Who is God ?
A. God is spirit, infinitely perfect, Creator of heaven and earth, and Sovereign Master of all things.
Q. What is Faith ?
A. Faith is a divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed, and which the church teaches.
Q. What is the mystery of the Holy Trinity?
A. It is one Divine Nature, or only one God in three distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Q. Why do you say God is infinitely perfect?
A. Because He has every perfection in an infinite degree. He is good, He is beautiful, He is just, He is holy, or rather, He is goodness, beauty, justice and sanctity itself - God is living perfection.
Q. Did one of the three Divine Persons become man?
A. Yes, God the Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, became man, taking a body and soul like ours.
Q. What do these words signify :I believe in Jesus Christ who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary?
A. They signify that the body of Jesus Christ was formed in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the divine operation of the Holy Ghost, and that thus the Blessed Virgin is His Mother without ceasing to be a Virgin.
Q. Is Jesus Christ God and man at the same time?
A. Yes, He unites in the same Person, the Divine and the human nature.
Q. Why did God the Son become man?
A. He became man to expiate our sins, to draw us away from the slavery of the devil, to deliver us from the pain of hell, to merit heaven for us: in a word, for our salvation.
Q. How did Jesus Christ save us?
A. By suffering and dying for us on the Cross. The mystery of the Redemption is the mystery of a Divine Person sacrificing Himself on the Cross to redeem sinful men and to satisfy the justice of God.
Q. What is man?
A. Man is a rational creature, composed of a mortal body and an immortal soul.
Q. Why did God create man?
A. To know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
Q. How does man become a Christian?
A. By Baptism, which gives him the life of grace and spiritual birth. Just as our first natural birth gives us human life and makes us man, so our second birth gives the divine life of Grace and makes us children of God.
Q. What right does the title of children of God give us?
A. It gives us the right to call Almighty God our Father and to have part in the inheritance of heaven. Grace really imprints on our soul the character and the life of a child of God.
Q. Is there another life?
A. Yes, and it is eternal. At death we quit our temporal life, and enter eternal life.
Q. What is the life of man on earth?
A. It is a trial : God confides to us the gift of life for a certain number of years, with liberty to do good or evil.
Q. What do you mean by the resurrection of the body?
A. I mean that at the end of the world our bodies will rise again and be united to our souls never more to die. The power of God which first gave them life will restore it to them.
Q. What is eternal life for the good?
A. It is heaven, that place of delights where the just see God, live with Him and with His good works and are eternally happy.
Q. Do all the souls of the just go to heaven immediately after death?
A. No, there are a great number who, before entering heaven, go to Purgatory.
Q. What is Purgatory?
A. It is a place where the souls of the saved remain for a time to purify themselves from the stain of their sins, and to pay the penalties due to them; otherwise they cannot enter heaven.
Q. Where do those souls go who die in the unhappy state of mortal sin?
A. To Hell for all eternity.
Q. What is Hell?
A. Hell is that place of suffering where the wicked, in punishment of their sins, are forever deprived of the sight of God and suffer all sorts of torments, particularly that of fire. .
Q. When will the general judgment take place?
A. At the end of the world Jesus Christ will come down from heaven in the glory of His Majesty to judge all men. He will say to the good, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you," and to the wicked "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire."
Q. What is hope?
A. Hope is a supernatural virtue by which we firmly trust that God will give us eternal life and the means to obtain it. Hope is founded on the goodness and promises of God, and on the infinite merits of Jesus Christ.
Q. What entitle us to have this hope?
A. Our observance of God's Law -the keeping of His Commandments.
Q. How many Commandments are there?
A. There are ten - the first three include the duties we owe to God - the seven others those we owe to our neighbour. They are contained in the two following. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength," and " thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Q. What does the Church teach?
A. She teaches with certainty that religion which our Lord has revealed to man, and conducts us faithfully in the way of salvation which our Lord has traced out for us.
Q. How many Commandments of the Church are there?
A. Six, which are of obligation for all Catholics.
Q. Why can we not willfully violate God's law without sinning?
A. Because the law of God is the rule of our conduct and of our conscience beyond which there is neither morality nor virtue. When we observe it we perform a good action; when we do not, we sin.
Q. Are there natural tendencies to evil in human nature?
A. Yes, as is shown by the seven deadly sins - Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy and Sloth.
Q. What is mortal sin?
A. Mortal sin is a grievous offence against the law of God, committed with full knowledge, and full consent, and in a grave matter. He who commits mortal sin willfully separates himself from God. This is a very unhappy state.
Q. Why is it called mortal?
A. Because it deprives us of spiritual life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation to the soul.
Q. What is venial sin?
A. Venial sin is a slight offence against the law of God in matters of less importance; or in matters of great importance, it is an offence committed without sufficient reflection or full consent of the will.
Q. What are the effects of venial sin?
A. The effects of venial sin are the lessening of the love of God in our hearts, the making us less worthy of His help, and the weakening of the power to resist mortal sin.
Q. Has our Savior left us a sacrament of forgiveness?
A. Yes, the Sacrament of Penance, which applies to us the pardon merited on the Cross, and which purifies our soul from the sins we have committed.
Q. Is the pardon in the Sacramento Penance the same as that of the Cross?
A. Yes, it is the same pardon that the Cross has merited, and which the Sacrament of Penance applies to us; it has the same value before God, and produces the same effects in our soul.
Q. What must we do if we have committed a mortal sin?
A. If we have had such a misfortune we must repent of it as soon as possible, and have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance.
Q. What must we do to receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily?
A. To receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily we must do five things: 1st, we must examine our conscience; 2nd,we must have sorrow for our sins; 3rd, we must make a firm resolution nevermore to offend God; 4th, we must confess our sins to the priest; 5th, we must accept the penance which the priest gives us.
Q. What does the faithful observance of the forgive sins?
A. Jesus Christ Himself, when he instituted the Sacrament of Penance, saying: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven, and whose sins you shall retain are retained."
Q. Ought we to have a great esteem for the Sacrament of Penance?
A. Yes, since it can cleanse the soul from mortal sin, that is to say, restore to it the life of Grace which it had lost, and can wash away all venial sins, that is to say, give back to the soul its beauty and purity.
Q. Who has given the priest the power to law of God produce in us?
A. It forms in us Christian Virtues, that is to say, those habits and dispositions which incline us to good and make us practice it easily.
Q. Can we of our own strength observe the commandments of God and of the church?
A. No: we can do so only with the help of God's Grace. God usually gives this Grace by means of the Sacraments, and of Prayer.
Q. Is prayer very necessary?
A. Yes, prayer is a necessary and sure means of obtaining salvation and all other graces. Our Lord has givens a model of prayer in the Lord's Prayer. He has formed His Church into a congregation in which prayer is offered to Him.
Q. What graces should we especially ask of God?
A. Graces which obtain pardon and preservation from sin, graces to correct our faults and practice virtue; graces to faithfully fulfill our duties and to persevere until death.
Q. How must we pray?
A. With humility, depending not on our own merits but on the goodness and bounty of God; with confidence, firmly hoping in the goodness of God our Father, and in the merits of Jesus Christ; with perseverance, understanding the value of grace and the need we have of it.
Q. Does the Blessed Virgin extend her maternal protection to us?
A. Yes, Our Lord when offering Himself on the Cross gave her to us as our Mother; at that moment Mary became the Mother of all men, with all the qualities and rights of a Mother according to grace. In the Kingdom of her Son she exercises a ministry of mercy towards men; the characteristics of maternal love are mercy and compassion.
Q. Has St. Joseph great interceding power?
A. Yes, with the Blessed Virgin his most pure Spouse; with Jesus his divine foster Son; and with God the Father whom he represented at Nazareth, St. Joseph is powerful intercessor on our behalf.
Q. Has each of us a Guardian Angel?
A. Yes, He urges us to do good and protects us against the devil. He assists us in dangers and temptations. How many angels watch over us thus! We should respect their presence and invoke and thank them.
Q. Do the bad angels or demons injure man?
A. Yes, for they are jealous on account of the happiness that awaits us in heaven, and they seek by tempting us to drag us with them to sin and hell; but their power of harming us is limited by God.
Q. Does the Holy Ghost communicate Himself to us?
A. Yes, the Holy Ghost communicates Himself to us invisibly by grace and the Sacraments, chiefly by the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Q. What is Confirmation?
A. Confirmation is a Sacrament by which we receive the Holy Ghost with all His gifts, in order to be made perfect Christians and strong in the spiritual combat.
Q. What is the difference between Baptism and Confirmation?
A. Baptism makes us Christians and children of God; Confirmation perfects and strengthens in us the life of grace received in Baptism; it gives us grace to become perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.
Q. What is the Blessed Eucharist?
A. The Blessed Eucharist is the Sacrament of the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, under the appearances of bread and wine: to communicate is to receive Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist.
Q. Are the faithful obliged to go to communion?
A. Yes, Our Lord has said: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you." And the Church commands the faithful to communicate at least once a year at Easter time.
Q. Why did Jesus Christ institute the Blessed Eucharist under the species of bread and wine?
A. To signify that it is to be our food; as bread and wine support and strengthen the body, so the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ sustain and fortify our souls.
Q. In what dispositions should we be to communicate worthily?
A. Two conditions are absolutely necessary. One concerns the body - to be fasting from midnight; the other regards the soul - to be in a state of Grace. Besides, we should be modest and recollected and animated by faith, hope, and charity.
Q. Why has Jesus Christ left us His Real Presence? A. That He may be always with us, to be the Food of our souls, to console and strengthen us in our daily trials and temptations.
Q. What is the Mass?
A. The Mass is a Sacrifice in which Jesus Christ, at the words of Consecration, becomes present on the Altar, under the appearances of bread and wine, and offers Himself for us to God the Father by the ministry of His Priests; as once on the Cross, so in the Mass, is Jesus Christ present as a Redeemer for the salvation of the world.
Q. What worship do we owe to God?
A. Both exterior and interior, because we have a soul and body; a public worship, because we live in the society of others, and a superior worship because he is God.
Q. What is the principal act of worship?
A. Adoration by which we render to God divine honour. To adore God is to acknowledge and honour Him as our Creator and Sovereign Master, and to comport ourselves in His presence with reverence and submission.
Q. What is Extreme Unction?
A. It is a Sacrament instituted by Our Lord to fortify us when we are dangerously ill; to comfort us, strengthen us against temptation; to remit sins which here and now cannot be remitted by the Sacrament of Penance; to cleanse our souls from the remains of sin; when God sees fit, to restore us to health.
Q. How should we receive Extreme Unction?
A. We must prepare for it as well as we can by Confession, and receive it with sentiments of contrition, confidence in God, and resignation to His holy will.
Q. What is Indulgence?
A. It is the remission of the temporal punishment due to our sins, granted by the Church through the superabundant merits of Jesus Christ, the blessed Virgin and the Saints; these superabundant merits form the treasury of the Church, and the Church shares these spiritual treasures with her children.
Q. How do we thus pay our debts to the Justice of God?
A. Indulgences enrich us with the merits of the Saints so that we can with these merits satisfy God's Justice. To gain an indulgence we must be in a state of grace, and fulfill exactly the conditions laid down by the Church. Plenary Indulgences: The "Usual Conditions." The conditions ordinarily prescribed for gaining Plenary Indulgences are: (a) Confession, (b) Communion, (c) visit to a church or public oratory, (d) prayer for the Pope's Intention. All the Indulgences for which Confession and Communion are prescribed as conditions, can be gained by those who confess twice a month or communicate daily (even though this may be omitted once or twice a week). The Confession may be made within 8 days before, or 7 days after the appointed time. The Communion may be received on the vigil or within 7 days after. Chapels in Religious Communities are regarded as semi-public oratories. One Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father... suffices for the Pope's Intentions, unless more are prescribed.
SUMMARY OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE I.
We are bound to know and to believe: 1. That there is one supreme, eternal, infinite God, the Creator of heaven and earth; and that the good will be rewarded by Him for ever in heaven, and the wicked punished for ever in hell. 2. That in God there are three Persons, co-eternal and co-equal: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. 3. That God the Son, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, was made man, and died upon the Cross to save us. II. We are bound also to know and to believe the Apostles' Creed; to have a knowledge of the Commandments of God and of the Church, and of the Holy Sacraments; and to know the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary. III. We are bound, moreover, to believe whatever God teaches us by His holy Church, who in her teaching cannot deceive us nor be deceived. Her teaching is, amongst other ways, infallibly made known to us by the Roman Pontiff "when he speaks ex cathedra"- that is, when discharging the office of Pastor and teacher of all Christians, he defines, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, a doctrine regarding faith or morals, to be held by the universal Church.
THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS
1. Baptism: by which we are made Christians, children of God, members of His holy Church, and heirs of heaven. 2. Confirmation: by which we receive the Holy Ghost, to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Christ. 3. The Holy Eucharist: which is really and truly the Body and Blood, the Soul and the Divinity, of Jesus Christ, under the appearances of bread and wine. The Holy Eucharist is not only a Sacrament, in which we receive our Divine Lord for the food and nourishment of our souls, and in which He is really present to be adored upon the altar; it is also a Sacrifice, the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, in which, at the time of consecration, the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and in which He is offered up for us to His Eternal Father. 4. Penance: by which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven. 5. Extreme Unction: which, in dangerous illness, comforts the soul, remits sin, and restores health if God sees it to be expedient. 6. Holy Orders: by which Bishops, Priests and other Ministers of the Church are ordained. 7. Matrimony: the Sacrament of Christian Marriage.