Catholic Questions and Answers
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Who is a Christian?
A Christian is one who is baptized and believes and professes the
doctrine of Jesus Christ.
What does the word Christian mean?
This word means a follower of Jesus Christ.
Who is a Catholic?
A Catholic is one who is baptized, and who believes and professes the
doctrine of Jesus Christ as taught by the Roman Catholic Church.
What is distinctive about being a
A Catholic Christian accepts all the means of salvation given to the
church by Christ together with her entire organization.
What are the means of salvation given
to the Church by Christ?
The means of salvation given to the Church by Christ are profession of
faith in Gods revelation, reception of the sacraments, obedience to the
ecclesiastical government, and communion among the members, as instituted by
Christ who rules the Church through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops.
What are our duties as Catholic
As Catholic Christians we have duties toward God, toward our neighbor
and toward ourselves.
What are our principal duties toward
Our principal duties toward God are to love God the Father with all our
hearts and keep His commandments; to believe and profess the doctrine of God
the Son and imitate His virtues; to respect the presence of the Holy Spirit in
our souls, and to be faithful to His inspirations.
What are the principal duties toward
The principal duties toward our neighbor are that we are to love others
as we love ourselves and, in fact, we are to love one another as Christ has
loved us, that is, with complete selflessness and generosity.
What are our principal duties toward
The principal duties toward ourselves are to strive to overcome our
sins, faults and imperfections and, with Gods grace, to be clothed with the
virtues of Jesus Christ.
What is the sign of a Catholic Christian?
The sign of the cross is the sign of a Catholic Christian.
How is the sign of the cross the sign
of a Catholic Christian?
The sign of the cross is the sign of a Catholic Christian because it
testifies to the faith that inspires him and, on the Churchs authority, comes
the promise of Gods help, always in spirit and often also temporally and in
What is the power of the sign of the
The power of the sign of the cross is to put the devil to flight, to
banish or weaken temptation, and to draw down Gods blessing on those who make
it with devotion.
How should we make the sign of the
We should make the sign of the cross with lively sentiments of faith
and loving confidence in the Holy Trinity.
When should we make the sign of the
The sign of the cross should be made at the beginning and end of all
our prayers, and actions, and especially in times of danger and temptation.
What is the foundation of the
Divine faith is the foundation of the Christian Religion.
What does divine faith mean?
Divine faith is an accent of the mind in co-operation with grace and
free will by which we believe in all that God has revealed.
What is meant by divine revelation?
Divine revelation is the manifestation which God has made to us of what
we should know about Him and His will in our regard, and how we are to worship
Why is this revelation called divine?
This revelation is called divine because it comes from God and leads us
to the possession of God.
How has God revealed Himself to us?
God has revealed Himself to us in two ways, naturally and
Where does the Bible tell us about natural
The Bible tells us about natural revelation in the Old and New
Testament. Thus we are told that naturally stupid are all men who have not
known God and who, from the good things that are seen, have not been able to
discover Him-who-is (Wisdom 13:1). And St. Paul writes that ever since God
created the world, His everlasting power and deity however invisible have
been there for the mind to see in the things He has made (Romans 1:20).
What does natural revelation mean?
Natural revelation is the knowledge that we acquire about God by human
reason through the wonderful works of His creation.
Why is it called natural?
It is called natural because man can rise to a certain knowledge of God
by the light of his native reason through reflection on the objects and
activities of nature.
How is supernatural revelation
Supernatural revelation is the knowledge that God discloses about
Himself beyond what we know of Him by our reason.
Why is it called supernatural?
It is called supernatural because God directly inspires the prophet or
sacred writer and thus invests him with a share in His own divine authority to
communicate the word of God to the rest of mankind.
What is the purpose of supernatural
The purpose of supernatural revelation is that God might communicate
Himself and the eternal decrees of His will for the salvation and
sanctification of the human race.
Did God have to give us a
No, God did not have to give us a supernatural revelation. But in His
love He wanted to help us know Him.
How does revelation help us to know
Revelation helps us to know God better than we could know Him
naturally. It enables all of us to arrive at the knowledge of God, with ease,
with firm certainty, and without contamination of error.
Is this the only function of
No, besides helping us to know Him better than we could naturally, God
also wanted to reveal His mysteries.
What is a mystery?
A mystery is a supernatural truth which is impossible for any creature
even to conceive before revelation or fully to comprehend after it has been
Why have mysteries been revealed?
God revealed mysteries to offer us the means of reaching our
supernatural destiny which is heaven.
What do we mean by free response?
By free response we mean that man offers to God the obedience of his
free will agrees and co-operates with Gods grace, when he could resist it.
What is our free response to Gods
Our free response to Gods revealed word is called divine faith.
How is divine faith possible?
Divine faith is possible because God gives us the grace to believe. We
are enabled to listen to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, who enlightens
the mind and moves the will and thus makes it easy for us to accept what God
How can our faith be deepened?
Our faith can be deepened by prayer, study, and the practice of what we
What does it mean to have our faith
To have our faith deepened means that we are able to understand better
the meaning of what we believe, to see the truths of faith more clearly and
extensively, to adhere to them more firmly, and to put them into more effective
practice in our Christian lives.
What should be the motive of our faith?
The motive or basic reason for our faith in what God has revealed is
the authority of God Himself.
What is the authority of God as the
motive for our faith?
The authority of God as the motive for our faith is His infinite wisdom
How is Gods wisdom a motive for
Gods wisdom is a motive for divine faith because we are ready to
believe in God who knows all things and therefore cannot be deceived.
How is Gods truthfulness a motive
for our faith?
Gods truthfulness is a motive for our faith because we are also ready
to believe in God who is all good and therefore would not deceive us.
How do we know that our motive of
faith is reasonable?
We know that our motive of faith is reasonable because we can know from
reason that God exists and that He actually made a revelation.
How can we know from reason that God
We can know from reason that God exists by concluding from the effects
in the universe to the existence of a First Cause who is Himself not caused.
How can we know from reason that God
actually made a revelation?
We can know from reason that God actually made a revelation by seeing
the miracles that God has worked to confirm the fact of revelation.
How do miracles confirm the fact of
Miracles confirm the fact of revelation by testifying to the
truthfulness of one who claims to be communicating what God revealed to him.
How do miracles testify to the
truthfulness of one who claims to have received a revelation?
Miracles testify to the truthfulness of one who claims to have received
a revelation by showing that God is really with that person.
How do miracles show that God is
really with a person?
Miracles show that God is really with a person because, since only God
can work a miracle, He would be confirming the untruth if He worked a miracle
in favor of a false prophet.
How is faith a form of obedience to
Faith is a form of obedience to God because in faith man commits his
whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will,
and then freely assenting to the truth communicated by God.
Is faith necessary for salvation?
Yes, faith is necessary for salvation because it is impossible to
please God without faith, since anyone who comes to Him must believe that He
exists and rewards those who try to find (Hebrews 11:6).
How are faith and revelation related?
Faith and revelation are related as cause and effect. God reveals
Himself to us and if we respond, we believe.
What must a Catholic believe with
A Catholic must believe with divine faith the whole of revelation,
which is contained in the written word of God and is Sacred Tradition.
Why is divine faith called Catholic?
Divine faith is called catholic or universal because a believer must
accept everything God has revealed. He may not be selective about what he
chooses to believe.
What do we mean by the written word
By the written word of God we mean the Bible written under the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
How is the Bible inspired?
The Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit in such a way that it should
rightly be called the word of God.
Why should the Bible be called the
word of God?
The Bible should be called the word of God because God so directs the
mind, will and other faculties of the sacred author that he writes what God
wants him to write and no more.
Is God therefore the author of the
Yes, God is the author of the Bible.
Is God the only author of the Bible?
No, God is not the only author of the Bible. The human writer is
responsible for the Bible.
How is the human writer also
responsible for the Bible?
The human writer is also responsible for the Bible because God does not
interfere with his freedom or other distinctively human and personal qualities.
Is the Bible therefore both a divine
and human writing?
Yes, the Bible is divine in so far as it is inspired by God and human
in so far as it is written by a human being.
Does the Bible contain any errors?
No, the books of the Bible firmly, faithfully and without error teach
that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to
Is the whole Bible and every part of
Yes, all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for
reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, so that the man of
God may be complete, and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
How does the Bible show it is also a
The Bible shows it is also a human writing by reflecting such features
as are typical of human beings.
What are some of the human features
reflected in the Bible?
Some of the human features reflected in the Bible are the experience,
education, environment and point of view of the biblical writer.
Were the biblical writers protected
from saying anything untrue?
Yes, the Holy Spirit protected the biblical writers from writing any
How is the Bible to be interpreted?
The Bible is to be interpreted in the spirit in which it was produced.
As a divinely inspired document it must be treated with reverence due to the
word of God. As a humanly written document it may be studied as a literary
composition. On both levels, however, it must be interpreted according to the
mind and directions of the hierarchical Church.
How is the Bible divided?
The Bible is divided into the Old and New Testaments.
What is the Old Testament?
The Old Testament is the covenant which God made with the Israelites,
and which lasted until the time of Christ.
How many books are there in the Old
There are forty-seven books in the Old Testament Scriptures, as
||Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
||Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel(2), Kings (2), Chronicles (2), Ezra,
Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Maccabees (2)
||Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom,
||Isiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel,
Amos, Obediah, Jonah, Micah, Nahus, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah, Malachi
What is the dominant theme of the Old
The dominant theme of the Old Testament is Messianic. Its books prepare
for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men, and the Kingdom of God that He was to establish.
How is the Old Testament related to
the New Testament?
God, the inspirer and author of both Testaments has brought it about
that the New should be hidden in the Old and that the Old should be made
manifest in the New.
What is the New Testament?
The New Testament is the covenant which God has made with the whole
human race, through the mediation of His Son, Jesus Christ.
How many books are contained in the
The New Testament contains twenty-seven books, as follows: the Gospels
according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; the Acts of the Apostles by Luke;
St. Pauls letters to the Romans, Corinthians (2), Galatians, Ephesians,
Phillippians, Collosians, Thessaloaians (2), Timothy (2), Titus, Philemon,
Hebrews; the letters of James, Peter (2), John (3), Jude; and the Book of
Revelation or the Apocalypse by John.
Why are the books of the Bible said
to be canonical?
The books of the Bible are said to be canonical because, according to
the Churchs decision (canon), they are to be regarded as inspired. They were
written, whole and entire, with all their parts, under the inspiration of the
What is Sacred Tradition?
Sacred Tradition is the unwritten word of God that the apostles
received through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and, under His guidance,
the Church has handed on to the faithful.
What was handed on from the apostles
to the faithful?
What was handed on from the apostles to the faithful comprises
everything that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness
and increase their faith.
How has Sacred Tradition been handed
Sacred Tradition, which is divine revelation in oral form, has been
handed on by the Churchs doctrine, life, and worship.
What is the Churchs role in Sacred
The Churchs role in Sacred Tradition is to perpetuate and transmit to
every generation all that the Church herself is and all that she believes.
Why is Sacred Tradition of equal
authority with the Bible?
The Bible and Sacred Tradition are of equal authority because they are
equally the word of God; both draw on the vision of God incarnate, who gave to
the apostles what He came down on earth to teach.
In what way does Sacred Tradition
differ from Sacred Scripture?
Sacred Tradition differs from Sacred Scripture in that it is a living
reality while Sacred Scripture is a tangible product contained in the inspired
Who is divinely authorized to
interpret Scripture and Tradition?
The infallible teaching authority of the Church, the guardian of
revealed truth, is divinely authorized to interpret Scripture and Tradition.
Why should the Scriptures be read
The Scriptures should be read frequently because of the force and power
of the word of God which they contain. It can serve the Church as her support
and vigor and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for
the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of the spiritual life.
What is the most eminent part of
Sacred Scripture? Why?
The most eminent part of Sacred Scripture is the Gospels because they
are our principal source for the life and teaching of the incarnate Word, our
What is sacred doctrine?
Sacred doctrine is the Churchs authentic teaching of divine
How is sacred doctrine the Churchs
Sacred doctrine is the Churchs authentic teaching in so far as the
Church authoritatively proposes it to all the faithful for their belief and
How is revelation related to sacred
What the Church teaches as sacred doctrine is always related to divine
revelation, which the Church either presents or defines, concludes from or
defends, explains or uses for the spiritual welfare of the People of God.
Is there a development of sacred
Yes, there is development of sacred doctrine in the Churchs ever
greater appreciation of what God has once and for all revealed to the human
Has there been any addition to the
revelation handed on by the apostles?
No, there has not been any addition to the public revelation handed on
by the apostles. The revelation of what the world needs to be saved and
sanctified was completed with the death of the last apostle.
How was revelation completed with the
Revelation was completed with the apostolic age in that Christ is the
fulfillment of all the prophecies before Him, and His Incarnation is the
perfect self-manifestation of God to the human race.
How, then, does development of
doctrine take place?
Development of doctrine takes place in the minds of the faithful, under
the guidance of the bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome.
What does this mean?
This means that the Sacred Tradition which comes from the apostles
makes progress in the Church, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
What does this progress consist in?
This progress consists in a growth in insight into the words and
realities that are passed on.
How does this growth in insight come
This growth in insight comes about in four ways, namely, through
prayerful contemplation, through study and research by scholars faithful to the
Churchs teaching, from the intimate sense of spiritual realities that comes
from lived experience, and from the preaching of those who have received, along
with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth.
Among these sources of doctrinal
development, which is the most important?
The most important of these sources of true dogmatic development is the
preaching of the bishops.
Why is the preaching of the bishops
the most important source of doctrinal progress?
The preaching of bishops, under the Bishop of Rome, is the most
important source of doctrinal progress because the hierarchy is the divinely
authorized guardian of revealed truth. Its teaching determines whether there is
true development of doctrine and how the development is to be understood.
Is the Church, therefore, advancing
in the possession of revealed truth?
Yes, as the centuries go by, the Church is always advancing toward the
plenitude of divine truth, until eventually the words of God are fulfilled in
Who is God?
God is a pure and infinitely perfect divine spirit, Creator of all
things, and sovereign master of heaven and earth.
What is meant by pure spirit?
Pure spirit means that God is immaterial. He has no body or corporeal
What does infinitely perfect spirit
Infinitely perfect spirit means that God is personal in the sense of
possessing what we commonly identify as the basic quality of a person. He has a
mind with which He thinks and a will by which He loves. He is a divine being
who has no beginning and no end. He is always completely and totally Himself.
How do we know that God exists?
We know that God exists from divine revelation and by the light of
How can we know from reason that God
We can know from reason that God exists from the consideration of the
created things of the world. Therefore, reason can rise to a certain knowledge
What does revelation tell us about
the existence of God?
Revelation tells us that God made Himself known to man at various times
and in different ways through the prophets, and finally manifested Himself
personally in Jesus Christ.
What is meant by the attributes of
The attributes of God are the perfections He has and that we attribute
to Him by comparison with similar qualities in creatures.
How are the attributes of God
The attributes of God are divided into internal and relative.
What do we mean by the internal
attributes of God?
By the internal attributes of God we mean the perfections that
What are the principal internal
attributes of God?
The principal internal attributes of God are simplicity,
unchangeableness, eternity, incomprehensibility, uniqueness and immensity.
What do we mean by the simplicityof
By the simplicity of God we mean that there are no components or parts
How is God unchangeable?
God is unchangeable in that He eternally possesses the fullness of
being. A thing that changes ceases to be what it was and begins to be what it
was not. Not so with God.
How is God eternal?
God is eternal in the sense that He has no beginning and no end. His
existence is an eternal now.
What is the difference between the
immensity and incomprehensibility of God?
The incomprehensibility of God is the same as Gods immensity, but with
the added nuance that this presence is not limited, even in a nonspatial way.
In what way is God unique?
God is unique because He is the Supreme Essence, that is, He has no
What do we mean by the relative
attributes of God?
The relative attributes of God are those that belong to God as Creator
of the world.
What are the principal relative
The principal relative attributes are the divine omnipotence,
omnipresence, omniscience, holiness, justice and goodness.
What do we mean by the omnipotence of
By the omnipotence of God we mean that nothing is impossible to God.
What is the omnipresence of God?
The omnipresence of God means that He is everywhere.
In what way is God omniscient?
God is omniscient in that He knows everything past, present and future
and, in fact, everything possible.
What is meant by the holiness of God?
By the holiness of God we mean the infinite love that God has for
everything that is morally good or virtuous, and the infinite hatred He has for
everything that is morally evil or sinful.
What do we mean by the justice of
By the justice of God we mean that God rewards those who do good and
punishes those who do evil.
What do we mean by the power of God?
By the power of God we mean His ability to do whatever He wishes.
What is the wisdom of God?
The wisdom of God is the knowledge of God in directing all creatures to
their appointed end.
In what way is God good?
God is good in that He now shares all of creation with us and is
leading us to heaven to share in His own perfect happiness.
How are the divine attributes of
power, wisdom and goodness particularly made manifest to us?
The divine attributes of power, wisdom and goodness are made manifest
to us in the works of creation, redemption and sanctification. And we speak of
the Father as power, of the Son as wisdom, and of the Holy Spirit as goodness.
But whatever God does outside of the inner life of the Trinity is done by all
three divine persons and by all three equally.
What is the modern crisis about the
existence of a personal God?
Atheism seen as Pantheism which excludes the existence of a personal
God has become a modern crisis.
What is atheism?
Atheism is the denial of the existence of a Supreme Being; however, the
meaning of this word will vary according to the system of theism under attack.
What does pantheism mean?
Pantheism means that all things are really one thing and that the one
thing is God. A pantheist god is not transcendent outside of and distinct from
the world. God and the universe are ultimately identical.
How are some Christians partly
responsible for the rise of unbelief?
Some Christians are partly responsible for the rise of unbelief when
they neglect their own training in the faith, or teach erroneous doctrine, or are
deficient in their religious, moral and social life.
What is our responsibility to promote
belief in the existence of God?
We must foster sound religious education, strive to understand the true
faith, and above all put our beliefs into practice.
What is the principal mystery of our
The Blessed Trinity constitutes the very life of God and underlies all
other mysteries of the faith, for example, the Incarnation, the Redemption and
the life of grace.
What is the mystery of the Blessed
The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is the mystery of one God in three
really distinct persons.
What does Trinity mean?
This word means three persons in one God.
Who are the three persons in one God?
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are the three
divine persons in one God.
How are the three persons one and
the same God?
The three persons are one and the same God because they have one and
the same nature and substance.
Are the three persons really distinct
from one another?
Yes, the three divine persons are really distinct from one another for
there is one person who is the Father, another who is the Son, and another
person who is the Holy Spirit.
How are they distinct from one
The three persons are distinct from one another in that the Father has
no origin; the Son is begotten of the Father alone; and the Holy Spirit
proceeds from the Father and the Son.
What are the operations that
distinguish the divine persons?
The operations that distinguish the divine persons are generation and
spiration which together are called processions. From all eternity, the Father
begets the Son which is called generation. From all eternity, the Father and
the Son issue forth the Holy Spirit which is called spiration.
What is meant by mission of the
Mission means being sent. However, the Father being without origin is
not sent, but the Father sends the Son, and the Father and the Son send the
What is meant by appropriation with
regard to the Trinity?
By appropriation, with regard to the Trinity, we mean that a certain
divine activity is appropriated to each of the three persons. However, it must
be remembered that whatever the Father, or the Son or the Holy Spirit does
outside the Trinity is done by all three persons equally.
What divine activity in the world do
we appropriate to God the Father? Why?
The divine activity appropriated to God the Father is the creation of
the universe. This is only proper since the Father is Himself unoriginated and
from Him proceeds the Son, who with the Father is the origin of the Holy
What divine activity in the world do
we appropriate to God the Son? Why?
The divine activity appropriated to God the Son is the work of
redemption for the salvation of all men. This too is only proper since it was
the Second Person of the Trinity who became man and, as man, died on the Cross
for our sins.
What divine activity in the world do
we appropriate to God the Holy Spirit? Why?
The divine activity appropriated to God the Holy Spirit is the
sanctification of mankind through the communication of divine grace. This is
suitable because the Holy Spirit is the personal term of the infinite act of
mutual love of the Father and Son. And mans sanctification is eminently an
expression of divine love.
How does the mystery of the Trinity
teach us the meaning of selfless charity?
The mystery of the Trinity teaches us the meaning of selfless charity
because there is a constant and perfect sharing of the divine nature among the
three Persons in God. The love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the
Father is so perfect that within the very Godhead there comes forth the Holy
Spirit as the perfect expression of love. The Trinity helps us to understand Christs
command to love our neighbor by freely giving ourselves, as persons, in order
to benefit other persons and, in the process, contribute toward the formation
of the earthly counterpart of the triune heavenly community.
What does creation mean?
Creation means the production of material and spiritual things in their
whole substance, performed by God out of nothing.
How did God bring the world into
God brought the world into existence by creating it out of nothing
and in time.
What is meant by creation out of
By creation out of nothing, we mean that God starts with no
pre-existing material and He parts with nothing of His own being in the act of
What do we mean by creation in
By creation in time, we mean that the world was created along with
time. Time began with creation, because time is a measure of change. The
greatest change was from nothing to creation.
Why did God create the world?
God created the world in order to manifest His perfection through the
benefits which He bestows on creatures, not to intensify His happiness nor to
acquire any perfection.
Was God obliged to create the world?
No, God was not obliged to create the world. He was not constrained nor
coerced by anything within Himself nor by anything outside Himself. His only
motive for creation was to share something of His own perfection.
How is the world governed and
preserved by God?
God governs the world in His divine providence and preserves it by His
almighty power which must be ever present.
What is meant by the providence of God?
By the providence of God, we mean that God watches over and governs all
the things that He made for all things are naked and open to His eyes
What does divine providence imply?
Providence implies two things. The first consists in foreseeing even
those things that are going to occur by the free action of creatures, and the
second consists in directing all creatures to their proper end or destiny.
What are the qualities of divine
The qualities of Gods providence are universality, infallibility and
How is divine providence universal?
Gods providence is universal in that all events taking place in this
world, even those apparently fortuitous or casual, are part of His eternal plan
for the universe. There is no chance with God.
Why is divine providence infallible?
Divine providence is infallible because the ultimate plan that God has
for the universe cannot fail. Whatever occurs in the world takes place within
the design of His infinite knowledge and all-embracing will.
Is divine providence immutable?
Yes, divine providence is immutable because God, Himself is
unchangeable. Nothing unexpected can ever occur with God, nor can anything take
place that would make Him change His mind or will about the world He brought
If God has planned everything, does
man still act freely?
Yes, human freedom is a part of the divine plan. God wills the ultimate
effects of all created actions and has provided that they be achieved, some by
means of what we call necessary causes (like gravity) and others by means of
truly free choices (like obedience).
Why pray if God already knows and
determines what will happen before we pray?
We would pray even though God already knows and determines what will
happen because God has foreseen our prayers from eternity and has included them
in His plan for the universe, to give us what He knows what we would ask for.
Why does God permit evil in the world
if He is all good?
God permits evil in the world in order that He may bring good out of
How does God turn evil into good?
God turns evil into good by making it a source of merit. For example,
the patience of the just presupposes persecution from the unjust; and the
charity of those who have, presumes there are others in need.
What does Sacred Scripture say about
the creation of the world?
In the New Testament God is said to have created the world. Master.
It is you who made heaven and earth and everything in them (Acts 4:24), while
in Genesis the Old Testament implies creation out of nothing. Still further, in
the last of the historical volumes, Observe heaven and earth, consider all
that is in them, and acknowledge that God made them out of what did not exist,
and that mankind comes into being the same way (2 Maccabees 7:28).
What is Gods plan for man and the
rest of creation?
Gods plan for man is that he be subject to God and that the rest of
creation, that is, the irrational creatures be subject to man.
What is an angel?
An angel is a spiritual creature naturally superior to man and often
commissioned by God for certain duties on earth.
What does the word angel mean?
The word means one who is sent or messenger.
How do we know that angels exist?
We know that angels exist from the Bible which testifies to belief in
angels and from the teachings of the Church.
Are angels more perfect than man?
Angels are more perfect than man and more like God because they are
Why are there good angels and bad
There are good angels and bad angels because some angels remained
faithful to God when they were mysteriously tested by Him, and some were
unfaithful to the test.
What happened to the good angels?
The good angels merited to enter heaven and forever behold the Trinity.
How are the good angels divided?
The good angels are divided into three hierarchies or nine choirs: the
Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; the Dominations, Virtues and Powers; the
Principalities, Archangels and Angels.
Which angels are named in Sacred
The angels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are named in Scripture.
How are the good angels related to
The good angels have continual relations with the world. They are Gods
ministers and take part in the government of creation.
Which angels deserve our special
honor and respect?
Our guardian angels deserve our special honor and respect.
What is a guardian angel?
A guardian angel is a special messenger whom God gives to every man to
guard and direct him.
How do we know everyone has a
We know that everyone has a guardian angel because it is implied in
Scripture and found in the Churchs constant Tradition. According to St. Basil,
No one will deny that an angel is present to everyone of the faithful.
What is the custodial assistance of
the guardian angels?
The custodial assistance of the guardian angels is to guide our minds
through heavenly inspirations, and to protect us from evil.
How do guardian angels protect us
Guardian angels protect us from evil by preserving us from temptations
that would be too strong for us, by enlightening us on how to cope with the
world, the flesh and the devil, and by shielding us from physical evil that
would bring us spiritual harm.
What is the intercessory assistance
of the guardian angels?
The intercessory assistance of the guardian angels is to plead for us
and present our petitions before the throne of God.
What duties do we have toward our
The duties we have toward our guardian angels are to respect their
presence, to solicit their continued protection, and to ask for their prayers
to almighty God.
What happened to the bad angels?
The bad angels because of their disobedience were condemned to eternal
What is the devils work toward
The devils work toward mankind is always malicious. His purpose is to
seduce. He consciously and deliberately wants to lead people astray from their
faithful service to the Divine Majesty.
Why does the devil seduce human
The devil seduces human beings because he wants to harm them, spiritually
and supernaturally and, if possible, even eternally.
What is Gods purpose in allowing the
devil to tempt us?
Gods purpose in allowing the devil to tempt us is to draw us closer to
Him; to try our loyalty by giving us the opportunity to show our faith and
trust in Him; to test our virtue by giving us the chance to grow because of the
struggle that this costs; and to prove our fidelity by resisting the devils
temptations and thus more generously serve God.
Does God permit us to be tempted
beyond our strength?
God never allows us to be tempted beyond our strength. This means that
we always have enough grace to overcome the devil, which means that we have the
grace to pray for light to recognize the evil spirit and strength to resist his
In what way is the devil a perfect
The devil is a perfect deceiver because he is a calumniator who accuses
those he had deceived by charging them with the sins they committed.
How does the devil tempt us?
The devil first tempts us with a suggestion in the imagination. If
dwelled on, they influence the will by urging us to do something that is
actually bad but apparently good. Deceit, hiding the real evil, falsehood and
cunning are basic to the devils technique.
How can we overcome the devil?
We can overcome the devil in the way that Christians have always been
told; Be calm, but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round
like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand up to him, strong in
faith and in knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the
same thing (1 Peter 5:8-9).
What does the Church warn us about
The Church warns us that the devil is very active in the world today.
He is the treacherous and cunning enchanter, who finds his way into us by way
of the senses and imagination.
What is man?
Man is a creature composed of spirit and body.
What is meant by spirit?
By spirit is meant the immaterial soul. Its invisibility is relative
only to the senses of the body. It can be seen with the eyes of the mind.
How does every person have a twofold
Every person has a bodily and a spiritual side to his nature. On the
bodily side, it partakes of the same nature as the ground on which we walk and
the air we breathe, but on the spiritual side, it partakes of the nature of the
Why did God create man?
God created man that he might come to know, love and serve his Creator
and share with Him everlasting happiness.
What does Sacred Scripture teach us
about the creation of man?
Sacred Scripture teaches us that God did not create man as a solitary
being. From the beginning male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27). If
man does not enter into community with other persons, he can neither live as he
should nor develop the gifts he received from God.
What distinguishes mans body from
that of mere animals?
The spiritual soul is what distinguishes mans body from that of mere
animals. Man looks toward heaven to his eternal destiny while animals look to
What is mans soul?
Mans soul is a spiritual, free and immortal substance individually
created by God and infused into the human body.
Why is the soul called a spiritual
The soul is a spiritual substance because it is immaterial, and can
exist apart from the human body.
Why is the soul said to be free?
The soul is said to be free because it is endowed with understanding
and free will. Therefore, it has the power of choosing to do good or to do
How is the human soul immortal?
The soul is immortal because it will never die. It will live forever
either enjoying everlasting happiness or suffering eternal damnation.
When is the soul created and infused
into the body?
The human soul is immediately created by God. Moreover, the creation
and infusion take place at the moment of conception.
Who denies that every mans soul is
immediately created by God?
Two classes of persons especially deny that every mans soul is
immediately created by God, namely, materialists and pantheists. Materialists
deny that the soul is really different from the body. Pantheists deny that man
is really different from God.
Before Adam fell, what gifts did he
and Eve enjoy?
Before Adam fell, he and Eve enjoyed two kinds of gifts, supernatural
What supernatural gifts did our first
parents possess before they sinned?
Before they sinned, our first parents possessed sanctifying grace,
which meant the virtues of faith, hope and charity, and a right to enter
What preternatural gifts did our
first parents enjoy before they sinned?
Before they sinned, our first parents possessed three preternatural
gifts, namely, bodily immortality, integrity, and infused knowledge.
What was the gift of bodily
The gift of bodily immortality meant that our first parents were
intended never to die, and this gift was to have been passed on to the whole
What was the gift of integrity?
The gift of integrity meant that our first parents were free from
concupiscence. They were not subject to the conflict between their desires and
How could our first parents sin if
they were not subject to concupiscence?
Although not subject to concupiscence, our first parents could sin
because they were not yet in the beatific vision. They still lived by faith, so
that they had to believe (without fully understanding) Gods command.
What was the gift of infused
The gift of infused knowledge meant that our first parents had received
extraordinary knowledge about God and the world without having to acquire it by
long study and experience.
What must we hold regarding human
Regarding human evolution, we must hold that the soul was immediately
created by God out of nothing, and that somehow God exercised a special
providence over whatever process preceded the origin of mans body, so that the
first man was not literally generated by a brute beast.
What prohibition did God place on
According to Scripture, God forbade Adam to eat of the tree of
knowledge of good and evil; For on the day you eat of it you shall most surely
die (Genesis 1:17).
Did Adam and Eve head the divine
No, Adam and Eve did not heed the divine prohibition. They followed the
inspiration of the devil and disobeyed God.
What were the effects of their sin on
Adam and Eve?
As a result of their sin, Adam and Eve lost all the gifts they had
previously enjoyed, especially sanctifying grace. In the words of the Church,
not only the death of the body which is punishment for sin, but also sin,
the death of the soul passed from one man to all the human race.
Did Adams sin affect his
Yes, Adams sin affected all his descendants with the certain exception
only of Jesus and Mary who were conceived without original sin.
How do we know original sin really exists?
We know that original sin really exists from Scripture and from the
teachings of the Church.
What are the effects of original sin
As a result of original sin, we are conceived without the possession of
Is the absence of sanctifying grace
the only effect of original sin?
No, besides sanctifying grace, we also lost the gifts of bodily
immortality, integrity, and infused knowledge.
Is original sin only the bad example
that Adam passed on to his descendants?
No, original sin is not only the bad example passed on by Adam. It is a
real sin, though not in the ordinary sense of a transgression of Gods law that
we personally committed.
How is original sin in us a real sin?
Original sin in us is a real sin because it means the loss of the
holiness we would have possessed if Adam had not sinned. It deprives us of a
right to the beatific vision.
How is original sin communicated?
Original sin is communicated by propagation.
Does original sin totally corrupt our
No, original sin does not totally corrupt our human nature. We are
darkened in mind and weakened in will. But we are still capable of natural
virtues and of freely co-operating with the grace of God.
How does society further contribute
to the sinfulness with which we enter the world?
Beyond original sin, society further contributes to our sinfulness by
its previous history of sin and the bad example it gives to all who come into
Has original sin remained without a
No, immediately after the fall, God promised to send a Redeemer so that
man could recover sanctifying grace and cope with the effects of original sin.
Do we also have a remedy for the
sinfulness of human society?
Yes, we also have a remedy for the sinfulness of human society through the
teachings of the Church, the Mass and sacraments, and the light and strength
that come from prayer.
Since Christ assumed a human nature
was He subject to sin?
Even though Christ assumed a human nature He was not subject to sin
because He is also God.
What kind of knowledge did Christ
Christ had two kinds of knowledge: human and divine.
What kind of human knowledge did
Christ had three kinds of human knowledge: the immediate vision of God,
infused supernatural knowledge, and acquired or experimental knowledge.
What was Christs immediate vision of
Christs immediate vision of God was the beatific vision of seeing God
face to face.
What was Christs infused
Christs infused supernatural knowledge was knowledge specially
communicated to His soul by means of spiritual ideas. It differed from the
knowledge of vision in that things were known in their proper nature through
What was the acquired or experimental
knowledge of Christ?
The acquired or experimental knowledge of Christ was the knowledge He
obtained from sense experience and through the abstracting power of His human
Was the human knowledge of Christ
free from error?
Yes, the human knowledge of Christ was free from positive ignorance and
from all error.
How did the Son of Man manifest His
divinity on earth?
The Son of Man manifested His divinity on earth by His miracles,
especially His resurrection from the dead.
Did God freely choose to become man?
Yes, God freely chose to become man because He wanted to show us how
much He loves us and also to teach us how to love others after His example.
What is mans highest reason for
loving Jesus Christ?
Mans highest reason for loving Jesus Christ is the Incarnation because
it manifests the power, wisdom, goodness and justice of God more strikingly
than any other mystery. For this reason we are inspired to gratitude and, from
gratitude, to self-less generosity.
What is St. Pauls Vision of the
Primacy of Christ in the world?
St. Paul sets forth two kinds of primacy of Christ in the world: one in
the order of natural creation, and another in the order of supernatural
re-creation which is Redemption. Christ is therefore King of the universe of
nature and of grace.
What is the creative work of Christ?
The creative work of Christ, as the Word of God, is that which brought
the world into existence out of nothing.
What is the Redemptive work of
The redemptive work of Christ rectifies and sanctifies a created world
that was separated from its God.
How is Christ still present among us?
Christ is still present among us in His Church when she prays, and as
she performs her works of mercy. He is present in the Church on her pilgrimage
of struggle, and as she preaches. Further, He is present in His Church as she
governs the People of God. He is present as she offers in His name the
Sacrifice of the Mass, and as she administers the sacraments. But there is a
manner of presence that surpasses all the others; it is Christs presence in
the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is for this reason called Real because
it is presence in the fullest sense. In the Eucharist is present the Whole
Christ, true God and true man.
Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity whom the
Father sent into the world to become man of the Virgin Mary in order to save
the world from sin.
What does Jesus mean?
Jesus means Savior.
What does the name Christ mean?
The name Christ means Messiah or Anointed One.
How did the Word of God become man in
the person of Jesus Christ?
The Word of God became man in the person of Jesus Christ by the union
of His divine nature with our human nature. He took upon Himself our flesh to
How are the two natures united in
The two natures in Christ are united personally.
What is this mystery called?
This is the mystery of the Incarnation.
What is meant by the mystery of the
By the mystery of the Incarnation is meant the mysterious union of the
human and divine natures in the one person of Jesus Christ.
Why did God become man?
God became man to redeem us from sin and to give us a share in the
happiness of eternal life through faith in His love.
Could God have redeemed the world in
some other way?
Yes, God could have redeemed the world in some other way. But this
would be less in keeping with His perfect justice and with the divine will to
manifest His perfect love.
What do we profess in the mystery of
In the mystery of the Incarnation, we profess with the infallible
Church that there are in Christ two really distinct natures, one human and one
divine; yet united in such a way that Christ is one individual, and unchanged
in such a way that each nature remains truly and unqualifyingly itself.
What kind of union is this called?
This union is called the Hypostatic Union, which means Personal Union.
What do we mean by distinct natures?
By distinct natures we mean two perfect natures each distinct and
perfect in itself.
If Christ has two perfect natures,
how is He only one person?
Christ is only one person because His two perfect natures are united in
one individual, which individual is divine.
What is Christs human nature?
Christs human nature is the same as our own, except for sin. He was
born, lived and died as other human beings. He is true man.
What is Christs divine nature?
Christs divine nature is the same as God the Fathers. He is one in
being with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is true God.
When Christ was on earth, did He use only
His human nature?
No, when Christ was on earth, He always used both His human and divine
nature. In whatever He did, He acted as God and man.
Why did Jesus Christ assume a human
Christ assumed a human nature in order to show us how much He loves the
human family. By becoming human, He could suffer; and by suffering, He could
die; and by dying, He redeemed; and by rising from the dead, He became the
source of our grace.
Who is the Blessed Virgin Mary?
The Blessed Virgin Mary is a humble daughter of the family of David,
whom God chose to be the Mother of His Son.
Who were the parents of Mary?
The parents of Mary were St. Joachim and St. Anne who were natives of Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth.
What were the main privileges of the
The main privileges of the Blessed Virgin were the divine maternity,
her perpetual virginity, Immaculate Conception, bodily Assumption into heaven
and her rule as Mother of the Church.
Why is Mary truly the Mother of God?
Mary is truly the Mother of God because she contributed everything to
Christs human nature that every other mother gives to the fruit of her womb;
and because she conceived and bore the Second Person of the Trinity according
to the human nature that the Son of God assumed.
Was Mary always a Virgin?
Yes, Mary was always a Virgin: a virgin who conceived, a virgin who
gave birth, a virgin with child, a virgin delivered of child, a virgin ever
What is the doctrine of the
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is that the Blessed Virgin
Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace
of the omnipotent God, in consideration of the merits of Jesus Christ, the
Savior of mankind, was preserved from all stain of original sin.
Why is exemption from original sin an
Exemption from original sin is an extraordinary grace because all other
human beings, except Christ, are conceived with sin on their souls.
What follows from Marys freedom from
Marys freedom from original sin carries with it two consequences: From
the time of her conception, she was free from all notions of concupiscence, and
she was also free from every personal sin during the whole of her life.
Was Mary impeccable?
Yes, the common teaching of the Church is that by a special privilege
of God, Mary could not sin.
How could Mary acquire merit if she
was incapable of sin?
Mary could acquire merit because she could exercise her freedom of
choice. She could choose among a variety of options in exercising her great
love of God.
Why must we firmly believe in the
We must firmly believe in the Immaculate Conception because it is a
dogma of the faith that has been defined by the Church as a truth revealed by
Why did Christ preserve Mary from
Christ, as God, preserved Mary from sin because He wanted to do
everything possible for her. He wanted to be conceived and born of a sinless
What is meant by the Assumption of
By the Assumption of Our Lady is meant that after her life on earth,
she was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven.
On what grounds was Marys Assumption
defined by the Church?
Marys Assumption was defined by the Church because she was free from
all sin; she was the Mother of God; her body was preserved in spotless
chastity; and she participated in her Sons redemptive work in the world.
Why was Marys body exempt from
corruption in the grave?
Mary had been the living sanctuary of the Son of God and free from all
sin; therefore, her body was exempt from corruption in the grave.
Does sinful mankind need a mediator
with the Eternal Father?
Yes, sinful mankind needs a mediator with the Eternal Father. Christ is
the mediator and Mary is the mediatrix.
What is a mediator?
A mediator is a person who holds a favorable position between parties
at variance; and, therefore, comes between them as the equal friend of each.
Who is the only mediator between God
Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man.
In what way does the Son of God act
as our mediator with God?
The Son of God acts as our mediator with God by the fact of His
hypostatic union, joining in one person the two natures that need to be
mediated: divine, which He has in common with the Father; and human, which He
shares with us; and by the fact that His death atoned for mans sins, and His
humanity is the channel of grace from God to the human soul.
Why is Mary called our mediatrix?
Since Mary co-operated in a unique way with Christ in His redemptive labors
on earth, she is called our mediatrix. She continues interceding for those who
are still working out their salvation on earth or suffering in purgatory.
How can Mary be our co-redemptrix?
Mary can be our co-redemptrix because of the pain she freely underwent
in union with her Son.
Why does Mary deserve the title
Mother of Divine Grace?
Mary deserves the title Mother of Divine Grace because Christ made
her so exalted in holiness that on earth she merited a high place in heaven,
and now in heaven is able to plead our cause with her Son more effectively than
anyone else among the elect.
Does devotion to Mary detract from
the dignity of Christ?
No, devotion to Mary does not in any way detract from or add anything
to the dignity of Christ the one Mediator.
How do we contribute to the work of
We contribute to the work of salvation by our willing response to
grace; by interceding with God to give us grace; and by freely co-operating
with grace when it is conferred.
What is grace?
Grace is a supernatural gift that God freely confers on rational
creatures in order to bring them to eternal life.
Why is grace called a supernatural
Grace is called a supernatural gift because of its positive and
absolute gratuity and its heavenly purpose finality.
Why do we say that grace is
Grace is said to be gratuitously conferred because it is freely
conferred by God with no positive claim or right on our part to receive it.
How is grace a Communication of
Grace is a Communication of Divine Love because all the treasurers of
infinite goodness shared among the Three Persons in God, are graciously
communicated to mankind outside the Trinity.
How is Gods goodness communicated to
Gods goodness is communicated to mankind in two ways: naturally and
How is Gods goodness communicated
Gods goodness is communicated naturally in creation by bringing us out
of nothing into existence and endowing us with the divine image of intellect
How is Gods goodness communicated to
Gods goodness is communicated to us supernaturally by our elevation to
a share in the very life of God.
What is another name for this
supernatural communication of Gods goodness?
Another name for this supernatural communication of Gods goodness is
Why is divine grace a supernatural
communication of Gods goodness?
Divine grace is in no way due to our created nature; therefore, it is a
supernatural communication of Gods goodness.
What is the primary grace that we
Habitual or sanctifying grace is the primary grace that we receive.
How do we define sanctifying grace?
Sanctifying grace is the grace that makes us holy, that is, like God.
It is the grace that makes us children of God and heirs of heaven.
Why is sanctifying grace also called
Sanctifying grace is called habitual grace because it is a permanent
gift that remains in the soul as a habit, unless lost by mortal sin.
How do we lose sanctifying grace?
We lose sanctifying grace by committing mortal sins. This means the
soul is spiritually dead because it is no longer united with God.
How is sanctifying grace lessened in
Sanctifying grace is lessened in the soul through giving in to temptation
by committing venial sin.
What is the final purpose of
The final purpose of sanctifying race is to give us supernatural life
which is necessary to enter heaven.
What is meant by supernatural life?
Supernatural life is a sharing in the very life of God, who
communicates Himself to us here on earth by faith in order that we might
possess Him in final beatitude in heaven.
What do we mean by final beatitude?
By final beatitude we mean the everlasting happiness that we will share
with the Blessed Trinity.
How do we receive this divine life?
We receive this divine life through the spiritual birth of baptism,
according to the words of Christ, that unless a man be born again of water and
the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
What means must we use to keep the
life of God in our souls?
In order to keep the life of God in our souls we need grace, which
Christ promised to give us through the sacraments, through prayers, and through
the practice of virtue.
On what does our growth in the
supernatural life depend?
Our free co-operation with divine grace and frequency as well as,
fervor with which we receive the sacraments determines our growth in the
Why do we say that divine grace is
available to all?
We say that divine grace is available to all because Christ died for
all mankind. All are in fact called to the same destiny, which is heaven. We
must hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of salvation.
Can a soul that is supernaturally dead
come back to a life of grace?
A soul that is supernaturally dead cannot come back to life except by a
special intervention of God.
How can supernatural life be
The restoration of supernatural life is compared to the raising of
Lazarus. Therefore, supernatural life can be restored only by Gods mercy.
How does venial sin differ from
Venial sin differs from mortal sin because it does not destroy the life
of God in the soul.
Why is it called venial sin?
It is called venial sin because it can be removed from within the soul,
much as a body that is sick can be healed from within the ailing person, and
unlike a dead person who cannot be raised to life except by a special
intervention of God.
What are some effects of venial sin?
Venial sin is a moral disease of the soul that slackens its spiritual
powers, lowers a mans resistance to evil and causes him to deviate from the
path to heavenly glory. It places obstacles in the way of virtue and reduces fervor
for the things of God.
What is the primary gifts of divine
The primary gift of divine grace is the uncreated God Himself.
What is another name for this
The Divine Indwelling is another name for this uncreated grace.
How does the Divine Indwelling take
The Divine Indwelling takes place through justification.
What is justification?
Justification is that state in which the soul is passing from the state
of sin into the state of Gods life.
What are the effects of
Through justification mans sins are forgiven. We are also renewed
interiorly and become a new creature in Christ.
How does God dwell in the justified
God dwells in a special manner in the justified soul. The mode of His
presence is called inhabitation. It lies beyond human comprehension but can
nevertheless be experienced.
How can the Divine Indwelling be
The Divine Indwelling can be experienced through the intimate knowledge
and love of God available to the soul in whom He dwells as in a temple.
To which Person of the Blessed
Trinity do we appropriate the divine indwelling?
The Holy Spirit is responsible for the divine indwelling.
Why do we appropriate the Divine
Indwelling to the Holy Spirit?
We appropriate the divine indwelling to the Holy Spirit because this
greatest manifestation of divine love in the world is comparable to the Holy
Spirit who is the personal love, proceeding from the Father and the Son.
What is sanctifying grace compared
with the Divine Indwelling?
Compared with the divine indwelling, sanctifying grace is the principal
created gift of God.
Is sanctifying grace the only created
grace that we receive?
No, sanctifying grace is not the only created grace that we receive. We
also receive actual grace.
What are actual graces?
Actual graces respond to the transient or passing needs of our
What do we mean by transient needs?
By transient needs we mean the constant help that God must give us to
enlighten our minds and inspire our wills in the journey to heavenly glory.
Why are these graces called actual?
These graces are called actual because they consist in passing acts,
and because they are meant to be acted upon. They are distinguished from
sanctifying grace which is a permanent possession of the soul.
What are the two forms of actual
Actual graces are illuminations for the mind and inspirations for the
What are divine illuminations?
Divine illuminations are actual graces in so far as they enlighten the
mind to see what is already there. Illuminations also confer knowledge not yet
possessed and that except for grace the mind would not possess.
What are divine inspirations?
Divine inspirations are actual graces for the will to help it reach a
decision. They also enable the will to embrace and to persevere in what we have
How are actual graces further
Actual graces are further divided into internal and external graces.
What do we mean by internal graces?
Internal graces are those divine visitations by which God inwardly
enlightens the mind and strengthens the will to either act or not act in a
Why are they called internal graces?
They are called internal graces because they are supernaturally
produced by God and immediately in the human intellect or will.
What is the meaning of external
External graces are all creatures that God uses to lead a person to his
Why are they called external graces?
They are called external graces because they are not supernatural of
themselves and are not produced immediately in the mind or will.
How are external graces related to
External graces are the ordinary means that God uses to confer actual
graces. It is in that sense that every person, place or thing in our lives is
meant to be a providential means of leading us to our external destiny.
Can we do anything without the
assistance of divine grace?
We can do nothing in the supernatural order without the assistance of
divine grace. Only in God can we do all things.
How do we know that grace is absolutely
necessary for salvation?
We know that grace is absolutely necessary for salvation from the
teaching of Christ and the Church. We can also conclude to the need of grace
from the fact that our human facilities of themselves are capable only of
natural acts. Therefore, actions must be raised by grace to a supernatural
level to become means of salvation.
Does God give all men sufficient
grace to be saved?
Yes, God gives all men sufficient grace to be saved. Our Lord dies on
the Cross for the redemption of all men. Since no one can be saved without
grace, therefore a just God must somehow provide everyone with sufficient grace
to save his soul.
Does God give His grace at every moment
of our lives?
Yes, God gives us grace at every conscious moment of our lives. He does
so especially in times of temptation, of illness, of imminent death, on the
occasion of a good example or in time of suffering and trial.
Can man resist grace?
Yes, man can resist grace for he is free to accept or to reject the
grace God gives him to save his soul.
What is the main purpose of our human
The main purpose of our human freedom is to co-operate with the graces
God give to us. Fidelity to grace gives joy to the heart, and merits further
grace. Infidelity to the grace of God has the opposite effect. It discourages
the soul and deprives a person of the grace he would have gained had he been
faithful to the graces already received.
How does sanctifying grace differ
from actual grace?
Sanctifying grace differs from actual grace in the following ways:
actual grace is a transient gift, which lasts only during the action;
sanctifying grace remains with us unless lost by mortal sin; actual grace is
still communicated even if we do not possess sanctifying grace; if sanctifying
grace is lost it cannot be recovered without actual grace, nor can sanctifying
grace be preserved for any length of time without the assistance of actual
What do sanctifying and actual grace
have in common?
Sanctifying and actual grace are both supernatural, that is they are
both far above the powers of unaided nature.
What is meant by merit?
Merit is that quality or state of a good act which gives the one who
performs it the right to more grace in this life and to heavenly glory in the
life to come.
How is grace increased in the soul?
Grace is increased in the soul by co-operating with the graces given to
us, by the performance of good works, participation in the Eucharistic Liturgy,
reception of the sacraments, and by prayer.
How is sanctifying grace exercised in
the souls of the just?
Sanctifying grace is exercised in the souls of the just by the practice
of the theological and moral virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
What is a virtue?
A virtue is a good habit, so distinct from vice which is a bad habit.
What is basic to the concept of
Basic to the concept of virtue is the element of habit which stands in
a special relation to the soul, whether in the natural order or elevated to the
What is meant by habit?
By habit we mean the ease, spontaneity, satisfaction and effectiveness
with which we perform human actions.
Where do habits reside?
Habits reside in the faculties of mind and will. They may be acquired
by personal endeavor or infused into the soul by God.
What is the meaning of infused
Infused virtues are those supernatural virtues which are directly
produced by God in the faculties of man.
Which virtues are those immediately
produced in us by God?
The theological virtues and some of the moral virtues are immediately
produced in us by God.
What are the theological virtues?
The theological virtues are faith, hope and charity, which supply for
the mind and will what neither faculty has of itself, namely, the salutary
knowledge, desire and love of God and His will. Without these there could be no
supernatural order, which means the voluntary choice of suitable means to reach
the heavenly goal to which we were elevated.
What is meant by acquired virtues?
Acquired virtues are virtues achieved by human effort that concentrates
on a given course of action. Facility is developed through concerted
What are moral virtues?
Moral virtues are those whos immediate object is not God, the final
end of all things, but human activities that lead one to God.
Name the moral virtues.
The moral virtues are prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice.
Why are they also called cardinal
They are also called cardinal virtues because they are primary in human
What is the difference between
natural and supernatural virtues?
Supernatural virtues differ from the natural because they are powers
directly infused in the soul by God to enable one to act on a supernatural
level; natural virtues, acquired by human activity, are habits of soul which
incline it to do good.
What is ordinary virtue?
Ordinary virtue is the kind that does not require unusual effort or
reflect above average generosity toward God.
What is heroic virtue?
Heroic virtue consists in the habitual practice of all the theological
virtues, as well as, all the moral virtues to an eminent degree, even in
Can we grow in virtue?
Yes, we can in all the virtues through the same methods we grow in
grace; prayer, participation in the Liturgy and reception of the sacraments, as
well as, good works.
Do we grow in the virtues by
Yes, we grow in any virtue whether theological or moral, by practicing
it faithfully with the help of Gods grace,
Can virtue be diminished?
Yes, virtue can be diminished, and it can even be lost altogether.
How are moral virtues diminished or
The moral virtues are diminished or even lost just as they are
acquired: directly by the repetition of the acts that are opposed to the
virtues. This repetition may not only diminish the virtues but even destroy
them and replace them by the opposite vice; indirectly, by not performing the
acts which produce and maintain the virtues. By not practicing a good habit, it
languishes and dies.
How are infused virtues diminished or
Infused virtues are diminished by not performing acts of faith, hope
and charity, and by venial sin; they are lost depending on the virtue, when a
person commits a mortal sin. Thus supernatural charity is lost by every mortal
sin; hope is lost by the sin of despair, and faith by a grave sin of disbelief
in whatever God has revealed.
What is the virtue of faith?
Faith is a supernatural virtue by which we believe all the truths which
God has revealed.
Why is faith called a supernatural
Faith is called a supernatural virtue because it is directly infused in
the soul by God; because what we believe is the revealed truth; and because it
is necessary for our salvation.
What is another name for the virtue
The virtue of faith is sometimes called habitual faith.
What is habitual faith?
Habitual faith is a divinely infused habit; which enables a person to
make acts of faith in the truths that God has revealed.
What is meant by actual faith?
By actual faith is meant the act of believing in revealed truths on the
authority of God who can neither deceive nor be deceived.
Is the virtue of faith necessary to
make an act of faith?
No, it is possible to make an act of faith, with the assistance of
actual grace, before a person has acquired (or recovered) the virtue of faith.
Is the virtue of faith necessary for
Yes, the virtue of faith is absolutely necessary because no one can be
saved without sanctifying grace; and sanctifying grace cannot exist without
Is habitual faith sufficient?
Habitual faith, received at baptism, is sufficient for those who have
not reached the age of discretion, but not for those who are capable of making
acts of faith. They must also practice actual faith.
How can the gift of faith be lost?
The gift of faith can be lost by neglecting to learn what we are bound
to learn; by not making acts of faith, through internal belief and external
profession of what we believe; and by failing to strengthen our faith through
the sacraments and prayer.
What are the means of persevering in
The means of persevering in the faith are: fidelity to grace and
especially the grace of prayer; combating pride, avarice, and sensuality;
humble reflection on the mysteries of faith; associating with people who have a
deep faith; and regular reading of authors who are loyal to the teaching
authority of the Catholic Church.
How does a person sin against faith?
A person sins against faith either by omission when he neglects to
learn what he should know about the faith or by commission when he doubts or
denies anything that God has revealed.
What are the sins against faith?
Heresy and apostasy are the sins against faith.
Who commits the sin of heresy?
Any baptized person who obstinately denies or positively doubts any revealed
truth commits the sin of heresy.
Who commits a sin of apostasy?
A person who departs entirely from the Christian faith commits the sin
What are doubts against the faith?
Doubts against the faith are deliberate inclinations not to accept
whatever a person knows God has revealed.
Is it wrong to have deliberate doubts
against the faith?
Yes, it is seriously sinful to have deliberate doubts against the
faith, because God wants us to believe unhesitatingly and with complete
submission to His word.
What are difficulties about the
Difficulties about the faith are the problems one has in understanding
why or how something revealed is true. Nevertheless, in spite of the
difficulties, one finely believes.
How are difficulties different from
Unlike difficulties in the faith, positive doubts are a willful refusal
to fully assent to what God has revealed. Unlike positive doubts, difficulties
are not sinful; they can arise in the mind of any sincere believer because he
cannot fully comprehend what God has revealed. For this reason, we must pray
for a strong faith to believe even though we do not understand. Otherwise
difficulties can lead to doubts, when a person admits the possibility that a
revealed truth may be false.
What is the virtue of hope?
The virtue of hope is a supernatural virtue by which we firmly trust
that God will give us life everlasting along with the means to obtain it
because He is faithful to His promises.
Why is hope a supernatural virtue?
Hope is a supernatural virtue because it has been given to us by God,
so that we may ardently long for the eternal salvation to which we have no
natural right or claim.
What is another name for the virtue
Habitual hope is another name for the virtue of hope?
What is meant by habitual hope?
By habitual hope, we mean the divinely infused power to make acts of
supernatural confidence in God.
Does hope in a future life lessen the
importance of our earthly life?
Hope in a life to come does not lessen but rather increases the
importance of this life by giving us new motives for performing our earthly
duties. Without hope of eternity, our life on earth would lose most of its
dignity and meaning.
What is the object of our hope?
The main object of our hope is everlasting happiness, that is,
possession of God in heaven. The secondary object is the means of obtaining
eternal happiness, namely, sanctifying and actual grace. Anything else is to be
hoped for only in so far as it leads to the possession of God in eternity.
Is the virtue of hope necessary?
Yes, the virtue of hope is necessary because it is the link between
faith and charity. We must believe (with the mind) in something before we can
hope (with the will) to obtain it. Our hope enables us to love what we are
looking forward to attain.
Is hope sufficient for salvation?
The virtue of hope is not sufficient for salvation. It must also be
animated by supernatural charity.
When are we obliged to make acts of
We are obliged to make acts of hope when we reach the age of reason and
understand sufficiently what God has promised us. We should make acts of hope
often in life, at the peak of death, and whenever we are tempted to
How can a person sin against hope?
A person can sin against hope by presumption and despair.
How do we sin by presumption?
We sin by presumption by acting as though we can save our souls without
Gods help. This is shown by a foolhardy exposure to moral dangers and
temptations to the faith. At the other extreme it reflects the mistaken notion
that God will save us in spite of ourselves with the consequent postponement of
Is presumption a serious sin?
Presumption is a serious sin by its very nature because it implies a
profound contempt for the order in which God has provided that man be saved.
What is meant by the sin of despair?
The sin of despair means that salvation is believed to be impossible
because God might withhold grace; or grace is not withheld but cooperation with
it is believed to be so difficult as to be practically impossible. Convinced
that God, salvation, and grace are unattainable, the will gives up in despair.
Why is despair a serious sin?
Despair is a serious sin because it implies the denial of Gods most
eminent attribute of mercy.
What is the virtue of charity?
Charity is the supernatural virtue by which we love God above all
things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves, indeed, as Christ has
Why is charity a supernatural virtue?
Charity is a supernatural virtue because it is specially infused into
the soul at baptism, and helps us to attain the eternal vision of God by loving
Him, our neighbor and ourselves with the same love as He has been showing us.
What is the meaning of habitual
Habitual charity is the virtue of charity poured into our hearts by the
Holy Spirit who is given to us in baptism. This infusion enables us to exercise
the habit by making frequent acts of charity.
What is the object of charity?
The main object of charity is God; the secondary object is ourselves
and our neighbor.
What is meant by charity toward God?
By charity toward God, we mean the inclinations of the heart by which
we attach ourselves to God, as our sovereign Lord who is all good.
What is our motive in perfect
Our motive in perfect charity is God Himself, who is loved just because
He is God and not because of any benefit that comes to us for loving Him. When
we act out of pure love, we seek only to please God.
Is charity toward God necessary?
Charity infused at baptism is necessary for all as a means of
salvation, since it is inseparable from sanctifying grace, but adults must
express their charity by making frequent acts of love.
When should we make acts of love?
We should make acts of love frequently after we reach the age of
discretion but especially when we tell God we are sorry for having sinned.
What is the principal quality of our
charity toward God?
The principle quality of our charity toward God is a love by which we
esteem God above all other things, and are ready to lose everything rather than
How can a person sin against charity
A person sins against charity toward God by failure to make acts of
love of God, by inordinate love of creatures, by ungrateful murmurings against
God, by a dislike or hatred of God, and by every sin committed especially
How should we love ourselves?
We should love ourselves with a holy love that is for Gods sake; with
a just love, that is, within the limits of what is pleasing to God; and with a
true love, that is, desiring only what is supernaturally good for us.
Can self love be inordinate?
Self love can be inordinate whenever we prefer ourselves and the things
of this world to God and His will.
What is the remedy for inordinate
The remedy for inordinate self love is a constant struggle against
pride, sensuality and greed, or renunciation of self.
How can we overcome pride, sensuality
We can overcome pride by humble obedience, sensuality by abstinence
from unlawful pleasures, and greed by detaching our affections from the goods
of this world.
What is meant by love of neighbor?
By love of neighbor we mean that we share with others what we possess.
The command to love our neighbor is actually the profoundest human need. It is
a positive hunger of the spirit to exercise its freedom, by freely giving of
ourselves, for the love of God, in order to benefit others, and in the process
we initiate the perfect sharing among the divine persons in the Holy Trinity.
Who is our neighbor?
Our neighbor is any person who is capable of enjoying everlasting
happiness or those who are already enjoying it. Therefore our neighbor is any
person on earth, the souls in purgatory and the angels and saints in heaven.
Can we love God and not love our
No, Jesus Christ has declared that the precept which commands us to
love our neighbor as God loves us is like that which commands us to love God.
What is Christs command about loving
Christ commanded us to love one another as He has loved us.
Why did Christ call this a new
Christ called this a new commandment because it is more exalted than
even the highest precept of charity in the Old Testament.
What was the highest precept of
charity of the Old Law?
The highest precept of charity of the Old Law was to love your
neighbor as you love yourself.
How does Christs new commandment of
love surpass the Old Testament precept of charity?
Christs new commandment of love surpasses the Old Testament precept of
charity in two ways: in giving us a higher motive and standard for loving
others; and in bidding us love one another mutually.
What is the higher motive we now have
for loving others?
The higher motive we now have for loving others is to show our love for
God, who became man to show His love for us.
What is the higher standard we now
have in loving others?
The higher standard we now have in loving others is the measure of
Christs love for us.
How is Christs love for us a higher
Christs love for us is a higher standard because Christ loved (and
loves) us more than we love ourselves. He loved us even in dying for us, and He
loves us with the selfless generosity of God.
What did Christ mean when He
commanded us to love one another mutually?
When Christ gave us this commandment, He was laying the foundation of
the Christian community.
How is fraternal charity put into
Fraternal charity is put into practice by wishing our neighbor well out
of love of God, and by performing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
What are the spiritual works of
The spiritual works of mercy are: to admonish the sinner, instruct the
ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, bear wrongs patiently,
forgive all injuries, and pray for the living and the dead.
What are the corporal works of mercy?
The corporal works of mercy are: to feed the hungry, give drink to the
thirsty, clothe the naked, ransom the captive, shelter the homeless, visit the
sick, and bury the dead.
Who are our enemies?
Our enemies are those who needlessly cause us pain; who have been
unjust to us; or who, out of hatred or dislike, oppose or persecute us.
How must we love our enemies?
We must love our enemies by forgiving them the wrong which they have
done to us, relieving their needs when we can do so, and trusting them as
Christ treated his enemies, that is, with great love, mercy and forgiveness.
How can we sin against charity toward
We sin against fraternal charity internally by hatred, envy and discord.
We can sin externally by dispute, scandal and co-operation in the sins of
In what does hatred of neighbor
Hatred of neighbor consists in wishing him evil because he is our enemy
or because his personal qualities inspire us to anger.
What is envy?
Envy is the sadness one feels toward others for some kind of talent,
achievement, or possession that outshines or obscures our own.
What is meant by discord?
Discord is the antagonism of will that one person wants and another
person does not want.
What is scandal?
Scandal is a word, deed, or omission that is evil in itself or in appearance
and that becomes an occasion of spiritual harm to ones neighbor.
Is scandal a serious sin?
Yes, scandal, even when indirect, is by its nature a serious sin
against charity when it leads another to do something that is gravely sinful.
How is scandal repaired?
Scandal is repaired by doing everything possible to undo its evil
effects; for example, by retracing scandalous statements; by amending ones
life to give a good example; and, in general, by prayer and sacrifice, to make
up for the harm done to those who were scandalized.
What is co-operation in the sins of
Co-operation in the sins of another consists in participating in the
evil deeds of a person who wants to do something morally wrong.
Are we ever allowed to co-operate in
the sins of another?
We are never allowed formally to co-operate in the sins of another.
What is formal co-operation?
Formal co-operation is internally consenting to the sins of another.
What is material co-operation?
Material co-operation is external co-operation only. It means
performing some action together with someone who is doing wrong, but not
internally consenting to his sinful deed.
Is material co-operation ever
Yes, material co-operation is allowed for a grave reason, for example,
to maintain ones livelihood or avoid great danger to ones life or bodily
What is the virtue of prudence?
Prudence is a moral virtue for the mind which enables us to decide what
is the right thing to do in a given situation.
What are the functions of prudence?
The functions of prudence are: it deliberates on the means and
circumstances necessary to make an action good; it judges whether these means
and circumstances are as good as they should be; it effectively commands the
will to carry out the decisions that have been made to perform the good act.
What are the virtues allied to
The virtues allied to prudence are: good counsel, to profit from the
advice of others when confronted with difficult affairs; common sense, to judge
things according to the ordinary rules of conduct; and good judgment to be
attentive to the mind of the lawmaker.
What is the virtue of justice?
Justice is the moral virtue that constantly disposes the will to give
everyone what is due to him. It is an all balanced fairness.
What are the principal virtues that
The virtues that complement justice are: religion, which is the worship
we owe to God; obedience which we owe to those in authority in a society;
truthfulness in communicating our thoughts; gratitude for benefits received;
zeal in protecting others from evil; and restitution in repairing injuries
What is fortitude?
Fortitude is a moral virtue which inspires us to undergo suffering and
to undertake difficult tasks. It therefore enables us to suffer great evils,
even death itself, for the purpose of accomplishing good. And it strengthens us
to begin and carry to completion enterprises that demand great endurance.
What virtues accompany fortitude?
There are four virtues that accompany fortitude: Magnanimity which
means greatness of soul and inclines us to heroic acts of every kind of virtue;
Magnificence which inclines us to do great things at great expense; Patience
which enables us to keep our souls in peace, in spite of trials and
oppositions; and Perseverance which helps us pursue a good cause to the end, no
matter what obstacles stand in the way.
What is temperance?
Temperance is a moral virtue which enables us to use according to right
reason the things that are pleasant and agreeable to the senses.
Why is the virtue of temperance
Temperance is important because it regulates our bodily appetites.
What are the principal bodily
The principal bodily appetites are the desire to live as an individual
and the desire to pro-create the human race.
How are these bodily appetites
These bodily appetites are controlled by means of abstinence and
sobriety, diligence and chastity.
To what vices are these virtues
Abstinence is opposed to gluttony, sobriety is opposed to intemperance,
diligence is opposed to laziness and chastity is opposed to lust.
What is the meaning of abstinence?
Abstinence is moderation in the consumption of food for the spiritual
welfare of the whole person.
What is meant by sobriety?
Sobriety is the regulating of food, and especially of drink, according
to the dictates of right reason enlightened by faith.
What is meant by diligence?
Diligence is the virtue that regulates our desire for ease and comfort
according to the demands of prudence, justice and charity.
What is chastity?
Chastity is the virtue that controls our desire for sexual pleasure in
conformity to reason and the teachings of Christ.
Is everyone obliged to practice
Yes, everyone is obliged to practice chastity according to his state of
What is the duty of chastity binding
The duty of chastity binding on everyone in that sexual pleasures may
not be sought or indulged except by husband and wife in their own mortal
Why is chastity important?
Chastity is important because it is the condition on which other
virtues can flourish; because it possesses the merit and glory of martyrdom;
and because it makes man like to the angels holy and pleasing to God.
What is the virtue of chastity for
The virtue of chastity for the married means that they may enjoy the
pleasure of marriage between themselves, as husband and wife. But they may not
seek or indulge these pleasures either alone (masturbation) or with another
person of the opposite sex (adultery) of the same sex (homosexuality).
What is the virtue of chastity for
The virtue of chastity for the unmarried is total abstinence from any
deliberate sexual desire or indulgence in sexual pleasure.
What are the principal means of
The principal means of preserving chastity are vigilance and prayer.
How does vigilance help preserve
Vigilance helps preserve chastity internally by keeping watch over our
pride, intemperance and idleness; socially by keeping check on the persons we
associate with and the people we allow to influence us; and externally by
avoiding needless stimulation through indecent reading, movies, television and,
in general, the communication media.
How does the practice of prayer help
to preserve chastity?
The practice of prayer helps to preserve chastity because it obtains
for us the grace of God, without which it is impossible to be chaste.
What practice of prayer are most
useful to preserve chastity?
The practice of prayer most useful to preserve chastity are: a humble
devotion to the Blessed Virgin; the thought of the presence of God and of our
last end; frequent confession in the sacrament of penance which purifies the
soul and strengthens it against temptations; and frequent Holy Communion which
increase our love for God and weakens our inclination to sin.
What virtues coincide with
The virtues coinciding with temperance are: Clemency that remits the
punishment due to a guilty person; Meekness that restrains anger; Modesty that
controls internal affections and bodily movements within the limits of right
reason; Moderation that tempers curiosity and the excessive desire for
knowledge; and humility, based on profound self-knowledge, that leads a person
to regard himself as small and undeserving of praise and recognition.
How do the cardinal virtues guide our
The cardinal virtues guide our moral actions by keeping our facilities
in order; prudence is for the mind, justice is for the will, temperance
controls the urge to what is pleasant, and fortitude enables us to bear with
what is painful.
What are the gifts of the Holy
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are supernatural habits which perfect the
soul beyond the virtues, by making it ready and responsive to divine grace.
How many gifts of the Holy Spirit are
There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding,
counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.
What is the gift of wisdom?
Wisdom is the highest of the gifts. It makes the soul responsive to the
Holy Spirit in the contemplation of divine things. Built into wisdom is the
experience of God, with a spontaneous love for doing the divine will.
What is the gift of understanding?
The gift of understanding is a supernatural enlightenment of the mind
by which the truths of faith are known more clearly and firmly, more easily and
What is the gift of knowledge?
The gift of knowledge enables us to discern everything from the
viewpoint of eternity, so that we might accept whatever leads to salvation and
reject whatever would separate us from God.
What is the gift of counsel?
The gift of counsel assists the mind and perfects the virtue of
prudence by enlightening us to discern for ourselves and others what is most
consistent with Gods glory and conducive to salvation.
What is the gift of piety?
Piety is a gift of the Holy Spirit that aids and supplements the
virtue of Justice by disposing us to reverence God as our Father with filial
affection, and to love others in so far as they belong to God.
What is the gift of fortitude?
The gift of fortitude goes beyond the virtue of fortitude in overcoming
all obstacles and dangers that stand in the way of doing Gods will.
What is the gift of the fear of the
This gift is a filial fear of offending God. It strengthens our hope so
that we avoid doing whatever might displease the Lord or separate us from Him.
It gives us a profound reverence for the majesty of God.
What is the difference between the
virtues and the gifts?
The difference between the virtues and the gifts lies in the need for
having a supernatural counterpart to the natural instincts of mind and will.
The virtues are the faculties through which divine life operates we receive
light to see and strength to carry out an action; gifts are reactive instincts
that answer to the divine impulse almost without reflection. They are higher
promptings of the Holy Spirit.
What special effects does the Holy
Spirit produce by means of the gifts?
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are produced by means of His gifts.
What are the fruits of the Holy
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are the products of His presence in a
believing soul, much as the produce of a tree is the evidence of its fruit
Name the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
There are twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace,
patience, benignity, goodness, continuance, mildness, faith, longanimity,
modesty and chastity.
What is the fruit of charity?
The fruit of charity is the inclination of the heart by which we attach
ourselves to God because He is infinitely good and most worthy of all our love.
Hence arise sentiments of affection and the desire to please only Him. Out of
this grows a selfless love of others.
What is the fruit of joy?
The fruit of joy is experiencing what we desire and possessing what we
hope for. Joy is the fulfillment of spiritual desires.
What is the fruit of peace?
The fruit of peace is the absence of discord and conflict. It is a deep
souled equanimity. When we are at peace we are not troubled or worried; we are
not anxious or perturbed; we are not confused or distraught. A peaceful soul is
a tranquil soul.
What is the fruit of patience?
The fruit of patience has its roots in fortitude and controls the other
virtues by controlling the daily vexations and troubles which can become
impediments to Christian living.
What is the fruit of benignity?
The fruit of benignity is the deep kindness of character that the Holy
Spirit gradually produces in a person who is responsive to His grace.
What is the fruit of goodness?
The fruit of goodness is the benefits we procure and the blessings we
obtain for others by the virtues we practice. It partakes of the goodness of
God who seeks only our advantage in all that He does for us.
What is the fruit of continency?
The fruit of continency is restraint of ones bodily desires,
especially the sexual appetite. As such, it applies also to the married who
must also guard against over-indulgence in the legitimate pleasures of their
state of life.
What is the fruit of mildness?
Mildness is gentleness. It is not softness or weakness, but strength
tempered by love. It moderates severity, mitigates justice, and shows itself
more ready to forgive than to punish.
What is the fruit of fidelity?
The fruit of fidelity is loyalty to God. It is faithfulness to the
persons to whom we have committed ourselves out of love for God. It is firmness
in keeping our promises and strength in carrying out the duties of our state of
What is the fruit of longanimity?
The fruit of longanimity is the fruit of patience. Another word for
longanimity is long-suffering, that is, enduring pain and suffering over a
protracted period of time. It is pro-longed patience.
What is the fruit of modesty?
The fruit of modesty is distinct from chastity, of which it is the
external protection. Modesty is the application of reason to the control of
ones actions. It moderates ones desires, behavior and conversation, as a
reasonable mean between neglect and exaggeration.
What is the fruit of chastity?
The fruit of chastity is a deep reverence for the sacredness of the
sexual faculties. It leads one to respect these faculties as the
divinely-ordained means of procreating the human race. And it protects one from
profaning their use outside the sacred precincts and privileges of marriage.
How are the fruits of the Holy Spirit
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are divided into those which make us more
perfect interiorly and those which make us more perfect exteriorly.
What fruits of the Holy Spirit make
us more perfect interiorly?
The fruits of the Holy Spirit that make us more perfect interiorly are
charity, joy and peace for doing good; patience and longanimity for
strength against evil.
What are the fruits of the Holy
Spirit that make us more perfect exteriorly?
The fruits that make us more perfect exteriorly are goodness,
benignity, mildness and fidelity with reference to our neighbor; modesty,
continence and chastity with reference to our own body.
What is the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church is a society of all who have been baptized, profess
the faith of Christ, and are governed by their pastors under one visible head,
the Bishop of Rome.
What do we mean by the Church?
By the Church we mean all those who, in faith, look upon Jesus Christ
as the Author of Salvation and the goal of human destiny. By the Church we can
also mean the particular church of one city or locality. In this case, the word
church is used to refer to the building or sacred edifice where the people
gather together to worship God.
Who founded the Catholic Church?
Jesus Christ Himself founded the Catholic Church.
When did the Church come into being?
The Church first came into being when Christ expired on the Cross. He
prepared the founding of the Church during His public ministry, and He
established the Church as a visible society when He sent His Spirit on the
apostles on Pentecost Sunday.
How did Christ actually bring the
Church into existence?
Christ actually brought the Church into existence by His death on Calvary, by which He merited the graces that, through the Church, would be communicated to
How did Christ proclaim the Church?
Christ proclaimed the Church by pouring out on his apostles the Spirit
promised by the Father. Hence the Church, endowed with the gifts of charity,
humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing
among all peoples the kingdom of Christ and of God. The Church on earth is the
seed and the beginning of the kingdom of heaven.
Who were the apostles?
The apostles were the twelve men whom Christ called (vocation) in order
to send them (mission) to proclaim His Gospel to the whole world.
What does the word apostles mean?
The word apostles means one who is sent. An apostle is an envoy or
messenger of God.
Name the original twelve apostles.
The original twelve apostles were Simon Peter, Andrew (brother of Simon
Peter), James the Greater (son of Zebedee), John the Evangelist, Philip of
Bethsaida, James the Less (son of Aephseus), Thomas (the twin), Matthew the
Evangelist (formerly Levi), Judas Iscariot (who betrayed Christ), Bartholomew
(Nathaniel), Thaddeus (Jude) and Simon the Canaean.
Were these the only apostles?
No, after Judas betrayed Christ and committed suicide in despair,
Matthias was chosen, by lot, to replace him. And after Christs ascension, Saul
of Tarsus was chosen by the Savior to become Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles.
When did Christ appoint the leader of
Christ appointed Simon Peter leader of the apostles.
What is the Mystical Body of Christ?
The Mystical Body of Christ is the whole Christ, head and members, now
existing as the Church Militant on earth, the Church Suffering in Purgatory,
and the Church Triumphant in heaven.
How is the Mystical Body a mystery?
The Mystical Body is a mystery because we cannot comprehend it by
reason but believe in its existence and activity only by faith. It is also a
mystery because it is the great sacrament, visibly instituted by Christ through
which He confers the invisible blessings of His grace on all of mankind.
How is the Mystical Body a body?
The Mystical Body is a body because it is sensibly perceptible in its
visible head, the Vicar of Christ; in its members, by their external profession
of one faith; in its Mass and the sacraments, by which grace is conferred; and
in its doctrines and precepts, which are visibly manifest to the faithful by
the teaching of the hierarchy.
What is the role of Christ in the
Christ now fulfills the role of the invisible Head of the Mystical Body
and fills the whole of it with the riches of His glory.
How may the Catholic Church be known
it its members?
The Catholic Church may be known to its members by distinctive marks
professed in the Creed.
What are the principal marks of the
The principal marks of the Catholic Church are: one, holy, Catholic and
What is meant by saying the Church is
When we say that the Church is one we mean that there are two forms of
unity in the Church: the Unity of Faith and Communion.
What is meant by Unity of Faith?
By the Unity of Faith we mean that those who belong to the Church
believe the same faith proposed to them by the Church.
What is meant by Unity of Communion?
By the Unity of Communion we mean that the faithful are submissive to
the authority of the bishops under the Roman Pontiff. It also describes the
mutual bond among the members themselves because they are joined together socially
in sharing the same sacraments and forms of worship as channels of divine
How many Churches are there?
There is only one Church established by Christ; not only one, but
What about the many Churches in
The Catholic Church believes she is joined in many ways to the baptized
who are honored by the name of Christian in the other Churches of Christendom.
They do not, however, profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not
preserved unity of communion with the See of Peter.
Where is the Church of Christ?
The Church of Christ can be found subsisting in the Catholic Church,
which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion
What does it mean to say the Church of Christ subsists in the Roman Catholic Church?
The Church of Christ subsists in the Roman Catholic Church means that
the fullness of Christs heritage His revelation, sacrament and authority
resides in the Catholic Church, of which the Bishop of Rome is the visible
How do other Christian bodies belong
to the Church of Christ?
Other Christian bodies belong to the Church of Christ in so far as they
possess, in greater or less measure, those elements of sanctification and truth
that exist in their divinely ordained fullness in the Roman Catholic Church.
How is the Church holy?
The church is holy by reason of her founder and by the means she
provides for the sanctification of the faithful.
Are the means the Church provides to
become holy open to all?
Yes, the means that the Church provides for the faithful to become holy
are open to all, regardless of their rank or status; in fact, they are
available to all mankind.
What is heresy?
Heresy is the willful doubt or denial of any truth which God has
Schism is the sinful refusal to submit to the Roman Pontiff or to
associate with the faithful who are subject to him.
What is apostasy?
Apostasy is the total rejection of the Christian faith.
Are those guilty of heresy, schism or
apostasy totally severed from the Church?
No, those guilty of heresy, schism or apostasy are not severed from the
bond of their baptismal character. But they are separated from the visible part
of the Church which includes the right to receive the sacraments, until they
Do other grave sins separate a person
from the body of the Church?
No, other gave sins do not separate a person from the body of the
Church, but the sinful condition deprives him of the life of grace in his soul,
and if he dies he is not saved. He does remain a member of the Church, although
a sinful member, because of his baptismal character.
Why is the Church called Catholic?
The Church is called Catholic because she is universal.
In what sense is the Church
The Church is universal because Christ wants everyone to belong. Rich
and poor, the learned and unlearned are welcome. No people or culture are to be
excluded from what the Savior instituted to be the universal sacrament of
What is the missionary nature of the
The Churchs missionary nature is her quality of propagating the Gospel
to every land and people. It is the Churchs catholicity in action.
What is the Churchs diversity?
The Churchs diversity is ordered and governed by divine institution.
This means that there is not only variety among the Churchs members, but
difference in their function or role within the Churchs organization.
What is another name for catholicity?
Adaptability is another name for catholicity.
How is the Church adaptable?
The Church is adaptable in that she constantly strives to maintain a
balance between continuity and openness to change. She remains faithful to the
heritage received from Christ, and at the same time knows how to adjust this
heritage to different peoples and times.
Why is the Catholic Church apostolic?
The Church is apostolic because her origin goes back to Christs choice
and ordination of the apostles; her doctrine has remained faithful to the teaching
of the apostles; the pope and bishops derive their authority in direct
succession from Peter and the other apostles. It is especially this apostolic
succession in unbroken line over the centuries that witnesses to the oneness of
the Catholic Church today with the Church originally founded by Christ on the
What phase of apostolicity has
specially developed in modern times?
The Churchs collegiality has specially developed in modern times.
What is collegiality?
Collegiality is the cohesion and co-operation of the bishops under the
pope and among themselves as successors of the apostles under Peter. Together
they form one collegial community, united by their common loyalty to Christ and
allegiance to the Roman Pontiff.
How did the apostles hand on their
powers to others?
The apostles handed on their powers to others by the laying on of
Why did they hand on their apostolic
powers to others?
The apostles handed on their powers to others because Christ wanted His
Church to continue always under the guidance of the bishops or successors of
the apostles, and under the Bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter.
Who is the Roman Pontiff?
The Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ; the successor of St. Peter
and the visible head of the Church.
Has the pope the supreme authority
over the whole Church?
The pope, who has been sent as the pastor of all the faithful to ensure
the common good of the whole Church, and the good of individual churches, has
supreme power over all the faithful and all the churches.
What is a bishop?
A bishop is a successor of the apostles, who has been charged by the
Holy Spirit with the spiritual government of a dioceses under the authority of
What is the relationship between the
pope and the bishops?
Between the pope and the bishops there is a proportional relationship.
Just as the pope is the pastor and head of the whole Church, so the bishops are
pastors and heads of their respective dioceses. But while the pope possesses
authority over the whole Church, the bishops exercise theirs only within the
limits of their respective dioceses. As a collegial body, however, the bishops
are concerned for the welfare of the universal Church.
What is an ecumenical council?
An ecumenical council is a general assembly of all the bishops of the
Church, gathered together under the authority of the pope to deliberate and
decide on matters of faith, worship and morals for the Catholic Church.
What is a diocese?
A diocese is a portion of the People of God which is entrusted to a
bishop to be cared for with the assistance of his priests. Loyal to their
bishop and united with him under the Gospel and through the Eucharist, the
people of a diocese form a particular church. It is here that the one, holy,
catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is really present and active.
What powers have bishops in their own
The bishops have in their own diocese all the ordinary, proper and
immediate power that is necessary for the exercise of their pastoral duty.
Every diocesan bishop has the faculty in particular cases to dispense the
faithful, from a general law of the Church, as often as he judges that it will
contribute to their spiritual good, unless the case has been especially
reserved by the supreme authority of the Church.
What are the principal collaborators
of the bishops?
The principle collaborators of the bishops are the priests in charge of
parishes, according to the circumstances or nature of various localities.
What is a parish?
A parish is an established group of people, under a pastor who takes
the place of the bishop. The parish represents the visible Church constituted
throughout the world.
What is a pastor?
A pastor or parish priest is a fellow worker of the bishop, under whose
authority is entrusted the care of the faithful within the parochial territory.
Are only diocesan priests subject to
the authority of the bishop?
No, priests belonging to religious orders or congregations are also
subject to the authority of the local bishop in whatever pertains to the spiritual
welfare of the diocese.
What relationship should exist
between bishops and priests?
All priests, whether diocesan or religious, share with the bishop in
the one priesthood of Christ and are therefore appointed as the prudent
co-workers of the Episcopal order.
How are priests to exercise their
Priests are to exercise their priestly ministry in hierarchical union
with the whole body of the Church. Pastoral charity urges them to act within
this communion and by obedience to dedicate their lives in the service of God
and their fellow-Christians. They are to accept and carry out in the spirit of
faith the commands and directives of the pope, their bishop and other
superiors. They are to gladly spend themselves in whatever office is entrusted
Who are deacons?
Deacons are at the lowest level of the hierarchy. They received the
imposition of hands not for the priesthood, but for the ministry. They are
dedicated to the People of God, in co-operation with the bishops and their body
of priests, in the service of the liturgy, of the Gospel and of works of
What are the main functions of a deacon?
The main functions of a deacon are: to administer baptism solemnly; to
be a custodian and distributor of the Eucharist; in the name of the Church, to
assist at and to bless Christian marriage; to bring Viaticum to the dying; to
read the sacred Scripture to the faithful; to instruct and exhort the people;
under the priest, to preside over the worship and prayer of the faithful; to
administer sacramentals; and to officiate at funeral and burial services.
Who are the laity?
The laity are all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those
who belong to a state of perfection approved by the Church.
What is the special task of lay
people in the Church?
The special task of the laity is to make the Church present and
fruitful where it is only through them that she can become the salt of the
earth. Incorporated into Christ by baptism, they share in their own way the
priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ and carry on the mission of the
whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.
Is the apostolate of the laity
necessary to the Church?
The apostolate of the laity is necessary because the Church depends
mainly on the laity to bring Christ to the secular world, where they are most
numerous, most familiar and can be the most influential.
How do we know the lay apostolate is
We know the lay apostolate is necessary from the frequent teaching of
the Church. She recognizes as a manifest action of the Holy Spirit the growing
awareness by the laity of their responsibility to serve Christ and the Church
with dedicated zeal and generosity.
Should women take an active part in
the apostolate of the laity?
Yes it is very important that the participation of women in the
Churchs apostolate develop far beyond what it has been until now. This is
consistent with the increasingly active share that women are taking in the
whole life of modern society.
What is the specific task of the
The young must become the first apostles among their peers. By their
good example, they exercise a powerful influence on the youth among whom they
Is there an apostolate for children?
Yes, in their own way they are true living witnesses of Christ among
Does the pope possess supreme
authority over all the Church?
Yes, the pope, as successor of St. Peter, possesses supreme authority
in the Church, that is, he has the primacy which Our Lord conferred on the
prince of the apostles.
What is the primacy of the pope?
The primacy of the pope is the fullness of authority he possesses, in
the name of Christ, over all the faithful. It is a primacy not only of honor,
as the first among equals in the Catholic hierarchy. It is a primacy of
jurisdiction, which means that, under Christ, the pope is supreme teacher,
legislator and administrator of the Catholic Church.
What is infallibility?
Infallibility is immunity from error, excluding not only its existence
but even its possibility.
How does infallibility differ from
Infallibility differs from impeccability in that infallibility is the
impossibility either of deceiving or being deceived in teaching others;
impeccability is the impossibility of offending God by committing sin. The pope
is infallible, but not impeccable.
Who is absolutely infallible?
Only God is absolutely infallible. But He deigned to bestow on the
Church a shared infallibility.
How does the Church share in the
The Church shares in the divine infallibility, but within three
restricted limitations: in matters of faith and morals; when the whole people
of God unhesitatingly hold a point of doctrine pertaining to these matters; and
always dependent on the wise providence and anointing of the grace of the Holy
Spirit, who leads the Church into all truth until the glorious coming of her
How are the faithful infallible in
their community of belief?
The faithful are infallible in their community of belief in that the
whole body of the faithful who have an anointing that comes from the Holy Spirit
cannot err in matters of belief. This is a property which belongs to the people
as a whole; a supernatural discernment of faith in the means by which they make
this property manifest, when from bishops to the most obscure layman, they show
their universal agreement in matters of faith and morals.
What is the Churchs magisterium?
The Churchs magisterium is her teaching authority.
How is the Churchs magisterium
The Churchs magisterium is exercised in an ordinary or extraordinary
What is the Churchs ordinary
The Churchs ordinary magisterium is her day by day, and world-wide
teaching of faith and morals.
What is the Churchs extraordinary magisterium?
The Churchs extraordinary magisterium is the special exercise of her
teaching authority through an ecumenical council or through occasional solemn
declaration of the Holy Father.
Is the Churchs magisterium
Yes, the Churchs magisterium is infallible because the magisterium is
vested exclusively in the successors of Peter and the other apostles.
Within the magisterium, who possesses
the gift of infallibility?
The pope, and the community of bishops under the pope, possess the gift
When is the pope infallible?
The pope is infallible when he acts as the father and ruler of all the
faithful. He enjoys the unique grace which protects him from error when he
actually and specifically exercises the office of teacher of the universal
Church and supreme judge in matters of faith and morals.
How is the pope infallible?
The pope is infallible in virtue of the special promise of Christ
always to protect His Church from error. Although assisted by this grace, he is
bound by his office to take suitable means for ascertaining the truth before
What is the scope of papal
Papal infallibility is to preserve the flock of Christ from the poison
of error. It covers two forms of teaching; i.e., of faith and morals. It may be
a doctrine that is simply to be accepted by the mind as true, or a doctrine
that is also to be acted upon by the will as good.
Are individual bishops infallible?
Bishops individually or a group of bishops do not enjoy the privilege
of personal infallibility. But there are circumstances when they proclaim
infallibly the doctrine of Christ.
When are bishops infallible?
Bishops are infallible when, united with the pope, as authorized
teachers on faith and morals they agree on one position to be held as
Is the Church necessary for
Yes, the Church is necessary for salvation. Christ Himself declared
that no one can be saved except through faith and baptism, He thereby affirmed
the necessity of the Church, to which He entrusted the fullness of revelation
and into which a person enters, as a door, through the sacrament of baptism.
For whom is there no salvation
outside the Church?
There is no salvation for those who though incorporated in the Church
by baptism, fail to persevere in sanctifying grace. Those also are not saved,
who realize what they are doing, but refuse to be baptized and accept the
Churchs means of salvation.
Who are actually incorporated into
Those who have been baptized by water in the name of the Holy Trinity
are actually incorporated into the Church.
How can non-Christians be saved?
Non-Christians can be saved through the Church according to their faith
in whatever historical revelation they come to know and by their co-operation
with the internal graces of the Holy Spirit which they receive.
What is the ecumenical movement?
The ecumenical movement is the effort toward reunion among the
separated Churches of Christendom.
What is spiritual ecumenism?
Spiritual ecumenism among Catholics is the practice of prayer and
holiness of life, to merit divine grace for all Christians to once again be
united as one flock under one shepherd.
What is the Catholic attitude toward
Christians separated from Rome?
The Catholic attitude toward Christians separated from Rome is to bring them to a complete sharing in the mystery of Christ.
What is the Catholic attitude toward
The Catholic attitude toward non-Christians is to bring them the true
faith, the blessings of baptism and the other sacraments, and to incorporate
them in the Mystical Body of Christ.
What are the duties of citizenship in
the New Testament?
According to the New Testament, citizens are to accept the established
form of government and submit to those in authority since all legitimate
government comes from God.
What should be the relationship of
Church and State?
The relationship of Church and State should be one of harmony. Each is
to recognize the autonomy of the other for the personal and social welfare of
How do Church and State differ in
The Church was founded by a free act of God made Man while civil
society results from the needs and tendencies that are natural to man. The
former comes from God as the Author of Grace and the latter comes from God as the
Author of Nature.
How do Church and State differ in
The Church and State differ in purpose in that the Church is to lead
all men to everlasting salvation while the State is to procure the temporal
prosperity of the citizens.
How do Church and State differ in
Church and State differ in authority in three ways. The authority of
the Church is supernatural, that of the State is natural; the Churchs
authority is determined by Christ who governs the faithful through the apostles
and their successors, that of the State varies according to time and place; and
the Churchs authority finally depends on the faith of its members, whereas the
States authority is founded on reason and applied through physical sanctions.
How is the Churchs authority above
The Churchs authority is above the State as faith is above reason, and
mans spiritual needs are above those of space and time.
Must a Christian always obey the
The Churchs authority is above the State as faith is above reason, and
mans spiritual needs are above those of space and time.
May the State totally separate itself
from the Church?
No, the State may not totally separate itself from the Church because
the State cannot withdraw from the laws of God or the rule of Christ.
What kinds of freedom does the Church
The Church claims two kinds of freedom: one is social and the other is
What freedom does the Church claim on
a social level?
On the social level, the Church claims her right to exist and to operate
according to the will of her Founder. She, therefore, claims the right to
corporate existence as a visible society established by Christ, and to the
exercise of her ministry among the faithful and from the faithful to the rest
What freedom does the Church claim on
a personal level?
On a personal level, the Church claims for her members as individuals
the right to be Catholics, to profess their faith, and to exercise their
religious duties without hindrance or opposition from civil authorities.
Does everyone have a right to
Yes, everyone has the right to religious freedom. This means that no
one may be coerced in any way to act against his religious convictions, nor be
prevented from acting on these convictions, whether alone or in associations
What is the basis for religious
The very nature of an individual is the basis for religious freedom. Consequently,
the right to this freedom continues to exist even in those who do not live up
to their obligation of seeking the truth or living up to it.
Are there any limitations to the
exercise of religious freedom?
There can be no limitations to the exercise of religious freedom as
long as the just requirements of public order are observed.
Who are the primary educators of
Parents are the primary educators of children. Since they gave life to
their children, they are, therefore, bound by serious obligation to educate
their offspring in all matters, but especially in religious belief and moral
What are the Churchs rights in
The Churchs rights in education are above the State, since the Church
was established by Christ to teach all nations the way of salvation.
What are the States rights in
The rights of the State in education are not above the rights of the
parents or the Church. Rather the State has the duty to ensure that all its
citizens are adequately trained in such knowledge and skills as they will need
for the proper exercise of their civil rights and duties.
What are the four last things of man?
The four last things of man are death, judgment, heaven and hell.
What is death?
Death is the separation of body and soul for a period of time. The time
of probation in Gods service closes with death.
What is the meaning of death?
The meaning of death is that at death we do not die but are merely to
change our earthly habitation for a heavenly one.
Why should we not fear death?
We should not fear death because it ends our earthly exile and admits
our souls into that eternal home which Christ has gone ahead to prepare for us.
What happens to us immediately after
Immediately after death we shall be judged about our moral conduct
How many kinds of judgment are there?
There are two kinds of judgment: a particular judgment and a general
What is the particular judgment that
each person faces right after death?
The particular judgment that each person faces right after death
determines his state of soul in eternity. The outcome of this judgment is
promptly carried into effect.
What is the general judgment that
will take place at the end of the world?
The general judgment that will take place at the end of the world is a
social judgment. We shall be judged as members of the human race, to reveal to
the world Gods justice in those He condemns and His mercy in those who are
What is a still deeper reason for the
A deeper reason for the final judgment is to reveal not only the good
or the evil that men have done. It will also make manifest the chain of
consequences of mens actions, even long after the actions were done, up to the
end of time.
Will the sentence pronounced at the
general judgment differ from that of the particular judgment?
The general judgment will not differ from the particular judgment
except to give it solemn confirmation. However, since the general judgment will
take place after the resurrection, it will affect the whole man, body and soul.
Mans final destiny, therefore, includes also the body which is to share in his
reward or punishment.
On what is a person judged?
A person is judged on the moral good and evil that he has done.
What will the Lord say to the just at
the last judgment?
To the just Our Lord will say, Come you whom my Father has blessed,
take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the
world. (Matt. 25:34)
What are the two kinds of fulfillment
given to the just?
The two kinds of fulfillment given to the just are possession of God
and enjoyment of creatures.
What is meant by the possession of
By the possession of God is meant that He is seen face to face. This is
known as the beatific vision. The degree of beatitude will depend on the merits
a person has gained before he dies.
What is the beatific vision?
The beatific vision is a direct seeing of the Holy Trinity, with no
creature standing between the soul and God. It is beatific because it will
produce intense happiness, such as only God has a right to enjoy but that He
shares with those who enter heaven.
How does the enjoyment of creatures
increases the beatitude of heaven?
The enjoyment of creatures increases the beatitude of heaven after the
last day of what the Church calls accessory happiness. God wants the blessed to
enjoy Him both in Himself and through the creatures possessed in heaven.
What does the enjoyment of creatures
The enjoyment of creatures means that there will be communications of
minds and hearts in heaven. Ties of blood and friendship begun on earth will
somehow continue into eternity. We shall enjoy the company of Christ in His
humanity, the Blessed Virgin, the angels and saints in glory.
What are the qualities of the risen
The qualities of the risen body are: impassibility or immunity from
death and pain; subtlety, or freedom from restraint by matter; agility, or
obedience to spirit with relation to movement and space; and clarity, or
extraordinary beauty of the soul manifested in the body.
Are we still the same persons after
Yes, although we are greatly changed for the better in our glorified
state, we shall remain essentially the same after the resurrection. We retain
our own personal identity.
Who are now in heaven?
Besides the angels, those now in heaven are the souls who entered
eternity in the state of grace. They were either entirely free from temporal
punishment due to sin when they died or, after death were cleansed of this debt
What will Our Lord say to the wicked
at the last judgment?
To the wicked Our Lord will say, Go away from me, with your curse upon
you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matt. 25:41)
What is hell?
Hell is a place of endless punishment to which the wicked are condemned
forever with the evil spirits.
What are the two kinds of pain
threatened to the wicked?
The two kinds of pain threatened to the wicked are the loss of the
beatific vision and the experience of pain from creatures.
What is the essential suffering of
The essential suffering of hell is the pain of losing the vision of God
for whose possession man was created.
What is a further suffering in hell?
A further suffering in hell is the pain of sense. This is caused by a
creature outside the person and is described in divine revelation as fire. It
is a fire that causes pain to body and soul without consuming the one in
Who is in hell?
Besides the evil spirits, those are in hell who die in the state of
mortal sin. They are the unrepentant sinners.
Are the pains of hell the same for
The pains of hell are not the same for all as justice demands that they
be proportionate to the nature and number of each of the sins of each of the
How long will the pains of hell
The pains of hell will endure for eternity; their duration is without
What is purgatory?
Purgatory is a state or condition in which the souls of the just, who
die with the stains of sin, are cleansed by expiation before they are admitted
Who are the souls of the just?
The souls of the just are those that leave the body in the state of
grace and are therefore destined by right to enter heavenly glory.
What is the meaning of the term
stain of sin?
By stain of sin we mean the temporal punishment due to venial or
forgiven mortal sins, not yet expiated when the person dies.
Are the souls in purgatory certain
they are saved?
Yes, the souls in purgatory are certain they are saved. It is for this
reason that their suffering is only temporary.
What kind of suffering do the souls
in purgatory endure?
The souls in purgatory endure two kinds of suffering: the pain of loss
which is the temporary loss of the vision of God and the endurance of physical
pain. The sufferings of purgatory are more intense than any suffering on earth.
Do the souls in purgatory experience
Yes, the souls in purgatory experience intense spiritual joy because
they are absolutely sure of their salvation. They have faith, hope and great
charity. They know themselves to be in divine friendship, confirmed in grace
and no longer able to offend their heavenly Father.
Can the souls in purgatory make
satisfaction for their sins?
No, the souls in purgatory cannot make satisfaction for their sins
because satisfaction as merit is possible only during ones lifetime on earth.
There is no true merit after death.
Who may help the souls in purgatory?
All who belong to the Communion of Saints can help the souls in purgatory
that is the faithful on earth, and the angels and saints in heaven.
How can the faithful on earth help
the souls in purgatory?
The faithful on earth can help the souls in purgatory by their
sufferings, that is, through the Sacrifice of the Mass, prayers, also giving
and every kind of good work.
How do the angels and saints help the
souls in purgatory?
The angels and saints help the souls in purgatory not by way of merit
or satisfaction but by their prayers and intercession with God.
Are the faithful obliged to help the
souls in purgatory?
Yes, the faithful are obliged to help the souls in purgatory. It is at
once a duty of justice and of charity. It is also a duty of personal interest
since one day we may expect others to help us in the same way.
How do we know there is a purgatory?
We know there is a purgatory from Sacred Scripture and the Churchs
What do the Scriptures tell us about
In the Old Testament we are told that the Israelites prayed for the
dead that they might be released from their sin (2M. 12:45). In the New
Testament, Christ spoke of the sin of despair as not forgiven either in this
world or the next (Mt. 12:32), implying that certain faults are pardoned in
the life to come.
What does the Churchs Traditions
tell us about purgatory?
The Churchs Tradition, embodied in funeral doctrine of the
Magisterium, explicitly teaches that there is a purgatory, that purgatory is
temporary, and that the poor souls can be helped by the prayers and good works
of the faithful especially by offering the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Can the souls in purgatory pray and
obtain blessings for those on earth?
It is certain that the souls in purgatory can pray and obtain blessings
for those on earth, as they are united with the Pilgrim Church in the Communion
Can we invoke the souls in purgatory?
Yes, we can invoke the souls in purgatory and are encouraged to ask
them with the confidence of being heard. They understand our needs and are
grateful for the prayers and sacrifices we offer on their behalf.
What are human acts?
Human acts are those performed knowingly, willingly, and not through
physical necessity, inadvertence, or rational instinct.
What are the acts we perform without
The acts we perform without reflection are called acts of man. Such
acts are involuntary likes and dislikes, first impulses of feeling or passion,
acts done during sleep or delirium or under the influence of drugs, metabolism,
How is the moral quality of our human
The moral quality of our human acts is determined from three sources:
the object, the end or purpose, and the circumstances.
What is meant by the object of a
The object of a human act is what we do. It is that with which an
action is essentially concerned; thus an act of prayer is morally good; and act
of blasphemy is morally bad.
What do we mean by the circumstances
of a human act?
The circumstances of a human act are the conditions under which it is
performed. They are the situations which may change the whole moral tone of
human conduct. Depending on the person who does something, or the ones in whose
presence it is done, or the place, or the time of its performance, the morality
is correspondingly affective.
What is the end or purpose of a human
The end or purpose of a human act is why we do it. This is the motive
for which something is done. If the motive is sinful, the action is sinful.
What is a moral act?
A moral act is a human act. It is essentially an action that is done
freely and deliberately, and is therefore imputable to the person who does it.
What kind of moral acts are there?
Moral acts are either good or bad.
When is an act morally good?
An action is morally good when the object, circumstances, and purpose
of what is done are simultaneously good.
What finally determines whether a
human action is morally good?
What finally determines whether a human action is morally good is
whether it leads a person to his eternal destiny.
When is an act morally bad?
An act is morally bad when either the object, circumstances, or purpose
of an act is bad. It is therefore, opposed to the law of God and does not lead
a person to his heavenly destiny.
What are some human acts that are
always morally bad?
Some human acts that are always morally bad are blasphemy, murder, and
What acts are morally indifferent?
Acts like walking, speaking, driving, or reading are morally
indifferent because they may be directed to good or evil ends and become
virtuous or sinful according to the purpose intended.
What is imputability?
Imputability is a persons responsibility for every deliberate act he
performs. We either praise and reward him if he does well in performing an act
or blame and punish if he sins while performing an act. In other words, the
principle is that every effort should be referred to its cause.
What is responsibility?
Responsibility is the obligation that a person has of rendering an
account of his acts and of accepting the consequences.
What is the difference between
imputability and responsibility?
The difference between imputability and responsibility is that
imputability belongs to the act; responsibility belongs to the person
performing the act.
What are the conditions around which
The conditions around which imputability revolves are knowledge and
What is human freedom?
Human freedom is the ability we have to choose what we want even when
there is no external constraint to do so. This power of choice is the
foundation of the moral order.
What are the factors that diminish
The factors that diminish responsibility are ignorance, emotion or
passion, fear, past habits, and external force or violence.
What is ignorance?
Ignorance is the absence of knowledge that should be present especially
with regard to moral matters that ought to be known.
What are the principal kinds of
The principal kinds of ignorance are vincible and invincible.
What is vincible ignorance?
Vincible ignorance is that which a person could remove by the exercise
of ordering diligence.
What is our duty regarding vincible
Our duty regarding vinsible ignorance is to acquire the necessary
knowledge for making a wise moral decision. Negligence about learning the truth
determines ones guilt in performing a morally bad act through lack of
What is meant by invincible
Invincible ignorance is ignorance that persists in spite of ordinary
diligence to dispel it. In some cases, a person may not even suspect he is
What are emotions?
Emotions are strong bodily reactions to sudden unexpected stimuli. They
interfere with clear thinking and free choice. Ordinarily, they lesson or may
even remove culpability of an action.
How many kinds of emotions are there?
There are two kinds of emotion: the antecedent where feelings are
aroused before there is any chance for deliberation; and consequent emotion
which is fostered by the will, as when a person nurses a grudge over an injury.
What are the effects of antecedent
The general effect of the antecedent emotion is to diminish guilt.
What are the effects of consequent emotion?
Consequent emotion does not reduce imputability; it makes an action
more voluntary since the emotion is willfully nourished.
What is fear?
Fear is an intense, primitive response to a present or future danger.
Why does fear deserve special consideration?
Although fear follows the same general pattern as other emotions, it
deserves special consideration because of its prevailing influence on human
How many kinds of fear are there?
There are three kinds of fear: internal or external depending on
whether its cause is within or outside the person fearing. The fear of death is
internal; the fear of another person is external. Reverential fear is afraid of
offending someone to whom we owe respect, such as a person in authority.
How many kinds of fear stem from an
The kinds of fear that stem from an external cause are grave or slight,
depending on whether the threatening harm is great or small.
What are the effects of fear?
Fear is so seldom great as to deprive a person of all responsibility
for actions performed. Therefore, bad actions done through fear are normally
culpable and good actions are normally meritorious.
Does fear ever affect the morality of
Yes, fear affects the morality of an action which is done out of fear,
and not merely with fear. Something is done out of fear when, except for the
fear, the action would not have been performed. Liberty is thus diminished or
may even be erased.
What is law?
Law is an ordinance of practical reason by which one who has authority
over a people bids them do something for the common good of the society.
What is the difference between
precept and law?
The difference between precept and law is that laws are permanent
binding norms for a whole people. Precepts, on the other hand, are specific
commands given directly, not to a community, but to an individual.
Where do laws and precepts come from?
All valid laws and precepts ultimately come from God.
What is divine law?
Divine law is the law that comes directly from God. By this law He
directs all creatures in all their activities. Divine law may be called
eternal, natural, or positive, depending on its particular form.
Who is subject to the divine law?
All men who have the use of reason are subject to the divine law.
Are all laws derived from the divine
Yes, all laws are derived from the divine law; hence, another name for
divine law is the eternal law.
What is meant by eternal law?
Eternal law means that the whole universe is governed by the Divine
Reason. God then is in the deepest sense of the word, the Prince of the
Universe, where the Prince is the one with whom all laws originate.
Why is it called eternal?
It is called eternal because it is conceived in Gods mind from
eternity and not in time.
Why is it called a law?
It is called a law because it bears the character of a law. It embraces
both the physical and moral laws. The moral laws bind human wills to conform to
the Divine Will.
Why does the eternal law embrace the
The eternal law embraces the moral law because the human will must
freely respond to Gods plan for mans destiny.
How does the eternal moral law
The eternal moral law manifests itself in two ways: Naturally, which is
the natural law, and supernaturally, which is the revealed law.
What is natural law?
Natural law is the law by which man comes to know the eternal law from
created nature through the light of his native reason.
Why is it called natural law?
It is called natural law because objectively it is derived from nature,
from the world of natural creation; and subjectively, because it is knowable by
the light of mans reason; it is also natural because it is that to which man
is subject from the time of his birth.
Where does natural law manifest
Natural law manifests itself within each persons conscience, where its
dictates are expressed by certain tendencies of nature, certain urges and
drives which have to be evaluated by right reason.
Who is bound by the natural law?
All human beings are bound by the natural law, no matter where or when
they live. Natural law is therefore, universal and unchangeable. No one can
dispense with its observance. It becomes binding as soon as a person reaches
the age of discretion.
What are the marks of natural law?
The marks of natural law are: It is universal because it applies to all
men; it is immutable because it is not subject to change and no one can be
excused from keeping it; it is absolute because it must be observed at all
What is revealed law?
Revealed law is that by which man comes to know the eternal laws
through Divine Revelation. Revealed law spans the whole of Gods special
communication of His Will, through the Prophets in time past, and in our own
time through His Son Jesus Christ.
What is human law?
Human law is the divine law mediated by human legislators.
How binding is human law?
Human law is binding in so far as it agrees with the natural law of
What is ecclesiastical law?
Ecclesiastical law is an ordinance issued by legitimate authority in
the Catholic Church. The legislators for the entire Church are the Pope through
the Roman Curia or an ecumenical council together with the Pope. Bishops may
also legislate for their respective dioceses.
What is civil law?
Civil law is legislated and promulgated by the government in a
political society. Civil law is morally binding in conscience as the Churchs
tradition since biblical times testifies.
What are penal laws?
Penal laws are those to which a penalty for a transgression is attached.
Is a person obliged to pay the
penalty for a transgression?
Yes, a person is obliged to pay the penalty for the transgression of a
just law. However, he is not obliged in conscience to pay the penalty unless he
is first convicted of the transgression. Circumstance, however, may urge paying
the penalty before actual conviction.
What is conscience?
Conscience is the practical judgment of the intellect deciding from the
general principles of faith and reason on the goodness or badness of the way of
acting that a person now faces.
What are the functions of conscience?
The functions of conscience are twofold. Beforehand, conscience informs
a person whether an action is lawful or not. Afterwards, conscience tells him
whether the act done was good or bad.
What is meant by antecedent
Antecedent conscience is the operation of the mind before performing a
human action. The conscience either commands or forbids, counsels or permits
what a person anticipates doing.
What is the meaning of consequent
Consequent conscience is the passing of judgment on moral actions
already done. It is the assessment of past behavior.
What kind of conscience is
indispensible for growth in spiritual perfection?
A sensitive conscience is necessary for growth in spiritual perfection.
What is sensitive conscience?
A sensitive conscience is alert to the performance of Gods will not
only in matters of strict obligation but in whatever would be pleasing to God.
How can ones conscience become more
Conscience can become more spiritually sensitive by the daily practice
of examining; ones past actions on their responsiveness to Gods will.
What is a scrupulous conscience?
A scrupulous conscience is a timorous and fearful conscience. The tendency
is to judge something to be wrong when it is lawful. It is an unbalanced
When is a conscience perplexed?
A conscience is perplexed when it sees sin both in the performance and
omission of some act.
What is the meaning of a lax conscience?
A lax conscience decides on insufficient grounds that a sinful act is
permissible or that something gravely wrong is not serious. A lax conscience
sees virtue where there is sin.
What is meant by a pharisaic
A pharisaic conscience minimizes grave sins, but magnifies matters of
What is a hardened conscience?
A hardened conscience consistently judges that either all or certain
grave sins are trivial or not wrong at all.
How is a hardened conscience
A hardened conscience is acquired by the habit of sinning mortally,
until a persons mind
When is a conscience certain?
A conscience is certain when it has no prudent fear of being wrong, and
when it firmly decides that some action is right or wrong.
What is an erroneous conscience?
An erroneous conscience tells a person that a good action is bad or a
bad action is good.
What is the rule governing a doubtful
The rule is that we may never act on a doubtful conscience.
When is a conscience doubtful?
A conscience is doubtful when a person cannot certainly decide for or
against a course of moral action.
How is a doubtful conscience to be
A doubtful conscience should be resolved by personal reflection,
seeking wise counsel, and above all, asking for divine light in prayer.
What is sin?
Sin is the willful transgression of a divine law, that is, we knowingly
and freely go beyond the limits divinely imposed on our moral liberty.
Why are we led into sin?
We are led into sin because we want our own personal satisfaction
rather than submit to the will of God.
What sins are the basis of all human
The sins that are the basis of all human failings are the capital sins.
What is the common origin of all
The common origin of all capital sins is original sin.
What are capital sins?
Capital sins are the perverse inclinations of our fallen human nature.
Name the capital sins?
The capital sins are pride, lust, anger, covetousness, envy, sloth and
What is pride?
Pride is an excessive love of our own superiority. It blinds a person
to the truth that all his good qualities are gifts from God, and that others
have the same or even greater gifts. It begets a spirit of independence that is
impatient with subjection to authority, whether human or divine. Humility is
the virtue opposed to pride.
What is lust?
Lust is the inordinate desire for sexual pleasure. The desire is
inordinate when sought outside the bonds and laws of marriage. Chastity is the
virtue opposed to lust.
What is anger?
Anger is a disorderly emotion that inclines a person to repel whatever
displeases him; if not controlled it can become hatred and lead one to seek
Why is anger called a disorderly
Anger as a capital sin is called a disorderly emotion because anger is
not always sinful. It can be an act of virtue when we become indignant for just
reasons and with moderation.
When is anger unjust or sinful?
Anger is sinful when the feeling of displeasure is not justified, or
goes beyond what the situation requires. Anger is especially wrong when it
inflicts pain on another person who does not deserve to be punished, or the
punishment exceeds the fault, or punishment is inflicted to satisfy a spiteful
feeling or revenge. The virtue contrary to anger is gentleness or meekness.
How is covetousness defined?
Covetousness is an excessive love of temporal goods, usually in terms
of money. It makes a person hard-hearted, miserly about sharing what he owns
with others, eager to accumulate riches and indifferent about the means he uses
to acquire wealth and power. The opposite virtue is liberality.
What is envy?
Envy is the sadness experienced in seeing the talents, production,
property or prosperity of others that a person feels outshines or obscures his
own. The contrary virtue is love.
What is the difference between envy
The difference between envy and jealousy is the motive. Envy does not
have something that someone else has; jealousy has something that it is slow or
unwilling to share with others.
What is sloth?
Sloth is an inordinate love of ease that leads a person to omit or
neglect his duties. It is more or less sinful depending on the duty neglected
and the scandal is gives. The virtue contrary to sloth is diligence.
What is gluttony?
Gluttony is an inordinate love of eating or drinking. It means eating
or drinking to excess, taking more than is needed or healthy, or indulging the
appetite merely for pleasure, or beyond ones means. The virtue opposed to
gluttony is temperance.
What is the difference between sin
The difference between sin and vice is that sin is an act and vice is a
habit. Therefore, it is possible to commit a sin against a certain virtue
without having the vice opposed to the virtue.
How many basic kinds of sin are
There are two basic kinds of sin: original and personal.
What is original sin?
Original sin is the sin that has its source in the disobedience of Adam
and is handed down by generation to all men.
What is personal sin?
Personal sin is the sin of each individual.
How many kinds of personal sin are
There are two kinds of personal sin, actual and habitual.
What is actual sin?
Actual sin in any deliberate thought, word, deed, or omission contrary
to Gods eternal law.
How can we commit actual sins?
We commit actual sins by our thoughts which are sinful desires; by
words which may be spoken or otherwise articulated; by deeds which involve some
external manifestation; and by omission which are failures to do what should
have been done in a set of given circumstances.
How are actual sins divided according
to their effect?
Actual sins are divided into mortal sins and venial sins depending on
whether they deprive a person of supernatural life.
What is mortal sin?
Mortal sin is an actual sin that destroys sanctifying grace in the
Why is it called mortal?
It is called mortal because it causes the supernatural death of the
What is mortal sin in practice?
In practice mortal sin is the transgression of a divine law in a grievous
matter with full knowledge and consent.
What are the conditions for a mortal
There are three conditions for a mortal sin: Serious matter, which may
be serious in itself as in blasphemy or because of the circumstance, or on
account of its purpose; clear awareness of the serious nature of the act; and
full consent by which a person freely wills to perform an action that he knows
is gravely sinful.
What are the affects of mortal sin?
The affects of mortal sin are the loss of divine friendship, of past
supernatural merits, and the right to heaven unless the sinner repents.
What is venial sin?
Venial sin is an offense against God that does not deprive the sinner
of sanctifying grace.
Why is it called venial?
It is called venial from the Latin word, venia, which means pardon.
A person in venial sin still has the principle of supernatural life that allows
healing (or pardon) from within. Mortal sins require the intervention of Gods
mercy to restore a supernaturally dead soul to spiritual life.
What are venial sins also called?
Venial sins are also called minor or ordinary, or daily sins. They may
best be called harmful sins, compared to those which are deadly or mortal.
When does a person commit a venial
A person commits a venial sin when he transgresses a divine law that is
not grave, or when he transgresses a grave precept but without awareness of its
gravity or without full consent.
What are the affects of venial sin?
The affects of venial sin are that it darkens the mind in its
perception of virtue, weakens the will in its pursuit of holiness, lowers ones
resistance to temptation, and causes a person to deviate from the path that
leads to heavenly glory.
What are the principal causes of sin?
The principal causes of sin are the occasions of sin.
What is meant by occasion of sin?
An occasion of sin is any external circumstance a person, place or
thing that of its own nature or because of mens weakness inclines and leads
one to sin.
What are the kinds of occasion of
There are two kinds of occasion of sins: the proximate occasion of sin
which means that danger of committing sin in certain or probable; and the
remote occasion of sin when the danger of committing sin is only slight.
Are we obliged to avoid the occasion
We are not obliged to avoid a remote occasion of sin unless there is
danger that it will likely become a near occasion of sin. We are obliged to
avoid all voluntary proximate occasions of sin.
What is a temptation?
A temptation is a solicitation to sin, whether by offering some
satisfaction or by persuading the will. It arises from the world, the flesh and
How does temptation arise from the
Temptation arises from the world in so far as other human beings
solicit us to sin. They do so by what they are (their evil but attractive
life), by what they say (in speech, writing, or audio-visual media), or by what
they do (their sinful actions which invite imitation).
How does temptation arise from the
Temptation arises from the flesh in so far as we have sinful tendencies
due to our fallen human nature. These tendencies come from within ourselves and
they are both bodily, as with gluttony or lust, and spiritual, as in envy or
How does temptation arise from the
Temptation arises from the devil who is permitted by God to try to
deceive us by stressing the benefits of something that is sinful.
What is habitual sin?
Habitual sin is the sinful state of a soul resulting from actual sin.
Which kinds of habitual sin are
There are two kinds of habitual sin. More properly, habitual sin refers
to the state of soul in un-repented mortal sin. Habitual sin, however, may also
mean the weakened state of soul of a person, with un-forgiven venial sins, but
still in the grace of God.
What is the habit of sin?
The habit of sin is the case of committing certain sins that a person
acquires by repeatedly doing some particular action that is morally wrong.
What is situation ethics?
Situation ethics is a purely subjective theory of conduct. It holds
that the ultimate standard of conduct is not an objective norm found outside of
man and independent of his subjective persuasion, but an immediate internal
illumination and judgment of each person for himself in whatever situation he
What is the Churchs position on
The Churchs position on situation ethics is that it does not conform
to the objective principles of Catholic morality.
How are the principles of Christian
The principles of Christian morality are objective in being independent
of the personal subjective judgment of each person. Right and wrong do not
exist only in the mind. They are also objective because their validity is not
conditional by changing circumstances or times. And they are objective in their
capacity to evoke great moral courage and generosity.
What is the theory of the fundamental
The theory of the fundamental option holds that the only mortal sin a
person can commit is to choose to reject God. No matter how objectively grave a
sin may be, e.g., adultery, it is not a mortal sin unless a person makes a
radical decision (fundamental option) against serving God.
What is the Churchs teaching on the
The Churchs teaching on the fundamental option is that moral sin,
which is opposed to God, does not consist only in formal and direct resistance
to the divine commandment of charity. It is equally to be found in this
opposition to authentic love which is included in every deliberate
transgression, in serious matter of each of the moral laws.
Does the practice of morality include
other particular precepts besides love?
Yes, the practice of morality includes other particular precepts.
Therefore a person sins mortally not only when his action comes from direct
contempt for love of God and neighbor, but also when he consciously and freely,
for whatever reason, chooses something which is seriously disordered. For in
this choice, there is already included contempt for the divine commandment.
Why does a person sin mortally
whenever he deliberately does something he knows is seriously wrong?
A person sins mortally whenever he deliberately does something he knows
is seriously wrong because it is God and not man who decides what deprives man
of divine friendship.
Where are the principal precepts of
the moral law contained?
The principal precepts of the moral law are contained in the
Commandment of God.
What is the Decalogue?
The Decalogue is the code, which comprises the principal duties and
rights of all men.
Under what title are the duties and
rights of man contained in the Decalogue?
The title under which the duties and natural rights of man are
contained is the Ten Commandments of God.
Why are they called the Commandments
They are called the Commandments of God because God revealed them to
man by a direct and positive revelation.
In what way did God reveal the Ten
God revealed the Ten Commandments when he ordered Moses to gather
together the people of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai. There amid peals of
thunder and flashes of lightening, Yahweh proclaimed the Ten Commandments.
How are the Ten Commandments commonly
The Ten Commandments are commonly formulated as follows:
- I am the Lord Your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain.
- Remember to keep holy the Lords day.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not kill.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbors wife.
- You shall not covet your neighbors goods.
Were the Commandments promulgated
under the New Law?
Yes, the commandments were promulgated anew by Jesus Christ and
perfected in His sermon on the Mount.
In what way did Jesus Christ sum up
Jesus Christ summed up the commandments by reducing them to two
fundamental principles: the love of God and the love of neighbor. You must
love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your
strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. (Luke
What are the commandments that
pertain to the love of God?
The commandments that pertain to the love of God are the first three. They
regulate mans relations to God and express the fundamental obligations of
What are the commandments that
pertain to the love of neighbor?
The commandments that pertain to the love of neighbor are the last
seven. They regulate mans relations with his fellow man and express the
fundamental obligations of morality.
Is it necessary to keep the
Yes, it is necessary to keep the Commandments. For to break any of them
willfully is to offend God and commit sin.
Are we obliged to keep only the
Commandments of God?
We are also to keep the Commandments of the Church.
Does the Church have the power to
Yes, the Church has received the power to make commandments from Jesus
Christ her founder, which is proved by Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
What obedience do we owe the laws of
The obedience we owe the laws of the Church is not merely external
conformity, but internal submission of will. It is not enough to keep the
letter of the law, but we must understand the spirit of the law and put it into
Why did the Church make commandments?
The Church made commandments to enable the faithful to better observe
the Commandments of God and to follow the teachings of the Gospel.
By what authority does the Church
The Church makes commandments by the authority given to her by Christ,
as when He told the apostles, All authority in heaven and on earth has been
given to me. Go, therefore, and teach all nations. (Mt. 28:18-19)
What are the principal commandments
of the Church?
- To hear Mass on Sunday and holydays of obligation
- To fast and abstain on the appointed days
- To go to confession at least once a year
- To contribute to the support of the Church
- To marry according to the laws of the Church
What is the first commandment of God?
The first commandment of God is: I am the Lord Your God. You shall not
have strange gods before me.
What does the first commandment tell
The first commandment tells us that we are to worship the one, true and
living God and not allow any creature to usurp the plan of God in our lives.
What is the Churchs further
understanding of the first Commandment of God?
The Church understands the first commandment to be a positive precept
that prescribes the virtue of religion and a negative prohibition that forbids
all sins contrary to this virtue.
What is the virtue of religion?
The virtue of religion is a moral virtue by which we are disposed to
render to God the worship that is due him. It is the virtue of justice toward
Why is the virtue of religion
The virtue of religion is important because it directly draws us nearer
How does religion draw us nearer to
Religion draws us nearer to God because it is a composite of all
virtues that arise from our relationship to God as the author of our being.
How does the virtue of religion
differ from the love of God?
The virtue of religion differs from the love of God in that religion
responds to God as our Creator, while love responds to God as our final
How is the worship of God put into
The worship of God is put into practice by adoration, prayer and
What is adoration?
Adoration is the honor we give to God in recognition of His infinite perfections,
supreme dominion, and our total dependence on Him.
How do we distinguish between the
worship of God and the worship of angles and saints?
The worship of God is adoration that of angels and saints is
veneration. Only God is to be adored; all others are to be honored as creatures
whose dignity depends entirely on God.
Are we obliged to worship God?
We are obliged to worship God with the worship of adoration because
only the Creator can claim the entire subjection of His creatures as their
sovereign Master and Lord.
Why are we obliged to worship God?
We are obliged to worship God because He wants us to pay attention to
His presence, acknowledge His surpassing greatness and show in the depths of
our being an awareness that He is our God.
Why is the veneration of the Blessed
Virgin and the saints lawful?
The veneration of the Blessed Virgin and the saints is lawful because
of their nearness to God. He is pleased when we ask them to intercede for us
with Him, and seek to initiate the virtues they practiced through the grace He
bestowed on them.
Does veneration of Mary and the
saints detract from the worship of God?
No, so far from detracting from the worship of God, veneration of Mary
and the saints enriches our devotion to God. It is His goodness we praise in
them, and His mercy we pray for through them.
What are saints?
Saints are persons who, during their life on earth, practiced
extraordinary virtue that we are bidden to imitate. They now enjoy the beatific
vision in heaven and are powerful intercessors for us before the throne of God.
Are all saints canonized?
No, not all saints are canonized.
What is canonization?
Canonization is the solemn declaration by the pope that the faithful
should universally invoke a person as a saint. The practice of canonization
goes back to the late twelfth century. Before then, the Church approved the
invocation of certain people as saints, but without the now elaborate process
What is beatification?
Beatification is the Churchs declaration that a person who practiced
heroic virtue may be venerated locally or by a limited number of people.
Why do we venerate the Blessed Mother
above all the angels and saints?
We venerate Mary above all the angels and saints because she is full of
grace, the most perfect of creatures, the Mother of God and of the Church, and
the Queen of heaven and earth.
Is the veneration of images,
pictures, and relics lawful?
The veneration of images, pictures, and relics is lawful because the
honor paid to the image passes on to the one it represents.
What is a relic?
A first class relic is a part of the body of a person who has been
canonized or beatified by the Church. A second class relic is an object which
belonged to the person during life. And a third class relic is anything that
has been touched to the body of the saint or blessed.
Of what use are sacred images and
Sacred images and pictures remind us of the blessings that we have
received from God and the saints. They inspire us to follow in their footsteps,
to thank God for His great goodness to us and to lead a holy life.
What is prayer?
Prayer is an exercise of the virtue of religion, the lifting up of the
mind and heart to God in faith, hope, and charity.
Why must we pray?
We must pray because God wants us to acknowledge His existence and
complete reliance on Him, to thank Him for past favors received, to beg His
mercy for having offended Him for all the graces that we and others need.
Is prayer necessary?
Yes, prayer is absolutely necessary because without prayer we cannot be
How should we pray?
We must pray with attention and devotion, that is, with an awareness of
Gods presence and a desire to be united in spirit with Him.
When should we pray?
We should pray without ceasing because we are always present to God,
and, as far as possible, He should also be present to us. However, we never
cease to depend on God and through prayer, are assured of the graces that we
For whom should we pray?
We should pray for anyone who has not yet reached or entered into
everlasting happiness, for our parents, benefactors, friends, and even our
enemies. We should pray for the Church, especially for the pope and bishops,
for the faithful and for all mankind.
What are the principal kinds of
The principal kinds of prayer are vocal, which can be either private or
public; mental, which can be either meditation or contemplation.
What is meant by vocal prayer?
In vocal prayer, the words used are determined beforehand. They are the
words of someone else, with which the person praying identifies himself in
What is private vocal prayer?
Private vocal prayer is recited either out loud or silently by a single
individual praying alone.
What is public vocal prayer?
Public vocal prayer is recited or sung out loud by several people
praying together. When this prayer is prescribed by the Church for public
service by the faithful, it is liturgical prayer.
Why is liturgical prayer the most
Liturgical prayer is the most excellent prayer because it is offered in
the name of the Church and draws on the special merits of the Communion of
What is mental prayer?
In mental prayer, the words used are not determined or prescribed. The
one praying expresses himself according to the sentiments of his own mind and
What is meditation?
Meditation is that form of mental prayer in which the mind is specially
occupied with reflecting on divine things. These prayerful reflections become
the means of stimulating the will to make acts of confidence and sorrow, of
gratitude and petition, and the love of God.
What is contemplation?
Contemplation is that form of mental prayer in which the will and
affections are mainly preoccupied with the praise and love of God. The mind is
operative, but less with reflection and reasoning than with a simple looking at
God dwelling in the depths of the soul, or with Christ really present in the
What is sacrifice?
Sacrifice means the surrender of something precious for the love of
How is sacrifice a fulfillment of the
first precept commandment?
Sacrifice is a fulfillment of the first commandment because by it we
acknowledge Gods majesty and express our total dependence on God.
What kinds of sacrifice does God ask
God asks of us both external and internal sacrifices. We sacrifice
externally by giving up something we like. We sacrifice internally when we not
only deprive ourselves of its possession or use but also let go of it with the
affections of the heart.
What is the essence of sacrifice?
The essence of sacrifice is the willingness to surrender what pleases
me in order to please God.
How does a person sin against the
A person sins against the first commandment by failing to give God the
acknowledgement He deserves in humble prayer and willing sacrifice.
How else can a person sin against the
A person can also sin against the first commandment by superstition and
What are the principal sins against
the first commandment?
The principal sins against the first commandment are by excess or by
What are the sins against the first
commandment by excess?
The sins against the first commandment by excess are superstition, vain
observance, and idolatry.
What is superstition?
Superstition offers worship to God in an improper manner, e.g., worship
based on rejected rites, heresy, spurious revelations, unwarranted expectations
and the like.
What is vain observance?
Vain observance seeks to obtain some abnormal effect beyond the power
of nature while invoking a creature as though it were divine. The main forms of
vain observance are divination, magic, or Satanism.
What is divination?
Divination is a religious investigation of future or hidden things
through means inadequate by nature and unlawful. Divination implies the
solicitation of a preternatural evil agency to supplement the natural
deficiency. The horoscope, chiromancy, augury, necromancy, and dream omens are
typical forms of divination.
What is magic?
Magic may simply mean slight-of-hand artistry and, as such, has no
moral implications. But magic is sinful when it claims to produce marvelous
phenomena through the predictable intervention of occult spiritual beings.
What kinds of magic are there?
There are two kinds of magic, sorcery and witchcraft. In sorcery, the
practitioner claims to produce extraordinary effects because he knows some
secret formula or ritual. In witchcraft, he claims to be personally in league
with some occult being whose invocation produces the phenomena.
Why does the Church condemn the use
The Church condemns the use of magic because miraculous results are
expected of created powers over which God alone has sovereignty.
What is Satanism?
Satanism is the worship and invocation of the devil. It is always a
Why is worship and invocation of the
devil a serious sin?
The worship and invocation of the devil is a grave sin because it pays
reverence to the declared enemy of God and credits him with the power to act
independently of God.
What is meant by idolatry?
Idolatry means giving divine honors to a creature.
Are superstition, vain observance and
idolatry serious sins?
Yes, superstition, vain observance and idolatry are by their nature
serious sins. However, ignorance, simplicity or good faith may excuse a person
from grave sinas happens among people who have not been duly instructed in the
What are the sins against the first
commandment by defect?
The sins against the first commandment by defect are irreligion.
What is irreligion?
Irreligion is an assault made on the honor of God.
How is the honor of God assaulted?
The honor of God is assaulted by tempting God, sacrilege, and simony.
What is meant by tempting God?
By tempting God a person says or does something that experiments to
find out if God is all-wise, powerful, merciful, or has some other divine
Is tempting God a serious sin?
If one directly tempts God, that is, challenges God to work a miracle,
it is by its nature a mortal sin. Otherwise the sin is more or less grave
depending on how serious the matter in which God is being tested or tried to
What is a sacrilege?
A sacrilege is a violation or contemptuous treatment of a person,
place, or thing dedicated to the worship or service of God.
What is simony?
Simony is the refusal to share ones spiritual gifts or possessions
except for a price. Christ entrusted His grace to the Church to be communicated
freely and without monetary gain.
What is understood by spiritual
By spiritual things is understood the sacraments, the Mass, blessings,
relics, medals, or any object or service that confers supernatural benefits.
What is a stipend?
A stipend is a fee that helps to defray the expenses of materials for
Mass or clerical expenses depending on what service has been rendered by the
Why are stipends lawful?
Stipends are lawful because they are given to help support the priest
and are not in payment for the service rendered.
What is the Churchs teaching about
remuneration for spiritual service?
The Church teaches that her spiritual ministry is to be made available
to all the faithful. She tells her priests that they must take special pains to
serve the poor and the lowly after the example of Christ our Lord.
How does Christian charity include
sharing spiritual possessions with others?
Christian charity includes sharing of spiritual possessions, totally
ones thoughts and deepest sentiments of ones heart. This means the desire to
communicate with others in conversation, especially about matters religious and
other important things in life.
What is the second commandment of
The second commandment of God declares, You shall not take the name of
the Lord your God in vain.
What does the second commandment
The second commandment prescribes the lawful use of Gods name.
What does the second commandment
The second commandment forbids the irreverent use of Gods name.
What does Catholic tradition
associate with the second commandment?
Catholic tradition associates the making of vows and the taking of
oaths with the second commandment.
What is a vow?
A vow is a deliberate promise made to God to do something that is
possible, morally good, and, in fact, better then would be its voluntary
omission or its contrary.
How many kinds of vows are there?
There are several kinds of vows: private and public; solemn and simple;
personal and real.
When is a vow said to be public?
A vow is said to be public when made in the name of the Church and
received by a legitimate ecclesiastical superior; otherwise it is private.
What are solemn vows?
Solemn vows are those so designated by the Church, where the solemnity
refers to such features as the gravity of obligation and the rarity of
What are simple vows?
Simple vows are those which are pronounced in an institute approved by
the Church, but which are not declared to be solemn.
Why are most vows personal?
Most vows are personal since they concern the actions or conduct of the
person who makes them.
What is meant by a real vow?
By a real vow is meant that some physical object is promised to God,
like a sum of money.
Who may make a vow?
Anyone may make a vow who has reached the age of discretion. However,
there are laws of the Church that require a certain age for pronouncing vows in
a religious institute.
Are we obliged to keep or fulfill the
vows we make?
We are obliged to keep the vows we make. God himself has commanded us
to do so in Sacred Scripture; and every promise that is accepted is naturally
How does a vow differ from a simple
A vow differs from a simple promise in three ways: in the person to
whom it is made, in the intention, and in the duty of living up to it. Vows are
covenants made with God, and not merely resolutions to oneself or promises to
another person. They are made with a view to obtaining divine grace as Gods
pledge in response to mans commitment. And they impose the obligation in
virtue of religion, to be faithfully carried into effect.
How grave is the obligation of a vow?
The obligation of a vow may be grave or slight, according to the
intention of the one taking the vow.
Why is a vow pleasing to God?
A vow is pleasing to God because it unites the person to God by a new
bond of religion. Moreover, it means offering up to God not only a single act
but the will behind all the acts performed under the vow.
When does the obligation of a vow
The obligation of a vow ceases when the reason for which the vow was
made ceases; or by annulment, dispensation or commutation.
What is the annulment of a vow?
The annulment of a vow means it is nullified by a person who has
legitimate authority over the one who made the vow or over the matter of the
What is meant by dispensation from a
By dispensation from a vow means that a person is released from the
binding force of the vow, granted in the name of God by one possessing lawful
authority to do so.
Who may dispense from vows?
The power to dispense from vows belongs to the Pope, bishops and their
What vows are reserved for
dispensation to the Pope?
The vows reserved to the Pope are those of clergy, and of persons
living in religious life. Depending on circumstances, the Pope may delegate the
right of dispensation to others.
What is necessary for the
dispensation from a vow?
For dispensation of a vow, a grave reason is necessary. The Church in
whose name the vow was taken is the final judge whether there are sufficient
grounds for dispensation.
What is the meaning of commutation?
Commutation means the substitution of another good work for the one
promised to God.
What is an oath?
An oath is the reverent use of Gods name when He is called upon to
witness to the truth of what a person is saying.
Is it lawful to take an oath, that
is, to swear?
It is lawful to take an oath because swearing has been instituted as an
assurance of sincerity.
What are the conditions that make an
The conditions that make an oath lawful are truthfulness, justice,
honesty, and a reasonably grave reason.
What is a false oath?
A false oath is called perjury.
What is perjury?
Perjury is the deliberate swearing to a falsehood.
Is perjury a serious sin?
Perjury is always a serious sin because it implies a desire to destroy
What is adjuration?
Adjuration is the use of the name of God or of some sacred person or
thing, in order to strengthen a command or request.
Are adjurations commendable?
Adjurations are commendable provided they are made with the right
intention, and the circumstances warrant this kind of solemn invocation.
What does the second commandment
The second commandment forbids blasphemy and cursing.
What is blasphemy?
Blasphemy is an expression insulting to God. It is any speech, thought
or action that manifests contempt for God.
Is blasphemy always a grave sin?
Blasphemy is a very grave sin which admits of no light matter. It is
venial only through lack of reflection or a consent.
What is cursing?
Cursing is to call down evil on someone or something.
Is it sinful to curse anything less
Yes, it is sinful to curse things less than man.
Why is it sinful to curse irrational
It is more or less sinful to curse irrational objects because of the
uncontrolled anger or impatience of the person.
What is the greatest evil we can wish
The greatest evil we can wish on anyone is that he be condemned to
hell. Moreover, wishing moral evil on a person is always sinful.
Is cursing always morally wrong?
Cursing is always morally wrong. The degree of seriousness of the sin
depends on how serious a person wants some spiritual or physical harm befall
the one cursed.
Is it ever permissible to wish some
physical evil on another?
Yes, it is permissible to wish, without cursing, some physical evil on
another, provided the intention is the persons spiritual welfare.
What is the responsibility of a
Christian about cursing?
The responsibility of a Christian about cursing is to watch his tongue,
which as St. James says, is the pest that will not keep still even if it is
full of poison.
What is the third commandment of God?
The third commandment of God is, Remember to keep holy the Lords
What day was reserved for the worship
of God in the Old Law?
The day reserved for the worship of God in the Old Law was Saturday,
called the Sabbath.
What did the third commandment
prescribe in the Old Law?
In the Old Law, the third commandment prescribes keeping the Sabbath
holy as a day of rest.
Why were the people to rest from
labor on the Sabbath?
The people were to rest from labor on the Sabbath because they were to
follow the example of Yahweh. He blessed that day as a symbol of His six days
of work as Creation.
What day was specially reserved for
the worship of God under the New Law?
The day specially reserved for the worship of God under the New Law was
Who made the change from the Sabbath
The apostles made the change from the Sabbath to Sunday in virtue of
the authority God had given them.
What was the reason for the change
from the Sabbath to Sunday?
The reason for the change from the Sabbath to Sunday was to commemorate
the Resurrection of Christ from the dead on the first day of the week.
Why is Sunday observed among
Sunday is observed among Christians to commemorate Easter Sunday, when
Christ rose from the dead, and Pentecost Sunday, when He sent the Holy Spirit
on the disciples in Jerusalem.
What does the third commandment
oblige us to do?
The third commandment obliges us to hear Mass on Sunday and abstain
from servile work.
What is the Churchs principal
teaching on the observance of Sunday?
The Churchs principal teaching on the observance of Sunday is that the
faithful must gather together to hear the word of God and to participate in the
Eucharist. Sunday is meant to be a day of gladness and rest from work.
What do the words must gather
The words, must gather together indicates assisting at Mass on Sunday
is a grave obligation.
Why has the Catholic Church decreed
that Christians observe Sunday as a day of rest?
The Church decreed that Christians observe Sunday as a day of rest
because our religion, moral teaching, and health require some relaxation at
Should all have the right and duty to
enjoy leisure time allowed by divine and human law?
All have the right and duty to enjoy leisure time allowed by divine and
human law. They are to use their leisure to cultivate their social, religious
and family life.
What kind of work is permitted on
The kind of work that is permitted on Sunday is so called liberal work,
such as reading, writing, teaching, drawing, or music, common work, such as
traveling, hunting or fishing; daily necessities, like cooking, care of
domestic animals; any work having immediate relation with the Church; works of Charity,
such as care of the sick and work done for the poor.
What kind of work is forbidden on
All servile work, such as field labor, mechanical and industrial work
is forbidden on Sunday. Public sales and Judiciary work are also forbidden.
What reasons would allow servile work
Servile work is allowed on Sunday when it is practically necessary as a
means of livelihood as when required in strict justice or charity.
How serious is the sin which we
commit by working on Sundays?
The sin we commit by working on Sunday is grave if the work is
performed in contempt of the law or is an occasion for grave scandal.
How are we to keep the Sunday holy?
We are to keep Sunday holy by dedicating it to the Lord, by assisting
at Mass, spiritual reading, enjoying leisure time according to what God wants,
and avoiding all occasions of sin.
Is bodily presence necessary and
required to fulfill ones obligation?
Bodily presence is necessary and required in order to fulfill ones
obligation of hearing Mass.
What is the best way to assist at
The best way to assist at Mass is to unite ourselves with the priest
and the congregation all through the Mass and to receive Our Lord in the
hat causes dispense from assisting at Sunday Mass?
The causes that dispense from assisting at Sunday Mass are: Physical
impossibility which applies to those who are unable to hear Mass such as the
sick, or those who have no priest to say Mass for them; moral impossibility,
which means that it would be very difficult to attend Mass, say because of the
absolute necessity of fulfilling other duties and charity, which means
sacrificing Mass attendance to remain at the bedside of the sick or give urgent
assistance to someone in great need.
Are we obliged to assist at Mass on
any other days besides Sunday?
Besides Sunday, we are obliged to assist at Mass on the Holy Days of
What are holy days of obligation?
Holy days of obligation are special days set aside by the Church for
the same reason that Sundays are to be kept holy. They are dedicated to Our
Lord and His saints to commemorate some outstanding mystery of our faith.
Which are the holy days of obligation
in the United States and Canada?
The holy days of obligation in the United States and Canada are:
- Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God January 1
- Ascension Thursday - Forty days after Easter
- Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary August 15
- All Saints Day November 1
- Immaculate Conception December 8
- Christmas December 25
What is the fourth commandment?
The fourth commandment is: Honor your father and mother.
What does it mean to honor?
To honor means that children are to love, respect, and obey their
Is the duty of love, respect and
obedience a grave obligation?
Yes, the duty of love, respect and obedience is a grave obligation and
sins opposed to this duty are mortal in nature when the matter is serious.
Why must children obey their parents?
Children must obey their parents because God himself is the source of
How should children obey their
Children should obey their parents promptly, respectfully and exactly.
Must a child always obey its parents?
Yes, a child must obey its parents in everything where there appears to
be no sin.
When is a son or daughter not bound
to obey the parents?
A son or daughter is not bound to obey the parents whenever they
command something that is clearly against the commandments of God or the
Church, or when they are unreasonably opposed to the choice of ones state of
Why should children show a special
love for their parents?
Children should show a special love for their parents because next to
God they are most indebted to their father and mother.
In what way do children sin against
the love they owe their parents?
Children sin against the love they owe their parents by not showing
marks of affection; by talking about them; provoking them, not caring for them
in their need, or wishing them evil.
How are children to respect their
Children are to respect their parents as their elders on whom they
depend for so much of their well being.
Why must children respect their
Children must respect their parents because they are representative of
How do children sin against the
respect they owe their parents?
Children sin against the respect they owe their parents by speaking
unkindly to or about them, by striking or insulting them, and being ashamed of
Must children obey only their
No, children must also obey teachers and anyone who has charge of them.
What are the duties of children
toward their teachers?
The duties of children toward their teachers are respect, love,
docility, and gratitude.
Do childrens duties toward their
parents cease after they leave home.
Childrens duties toward their parents do not cease after they leave
home but continue all through life and even after death.
How are children obliged to honor
their parents who are in need?
Children are obliged to honor their parents who are in need by meeting
all their reasonable wants.
How are children obliged to honor
their parents who are old?
Children are obliged to honor their parents who are old by providing
for them adequately and in a kindly way.
How serious is the obligation to care
for ones parents who are aged or in need?
It is a serious obligation, and children sin grievously if they refuse
their parents the means of livelihood.
Does the fourth commandment oblige
only children toward their parents?
No, the fourth commandment also declares that parents have certain
duties toward their children.
What are the principal duties of
parents to their children?
The principal duties of parents to their children are instruction and
Who are the primary educators of
The primary educators of children are parents.
Why are parents the primary educators
of their children?
Parents are the primary educators of their children because they
brought the children into the world, they are closest to the children in their
most formative years, and they have been specially endowed by God to train in
spirit the children they have generated in body.
What kind of instruction do parents
owe their children?
Parents owe their children instruction in the truths they will need for
time and eternity. This means that they are trained to form a correct
conscience in the moral conduct of their lives.
How should parents fulfill this
Parents should fulfill this obligation by creating a family atmosphere
animated by love and respect for God and man.
When should parents begin this
religious training of their children?
Parents should begin religious training of their children in infancy.
Besides religious training at home
what education should parents provide for their children?
Besides religious training at home parents should provide for a sound
education in school.
What kind of schools should parents
choose for their children?
Parents are bound to give preference to schools that offer sound
Catholic education in faith and morals. When such schools are not available,
they must provide for Catholic education outside of school.
Is this a grave obligation?
Yes, parents have a duty before God, binding under grave sin, to
provide for the Catholic education and moral training of their children.
What means does the Church use to
fulfill her mission to educate?
The means that the Church uses to fulfill her mission to educate is to
give such catechetical instruction as will enlighten and strengthen the faith,
nourish life according to the spirit of Christ, lead to intelligent and active
participation in the liturgy and give motivation for apostolic activity.
Why must parents admonish their
Parents must admonish their children to help them to see that certain
actions are good and others are not good. Otherwise, children will develop bad
habits by simply giving in to their natural tendencies.
What is an admonition?
An admonition is the reminder of certain truths that reason or faith
tells a person are to be followed.
What must parents especially avoid
when admonishing their children?
Parents must especially avoid driving their children to resentment.
What are the duties of employees
Employees are to obey their employers in whatever reasonably belongs to
their employment. They should work diligently and accept directions in the
spirit of interior humility.
How can employees sin against their
Employees can sin against their employers by failure to put in an
honest days work, carelessness, wasting materials, and taking what does not
belong to them.
What should motivate Christian
employees to fulfill the duties of their state?
Conformity to the will of God and the example of hard work of the Holy
Family should motivate Christian employees to fulfill the duties of their
How should employers treat their
Employers should treat their employees with Christ like charity;
protect them especially from spiritual harm; and pay them a just wage.
What is the fifth Commandment of God?
The fifth commandment of God is; you shall not kill.
Did the people in the Old Testament
respect human life?
Yes, the people in the Old Testament had been forcefully taught to
respect human life and avoid killing any innocent human beings, whether born or
How does the New Law differ concerning
the fifth commandment?
The New Law differs from the Mosaic Law regarding the fifth commandment
by its prohibition of interior feelings of hatred and anger and its stress on
charity in helping and not only not harming the neighbor.
What does the fifth commandment
forbid us to do?
The fifth commandment forbids unjust killing, such as proceeds from
human malice or passion; it also forbids doing any harm to the integrity or
health of the body.
What does the fifth commandment tell
us to do?
The fifth commandment tells us to care for our own life and health and
also the life and health of our neighbor.
Why must we respect our neighbor?
We must respect our neighbor because Christs command to love implies
respect. We are to look upon our neighbor as another self with special concern
for all his physical needs.
Why should Christians be outstanding
in their concern for others?
Christians should be outstanding in their concern for others because
Christ told us that by this will all men know who are His true disciples.
Why should Christians be outstanding
in their concern for others?
Christians should be outstanding in their concern for others because
Christ told us that by this will all men know who are His true disciples.
How extensive should our charity be
Our charity today should be concerned not only for individuals but for
the welfare of human society.
How should we exercise charity
We should exercise charity towards others by seeing in them the image
of God, for whose sake we love them; and by respecting with great sensitivity
their dignity as human persons.
How are we obliged to care for our
We are obliged to use ordinary means to sustain our life.
Why must we use ordinary means to
We must use ordinary means to preserve life because our body is a gift
that God wants us to receive with gratitude.
Why do we not have to use
extraordinary means to keep alive?
We do not have to use extraordinary means to keep alive because God
does not demand what is beyond the ordinary power of most people to fulfill.
What are the ordinary means to
The ordinary means to preserve life are proper food, sleep, clothing
and shelter; they also include such medical are as society can readily provide.
What are the extraordinary means of
The extraordinary means of preserving life are those that cannot be
obtained or used without extreme difficulty in terms of pain, expense, or other
When must extraordinary means be
Extraordinary means must be used when a person is very necessary to his
family, the Church, or society; in this case, extraordinary means become
morally obligatory according to the need for sustaining a persons life.
May a person deliberately shorten his
A person may not deliberately shorten his life because it belongs to
God alone to determine our time of probation on earth.
What is euthanasia?
Euthanasia is the deliberate termination of innocent human life for the
alleged purpose of ending useless pain, but actually to remove what is
considered a burden to society.
Why has euthanasia become so
Euthanasia has become so widespread because science has given man a
sense of mastery over the universe which includes the unfounded right over
human life from conception to the grave. Moreover, modern man is so immersed in
the satisfaction of this world that he has become indifferent to whatever lies
beyond the experience of his life on earth.
Is euthanasia ever permissible?
Euthanasia is never permissible. It is always either willful murder or
Why does Catholic Christianity
Catholic Christianity condemns euthanasia because it is a grave crime
against justice, both human and divine. Man is only steward of his own life,
and the life of others is their most precious possession of which no one under
God may deprive them.
What is suicide?
Suicide is the direct taking of ones own life. A person assumes the
right to take his own life.
Why is suicide a grievous sin?
Suicide is a grievous sin because it is opposed to our nature and to
the charity we owe ourselves; because of its scandal to society and the loss of
one of its members, and especially because it is an injustice to God, who alone
has the right to give life to take it away.
How does the Church view a suicidal
The Church views direct suicide as evil is itself; and therefore, no
circumstances can ever justify it. Indirect suicide is, generally speaking,
unlawful; for man is not only forbidden to take his own life, but he is also
forbidden to expose it to unreasonable risk. Suicides are deprived of Church
burial unless as generally happens, they were not fully responsible for their
Are we ever allowed to perform an act
that may lead to our death?
Yes, we are allowed to perform an act that may lead to our death if
there is no direct intention of death. There must also be a grave reason for
performing the act, and the reason for performing the act must be in proportion
to the danger.
What is murder?
Murder is the direct and deliberate taking of an innocent persons
How grievous is the sin of murder?
Murder is a grievous sin because it is an invasion of the right of God
who alone is master of human life. It is also an injustice to the victim, to
the family and to society.
What is capital punishment?
Capital punishment is punishment by death administered by legitimate
civil authority or those who have been lawfully convicted of serious crimes.
Who has the right to inflict capital
The right to inflict capital punishment is invested in public
authority. No private authority has the right to put a criminal to death.
What is genocide?
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a race or
class of people on alleged ground of their being harmful to society.
Why must we respect the human person?
We must respect the human person because human life is sacred, of and
by itself, and apart from any other function it may have in society.
Why is human life sacred?
Human life is sacred because it begins by the creative act of God, is
capable of knowing and loving God, has been redeemed by the passion and death
of the Son of God, and is destined to possess God for all eternity.
Who alone has absolute mastery over
God alone has absolute mastery over human life.
When does human life begin?
Human life begins at the moment of conception. The moment the ovum is
fertilized, a new human life begins to grow and develop.
Who are disqualified from the divine
right to human life?
Disqualified from the divine right to human life are those who are
judged to be a grave menace to society---such as criminals and unjust
aggressors from whom we may protect ourselves.
Is it sinful to even want to take
away the life of an innocent person?
Yes, it is sinful to want to take away the life of an innocent person
because this would be murder by intention.
May innocent life ever be
No, innocent life may never be deliberately terminated because man has
an obligation to sustain his own life and the life of those who depend on him.
How does the Church look upon the
transplanting of vital organs?
The Church looks favorably on the transplanting of vital organs
provided the loss of such organs does not deprive the donor of life itself.
What is a special concern regarding
the transplant of vital organs?
A special concern regarding the transplant of vital organs is to know
when a donor is really dead. There is a medical temptation to anticipate death
because it is not certain how affective is the transplant of a vital organ,
like the heart, from the authentically dead person.
What is abortion?
Abortion is the direct expelling of a living non-viable fetus from the
mothers womb. The child cannot live outside the womb even with the most
extraordinary medical care.
What is the teaching of the Church on
The Church has always held that abortion as the deliberate killing of
an unborn fetus, at any time after conception, is a grave sin.
Why must Catholics obey this
Catholics must obey this teaching because the Church is given authority
to command obedience in Christs name. Therefore, the Church is empowered by
Christ to prohibit and prescribe in any area of human conduct that touches on
the commandments of God, whether derived from nature or from supernatural revelation.
Why is abortion a grave crime?
Abortion is a grave crime because it is the homicidal intent to kill
innocent life. This is totally independent of the question of when exactly
human life begins. Anyone who is willing to kill what may be human is, by his
intention, willing to kill what is human. Therefore, the one who performs or
consents to abortion is guilty of voluntary homicide.
What is feticide?
Feticide is the destruction of a living fetus by a variety of physical
or chemical means. It is another form of abortion.
What is sometimes called indirect
Indirect abortion is not really abortion. In what is becoming a medical
rarity, when a pregnant mothers life is in imminent danger because of some
pathological condition, surgery or other radical means may be used to save her
life although it is reluctantly foreseen that the unborn fetus will die. This
is an application of the principle of the double effect.
What is the principle of double
The principle of the double effect is the moral norm which allows the
performance of an action, one of whose effects is foreseen to be evil but not
intended. The principle must observe the following conditions: 1. The action is
good; for example, it consists in excising an infected part of the body. 2. The
good effect is not obtained by means of an evil effect. 3. There is sufficient
reason for permitting the unsought evil effect that unavoidably follows. 4. The
evil effect is not intended in itself, but is merely allowed as a necessary
consequence of the good effect.
What is a therapeutic abortion?
In medical terms, a therapeutic abortion is one that safeguards either
the life or health of an expectant mother. But morally, no therapeutic abortion
is allowable except in the rare case where the mothers life is in certain and
imminent danger from a pathological condition which is not simply the pregnancy
What is abortion on demand?
Abortion on demand is a result of legalized abortion. The law says that
a pregnant woman has the right to kill the child in her womb whenever
continued pregnancy might be injurious to her physical or mental health, or
when the child might be born with a physical or mental defect. By implication
she can have an abortion when she wants it.
What is the Catholic position
regarding the beginning of life?
The Catholic Church holds that life begins at the moment of conception.
What sin does one commit who performs
A person who performs an abortion commits the grave sin of voluntary
What is homicide?
Homicide is the direct killing of an innocent person.
What sins lead to homicide?
Sins that lead to homicide are those opposed to brotherly love;
forgetfulness of the revealed truths; and loss of respect for human dignity.
What is contraception?
Contraception is the deliberate effort before, during or after
intercourse to prevent the conception of a child.
What is sterilization?
Sterilization is the permanent or temporary removal or inactivation of
any reproduction organ for the purpose of inducing sterility.
What is therapeutic sterilization?
Therapeutic sterilization is done for the purpose of relieving a person
of some pathological condition.
What is contraceptive sterilization?
Contraceptive sterilization is done with the deliberate intent of
What is eugenic sterilization?
Eugenic sterilization is aimed at assuring the elimination of offspring
having possible undesirable traits, such as mental retardation.
What is the Churchs teaching on
The Churchs teaching on eugenic sterilization is that public
authorities have no power over the bodies of their innocent subjects. She also
points out that sterilizing the defective is bad social science.
What is penal sterilization?
Penal sterilization is done to punish certain crimes or deter condemned
persons from committing further sex crimes.
Is penal sterilization considered a
real punishment or deterrent from crime?
Penal sterilization is not considered to be either a real punishment or
deterrent from crime because it does not effectively deprive the criminal of
anything precious in his eyes. His vicious tendencies remain a threat to
Why is direct sterilization a grave
Direct sterilization is a grave sin because it means the unjustified
loss of the sacred power of procreation conferred on a person by God.
What is direct sterilization?
Sterilization is direct when it is done in order to take away the power
When is sterilization indirect?
Sterilization is indirect when the loss of reproductive powers is
permitted to order to ready some pathological condition.
Is direct contraceptive sterilization
Direct contraceptive sterilization is grave and may never be performed
either as an end or even as a means toward some otherwise good purpose.
What is war?
War is a conflict between one or more nations or between parts of the
same nation carried on by force of arms.
What is the Catholic Churchs
position on war?
The Catholic Churchs position is that, although regrettable, war is
not always and necessarily sinful. Participation in war may, on occasion, even
When is a war just?
A war is considered just when declared by proper authority, undertaken
as a last resort and for a good cause and when those waging war use the proper
Do citizens have a duty to aid their
country during a just war?
Citizens have a duty to aid their country to gain victory, but they may
not voluntarily provide help if their nations cause is evidently unjust.
How has the development of scientific
weapons increased the horror of war?
The development of scientific weapons has increased the prospects of
wholesale and indiscriminate destruction.
What is Vatican IIs view on
The Council teaches that all warfare which tends indiscriminately to
the destruction of entire cities or wide areas with their inhabitants is to be
What is a conscientious objector?
A conscientious objector is one who for a variety of personal reasons
refuses to bear arms in time of war.
What is the Churchs teaching about
Conscientious objectors have a right to be excused from bearing arms
provided some other form of community service is substituted.
What is peace among nations?
Peace among nations is not only the absence of war but of injustice and
hatred that may lead to armed conflict.
What does the Church teach about the
conditions for peace among nations?
To establish peace among nations it is necessary to root out the causes
of disharmony on which war thrives, especially injustice; also a sound economic
base must be developed for peaceful co-existence among nations, especially
since in our days a serious gap has developed between the prosperous and
naturally underdeveloped nations.
How can peace among nations be
Peace among nations can be achieved by setting up institutions for international
cooperation on every level of human enterprise and actively supporting and
improving the institutions already in existence.
What is interior peace?
Interior peace is the absence of discord; and when present, is a
deep-souled calmness. When we are at peace, we are not troubled or worried; we
are not anxious or perturbed; we are not confused or distraught. A peaceful soul
is a tranquil soul.
How is interior peace related to
peace between people?
Interior peace is related to peace between people because there cannot
be agreement between people unless there is first tranquility within people. If
we are at peace within, we shall be at peace with others.
What is the sixth commandment of God?
The sixth commandment of God is; you shall not commit adultery.
What is the ninth commandment of God?
The ninth commandment of God is; you shall not covet your neighbors
How are the sixth and ninth
The sixth and ninth commandments are related in that they forbid
respectively external and internal sins against chastity.
What are external sins against
External sins against chastity are any words, actions or gestures consciously
performed to arouse or indulge sexual pleasure except: between husband and wife
in their legitimate marital relations.
What are internal sins against
Internal sins against chastity are sexual thoughts, desires, or
feelings deliberately aroused or indulged, except by husband and wife in their
mutual relationships; also included are intentions and desires to perform
external sins of unchastity.
What is adultery?
Adultery is sexual intercourse between married person and someone other
than ones spouse.
What does it mean to covet another
persons husband or wife?
To covet another persons husband or wife means to desire to have
sexual relations with that persons spouse.
What is Christs teaching on adultery
Christ declared that, if a man looks at a woman lustfully he has
already committed adultery with her in his heart.
What is chastity?
Chastity is a form of temperance with regard to sexual pleasure.
Who is a chaste person?
A chaste person is one who tempers or restrains the desire for venereal
satisfaction by not having the experience except within the divinely ordained
precincts of marriage.
Why are Christians to be chaste?
A Christian is to be chaste because his body does not belong
exclusively to him; and because it has been elevated by grace to be the
dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
Why is chastity sacred?
Chastity is sacred because by using the reproductive powers one can
cooperate in the procreative work of God to bring another human being into the
world, and because by sacrificing their use one can prove ones love for God
who is pleased with our willing surrender of what he knows is so pleasing to
How is sex used for selfish purposes?
Sex is used for selfish purposes when its ultimate purpose is
deliberately frustrated by contraception; when intercourse is had in
circumstances where children would be brought into the world without proper
care for their upbringing, as in adultery or fornication; when sexual pleasure
is sought merely to satisfy ones own selfish desires.
What are direct sexual actions?
Direct sexual actions are those whose immediate and exclusive intention
is to arouse or encourage sexual pleasure. These are the privilege only of
married partners between themselves.
What are indirect sexual actions?
Indirect sexual actions are those whose purpose is not to arouse sexual
stimulation but some other good reason. If there is such a reason, the actions
are not sinful, provided a person neither intends the sexual pleasure nor consents
if it spontaneously arises.
What is the Churchs attitude towards
The Church praises and blesses legitimate sexual experience. The
sexual activity by which married people are intimately and chastely united is
honorable and worthy; and, if done in a truly human fashion, it signifies and
fosters the self-giving by which the couple gladly and gratefully enrich each
Why is sexual experience in marriage
Sexual experience in marriage is sacred because it is divinely intended
to encourage married people to fulfill their marital obligations and help them
to grow in mutual love.
What sexual experiences are
The sexual experiences that are unnatural are masturbation and
What is masturbation?
Masturbation is the act of stimulating the sexual organs by oneself for
the purpose of obtaining emotional satisfaction.
What is homosexuality?
Homosexuality is sexual activity with a person of the same sex.
Why are masturbation and
homosexuality contrary to the will of God?
Masturbation and homosexuality are contrary to the will of God because
by their very nature they are selfish actions which cannot fulfill the divinely
ordained purpose of sexual faculties.
Why should young people be instructed
in purity and in married love?
Young people should be instructed in purity and married love because
they must know how to cope with the widespread non-Christian attitudes toward
sexual promiscuity and marital instability.
What is Christian maturity?
Christian maturity is the attainment of a fully developed personality,
whose features are a balanced control of the sex impulse and a harmonious unity
of all the experiences of ones personal, social and spiritual life.
How should engaged couples conduct
Engaged couples should nourish and foster their love for each other
with a chaste love which means the mastery, with Gods help, of their emotions
as the best preparation for a happy married life.
What is civil divorce?
Civil divorce is a legal declaration that a marriage is dissolved and
the couple are free to marry someone else.
What is the Catholic Churchs
attitude toward civil divorce?
The Catholic Church holds that the State does not have the right to
dissolve a valid marriage. A divorce may, however, be necessary to protect the
civil rights of a married couple and their children.
What is a separation?
A separation is the mutual agreement of the married couple to live
temporarily or permanently apart if there is a just cause.
What must one do before separating?
Ordinarily, unless there is danger in delay, the bishops permission
should be obtained.
What is marriage?
Marriage is the lifelong covenant into which a man and woman
voluntarily enter as a partnership of love, giving each other mutual rights for
the procreation of children for their own temporal and spiritual welfare, and
for the good of human society.
What is Christian matrimony?
Christian matrimony between two baptized people is a sacrament
instituted by Christ. He promises them all the graces they need for their
enduring fidelity and for the generous procreation and education of their
children, after the examples of His own love of the Church and total sacrifice
of Himself for her sake.
Is the begetting of children a
God-given purpose of marriage?
The begetting of children is a God-given purpose of marriage. Married
couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life. They
should realize that in begetting children they are cooperating with the love of
How are husband and wife to fulfill
Husband and wife are to fulfill this obligation with a deep sense of
responsibility. They are to consider their own good and the good of their
children---those already born and those yet to come. They may not follow their
own whims but must be ruled by a conscience that is conformed to the law of God
enlightened by the teachings of the Church.
What is the Catholic teaching on the
permanence of marriage?
The Church teaches that a valid marriage is indissoluble, even among
persons who are not baptized believers since the permanent bond is the essence
of every true marriage.
Does the Church dissolve marriage
between baptized persons?
The Church does not dissolve marriages between baptized persons and she
does not believe that any earthly authority has the right to do so with the
right to remarry while the other spouse is still living. A marriage is
absolutely indissoluble when two baptized people enter into a valid marriage
contract and consummate their union by normal intercourse after marriage.
What is the Pauline Privilege?
The Pauline Privilege is a privilege which allows the dissolution of a
natural marriage between two non-baptized persons when one party receives valid
baptism after the marriage and where the non-baptized person refuses to live
peaceably with the baptized party.
Is there an extension of the Pauline
Privilege where only one of the partners in a previous marriage was not
Yes, the Church can approve the sacramental remarriage with a baptized
person under the same conditions as the Pauline Privilege, even when only one
of the partners in a previous marriage was not baptized. The reason is that
unless both parties are baptized when they marry, their marriage is a natural
and not a sacramental union.
When is Christian marriage valid?
Christian marriage is valid when both parties, who are baptized and
free from nullifying impediments, in good faith enter into a permanent marital
union according to the teachings of Christ as interpreted by the Catholic
What are the basic properties of
The basic properties of Christian marriage are unity and
What is unity in marriage?
Unity in marriage means one husband with one wife; and therefore, the
exclusion of all other persons with extramarital rights to either partner.
What is the indissolubility of
The indissolubility of marriage means the permanence of marriage until
the death of one of the parties.
What conditions would invalidate a
Conditions that would invalidate a marriage are lack of sufficient use
of reason; ignorance or exclusion of the permanence or essential purpose of
marriage; fear or force, externally induced; and failure to have internal
What makes a marriage absolutely
Christian marriage becomes indissoluble once the conjugal act is
performed after marriage. In this act the sacramental union is consummated.
What is polygamy?
Polygamy is the marital union of one man with several wives (polygyny) or
of one woman with several men (polyandry).
Why is polygamy condemned under the
Polygamy is condemned under the New Law because with the coming of
Christ greater grace is available. With more grace the faithful are capable of
making greater sacrifices, including the practice of monogamy. Moreover, as
Christ explained, He simply restored marriage to its original monogamous
What is meant by fidelity to
Fidelity in marriage is loyalty based on love, that is, husband and
wife so love one another that, outside their own marital embrace, they preserve
themselves chaste from sex experience and even from alien affection. The
essence of marital fidelity is dedicated love.
What is dedicated love?
Dedicated love seeks the welfare of the one loved, that is, the husband
seeks the best interests of his wife, and the wife of her husband. These
interests are certainly the physical and social welfare of ones spouse but
also the spiritual well-being in order to help him or her reach the eternal destiny
that Christ has prepared for us.
What is marital chastity?
Marital chastity is the practice of sexual temperance in marriage and
of love for ones spouse. It means the avoidance of adultery, even in
intention, of masturbation, homosexuality, and of contraception. It means the
practice of self-restraint in that marital relations really serve their
divinely ordained purpose of fostering the marital love between husband and
When is a married person guilty of
infidelity in heart?
A married person is guilty of adultery in heart if he or she lustfully
desires sexual experience with someone else than his or her own spouse. Such
persons are guilty first of injustice to their own married partner; then of
injustice to the spouse of the man or woman they covet, if married; and of
infidelity to God who requires the restraint of our passions as evidence of our
fidelity to Him.
What is Christian purity?
Christian purity is fidelity to revealed truth. It is not only the
observance of chastity, but the effort to avoid all deliberate sin and even
affection for sin.
What sins against chastity must a
A Christian must avoid licentiousness, masturbation, homosexuality,
fornication, incest, prostitution, adultery and unlawful sexual experience.
What is licentiousness?
Licentiousness is the disregarding of Christian standards of sexual
behavior. It refers to a person who is morally unrestrained.
What is fornication?
Fornication is voluntary sexual intercourse between an unmarried man
and an unmarried woman who are not closely related. It is, objectively always
What is the sin of incest?
Incest is sexual intercourse between persons who are closely related
either by blood or marital relationship.
Why is prostitution a sin against
Prostitution is a sin against chastity because it desecrates by selling
for a price, the human body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
What is contraception?
Contraception is any action deliberately taken before, during or after
intercourse in order to prevent conception.
Why is contraception sinful?
Contraception is sinful because the conjugal act is of its very nature
designed for the purpose of procreating children. Therefore, those who
deliberately interfere with the natural act of procreation do that which is
How sinful is contraception?
Contraception is seriously sinful because it contradicts the divinely
ordained purpose of marital intercourse which is the fostering of procreative
In what sense is the procreation of
children primary in marriage?
The procreation of children is primary in marriage in the sense that
married people may not deliberately frustrate this purpose for any reason
whatever; procreation is natural because human nature provides the kind of care
and nourishment that children require in marriage; it is legitimate because one
of the main reasons why people have the moral right to enter marriage is to be
able to have children and rear them as the physical and spiritual image of
What is the Churchs teaching on
The Churchs teaching on contraception is that direct interruption of
the generative process is to be absolutely excluded as an licit means of
Why is contraception so common today?
Contraception is so common today because there is a fear that the world
population is growing more rapidly than the resources that are available.
Working and living conditions, together with pressures in the economic and
educational fields, have made the rearing of a large family more difficult than
it used to be. The status of the woman is changing, with greater insistence on
their freedom from the duties associated with rearing a normal family. Above
all, mans progress in dominating the forces of nature also gives him a new
sense of power to regulate the transmission of life on his own terms and
independent of the laws of God.
Do these reasons justify their use?
These reasons do not justify the use of contraception. They merely help
to explain the rise of the modern contraceptive society.
Why is contraception morally
inseparable from abortion or sterilization?
Contraception is morally inseparable from abortion or sterilization because
all three of these are directed against the generative process, over which man
was only stewardship according to the will of God
Why is contraception contrary to the
Contraception is contrary to natural law because it deliberately
interferes with the divinely ordained purpose of marital intercourse.
Why is marital intercourse sacred?
Marital intercourse is sacred because its purpose is to deepen the
mutual affection of husband and wife, and because in this way they cooperate
with God in bringing new human life into the world.
What are the two love functions of
The two love functions of marital intercourse are the unitive and
What is unitive love?
Unitive love is the selfless charity featured between husband and wife
in their physical entrance. It merits an increase of divine grace to live out
their marriage in lifelong fidelity.
What is procreative love?
Procreative love is love communicated from husband-with-wife to their
potential offspring. It is love that wants to go beyond the communion between
husband and wife; it wants to raise up new human life.
When is conjugal love authentically
Conjugal love is authentically Christian when it is selfless and
self-giving. True conjugal love must involve self-sacrifice, just as the love
that Christ had for us meant a lifetime of self-oblation even to the death on
When is conjugal love selfish?
Conjugal love is selfish when each spouse is seeking his or her own
interests while using the other as a means to heighten ones own satisfaction.
What is meant by rhythm or periodic abstinence?
Rhythm or periodic abstinence is abstaining from intercourse during the
period of fertility on the part of the woman.
What is natural family planning?
Natural family planning is the practice of periodic continence
according to the natural fertility cycles of the wife, motivated by the desire
to obey Gods laws in marriage and sustained by prayer and the sacraments to
preserve marital chastity.
How many Catholics limit the number
of their offspring?
Catholics may limit the number of their offspring by the use of natural
rhythms if there is serious reasons to space out births.
What is the difference between rhythm
The difference between rhythm and contraception is that in rhythm the
married couple makes legitimate use of a natural bodily disposition; in
contraception they hinder the function of a natural process.
How is the exclusion of children
justified in the use of rhythm?
The exclusion of children is justified in the use of rhythm because the
means used are legitimate. Those who practice rhythm renounce the use of the
marital act during fertile periods with a good reason and make use of it during
their sterile periods in order to manifest their affection and to safeguard
their mutual fidelity.
Can the exclusion of children be
justified in the use of contraception?
The exclusion of children cannot be justified in the contraception
because the means used are contrary to the purpose for which God gave us the
faculties of generation.
How can married couples grow
spiritually in todays contraceptive atmosphere?
Married couples can grow spiritually in todays contraceptive
atmosphere by developing deep convictions concerning the true values of life
and family. This calls for education with regard to the meaning of chastity and
demands growth in self-mastery. It mainly calls for the deepening of virtue
through prayer and frequent use of the sacraments.
Does the Church respect the voice of
The Church does respect the voice of conscience in each person and
encourages him to respond to it with Christian fidelity. It is a duty for a
Christian to have ones conscience as a guide. Therefore, we must diligently be
on guard to form a right conscience according to the mind of the Church. Anyone
who acts contrary to his conscience is no longer on the right path.
What is the Churchs teaching on
The Churchs teaching on pre-marital relations is that they have been
forbidden to the followers of Christ since the beginning of Christianity.
Is non-marital sex a serious
deviation from the divine law?
Non-marital sex is a serious deviation from the divine law.
Why are non-marital relations sinful?
Non-marital relations are sinful because the marital act is legitimate
only within the bond of marriage. Intercourse without marriage is an untruth
because it belies the total commitment to one another that the marital act
expresses between husband and wife. Intercourse without marriage is also an
injustice to the children that may be conceived, since they would then lack the
dignity, stability, security, and loving care that marriage is expected to
What is the best preparation for
The best preparation for Christian marriage is the practice of chastity
before marriage. Then the selfless love between the couple who plan to marry
can sustain them after they are married. Hence, the urgent need for parents to
train their children in the practice of this difficult commandment.
What is widowhood?
Widowhood is the period of time that a woman spends after the death of
Is widowhood a special call from God?
Widowhood is a special call from God and is honored by the Church if it
is accepted courageously as the continuation of the call to the married state.
What is the Churchs teaching on remarriage
after the death of ones spouse?
The Churchs teaching on remarriage after the death of ones spouse is
that the marriage is valid and lawful. However, chaste widowhood is more
honorable in the eyes of God.
What is the seventh commandment of God?
The seventh commandment of God is: you shall not steal.
What is the tenth commandment of God?
The tenth commandment of God is: you shall not covet your neighbors
What does the seventh commandment
The seventh commandment forbids the taking of anothers goods against
his reasonable wishes. This includes thievery, robbery, unjust acquisition of
goods and all deliberate destruction of property.
What does it mean to covet?
To covet means to set ones heart or desire on anything that belongs
How are the seventh and tenth
The seventh commandment stresses the practice of justice in external
conduct; the tenth requires justice in ones interior disposition.
What kind of right is implied by
those two commandments?
These two commandments imply the right to own private property.
What is the right to own private
The right to own private property is the moral power a person has to
keep or dispose, to use or to change material possessions according to his
needs and independently of others, provided there is no violation of the rights
How do we know that the right to own
property is divinely approved?
The right to own property is divinely approved because the seventh
commandment forbids theft, which would be meaningless unless ownership were a
prior and natural right that was approved by God.
Why has God given man the right to
God has given man the right to private ownership as part of his natural
right to be a person with divinely ordained individual and social
responsibilities. Private ownership gives man the freedom and incentive to
fulfill these responsibilities.
Why do the rich need special counsel
with regard to their possessions?
The rich need special counsel regarding their possessions. As Christ
told us, riches can suffocate the human heart and be a menace to the spiritual
life; but with counsel and divine grace, the wealthy can do the humanly
impossible, and not only save their souls but be sanctified.
How is justice a two-edged sword?
Justice is a two-edged sword in that it obligates others to respect the
property of an individual and condemns anyone who takes what does not belong to
Does everyone have a right to share
in earthly goods?
Yes, everyone has a right to a just share in earthly possessions.
What is a just share in earthly
A just share in earthly possessions is an amount sufficient for the
decent livelihood of an individual and his family.
Is everyone bound to see that others
have a just share in earthly possessions?
Everyone is bound to see that others have a just share in earthly
possessions. Consequently, all are obliged to share what they have and not only
those who have more then they need.
What is social justice?
Social justice is that which regulates the mutual relations between man
and society and vice verse.
What are the two wrong extremes of justice?
The two wrong extremes of justice are individualism and
What is individualism?
Individualism denies or minimizes the social and public character of
the right of property.
What is collectivism?
Collectivism claims that the worlds resources can best be used for the
good of mankind by rejecting or minimizing the private and individual character
of the right of property.
How can one maintain a Christian
balance between individualism and collectivism?
A Christian balance between individualism and collectivism respects
private ownership as divinely ordained but also believes that ownership is not
absolute, that society too has rights for which the author of mans social
nature equally demands recognition.
How does the Catholic Church view the
right of private property?
The Catholic Church has always viewed the right of private property as
a natural right that, even when abused, does not disappear. At the same time
the Church insists on the rights of society which are equally binding on the
individual to respect.
What does the Church say about the
great disproportion between the very rich and the very poor?
Concerning the great disproportion between the very rich and the very
poor, the Church says that the very rich must share or give some of their
wealth to the very poor. In doing this, they are not making a gift of their
possessions, but handing out what already belongs to the poor.
What is theft?
Theft is an act by which we unjustly take what belongs to another
How grievous is the crime of theft?
Direct theft is by its very nature a serious sin. If the amount stolen
is small, the sin is venial.
What is a necessary purpose of
amendment after theft?
A necessary purpose of amendment after theft is the willingness to make
restitution. Without it, forgiveness cannot be expected.
What duty do we have regarding found
Found articles are to be returned as soon as possible to their owner if
known. If not known, the first duty is to use ordinary means to safeguard the
article found. A reasonable effort must also be made to discover the owner.
What is reasonable effort to find the
owner of a lost article?
Reasonable effort to reach the owner of a lost article of moderate
value would be to check through the lost and found department of the place
where it was found or maybe run an ad in the newspaper. For articles of greater
value, it is well to contact the civil law and abide by its provisions.
What is fraud?
Fraud is a kind of theft whereby the seller does not reveal to the
prospective buyer a defect which would render the object useless or
substantially lessen its value to the buyer. Fraud includes deceit.
What is meant by profiteering?
Profiteering means that a seller raises the just price of an article
because he knows that the buyer has special need of what he is selling.
How is the term graft defined?
Graft is the voluntary giving of money or its equivalent to a person
holding any office of public authority, in order to influence the person to act
in ones favor.
What is the difference between gift
The difference between gift and graft is that a gift is a token of
appreciation for a favor done. Graft is a gift with the element of deceit in
disguise. The trouble is that even a sincere gift to a public official
generally becomes suspect in the eyes of the people.
What is the function of labor unions?
Labor unions are to protect the rights of working people by insuring
just wages, reasonable hours of labor, and conditions of work that are
conducive to mens dignity; they are also to secure just benefits for
Do workers have a right to form labor
Workers have a right to form labor unions that truly represent them and
that help labor properly to cooperate with management for the welfare of the
workers, of the business, service or industry in which they work and for the
common good of society.
Should labor bargain with management
before a threatened strike?
Yes, labor must first bargain with management before they have recourse
to the drastic means of striking.
How must a strike be conducted?
A strike must be conducted in a just and fair way.
When is a strike conducted in a just
and fair way?
A strike is conducted in a just and fair way if it was preceded by
serious and sincere discussion and efforts at arbitration; if no deliberate
violence or physical force is used during the strike; and if it is not
prolonged or pursued in a way that actually hinders or injures the welfare of
the workers in whose favor the strike was ostensibly called.
What governs the right relations
between employer and employees?
The principle that governs the right relations between employer and
employees is the Christian concept of work.
In the light of faith what is the
value of work?
In the light of faith, work is not something to be looked down on; it is
not an evil to be avoided as though leisure were more worthy of mans dignity.
Work enables our character as persons and helps us become like the Savior who
labored with His hands and became tired.
Is it sinful to damage another
It is a sin of injustice to deliberately or negligently damage another
What must be done if there is
culpable damage to another persons property?
Culpable damage to another persons property demands restitution or
repair of the damage done.
What is larceny?
Larceny is secret theft. It is the unlawful taking of something from
another person with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of his property.
How is robbery defined?
Robbery is open theft accomplished either by violence or by frightening
the victim, in order to obtain possession of his property.
How is robbery defined?
Robbery is open theft accomplished either by violence or by frightening
the victim, in order to obtain possession of his property.
What does it mean to cheat?
To cheat means to deprive a person of his rightful property by means of
deception or fraud.
What is gambling?
Gambling is staking money or valuables on chance, or a future or
possible event that is unknown or uncertain to the participants.
When is gambling sinful?
Gambling is sinful when the means used are dishonest, or the gambler
risks losses that he cannot afford, or this family will suffer or other people
will be scandalized.
What is betting?
Betting is a form of agreement in which two or more people contract to
give a prize to whichever one correctly guesses some future fact or event.
Is betting illicit?
Betting is not illicit in itself, but it may become so if certain
conditions are not fulfilled.
What are the conditions that must be
fulfilled to make betting licit?
For betting to be morally licit: All parties must clearly understand
the conditions of the agreement in the same way; they must be sincerely
uncertain about the outcome of the event; they must honestly want to pay if
they lose the bet; the bet cannot be an encouragement to do something evil or
What are the dangers involved in
betting and gambling?
The dangers involved in betting and gambling are that it tends to
induce a fatalistic outlook on life, unlike the Christian view that the
universe is controlled by the loving providence of God.
What is lottery?
Lottery is a scheme in which changes are sold and prizes are
distributed to those whose names are drawn, by chance, from among the
What problems arise from the States
involvement in betting and lottery?
The problem arising from the States involvement in betting and lottery
are the danger of dishonest manipulation, of creating a community tolerance of
gambling, and of weakening the citizens sense of responsibility for necessary
support of public services and institutions.
Are lotteries sponsored for a
charitable cause permissible?
Lotteries sponsored for a charitable cause are permissible if there is
no deception and if there is some proportion between the hope of winning and
the amount each person pays.
Is gambling permissible?
Gambling is permissible provided the one who gambles with the stakes
really owns them, if there is no fraud involved, and if all who participate
have the same basic chance of winning or losing.
What is the eighth commandment of
The eighth commandment of God is: you shall not bear false witness
against your neighbor.
What does the commandment forbid?
The commandment directly forbids telling the untruth about another
person, whether the untruth is told in a court of law or in personal matters.
Indirectly it forbids all deliberate lying.
What does the Bible teach about
telling the truth?
The Bible teaches that those who speak the truth can be believed, that
what they say can confidently be followed, that their statements produce
conviction, and that their friendship brings peace.
What does it really mean to tell the
To tell the truth really means not only saying what is on ones mind
but also communicating what should be said.
How should we use our tongue?
We are to use our tongue according to the will of God who is the truth.
In other words, we are to control our tongue in all circumstances. If a person
can do this, he can control every part of himself. (Jn 3:12)
What is lying?
Lying means deliberately speaking contrary to what is on a persons
Is the intention to deceive essential
No, a person tells a lie even though he has no intention (or hope) of
deceiving those to whom he speaks.
Does one have to speak verbally to
tell a lie?
No, there is such a thing as nonverbal communication. A lie may be told
in spoken or written words, through body language, or through the circumstances
of a situation.
What is a jocose lie?
A jocose lie is told for the purpose of amusement. Such a lie is sinful
when the speaker fails to make it evident that his words are not to be taken
How sinful is lying?
Lying is traditionally held to be a venial or slight offense against
God. It may, however, become grave under certain circumstances, such as telling
a lie under oath or denying ones religion as a Catholic.
What is perjury?
Perjury is a false oath. It is a lie by which we call God to witness
the truth of what we say. The purpose of the false oath is to more effectively
hide what is on a persons mind.
What is the meaning of false
False testimony is telling the untruth as a public witness to some
fact, or event, whether under oath or not.
How serious are perjury and false
Perjury and false testimony are grave sins against truth. Perjury calls
God to witness a falsehood and is an attack on His truthfulness. False
testimony is an offence against the person about whom an untruth is testified.
Both perjury and false testimony do serious injury to the common good of
What is a false (or perjured) witness
bound to do?
A false (or perjured) witness is bound to retract his testimony in
spite of grave inconvenience if the testimony is seriously injurious to the
person. He must in all cases repair the injury caused by the false or perjured
What is a mental reservation?
A mental reservation consists in withholding a part of what is in ones
What are the two kinds of mental
Mental reservation are either strict or broad.
What is a strict mental reservation?
A strict mental reservation limits the meaning of the words used but
without leaving a reasonable clue about what is intended.
What is a broad mental reservation?
A broad mental reservation limits the meaning of what is actually said
but also leaves a reasonable clue as to what the speaker means.
Are mental reservations lies?
Strict mental reservations are really lies because there is no way that
the listener can read the speakers mind.
What is the basic reason for broad mental
Broad mental reservations are used in order to preserve secrets, when
the benefit to the common good (not revealing a confidence) is greater than
would be the manifestation of something that is sure to cause harm.
How must broad mental reservations be
Broad mental reservations must be used with great prudence. There is
always the risk of creating mistrust if people cannot be sure that what they
are being told is what they hear.
What is meant by Hypocrisy?
Hypocrisy is a kind of lie by which a person appears to be virtuous in
order to win the esteem of others.
What is flattery?
Flattery is the insincere praise of a person or thing with the hope of
gaining praise for oneself in return.
What is boastfulness?
Boasting is a form of deceit in which a person attributes to himself
qualities he does not have or exaggerates those he possesses. He fails to give
credit to God for the gifts he has received.
What is a secret?
A secret is hidden knowledge that may not be revealed unless some higher
What is a natural secret?
A natural secret is one that our native reason tells us we should keep
How do I recognize a natural secret?
I can recognize a natural secret by asking if I would want this
particular hidden fault, or defect, or sin, or mistake of mine revealed to
What is a promised secret?
A promised secret is one that a person has promised to keep after
having received or come upon confidential knowledge.
What are entrusted secrets?
Entrusted secrets are those a person is obliged to keep in virtue of
his professional position.
Why should secrets be kept?
Secrets should be kept because each person is an individual who has
exclusive right to his own ideas and ingenuity or, if the confidential matter
pertains to his reputation, the right to his good name.
What is the obligation regarding
natural and promised secrets?
Natural and promised secrets may not be revealed unless keeping the
knowledge hidden would cause grave injury or serious difficulty to the person
who knows the secret, to the one who shapes the secret, to an innocent third
party, the Church, the state, or the community.
How binding are natural secrets?
Natural secrets are binding in justice if the unlawful revelation of
the secret would cause objective damage to the person or persons concerned; and
in charity if the disclosure caused subjective sadness or embarrassment. If the
offense caused is grave, the violation of the secret is correspondingly grave;
otherwise the sin is venial.
How are we bound by promised secrets?
We are bound by promised secrets according to the wishes of the one who
agreed to keep the information confidential. The gravity of the promise depends
mainly on whether the matter itself is grave.
Why are entrusted secrets the most
Entrusted secrets are the most sacred because the common good requires
that persons in professional positions should be able to receive confidential
information and keep it.
When may entrusted secrets be
Entrusted secrets, apart from the seal of confession, may be revealed
only to avert great imminent harm to the Church, state, or society; or in
general, to an innocent third party, to the one who received the confidence or
even to the person whose secret it is.
What is meant by the seal of
By the seal of confession is meant the absolute obligation to keep
silent whatever is disclosed in sacramental confession.
To what does this obligation of
absolute secrecy apply?
The obligation of absolute secrecy applies to what was told in a
sacramental confession, whether the confession was finished or not, whether it
was worthy or sacrilegious, and whether absolution was given or refused.
Who is bound by the seal of
Those bound by the seal of confession are the confessor himself and
also anyone else who unintentionally or in exercising ones office obtains
knowledge of confessional matter.
May we read another persons letters,
notes or diaries?
We may not read another persons letters, notes or diaries. It is sinful
to do so unless permission has been given by the owner of the writing, or it
may reasonably be presumed he would not mind. On the other hand, letters and
similar written confidences may be read if it is considered necessary in order
to prevent grave harm to the writer, oneself or society.
How can a persons reputation be
A persons reputation can be injured by detraction, calumny or slander.
What is detraction?
Detraction is the unjust violation of the good reputation of another by
revealing something true about him. The essence of detraction is the
unwarranted disclosure of a hidden failing, which implies that there are
occasions when the disclosure can and even should be made.
What is meant by calumny?
Calumny, sometimes called slander, differs from detraction in that what
is said or attributed to the person is not true.
What is reputation?
Reputation is the good opinion that one person has about another. It is
the object of an acquired right. Therefore, to intend to take it away from a person
or lower it is an act of injustice.
Is reputation a valuable good?
Reputation is a valuable good. Next to life, it is the most precious of
all earthly possessions. Not only the living but also the dead have a right to
How may we injure the reputation of
We may injure the reputation of our neighbor exteriorly by detraction
and interiorly by rash judgments and suspicion.
How serious is the sin of detraction?
The seriousness of the sin of detraction depends upon the gravity of
the fault or limitation disclosed. It also depends upon the dignity of the
person detracted and the harm done to him and others by revealing something
that is hidden and whose disclosure lowers his standing in the public eye.
What is a detractor bound in
conscience to do?
A detractor is bound in conscience to make reparation as far as he is
able to the injured persons reputation.
When may a persons faults be
A persons faults may be revealed when no injustice is done in
revealing it. That is, when the revelation of anothers fault is necessary or
very useful as in the defense of self or of others.
What is a calumniator bound to do?
A calumniator is bound to retract his lies even if harm may befall him
in doing so. Reparation is more urgent here than in detraction because of the
added malice of falsehood. A calumniator must not only undo the harm done to
his victims reputation, but must also correct the falsehood.
When might a detractor or the
calumniator be excused from making restitution?
A detractor or calumniator might be excused from making restitution if
the injury no longer exists, if reparation is physically or morally impossible
or if the person hurt excuses his detractor or calumniator at least by implicit
forgiveness or if reparation would cause the defamer a greater harm than the
How sinful is calumny?
Calumny is in its nature a mortal sin. It immediately attacks truth,
justice and charity. It is venial only when the matter is light.
What are rash judgments?
Rash judgments are acts of the mind in which we go beyond the evidence
available to judge the culpability of the action, attribute evil motives, and
decide against the character or moral soundness of the person whose conduct we
Why do people make rash judgments?
People make rash judgments because they are prone to generalize without
adequate premises, and therefore draw sweeping conclusions about other people.
Are rash judgments wrong?
Rash judgments are wrong because of the hasty imprudence with which a
critical judgment is reached and because of the loss of reputation that the
person suffers in our estimation since everyone has a right to the good esteem
of his fellow men.
Who alone has the right to judge?
God alone has the right to judge the intention of the hearts of men.
What is meant by suspicion?
Suspicion is the tendency to consider the evil we think of others as
true without believing it to be certain.
What is an attack on a persons
An attack on a persons honor is an insult.
What is an insult?
An insult is any word, action or gesture that tells a person he is not
respected. It is also the failure to show someone those marks of esteem which
May we seek vengeance for an insult?
We may never seek vengeance for an insult or injustice caused us.
What is vengeance?
Vengeance is punishment inflicted on a person in return for some evil,
injury or offence received.
Why is vengeance wrong?
Vengeance is wrong because it serves no other useful purpose than to
give selfish satisfaction to the injured party. It is contrary to the will of
God who wants to forgive others even as He has been forgiving us.
What are the modern means of social
The modern means of social communication are: the press, cinema, radio,
television, telephone and telegraph, radar, computer and photography along
with their many combinations and derivatives.
What are the benefits of social
Social communications facilitate the rapid, widespread and persuasive
interchange of ideas and information beyond anything ever before possible in
the history of mankind.
What are the dangers of social
Social communications can be manipulated contrary to the will of God.
Instead of the truth, error can be communicated. And instead of raising moral
and religious principles the media can be used to indoctrinate the people in
secularism and a disregard for Christian values.
What is the main condition for the
proper use of the media?
The main condition for the proper use of the media is that those who
control them know the laws of sound morality and are willing to apply them.
What are the laws of morality
governing mass communication?
The laws of morality governing mass communication are that the media
must be operated in the interests of the common good; the news communicated
should be true and within the limits of justice and charity; there must be a
prudent and balanced judgment to choosing what is both salient and sales worthy.
Do people have a right to information
through the media?
People have a right to information through the media about matters
which affect their welfare, both as individuals and as members of society.
What are the duties of those who
Those who receive information should be discriminating about what they
are being told; should protest when omission or distortion occur; and should
develop effective means for insuring that the truth is communicated to the
What is the morality of leisure in
the right use of the media?
The morality of leisure in the right use of the media requires that we
recognize the value of time and do not waste it in useless exposure to the
attractive and often seductive mass communications.
What is the function of advertising?
The function of advertising is to announce publicly the desirable
qualities of a thing so as to arouse a desire in someone to purchase or invest
in what has been advertised.
How is advertising beneficial to
Advertising is beneficial to society because it helps people to know
beforehand what they are asked to buy or invest in, enables them to compare the
different items advertised, gives them a right to expect (and demand) what has
been advertised, and assists the economy by encouraging people to want what
they might otherwise not have desired.
How can advertising be harmful to
Advertising harms society when it urges people to spend money beyond
their available means, when it fosters a consumer mentality that believes
happiness consists in having more material possessions and comforts, when it
lowers the dignity of women by using sex to promote what is advertised, when it
distorts the public image of a people by stressing the luxuries and
non-essentials of human living, when it publicizes the sale of products or
services that are immoral to use, and when it falsifies the quality or value of
a commodity or investment.
Is the formation of public opinion
The formation of public opinion is justified when the true leaders of a
society are enabled to contribute to this formation; when the process of
shaping the mind of a people serves the truth; when its objectives and methods
accord with the dignity of man; and when it promotes causes that are consistent
with the laws of God and the best interests of a society.
What is propaganda?
Propaganda is the conscious and organized forming of public opinion.
What types of propaganda are morally
Propaganda is morally wrong when it harms the true public welfare, or
allows no response from the people, or withholds essential facts, falsifies in
order to protect or promote some preconceived ideas or policy, or diminishes
mans legitimate freedom of decision.
Who are called to become holy?
All Christians regardless of their age, ability or rank in society, are
called to become holy.
Why are all Christians called to
All Christians are called to become holy because this is why God became
man, not only to redeem us from sin but lead us to become perfect, even as our
heavenly Father is perfect.
Why is Christian holiness especially
necessary in the modern world?
Christian holiness is especially necessary in the modern world because
it takes sanctity to cope with the seductive temptations, and the pressures to
In what way are bishops called to
Bishops are called to holiness by promptness, humility and courage in
carrying out their service in the care of souls. As successors of the apostles
they must not be afraid to lay down their lives for their sheep.
How do priests grow in the holiness
Priests grow in the holiness of Christ by devotion to the Eucharist and
their life of sacrifice in the service of the Church.
What is the road of sanctity for
The road of sanctity for married people is to support each other with
faithful love life, to accept with gratitude the children God wishes to send
them, and to teach the children how to prepare for time and eternity.
How are the widowed and those in the
single state called to holiness?
The widowed and the single are called to holiness by recognizing their
state in life as a true vocation from God. This vocation enables them to labor
generously in the apostolate through the practice of the spiritual and corporal
works of mercy.
How are religious to grow in
Religious are to grow in holiness by freely accepting for a lifetime
Christs invitation, If you wish to be perfect. They vow themselves to go
beyond the precepts necessary for salvation.
What is holiness?
Holiness is being Christ like, which means we are to imitate Jesus
Christ. The more we become like Christ the more holy we are.
Is the call to holiness binding on
The call to holiness is binding on everyone according to their state in
life. It is a special duty for those called to a state of perfection.
What are the states of perfection?
The states of perfection are mainly religious communities and secular
What is the main purpose of those in
a state of perfection?
The main purpose of those in a state of perfection is the pursuit of
What is meant by the pursuit of
The pursuit of holiness is the striving after sanctity, for oneself and
for others. Ones own sanctity is meant to be the instrument for sanctifying
those who, through him, are to come closer to God.
Who are religious?
Religious are men and women who are called to follow Christ with
greater liberty, and to initiate him more closely by practicing the evangelical
counsels. They voluntarily consecrate their lives to God, according to the
different charisms of each founder of a religious institute as accepted and
approved by the Churchs hierarchy under the Holy See.
What is the religious state?
The religious state is a state of perfection that consists of four
essential elements: a fixed or stable mode of life, community living,
observance of the evangelical counsels, and profession of the vows of poverty,
chastity and obedience.
What is meant by a stable way of
In a stable way of life a person is no longer morally free to abandon
it, or move in and out of the state to which he belongs.
What is community living?
Community living or the common life means that religious are members of
a society and a different rule of life, and they live together with other
members of the same society.
Why do religious live the common
Religious live the common life after the example of Christ and the
apostles, and the practice of many of the first Christians in apostolic times.
What is community life?
Community life is a gathering of like minded people who live out their
following of Christ together, that is, being together and working together as
much as circumstances and the nature of the services of others allows and
What are the evangelical counsels?
The evangelical counsels are poverty, chastity and obedience.
What is a vow?
A vow is a free and deliberate promise made to God to perform a greater
good or to enter a more perfect state of life.
What are the conditions for the
person making a vow?
The conditions for the person making a vow are that he is acting freely,
with knowledge and deliberation, and with the intention of binding himself
What are the conditions that pertain
to the matter of the vow?
The conditions that pertain to the matter of a vow are that what is
promised must be possible, morally good, and in fact better than its opposite.
To whom are vows made?
Vows are made to God alone. The names of the Blessed Virgin or saints
may be added to give them honor and to ask for their intercession with God.
What is meant by temporary vows?
By temporary vows we mean vows that are taken for a fixed period of
What are perpetual vows?
Perpetual or final vows are those that are taken for the rest of ones
Do temporary vows imply a temporary
On the contrary, even temporary religious vows imply a lifelong
commitment. They are called temporary because if circumstances later justify
it, the person is canonically free to leave the religious life when the time of
the vows expires.
What is the difference between
private and public vows?
Private vows are made directly to God, with no intervention on the part
of the Church. Public vows are made according to an established rule or
condition accepted by superiors in the name of the Church.
How may religious vows be divided? Explain.
Religious vows are either solemn or simple. Solemn vows are taken in
religious orders and ordinarily are more demanding, e.g., they require the
remuneration of all personnel ownership. Simple vows are taken in religious
congregations and normally require the sacrifice only of independent use but
not ownership of material possessions.
Why is a vow pleasing to God?
A vow is pleasing to God because it means the dedication of ones
determined will and not only of some action to God. Every exercise of a vow is
therefore meritorious twice over: once as an act of the particular virtue
covered by the vow, and once again of the virtue of religion by which we have
committed ourselves to God as a living sacrifice of adoration of the divine
What should precede the making of a
A vow presuppose reflection and council which means not trusting
entirely in ourselves, but having the approval of a wise spiritual advisor.
Are we obliged to fulfill our vows?
We are obliged to fulfill our vows not only because every promise,
especially to God, should be kept, but because God has more than once revealed
how displeased He is with vows made and not observed.
Can a person be dispensed from vows?
A person can be dispensed from vows with a just cause. Dispensation
consists in release from their obligation, granted in the name of God by one
possessing lawful authority to do so.
What is the difference between
precept and counsel?
A precept is an obligation that, of itself, is binding under sin. A
counsel is an opportunity to do something pleasing to God beyond what is
Can a counsel become obligatory?
Yes, a counsel becomes obligatory when a person freely binds himself,
before God, to carry a particular counsel into practice.
What are the traditional counsels
recognized by the Catholic Church?
The traditional counsels recognized by the Catholic Church are poverty,
chastity and obedience.
Do the counsels have their
Yes, the counsels have their corresponding precepts beyond which they
rise and to which a person may bind himself under vow.
What is the precept of poverty?
The precept of poverty is based on the seventh and tenth commandment of
God. It forbids taking or even desiring to take anything of material value that
belongs to someone else.
What is the counsel of poverty?
The counsel of poverty offers the opportunity of community sharing and
of total dispossession.
Why is the counsel of poverty also
called evangelical poverty?
The counsel of poverty is also called evangelical poverty because it
was revealed in the Gospels (Evangelical) through the life and teaching of
What is the poverty of community
The poverty of community sharing means that what belongs to one belongs
to all the members of a voluntary society. They possess things in common and
freely bind themselves to depend on the authority in the community for whatever
material things they need.
What is the poverty of dispossession?
The poverty of dispossession means that a person takes literally
Christs invitation to Go sell what you have, give the proceeds to the poor,
and come follow me.
Are there degrees in the poverty of
There are degrees in the poverty of dispossession determined and
authorized by the hierarchical Church. Total dispossession means giving up all
possession and all independent use of material things. Partial dispossession
means giving up more or less of either material things themselves or of their
independent use or both according to the grace that people receive and the Churchs
approbation of their way of life.
Why is evangelical poverty called
It is called voluntary poverty because it is freely undertaken out of
love for God and in imitation of Christ.
What is the spirit of poverty?
The spirit of poverty is internal detachment from anything of material
value, according to ones state and circumstances of life. It means that a
person uses material goods only as a means to a higher, spiritual end. His
affections do not rest in these things. He is indifferent to wealth or poverty,
to having or not having money or temporal possessions, according to what better
enables him to do the will of God.
What is the precept of chastity?
The precept of chastity is the obligation to control sexual desires
according to ones stat of life. Everyone bound to practice the precept of
What is the counsel of chastity?
The counsel of chastity goes beyond the precept. It means that a person
who has the grace sacrifices the legitimate pleasures and precepts of marriage
and all deliberate sexual experience.
How does consecrated chastity differ
from the virtue of chastity?
Consecrated chastity is the virtue of chastity practiced to an eminent
degree. It is, therefore, more than temperance in the moderation of ones sexual
desires. Its motive is the love of God for whose sake even legitimate sexual
pleasures are sacrificed. Its purpose is to be a greater service to others. And
its possibility is the effect of a special grace given only to those who have
received this vocation.
Is consecrated chastity the same as
No, consecrated chastity is more than celibacy, which, of itself,
rarely implies abstention from marriage. Consecrated chastity is total
chastity, of body and spirit.
What is dedicated love?
Dedicated love is the motive for consecrated chastity. Its purpose is
to give oneself wholly to God in loving contemplation, and wholly to ones
neighbor in loving service.
How is consecrated chastity
Consecrated chastity is procreative in that I reproduce myself in
others. Consecrated chastity produces an extraordinary union with God and thus
gives one the exceptional ability to serve the highest needs of others.
What is obedience of precept?
The obedience of precept is the virtue by which a person voluntarily
fulfills the just commands of legitimate authority in a human society.
What is obedience of counsel?
The obedience of counsel is Christs obedience. It is obedience
practiced out of love, not constraint. It is the obedience of voluntary
sacrifice to please God and promote the salvation of souls.
What is perfect obedience?
Perfect obedience is more than external execution of what is demanded.
It is also the voluntary submission of will to that of the superior and, as far
as possible, surrender of mind to the mind of God manifested in what His
providence requires or even requests through legitimate authority.
What is the role of religious
The role of religious obedience is to develop that Christian humility
which God blesses with His grace and to which He attaches the promise of His
special providence because that is what He practiced when He became man.
What, then, is the significance of
Religious vows set one free from hindrances that could keep a person
from loving God ardently and worshiping Him perfectly; they offer a more
thoroughgoing way of consecrating oneself to the service of the Lord.
What is the role of the apostolate in
The role of the apostolate in religious life is to foster the kingdom of Christ in the hearts and minds of men. Religious are to extend His Gospel to the
ends of the earth. They are to proclaim His message, by word and example, and
without compromise, to every human being.
What is a religious institute?
A religious institute is a society with a common spiritual ancestry,
approved by legitimate ecclesiastical authority, whose members strive after
evangelical perfection according to the laws proper to their society, by the
profession of public vows, either perpetual or temporary; the latter to be
renewed after fixed intervals.
What is meant by the common
spiritual ancestry of the community?
The common spiritual ancestry of a community is its own distinct
founder or foundress, with a special charism from God, on which the community
is built as on its permanent foundation
What is the existential dimension of
a religious community?
The existential dimension of a religious community is the corporate
life in practice. It includes four essential elements: a community of faith, of
worship, of labor, and of friendship.
Why must a religious community be a
community of faith?
It must be a community of faith because acceptance of the cardinal
mysteries of the Catholic faith is basic to a religious community.
What three mysteries of the faith are
crucial to religious life?
Crucial to religious life are faith in Christs divinity, in the
Eucharist, and in the Primacy of the Holy Father.
Why is belief in the Divinity of
Belief in the Divinity Christ is essential because God in human form,
as the first religious alone gives meaning and motivation to a life of the
Why must religious profess a deep
faith in the Eucharist?
Religious must profess a deep faith in the Eucharist because Christ
really present in the Eucharist is the only valid center of a religious
community. He must be reserved and worshiped in the Blessed Sacrament or a
group of persons will in time cease to be a religious community. They will lack
the grace they need to remain in corporate unity.
Why is faith in papal primacy so
important for religious life?
Faith in the papal primacy is so important for religious life because
it is finally the Vicar of Christ who determines what religious life and each
particular institute ought to be.
What is meant by community of
By community of worship is meant regular prayer in common, including
the Eucharistic Liturgy.
Why is community worship important?
Community worship is important because communities, no less than
individuals, need grace to live a supernatural life. The ordinary means for
obtaining grace is prayer corporate prayer for communities corresponding to
personal prayer for individuals.
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