed that Christ was two persons, a human person whose mother was Mary, and the divine Second Person of the Trinity.

(466)

278. How many natures and persons are there in Christ?

As defined by the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.), “We confess that one and the same Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without distinction or change, without division or separation The distinction between His natures was not abolished by their union but the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved as they came together in one person (prosopon) and one substance (hypostasis).” This was a refutation of the Monophysites, who claimed that Christ’s human nature ceased to exist at the Incarnation.

(467)

279. Is everything in Christ’s human nature to be attributed to His divine Person?

Yes, this includes not only His miracles but also His sufferings. As defined by the Fifth Council of Constantinople (553 A.D.), “He who was crucified in the flesh, Our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity.”

(468)

280. Did Christ cease to be God when He became man?

No, as declared in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, “O Christ, our God, you who by your death have crushed death, you who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us!”

(469)


IV. How God’s Son Is Human

281. How human is Christ?

He is like us in all things except sin. Yet, everything that belongs to Christ as man belongs to “One of the Trinity,” that is, His divine Person.

(470)

282. Does Christ have a human soul as well as a human body?

Yes, that is why the evangelist says that Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and grace. He willed to acquire for Himself what we have to learn from experience.

(472)

283. Did Christ’s human knowledge express the divine life of His person?

Yes, Christ’s human nature manifested everything that belongs to God. In His human intellect, He had the immediate knowledge of the Father and of the secret thoughts of men.

(473)

284. Did Christ as man know the eternal plan of salvation?

Yes, insofar as he came to reveal this plan to mankind.

(474)

285. How many wills does Christ have?

He has two wills, divine and human. His human will is always conformed to His divine will.

(475)

286. Are images of Christ to be venerated?

Yes, because He had a true humanity so that His finite body could be seen and can now be portrayed.

(476)

287. Whom do we honor in venerating an image of Christ?

We are honoring the reality that the image represents.

(477)

288. How does the Sacred Heart signify the love of Christ?

It signifies Christ’s love for His Father and for us because during His life and Passion, He knew and loved each one of us. His human heart, pierced for our salvation, symbolizes this love.

(478)


Paragraph 2:  “Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and Born of the Virgin Mary”

I. “Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit”

 

 

289. How did the Blessed Virgin conceive her Son?

As the angel told her, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you” (Lk 1:35). In other words, the power of the Holy Spirit caused her to conceive the Second Person with a human nature derived from her own.

(484-485)

290. How was Jesus’ anointing with the Spirit manifested?

Gradually, from the shepherds on to His disciples, in fact, through His whole life, Jesus manifested His anointing with the Holy Spirit.

(486)


II. “Born of the Virgin Mary”

291. On what is our Catholic faith in Mary founded?

It is founded on what this faith believes about Christ.

(487)

292. Was Mary predestined to be the Mother of God?

Yes, from all eternity God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of His Son.

(488)

293. Was Mary’s mission anticipated in the Old Testament?

Yes, many humble and holy women preceded Mary to prepare the world for her mission as the humble handmaid of the Lord who became the Mother of the Most High.

(489)

294. How was Mary prepared to become the Mother of God?

She was “full of grace” by being endowed with a deep faith to accept her sublime dignity.

(490)

295. Has the Church become increasingly aware of Mary’s fullness of grace?

Yes, so much so that in 1854, Pope Pius IX defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “from the first moment of her conception [was] preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”

(491)

296. How was Mary adorned with such unique holiness?

She was “preredeemed” in view of her divine Son’s merits.

(492)

297. Did Mary ever sin?

No, as the Fathers of the Church call her, she is “all holy.” She was preserved by grace from ever committing any personal sin.

(493)

298. How did Mary respond to the Annunciation?

She responded with the obedience of faith. In the words of St. Irenaeus, “Through her obedience, she became the cause of salvation both for herself and for the whole human race” (Adversus Haereses, 3, 22, 4).

(494)

299. Does the Bible tell us that Mary is the Mother of God?

Yes. At the visitation, Elizabeth was inspired by the Holy Spirit to address Mary as “the Mother of my Lord” (Lk 1:43).

(495)

300. Did the Church always believe in Mary’s virginity?

Yes, from apostolic times the Church has always professed that Mary conceived Christ only by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(496)

301. Was Mary’s virginity foretold in the Old Testament?

Yes, God promised through the prophet Isaiah that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son” (Is 7:14).

(497)

302. Is Mary’s virginity a historical fact?

Yes, as attested by St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107 A.D.): “The virginity of Mary and giving birth, like the death of the Lord: three mysteries that were accomplished in the silence of God” (Letter to the Ephesians, 19, 1).

(498)

303. What is the perpetual virginity of Mary?

This means that Mary was a virgin before she conceived Jesus, in giving Him birth, and after Jesus was born.

(499)

304. What about the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus to which the Gospels refer?

As was common in the Old Testament, this refers to the near relatives of Jesus.

(500)

305. What is Mary’s spiritual motherhood?

Mary conceived and gave birth to Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind. She cooperated with Him in His work of redemption. She is, therefore, the spiritual or supernatural Mother of the whole human race.

(501)

306.To what does Mary’s virginity testify?

It testifies to the fact that Jesus has only one Father, the First Person of the Holy Trinity.

(502-503)

307. How does Christ, conceived by the Virgin Mary, open the new creation?

He does so by meriting and communicating the graces we need to reach heaven, since from Him “we have received grace upon grace” (Jn 1:16).

(504)

308. What does Mary’s virginal conception of Christ signify?

It signifies Christ’s virginal conception of humanity in the new birth of the Holy Spirit. Our supernatural rebirth in the life of grace does not come “from blood or the will of flesh or the will of man, but from God” (Jn 1:13).

(505)

309. How is Mary’s virginity a sign of her faith?

As expressed by St. Augustine, “Mary is more blessed in perceiving Christ by faith than by conceiving Him in the flesh” (On Holy Virginity, 3).

(506)

310. How is Mary’s maternal virginity a symbol of the Church?

By preaching the Word of God and Baptism through the Holy Spirit, the Church generates children to a new and immortal life. As a virgin she preserves this faith given by the Holy Spirit.

(507)


Paragraph 3:  The Mysteries of the Life of Christ

The Creed explicitly speaks only of the Incarnation and the paschal mystery of Christ’s Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension. Yet, these mysteries are the bedrock of our faith. Our purpose here will be to expand on the basic mysteries of Christmas and Easter.

(512-513)


I. The Whole Life of Jesus Is a Mystery

311. Why were the Gospels written?

They were written so we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing, we might have life in His name.

(514)

312. Who wrote the Gospels?

The Gospels were written by the first believers in Christ, who wanted to share their faith with others. For the evangelist, every human word and action of Jesus was a sacrament or visible sign of His divinity at work in saving the world.

(515)

313. What is a common feature of Christ’s whole earthly life?

Everything in Christ’s earthly life is a revelation of God’s love for us.

(516)

314. How is Christ’s whole life a mystery of Redemption?

His whole life is a mystery of Redemption above all as the fruit of the blood of the Cross. But this mystery is at work in Christ’s whole life from the Incarnation, enriching us by His poverty, to the Resurrection, by which we are justified.

(517)

315. How is Christ’s life a mystery of Recapitulation?

Whatever He did, said, and suffered had the purpose of restoring fallen man to his first vocation. That is why He went through all the stages of human life to bring fallen men back to the friendship of God.

(518)

316. What is Christ’s purpose now?

His purpose is to share with all men the riches of His Redemption. By His Cross we were redeemed; by His Resurrection we were justified. Even now, He continues to make intercession for us before the Father.

(519)

317. How is Jesus our model?

His whole life on earth invites us to pattern our life on His.

(520)

318. Are we to share in the mysteries of Christ?

Yes. He wants us to become an extension and continuation of His mysteries. How? Through the graces He gives us and the effects He wishes to produce in us, both personally and collectively in the Church of which He is the Head.

(521)


II. Infancy and Hidden Life of Jesus

319. How was the world prepared for Christ’s coming?

By the prediction of the Old Testament prophets and especially by the preaching of St. John the Baptist. All of these are commemorated by the Church in her Advent liturgy.

(522-524)

320. What is the lesson of Christmas?

It is the lesson of childlike humility. Jesus was born in the humility of a stable, into a poor family, and first announced to simple shepherds. He lived what He later preached: that we are to become little children, reborn from above to become children of God.

(525-526)

321. What does Christ’s circumcision signify?

It signifies our Baptism, which is our circumcision in Christ.

(527)

322. What is the Epiphany?

It is the manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. The Magi represent the pagan nations that are also called to believe the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.

(528)

323. What does Christ’s Presentation signify?

It signifies Israel’s first encounter with its Savior. It foretells the world’s opposition to Christ, and Mary’s sorrows in union with her Son’s perfect oblation of the Cross.

(529)

324. What does Christ’s flight into Egypt reveal?

It reveals the opposition of darkness to the Light who is Christ. The return from Egypt symbolizes Jesus as the perfect liberator.

(530)

325. How did Jesus spend most of His life?

For most of His life, Jesus lived like the majority of His fellow Jews: in obscurity working with His hands, and observing the Jewish religious practices of the Law of God. He was obedient to His parents and grew in wisdom, age, and grace.

(531)

326. How important was the obedience of Jesus to Mary and Joseph?

Most important. It was the perfect observance of the fourth commandment. It was the prelude to Jesus’ perfect submission to His Heavenly Father in restoring the obedience destroyed by the disobedience of Adam.

(532)

327. How is the hidden life of the Holy Family in Nazareth a school for all Christians?

It teaches us the value of silence, the beauty of family life, and the dignity of labor.

(533)

328. What do we learn from the finding of Jesus in the Temple?

We learn that Jesus professed total dedication to His mission as the Son of God.

(534)


III. The Mysteries of the Public Life of Jesus

329. When did Jesus begin His public life?

He began His public life when He was baptized by John in the Jordan River. The voice of the heavenly Father proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God.

(535)

330. What did Christ’s baptism signify?

It signified His acceptance and beginning of the mission given to Him by the Father. The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus revealed the outpouring of grace that Christ merited for us by His obedience to the will of the Father.

(536)

331. How is our Baptism related to that of Jesus?

Through our Baptism, we are reborn in the likeness of Christ. Our christening makes us partners in the mystery of self-emptying and repentance as a condition for rising with Christ to eternal life.

(537)

332. What did Jesus do after His baptism?

He was led by the Holy Spirit to the desert for forty days, after which He was tempted by the evil spirit. The devil’s intention was to test Jesus’ loyalty to the Father.

(538)

333. Why was Jesus tempted by the devil?

He was tempted by the devil in order to expiate the sin of the first Adam, who was seduced by the devil. Moreover, Jesus’ victory over the evil spirit anticipated His final victory over that spirit by His Passion and death on Calvary.

(539)

334. What does Christ’s temptation reveal?

It reveals how Jesus is the true Messiah. Unlike the way Satan proposed, Jesus came to redeem the world by trial and suffering. Each year, during the forty days of Lent, we unite ourselves with Christ’s mystery in the desert.

(540)

335. How did Jesus inaugurate the Church?

He did so by gathering around Him those who believed in His message of salvation.

(541)

336. How is Jesus the heart of the family of God?

It was by His word and the miracles He performed that a scattered humanity began to be united. It was especially by His death and resurrection that this reunion of mankind was made possible through the Church that was born when Jesus died on the Cross.

(542)

337. Is everyone called to Christ’s kingdom?

Yes, however it was God’s will that this kingdom should first have been proclaimed to the children of Israel.

(543)

338. To whom does Christ’s kingdom belong?

It belongs to the poor and lowly in the eyes of the world. It belongs to the humble of heart. From the manger to the cross, Christ identified Himself with the hungry and the lonely.

(544)

339. Whom did Christ invite to the table of His kingdom?

He invited sinners whom He called to be converted from their evil ways and to partake of the mercy of God.

(545)

340. What was Jesus’ principal way of teaching?

It was through parables. At the heart of the parables is Christ’s call for detachment from everything in this world. We must use the talents God gave us to give ourselves interiorly to His teaching as expressed in the parables.

(546)

341. Why did Jesus work miracles?

He worked miracles to make His teaching credible. Moreover, His miracles are a promise of extraordinary blessings to those who believe in His name. Finally, His miracles were a test of sincerity, since so many refused to believe in Christ, in spite of His miraculous powers.

(547-548)

342. In what sense is Christ our liberator?

Christ did not come to free us from all evil. He came to deliver us from the slavery of sin.

(549)

343. Did Christ deliver the world from domination by Satan?

Yes, the exorcisms He performed were a prelude to His conquest of Satan as the prince of this world.

(550)

344. To whom did Christ entrust the keys of the kingdom of Heaven?

To St. Peter, as head of the Apostles. Although all the Apostles were entrusted with authority in the Church, only Peter was explicitly given the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. This meant supreme authority under Christ, to forgive sins, pronounce judgment in matters of doctrine, and make disciplinary decisions in the Church.

(551-553)

345. What was the significance of Christ’s transfiguration?

By His transfiguration, Christ confirmed Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Son of God; He revealed that He had to suffer to enter into His glory; He manifested His oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity; and He gave us a preview of His glorious coming on the last day to transform our body to a likeness of His glorified body.

(554-556)

346. Why did Jesus weep over Jerusalem?

Because Jerusalem had killed the prophets of the Old Testament and, having rejected the Messiah, would also put Him to death.

(557-558)

347. What did Jesus wish to teach us by His triumphal entry into Jerusalem?

He revealed the coming of the kingdom that He would establish by His death and Resurrection.

(559-560)


Article 4: “Jesus Christ Suffered Under Pontius Pilate, was Crucified, Died, and was Buried”

348. How is the paschal mystery at the center of the Gospel proclaimed to the world?

It was by His passion and death that Christ redeemed the world. There could be no good news of salvation without the historical sufferings of the Son of God.

(571-573)


I. Jesus and Israel

349. Why was Jesus rejected by some of the leaders of Israel?

Because they thought He was indifferent to full obedience of their Law, to the centrality of the Temple in divine worship, and to faith in one God whose glory no human being can share.

(574-576)

350. How did Jesus relate to God’s Law given on Mount Sinai?

He not only accepted this Law but He brought it to fulfillment, as He explained in the Sermon on the Mount.

(577)

351. How did Jesus bring the Law of the Old Testament to fulfillment?

He did so in several ways:
    • by subjecting Himself to the Law as the incarnate Son of God;
    • by providing the grace for His followers to live the Law beyond anything expected in the Old Testament;
    • by giving us the Beatitudes, which are the definitive interpretation of the Mosaic Law;
    • by revealing depths of meaning in the Law that only God-become-man could recognize.

(578-582)

352. What was Jesus’ attitude toward the Temple?

It was uniformly reverent and respectful. As a child, He was presented in the Temple. At the age of twelve, He decided to stay on in the Temple. He drove out the money-changers who were desecrating the Temple. In His preaching, He stressed how the Temple was supposed to be a house of prayer.

(583-584)

353. Why did Jesus foretell the destruction of the Temple?

He did so to predict the dawn of a new age in salvation history. Moreover, He wished to emphasize the fact that He Himself was the perfect dwelling place of God among His people.

(585-586)

354. How did Jesus mainly scandalize His contemporaries?

It was by His claim to forgive sins on His own authority. In so doing, He professed to possess divine power, since, as His enemies declared, no one but God can forgive sins.

(587-591)


II. The Passion

355. How were the Jews divided regarding Jesus?

In general, there were two basic attitudes. Many favored Jesus, including Jewish leaders like the Pharisee Nicodemus. Others, especially those in religious authority, not only rejected Jesus but were positively hostile and directly responsible for Christ’s crucifixion.

(595-596)

356. Were the Jews, as a body, responsible for Jesus’ execution?

No, neither all the Jews in Christ’s time, nor the Jews living today, can be held collectively guilty of Christ’s unjust condemnation and death. Consequently, the Jews are not to be considered as somehow rejected by God for what occurred in the Passion of Christ.

(597)

357. Who, then, were the authors of Christ’s Passion?

They are all the sinners who may be called the instruments of the sufferings endured by the Savior.

(598)

358. How is Christ’s death part of God’s mysterious providence?

As St. Peter says, Christ was handed over to His enemies “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). Human malice is also part of divine providence, where God allows evil as the occasion for great good, here of our salvation, as a result of the hatred of Christ’s enemies.

(599-600)

359. How did Christ “become sin” for us?

He did so by freely assuming the penalty of death for the original sin of our first parents. That is why the Second Person of the Trinity assumed a human nature, in order to expiate the sins of the human race.

(601-603)

360. What are the two main features of God’s redemptive love for us?

His love is totally undeserved and universal.
    • It is undeserved because, as sinners, we had no claim on
    • It is universal because God wants everyone to be saved.

(604-605)

361. When did Christ sacrifice Himself for our redemption?

It was not only on the Cross but from the first moment of His conception to His death on Calvary. The Crucifixion was simply the consummation of His lifelong sacrifice for our sins.

(606-607)

362. How is Christ the Paschal Lamb?

He is the fulfillment of the centuries of sacrifice of the lamb at the annual Jewish Passover. As the sacrifice of the lamb delivered the Israelites from the avenging angel in Egypt, so the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary delivered the sinful human race from the justice of God.

(608)

363. How did Christ redeem the world by His humanity?

He did so in several ways:
    • By His human free will, He submitted Himself to the will of His Father.
    • At the Last Supper, He offered His human flesh and blood for our salvation.
    • In the agony in the Garden, He surrendered His human will to the divine will of the Father.
    • On the Cross, He offered Himself by shedding His human blood for our sins.
    • His sacrifice was the supreme oblation that only He could make because He was the God who became incarnate in order to expiate our disobedience.
    • By His death on the Cross, He completed the purpose of the Incarnation to redeem us as the God who assumed a human will to make our salvation possible.

(609-616)

364. How are we to participate in the sacrifice of Christ?

We do so in three ways:
    • by freely uniting our crosses with the Cross of Jesus Christ;
    • by following His example of total surrender to the will of God in our lives;
    • by uniting our sufferings with those of Jesus, as Mary did all through the life of Christ and especially on Calvary.

(617-618)


III. Christ’s Burial

365. What happened when Jesus died?

His soul separated from His body until it was reunited with the body on Easter Sunday.

(624)

366. Why was Christ’s body laid in the tomb?

For two main reasons:
    • to show that it was the same Redeemer who died and rose gloriously from the grave;
    • to show that, even though His body and soul were separated, He was still the incarnate Son of God redeeming a sinful human race.

(625-626)

367. Did Christ’s body decay in the grave?

No, as evidenced by His rising on the third day. The early Christians believed that a dead body begins to decay on the fourth day.

(627)

368. How are we buried with Christ?

By our Baptism, which restores us to the life of grace lost by the sin of our first parents.

(628)


Article 5: “Jesus Christ Descended into Hell, and on the Third Day He Rose Again.”

369. Why are Christ’s resurrection and descent to the dead in the same article of the Creed?

Because Christ restored life precisely by descending to the depths of the dead.

(631)

I. Christ’s Descent

370. What do we mean by Christ’s descent?

We mean three things:
    • that in His soul, Christ descended to the “lower regions” to visit the faithful departed of the Old Testament;
    • that Christ’s salvific mission was completed;
    • that Christ descended in order to free those who were awaiting their redemption.

(632-635)

II. Christ’s Resurrection

371. How is Christ’s Resurrection the crowning mystery of our faith?

Because by rising from the dead, Christ gave the highest proof of the truth of all His teaching.

(638)

372. Was the Resurrection of Christ both a historical and transcendent event?

Yes, His resurrection was certainly historical, as all the evidence of Scripture testifies:
    • The tomb was empty in spite of the guarded precautions of Christ’s enemies.
    • Christ appeared to His disciples, who had to be convinced that He really rose from the dead. He spoke to them, ate with them, asked them to touch Him.
    • The doubting Thomas was convinced.
    • The credibility of Christ’s teaching depended on His followers being convinced that He actually rose from the dead.

(639-644, 647)

373. What was the condition of Christ’s risen humanity?

Although he was truly the same Christ, He was now glorified. His body was transfigured, immortal, able to move at will through space. He became, in the words of St. Paul, “a heavenly man.”

(645-646)

374. How was Christ’s Resurrection the work of the Holy Trinity?

All three Persons cooperated in the Resurrection of Christ. They exercised Their almighty power no less than in the creation of the world.

(648-650)

375. What is the significance of Christ’s Resurrection?

The resurrection of Christ:
    • confirms the truth of His teaching;
    • fulfills the Messianic promises of the Old Testament;
    • witnesses to His divinity;
    • opens the supernatural life to us, even as Christ’s death liberates us from sin;
    • makes possible our own resurrection from the dead.

(651-655)


Article 6: “He Ascended into Heaven and is Seated at the Right Hand of the Father”

376. How was Christ’s glorified humanity veiled during the forty days before the Ascension?

By revealing all of its natural human traits, like eating and drinking and talking with His disciples.

(659)

377. How was Christ’s glory elevated by His Ascension?

It was elevated in its manifestation by vision to the angels and saints in heaven, in contrast to its manifestation by faith to the disciples on earth.

(660)

378. How is Christ’s Ascension related to the Incarnation?

The Ascension completed Christ’s mission of salvation. He came from heaven to merit our supernatural destiny. He returned to heaven to communicate to us the graces we need to reach heaven.

(661)

379. What does it mean that Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

It means three things:
    • Christ now glorifies His heavenly Father as the incarnate Son of God.
    • Christ is exercising His priesthood by interceding for us with the Father.
    • Christ’s presence at the right hand of the Father began the fulfillment of His eternal mission, as King of the Universe.

(662-664)


Article 7: “He Will Come Again to Judge the Living and the Dead”

380. Does the kingdom of Christ already exist?

Yes, Christ is already Head of the kingdom He came to establish. He is King of the Church Triumphant, Militant, and Suffering. On all three levels, Christ is the Ruler and Judge of His people. We therefore cannot say that His kingdom has yet to come into existence.

(668-670)

381. Has Christ’s kingdom reached its fulfillment?

No, for several reasons:
    • The powers of evil are not yet fully vanquished or subject to Christ.
    • There is not yet a new heaven and a new earth.
    • The Church Militant and Suffering is still under trial and pain.

(671-672)

382. Are the Jews still to accept the Messiah?

Yes, over the centuries, the Chosen People have, in large measure, rejected Jesus as the promised Messiah. Sts. Peter and Paul speak of an eventual acceptance of Jesus by the Jews as their Lord and Redeemer.

(673-674)

383. Will there be a final trial for the Church on earth?

Yes, this is the teaching of Christ as recorded by the evangelists and St. Paul. The faithful will be tried by opposition and persecution. The final victory over the forces of evil will shake the world to its foundations.

(675-677)

384. By what right will Christ judge the world on the last day?

It is by the right of His Cross. Having suffered and died for our salvation, Christ has the right to determine our eternal destiny. But He will judge us according to our own free decision to accept or reject the graces of His merciful love.

(678-679)


Chapter Three: “I Believe in the Holy Spirit”

The third and last part of the Apostles’ Creed is our profession of faith in the Holy Spirit. We believe in the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, as the Spirit by whom Our Lady conceived her Divine Son, as the Spirit promised by Christ to those who profess that Jesus is their Lord and Redeemer, and as the Spirit who animates the Church as the Soul of the Mystical Body of Christ.

(683-686)


Article 8: “I Believe in the Holy Spirit”


385. How do we come to know the Holy Spirit who is dwelling and acting in the Church?

We come to know the Holy Spirit:
    • from the Sacred Scriptures which He inspired;
    • from Sacred Tradition;
    • from the Church’s teaching authority;
    • from the sacramental liturgy;
    • from prayer and the Church’s ministries;
    • from the achievement of the Church’s apostolate;
    • from the witness of the saints by their lives of heroic sanctity.

(687-688)


386. How are the missions of Christ and the Holy Spirit related?

Both Christ and the Holy Spirit were sent among men but in different ways:
    • Christ was sent to redeem a world steeped in sin.
    • The Holy Spirit was sent to sanctify those redeemed by Christ by uniting them in a communion of love.

(689-690)

387. What are some of the titles of the Holy Spirit?

He is known as the Paraclete, “who is near,” as the Advocate, who defends and consoles, and as the Spirit of Truth. He is also called the Spirit of promise, of adoption, of Christ, of wisdom, of God, of the Lord, and the Spirit of glory.

(692-693)

388. What are the principal symbols of the Holy Spirit?

The principal symbols are:
    • water, which symbolizes new birth in Baptism;
    • oil, by which we are anointed in Confirmation;
    • fire, which expresses the transforming power of the Spirit to change ordinary people into zealous apostles of the Gospel;
    • cloud and light, where the cloud typifies the obscurity of our faith and the light the illumination that the Spirit gives to those who believe in Christ;
    • a seal, which symbolizes especially the indelible change of character produced by the Sacraments of Baptism, confirmation, and Holy Orders;
    • laying on of hands, to indicate the communication of power by the Holy Spirit from one person to another;
    • finger of God, or of Christ, which inscribes the will of God on the tablets of human hearts;
    • a dove, to testify to the truth of what God wishes to reveal, as in Christ’s baptism in the Jordan.

(694-701)

389. Where was the Spirit of promise revealed in the Old Testament?

In the Law of the first five books of the Bible, in the prophets, and especially in the wisdom literature and the Psalms.

(702)

390. How is the Spirit of promise revealed?

It is revealed:
    • in creation, where God’s love is shown in making every creature out of nothing;
    • in God’s assurance that a sinful human race would be redeemed;
    • in theophanies, or manifestations of God, which anticipate the Incarnation of the Son of God’
    • in the laws, the observance of which would prepare the Chosen People for the coming of Christ;
    • in the earthly kingdom of the Jews as the promise of the heavenly kingdom to be founded by Christ. Even the apparent frustration of this promise became its fulfillment with the establishment of Christ’s kingdom, which is the Church built upon a rock.

(702-710)

391. What are some of the promised qualities of the Spirit of the Messiah?

He shall have the spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
    • As the promised Messiah, Jesus proclaimed that “the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed Me…to bring the good news to the poor” (Lk 3:18).
    • As taught by St. Peter, the Spirit of the Messiah actually descended on the disciples on Pentecost Sunday. They then proclaimed how this Spirit would reconcile sinners with God and with one another in peaceful harmony.
    • The Psalms predict that the “people of the poor,” by their humility and reliance on God’s providence, would be the channels of His grace to the whole world.

(711-716)

392. How did the Holy Spirit use John the Baptist as the precursor of Christ?

He did so in several ways:
    • John was filled with the Holy Spirit by Christ when Mary greeted Elizabeth at the Visitation.
    • In John, the Holy Spirit closed the age of the prophets foretelling the Messiah.
    • John himself testified that the Messiah is the one on whom the Holy Spirit descends.
    • Christ’s baptism by John was the herald of our Sacrament of Baptism, instituted by Christ.

(717-721)

393. How is the Blessed Virgin full of grace?

The Blessed Virgin is full of grace because:
    • she is the Mother of God, who is the Author of divine grace;
    • she was prepared for her divine maternity by being conceived without sin and gifted with unique humility;
    • she conceived her divine Son by the grace of the Holy Spirit;
    • she became the channel of God’s grace by revealing her Son to the poor shepherds and the Magi;
    • she brought her Son to be revealed in Bethlehem, at the Presentation, and at Cana in Galilee.

(722-726)

394. How did Jesus promise the Holy Spirit?

Jesus distinguished between what He openly told His disciples and what He gradually disclosed to the multitudes about the Holy Spirit. When the hour came for His Passion, He clearly made the promise of sending the Holy Spirit, who was to fulfill the mission entrusted to Christ by the Father.

(727-730)

395. When was Christ’s promise of the Holy Spirit fulfilled?

On Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Trinity was fully revealed, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, who then proclaimed Christ to the world. By believing in Him, the world began to share in the communion of the Holy Trinity.

(731-732)

396. How is the Holy Spirit God’s gift to us?

By His giving us the Holy Spirit:
    • we are forgiven our sins;
    • we are enabled to love God and others with selfless charity;
    • we are given the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are the supernatural happiness experienced in doing the will of God.

(733-736)

397. How is the Church related to the Holy Spirit?

  • The Church completes the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
  • The Church’s mission is to proclaim the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
  • Through the sacraments, Christ communicates to us the graces of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit, in the Church, enables us to pray according to the will of God.

(737-741)


Article 9: “I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church”

Our faith in the Church depends entirely on our faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit. Christ is the light of the Church, even as the Church is where the Holy Spirit is flourishing.

Our faith in the Church as one, holy, Catholic and apostolic also depends on our faith in God, whose goodness is the source of these gifts of the Church.

(748-750)

398. What does the word “Church” mean?

Literally, it means “a religious assembly,” from the Greek ecclesia. Our English word “church” comes from the Greek kyriake, meaning “what belongs to the Lord.” For Christians, “Church” means the community of Christ’s faithful.

(751-752)

399. What are some biblical symbols of the Church?

Among others, the most important speak of the Church as:
    • the sheepfold, whose shepherd and door are Christ;
    • the field, with a variety of crops and trees;
    • the building, whose cornerstone is Christ and whose synonyms are the home for God’s family;
    • the Temple, which is the New Jerusalem;
    • our Mother, who is the immaculate spouse of the spotless Lamb.

(753-757)

400. What is the history of the Church’s formation and consummation?

  • The Church, as the gathering of God’s people, began when our first parents sinned and were promised a Redeemer.
  • Her formation started with the call of Abraham and the Chosen People of Israel.
  • She was established by Christ when He called the Apostles with Peter as their head, proclaimed His teaching, and instituted the sacraments.
  • She was born on Calvary from the heart of Christ, pierced at His death.
  • She was manifest to the world on Pentecost Sunday.
  • She continues to proclaim the kingdom of Christ to the world.
  • She will reach her final destiny in heavenly glory on the last day.

(758-769)

401. What is the mystery of the Church?

The Church is a mystery because:
    • she is both part of human history and surpasses our human comprehension;
    • she is both a hierarchical institution and the Mystical Body of Christ;
    • she is both a visible assembly and a spiritual community;
    • she is both an earthly society and a heavenly reality;
    • she is both human and divine;
    • she is the divinely established means for the sanctification of her members.

(770-773)

402. How is the Church the universal sacrament of salvation?

The Church is the universal sacrament of salvation because she is the visible channel of grace to the whole human race.

(774-776)

403. How is the Church the People of God?

She is the People of god in seven basic ways:
    • Those who belong to the Church are called by God to be “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”
    • Her members are born of water and the Spirit of God.
    • Her head is Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God.
    • Her people have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them as in a temple of God.
    • Her law is the New Law given by God-become-man.
    • Her mission is that of being the salt of the earth and light of the world as revealed by the Word of God.
    • Her destiny is the kingdom of God.

(781-782)

404. How are Christians a priestly, prophetic and kingly people?

Basically, by participating in the three offices of Christ as Priest, Prophet, and King.
    • By Baptism, they become sharers in Christ’s priesthood. They are enabled to offer themselves with Him in His sacrifice to the Father.
    • By the virtue of faith, they share in the wisdom of Christ and become witnesses of Christ’s truth to the world.
    • By their loving service to those in need, they share in Christ’s kingship; by their suffering with Christ, they join in His royalty of the Cross.

(783-786)

405. How is the Church the Body of Christ?

She is the Body of Christ because:
    • Her members, although diverse, are united under Christ as their head and by one Spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ. This union is effected by Baptism and sustained by the Eucharist.
    • Christ is the head, having founded the Church, by constantly providing varying gifts for her different members and their ministries.
    • Christ is the Spouse of the Church, who is His Bride. He loved her even to dying on the Cross to bring her into being, and loves her in that Mystical Marriage which is destined to continue into eternity.

(787-796)

406. How is the Church the temple of the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the Soul of the Church as her principle of supernatural life, even as the soul is the principle of the natural life of our body. No less than a human soul animates a human body, the Holy spirit animates the Church and enables her to grow in grace through the sacraments, the virtues He infuses, and the charisms He confers.

(797-798)

407. What are charisms?

They are special graces that the Holy Spirit gives the Church’s members for the building up of the Mystical Body. These charisms are to be humbly accepted but are always subject to discernment by the shepherds of the Church.

(799-801)

408. What are the four basic marks of the Church?

They are the Church’s characteristics, identifying her as the true Church because she is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

(811-812)

409. How is the Church one?

She is one because:
    • the one Triune God is the source and pattern of her unity;
    • her Founder is the one Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God;
    • her Soul is the one Holy Spirit;
    • her history has been essential unity among a wide variety and diversity of God’s people;
    • her essence is unity, which has been preserved by the bond of charity.

(813-815)

410. Where is this one Church of Christ?

This one true Church of Christ abides in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of St. Peter and the bishops in communion with him.

(816)

411. Has this unity been wounded?

Yes, from the Church’s beginning to the present day, there have been many dissensions. Yet, all the baptized are incorporated into Christ. Among these separated Christians, there are many elements of sanctification and truth that come from Christ and are calls to Christian unity.

(817-819)

412. How are Catholics to promote Christian unity?

  • They must first be convinced that this is the will of Christ. Moreover:
  • They must be more faithful to their Christian vocation.
  • They must live holier lives, in keeping with the Gospel.
  • They must pray with separated Christians.
  • They must grow in their mutual knowledge of other Christians.
  • They should be ecumenically formed.
  • Catholic theologians should dialogue with separated Christians.
  • They should collaborate in various services to all people.

(820-822)

413. How is the Church holy?

  • She is holy because her Founder is the all-holy Son of God, who died on the Cross to make her holy.
  • She is holy because Christ gave her all the means necessary to sanctify her members.
  • She is holy because her members are called to sanctity.
  • She is holy because she possesses the life of grace, which is holiness.
  • She is holy because she canonizes saints whose heroic virtue is the inspiration for others to imitate.
  • She is holy in the perfection of the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of the Church.

(823-829)

414. How is the Church catholic?

She is catholic because she is universal in two distinct ways:
    • She is universal because Christ is present in her in the fullness of His body, with the fullness of the means of salvation, the fullness of faith, sacraments, and ordained ministry by apostolic succession.
    • She is universal because her mission is to the whole human race.

(830-831)

415. How is each particular church catholic?

By virtue of Christ’s presence in every diocese or eparchy. This presence gives each local church a share in the universal Church’s unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity.

(832-835)

416. Who belongs to the Catholic Church?

Everyone who is validly baptized and believes in Christ belongs to the Catholic Church. However, only those belong fully as members of the Church who accept her whole structure and all her means of salvation, and are united by the bonds of faith, sacraments, and obedience to the bishops under the Bishop of Rome.

(836-838)

417. How does the Catholic Church look upon non-Christians?

While respecting all non-Christians, her estimate differs for different people.
    • Judaism is held in special honor because the Jews received the first covenant from God.
    • Islam is also highly regarded because Muslims believe in one God.
    • All non-Christians are recognized as having one bond of human origin and destiny with the followers of Christ.
    • At the same time The Church sees various limitations and errors in the non-Christian beliefs.
    • Finally she offers the non-Christian world the fullness of God’s truth in the one bark of salvation, which is the Roman Catholic Church.

(839-845)

418. How are we to understand the Catholic doctrine that “outside the Church there is no salvation”?

It means that whoever reaches heaven is saved through the Catholic Church as the universal sacrament of salvation.

(846-848)

419. What is the Church’s mission?

Her mission is to proclaim the Gospel to all peoples. This is a duty that:
    • originates with Christ’s commandment to His Apostles;
    • expresses God’s eternal love to be shared with all mankind;
    • is based on God’s revelation of the truth and directed by the Holy Spirit;
    • requires the practice of penance, acceptance of the Cross, and deep respect for other people by building on the truth in their religious beliefs.

(849-856)

420. How is the Church apostolic?

She is apostolic in three principal ways;
    • She is built on the Apostles whom Christ chose and sent to preach the Gospel.
    • She remains faithful to the teaching of the Apostles.
    • She continues to be taught, guided, and sanctified by the successors of the Apostles, the bishops of the Catholic Church, united under the Bishop of Rome.

(857)

421. How are bishops successors of the Apostles?

Bishops trace their heritage, by divine institution, to the original twelve men whom Christ ordained at the Last Supper and commissioned to ordain successors in the episcopate until the end of time. Like the original twelve under Peter, so the bishops are to be united under his successor, the Roman Pontiff.

(857-862)

422. What is the Church’s apostolate?

It is nothing less than to extend the kingdom of Christ to the ends of the earth. Its goal is the heavenly Jerusalem, where the Church will reach her perfection in the City of God.

(863-870)

423. Is there a true equality among the members of the Church?

Yes, because all are reborn in Christ and united by Christ in His Mystical Body.

(874-876)

424. What is the Church’s ministry?

The Church’s ministry was instituted by Christ to provide a means of grace through the sacraments, to give the Church authority and mission, and to enable her to guide her members to their eternal destiny.

(874-876)

425. How important is the sacramental ministry?

It is the essence of the Church. Thus, without Baptism, there would be no membership in the Church; through the Sacrament of Penance, sinners are reconciled with God; the Sacrifice of Calvary is renewed in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

(877-879)

426. What is the college of bishops?

It is the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church united under the pope as an Episcopal community. This community of pope and bishops, and the bishops among themselves, was created by Christ and therefore belongs, by divine right, to the nature of the Church He founded.

(880-881)

427. What is the position of the pope in the college of bishops?

As taught by the Second Vatican Council, the pope is Peter’s successor and Bishop of Rome. He is the perpetual and visible principle and basis of the unity of both the bishops and the multitude of the faithful. “By virtue of his office as Vicar of Christ, [he] possesses full, supreme, and universal power, which he may always exercise freely over the Church” (Constitution on the Church, 22-23).

(882)

428. What is the role of the bishops?

As an Episcopal college or community, bishops exercise their power over the whole Church in an ecumenical council. As individual bishops, they exercise pastoral care over the people in their diocese or ecclesiastical jurisdiction. But in all cases, their authority depends on union with the Bishop of Rome.

(883-887)

429. What is the teaching office of the bishops?

With priests as co-workers, bishops have as their primary duty to teach the fullness of the Gospel with Christ’s authority.

(888)

430. What is the Church’s Magisterium?

It is the Church’s teaching authority, which Christ assures will lead God’s people to the fullness of the truth without error.

(889-890)

431. When is the Church’s Magisterium infallible?

It is infallible when the pope, as visible head of the Church, pronounces a doctrine in faith or morals as definitive.
“Although the bishops, taken individually, do not enjoy the privilege of infallibility, they do, however, proclaim infallibly the doctrine of Christ on the following conditions: namely, when even though dispersed throughout the world by preserving for all that amongst themselves and with Peter’s successor the bond of communion, in their authoritative teaching concerning matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement that a particular teaching is to be held definitely and absolutely. This is still more clearly the case when, assembled in an ecumenical council, they are for the universal Church, teachers of and judges in matters of faith and morals, whose decisions must be adhered to with the loyal and obedient assent of faith” (Lumen Gentium, 3, 25).

(891)

432. What is religious assent?

This is the acceptance of a doctrine that the Church does not propose definitively.

(892)

433. How do bishops exercise their office of governing the People of God?

They do so as delegates of Christ. Their power to govern belongs to them as bishops, although regulated by the authority of the pope. Christ, the Good Shepherd, is their model and inspiration.

(894-896)

434. Who are the laity?

They are all baptized members who are not in sacred orders or in consecrated religious life.

(897)

435. What is the vocation of the laity?

Their distinct vocation is to promote the kingdom of God in the temporal affairs of life in accordance with the mind of Christ.

(898)

436. Why is the apostolate of the laity necessary?

Because the laity are directly involved in the social, political, and economic affairs of the world, which they are to influence in accordance with Christian doctrine.

(899)

437. How are the laity entrusted with the apostolate?

Baptism and Confirmation give them the right and the duty, as individuals and as groups, to bring the teachings of Christ into the world.

(900)


438. How do the laity share in Christ’s priestly office?

By their lives of sacrifice in union with Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, joined with Him in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

(901-903)

439. How do the laity share in Christ’s prophetic office?

By their zealous evangelization and catechesis; by their use of the media to proclaim Christ; and by sharing the faith with their daily contact and conversation with the world in which they live.

(904-906)

440. Should laypeople share their religious views with their pastors?

Yes, they have the right and sometimes the duty of doing so. They have the same responsibility to make their views known among the faithful.

(907)

441. How do the laity share in Christ’s kingly office?

They are to exercise their influence to improve the structures of secular society that lead people into sin and do all they can to invest the human condition with moral values based on the law of God. All of this presumes that the laity have developed self-mastery according to the mind of Christ.

(908-913)

442. What is the consecrated life?

It is a life dedicated to the profession of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience.

(914-915)

443. What is the religious state?

It is consecrated life in which the members of a community dedicate themselves to follow Christ more closely, give themselves to God, who is love above all things, and pursue the perfection of charity in the service of the kingdom of God, in order to proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come.

(916)

444. Why are there different forms of consecrated life?

In order to glorify the manifold attributes of God and serve the varied needs in the vineyard of the Lord.

(917-919)

445. What is the eremetical life?

It is a life withdrawn from the world in order to serve God and souls through silent solitude, constant prayer, and penance. Hermits bear witness in a special way to the glory of Christ crucified.

(920-921)

446. What are consecrated virgins?

They are women who dedicate themselves to a virginal life in the world (or cloister). By prayer, penance, and apostolic service to others, they are consecrated by the bishop as an image of the heavenly bride and of the life of the world to come.

(922-924)

447. What is religious life?

It is consecrated life characterized by its distinctive worship of God, public profession of the evangelical counsels, community life, and witness to Christ’s union with the Church. Over the centuries, religious have been outstanding in spreading the faith and establishing churches throughout the world.

(925-927)

448. What are secular institutes?

They are forms of consecrated life whose members sanctify the world (saeculum) from within. They serve as a leaven in the world by directing their prayer and union with God to animate the world by the power of the Gospel.

(928-929)

449. What are societies of apostolic life?

They are associations of the faithful who, without religious vows, pledge themselves to live together according to the evangelical counsels. Their purpose is to engage in the apostolate defined by their constitutions.

(930)

450. What is the mission of consecrated life?

It is to proclaim the advent of Christ the King. This means first being faithful to one’s consecration, and thus cooperating in the Church’s apostolate. The final purpose is to witness to Christ’s Redemption and His Second Coming, to establish the eternal kingdom of Heaven.

(931-933)

451. What is the Communion of Saints?

It is the Catholic Church, seen as an assembly of holy persons who share their spiritual possessions.

(946-948)

452. What is the meaning of “communion of spiritual goods”?

In the early Church, the followers of Christ lived in “fellowship,” or community, which we may call “communion of spiritual goods” (Acts 2:44). Thus they shared:
    • in a communion of faith, believing the truths taught them by the Apostles;
    • in a communion of the sacraments instituted by Christ;
    • in a communion of charisms, or special apostolic gifts;
    • everything they owned;
    • in a communion of love, as befitted the members of the Body of Christ.

(949-953)

453. What is the communion of the Church of heaven and earth?

There are three states of the Church: Militant on earth; Suffering in purgatory, and Triumphant in heaven. There is, therefore, a three-way communication among the three states:
    • The saints in heaven intercede for persons on earth and in purgatory.
    • We on earth foster the memory of the saints in heaven, invoke them, and imitate their virtues.
    • We pray for the souls of the faithful departed that “they may be loosed from their sins” (2 Mc 12:45).
Thus, we form the one family of God for the praise of the Holy Trinity.

(954-959)

454. How is Mary the Mother of the Church?

Mary is Mother of the Church in every conceivable sense:
    • She is the Mother of Christ, who instituted the Church and is the Church’s invisible head.
    • She cooperated with her Son in every stage of His work of redemption, from Christ’s virginal conception to His death on Calvary.
    • After Christ’s Ascension, she assisted the infant Church by her prayers to call down the Holy Spirit.
    • After her bodily assumption, because of her immaculate conception, she is the perfect human person for us to imitate. She continually intercedes for us with her Divine Son. In a word, she is our advocate, benefactress, helper, and mediatrix of grace.

(963-970)

455. What should be our devotion to the Blessed Virgin?

Our devotion to her is:
    • to honor her as the Mother of God to whose protection we should fly in all our dangers and needs;
    • to see in her what the Church is here on earth by faith and what the Church will be in heavenly glory. In other words, Mary is both the perfect model to imitate and the symbol of our hope in eternity.

(971-972)


Article 10: “I Believe in the Forgiveness of Sins”

The Apostles’ Creed associates the forgiveness of sins not only with the Holy Spirit by whose divine power sins are remitted, but also with the Church to which Christ entrusted the authority to reconcile sinners with God.

(976)


456. What are the two basic sacraments for the forgiveness of sins?

They are Baptism and Penance. Through Baptism we are restored to God’s friendship and provided with grace to resist our sinful inclinations. Penance reconciles the baptized with an offended God.

(977-980)

457. What is the power of the keys?

It is the power that Christ gave the Church through the Apostles and their successors in the episcopate and priesthood to restore sinners to friendship with God.

(981-983)


Article 11: “I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body”

As followers of Christ who rose from the dead, we believe that, like Him, we too shall be reunited in body and soul on the last day. Our resurrection, like that of the Savior, will be the work of the Holy Trinity.

(988-991)

458. What was the progressive revelation of the resurrection?

This was the gradual development of God’s revealing the fact of man’s final resurrection from the dead. Already in the Old Testament, the Maccabean martyrs professed that “the King of the world will raise us up, who died for His laws in the resurrection of eternal life” (2 Mc 7:9).
In the New Testament, Christ declared that He was the resurrection and the life and that those who eat His Body and drink His Blood will be raised by Him from the dead.
In the Early Church, there was strong opposition to faith in the resurrection of the body. Hence the long defense of this truth by St. Paul (I Cor 15:1-58).

(992-996)

459. How will the dead rise back to life?

They will rise to life by the almighty power of God reuniting their souls with their bodies. However, these bodies will be transformed. Explaining St. Paul’s description (I Cor 15:42-44), the Church identifies four qualities of the risen body:
    • impassibility, which means it will no longer be subject to pain or death;
    • brightness, or resplendent beauty;
    • agility, or freedom from the present limitations of space and time;
    • subtility, which means its being completely under the control of the soul.

(997-1000)

460. When will the resurrection take place?

On the last day of the present human race.

(1001)

461. What does it mean to be risen with Christ?

It means that our resurrection is one of the fruits of Christ’s death and resurrection; that the risen Christ has been interceding for us in heaven to obtain our resurrection; that our reception of the risen Christ in the Eucharist has gained the graces we need to rise glorious from the dead; that His Resurrection is the guarantee of our rising from the grave; and that already in this life, our bodies and souls belong to Christ.

(1002-1004)

462. What is death?

  • In the light of reason, death is separation of the soul from the body. But in the eyes of faith:
  • Death is the consequence of sin.
  • Death is a share in Christ’s death on Calvary.
  • Death is the end of our probation on earth. There is no reincarnation.
  • Death is God calling us to Himself.
  • Death is a precious sacrifice we can make to God.
  • Death is the beginning of eternal life.

(1005-1014)


Article 12: “I Believe in Life Everlasting”

Our Christian faith enables us to view death not as the end or finish of our life but as the entrance into everlasting life.

In the Prayer of Commendation at a funeral, the Church closes her liturgy with the confident hope: “May you see your Redeemer face to face.”

(1020)

463. What is the particular judgment?

It is the judgment made by God declaring whether a person who has just died will go to heaven, hell, or purgatory.

(1021-1022)

464. What is heaven?

Heaven is the place of perfect happiness where the souls of the just see the face of God even before the resurrection of the body. Heaven is the eternal community of love with the Holy Trinity, Our Lady, the angels, and the saints. Heaven is the kingdom of God, which Christ merited for us by His Passion and death.

(1023-1029)

465. What is purgatory?

Purgatory is the state of purification that souls must undergo in order to have the holiness necessary to enter heaven. Infallibly defined by the Church, the existence of purgatory is supported by Sacred Scripture, especially by the Old Testament teaching that “it is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins” (2 Mc 12:46).

(1030-1031)

466. Why do we pray for the dead?

We pray for the dead because we are not sure they are already in heaven. We believe the souls in purgatory need our prayers, especially through the Sacrifice of the Mass, both to mitigate their suffering and to hasten their entrance into heaven.

(1032)

467. What is hell?

Hell is eternal separation from God for those who die unrepentant for their mortal sins.

(1033-1035)

468. What is the principal lesson of hell?

It teaches us to use our free will according to the will of God in order to reach our heavenly destiny.

(1036)

469. Does God predestine anyone to hell?

No, only a willful persistence in mortal sin can deserve eternal punishment. God wants everyone to be saved; He wants no one to perish in hell.

(1037)

470. What is the Last Judgment?

The Last Judgment will come at the end of the world. The whole human race will witness the public manifestation of each person’s good and evil actions, and their consequences. The Last Judgment will be a cosmic revelation of God’s mercy and justice on the family of mankind. Jesus Christ will make this revelation as King of the Universe.

(1038-1041)

471. What are the new heaven and the new earth?

  • They are the transformations of humanity and of the physical universe that God will produce after the general judgment.
  • The human race will finally be united, and all those who are saved will form the Holy City of God.
  • The visible universe will be transformed, sharing in the glorification of the just.

(1042)


472. Do we know the time and manner of these transformations?

No, except that we know that they will take place, and that the final resurrection refers not only to our human bodies but, in a mysterious sense, to all of visible creation.

(1042-1050)

473. What is the significance of the word “Amen” at the close of the Apostles’ Creed?

“Amen” literally means “So be it” in Hebrew. It is the last word of the Bible. In the Creed, it means both God’s fidelity to us and our confidence in Him. We may say that Christ Himself is the definitive “Amen” of the Father’s love for us. Christ is therefore the perfect synthesis of our faith. Whatever else we believe is summarized in Him, our incarnate God.

(1061-1065)

Copyright © 1999 Inter Mirifica






search tips advanced search

What's New    Site Index



Home | Directory | Eucharist | Divine Training | Testimonials | Visit Chapel | Hardon Archives

Adorers Society | PEA Manual | Essentials of Faith | Dictionary | Thesaurus | Catalog | Newsletters

Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association
718 Liberty Lane
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: 815-254-4420
Contact Us
Internet: www.therealpresence.org

Copyright © 2000 by www.therealpresence.org
All rights reserved worldwide.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of www.therealpresence.org