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Advanced Explanations of the Catechism Part 2

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208 Q. What is Confession? A. Confession is the telling of our sins to a duly authorized priest, for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness.

"Duly authorized"--one sent by the bishop of the diocese in which you are.

"Forgiveness." You might tell a priest all your sins while in ordinary conversation with him, but that would not be confession, because you would not be telling them to have them pardoned. If a person has lost the use of his speech, he can make his confession by writing his sins on a paper and giving it to the priest in the confessional. If the priest returns the paper the penitent must be careful to destroy it afterwards. Also, if you have a poor memory you may write down the sins you wish to confess, and read them from the paper in the confessional; then you also must be careful to destroy the paper after confession. If a person whose language the priest does not understand is dying, or is obliged to make his yearly confession, he must tell what he can by signs, show that he is sorry for his sins, and thus receive absolution. In a word, the priest would act with him as he would with one who had lost the use of his speech and power to write.

209 Q. What sins are we bound to confess? A. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins, but it is well also to confess our venial sins.

"Bound"--obliged in such a way that our confession would be bad if we did not tell them.

"Well," because we should tell all the sins we can remember; but if we did not tell a venial sin after we had told a mortal sin, our confession would not be bad. Or if we committed a little venial sin after confession, that should not keep us from Holy Communion; because the Holy Communion itself would blot out that and any other venial sin we might have upon our souls: so that you should never let anything keep you away, unless you are certain you have committed a mortal sin after the confession, or have broken your fast.

A. The chief qualities of a good confession are three: it must be humble, sincere, and entire.

A. Our confession is humble when we accuse ourselves of our sins, with a deep sense of shame and sorrow for having offended God.

A. Our confession is sincere when we tell our sins honestly and truthfully, neither exaggerating nor excusing them.

"Exaggerating." You must never tell in confession a sin you did not commit, any more than conceal one you did commit. You must tell just the sins committed, and no more or less; and if you are in doubt whether you have committed the sin, or whether the thing done was a sin, then you must tell your doubts to the priest: but do not say you committed such and such sins when you do not know whether you did or not, or only because you think it likely that you did.

A. Our confession is entire when we tell the number and kinds of our sins and the circumstances which change their nature.

"Number"--the exact number, if you know it; as, for example, when we miss Mass we can generally tell exactly the number of times. But when we tell lies, for instance, we may not know the exact number: then we say how often in the day, or that it is a habit with us, etc.

"Kinds"--whether they are cursing, or stealing, or lying, etc.

"Circumstances which change their nature." In the case of stealing, for example, you need not tell whether it was from a grocery, a bakery, or dry-goods store you stole, for that circumstance does not change the nature of the sin: you have simply to tell the amount you took. But if you stole from a church you would have to tell that, because that is a circumstance that gives the sin of stealing a new character, and makes it sacrilegious stealing. Or if you stole from a poor beggar all he possessed in the world, so that you left him starving, that would be a circumstance making your sin worse, and so you would have to tell it. Therefore you have to tell any circumstance that really makes your sin much worse or less than it seems; all other circumstances you need not tell: they will only confuse you, and make you forget your sins and waste the priest's time.

214 Q. What should we do if we cannot remember the number of our sins? A. If we cannot remember the number of our sins, we should tell the number as nearly as possible, and say how often we have sinned in a day, a week, or a month and how long the habit or practice has lasted.

confess a mortal sin? A. If without our fault we forget to confess a mortal sin, our confession is worthy, and the sin is forgiven; but it must be told in confession if it again comes to our mind.

216 Q. Is it a grievous offense willfully to conceal a mortal sin in confession? A. It is a grievous offense willfully to conceal a mortal sin in confession, because we thereby tell a lie to the Holy Ghost, and make our confession worthless.

"A lie to the Holy Ghost." God sees every sin we commit, and in His presence we present ourselves to the priest in the confessional, and declare that we are confessing all. If, then, we willfully conceal a sin that we are bound to confess, God is a witness to our sacrilegious lie. If I see you in some place to which you were forbidden to go, and you, knowing that I saw you, positively deny that you were there, your guilt would be doubly great, for, besides the sin of disobedience committed by going to the forbidden place, you also resist the known truth, and endeavor to prove that I, when I declare I saw you, am telling what is untrue. In a similar manner, concealing a sin in confession is equivalent to denying before God that we are guilty of it. Besides, it is a great folly to conceal a sin, because it must be confessed sooner or later, and the longer we conceal it the deeper will be our sense of shame for the sacrileges committed. Again, why should one be ashamed to confess to the priest what he has not been ashamed to do before God, unless he has greater respect for the priest than he has for the Almighty God--an absurdity we cannot believe. Moreover, the shame you experience in telling your sins is a kind of penance for them. Do you not suppose Our Lord knew, when He instituted the Sacrament of Penance, that people would be ashamed to confess? Certainly He did; and that act of humility is pleasing to God, and is a kind of punishment for your sins, and probably takes away some of the punishment you would have to suffer for them. Often, too, the thought of having to confess will keep you from committing the sin. There is another thought that should encourage us to gladly make a full confession of all our sins, and it is this: it is easier to tell them to the priest alone than to have them exposed, unforgiven, before the whole world on the Day of Judgment. Do not imagine that your confessor will think less of you on account of your sins. The confessor does not think of your sins after he leaves the confessional. How could he remember all the confessions he hears--often hundreds in a single month? And what is more--he does not even wish to recall the sinful things heard in the confessional, because he wishes to keep his own mind pure, and his soul free from every stain. The priest is always better pleased to hear the confession of a great sinner or of one who has been a long time from the Sacraments, than of one who goes frequently or who has little to tell. He is not glad, of course, that the sinner has committed great sins, but he is glad that since he has had the misfortune to sin so much, he has now the grace and courage to seek forgiveness. Our Lord once said (Luke 15:7) while preaching, that the angels and saints in Heaven rejoice more at seeing one sinner doing penance than they do over ninety-nine good persons who did not need to do penance. The greater the danger to which a person has been exposed, the more thankful he and his friends are for escape or recovery from it. If your brother fell into the ocean and was rescued just as he was going down for the last time, you would feel more grateful than if he was rescued from some little pond into which he had slipped, and in which there was scarcely any danger of his being drowned. So, also, the nearer we are to losing our, souls and going to Hell, the more delighted the angels and saints are when we are saved. One who has escaped great danger will more carefully avoid similar accidents in the future: in like manner, the sinner, after having escaped the danger of eternal death by the pardon of his sins, should never again risk his salvation.

217 Q. What must he do who has willfully concealed a mortal sin in confession? A. He who has willfully concealed a mortal sin in confession must not only confess it, but must also repeat all the sins he has committed since his last worthy confession.

"Willfully." Remember, forgetting is not the same as concealing; but if you should willfully neglect to examine your conscience or make any effort to know your sins before going to confession, then forgetting would be equivalent to concealing. Without any preparation your confession could hardly be a good one. When you are in doubt whether an action is sinful or not, or whether you have confessed it before, you should not leave the confessional with the doubt upon your mind.

It is a foolish practice, however, to be always disturbing your conscience by thinking of past sins, especially of those that occurred very early in your life. Sometimes it is dangerous; because if, while thinking of your past sins, you should take pleasure in them, you would commit a new sin similar to the past sins in which you take delight.

It is best, therefore, not to dwell in thought upon any particular past sin with the time, place, and circumstances of its commission; but simply to remember in general that you have in the past sinned against this or that Commandment or virtue.

The past is no longer under our control, while the future is, and becomes for us, therefore, the all-important portion of our lives. Not unfrequently it may be an artifice of the devil to keep us so occupied with past deeds that we may not attend to the dangers of the future. Do not, then, after your confession spend your time in thinking of the sins you confessed, but of how you will avoid them in the future. When a wound is healed up, nobody thinks of opening it again to see if it has healed properly; so when the wounds made in our souls by sin are healed up by the absolution, we should not open them again.

This is the rule with regard to our ordinary confessions; but we should sometimes make a general confession. What is a general confession? It is the confession of the sins of our whole life or of a portion--say one, two or five, etc., years--of our life. A general confession may be necessary, useful, or hurtful. It is necessary, as you know, when our past confessions were bad. It is useful, though not necessary, on special occasions in our lives; for example, in the time of a retreat or mission; in the time of preparation for First Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, etc., or in preparing for death. It is very useful also for persons about to change their state of life; for such as are about to become priests or religious, etc. It is useful because it gives us a better knowledge of the state of our souls, as we see their condition not merely for a month or two, but for our whole lifetime. We are looking at them as God will look at them in the Last Judgment, considering all the good and evil we have ever done, and comparing the amount of the one with the amount of the other. We resolve to increase the good and diminish the evil in our future lives. We promise to do penance for the past and to avoid sin for the future; and thus we are benefited in general confession by this judgment of ourselves, as we may call it.

General confession is hurtful to scrupulous persons. Scrupulous persons are those who think almost everything they do is a sin. They are always dissatisfied with their confessions, and fear to approach the Sacraments. Their conscience is never at ease, and they are forever unhappy. It is very wrong for them to think and act in this manner, and they must use every means in their power to overcome their scruples.

Our Lord in His goodness never intended to make us unhappy by instituting the Sacraments, but on the contrary to make us happy, and set our minds and consciences at ease in the reception of His grace. Scrupulous persons must do exactly whatever their confessor advises, no matter what they themselves may think. Such persons, as you can plainly see, should not make general confessions, because their consciences would be more disturbed than pacified by them.

You prepare for general confession as you would for any other, except that you take a longer time for it, and do not pay so much attention to your more trifling sins.

218 Q. Why does the priest give us a penance after confession? A. The priest gives us a penance after confession, that we may satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to our sins.

"Penance." The little penance the priest gives may not fully satisfy God, but shows by our accepting it that we are willing to do penance. What, for example, is a penance of five "Our Fathers" compared with the guilt of one mortal sin, for which we would have to suffer in Hell for all eternity? Then think of the penances performed by the Christians many centuries ago, in the early ages of the Church. There were four stages of penance. The churches were divided into four parts by railings and gates. The first railing across the church was at some distance from the altar, the second was a little below the middle of the church, and the third was near the door. Those who committed great sins had to stand clad in coarse garments near the entrance of the church, and beg the prayers of those who entered. After they had done this kind of penance for a certain time, they were allowed to come into the church as far as the second railing. They were allowed to hear the sermon, but were not permitted to be present at the Mass. After doing sufficient penance, they were allowed to remain for Mass, but could not receive Holy Communion. When they had performed all the penance imposed upon them, they were allowed to receive the Sacraments and enjoy all the rights and privileges of faithful children of the Church. These penances lasted for many days and sometimes for years, according to the gravity of the sins committed. The sins for which these severe penances were performed were generally sins that had been committed publicly, and hence the penance, amendment, and reparation had also to be public.

"Temporal Punishment." Every sin has two punishments attached to it, one called the eternal and the other the temporal. Let me explain by an example. If I, turning highway robber, waylay a man, beat him and steal his watch, I do him, as you see, a double injury, and deserve a double punishment for the twofold crime of beating and robbing him. He might pardon me for the injuries caused by the beating, but that would not free me from the obligation of restoring to him his watch or its value, for the fact that he forgives me for the act of stealing does not give me the right to keep what justly belongs to him. Now, when we sin against God we in the first place insult Him, and secondly rob Him of what is deservedly His due; namely, the worship, respect, obedience, love, etc., that we owe Him as our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer.

In the Sacrament of Penance God forgives the insult offered by sinning, but requires us to make restitution for that of which the sin has deprived Him. In every sin there is an act of turning away from God and an act of turning to some creature in His stead. If a soldier pledged to defend his country deserts his army in time of war, he is guilty of a dishonorable, contemptible act; but if, besides deserting his own army, he goes over to aid the enemy, he becomes guilty of another and still greater crime--he becomes a traitor for whom the laws of nations reserve their severest penalties. By sin we, who in Baptism and Confirmation have promised to serve God and war against His enemies, desert Him and go over to them; for Our Blessed Lord has said: He that is not with Me is against Me.

We pay the temporal debt due to our sins, that is, make the restitution, by our penances upon earth, or by our suffering in Purgatory, or by both combined.

The penances performed upon earth are very acceptable and pleasing to God; and hence we should be most anxious to do penance here that we may have less to suffer in Purgatory. St. Augustine, who had been a great sinner, often prayed that God might send him many tribulations while on earth, that he might have less to endure in Purgatory. Therefore, after performing the penance the priest gives you in the confessional, it is wise to impose upon yourself other light penances in keeping with your age and condition, but never undertake severe penances or make religious vows and promises without consulting your confessor. In every case be careful first of all to perform the penance imposed upon you in the reception of the Sacrament. The penance given in confession has a special value, which none of the penances selected by yourself could have.

If you forget to say your penance, your confession is not on that account worthless; but as the penance is one of the parts of the Sacrament, namely, the satisfaction, you should say it as soon as possible, and in the manner your confessor directs. If you cannot perform the penance imposed by your confessor, you should inform him of that fact, and ask him to give you another in its stead.

Indulgences also are a means of satisfying for this temporal punishment. Sometimes God inflicts the temporal punishment in this world by sending us misfortunes or sufferings, especially such as are brought on by the sins committed.

sin? A. The Sacrament of Penance remits the eternal punishment due to sin, but it does not always remit the temporal punishment which God requires as satisfaction for our sins.

Remember that Baptism differs from Penance in this respect, that although they both remit sin, Penance does not take away all the temporal punishment, while Baptism takes away all the punishment, both eternal and temporal; so that if we died immediately after Baptism we would go directly to Heaven, while if we died immediately after Penance we would generally go to Purgatory to make satisfaction for the temporal debt.

sin? A. God requires a temporal punishment as a satisfaction for sin to teach us the great evil of sin, and to prevent us from failing again.

temporal punishment due to sin? A. The chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to sin are: prayer, fasting, almsgiving, all spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and the patient suffering of the ills of life.

"Chief," but not the only means. "Fasting," especially the fasts imposed by the Church--in Lent for instance. Lent is the forty days before Easter Sunday during which we fast and pray to prepare ourselves for the resurrection of Our Lord, and also to remind us of His own fast of forty days before His Passion. "Almsgiving"--that is, money or goods given to the poor. "Spiritual" works of mercy are those good works we do for persons' souls. "Corporal" works of mercy are those we do for their bodies. "Ills of life"--sickness or poverty or misfortune, especially when we have not brought them upon ourselves by sin.

A. The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven: to admonish the sinner, to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to comfort the sorrowful, to bear wrongs patiently, to forgive all injuries, and to pray for the living and the dead.

"To admonish the sinner." If we love our neighbor we should help him in his distress, even when it is an inconvenience to us. We should help him also to correct his faults, we should point them out and warn him of them. We are obliged to do so in the following circumstances: First. When his fault is a mortal sin. Second. When we have some authority or influence over him. Third. When there is reason to believe that our warning will make him better instead of worse. If our advice only makes him worse, then we should not say anything to him about his fault, but keep out of his company ourselves. "Ignorant" especially in their religion. "Doubtful" about something in religion which you can explain and make clear to them. "Comfort," saying kind words of encouragement to them. "Wrongs," things not deserved; for example, persons talking ill about us, accusing us falsely, etc.; but if the false accusations, etc., are going to give scandal, then we must defend ourselves against them. If, for instance, lies were told about the father of a family, and it were likely all his children would believe them and lose their respect for his authority, then he must let them know the truth. But when we patiently suffer wrongs that injure only ourselves, and that are known only to God and ourselves, God sees our sufferings and rewards us. What matters it what people think we are if God knows all our doings and is pleased with them? "Living"--especially for the conversion of sinners, or for those who are on their deathbed. "The dead"--those suffering in Purgatory, especially if we have ever caused them to sin.

A. The chief corporal works of mercy are seven: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to ransom the captive, to harbor the harborless, to visit the sick, and to bury the dead.

"Ransom the captive"--that is, chiefly those who while teaching or defending the true religion in pagan lands are taken prisoners by the enemies of our faith. You have perhaps heard of the Crusades or read about them in your history. Now let me briefly tell you what they were and why they were commenced. About the year 570, that is, about thirteen hundred years ago, when the Christian religion was spread over nearly the whole world, a man named Mahomet was born in Arabia. He pretended to be a great prophet sent from God, and gathered many followers about him. He told them his religion must be spread by the sword. He plundered cities and towns, and divided the spoils with his followers. He told them that all who died fighting for him would certainly go to Heaven. In a short time his followers became very numerous; for his religion was an easy and profitable one, allowing them to commit sin without fear of punishment, and giving them share of his plunder. Many others not influenced by these motives joined his religion for fear of being put to death. His followers were afterwards called by the general name of Saracens. They took possession of the Holy Land, of the City of Jerusalem, of the tomb of Our Lord, and of every spot rendered dear to Christians by Our Saviour's life and labors there. They persecuted the Christians who went to visit the Holy Land, and put many of them to death. When the news of these dreadful crimes reached Europe, the Christian kings and princes, at the request of the Pope, raised large armies and set out for the East to war against the Saracens and recover the Holy Land. Eight of these expeditions, or Crusades, as they are called, went out during two hundred years, that is, from 1095 to 1272. Those who took part in them are called Crusaders, from the word cross, because every soldier wore a red cross upon his shoulder.

Some of these expeditions were successful, and some were not; but, on the whole, they prevented the Saracens from coming to Europe and taking possession of it. Many of the Christian soldiers and many of the pilgrims who visited the Holy Land were taken prisoners by the Saracens and held, threatened with death, till the Christians in Europe paid large sums of money as a ransom for their liberty. To free these captives was a great act of charity, and is one of the corporal works of mercy. Ransom means to pay money for another's freedom. Even now there are sometimes captives in pagan lands.

A pilgrim is one who goes on a journey to visit some holy place for the purpose of thus honoring God. He would not be a pilgrim if he went merely through curiosity. He must go with the holy intention of making his visit an act of worship. In our time pilgrimages to the Holy Land, to Rome, and other places are quite frequent. "To harbor"--that is, to give one who has no home a place of rest. A harbor is an inlet of the ocean where ships can rest and be out of danger; so we can also call the home or place of rest given to the homeless a harbor. "Sick," especially the sick poor and those who have no friends. "To bury" those who are strangers and have no friends. All Christians are bound to perform these works of mercy in one way or another. We have been relieved to some extent of doing the work ourselves by the establishment of institutions where these things are attended to by communities of holy men or women called religious. They take charge of asylums for the orphans, homes for the aged and poor, hospitals for the sick, etc., while many devote themselves to teaching in colleges, academies, and schools. But if these good religious do the work for us, we are obliged on our part to give them the means to carry it on. Therefore we should contribute according to our means to charitable institutions, and indeed to all institutions that promote the glory of God and the good of our religion. To explain more fully, religious are self-sacrificing men and women who, wishing to follow the evangelical counsels, dedicate their lives to the service of God. They live together in communities approved by the Church, under the rule and guidance of their superiors. Their day is divided between prayer, labor, and good works, more time being given to one or other of these according to the special end or aim of the community. The houses in which they live are called convents or monasteries, and the societies of which they are members are called religious orders, communities, or congregations. In some of these religious communities of men all the members are priests, in others some are priests and some are brothers, and in others still all are brothers. Priests belonging to the religious orders are called the regular clergy, to distinguish them from the secular clergy or priests who live and labor in the parishes to which they are assigned by their bishops. Sisters and nuns mean almost the same thing, but we generally call those nuns who live under a more severe rule and never leave the boundaries of their convent. In like manner friars, monks, and brothers lead almost the same kind of life, except that the monks practice greater penances and live under stricter rules. A hermit is a holy man who lives alone in some desert or lonely place, and spends his life in prayer and mortification. In the early ages of the Church there were many of these hermits, or Fathers of the desert, but now religious live together in communities.

The members of religious orders of men or women take three vows, namely, of poverty, chastity, and obedience. These orders were founded by holy persons for some special work approved of by the Church. Thus the Dominicans were founded by St. Dominic, and their special work was to preach the Gospel and convert heretics or persons who had fallen away from the Faith. The Jesuit Fathers were organized by St. Ignatius Loyola, and their work is chiefly teaching in colleges, and giving retreats and missions. So also have the Redemptorists, Franciscans, Passionists, etc., their special works, chiefly the giving of missions. In a word, every community, of either men or women, must perform the particular work for which it was instituted.

But why, you will ask, are there different religious orders? In the first place, all persons are not fitted for the same kind of work: some can teach, others cannot; some can bear the fatigue of nursing the sick, and others cannot. Secondly, when Our Lord was on earth He performed every good work and practiced every virtue perfectly. He fasted, prayed, helped the needy, comforted the sorrowful, healed the sick, taught the ignorant, defended the oppressed, admonished sinners, etc. It would be impossible for any one community to imitate Our Lord in all His works, so each community takes one or more particular works of Our Lord, and tries to imitate Him as perfectly as possible in these at least. Some communities devote their time to prayer; others attend the sick; others teach, etc.; and thus when all unite their different works the combined result is a more perfect imitation of Our Lord's life upon earth.


A. On entering the confessional we should kneel, make the Sign of the Cross, and say to the priest: "Bless me, Father"; then add, "I confess to Almighty God, and to you, Father, that I have sinned."

confession? A. The first things we should tell the priest in confession are the, time of our last confession and whether we said the penance and went to Holy Communion.

what should we do? A. After telling the time of our last confession and Communion we should confess all the mortal sins we have since committed, and all the venial sins we may wish to mention.

"We may wish." We should tell every real sin we have never confessed. If we have no mortal sin to confess, it is well to tell some kind of mortal sin we have committed in our past life, though confessed before. We should do this because when we have only very small sins to confess there is always danger that we may not be truly sorry for them, and without sorrow there is no forgiveness. But when we add to our confession some mortal sin that we know we are sorry for, then our sorrow extends to all our sins, and makes us certain that our confession is a good one. If you should hear the sin of another person while you are waiting to make your own confession, you must keep that sin secret forever. If the person in the confessional is speaking too loud, you should move away so as not to hear; and if you cannot move, hold your hands on your ears so that you may not hear what is being said.

A. When the confessor asks us questions, we must answer them truthfully and clearly.

A. After telling our sins we should listen with attention to the advice which the confessor may think proper to give.

The priest in the confessional acts as judge, father, teacher, and physician. As judge he listens to your accusations against yourself, and passes sentence according to your guilt or innocence. As a father and teacher he loves you, and tries to protect you from your enemies by warning you against them, and teaching you the means to overcome them. But above all, he is a physician, who will treat your soul for its ills and restore it to spiritual health. He examines the sins you have committed, discovers their causes, and then prescribes the remedies to be used in overcoming them. When anything goes amiss with our bodily health we speedily have recourse to the physician, listen anxiously to what he has to say, and use the remedies prescribed. In the very same way we must follow the priest's advice if we wish our souls to be cured of their maladies. Just as a person who is unwell would not go one day to one physician and the next day to another, so a penitent should not change confessors without a good reason; and if you have any choice to make let it be made in the beginning, and let it rest on worthy motives. In a short time your confessor will understand the state of your soul, as the physician who frequently examines you does the state of your body. He will know all the temptations, trials, and difficulties with which you have to contend. He will see whether you are becoming better or worse; whether you are resisting your bad habits or falling more deeply into them; also, whether the remedies given are suited to you, and whether you are using them properly. All this your confessor will know, and it will save you the trouble of always repeating, and him the trouble of always asking. Thus the better your confessor knows you and all the circumstances of your life, the more will he be able to help you; for besides the forgiveness of your sins there are many other benefits derived from the Sacrament of Penance.

But if at any time there should be danger of your making a bad confession to your own confessor--on account of some feeling of false shame--then go to any confessor you please; for it is a thousand times better to seek another confessor than run the risk of making a sacrilegious confession.

Never be so much attached to any one confessor that you would remain away from the Sacraments a long time rather than go to another in his absence.

You should not consider the person in the confessional, but the power he exercises. You should be anxious concerning only this fact: Is there a priest there who was sent by Our Lord? Is there a minister of Christ there who has power to pardon my sins? If so, I will humbly go to him, no matter who he is or what his dispositions.

A. We should end our confession by saying, "I also accuse myself of all the sins of my past life," telling, if we choose, one or several of our past sins.

A. While the priest is giving us absolution, we should from our heart renew the Act of Contrition.

All, especially children, should know this act well before going to confession.


231 Q. What is an indulgence? A. An indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal punishment due to sin.

I have explained before what the temporal punishment is; namely, the debt which we owe to God after He has forgiven our sins, and which we must pay in order that satisfaction be made. It is, as I said, the value of the watch we must return after we have been pardoned for the act of stealing. I said this punishment must be blotted out by our penance. Now, the Church gives us an easy means of so doing, by granting us indulgences. She helps us by giving us a share in the merits of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints. All this we have explained when speaking in the Creed of the communion of saints.

A. An indulgence is not a pardon of sin, nor a license to commit sin, and one who is in a state of mortal sin cannot gain an indulgence.

If you are in a state of mortal sin you lose the merit of any good works you perform. God promises to reward us for good works, and if we are in the state of grace when we do the good works, God will keep His promise and give us the reward; but if we are in mortal sin, we have no right or claim to any reward for good works, because we are enemies of God. For this reason alone we should never remain even for a short time in mortal sin, since it is important for us to have all the merit we can. Even when we will not repent and return to Him, God rewards us for good works done by giving us some temporal blessings or benefits here upon earth. He never allows any good work to go unrewarded any more than He allows an evil deed to go unpunished. Although God is so good to us we nevertheless lose very much by being in a state of mortal sin; for God's grace is in some respects like the money in a bank: the more grace we receive and the better we use it, the more He will bestow upon us. When you deposit money in a savings bank, you get interest for it; and when you leave the interest also in the bank, it is added to your capital, and thus you get interest for the interest. So God not only gives us grace to do good, but also grace for doing the good, or, in other words, He gives us grace for using His grace.

233 Q. How many kinds of indulgences are there? A. There are two kinds of indulgences--plenary and partial.

234 Q. What is a plenary indulgence? A. A plenary indulgence is the full remission of the temporal punishment due to sin.

"Full remission"; so that if you gained a plenary indulgence and died immediately afterwards, you would go at once to Heaven. Persons go to Purgatory, as you know, to have the temporal punishment blotted out; but if you have no temporal punishment to make satisfaction for, there is no Purgatory for you. Gaining a plenary indulgence requires proper dispositions, as you may understand from its very great advantages. To gain it we must not only hate sin and be heartily sorry even for our venial sins, but we must not have a desire for even venial sin. We should always try to gain a plenary indulgence, for in so doing we always gain at least part of it, or a partial indulgence, greater or less according to our dispositions.

235 Q. What is a partial indulgence? A. A partial indulgence is the remission of a part of the temporal punishment due to sin.

punishment due to sins? A. The Church by means of indulgences remits the temporal punishment due to sin by applying to us the merits of Jesus Christ, and the superabundant satisfactions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints, which merits and satisfactions are its spiritual treasury.

"Superabundant" means more than was necessary. (See explanation of communion of saints in the "Creed.")

237 Q. What must we do to gain an indulgence? A. To gain an indulgence we must be in a state of grace and perform the works enjoined.

"Works"--to visit certain churches or altars; to give alms; to say certain prayers, etc. For a plenary indulgence it is required in addition to go to confession and Holy Communion, and to pray for the intention of our Holy Father the Pope; for this last requirement it is sufficient to recite one Our Father and one Hail Mary. Now, what does praying for the intention of the Pope or bishop or anyone else mean? It does not mean that you are to pray for the Pope himself, but for whatever he is praying for or wishes you to pray for. For instance, on one day the Holy Father may be praying for the success of some missions that he is establishing in pagan lands; on another, he may be praying that the enemies of the Church may not succeed in their plans against it; on another, he may be praying for the conversion of some nation, and so on; whatever he is praying for or wishes you to pray for is called his intention.

There are three basic ways of gaining a partial indulgence. A partial indulgence can be gained by: 1) raising one's heart to God amidst the duties and trials of life and making a pious invocation, even only mentally; 2) giving of oneself or one's goods to those in need; 3) voluntarily depriving oneself of something pleasing, in a spirit of penance.

A partial indulgence is also granted for reciting various well-known prayers, such as the acts of faith, hope, charity and contrition, and for performing certain acts of devotion, such as making a Spiritual Communion.

To gain an indulgence you must also have the intention of gaining it. There are many prayers that we sometimes say to which indulgences are attached, and we do not know it. How can we gain them? By making a general intention every morning while saying our prayers to gain all the indulgences we can during the day, whether we know them or not. For example, there is a partial indulgence granted us every time we devoutly make the Sign of the Cross or devoutly use an article of devotion, such as a crucifix or scapular, properly blessed by any priest. Many may not know of these indulgences; but if they have the general intention mentioned above, they will gain the indulgence every time they perform the work. In the same way, by having this intention all those who are in the habit of going to confession every two weeks are able to gain a plenary indulgence when they fulfill the other prescribed conditions for gaining a plenary indulgence, even when they do not know that they are gaining the indulgence.

Since partial indulgences were formerly designated by specific amounts of time, you sometimes see printed after a little prayer: An indulgence of forty days, or, an indulgence of one hundred days, or of a year, etc. What does that mean? Does it mean that a person who said that prayer would get out of Purgatory forty days sooner than he would have if he had not said it? No. I told you how the early Christians were obliged to do public penance for their sins; to stand at the door of the church and beg the prayers of those entering. Sometimes their penance lasted for forty days, sometimes for one hundred days, and sometimes for a longer period. By an indulgence of forty days the Church granted the remission of as much of the temporal punishment as the early Christians would have received for doing forty days' public penance. Just how much of the temporal punishment God blotted out for forty days' public penance we do not know; but whatever it was, God blotted out just the same for one who gained an indulgence of forty days by saying a little prayer to which the indulgence was attached. But why, you may wonder, did the early Christians do such penances? Because in those days their faith was stronger than ours, and they understood better than we do the malice of sin and the punishment it deserves. Later the Christians grew more careless about their religion and the service of God. The Church, therefore, wishing to save its children, made it easier for them to do penance. If it had continued to impose the public penances, many would not have performed them, and thus would have lost their souls.


238 Q. What is the Holy Eucharist? A. The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which contains the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine.

When we say "contains," we mean the Sacrament which is the body and blood, etc. The Holy Eucharist is the same living body of Our Lord which He had upon earth; but it is in a new form, under the appearances of bread and wine. Therefore Our Lord in the tabernacle can see and hear us.

A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the night before He died.

"Last Supper," on Holy Thursday night. (See Explanation of the Passion, Lesson 8, Question 78.)

A. When Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist the twelve Apostles were present.

A. Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist by taking bread, blessing, breaking, and giving to His Apostles, saying: "Take ye and eat. This is My body"; and then by taking the cup of wine, blessing and giving it, saying to them: "Drink ye all of this. This is My blood which shall be shed for the remission of sins. Do this for a commemoration of Me."

"Eucharist" means thanks. Hence this Sacrament is called Eucharist, because Our Lord gave thanks before changing the bread and wine into His body and blood, and because the offering of it to God is the most solemn act of thanksgiving. "Do this"--that is, the same thing I am doing, namely, changing bread and wine into My body and blood. "Commemoration"--that is, to remind you of Me, that you may continue to do the same till the end of time.

blood"? A. When Our Lord said, "This is My body," the substance of the bread was changed into the substance of His body. When He said, "This is My blood," the substance of the wine was changed into the substance of His blood.

"Substance" literally means that which stands underneath. Underneath what? Underneath the outward appearances or qualities--such as color, taste, figure, smell, etc.--that are perceptible to our senses. Therefore we never see the substance of anything. Of this seat, for instance, I see the color, size, and shape; I feel the hardness, etc.; but I do not see the substance, namely, the wood of which it is made. When the substance of anything is changed, the outward appearances change with it. But not so in the Holy Eucharist; for by a miracle the appearances of bread and wine remain the same after the substance has been changed as they were before. As the substance alone is changed in the Holy Eucharist, and as I cannot see the substance, I cannot see the change. I am absolutely certain, however, that the change takes place, because Our Lord said so; and I believe Him, because He could not deceive me. He is God, and God could not tell a lie, because He is infinite truth. This change is a great miracle, and that is the reason we cannot understand it, though we believe it. Once at a marriage in Cana of Galilee (John 2) Our Lord changed water into wine. The people were poor, and Our Lord, His Blessed Mother, and the Apostles were present at the wedding when the wine ran short; and our Blessed Lady, always so kind to everyone, wishing to spare these poor people from being shamed before their friends, asked Our Lord to perform the miracle, and at her request He did so, and changed many vessels of water into the best of wine. In that miracle Our Lord changed the substance of the water into the substance of the wine. Why, then, could He not change in the same way and by the same power the substance of bread and wine into the substance of His own body and blood? When He changed the water into wine, besides changing the substance, He changed everything else about it; so that it had no longer the appearance of water, but everyone could see that it was wine. But in changing the bread and wine into His body and blood He changes only the substance, and leaves everything else unchanged so that it still looks and tastes like bread and wine; even after the change has taken place and you could not tell by looking at it that it was changed. You know it only from your faith in the words of our divine Lord, when He tells you it is changed.

Again, it is much easier to change one thing into another than to make it entirely out of nothing. Anyone who can create out of nothing can surely change one thing into another. Now Our Lord, being God, created the world out of nothing; and He could therefore easily change the substance of bread into the substance of flesh. I have said Our Lord's body in the Holy Eucharist is a living body, and every living body contains blood; and that is why we receive both the body and the blood of Our Lord under the appearance of the bread alone. The priest receives the body and blood of Our Lord under the appearance of both bread and wine, while the people receive it only under the appearance of bread. The early Christians used to receive it as the priest does--under the appearance of bread and under the appearance of wine; but the Church had to make a change on account of circumstances. First, all the people had to drink from the same chalice or cup, and some would not like that, and show disrespect for the Blessed Sacrament by refusing it. Then there was great danger of spilling the precious blood, passing it from one to another; and finally, some said that Christ's blood was not in His body under the appearance of bread. This was false; and to show that it was false, and for the other reasons, the Church after that gave Holy Communion to the people under the appearance of bread alone. The Church always believes and teaches the same truths. It always believed that the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of bread contained also Our Lord's blood; but it taught it more clearly when it was denied.

and under the form of wine? A. Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the form of bread and under the form of wine.

had been changed into the substance of the body and blood of Our Lord? A. After the substance of the bread and wine had been changed into the substance of the body and blood of Our Lord there remained only the appearances of bread and wine.

245 Q. What do you mean by the appearances of bread and wine? A. By the appearances of bread and wine I mean the figure, the color, the taste, and whatever appears to the senses.

"Senses"--that is, eyes, ears, etc. Thus we have the sense of seeing, the sense of hearing, the sense of tasting, the sense of smelling, the sense of feeling.

The Holy Eucharist is the body of Our Lord just as long as the appearances of bread and wine remain, and when they go away Our Lord's body goes also. For example, if a church, tabernacle and all, was buried by a great earthquake, and after many years the people succeeded in getting at the tabernacle and opening it, and then found in the ciborium--that is, the vessel in which the Blessed Sacrament is kept in the tabernacle--only black dust, Our Lord would not be there, although He was there when the church was buried. He would not be there, because there was no longer the appearance of bread there: it had all been changed into ashes by time, and Our Lord left it when the change took place. But if the appearance of bread had remained unchanged, He would be there even after so many years.

When we receive Holy Communion, the appearance of bread remains for about fifteen or twenty minutes after we receive, and then it changes or disappears. Therefore during these fifteen or twenty minutes that the appearance remains Our Lord Himself is really with us; and for that reason we should remain about twenty minutes after Mass on the day we receive, making a thanksgiving, speaking to Our Lord, and listening to Him speaking to our conscience. What disrespect some people show Our Lord by rushing out of the church immediately after Mass and Holy Communion, sometimes beginning to talk or look around before making any thanksgiving! When you receive Holy Communion, after returning to your seat you need not immediately begin to read your prayerbook, but may bow your head and speak to Our Lord while He is present with you. After the appearances of bread vanish, Our Lord's bodily presence goes also, but He remains with us by His grace as long as we do not fall into mortal sin.

blood of Our Lord called? A. This change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Our Lord is called Transubstantiation.

"Transubstantiation"--that is, the changing of one substance into another substance; for example, the changing of the wood in a seat into stone.

substance of the body and blood of Christ? A. The substance of the bread and wine was changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ by His almighty power.

Christ continue to be made in the Church? A. This change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continues to be made in the Church by Jesus Christ through the ministry of His priests.

249 Q. When did Christ give His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood? A. Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood when He said to His Apostles, "Do this in commemoration of Me."

250 Q. How do the priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ? A. The priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ through the words of consecration in the Mass, which are the words of Christ: "This is My body; this is My blood."

"Consecration." At what part of the Mass are the words of consecration pronounced? Just before the Elevation; that is, just before the priest holds up the Host and the chalice, while the altar boy rings the bell.

When the priest is going to say Mass he prepares everything necessary in the sacristy--the place or room near the altar where the sacred vessels and vestments are kept, and where the priest vests. He takes the chalice--that is, the long silver or gold goblet--out of its case; then he covers it with a long, narrow, white linen cloth called a purificator. Over this he places a small silver or gold plate called the paten, on which he places a host--that is, a thin piece of white bread prepared for Mass, perfectly round, and about the size of the bottom of a small drinking glass. He then covers this host with a white card, called a pall, after which he covers the chalice and all with a square cloth or veil that matches the vestments. Then he puts on his own vestments as follows: Over his shoulders the amice, a square, white cloth. Next the alb, a long white garment reaching down to his feet. He draws it about his waist with the cincture, or white cord. He places on his left arm the maniple, a short, narrow vestment. Around his neck he places the stole, a long, narrow vestment with a cross on each end. Over all he places the chasuble, or large vestment with the cross on the back. Lastly, he puts on his cap or biretta. Before going further I must say something about the color and signification of the vestments. There are five colors used, namely, white, red, green, violet, and black. White signifies innocence, and is used on the feasts of Our Lord, of the Blessed Virgin, and of some saints. Red signifies love, and is used on the feasts of the Holy Ghost and of the martyrs. Green signifies hope, and is used on Sundays from the Epiphany to Pentecost, unless some feast requiring another color falls on Sunday. Violet signifies penance, and is used in Advent and Lent. Black signifies sorrow, and is used on Good Friday and in Masses for the dead. As regards the vestments themselves: the amice signifies preparation to resist the attacks of the devil; the alb is the symbol of innocence; the cincture of charity; the maniple of penance; the stole of immortality; and the chasuble of love, by which we are enabled to bear the light burden Our Lord is pleased to lay upon us.

Vested as described, when the candles have been lighted on the altar, the priest takes the covered chalice in his hand and goes to the altar, where, after arranging everything, he begins Mass. After saying many prayers, he uncovers the chalice, and the acolyte or altar boy brings up wine and water, and the priest puts some into the chalice. Then he says a prayer, and offers to God the bread and wine to be consecrated. This is called the offertory of the Mass, and takes place after the boy presents the wine and water. Immediately after the Sanctus the priest begins what is called the Canon of the Mass, and soon after comes to the time of consecration, and has before him on the paten the white bread, or host, and in the chalice wine. Remember, it is only bread and wine as yet. After saying some prayers the priest bends down over the altar and pronounces the words of consecration, namely, "This is My body," over the bread; and "This is My blood," over the wine. Then there is no longer the bread the priest brought out and the wine the boy gave, upon the altar, but instead of both the body and blood of Our Lord. After the words of consecration, the priest genuflects or kneels before the altar to adore Our Lord, who just came there at the words of consecration; he next holds up the body of Our Lord--the Host--for the people also to see and adore it; he then replaces it on the altar and again genuflects. He does just the same with the chalice. This is called the Elevation. The altar boy then rings the bell to call the people's attention to it, for it is the most solemn part of the Mass. After more prayers the priest takes and consumes, that is, swallows, the sacred Host and drinks the precious blood from the chalice. Then the people come up to the altar to receive Holy Communion. But where does the priest get Holy Communion for them if he himself took all he consecrated? He opens the tabernacle, and there, in a large, beautiful vessel he has small Hosts. He consecrates a large number of these small hosts sometimes while he is consecrating the larger one for himself. When they are consecrated, he places them in the tabernacle, where they are kept with the sanctuary lamp burning before them, till at the different Masses they have all been given out to the people. Then he consecrates others at the next Mass, and does as before. The size of the Host does not make the slightest difference, as Our Lord is present whole and entire in the smallest particle of the Host. A little piece that you could scarcely see would be the body of Our Lord. However, the particle that is given to the people is about the size of a twenty-five-cent piece, so that they can swallow it before it melts. In receiving Holy Communion you must never let it entirely dissolve in your mouth, for if you do not swallow it you will not receive Holy Communion at all.

Here I might tell you what Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is. The priest sometimes consecrates at the Mass two large hosts, one he consumes himself, as I have told you, and the other he places in the tabernacle in a little gold case. When it is time for Benediction, he places this little case--made of glass and gold, about the size of a watch--in the gold or silver monstrance which you see on the altar at Benediction. It is made to represent rays of light coming from the Blessed Sacrament. After the choir sings, the priest says the prayer and goes up and blesses the people with the Blessed Sacrament; that is, when he holds up the monstrance over the people Our Lord Himself blesses them. Should we not be very anxious, therefore, to go to Benediction? If the bishop came to the church, we would all be anxious to receive his blessing; and if our Holy Father the Pope came, everybody would rush to the church. But what are they compared to Our Lord Himself? And yet when He comes to give His blessing, many seem to care little about it. Because Our Lord in His goodness is pleased to give us His blessing often, we are indifferent about it. The holy teachers and fathers of the Church tell us that if we could see the sanctuary at Mass and Benediction as it really is, we would see it filled with angels all bowed down, adoring Our Lord. These good angels must be very much displeased at those who are so indifferent at Mass or Benediction as not to pay any attention; and above all, at those who stay away. The large silk cloak the priest wears at Benediction is called the cope, and the long scarf that is placed over his shoulders the humeral, or Benediction veil. At the words of consecration, you must know, the priest does not say "This is Christ's body," but "This is My body"; for at the altar the priest is there in the place of Our Lord Himself. It is Our Lord who offers up the sacrifice, and the priest is His instrument. That is why the priest wears vestments while saying Mass or performing his sacred duties, to remind him that he is, as it were, another person; that he is not acting in his own name or right, but in the name and place of our Blessed Lord.

I have given you in a general way a description of the Mass: let me now mention its particular parts by their proper names, and tell you what they are. At the foot of the altar the priest says the Confiteor, a psalm, and other prayers as a preparation. Then he ascends the altar steps--praying as he goes--and says the Introit, which is some portion of the Holy Scripture suitable to the feast of the day. He next says the Kyrie Eleison, which means: Lord, have mercy on us. He then says the Gloria, or hymn of praise, though not in all Masses. After the Gloria he says the Collect, which is a collection of prayers in which the priest prays for the needs of the Church and of its children. This is followed by the Epistle, which is a part of the Holy Scripture. Then the Mass-book is removed to the other side of the altar, and the priest reads the Gospel--that is, some portion of the Gospel written by the evangelists. After the Gospel the priest, except in some Masses, says the Creed, which is a profession of his faith in the mysteries of our religion. After this the priest uncovers the chalice, and offers up the bread and wine which is to be consecrated. This is called the Offertory of the Mass. The offertory is followed by the Lavabo, or washing of the priest's hands: first, that the priest's hands may be purified to touch the Sacred Host; and, second, to signify the purity of soul he must have to offer the Holy Sacrifice. After saying some prayers in secret he says the Preface, which is a solemn hymn of praise and thanksgiving. The Preface ends with the Sanctus. The Sanctus is followed by the Canon of the Mass. Canon means a rule; so this part of the Mass is called the Canon, because it never changes. The Epistle, Gospel, prayers, etc., are different on the different feasts, but the Canon of the Mass is always the same. The Canon is the part of the Mass from the Sanctus down to the time the priest again covers the chalice. After the Canon the priest says the Post-Communion, or prayer after Communion; then he gives the blessing and goes to the other side of the altar, and ends Mass by saying the last Gospel.

During the Mass the priest frequently makes the Sign of the Cross, genuflects or bends the knee before the altar, strikes his breast, etc. What do all these ceremonies mean? By the cross the priest is reminded of the death of Our Lord; he genuflects as an act of humility, and he strikes his breast to show his own unworthiness. You will understand all the ceremonies of the altar if you remember that Our Lord--the King of kings--is present on it, and the priest acts in His presence as the servants in a king's palace would act when approaching their king or in his presence, showing their respect by bowing, kneeling, etc. You will see this more clearly if you watch the movements of the priest at the altar while the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.


251 Q. Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist? A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist:

(1) To unite us to Himself and to nourish our souls with His divine


(2) To increase sanctifying grace and all the virtues in our souls. (3) To lessen our evil inclinations. (4) To be a pledge of everlasting life. (5) To fit our bodies for a glorious resurrection. (6) To continue the sacrifice of the Cross in His Church.

"To nourish." The Holy Eucharist does to our souls what natural food does to our bodies. It strengthens them and makes up for the losses we have sustained by sin, etc. "A pledge," because it does not seem probable that a person who all during life had been fed and nourished with the sacred body of Our Lord should after death be buried in Hell. "To fit our bodies," because Our Lord has promised that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, that is, receive the Holy Eucharist, He will raise us up on the last day, or Day of Judgment. (John 6:55).

A. We are united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by means of Holy Communion.

253 Q. What is Holy Communion? A. Holy Communion is the receiving of the body and blood of Christ.

Holy Communion is therefore the receiving of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.

254 Q. What is necessary to make a good Communion? A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in a state of sanctifying grace, to be fasting for one hour, and to have a right intention.

"Fasting"--that is, not having taken any food or drink for one hour before the time of Communion. (Water and true medicine do not break the fast and may be taken at any time.) What, then, are you to do, if, without thinking, you break your fast? Do not go to Communion at that Mass; you can remain in church and receive Communion at the following Mass. Never, never, on any account, go to Holy Communion when you have broken your fast. Never let fear or shame or anything else make you do such a thing. It is no shame to break your fast by mistake; but it is a great sin to knowingly go to Communion after breaking your fast.

"A right intention"--holy and spiritual motive, such as, to obey Our Lord's command, to receive strength to resist temptation, or to be united with Our Lord.

255 Q. Does he who receives Communion in mortal sin receive the body and blood of Christ? A. He who receives Communion in mortal sin receives the body and blood of Christ, but does not receive His grace, and he commits a great sacrilege.

"The body and blood," because the appearance of bread and wine is there after consecration, and he receives it. He who receives the Holy Eucharist in mortal sin receives Our Lord into a filthy soul. If a great and highly-esteemed friend was coming to visit your house, would you not take care to have everything clean and neat, and pleasing to him? And the greater the dignity of the person coming, the more careful you would be. But what are all the persons of dignity in the world--kings or popes--compared with Our Lord, who leaves the beauties of Heaven to come to visit our soul? and the purest we can make it is not pure enough for Him. But He is kind to us, and is satisfied with our poor preparation if He sees we are doing our very best. But oh, what a shame to receive Him into our soul without any preparation! and more horrible still, to fill it with vile sins, that we know are most disgusting to Him! No wonder, therefore, that receiving Holy Communion unworthily is so great a crime, and so deserving of God's punishment. Why should not the heavenly Father punish us for treating His beloved Son with such shameful disrespect and contempt?

the graces of Holy Communion? A. To receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion it is not enough to be free from mortal sin, but we should be free from all affection to venial sin, and should make acts of lively faith, of firm hope and ardent love.

A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion is the abstaining for one hour from everything which is taken as food or drink.

{T.N.: The reprint book, upon which this e-text is based, contains the statement, "published . . . with minor revisions to conform with the new regulations on fasting and indulgences, etc."}

"Food or drink." If you swallowed a button, for example, it would not break your fast, because it is not food or drink.

fasting? A. Anyone in danger of death is allowed to receive Communion when not fasting.

"Not fasting." But then the Holy Communion is called by another name; it is called the Viaticum, and the priest uses a different prayer in giving it to the sick person. When a person dies, he goes, as it were, on a journey from this world to the next. Now, when persons are going on a journey they must have food to strengthen them. Our Lord wished, therefore, that all His children who had to go on this most important of all journeys--from this world to the next--should be first strengthened by this sacred food, His own body and blood. The Latin word for road or way is via, and Viaticum therefore means food for the way. Not only are persons in danger of death allowed to receive when not fasting, but they are obliged to receive; and the priest is obliged under pain of sin to bring Holy Communion to the dying at any hour of the day or night.

When I speak of a great journey from this world to the next, from earth to Heaven, you must not understand me to mean that it is a great many miles from earth to Heaven, or that it takes a long time to go to the next world. No. We cannot measure the distance, nor does it take time to get there. The instant we die, no matter where that happens, our soul is in the next world, and judged by God.

A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of mortal sin, during the Easter time and when in danger of death.

A. It is well to receive Holy Communion often, as nothing is a greater aid to a holy life than often to receive the Author of all graces and the Source of all good.

A. After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring Our Lord, in thanking Him for the graces we have received and in asking Him for the blessings we need.


262 Q. When and where are the bread and wine changed into the body and blood of Christ? A. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ at the consecration in the Mass.

263 Q. What is the Mass? A. The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ.

The Holy Sacrifice is called Mass probably from the words the priest says at the end when he turns to the people and says, "Ite Missa est"; that is, when he tells them the Holy Sacrifice is over.

A. A sacrifice is the offering of an object by a priest to God alone, and the consuming of it to acknowledge that He is the Creator and Lord of all things.

"Sacrifice." From the very earliest history of man we find people--for example, Abel, Noe, etc.--offering up sacrifice to God; that is, taking something and offering it to God, and then destroying it to show that they believed God to be the Master of life and death, and the Supreme Lord of all things. These offerings were sometimes plants or fruits, but most frequently animals.

When men lost the knowledge of the true God and began to worship idols of wood and stone, they began or continued to offer sacrifice to these false gods. Very often, too, they sacrificed human beings to please, as they imagined, these gods. They believed there was a god for everything--a god for the ocean, a god for thunder, a god for wind, for war, etc.; and when anything happened that frightened or injured the people, they believed that some of these gods were offended, and offered up sacrifice to pacify them. They had a temple in Rome called the Pantheon, or temple of all the gods, and here they kept the idols of all the gods they could think of or know. At Athens, they were afraid of neglecting any god whom they might thus give offense, and so they had an altar for the unknown god. When St. Paul came to preach, he saw this altar to the unknown god, and told them that was the God he came to preach about. (Acts 17). He preached to them the existence of the true God, and showed them that there is only one God and not many gods.

They did not have these idols of wood and stone in their temples for the same reason that we have images in our churches, because they believed that the idols were really gods, and offered sacrifice to them, whereas we know that our images are the works of men. Near the city of Jerusalem there was a great idol named Molech, to which parents offered their infants in sacrifice. We know, too, from the history of this country that the Indians used to send a beautiful young girl in a white canoe over the falls of Niagara every year, as a sacrifice offered to the god of the falls. Even yet human sacrifices are offered up on savage islands. Sometimes certain animals were selected to be heathen gods. The people who worship idols, animals, or other things of that kind as gods are called pagans, idolaters, or heathens.

The Israelites, who worshipped the true God and offered Him sacrifices because He made known to them by revelation that they should do so, had four kinds of sacrifice. They offered one for sin, another in thanksgiving for benefits received, another as an act of worship, and another to beg God's blessing. It is just for these four ends or objects we offer up the one Christian sacrifice of the holy Mass. In the beginning the head of the family offered sacrifice--as Noe did when he came out of the Ark--but after God gave His laws to Moses He appointed priests to offer up the sacrifices. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the first priest appointed, and after him his descendants were priests. When Our Lord came and instituted a new sacrifice He established the priesthood of the New Law, and appointed His own priests, namely, the Apostles, with St. Peter as their chief, and after them their lawfully appointed successors, the bishops of the world, with the Pope as their chief. The sacrifices of the Old Law were figures of the sacrifice of the New Law, and were to cease at its institution; and when the ancient sacrifices ceased the ancient priesthood was at an end.

265 Q. Is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross? A. The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross.

But how is the Mass a sacrifice? It is a sacrifice because at the Mass the body and blood of Our Lord are offered to His heavenly Father at the consecration, and afterwards consumed by the priest. In offering up the body and blood of Our Lord the bread and wine are consecrated separately, and kept separate on the altar at Mass to signify their separation at Our Lord's death in the sacrifice of the Cross, when His sacred blood flowed from His body. The Holy Eucharist is also a Sacrament, because it has the three things necessary to constitute a Sacrament; namely, (1) The outward sign--that is, the appearance of bread and wine. (2) The inward grace; for it is Jesus Christ Himself, the Author and Dispenser of all graces. (3) It was instituted by Our Lord.

The Holy Eucharist is therefore both a sacrifice and a Sacrament. It is a sacrifice when offered at Mass, and a Sacrament when we receive it and when it is reserved in the tabernacle.

A. The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross because the offering and the priest are the same--Christ Our Blessed Lord; and the ends for which the sacrifice of the Mass is offered are the same as those of the sacrifice of the Cross.

On the Cross the offering was the body and blood of Our Lord; the one who offered it was Our Lord; the reason for which He offered it was that He might atone for sin; the one to whom He offered it was His heavenly Father. Now, at Mass it is the same. The object offered is Our Lord's body and blood, the one suffering is Our Lord Himself, through the priest; it is offered for sin, and it is offered to the heavenly Father. All things are the same, except that the blood of Our Lord is not shed, and Our Lord does not die again.

offered? A. The ends for which the sacrifice of the Cross was offered were: first, to honor and glorify God; second, to thank Him for all the graces bestowed on the whole world; third, to satisfy God's justice for the sins of men; fourth, to obtain all graces and blessings.

the sacrifice of the Mass? A. Yes; the manner in which the sacrifice is offered is different. On the Cross Christ really shed His blood and was really slain; in the Mass there is no real shedding of blood nor real death, because Christ can die no more; but the sacrifice of the Mass, through the separate consecration of the bread and the wine, represents His death on the Cross.

269 Q. How should we assist at Mass? A. We should assist at Mass with great interior recollection and piety and with every outward mark of respect and devotion.

If you were admitted into the presence of a king or of the Holy Father you would be careful not to show any indifference or disrespect in his presence. You would not be guilty of looking around or of talking idly to those near you. Your eyes would be constantly fixed on the great person present. So should you be at Mass, for there you are admitted into the presence of the King of kings, our divine Lord. Your whole attention, therefore, should be reverently given to Him, and to no other. How displeasing it must be to Him to have some in His presence who care so little for Him and who insult Him without thought or regard! If we acted in the presence of any prince as we sometimes act in the presence of Our Lord on the altar, we should be turned out of his house, with orders not to come again. But Our Lord suffers all patiently and meekly, though He will not allow any of this disrespect to go unpunished in this world or in the next. Knowing this, some holy persons offer up their prayers and Holy Communions in reparation for these insults, and try to atone for all the insults offered to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. They have united in holy society for this purpose, called the Apostleship of Prayer, or League of the Sacred Heart, now established in many parishes. If you do not belong to such a society, you should make such an offering yourself privately.

In the Old Law the people brought to the temple whatever they wished the priests to offer up for them--sometimes a lamb, sometimes a dove, sometimes fruit, etc. The offering or sacrifice was theirs, and they offered it up by the hands of the priests. In the early ages of the Church the Christians brought to the priests the bread and wine to be consecrated and offered up at Mass. Now as the bread and wine used at the Mass must be of a particular kind, namely, wheaten bread and wine of the grape, there was some danger of the people not bringing the proper kind: so instead of the people bringing these things themselves, the priests began to buy them, and the people gave him money for his own support; and thus you have the origin of offering money to the priest for celebrating Mass for your intention. The money is not to pay for the Mass, because you could not buy any sacred thing without committing sin. The priest may use the money also for the candles burned, the vestments and sacred vessels, etc., used at the Mass. To buy a holy thing for money is the sin of simony--so called after Simon, a magician, who tried to bribe the Apostles to give him Confirmation when he was unworthy of it. To buy religious articles before they are blessed is not simony, nor even after they are blessed, if you pay only for the material of which they are made; but if you tried to buy the blessing, it would be simony. When the Holy Mass is offered, the fruits or benefits of it are divided into four classes. The first benefit comes to the priest who celebrates the Mass; the second, to the one for whom he offers the Mass; the third benefit to those who are present at it; and the fourth to all the faithful throughout the world.

A. The best manner of hearing Mass is to offer it to God with the priest for the same purpose for which it is said, to meditate on Christ's sufferings and death, and to go to Holy Communion.

That is, to offer it up for whatever intention the priest is offering it--for the dead, for the conversion of sinners, for the good of others, etc.; but especially for the four ends of which I have already spoken--to worship God, thank Him, etc. "Christ's death," of which it reminds us. "Holy Communion," if we are in a state of grace, and have prepared to receive Communion.

You should go to Holy Communion as often as possible, and you should try every day to make yourself more worthy of that great Sacrament. Think of it! To receive your God and Saviour into your soul, and to be united with Him, as the word communion means! The early Christians used to go to Communion very frequently. The Church requires us to go to Holy Communion at least once a year, but we should not be satisfied with doing merely what is necessary to avoid mortal sin. Do we try to keep away from persons we love? Then if we really love Our Lord should we not desire to receive Him? All good Catholics should go to Holy Communion at least once a week, on Sunday. Persons wishing to lead truly holy lives should go to Communion more often, or even every day.

When we cannot go really to Communion we can merit God's grace by making a spiritual Communion. What is a spiritual Communion? It is an earnest desire to receive Communion. You prepare yourself as if you were really going to Communion; you try to imagine yourself going up, receiving the Blessed Sacrament, and returning to your place. Then you thank God for all His blessings to you as you would have done had you received. This is an act of devotion, and one very pleasing to God, as many holy writers tell us.

I cannot leave this lesson on the Holy Eucharist without telling you something of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, now so universally practiced and so closely connected with the devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. The Church grants many indulgences, and Our Lord Himself promises many rewards to those who honor the Sacred Heart. But what do we mean by the Sacred Heart? We mean the real natural heart of Our Lord, to which His divinity is united as it is to His whole body. But why do we adore this real, natural heart of Our Lord? We adore it because love is said to be in the heart, and we wish to return Our Lord love, and gratitude for the great love He has shown to us in dying for us, and in instituting the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, by which He can remain with us in His sacred humanity. When Our Lord appeared to Saint Margaret Mary He said: "Behold this Heart, that has loved men so ardently, and is so little loved in return." The first Friday of every month and the whole month of June are dedicated to the Sacred Heart.


"Unction" means the anointing or rubbing with oil or ointment. "Extreme" means last. Therefore Extreme Unction means the last anointing. It is called the "last" because other unctions or anointings are received before it. We are anointed at Baptism on three parts of the body--on the breast, the back, and the head. We are anointed on the forehead at Confirmation; and when priests are ordained they are anointed on the hands. The last time we are anointed is just before death, and it is therefore very properly called the last anointing, or Extreme Unction. But if the person should not die after being anointed would it still be called Extreme Unction? Yes; because at the time it was given it was thought to be the last. It sometimes happens that persons receive Extreme Unction several times in their lives, because they could receive it every time they were in danger of death by sickness. Suppose a person should die immediately after being anointed in Baptism or Confirmation, would the anointing in Baptism or Confirmation then become Extreme Unction? No. Because Extreme Unction is in itself a separate and distinct Sacrament--a special anointing with prayers for the sick. Oil is used in Extreme Unction--as in Confirmation--as a sign of strength; for as the priest applies the holy oil in the Sacrament, the grace of the Sacrament is taking effect upon the soul. This Sacrament was instituted as much for the body as for the soul, as all the prayers said by the priest while administering it indicate. It is given generally after a person has made his confession and received the Viaticum, and when his soul is already in a state of grace; showing that it is in a special way intended for the body. It must be given only in sickness; for although one might be in danger of death if the danger did not come from within, but from without, he could not be anointed. A soldier in battle, persons being shipwrecked, firemen working at a great fire, etc., could not be anointed, although they are in very great danger of death; because the danger is not from within themselves, but from without. If, however, these persons were so frightened that there was danger of their dying from the fright, they could then be anointed.

271 Q. What is the Sacrament of Extreme Unction? A. Extreme Unction is the Sacrament which, through the anointing and prayer of the priest, gives health and strength to the soul, and sometimes to the body, when we are in danger of death from sickness.

"Anointing." In this Sacrament the priest anoints all our senses--the eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth, the hands, and the feet--and at the same time prays God to forgive the poor sick person all the sins he has committed by any of these. The eyes, by looking at bad objects or pictures; the ears, by listening to bad conversation; the nose, by indulging too much in sensual pleasures; the mouth, by cursing, lying, bad conversation, backbiting, etc.; the hands, by stealing, fighting, or doing sinful things; the feet, by carrying us to do wrong or to bad places. I told you already most of our sins are committed for our body, and the senses are the chief instruments. "Strength to the body," if it is for our spiritual welfare. If God foresees, as He foresees all things, that after our sickness we shall lead better lives and do penance for our sins, then He may be pleased to restore us to health, and give us an opportunity of making up for our past faults. But if He foresees that after our sickness we would again lead bad lives, and fall perhaps into greater sins, then He will likely take us when we are prepared, and will not restore us again to health. As He always knows and does what is best for His children, we must in sickness always be resigned to His holy will, and be satisfied with what He sees fit to do with us.

A. We should receive Extreme Unction when we are in danger of death from sickness, or from a wound or accident.

Extreme Unction? A. We should not wait until we are in extreme danger before we receive Extreme Unction, but if possible we should receive it whilst we have the use of our senses.

We should always be glad to receive the grace of the Sacraments. When, therefore, we are sufficiently ill to be anointed--when there is any danger of death--we should send for the priest at once. If the sick person has any chance of recovering, the Sacrament will help him and hasten the recovery; but if the priest is sent for just when the person is in the last agony of death, the person could not recover except by a miracle, and God does not perform miracles for ordinary reasons. If you are in doubt whether the person is sick enough to receive the last Sacraments, do not be the judge yourself, send for the priest and let him judge; and then all the responsibility is removed from you in case the person should die without the Sacraments. Very often persons are near death, and their relatives do not know it. The priest, like the doctor, has experience in these cases, and can judge of the danger. Again, do not foolishly believe, as some seem to do, that if the priest comes to anoint the sick person it will frighten him by making him think he is going to die. It has never been known that the priest killed anyone by coming to see him; and if these same persons who are now sick receive the Sacraments in the church from the very same priest, why should they be afraid to receive them from him in their house? And if they are so near death that a little fright would kill them, then they are surely sick enough to receive the Sacraments. The sick person who is afraid that Extreme Unction will kill him or hasten his death shows that he has not the proper faith and confidence in God's grace. They who do not wish to receive Holy Communion or the Holy Viaticum in their houses do not want Our Lord to visit them. How ungrateful they are! When Our Lord was on earth the people carried the sick out into the streets to lay them near Him that He might cure them. Now, He does not require us to do that, but comes Himself to the sick in the most humble manner, and they refuse to receive Him. See how ungrateful, therefore, and how wanting in faith and devotion such persons are! If the sick person is one who has been careless about his religion, and has for some time neglected to receive the Sacraments, do not wait for him to ask for the priest or for his consent to send for him. Few persons ever believe they are so near death as they really are: they are afraid to think of their past lives, and do not like to send for the priest, or at least they put off doing so, frequently till it is too late. The devil tempts them to put off the reception of the Sacraments, in hopes that they may die without them, and be his forever. In these cases speak to the sick man quietly and gently, and ask him if he would not like to have the priest come and say a few prayers for his recovery. Do not say anything about the Sacraments if you are afraid he will refuse. Simply bring the priest to the sick man, and he will attend to all the rest. Even if the person should refuse--if he has been baptized in the Catholic religion--send for the priest and explain to him the circumstances and dispositions of the sick man. It would be terrible to let such persons die without the Sacraments if there is any possibility of their receiving them. Even when they refuse to see the priest it generally happens that after he has once visited them, talked to them, and explained the benefits of the Sacraments, they are better pleased than anyone else to see him coming again.

Sometimes it is God's goodness that sends sickness to such persons, to bring them back to His worship and the practice of their religion. What does a good father generally do with an unruly child? He advises and warns it, and when words have no effect, punishes it with the rod, not because he wishes to see it suffer, but for its good, that it may give up its evil habits and become an obedient, loving child. In like manner God warns sinners by their conscience, by sermons they hear, by accidents or deaths around about them, etc.; and when none of these things have any effect on them, He sends them some affliction--He brings them to a bed of sickness. He punishes them, as it were, with a rod. This He does, not that He may see them suffer, but for their good; that they may understand He is their Master, the only one who can give them health; that all the doctors and all the friends and money in the world could not save them if He determined that they should die. Then they come to know that the world is not their friend; then they see things as they really are, and begin to think of the next world, of eternity, etc. Thus they again turn to God and to the practices of religion. Many persons who reform and begin to lead good lives in sickness would never have changed if God had left them always in good health. But you must not think that all who are sick are so on account of sin. Sometimes very holy persons are in a state of sickness, and then it is sent them that they may bear it patiently, and have great merit before God for their sufferings, and thus become more holy. Again, very small children who have never sinned are sick, and then it is perhaps that their parents may have merit for patiently taking care of them. I say that God sometimes sends sickness to persons living in sin for the purpose of bringing them back to a better way of living, and in that case their sickness is for them a great mercy from God, who might have allowed them to continue in sin till His judgments and condemnation came suddenly upon them.

274 Q. Which are the effects of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction? A. The effects of Extreme Unction are: first, to comfort us in the pains of sickness and to strengthen us against temptations; second, to remit venial sins and to cleanse our soul from the remains of sin; third, to restore us to health when God sees fit.

A. By the remains of sin I mean the inclination to evil and the weakness of the will, which are the result of our sins and which remain after our sins have been forgiven.

"Remains of sin"--that is, chiefly the bad habits we have acquired by sin. If a person does a thing very often, he soon begins to do it very easily, and it becomes, as we say, a habit. So, too, a person who sins very much soon begins to sin easily. This Sacrament therefore takes away the ease in sinning and the desire for past sins acquired by frequently committing them.

A. We should receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction in a state of grace and with lively faith and resignation to the will of God.

A. The priest is the minister of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.

The Sacraments that the priest administers in the house are the Sacraments for the sick; namely, Penance, Viaticum, or Holy Communion, and Extreme Unction. The other Sacraments may be administered there in special cases of necessity. You should know what things are to be prepared when the priest comes to administer the Sacraments in your house. They are as follows: A small table covered with a clean white cloth, and on it a crucifix and one or two lighted candles in candlesticks; some holy water in a small vessel, with a sprinkler which you can make by tying together a few leaves or small pieces of palm; a glass of clean water, a tablespoon, and a napkin for the sick person to hold under the chin while receiving; also a piece of white cotton wadding, if the priest should ask for it.

Then you may have ready in another place near at hand some water, a towel, and a piece of bread or lemon for purifying the priest's fingers; but these things are not always necessary: still, it would be better to have them ready in case the priest should require them, so as not to keep him waiting. Every good Catholic family should have all these things put away carefully in the house. It would be well, though it is not necessary, to keep a special spoon, napkin, etc., for that purpose alone. Sometimes persons are taken ill very suddenly in the night, and when the priest comes they have none of the things they should have; and if their neighbors are as careless as themselves, they will not have them either: so the priest is delayed in giving the Sacraments, or is obliged to administer them in a way that is always disrespectful to Our Lord. If we would make such preparations for the coming of a friend to our house, why should we be so careless when Our Lord comes? If a friend comes when we are not prepared to receive him, we feel very much ashamed, and make a thousand excuses for our want of thought. Therefore provide the things necessary for the administration of these Sacraments in your house, and keep them though they may be seldom if ever required in your family.

When Our Lord comes to visit your house receive Him with all possible respect and reverence. Some good Catholics have the very praiseworthy practice of meeting the priest at the door with a lighted candle when he carries the Blessed Sacrament, and of going before him to the sickroom. This can be done where there is only one family living in the house, or at least in the apartment. All who can do this should do it, because it is in keeping with the wish of the Church. In olden times, and even now in Catholic countries, the priest brings the Blessed Sacrament in procession to the sick. He goes vested as for Benediction, accompanied by altar boys with lighted candles and bells. The people kneel by the way as Our Lord passes. Our Lord is carried in procession always in the church and on the feast of Corpus Christi, on Holy Thursday, and during the Devotion of Forty Hours. The Church would like to have this solemn procession in honor of Our Lord every time the Blessed Sacrament is brought from one place to another. But this cannot always be done in the streets, because there are many persons not Catholics who would insult Our Lord while passing along; and in order to prevent this, the priest brings the Blessed Sacrament to the dying without any outward display. But we should always remember the very great respect due to Our Lord, and do all we can to show it when possible.

278 Q. What is the Sacrament of Holy Orders? A. Holy Orders is a Sacrament by which bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Church are ordained and receive the power and grace to perform their sacred duties.

"Other ministers," means deacons and subdeacons, properly so-called. When a young man goes to study for the priesthood--after he has discovered that God has called him to that sacred office--he passes several years in learning what is necessary, and in fitting himself for his sacred duties. After some time he receives what is called tonsure; that is, on the day of ordination the bishop cuts a little hair from five places on his head, to show that this young man is giving himself up to God. The tonsure is a mark of the clerical state, and in Catholic countries it is made manifest by keeping a small circular spot on the crown of the head shaved perfectly clean. It reminds the cleric or priest of having dedicated himself to God, and also of the crown of thorns worn by Our Blessed Saviour. For this reason some of the holy monks shaved all the hair from their head, with the exception of a little ring, which resembles very much a wreath or crown of hair encircling the head. You often see them thus represented in holy pictures.

After the young student has received the tonsure and studied for a longer time, he receives the four Minor Orders, by which he is permitted to touch the sacred vessels of the altar, and do certain things about the church which laymen have not the right to do, especially to serve Mass. After more preparation he becomes a subdeacon, and then he may wear vestments and assist the celebrant at Solemn Mass. At a Solemn Mass there are three priests in vestments. The priest standing on the platform of the altar and celebrating Mass is called the celebrant; the one who stands just behind him, generally one step lower, is called the deacon, and the one who stands behind the deacon and on the lower step is called the subdeacon. The one who directs the whole ceremony, and gives signs to the others when to stand, sit down, or kneel, is called the Master of Ceremonies.

When speaking of the Mass, I forgot to tell you something about the different kinds of Masses--that is, different as far as the ceremonies are concerned, for they are all alike in value. First we have the Low Mass, such as the priest says every day and at the early hours on Sundays. It is called low, because there is no display in ceremony about it. Next we have the High Mass--called Missa Cantata (sung)--at which the priest and choir sing in turn. Lastly, we have the Solemn High Mass, at which we have three ministers or priests, and singing by both ministers and choir, as well as all the ceremonies prescribed by the Church. When any of these Masses are said in black vestments they are called Requiem Masses, because the priest offers them for the rest or happy repose of the soul of some dead person or persons, and the word requiem means rest. Vespers is a portion of the Divine Office of the Church. It is sung generally on Sunday afternoon or evening in the church, and is usually followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It is not a mortal sin to stay from Vespers on Sundays, even willfully, because there is no law of the Church obliging you to attend. Nevertheless all good Catholics will attend Vespers when possible.

To continue about the ministers of the Church: When the subdeacon is ordained a deacon, he can wear still more of the priestly vestments, and also baptize solemnly, preach, and give Holy Communion. After a time the deacon is ordained a priest, and receives power to celebrate Mass and forgive sins. If afterwards the priest should be selected by the Holy Father to be a bishop, he is consecrated; and then he has power to administer Confirmation and Holy Orders, ordaining priests and consecrating bishops. Thus you see there are grades through which the ministers of the Church must pass. First the tonsure, then Minor Orders, then subdeaconship, then deaconship, then priesthood. Nuns, Sisters, Brothers, etc., are not, as some might think, ministers of the Church, because they have never received any of the Holy Orders.

The ordained ministers of the Church can perform the duties of any office for which they have ever been ordained, but not the duties of any office above that to which they have been ordained. For example, a subdeacon cannot take the place of a deacon at Mass, nor a deacon the place of a priest; but a priest may take either of their places, because he has, at one time, been ordained to both these offices.

Altar boys should never forget that they are enjoying a very great privilege in being allowed to take the place of an ordained minister of the Church, and serve Mass without being ordained acolytes.

In olden times princes and noblemen used to seek for this wonderful favor, and count themselves happy if they secured it. Think of it! To stand so near our Blessed Lord that they are able to see His sacred body resting upon the altar, and to offer the wine, which a few minutes later is changed into His very blood!

A. To receive Holy Orders worthily it is necessary to be in the state of grace, to have the necessary knowledge, and a divine call to this sacred office.

"Knowledge"--that is, to be able to learn and to have learned all that a priest should know.

"Divine call," explained before in the explanation of vocation, a word that means call. (See Lesson 6, Q. 51.)

A. Christians should look upon the priests of the Church as the messengers of God and the dispensers of His mysteries.

"Messengers." Our Lord said to His Apostles: "As the Father sent Me, I also send you." That is, as the heavenly Father sent His Beloved Son, Our Lord, into the world to save men's souls, so Our Lord sends His Apostles and their successors through the world to save souls. God told the priests of the Old Law that if they did not warn the people of coming dangers they would be held responsible for the people; but if they warned the people and the people did not heed, then the people would be responsible for their own destruction. So, too, in the New Law the priests warn you against sin, and if you do not heed the warning the loss of your soul will be upon yourself. Therefore you should take every warning coming from the ministers of God as you would from Himself, for it is really God that warns you against sin, and the priests are only His agents or instruments. "Dispensers"--that is, those who administer the Sacraments.

A. Bishops can confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

"Confer"--that is, give or administer. So can a cardinal, if he be a bishop, and so can the Holy Father, who is always a bishop, and called bishop of Rome, while Pope of the whole Church. It will be well here to give some explanation about cardinals--who they are, and what they do. In the United States the President has about him ten prominent men selected by himself, and called his Cabinet. They are his advisers; he consults them on all important matters, and assigns to them various duties. The Holy Father, who is also a ruler--a spiritual ruler--not of one country, but of the whole world, has also a Cabinet, but it is not called by that name: it is called the Sacred College of Cardinals. There are seventy cardinals, to whom the Pope assigns various works in helping him to govern the Church. Some of these cardinals are in different parts of the world, as our own cardinals right here in America. There are cardinals in England, France, Germany, Canada, Spain, etc., but a certain number always remain in Rome with the Holy Father. When a bishop is made cardinal he is raised in dignity in the Church, but he does not receive any greater spiritual power than he had when only a bishop. The cardinals, owing to their high dignity, have many privileges which bishops have not. Their greatest privilege is to take part in the election of a new Pope when the reigning Pope dies.

The Pope dresses in white, the cardinals in red, the bishops in purple, and the priests and other ministers in black. A "Monsignor" is also a title of dignity granted by our Holy Father to some worthy priests. It gives them certain privileges, and the right to wear purple like a bishop. The "Vicar General" is one who is appointed by the bishop in the diocese, and shares his power. In the bishop's absence he acts as bishop in all temporal and worldly matters and also in some spiritual things, concerning the diocese. A diocese is the extent of country over which a bishop is appointed to rule, as a parish is the extent over which a pastor is appointed to administer the Sacraments and rule under the direction of the bishop. Pastors are also called rectors. Pastor means a shepherd, and rector means a ruler; and as all pastors rule their flocks, pastor and rector mean about the same.

An archbishop is higher than a bishop, though he has no more spiritual power than a bishop. The district over which an archbishop rules contains several dioceses with their bishops, and is called an ecclesiastical province. The bishops in the province are called suffragan bishops, because subject in some things to the authority of the archbishop, who is also called the metropolitan, because bishop of a metropolis or chief city of the province over which he presides.

The archbishop can wear the pallium, a garment worn by the Pope, and sent by him to patriarchs, primates, and archbishops. It is a band of white wool, worn over the shoulders and around the neck after the manner of a stole. It has two strings of the same material and four black or purple crosses worked upon it. It is the symbol of the plenitude of pastoral jurisdiction conferred by the Holy See. Morally speaking, it reminds the wearer how the good shepherd seeks the lost sheep and brings it home upon his shoulders, and how the loving pastor of souls should seek those spiritually lost and bring them back to the Church, the true fold of Christ.

Lesson 26 - ON MATRIMONY

282 Q. What is the Sacrament of Matrimony? A. The Sacrament of Matrimony is the Sacrament which unites a Christian man and woman in lawful marriage.

"Christian," because if they are not Christians they do not receive the grace of the Sacrament.

any other way than by the Sacrament of Matrimony? A. A Christian man and woman cannot be united in lawful marriage in any other way than by the Sacrament of Matrimony, because Christ raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament.

"Lawful." Persons are lawfully married when they comply with all the laws of God and of the Church relating to marriage. To marry unlawfully is a mortal sin, in which the persons must remain till the sin is forgiven. "Sacrament." Before the coming of Our Lord persons were married as they are now, and even lawfully according to the laws of the Old Testament or old religion; but marriage did not give them any grace. Now it does give grace, because it is a Sacrament, and has been so since the time of Our Lord. Before His coming it was only a contract, and when He added grace to the contract it became a Sacrament.

power? A. The bond of Christian marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power.

"Dissolved"--that is, can married persons ever--for any cause--separate and marry again; that is, take another husband or wife while the first husband or wife is living? Never, if they were really married. Sometimes, for good reason, the Church permits husband and wife to separate and live in different places; but they are still married. Sometimes it happens, too, that persons are not really married although they have gone through the ceremony and people think they are married, and they may think so themselves. The Church, however, makes them separate, because it finds they are not really married at all--on account of some impeding circumstance that existed at the time they performed the ceremony. These circumstances or facts that prevent the marriage from being valid are called "Impediments to Marriage." Some of them render the marriage altogether null, and some only make it unlawful. When persons make arrangements about getting married they should tell the priest every circumstance that they think might be an impediment. Here are the chief things they should tell the priest--privately, if possible. Whether both are Christians and Catholics; whether either has ever been solemnly engaged to another person; whether they have ever made any vow to God with regard to chastity, the religious life, or the like; whether they are related and in what degree; whether either was ever married to any member of the other's family--say sister, brother, or cousin, etc.; whether either ever was a godparent in Baptism for the other or for any of the other's children; whether either was married before, and what proof can be given of the death of the first husband or wife; whether they really intend to get married; whether they are of lawful age; whether they are in good health or suffering from some sickness that might prevent their marriage, etc. They should also state whether they live in the parish, and how long they have lived in it. They should give at least three weeks' notice before their marriage, except in special cases of necessity. They should not presume to make final arrangements and invite friends before they have made arrangements with their pastor; because if there should be any delay on account of impediments it would cause them great inconvenience. Let me take an example of a fact that would render the marriage invalid or null though the persons performing the ceremony might not be aware of it. Suppose a woman's husband went to the war, and she heard after a great many years that he had been killed in battle, and she, believing her first husband to be dead, married another man. But the report of the first husband's death turns out to be false, and after a time he returns. Then the Church tells the woman--and she knows it now herself--that the second marriage was invalid, that is, no marriage, because it was performed while the first husband was still living. She must leave the second man and go back to her husband. You see in that case the Church was not dissolving or breaking the marriage bond, but only declaring that the woman and second man were not married from the very beginning, although they thought they were, being ignorant of the existing impediment, and the priest also being deceived performed the ceremony in the usual manner. If it ever happens, therefore, that you hear of the Church permitting persons, already apparently married, to separate and marry others, it is only when it discovers that their first marriage was invalid, and by its action it does not dissolve the bond of marriage, but simply declares that the marriage was null and void from the beginning, as you now easily understand. Thus persons might unwittingly marry with existing impediments that would render their marriage invalid or illicit. Such things, however, happen very rarely, for the priest would discover the impediments in questioning the persons about to marry.

Protestants and persons outside the Catholic Church teach that the marriage bond can at times be dissolved, but such doctrines bring great evil upon society. When the father and mother separate and marry again, the children of the first marriage are left to take care of themselves, or receive only such care as the law gives them. They are left without Christian instruction and the good influence of home. Then persons who are divorced once may be divorced a second or third time, and thus all society would be thrown into a state of confusion, and there would be scarcely any such thing as a family to be found. It is bad enough at present, on account of divorces granted by the laws and upheld by Protestants; and only for the influence and good public opinion created by the teaching and opposition of the Catholic Church, it would be much worse. Again, if husbands and wives could separate for this or that fault, they would not be careful in making their choice of the person they wish to marry, nor would their motives be always holy and worthy of the Sacrament.

285 Q. Which are the effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony? A. The effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony are: first, to sanctify the love of husband and wife; second, to give them grace to bear with each other's weaknesses; third, to enable them to bring up their children in the fear and love of God.

The union and love existing between a husband and wife should be like the union and love existing between Our Lord and His Church. The grace of the Sacrament helps them to have such a love. "Weaknesses"--that is, their faults, bad dispositions, etc. "Bring up their children." This is their most important duty, and parents receive grace to perform it, and woe be to them if they abuse that grace! Children should remember that their parents have received this special grace from God to advise, direct, and warn them of sin; and if they refuse to obey their parents or despise their direction, they are despising God's grace. Remember that nothing teaches us so well as experience. Now your parents, even if God gave them no special grace, have experience. They have been children as you are; they have been young persons as you are; they have received advice from their parents and teachers as you do. If your parents are bad, it is because they have not heeded the advice given them. If they are good, it is because they have heeded and followed it. The years of your youth quickly pass, and you will soon be thrown out into the world, among strangers to provide for yourselves, and will perhaps have no one to advise you. If you neglect to learn while you have the opportunity you will be sorry for it in after life. If you waste your time in school, you will leave it knowing very little, and an ignorant man can never take any good position in the world; he can seldom be his own master and independent; he must always toil for others as a servant. God gives us our talents and opportunities that we may use them to the best of our ability, and He will hold us accountable for these. It is good and praiseworthy to raise ourselves and others in the world if we do so by lawful and proper means. You may have the opportunity of getting a good position, and will not be able to take it because you are not sufficiently educated. Many young men live to be sorry for wasting time in school, and try to make up for it by studying at night. You cannot really make up for lost time. Every moment God gives you He gives for some particular work, and He will require an account from you, at the last day, for the use you made of your time. Besides, you can learn with greater ease while you are young. But what shall I say of neglecting to learn your holy religion? If you neglect your school lessons you will not be successful in the world as businessmen or professional men; but if you neglect your religious lessons, you will be miserable, not merely in this world, but in the next, and that for all eternity. Again, will you not feel ashamed to say you are a Catholic when persons who are not Catholics ask you the meaning of something you believe or do, and you will not be able to answer? When they tell falsehoods against your religion, you will not, on account of your ignorance, be able to refute them. Almost the only time you have to learn the truths and practices of your holy religion is during the instructions at Sunday school or day school, and after a few years you will not have this advantage. When you grow up you may hear a sermon, and if you attend early Mass, only a short instruction, on Sundays; and if you do not know your Catechism, you will be less able to profit by the instructions given. Therefore the time to learn is while you are young, have sufficient leisure, and good, willing teachers to explain whatever you do not understand.

When you attend Sunday school, bear in mind that your teachers have frequently to sacrifice their time or pleasure for your sake, and that you should not repay them for their kindness by acts of disobedience, disrespect, and stubbornness. By spending your time in idleness, in giving annoyance to your teacher, and in distracting others who are willing to learn, you show a want of appreciation and gratitude for the blessings God has bestowed upon you, and please the devil exceedingly; and as God will hold you accountable for all His gifts, this one--the opportunity of learning your religion--will be no exception.

286 Q. To receive the Sacrament of Matrimony worthily, is it necessary to be in the state of grace? A. To receive the Sacrament of Matrimony worthily it is necessary to be in the state of grace, and it is necessary also to comply with the laws of the Church.

"The laws," laws concerning marriage. Laws forbidding the solemnizing of marriage at certain times, namely, Advent and Lent; laws forbidding marriage with relatives, or with persons of a different religion or of no religion; laws with regard to age, etc.

marriage? A. The Church alone has the right to make laws concerning the Sacrament of marriage, though the State also has the right to make laws concerning the civil effects of the marriage contract.

"Civil effects"--that is, laws with regard to the property of persons marrying, with regard to the inheritance of the children, with regard to the debts of husband and wife, etc.

who have a different religion or no religion at all? A. The Church does forbid the marriage of Catholics with persons who have a different religion or no religion at all.

persons who have a different religion or no religion at all? A. The Church forbids the marriage of Catholics with persons who have a different religion or no religion at all because such marriages generally lead to indifference, loss of faith, and to the neglect of the religious education of the children.

We know that nothing has so bad an influence upon people as bad company. Now, when a Catholic marries one who is not a Catholic, he or she is continually associated with one who in most cases ignores the true religion, or speaks at least with levity of its devotions and practices. The Catholic party may resist this evil influence for a time, but will, if not very steadfast in the faith, finally yield to it, and, tired of numerous disputes in defense of religious rights, will become more and more indifferent, gradually give up the practice of religion, and probably terminate with complete loss of faith or apostasy from the true religion. We know that the children of Seth were good till they married the children of Cain, and then they also became wicked; for, remember, there is always more likelihood that the bad will pervert the good, than that the good will convert the bad. Besides the disputes occasioned between husband and wife by the diversity of their religion, their families and relatives, being also of different religions, will seldom be at peace or on friendly terms with one another. Then the children can scarcely be brought up in the true religion; for the father may wish them to attend one church, and the mother another, and to settle the dispute they will attend neither. Besides, if they have before them the evil example of a father or mother speaking disparagingly of the true religion, or perhaps ridiculing all religion, it is not likely they will be imbued with great respect and veneration for holy things. There is still another reason why Catholics should dread mixed marriages. If the one who is not a Catholic loses regard for his or her obligations, becomes addicted to any vice, and is leading a bad life, the Catholic party has no means of reaching the root of the evil, no hope that the person may take the advice of the priest, or go to confession or do any of those things that could effect a change in the heart and life of a Catholic. For all these very good reasons and others besides, the Church opposes mixed marriages, as they are called when one of the persons is not a Catholic. Neither does the Church want persons to become converts simply for the sake of marrying a Catholic. Such conversions would not be sincere, and would do no good, but rather make such converts hypocrites, and guilty of greater sin.

A. Many marriages prove unhappy because they are entered into hastily and without worthy motives.

"Hastily"--without knowing the person well or considering their character or dispositions; without trying to discover whether they are sober, industrious, virtuous, and the like; whether they know and practice their religion, or whether, on the contrary, they are given to vices forbidden by good morals, and totally forgetful of their religious duties. In a word, those wishing to marry should look for enduring qualities in their lifelong companions, and not for characteristics that please the fancy for the time being. They should, besides, truly love each other. Again, the persons should be nearly equals in education, social standing, etc., for it helps greatly to secure harmony between families and unity of thought and action between themselves.

"Worthy motives." The motives are worthy when persons marry to fulfill the end for which God instituted marriage. It would, for example, be an unworthy motive to marry solely for money, property, or other advantage, without any regard for the holiness and end of the Sacrament. There are many motives that may present themselves to the minds of persons wishing to marry, and they will know whether they are worthy or unworthy, good or bad, if by serious consideration they weigh them well and value them by their desire to please God and lead a good life.

Every person's motive in getting married or in entering into any new state of life should be that he may be able to serve God better in that state than in any other.

A. Christians should prepare for a holy and happy marriage by receiving the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist; by begging God to grant them a pure intention and to direct their choice; and by seeking the advice of their parents and the blessing of their pastors.

They should pray for a long time that they may make a good choice. They would do well to read in the Holy Scripture, in the Book of Tobias (8), of the happy marriage of Tobias and Sara, and how they spent their time in prayer both before and after their marriage, and how God rewarded them. Advice is very necessary, as marriage is to last for life, and is to make persons either happy or miserable. They should ask advice from prudent persons, and should try to learn something of the former life of the one they wish to marry. They should know something about the family, whether its members are respectable or not, etc. It is an injustice to parents for sons or daughters to marry into families that may have been disgraced, or that may bring disgrace upon them. Sometimes, however, parents are unreasonable in this matter: they are proud or vain, and want to suit themselves rather than their children. Sometimes, too, they force marriage upon their children, or forbid it for purely worldly or selfish motives. In such cases, and indeed in all cases, the best one to consult and ask advice from is your confessor. He has only your spiritual interests at heart, and will set aside all worldly motives. If your parents are unreasonable, he will be a just judge in the matter, and tell you how to act.

I have now explained all the Sacraments, but before finishing I must say a word about the Holy Oils. We have seen that oil is used in the administration of some Sacraments. There are three kinds of oil blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday, namely, oil for anointing the sick, called "oil of the infirm"; oil to be used in Baptism and in the ordination of priests, called "oil of catechumens" (catechumens are those who are being instructed for Baptism); the third kind of oil is used also in Baptism, in Confirmation, and when the bishop blesses the sacred vessels, altars, etc.; it is called "holy chrism." Therefore the Sacraments in which oil is used are: Baptism, in which two kinds are used; Confirmation, Extreme Unction, and Holy Orders.


292 Q. What is a sacramental? A. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these movements of the heart to remit venial sin.

It is not the sacramental itself that gives grace, but the devotion, the love of God, or sorrow for sin that it inspires. For example, a person comes into the church and goes around the Stations of the Cross. The stations are a sacramental. In looking at one station he sees Our Lord on trial before Pilate; in another he sees Him crowned with thorns; in another, scourged; in another, carrying His Cross; in another, crucified; in another, dead and laid in the tomb. Before all these pictures he reflects on the sufferings of Our Saviour, and begins to hate sin, that caused them. Then he thinks, of his own sins, and begins to be sorry for them. This sorrow, caused by going around the stations, brings him grace that remits venial sins. When we receive the Sacraments we always get the grace of the Sacraments when we are rightly disposed; but in using the sacramentals, the more devotion we have the more grace we receive.

"Increase devotion." If we knelt down before a plain white wall we could not pray with the devotion we would have kneeling before a crucifix. We see the representation of the nails in the hands and feet, the blood on the side, the thorns on the head; and all these must make us think of Our Lord's terrible sufferings. The picture of a friend hanging before us will often make us think of him when we would otherwise forget him. So also will the pictures of Our Lord and of the saints keep them often in our minds.

sacramentals? A. The difference between the Sacraments and the sacramentals is: first, the Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and the sacramentals were instituted by the Church; second, the Sacraments give grace of themselves when we place no obstacle in the way; the sacramentals excite in us pious dispositions, by means of which we may obtain grace.

The Church can increase or diminish the number of the sacramentals, but not the number of the Sacraments.

294 Q. Which is the chief sacramental used in the Church? A. The chief sacramental used in the Church is the Sign of the Cross.

295 Q. How do we make the Sign of the Cross? A. We make the Sign of the Cross by putting the right hand to the forehead, then on the breast, and then to the left and right shoulders; saying, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

It is important to make an exact cross, and to say all the words distinctly. From carelessness and habit some persons do not make the Sign of the Cross, though they often intend to bless themselves. They put the hand only to the forehead and breast, or forehead and chin, or forehead and shoulders, etc. Some do not even touch the forehead. All these, it is true, are some signs and movements of the hand, but they are not the Sign of the Cross. Therefore, from childhood form the good habit of blessing yourself correctly, and you will continue to do it properly all your life.

296 Q. Why do we make the Sign of the Cross? A. We make the Sign of the Cross to show that we are Christians and to profess our belief in the chief mysteries of our religion.

The cross is the banner or standard of Christianity, just as the stars and stripes--the flag of the United States--is our civil standard, and shows to what nation we belong.

mysteries of our religion? A. The Sign of the Cross is a profession of faith in the chief mysteries of our religion because it expresses the mysteries of the Unity and Trinity of God and of the Incarnation and death of Our Lord.

and Trinity of God? A. The words: "In the name" express the Unity of God; the words that follow, "of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" express the mystery of the Trinity.

Incarnation and death of Our Lord? A. The Sign of the Cross expresses the mystery of the Incarnation by reminding us that the Son of God, having become man, suffered death on the Cross.

Besides these chief mysteries, we will find, if we think a little, that the Sign of the Cross reminds us of many other things. It reminds us of the sin of our first parents, which made the Cross necessary; it reminds us of the hatred God bears to sin, when such sufferings were endured to make satisfaction for it; it reminds us of Christ's love, etc.

300 Q. What other sacramental is in very frequent use? A. Another sacramental in very frequent use is holy water.

301 Q. What is, holy water? A. Holy water is water blessed by the priest with solemn prayer to beg God's blessing on those who use it, and protection from the power of darkness.

The priest prays that those who use this water may not fall into sin; may be free from the power of the devil and from bodily diseases, etc. Therefore when they do use the water they get the benefit of all these prayers, because the priest says: "If they use it, God grant them all these things."

302 Q. Are there any other sacramentals besides the Sign of the Cross and holy water? A. Besides the Sign of the Cross and holy water there are many other sacramentals, such as blessed candles, ashes, palms, crucifixes, images of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints, rosaries, and scapulars.

"Candles," blessed on the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin (see Butler's Lives of the Saints, Feb. 2, Feast of the Purification). The Church blesses whatever it uses. Some say beautifully that the wax of the candle gathered by the bees from sweet flowers reminds us of Our Lord's pure, human body, and that the flame reminds us of His divinity. Again, candles about the altar remind us of the angels, those bright spirits ever about God's throne; they remind us, too, of the persecution of the Christians in the first ages of the Church, when they had to hear Mass and receive the Sacraments in dark places, where lights were necessary that priests and people might see. Again, lights are a beautiful ornament for the altar, and in keeping with holy things. Lights are a sign of joy: hence the very old custom of lighting bonfires to express joy. So we have lights to express our joy at the celebration of the Holy Mass. Again, if we wish to honor any great person in the Church or State, we illuminate the city for his reception. So, too, we illuminate our altars and churches for the reception of Our Lord, that we may honor Him when He comes in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and is present at Benediction.

"Ashes" are placed on our heads by the priest on Ash Wednesday, while he says: "Remember, man, thou art but dust and unto dust thou shalt return." They are a sign of penance, and so we use them at the beginning of Lent.

"Palms," to remind us of Our Lord's coming in triumph into Jerusalem, when the people out of respect for Him threw palms, and even their garments, beneath His feet on the way, singing His praises and wishing to make Him king. Yet these same people only one week later were among those who crucified Him. Do we not also at times honor Our Lord, call Him our king, and shortly afterwards insult and, as far as we can, injure Him by sin? Do we not say in the Our Father, "Hallowed, or praised, be His name," and blaspheme it ourselves?

"Crucifix," if it has an image of Our Lord upon it; if not it is simply a cross, because crucifix means fixed to the cross.

"Images"--that is, statues, pictures, etc.

"Rosaries," called also the beads. The rosary or beads is a very old and very beautiful form of prayer. In the beginning pious people, we are told, used to say a certain number of prayers, and keep count of them on a string with knots or beads. However that may be, the Rosary, as we now have it, comes down to us from St. Dominic. He instructed the people by it, and converted many heretics. In the rosary beads here are fifty-three small beads on which we say the "Hail Mary" and six large beads on which we say the "Our Father." In saying the Rosary, before saying the "Our Father" on the large beads, we think or meditate for a while on some event in the life of Our Lord, and these events we call Mysteries of the Rosary. There are fifteen of these events taken in the order in which they occurred in the life of Our Lord; and hence there are fifteen Mysteries in the whole Rosary. First we have the five Joyful Mysteries. (1) The Annunciation--that is, the angel Gabriel coming to tell the Blessed Virgin that she is to be the Mother of God. (2) The Visitation, when the Blessed Virgin went to visit her cousin St. Elizabeth--the mother of St. John the Baptist, who was six months older than Our Lord. Elizabeth said to her, "Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb"; and the Blessed Virgin answered her in the beautiful words of the Magnificat, that we sing at Vespers while the priest incenses the altar. (3) The Nativity, or birth of Our Lord, which reminds us how He was born in a stable, in poverty and lowliness. (4) The Presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple. According to the law of Moses, the people were obliged to bring the first boy born in every family to the temple in Jerusalem and offer him to God. Then they gave some offering to buy him back, as it were, from God. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, who kept all the laws, took Our Lord and offered Him in the temple--although He Himself was the Lord of the temple. Nevertheless others did not know this, and the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph observed the laws, though not bound to do so, that their neighbors might not be scandalized in seeing them neglect these things. They did not know, as she did, that the little Infant was the Son of God, and need not keep the law of Moses or any law, because He was the maker of the laws. We should learn from this never to give scandal; and even when we have good excuse for not observing the law, we should observe it for the sake of good example to others; or at least, when we can, we should explain why we do not observe the law. (5) The fifth Joyful Mystery is the finding of the child Jesus in the temple. All the men and boys, from twelve years of age upward, were obliged, according to the Old Law, to go up to Jerusalem and offer sacrifice on the great feasts. On one of these feasts the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, and Our Lord went to Jerusalem. When His parents and their friends were returning home Our Lord was missing. He had not accompanied them from the city. Then the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph went back to Jerusalem and sought Him with great sorrow for three days. At the end of that time they found Him in the temple sitting with the doctors of the law asking them questions. Our Lord obediently returned with His parents to Nazareth. At thirty years of age He was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. The baptism of John was not a Sacrament, did not give grace of itself; but, like a sacramental, it disposed those who received it to be sorry for their sins and to receive the gift of faith and Baptism of Christ. The eighteen years from the time Our Lord went down to Nazareth after being found in the temple till His baptism is called His hidden life, while all that follows His baptism is called His public life. It is very strange that not a single word should be given in the Holy Scriptures about Our Lord during His youth--the very time young men are most anxious to be seen and heard. Our Lord knew all things and could do all things when a young man, and yet for the sake of example He remained silent, living quietly with His parents and doing His daily work for them. Thus you understand what is meant by the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity of Our Lord, the Presentation of the child Jesus in the temple, and the finding of the child Jesus in the temple. You meditate on one of these before each decade (ten) of the beads.

Next in order in the life of Our Lord come the five events called the Sorrowful Mysteries, namely: (1) The agony in the garden, when Our Lord went there to pray on Holy Thursday night, before He was taken prisoner. There the blood came out through His body as perspiration does through ours, and He was in dreadful anguish. The reason of His sorrow and anguish has already been given in the explanation of the Passion. (2) The scourging of Our Lord at the pillar. This also has been explained. What terrible cruelty existed in the world before Christianity! In our times the brute beasts have more protection from cruel treatment than the pagan slaves had then. The Church came to their assistance. It taught that all men are God's children, that slaves as well as masters were redeemed by Jesus Christ, and that masters must be kind and just to their slaves. Many converts from paganism through love for Our Lord and this teaching of the Church, granted liberty to their slaves; and thus as civilization spread with the teaching of Christianity, slavery ceased to exist. It was not in the power of the Church, however, to abolish slavery everywhere, but she did it as soon as she could. Even at present she is fighting hard to protect the poor Negroes of Africa against it, or at least to moderate its cruelty. (3) The third Sorrowful Mystery is the crowning with thorns. (4) The carriage of the Cross to Calvary. It was the common practice to make the prisoner at times carry his cross to the place of execution, and over the cross they printed what he was put to death for. That is the reason they placed over Our Lord's cross I.N.R.I., which are the first letters of four Latin words meaning, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." They pretended by this sign that Our Lord was put to death for calling Himself King of the Jews, and was thus a disturber of the public peace, and an enemy of the Roman emperor under whose power they were. Our Lord did say that He was King of the Jews, but He also said that He was not their earthly but their heavenly king. The real cause of their putting Our Lord to death was the jealousy of the Jewish priests and Pharisees. He rebuked them for their faults, and showed the good, sincere people what hypocrites these men were. (5) The last of the Sorrowful Mysteries is the Crucifixion. At the foot of the Cross our blessed Mother stood on the day of Crucifixion, and it must have been a very sad sight for Our Lord. She was without anyone to take care of her; for St. Joseph was dead, and her Son was soon to die. Our Lord asked St. John, one of His Apostles, to take care of her. St. John was dear to Christ, and on that account is called the beloved disciple. He is known to us as St. John the Evangelist. He was the last of the Apostles to die. At one time he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, but was miraculously saved by God (see Butler's Lives of the Saints, Dec. 27). He lived to be over a hundred years old, and while on the island of Patmos wrote the Apocalypse or Revelations--the last book of the New Testament--containing prophecies of what will happen at the end of the world. The Blessed Virgin lived on earth about eleven years after the Ascension of Our Lord. They buried her in a tomb, and tradition tells us that after her burial the angels carried her body to Heaven, where she now sits beside her Divine Son. This taking of her body to Heaven is called the Assumption. This feast was celebrated in the Church from a very early age. A very strong proof of the Assumption is that no persons ever claimed to have any part of the body of the Blessed Virgin as a relic. We have the bodies of some of the Apostles, especially St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. James transmitted to us; and certainly if it had been possible the first Christians would have endeavored to get some portion, at least, of the Blessed Virgin's body. Surely St. John, who knew her so well, would have given to the church he established some part of her body as a relic; but since her entire body was taken to Heaven, it was never possible.

After the Sorrowful Mysteries come the five Glorious Mysteries, and they are: (1) The Resurrection of Our Lord; (2) The Ascension of Our Lord; (3) The Coming of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles; (4) The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin; and (5) The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin in Heaven. All but the last have been explained in foregoing parts of the Catechism. In this last Mystery we consider our Blessed Lady just after her entrance into Heaven, being received by her Divine Son, our Blessed Lord, and being crowned Queen of Heaven over all the angels and saints. In saying the Rosary we are, as I have told you before, to stop after mentioning the Mystery and think over the lesson it teaches, and thus excite ourselves to love and devotion before saying the "Our Father" and "Hail Marys" in honor of it. Generally what we call the beads is only one third of the Rosary; that is, we can only say five mysteries on the beads unless we go over them three times. If you say your beads every day you will say the whole Rosary twice a week and have one day to spare.

On Sundays, except the Sundays of Advent and Lent, we should say always the Glorious Mysteries. You see, the Mysteries run in the order in which they happen in Our Lord's life. So on Monday we say the Joyful Mysteries, on Tuesday the Sorrowful, and on Wednesday the Glorious. Then we begin again on Thursday the Joyful, on Friday the Sorrowful, on Saturday the Glorious. In Advent we say the Joyful, and in Lent the Sorrowful Mysteries on every day. In Eastertime we always say the Glorious mysteries.

I have told you what the letters I.N.R.I. mean; now let me tell you what I.H.S. with a cross over them mean. You often see these letters on altars and on holy things. They are simply an abbreviation for Our Lord's name, "Jesus," as it was first written in Greek letters. Some also take these letters for the first letters of the Latin words that mean: Jesus, Saviour of men. And as the cross is placed over these letters it can signify that He saved them by His death on the Cross.

"Scapulars." The scapular is a large broad piece of cloth worn by the monks and priests of some of the religious orders. It extends from the toes in front to the heels behind, and is wide enough to cover the shoulders. It is worn over the cassock or habit. It is called scapular because it rests on the shoulders. The scapular as we wear it is two small pieces of cloth fastened together by two pieces of braid or cord resting on the shoulders. It is made thus in imitation of the large scapular, and is to be worn under our ordinary garments. The brown scapular is called the Scapular of Mount Carmel. It was given, we are told on good authority, to blessed Simon Stock by the Blessed Virgin herself, with wonderful promises in favor of those who wear it. The Church grants many privileges and indulgences to those who wear the scapular.

We wear the scapular to indicate that we place ourselves under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin. We can tell to what army or nation a soldier belongs by the uniform he wears; so we can consider the scapular as the particular uniform of those who desire to serve the Blessed Virgin in some special manner. This wearing of the brown scapular is therefore a mark of special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As it was first introduced among people by the Carmelite Fathers, or priests of the Order of Mount Carmel, this Scapular is called the Scapular of Mount Carmel. We have also a red scapular in honor of Our Lord's Passion; a white one in honor of the Holy Trinity; a blue one in honor of the Immaculate Conception; and a black one in honor of the seven dolors of sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. When all these are joined together (not in one piece, but at the top only) and worn as one, they are called the five scapulars.

The seven dolors are seven chief occasions of sorrow in the life of our Blessed Lady. They are: (1) The circumcision of Our Lord, when she saw His blood shed for the first time. (2) Her flight into Egypt to save the life of the little Infant Jesus when Herod was seeking to kill Him. (3) The three days she lost Him in Jerusalem. (4) When she saw Christ carrying His Cross. (5) His death. (6) When He was taken down from the Cross. (7) When He was laid in the sepulchre. There are beads called seven dolor beads constructed with seven medals bearing representations of these sorrows, and seven beads between each medal and the next. At the medals we meditate on the dolor, and then in its honor say "Hail Marys" on the beads.

Lesson 28 - ON PRAYER

303 Q. Is there any other means of obtaining God's grace than the Sacraments? A. There is another means of obtaining God's grace, and it is prayer.

304 Q. What is prayer? A. Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God to adore Him, to thank Him for His benefits, to ask His forgiveness, and to beg of Him all the graces we need whether for soul or body.

"Hearts," because the mere lifting up of the mind would not be prayer. One who blasphemes Him might also lift up his mind. We lift up the mind to know God and the heart to love Him, and in so doing we serve Him--the three things for which we were created. If we do not think of God we do not pray. A parrot might be taught to say the "Our Father," but it could never pray, because it has no mind to lift up. A phonograph can be made to say the prayers, but not to pray, for it has neither mind nor heart. So praying does not depend upon the words we say, but upon the way in which we say them. Indeed the best prayer, called meditation, is made when we do not speak at all, but simply think of God; of His goodness to us; of our sins against Him; of Hell, Purgatory, Heaven, death, judgment, of the end for which we were created, etc. This is the kind of prayer that priests and religious use most frequently. As you might like to meditate--for all who know how may meditate--let me explain to you the method. First you try to remember that you are in the presence of God. Then you take some subject, say the Crucifixion, to think about. You try to make a picture of the scene in your own mind. You see Our Lord on the Cross; two thieves, one on each side of Him, the one praying to Our Lord and the other cursing Him. You see the multitude of His enemies mocking Him. Over at some distance you behold our Blessed Mother standing sorrowful with St. John and Mary Magdalen. Then you ask yourself--for you must imagine yourself there--to which side would you go. Over to our Blessed Mother to try and console her, or over to the enemies to help them to mock? Then you think how sin was the cause of all this suffering, and how often you yourself have sinned; how you have many a time gone over to the crowd and left the Blessed Mother. These thoughts will make you sorry for your sins, and you will form the good resolution never to sin again. You will thank God for these good thoughts and this resolution, and your meditation is ended. You can spend fifteen minutes, or longer if you wish, in such a meditation. The Crucifixion is only one of the many subjects you may select for meditation. You could take any part of the "Our Father," "Hail Mary," or "Creed," and even the questions in your Catechism. Mental prayer, therefore, is the best, because in it we must think; we must pay attention to what we are doing, and lift up our minds and hearts to God; while in vocal prayer--that is, the prayer we say aloud--we may repeat the words from pure habit, without any attention or lifting up of the mind or heart.

305 Q. Is prayer necessary to salvation? A. Prayer is necessary to salvation, and without it no one having the use of reason can be saved.

We mean here those who never pray during their whole lives, and not those who sometimes neglect their prayers through a kind of forgetfulness.

306 Q. At what particular times should we pray? A. We should pray particularly on Sundays and holy days, every morning and night, in all dangers, temptations, and afflictions.

"Sundays and holy days," because these are special days set apart by the Church for the worship of God. In the "morning" we ask God's grace that we may not sin during the day. At "night" we thank Him for all the benefits received during the day, and also that we may be protected while asleep from every danger and accident. We should never, if possible, go to sleep in mortal sin; and if we have the misfortune to be in that state, we should make as perfect an act of contrition as we can, and promise to go to confession as soon as possible. So many accidents happen that we are never safe, even in good health; fires, earthquakes, floods, lightning, etc., might take us off at any moment. If you saw a man hanging by a very slender thread over a great precipice where he would surely be dashed to pieces if the thread broke, and if you saw him thus risking his life willfully and without necessity, you would pronounce him the greatest fool in the world. One who commits sin is a greater fool. He suspends himself, as I have told you once before, over an abyss of eternal torments on the slender thread of his own life, that may break at any moment. Do we tempt God and do to Him what we dare not to do to our fellowman because He is so merciful? Let us be careful. He is as just as He is merciful, and some sin will be our last, and then He will cut the thread of life and allow us to fall into an eternity of sufferings. "Dangers," whether of soul or body. "Afflictions," sufferings or misfortunes of any kind; such as loss of health, death in the family, etc.

A. We should pray: first, with attention; second, with a sense of our own helplessness and dependence upon God; third, with a great desire for the graces we beg of God; fourth, with trust in God's goodness; fifth, with perseverance.

"Attention," thinking of what we are going to do. Before praying we should think for a moment what prayer is. In it we are about to address Almighty God, our Creator, and we are going to ask Him for something--and what is the particular thing we need and seek for? No one would think of going to a store without first considering what he wanted to buy. He would make, too, all the necessary preparations for getting it. He would find out how much he wanted, and what it would cost, and bring with him sufficient money. He would never think of going in and telling the storekeeper to give him anything. Now it is the same in prayer. When we have thought of what we want of God, from whom we can obtain it, and of the reasons why we need it and why God might be pleased to grant it, we can then kneel down and pray for it. We should pray to God just as a child begs favors from its parents. We should talk to Him in our own simple words, and tell Him the reasons why we ask and why we think He should grant our request. We should, however, be humble and patient in all our prayers. God does not owe us anything, and whatever He gives is a free gift. We should not always read prayers at Almighty God. If you wanted anything very badly from a friend, you would know how to ask for it. You would never ask another to write out your request on paper, and then go and read it to your friend. Now, that is just what we do when we read the prayers that somebody else has written in a prayerbook. Try, therefore, to pray with your own prayers. Of course when the Church gives you certain prayers to say--as it does to its priests in the divine office--or recommends to you such prayers as the "Our Father," "Hail Mary," and "Creed," you should say them in preference to your own, because then the Church adds its petition to yours, and God is more likely to grant such prayers. I mean, therefore, that we should not always pray from prayerbooks, and hurry through the "Our Father" that we may give more time to some printed prayer that pleases us. Our prayer should be a conversation with God. We should, after speaking to Him, listen to what He has to say to us, by our conscience, good thoughts, etc.

I must warn you against some prayers that have been circulated by impostors for the purpose of making money. They pretend that these prayers were found in some remarkable place or manner; that those who carry them or say them will have most wonderful advantages--they will never meet with accident; they will be warned of their death; they will go directly to Heaven after death, etc. If there were any such wonderful prayers the Church would surely know of them and commend them to its children. When you find any prayers of the kind I mention, bring them to the priest and ask his opinion before you use them yourself or give them to others. Never buy prayers or articles said to be blessed from persons unknown to you. Persons selling such things are frequently impostors, who by suave manners and pious speeches unfortunately find Catholics who believe them. These persons--sometimes not Catholics themselves, or at least very bad ones--laugh at the superstition and foolish practices of Catholics who believe everything they hear about pious books, prayers, or articles.

In the early ages of the Church, when the enemies of Christ found that they could not refute His teaching, they began to circulate foolish doctrines, pretending that they were taught by Christ, and thus they hoped to bring ridicule upon Christianity. So also in our time many things are circulated as the teaching of the Catholic Church by the enemies of the Church, in hopes that by these falsehoods and foolish doctrines they may bring disgrace and ridicule upon the true religion. Be on your guard against all impostors, remembering it is a safe rule never to buy a religious article from or give money to persons going about from door to door. If you have anything to give in alms, give it to some charitable institution or society connected with the Church, or put it in the poor-box, and then you will be sure it will do the good you intend. Remember, too, that all the religious articles carried about for sale do not come from Rome or the Holy Land, and you are deceived if you think so, notwithstanding the assurance of their owners.

"A trust"--with full confidence that God will grant our petitions if we really need or deserve what we pray for. It is a fault with a great many to pray without the belief that their prayers will be answered. We should pray with such faith and confidence that we would really be disappointed if our prayer was not granted. Once when Our Lord was going about doing good, a poor woman who had been suffering for twelve years with a disease, and who, wishing to be healed, had uselessly spent all her money in seeking medical aid, came to follow Him. (Mark 5:25). She did not ask Him to cure her, but said within herself, "If I can but touch the hem of His garment I know I shall be healed." So she made her way through the throng and followed Our Lord till she could touch His garment without being seen. She succeeded in accomplishing her wishes, touched His garment, and was instantly cured. Our Lord knew her desires and what she had done, and turning around told the people, praising her great faith and confidence, on account of which He had healed her. Such also should be our confidence and trust when we pray to God for our needs.

"Perseverance." We should continue to pray though God does not grant our request. Have you ever noticed a little child begging favors from its mother? See its persistence! Though often refused, it will return again and again with the same request, till the mother, weary of its importunity, finally grants what it asks.

St. Monica prayed seventeen years for the conversion of her son St. Augustine. St. Augustine's father was a pagan, and Monica, his wife, prayed seventeen years for his conversion, and he became a Christian. Just about that time her son Augustine, who was attending school, fell in with bad companions and became a great sinner. She prayed seventeen years more for him, and he reformed, became a great saint and learned bishop in the Church. See, then, the result of thirty-four years' prayer: Monica herself became a saint, her son became a saint, and her husband died a Christian. If St. Monica had ceased praying after ten years, Augustine might not have reformed. We never know when God is about to grant our petition, and we may cease to pray just when another appeal would obtain the object of our prayer. So we should continue to pray till God is pleased to grant our request. Some say their prayers are not heard when they mean to say their prayers are not granted; for God always hears us. But why does He not always grant our request? There are many reasons: (1) We may not pray in the proper manner, namely, with attention, reverence, humility, patience, and perseverance; (2) We may ask for things that God foresees will not be for our spiritual good. This is true even for things that seem good to us, such as the removal of an affliction, temptation, or the like. It often happens that God shows us His greatest mercy in not granting our prayers. Suppose, for example, a father held in his hand a bright and beautiful but very sharp instrument, for which his child continually asked. Do you believe the father would give it if he loved the child? Certainly not. The child thinks, no doubt, it would be benefitted by the possession of the instrument, but the father sees the danger. As God is our loving Father, He acts with us in the same manner. (3) Our prayers are not granted sometimes that we may learn to pray with proper dispositions, and God withholds what He intends finally to give, that we may persevere in prayer and have greater merit. Have you ever observed a mother teaching her child to walk? What does she do? She goes at some distance from the child and holds out an object that she knows will be pleasing to it, and thus tempts it to walk to her. When the child draws near she moves still farther away, and keeps it walking for some time before giving the object. This she does, not through unwillingness to give the article, but in order to teach the child to walk, for she loves to see its efforts. When it falls, she lifts it up and makes it try again. So, too, God teaches us to pray; and though He loves us, He withholds His gifts, that we may pray the longer, and thereby afford Him greater pleasure.

308 Q. Which are the prayers most recommended to us? A. The prayers most recommended to us are the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostles' Creed, the Confiteor, and the Acts of Faith, Hope, Love, and Contrition.

309 Q. Are prayers said with distractions of any avail? A. Prayers said with willful distractions are of no avail.

"Distraction"--that is, when we willingly and knowingly think of something else while saying our prayers. It would be better not to pray than to pray with disrespect. If there is any time at which we cannot pray well, we should postpone our prayer: for God does not require us to say our prayers just at a particular time; but when we do pray, He requires us to pray with reverence and respect. We would pray well always if we reflected on the great privilege we enjoy in being allowed to pray.


310 Q. Is it enough to belong to God's Church in order to be saved? A. It is not enough to belong to the Church in order to be saved, but we must also keep the Commandments of God and of the Church.

We call some commandments the Commandments of God and others the commandments of the Church. We do so only to distinguish the Commandments that God gave to Moses from those that the Church made afterwards. They are all the commandments of God, for whatever laws or commandments the Church makes, it makes them under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and by God's authority. It would be a mortal sin to break the commandments of the Church, just as it would be to break the Commandments of God. You must remember that the Ten Commandments always existed from the time of Adam, but they were not written till God gave them to Moses. You know that it was always a sin to worship false gods, to blaspheme, to disobey parents, to kill, etc.; for you know Cain was punished by God for the murder of his brother Abel (Gen. 5), and that took place while Adam was still alive.

Before the coming of Our Lord the Israelites, or God's chosen people, had three kinds of laws. They had the civil laws for the government of their nation--just as we have our laws for the people of the United States. They had their ceremonial laws for their services in the temple--as we have our ceremonies for the Church. They had their moral laws--such as the Commandments--teaching them what they must do to save their souls. Their civil laws were done away with when they ceased to be a nation having a government of their own. Their ceremonial laws were done away with when Our Lord came and established His Church; because their ceremonies were only the figures of ours. Their moral laws remained, and Our Lord explained them and made them more perfect. Therefore we keep the Commandments and moral laws as they were always kept by man. Fifty days after the Israelites left Egypt they came to the foot of Mount Sinai. (Ex. 19). Here God commanded Moses to come up into the mountain, and in the midst of fire and smoke, thunder and lightning, God spoke to him and delivered into his hands the Ten Commandments written on two tablets of stone.

Every day while the Israelites were traveling in the desert God sent them manna--a miraculous food that fell every morning. It was white, and looked something like fine rice. It had any taste they wished it to have. For instance, if they wished it to taste like fruit, it did taste so to them; but its usual taste was like that of flour and honey. (Ex. 16).

I said there is no difference between the Ten Commandments of God and the six commandments of the Church; and there is no difference as far as the sin of violating them is concerned. But they differ in this: the Church can change the commandments it made itself, while it cannot change those that God Himself gave directly.

A. The Commandments which contain the whole law of God are these two: first, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, with thy whole strength, and with thy whole mind; second, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

"As thyself"--that is, as explained elsewhere, with the same kind, though not necessarily with the same degree, of love. First we must love ourselves and do what is essential for our own salvation, because without our cooperation others cannot save us, though they may help us by their prayers and good works. Next to ourselves nature demands that we love those who are related to us in the order of parents, children, husbands, wives, brothers, etc., and help them in proportion to their needs, and before helping strangers who are in no greater distress.

neighbor contain the whole law of God? A. These two Commandments of the love of God and of our neighbor contain the whole law of God because all the other Commandments are given either to help us to keep these two, or to direct us how to shun what is opposed to them.

Of the Ten Commandments the first three refer to Almighty God and the other seven to our neighbor. Thus all the Commandments may be reduced to the two of the love of God and of the love of our neighbor. The First Commandment says you shall worship only the true God; the Second says you shall respect His holy name; and the Third says you shall worship Him on a certain day. All these are contained therefore in this: Love God all you possibly can, for if you do you will keep the first three of the Commandments. The Fourth says: Honor your father--who in the sense of the Commandment can also be called your neighbor--that is, respect him, help him in his needs. The Fifth says do not kill him; namely, your neighbor. The others say do not rob him of his goods; do not tell lies about him; do not wish unjustly to possess his goods and do not covet his wife. Thus it is clear that the last seven are all contained in this: Love your neighbor, for if you do you will keep the last seven Commandments that refer to him.

313 Q. Which are the Commandments of God? A. The Commandments of God are these ten:

1. I am the Lord thy God, Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt,
   out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before
   Me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness
   of any thing that is in Heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor
   of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt
   not adore them, nor serve them.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath Day.
4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
5. Thou shalt not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

A. God Himself gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, and Christ Our Lord confirmed them.


315 Q. What is the First Commandment? A. The First Commandment is: "I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt not have strange gods before Me."

"Strange gods." The Israelites were surrounded on all sides by pagan nations who worshipped idols and false gods, and sometimes by mingling with these people they fell into sin, and, forgetting the true God, worshipped their idols. Sometimes, too, they were at war with these pagan nations, and when defeated were led captive into pagan countries and there fell into the sin of worshipping false gods. It was against this sin that God cautioned His people in the First Commandment. From this sin of idolatry among the Israelites we have an example of the evil results of associating with persons not of the true religion. One would think that the Israelites, knowing the true God, might have converted their pagan neighbors to the true religion by the influence of their teaching and example; but, on the contrary, they lost the true faith themselves, as nearly always happens in such cases. How do we sometimes worship false or strange gods? By making dress, money, honor, society, company, or pleasure our god--that is, by giving up the worship of God and sinning for their sake, and thus making them god, at least for the time being, by giving them our heart, mind, and service.

Commandment of the love of God? A. The First Commandment helps us to keep the great Commandment of the love of God because it commands us to adore God alone.

317 Q. How do we adore God? A. We adore God by faith, hope, and charity, by prayer and sacrifice.

318 Q. How may the First Commandment be broken? A. The First Commandment may be broken by giving to a creature the honor which belongs to God alone; by false worship; and by attributing to a creature a perfection which belongs to God alone.

"Creature"--that is, anything created; anything but God Himself, for all other persons and things have been created. If one knelt before a king and adored him, he would be giving to a creature the honor due to God alone. "False worship"--that is, worshipping God not as He directs us by His Church, but in some ways pleasing to ourselves. For example, to sacrifice animals to God would now be false worship; to offer now any of the sacrifices commanded in the Old Law would be false worship, because all these were figures of the real sacrifice of the Cross and Mass, and were to put the people in mind that one day Christ the promised Redeemer would offer up the one great sacrifice of His own body and blood to blot out all the sins of the world. And now that we have the real sacrifice it would be sinful to use only figures, and it would be a false worship displeasing to God. So, too, all those who leave the true Church to practice a religion of their own have a false worship, for they worship God not as He wishes, but as they wish.

Heaven is a reward, and when we see how the saints labored to secure it we must be ashamed of the little we do for God. Take out of a whole year--that is, 365 days or 8,760 hours--the time you give to the service of God, and you will find it very little. Even the time you spent at Mass and prayers was filled with distraction and little of it entirely given to God. Since this is true for one year, what will it be for all the years of your life? Think of them all and you will perceive that God, who gave you all the time you had, and who on the last day will demand an exact account of it, will find very little of it spent in His honor or in His service. Even the time wasted in school and instructions will all stand against you. Time lost is lost forever, and you can never make it up. Next to grace, time is the most valuable thing God gives us, and we should use it well. "Attributing to a creature a perfection" etc. Persons who go to fortune tellers do this. Fortune tellers are persons who pretend to know what is going to happen in the future. We know from our religion that only God Himself knows the future. Neither the angels nor saints, nor even the Blessed Virgin, know the future. Even they could not tell your fortune unless God revealed it to them. So when you go to a fortune teller you place the poor sinful person who is doing the devil's work above the Blessed Virgin and all the saints and angels, and make that wretch equal to God Himself. Surely this is a sin, even if you do not believe these so-called fortune tellers, but go to them merely through curiosity or with others. Again, we pay these persons for telling us some foolish nonsense, and thus encourage them to continue their sinful business. They doubtless laugh at the foolishness of those who go to them or believe what they say and pay them generously. You might with as much sense stop a man on the street, ask him to tell your fortune, and hand him your money, for he would know as much about it as so-called fortune tellers do. Rarely these sinful people might tell you something that has happened in your life; but if they do, they merely guess at it or are aided by the devil. The devil did not lose his intelligence when driven out of Heaven, and he uses it now for doing evil. He has vast experience, for he is as old as Adam, or older, and has seen and known all the men that have lived in the world. He can move rapidly through the world and easily know what is visibly taking place, so that, strictly speaking, he could make known to his sinful agents what is present or past, but never the future. Thus some fortune tellers, clairvoyants, mindreaders, mediums, or whatever else they call themselves, who are truly in league with the devil, may by his power tell you the past of your life to make you believe that they know also the future. The past and present in your life you already know, and the future they cannot tell; therefore it is useless as well as sinful to go to them. I say only it is possible for some fortune tellers to employ the assistance of the devil, for all of them, with very rare exception, are clever impostors who take your money for guessing at what they suspect you will be most pleased to hear.

dreams, in mediums, spiritists, fortune tellers, and the like, sin against the First Commandment? A. Those who make use of spells and charms, or who believe in dreams, in mediums, spiritists, fortune tellers, and the like, sin against the First Commandment, because they attribute to creatures perfections which belong to God alone.

"Spells" are certain words, the saying of which persons believe will effect for them something wonderful--a miraculous cure, for instance, or protection from some evil. "Charms" are articles worn about the body for the same purpose. They may be little black beans, little stones of a certain shape, the teeth of animals, etc. In uncivilized countries the inhabitants use many of these charms. But you may ask, Are not these medals, scapulars, etc., that we wear, also charms? No. These things are blessed and worn in honor of God, of His Blessed Mother, or of the saints. We do not expect any help from the little piece of brass or cloth we wear, but from those in whose honor we wear it, and from the prayers said in the blessing for those who wear it. But they who wear charms expect the help from the thing itself, which makes their conduct foolish and sinful, since God alone can protect from evil. Again, such things as medals, crosses, and scapulars are blessed by the Church and worn by its consent, and it could never allow all its children to do a sinful thing. It is good and praiseworthy, therefore, to wear the blessed sacramentals in God's honor; but even with these holy things we must be careful not to go too far. It is true the Blessed Virgin will protect those who wear her scapular; but it would be sinful willfully to expose ourselves to danger without any necessity, because we wear a scapular. Thus it would be suicide for a boy who could not swim to plunge into deep water because, having his scapulars on, the Blessed Virgin ought to save him by a miracle. Again, it is wrong to look for miracles from God when natural help will answer. Thus it would be wrong for a man who broke his leg to refuse to have the doctors set it, because he wanted God alone to heal it. "Dreams" are caused by the mind being at work while the body is sleeping or at rest. The mind never sleeps; it is always awake and working. Thus when we are asleep the imagination, without the reason to guide it, mixes together a number of things we have seen, heard, or thought of, and gives us strange scenes and pictures. Sometimes what we dream of seems to happen; but that is only because we dream so much that it would be strange if none of the things ever happened. We will generally dream about whatever was on our mind shortly before. We read in the Holy Scriptures that God at times made known His will to certain persons by dreams; as when the king of Egypt dreamt of the great famine that was to come; or when the angel appeared in sleep to St. Joseph, telling him to take Our Lord into Egypt, where Herod the king could not kill him. (Matt. 2).

The dreams mentioned in the Holy Scripture were more frequently visions than dreams. In a vision the things we see are really present, whereas in dreams they are not, but we imagine they are. God no longer makes use of dreams as a means of communicating with His creatures, because His Church will make known to us His will. He sometimes, however, makes known certain things to His holy servants on earth in a very special and private manner: as, for example, when Our Lord appeared to Saint Margaret Mary and told her He would like to have the devotion to the Sacred Heart established. We must always believe what the Church tells us God has made known to it; but when holy people tell us that God revealed special things to them, we are not obliged to believe what they say, unless the Church confirms it. I say we are not obliged--that is, we may if we please; but we would not be heretics and commit sin if we did not believe all the revelations and wonderful things we find recorded in the lives of saints, though they may all be true.

"Mediums and spiritists" are persons who pretend they can talk with the dead in the other world, and learn where they are and what they are doing. They have figures to move and apparently speak, and other contrivances to deceive those who confide in them. Their work is all deception and very sinful. If any of these things could be done, or if God wished them to be known, He would give the power to the Church founded by His divine Son, and not to a few sinful men or women here and there. After a soul leaves the body its fate is hidden from us, and we can say nothing with absolute certainty of its reward or punishment. No one ever came back from the other world to give a minute account of its general appearance or of what takes place there. All that is known about it the Church knows and tells us, and all over and above that is false or doubtful. By thinking a little you can see how all these dealings with fortune tellers, etc., are giving to creatures what belongs to God alone.

320 Q. Are sins against faith, hope, and charity also sins against the First Commandment? A. Sins against faith, hope, and charity are also sins against the First Commandment.

321 Q. How does a person sin against faith? A. A person sins against faith, first, by not trying to know what God has taught; second, by refusing to believe all that God has taught; third, by neglecting to profess his belief in what God has taught.

"Not trying to know." Thus children who idle their time at Sunday school or religious instruction, and do not learn their Catechism, sin against faith in the first way. In like manner grown persons who do not sometime or other endeavor to hear sermons or instructions, to attend missions or learn from good books, sin against faith. "Refusing to believe," as all those do who leave the true religion, or who, knowing it, do not embrace it. "Neglecting to profess." We may do this by not living up to the practice of our holy religion. We believe, for example, we should hear Mass every Sunday and holy day; we should receive the Sacraments at certain times in the year; but if we only believe these things and do not do them, we neglect to profess our faith, neglect to show others that we really believe all the Church teaches, and are anxious to practice it. Many know and believe what they should do, but never practice it. Such persons do great injury to the Church, for persons who do not live up to their holy religion but act contrary to its teaching give scandal to their neighbor. How many persons at present not Catholics would be induced to enter the true Church if they saw all Catholics virtuous, truthful, sober, honest, upright, and industrious! But when they see Catholics--be they ever so few--cursing, quarrelling, backbiting, drinking, lying, stealing, cheating, etc.--in a word, indulging in the same vices as those who claim to have no religion, what must they think of the moral influence of Catholic faith? Thus they do great injustice to the Church and the cause of religion, and are working against our Blessed Lord when they should be working for Him.

The Christian religion spread very rapidly through the world in the first ages of its existence; and one of the chief reasons was the good example given by the Christians; for pagans seeing the holy lives, the kindness and charity of their Christian neighbors, could not help admiring and loving them, and wishing to be members of the Church that made them so good and amiable. How many pagans do you think would be converted nowadays by the lives of some who call themselves Catholics? Not many, I think. Besides this, the early Christians really labored to instruct others in the Christian religion, and to make them converts. Often we find servants--even slaves--by their instructions converting their pagan masters and mistresses. They all felt that they were missionaries working for Jesus Christ, and their influence reached where the priest's influence could not reach, because they came in contact with persons the priests never had an opportunity of seeing. If all Catholics had the same spirit, what good they could do! Their business or duty may often bring them into daily intercourse with persons not of their faith, and who never knew or perhaps heard any of the beautiful truths of our holy religion. Yes, Catholics could do much good if they had only the good will and knew their religion well. I do not mean that they should be always discussing religion with everyone they meet. Let them preach chiefly by the example of their own good lives, and when questioned explain modestly and sincerely the truths they believe.

If you should be asked, for instance: Why do you not eat flesh-meat on Friday? you should be able to answer: "Because I am a Christian and wish to keep always before my mind how our Blessed Lord suffered for me in His holy flesh on that day; and anyone who claims to be a Christian, ought, I think, to be glad to do what reminds him so regularly and well of Our Lord's Passion." Such an answer if given kindly and mildly would silence and instruct your adversary; it might make him reflect, and might, in time, bring him to the true religion. Sometimes a few words make a great impression and bring about conversion. St. Francis Xavier was a worldly young man, learned and ambitious, and he heard from St. Ignatius these words of Our Lord: "What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?" He went home and kept thinking of them till they impressed him so strongly that he gave up the world, became a priest and by his labors and preaching in India, converted to the true religion many thousand pagans. In the lives of the saints there are many examples of a few words, by God's grace, bringing men from a life of sin to a life of great holiness.

A. We fail to try to know what God has taught by neglecting to learn the Christian doctrine.

A. They who do not believe all that God has taught are the heretics and infidels.

There are many kinds of unbelievers: atheists, deists, infidels, heretics, apostates, and schismatics. An atheist is one who denies the existence of God, saying there is no God. A deist is one who says he believes God exists, but denies that God ever revealed any religion. These are also called freethinkers. An infidel properly means one who has never been baptized--one who is not of the number of the faithful; that is, those believing in Christ. Sometimes atheists are called infidels. Heretics are those who were baptized and who claim to be Christians, but do not believe all the truths that Our Lord has taught. They accept only a portion of the doctrine of Christ and reject the remainder, and hence they become rebellious children of the Church. They belong to the true Church by being baptized, but do not submit to its teaching and are therefore outcast children, disinherited till they return to the true faith. A schismatic is one who believes everything the Church teaches, but will not submit to the authority of its head--the Holy Father. Such persons do not long remain only schismatics; for once they rise up against the authority of the Church, they soon reject some of its doctrines and thus become heretics; and indeed, since Vatican Council I, all schismatics are heretics.

taught? A. They who neglect to profess their belief in what God has taught are all those who fail to acknowledge the true Church in which they really believe.

There are some outside the Church who feel and believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church, and yet they do not become Catholics, because there are so many difficulties in the way. For example, they have been brought up in another religion, and all their friends, relatives, or associates are opposed to the Catholic religion. Their business, their social life, their worldly interests will all suffer if they become Catholics. So, although they feel they should at once embrace the true religion, they keep putting off till death comes and finds them outside the Church--and most probably guilty of other mortal sins. Such persons cannot be saved, for they reject all the graces God bestows upon them. A very common fault with such people is to excuse this conduct by saying: Oh! I was brought up in the Protestant religion, and everyone ought to live in the religion in which he was brought up. Let me ask: If persons were brought up with some bodily deformity that their parents neglected to have remedied while they were young, would they not use every means themselves to have the deformity removed as soon as they became old enough to see and understand their misfortune? In like manner, if unfortunately parents bring up their children in a false religion--that is, with spiritual deformities, it is the duty of the children to embrace the true religion as soon as they know it. Again persons will say: Oh, I believe one religion as good as another; we are all Christians, and all trying to serve God. If one religion is as good as another, why did not Our Lord allow the old religions--false or true--to remain? If one man says a thing is black and another says it is white, they cannot both be right, for a thing cannot be black and white at the same time. Only one can be right; and, if we are anxious about the color of the object, we must try to find which one is right. Just in the same way all the religions that claim to be Christian contradict one another; one says a thing is false and another says it is true: one says Our Lord taught so and so and another says He did not. Now since it is very important for us to know which is right, we must find out which is really the Church Our Lord established; and when we have found it we will know that all the other pretended Christian religions must be false. Our Lord has given us marks by which we can know His Church, as we saw while speaking of the marks of the Church; and the Roman Catholic Church is the only Church that has all these marks. We say that we are Roman Catholics to show that we are in communion with the Church of Rome, established by St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles.

which they believe expect to be saved while in that state? A. They who fail to profess their faith in the true Church in which they believe cannot expect to be saved while in that state, for Christ has said: "Whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in Heaven."

326 Q. Are we obliged to make open profession of our faith? A. We are obliged to make open profession of our faith as often as God's honor, our neighbor's spiritual good, or our own requires it. "Whosoever," says Christ, "shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in Heaven."

It is not necessary for us to proclaim in the streets that we are Catholics; neither need we tell our religion to impudent people that may ask us only to insult us; but when a real need of professing our faith presents itself, then we must profess it. Suppose you are stopping in a hotel in which you are the only Catholic. If flesh-meat is placed before you on a Friday in Lent you must quietly push it aside and ask for fish or other food; although by so doing you will show that you are a Catholic and make a silent profession of your faith. God's honor and your own good require it, for you must keep the laws of God and of His Church on every possible occasion. Suppose again there were in the same hotel some indifferent Catholics, socially your equals or inferiors, who through human respect were ashamed to go to Mass on Sunday; then you should publicly go to Mass and even declare that you must go, for by so doing you would encourage these indifferent Catholics to follow your example. In that case your neighbor's good requires that you profess your faith. In a word, you must keep up the practice of your religion even if by so doing you have to make an open profession of your faith and suffer for it. But suppose it is something that God or the Church does not command you to do but only recommends, such as blessing yourself before meals or some pious practice, you could in public omit such an action if you pleased without any sin or denial of faith, because you violate no law.

327 Q. Which are the sins against hope? A. The sins against hope are presumption and despair.

328 Q. What is presumption? A. Presumption is a rash expectation of salvation without making proper use of the necessary means to obtain it.

A person who goes on leading a bad life, and says when warned of his danger that he is in no hurry to reform, that he will repent some day before he dies, is always living in and committing the sin of presumption. It is a great sin, for it is living in open defiance of Almighty God. Such persons are very seldom given the opportunity to repent at the last moment, and are, in most cases, called to judgment when they least expect it. We are all presumptuous sometimes. Do we not often, when we have fallen into a certain sin, easily repeat the act, saying to ourselves, now that we will have to confess the sin committed, the mention of the number of times will not make such difference for it will not increase our shame and confusion? This is presumption; for we do not know whether God will ever give us the opportunity of making a confession. Again, one mortal sin is sufficient to keep our souls in Hell for all eternity; what then will be our punishment for many mortal sins? Then there is another thing you should remember: God has fixed a certain number of sins that He will suffer you to commit before He sends His punishment. You do not know which sin will complete the number and be the last. The very sin you are now about to commit may be that one, and the moment you have committed it, God will call you to judgment, whether it be night or day, whether you are at home or in the streets--though perhaps not immediately, but before you commit another sin. Such a thought alone should keep you from sinning. Moreover, after confession you strongly resist the first temptation to mortal sin, but after you have yielded to the first you scarcely make any more resistance, but easily yield again and again. You should therefore, to prevent this, go to confession just as soon as you possibly can after falling into mortal sin. It is bad enough to commit mortal sin, but it is terrible to be living in that state day and night--always an enemy of God--losing the merit of all the works you do and yet you must stay in that state of sin till you go to confession and receive absolution. Peter the Apostle committed the sin of presumption. (Matt. 26). Our Lord told him to watch and pray for he would be tempted and yield that night, but Peter said: "No Lord, I will never deny Thee." Instead of begging Our Lord's help and grace, he trusted to himself and fell miserably into sin. He went into dangerous company and that was another cause of his fall. But afterwards he saw his sin and folly and never ceased to repent of it.

329 Q. What is despair? A. Despair is the loss of hope in God's mercy.

Despair is a sin because by it you deny that God is infinitely merciful--that He is merciful enough to forgive even your many and great sins if you are truly sorry for them. Judas committed the sin of despair. After he had betrayed Our Lord, he went and hanged himself, thus committing, besides the sin of betraying his divine Master, two other great sins; namely, despair in God's mercy and suicide. If he had gone to Our Lord and confessed his sin, and implored pardon and promised penance, can we doubt that He would have forgiven even Judas, as He forgave Peter, and those that crucified Him, praying that His Father might not punish them for their sins? Therefore, no matter what sins you have committed, never lose confidence in God's mercy. See how Our Lord pardoned the thief on the cross and Mary Magdalen and other sinners. Be sorry for your sins, and God will hear your prayers. Call upon the Blessed Virgin, your patron saint, and guardian angel to help you, and ask others, especially good persons, to pray for you.

A. We sin against the love of God by all sin, but particularly by mortal sin.


331 Q. Does the First Commandment forbid the honoring of the saints? A. The First Commandment does not forbid the honoring of the saints, but rather approves of it; because by honoring the saints, who are the chosen friends of God, we honor God Himself.

Think of the many helps God gives us to save our souls: an angel to be always with us upon earth; a saint always praying for us in Heaven, and besides these all the graces, the Sacraments, the Masses, the prayers, etc. If then we lose our soul, surely we cannot say, God did not give us sufficient help. "Invocation" means calling upon them to help us. Everyone is pleased when his friends are honored. Who is not glad to hear his parents praised or see them respected? By praying to the saints, instead of dishonoring God--as Protestants say we do--we really honor Him more than by praying directly to Himself We show that we believe in His great dignity, His awful majesty and our own nothingness. If a poor person wanted to obtain a favor from the President of the United States, would he go directly to the President himself? No. He would find someone who had influence with the President, and ask him to obtain the favor. Why, the very persons that say we should not use the influence of saints do themselves use the influence of others to obtain favors. They never go to an enemy of the one from whom they desire the favor, but to some of his friends, knowing that a person will often grant a favor for a friend's sake that he would not grant for the sake of others. Now we do exactly the same when we pray to the saints. They are the special friends of God. They fasted, prayed, preached, labored, or suffered death for His honor and glory. He showed them great favors while they were upon earth. He performed miracles at their request. Will He deny them now, when they are always present with Him in Heaven--where they could not possibly sin? He loves to grant them favors; and, as they do not need any for themselves, He grants them for others through their intercession. Again men are honored by the praises of their fellowman. A great general is honored by having all his countrymen praise him; so, too, God wants His saints honored, for their great spiritual deeds, by the praise of the children of the Church. God is not annoyed by being asked for favors. Nothing can trouble Him, for all is done by an act of His will. He loses nothing by giving, for He is infinite. By praying to the saints for help we confess that we are too unworthy to present ourselves to God and address Him--to come before His awful Majesty, and that we will wait here in the humble attitude of prayer while you, holy saints, His dearest friends, go into His presence and ask for us the favors and graces we require.

332 Q. Does the First Commandment forbid us to pray to the saints? A. The First Commandment does not forbid us to pray to the saints.

We do not pray to them as to God. We never say to them, "Give us this or that," but always, "Obtain it for us." In all the litanies you cannot find one petition where we say, even to the Blessed Virgin: "Have mercy on us," but, "Pray for us," or, "Intercede for us."

333 Q. What do we mean by praying to the saints? A. By praying to the saints we mean the asking of their help and prayers.

A. We know that the saints hear us, because they are with God, who makes our prayers known to them.

A. We believe that the saints will help us because both they and we are members of the same Church, and they love us as their brethren.

A. The saints and we are members of the same Church, because the Church in Heaven and the Church on earth are one and the same Church, and all its members are in communion with one another.

A. The communion of the members of the Church is called the communion of saints.

A. The communion of saints means the union which exists between the members of the Church on earth with one another and with the blessed in Heaven and with the suffering souls in Purgatory.

A. The following benefits are derived from the communion of saints: the faithful on earth assist one another by their prayers and good works, and they are aided by the intercession of the saints in Heaven, while both the saints in Heaven and the faithful on earth help the souls in Purgatory.

340 Q. Does the First Commandment forbid us to honor relics? A. The First Commandment does not forbid us to honor relics, because relics are the bodies of the saints or objects directly connected with them or with Our Lord.

"Relic" means a thing left. Relics are pieces of the body--bones, etc. Pieces of saints' clothing, writing, etc., are also called relics. Pieces of the True Cross, the nails that pierced Christ's hands, etc., are relics of Our Lord's Passion. We have no relic of Our Lord's Body because He took it into Heaven with Him when He ascended. All relics of the saints must be examined at Rome, by those whom the Holy Father has appointed for that work. They must be marked and accompanied by the testimony of the Cardinals, or others who examined them, to show that they are true relics. It would be superstitious to use anything as a relic unless we were sure of its being genuine.

341 Q. Does the First Commandment forbid the making of images? A. The First Commandment does forbid the making of images if they are made to be adored as gods, but it does not forbid the making of them to put us in mind of Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and the saints.

Protestants and others say that Catholics break the First Commandment by having images in their churches, because the First Commandment says: "Thou shalt not make graven images or the likeness of anything upon the earth," etc. Now, if that is exactly what the Commandment means, then they break it also, because they make the images of generals, statesmen, writers, etc., and place them in their parks. They also take photographs of their relatives and friends and hang them on the walls of their homes. They do this, they say, and we believe them, to show their respect and veneration for the persons represented, and not to worship their images. Now we do no more. We simply place in our churches the images of saints to show our respect and veneration for the persons they represent, and not to worship the images themselves. So if we break the First Commandment, they who make any picture or statue break it also. Can our accusers not see that they and every citizen do the very thing for which they reproach us? On Decoration Day they place flowers around the statue of Washington and other great men. Does anyone believe that they are trying to honor the piece of metal or stone, or that the metal or stone statue knows that it is being honored? Certainly not. They do so to honor Washington or whomsoever the statue represents; and for the same reason Catholics place flowers and lights around the statues and images of saints. Every child knows that the wood in the statue might as well have been a pillar in the Church, and that its selection for a statue was merely accidental, and hence he knows that the statue cannot hear or see him, and so he prays not to the statue but to the person it represents. Again if you can offer a person insult by dishonoring his image, may we not honor him by treating it with respect? What greater insult, for instance, could be offered to your deceased father and yourself than to burn him in effigy, or contemptuously trample his picture under foot in your presence? Thus they who treat the images of Christ or His saints with disrespect dishonor Christ and His saints.

Again we may learn our religion by our sight as well as by our hearing, and may be led by these visible objects to a knowledge of the invisible things they represent. Let us take an example. A poor ignorant man enters a Catholic church, and sees hanging there a picture of St. Vincent de Paul. He can learn the life of the saint from that picture almost as well as if he read it in a book. He sees the saint dressed in a cassock, and that tells him St. Vincent was a priest. He sees him surrounded by little ragged children and holding some of them in his arms; that tells him the saint took care of poor children and orphans, and founded homes and asylums for them. He sees on the saint's table a human skull, and that tells him St. Vincent frequently meditated upon death and what follows it. He sees beside the skull a little lash or whip, and that tells him the saint was a man who practiced penance and mortification. Thus you have another reason why the true Church is very properly called Catholic; because its teaching suits all classes of persons. The ignorant can know what it teaches as well as the learned; for if they cannot read they can listen to its priests, watch its ceremonies, and study its pictures, by all of which it teaches. The Protestant religion, on the contrary, is not adapted to the needs of every class, for it teaches that all must find their doctrines in the Bible, and understand them according to their lights, giving their own interpretation to the passages of the sacred text; and thus we come to have a variety of Protestant denominations, all claiming the Bible for their guide, though following different paths. If every Protestant has the right to take his own meaning out of the Holy Scripture, what right have Protestant ministers to preach the meaning they have found, and compel others to accept it? The Bible alone is not sufficient. It must be explained by the Church that teaches us also the traditions that have come down to us from the Apostles. If the Bible alone were the rule of our faith, what would become of all those who could not read the Bible? What would become of those who lived before the Apostles wrote the New Testament? for they did not write in the first years of their ministry, neither did they commit to writing all the truths they taught, because Our Lord did not command them to write, but to preach; and He Himself never wrote any of His doctrines. Again Catholics are accused of superstition for keeping the relics of saints. Yet when General Grant died and was buried in New York, many citizens of every denomination, anxious to have a relic of the great man they loved and admired, secured, even at a cost, small pieces of wood from his house, of cloth from his funeral car, a few leaves or a little sand from his tomb. Now, if it was not superstition to keep these relics, why should it be superstition to keep the relics of the saints?

Even God Himself honored the relics of saints, for He has often performed or granted miracles through their use. We read in the Bible (4 Kings 13:21)--and it is the word of God--that once some persons who were burying a dead man, seeing their enemies coming upon them, hastily cast the body into a tomb and fled. It was the tomb of the holy prophet Eliseus, and when the dead body touched the bones of this great servant of God, the dead man came to life and stood erect. Here is at least one miracle that God performed through the relics of a saint.

God does not forbid the mere making of images, but only the making of them as gods. He gave the Commandments to Moses and afterwards told him to make images; namely, angels of gold for the temple. (Ex. 25:18). Now, God does not change His mind or contradict Himself as men do. Whatever He does is done forever. Therefore if He commanded Moses by the First Commandment not to make any images, He could not tell him later to make some. It is not the mere making, therefore, that God forbids, but the adoring. What He insists upon is: "You shall not adore or serve the images you make." This is very clear if we consider the history of the Israelites, to whom God first gave the law. They were the only nation in the whole world that knew and worshipped the true God, and often, as I told you, they fell into idolatry and really worshipped images. When Moses delayed on the mountain with God, and they thought he was not coming back, they made a golden calf and adored it as a god. (Ex. 32).

The Israelites fell into idolatry chiefly by associating with persons not of the true religion. Let us learn from their sins never to run the risk of weakening or losing our faith by making bosom friends and steady companions of those not of the true religion or of no religion at all. You are not, however, to treat any person with contempt or to despise anyone, but to look upon all as the children of God, and pray for those not of the true religion, that they may be converted and saved.

342 Q. Is it right to show respect to the pictures and images of Christ and His saints? A. It is right to show respect to the pictures and images of Christ and His saints, because they are the representations and memorials of them.

343 Q. Is it allowed to pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics of the saints? A. It is not allowed to pray to the crucifix or images and relics of the saints, for they have no life, nor power to help us, nor sense to hear us.

344 Q. Why do we pray before the crucifix and the images and relics of the saints? A. We pray before the crucifix and the images and relics of the saints because they enliven our devotion by exciting pious affections and desires, and by reminding us of Christ and of the saints, that we may imitate their virtues.


345 Q. What is the Second Commandment? A. The Second Commandment is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

"In vain"--that is, without necessity.

346 Q. What are we commanded by the Second Commandment? A. We are commanded by the Second Commandment to speak with reverence of God and of the saints, and of all holy things, and to keep our lawful oaths and vows.

A very common sin against this Commandment is to use the words and sayings of Holy Scripture in a worldly or bad sense. The Church forbids us to use the words and sayings of Holy Scripture to convey any meaning but the one God intended them to convey, or at least to use them in any but a sacred sense.

347 Q. What is an oath? A. An oath is the calling upon God to witness the truth of what we say.

We declare a thing to be so or not, and call God to be our witness that we are speaking truly. This is one of the most solemn acts that men can perform in the presence of their fellowman. All the nations of the earth regard an oath as a most sacred thing, and one who swears falsely is the vilest of men--a perjurer. God is infinite truth and hates lies. What a frightful thing then to call Him to sanction a lie!

A. We may take an oath when it is ordered by lawful authority or required for God's honor or for our own or our neighbor's good.

An oath is generally taken in a court of law when the judge wishes to find out the truth of the case. We may be a witness against one who is guilty, or in defense of an innocent person, and in such cases a lie would have most evil consequences. The judge has a right, therefore, to make us take an oath that we will testify truly. Officers of the law, magistrates, judges, etc., take an oath when entering upon their duties that they will perform them faithfully.

A. To make an oath lawful it is necessary that what we swear be true, and that there be a sufficient cause for taking an oath.

350 Q. What is a vow? A. A vow is a deliberate promise made to God to do something that is pleasing to Him.

"Deliberate"--that is, with full consent and freedom. If we are forced to make it, it is not valid. "To God," not to another; though we may vow to God that we will do something in honor of the Blessed Virgin, or of the saints, or for another. "Something pleasing," because if we promise something that is forbidden by God or displeasing to Him, it is not a vow. A solemn promise, for instance, to kill your neighbor or steal his goods could not be a vow. You would commit a sin by making such a vow, and another by keeping it, for if you promise something you cannot do without committing sin then you must not keep that promise. We have an example in the life of St. John the Baptist. King Herod was leading a sinful life, and St. John rebuked him for it. The wife of the king's brother--Herodias was her name--hated St. John for this, and she sought to have him killed. Once when the king had a great feast and all his notables were assembled, this woman's daughter danced before them, and the king was so pleased with her that he vowed to give her whatever she asked. He should have said, if it is something pleasing to God, but he did not. Her mother made her ask for the head of John the Baptist. The king was sad, but because he had made the vow or promise he thought he had to keep it, and ordered St. John to be beheaded and his head brought to her. (Matt. 14). He was not bound to keep any such vow, and sinned by doing so.

Again, they also commit sin who become members of such secret societies as the freemasons or similar organizations, promising to do whatever they are ordered without knowing what may be ordered; for they sin not only by obeying sinful commands, but by the very fact of being in a society in which they are exposed to the danger of being forced to sin. Such secret societies are forbidden by the Church because they strive to undermine its authority, and make their rules superior to its teaching. They also influence those in authority to persecute the Church and its ministers, and do not hesitate to recommend even assassination at times for the accomplishment of their ends. Therefore the Church forbids Catholics to join societies of which (1) the objects are unlawful, (2) where the means used are sinful, or (3) where the rights of our conscience and liberty are violated by rash or dangerous oaths.

The Church does not oppose associations founded on law and justice; but on the contrary, has always encouraged and still encourages every organization that tends to benefit its members spiritually and temporally, and opposes only societies that have not a legitimate end. Therefore you may understand that labor unions and benefit societies in which persons are leagued together for their own protection or the protection of their interests are not secret societies, though they may conduct their meetings in secret.

351 Q. Is it a sin not to fulfill our vows? A. Not to fulfill our vows is a sin, mortal or venial according to the nature of the vow and the intention we had in making it.

"Vows"--that is, lawful vows. When a man who is in the habit of getting intoxicated vows not to take liquor for a certain time, he generally intends to bind himself only under venial sin; that is, if he breaks that pledge or promise it will be a venial and not a mortal sin; but he can make it a mortal sin by intending, when he takes the pledge, that if he breaks it he will be guilty of mortal sin.

352 Q. What is forbidden by the Second Commandment? A. The Second Commandment forbids all false, rash, unjust, and unnecessary oaths, blasphemy, cursing, and profane words.

"Rash"--swearing a thing is true or false without knowing for certain whether it is or not. "Blasphemy" is not the same as cursing or taking God's name in vain. It is worse. It is to say or do something very disrespectful to God. To say that He is unjust, cruel or the like, is to blaspheme. We can blaspheme also by actions. To defy God by a sign or action, to dare Him to strike us dead, etc., would be blasphemy. We have a terrible example of blasphemy related in the life of Julian the Apostate. An apostate is one who renounces and gives up his religion, not one who merely neglects it. Julian was a Roman emperor and had been a Catholic, but apostatized. Then in his great hatred for Our Lord he wished to falsify His prophecies and prove them untrue. Our Lord had said that of the temple of Jerusalem there would not be left a stone upon a stone. To make this false Julian began to rebuild the temple. In making the preparation he cleared away the ruins of the old building, not leaving a single stone upon a stone, and thus was instrumental himself in verifying the words of Our Lord; for while the ruins remained there were stones upon stones. He wished to defy God, but when he began to build, fire came forth from the earth and drove back the workmen, and a strong wind scattered the materials. Afterwards Julian was wounded in battle, an arrow having pierced his breast. He drew it out, and throwing a handful of his blood toward heaven, said: "Thou hast conquered, O Galilean," meaning Our Lord. This was a horrible blasphemy--throwing his blood in defiance, and calling the Son of God a name which he thought would be insulting (see Fredet's Modern History, Life of Julian). Therefore we can blaspheme by actions or words, doing or saying things intended to insult Almighty God. "Profane words"--that is, bad, but especially irreverent and irreligious words.

353 Q. What is the Third Commandment? A. The Third Commandment is: Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.

A. By the Third Commandment we are commanded to keep holy the Lord's Day and the holy days of obligation, on which we are to give our time to the service and worship of God.

"Holy days" we are bound to keep holy just in the same manner we do Sundays--that is, by hearing Mass and refraining from servile works. Those who after hearing Mass must attend to business or work on those days should make this known to their confessor, that he may judge if they have a sufficient excuse for engaging in servile works, and thus they will avoid the danger of sinfully violating an important law. There must always be a good reason for working on a holy day. Those who are so situated that they can readily refrain from servile work on holy days must do so. And, where it is possible, the same opportunity must be afforded to their servants.

"Of obligation," because there are some holy days not of obligation. We celebrate them, but we are not bound under pain of mortal sin to hear Mass or keep from servile works on such days. For example, St. Patrick's Day is not a holy day of obligation. The great feast of Corpus Christi is not a holy day of obligation. Not satisfied with doing only what the Church obliges us to do on Sundays and holy days, those who really love God will endeavor to do more than the bare works commanded. Sunday is a day of rest and prayer. While we may take innocent and useful amusement, we should not join in any public or noisy entertainments. We may rest and recreate ourselves, but we should avoid every place where vulgar and sometimes sinful amusements, scenes, or plays are presented. Even in taking lawful recreation we may serve God and please Him if we take it to strengthen our bodies that we may be enabled to do the work He has assigned to us in this world.

Sunday is well spent by those who, after hearing Mass, devote some part of the day to good works, such as pious reading, teaching in Sunday school, bringing relief to the poor and sick, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, attending Vespers, Rosary, etc. Not that I mean they should do nothing but pray on Sundays; but they should not give the whole day to useless enjoyment or idleness, and forget God. Some begrudge God even the half-hour they are obliged to give to Mass on Sundays: they stand near the door, ready to be the first out, and perhaps were the last in; or they come late, and do not give the full time necessary to hear the entire Mass. Others spend the whole day in reading newspapers, magazines, or useless--I will not say sinful--books. It is not a sin to read newspapers, etc., on Sunday; but to give the whole time to them, and never read anything good and instructive, is a willful waste of time--and waste of time is sinful. There should be in every family, according to its means, one or more good Catholic newspapers or magazines. Not all papers that bear the name of Catholic are worthy of it. A truly Catholic paper is one that teaches or defends Catholic truth, and warns us against its enemies, their snares, deceptions, etc.; one, too, that tells us what is being done in the interests of religion, education, etc. Besides such a paper there should be a few standard good books in every family such as the New Testament, the Imitation of Christ, a large and full catechism of Christian doctrine, etc. On the other hand, all the books in your house need not be books treating of religion or piety. Any book that is not against faith or morals may be kept and read. A book may not be bad in itself, but it may be bad for you, either because it is suggestive of evil, or you misunderstand it, and take evil out of it. In such a case you should not read it. At the present time there are so many bad books that persons should be very careful as to what they read.

Not only should we keep Sunday well ourselves, but we should endeavor to have it so kept by others. We must be careful, however, not to fall into the mistake of some who wish the Sunday to be kept as the Pharisees of old kept the Sabbath, telling us we must not walk, ride, sail, or take any exercise or enjoyment on that day. This is not true, for Our Lord rebuked the Pharisees for such excessive rigor; God made the Sunday for our benefit, and if we had to keep it as they say we must, it would be more of a punishment than a benefit.

355 Q. How are we to worship God on Sundays and holy days of obligation? A. We are to worship God on Sundays and holy days of obligation by hearing Mass, by prayer, and by other good works.

A. The Sabbath day and the Sunday are not the same. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, and is the day which was kept holy in the Old Law; the Sunday is the first day of the week, and is the day which is kept holy in the New Law.

"Old Law" means the law that God gave to the Jews, the New Law, the law that Our Lord gave to Christians.

of the Sabbath? A. The Church commands us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday He sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.

We keep Sunday instead of Saturday also to teach that the Old Law is not now binding upon us, but that we must keep the New Law, which takes its place.

358 Q. What is forbidden by the Third Commandment? A. The Third Commandment forbids all unnecessary servile work and whatever else may hinder the due observance of the Lord's day.

359 Q. What are servile works? A. Servile works are those which require labor rather of body than of mind.

"Servile"--that is, work which was formerly done by the slaves. Therefore writing, reading, studying, etc., are not servile, because they were not the works of slaves.

360 Q. Are servile works on Sunday ever lawful? A. Servile works are lawful on Sunday when the honor of God, the good of our neighbor, or necessity requires them.

"Honor of God"; for example, erecting an altar that could not be erected at another time, so that the people may hear Mass on that day.

"Good of our neighbor"--such as reconstructing a broken bridge that must be used every day; or clearing away obstacles after a railroad accident, that trains may not be delayed. "Necessity"--firemen endeavoring to extinguish a fire, sailors working on a ship at sea, etc.


361 Q. What is the Fourth Commandment? A. The Fourth Commandment is: Honor thy father and thy mother.

362 Q. What are we commanded by the Fourth Commandment? A. We are commanded by the Fourth Commandment to honor, love, and obey our parents in all that is not sin.

"In all that is not sin," because if our parents or superiors, being wicked, bid us do things that we know to be certainly sinful, then we must not obey them under any circumstances. God will not excuse us for doing wrong because we were commanded. But if, on the contrary, we are forced in spite of our resistance to do the sinful act, then not we but they have to answer for the sin. If, however, you simply doubt about the sinfulness of the act, then you must obey; because you must always suppose that your superiors know better than you the things that concern their duty. Even if they should be mistaken in the exercise of their authority, God will reward your obedience. Besides obeying them, you must also help and support your parents if they need your assistance. You must not scoff at or despise them for their want of learning or refinement, because they perhaps have made many sacrifices to give you the advantages of which they in their youth were deprived. Do we not sometimes find persons of pretended culture ignorantly slighting their plain-mannered parents, or showing that they are ashamed of them or unwilling to recognize them before others, ungratefully forgetting that whatever wealth or learning they themselves have came through the love and kindness of these same parents? Again, is it not sinful for the children, especially of such parents, to waste their time in school, knowing that they are being supported in idleness by the hard toil and many sacrifices of a poor father? Never, then, be guilty of an unkind or ungrateful act. No matter who they are or what their condition, never forget those who have helped you and been your temporal or spiritual benefactors. If you cannot return the kindness to the one who helped you, at least be as ready as he was to do good to another. It is told of a great man that, wishing always to do good, he made it a rule never to stand looking at the effects of a disturbance, disaster, or accident unless he could do some good by being there.

Wherever you are, ask yourselves now and then, Why am I in this particular place; what good am I doing here? etc. St. Aloysius when about to perform any action used to ask himself, it is said, What has this action to do with my eternal salvation? and St. Alphonsus de Liguori made a vow never to waste a moment of his time. These were some of the great heroes of the Church, and this is one of the reasons why they could accomplish so much for God.

363 Q. Are we bound to honor and obey others than our parents? A. We are bound to honor and obey our bishops, pastors, magistrates, teachers, and other lawful superiors.

"Magistrates"--that is, civil rulers, like the president, governor, mayor, judges, etc.

under their charge? A. It is the duty of parents and superiors to take good care of all under their charge and give them proper direction and example.

It is so much their duty that God will hold them responsible for it, and punish them for neglecting it; so that your parents are not free to give you your own way. They have to do God's work, and, as His agents, punish you when you deserve it. You should take their punishment as coming from God Himself. They do not punish you because they wish to see you suffer, but for your good. Think of the terrible responsibility of parents. Let us suppose that the parents of a family give bad example; their children follow their example, and when they become heads of families their children also will grow up in wickedness: and thus we can go on for generations, and all those sins will be traced back to the first bad parents. What is true for bad example is true also for good example; that is, the good done by the children will all be traced back to the parents. Sometimes you may be punished when you are not guilty; then think of the times you were guilty and were not punished. Remember also how Our Lord was falsely accused before Herod and Pilate, and yet He never opened His lips to defend Himself, but suffered patiently. God sees your innocence and will reward you if you bear your trial patiently. Indeed, we are foolish not to bear all our sufferings patiently, for we have to bear them anyway, and we might just as well have the reward that patient suffering will bring us. Those who suffer should find comfort in this: by suffering they are made more like Our Lord and His blessed Mother. She lived on earth over sixty years, and during all that time she seems never to have had any of those things that bring worldly pleasure and happiness. She was left an orphan when quite young, and spent her early life in the temple, which was for her a kind of school; then she was married to a poor old carpenter, and must have found it very hard at times to get a living. Our Lord was born while she was away from home in a strange place. After she had returned and had just settled down in her little dwelling, she had to fly with St. Joseph into Egypt to save the life of the little Infant Jesus, whom the king's officers were seeking to kill. In Egypt they were strangers, among people not of their own nationality or religion, and St. Joseph must have found great difficulty in providing for them; yet they had to remain there for some time. Then when our divine Lord was grown to manhood and could be a great comfort to His Mother, He was seized and put to death in her presence. Her most beloved and innocent Son put to death publicly as a criminal before all her neighbors! The same persons who insulted Our Lord would not hesitate to insult and cruelly treat His blessed Mother also. At His death He left her no money or property for her support, but asked a friend, St. John, to receive her into his house and do Him the favor of taking care of her. She must have often felt that she was a burden in that man's house; that she had no home of her own, but was living like a poor woman on the charity of kind friends, for St. Joseph died before Our Lord's public life began. The Blessed Mother was, however, obliged to remain upon earth for about eleven years after Our Lord's Ascension. Thus we see her whole life was one of trials and sorrows. Now certainly Our Lord loved His Mother more than any other son could; and certainly also He, being God, could have made His blessed Mother a queen upon the earth, rich and powerful among men, and free from every suffering or inconvenience. If, then, He sent her sorrows and trials, it must have been because these were best for her, and because He knew that for this suffering here upon earth her happiness and glory in Heaven would be much increased; and as He wished her to have all the happiness and glory she was capable of possessing, He permitted her to suffer. If, then, suffering was good for Our Lord's Mother, it is good also for us; and when it comes we ought not to complain, but bear it patiently, as she did, and ask Our Lord to give us that grace.

365 Q. What is forbidden by the Fourth Commandment? A. The Fourth Commandment forbids all disobedience, contempt, and stubbornness towards our parents or lawful superiors.

"Contempt." Showing by our words or actions that we disregard or despise those placed over us. A man who is summoned to appear in court and does not come is punished for "contempt of court," because he shows that he disregards the authority of the judge. A thing not very bad in itself may become very bad if done out of contempt. For example, there would be a great difference between eating a little more than the Church allows on a fast-day, simply because you were hungry, and eating it because you wanted to show that you despised the law of fasting and the authority of the Church. The first would be only a venial sin, but the latter mortal. So for all your actions. An act which in itself might be a venial sin could easily become a mortal sin if you did it through contempt. "Stubbornness"--that is, unwillingness to give in, even when you know you are wrong and should yield. Those who obey slowly and do what they are ordered in a sulky manner are also guilty of stubbornness.

366 Q. What is the Fifth Commandment? A. The Fifth Commandment is: Thou shalt not kill.

367 Q. What are we commanded by the Fifth Commandment? A. We are commanded by the Fifth Commandment to live in peace and union with our neighbor, to respect his rights, to seek his spiritual and bodily welfare, and to take proper care of our own life and health.

"Proper care of our own life." It is not our property, but God's. He lends it to us and leaves it with us as long as He pleases: nor does He tell us how long He will let us have the use of it. Thus suicide, or the taking of one's own life, is a mortal sin, for by it we resist the will of God. One who in sound mind and full possession of reason causes his own death is guilty of suicide. But it is sometimes very difficult to determine whether the person was really sane at the time he committed the act; hence, when there is any reasonable doubt on that point, the unfortunate suicide is usually given the benefit of it. It is also a sin to risk our lives uselessly or to continue in any habit that we are sure is injuring our health and shortening our lives.

Thus an habitual drunkard is guilty of sin against the Fifth Commandment, for besides his sin of drunkenness, he is hastening his own death. So, too, boys or girls who indulge in habits which their parents forbid are guilty of sin. For example, a boy is forbidden to smoke, and he does smoke. Now to smoke is not in itself a sin, but it becomes a sin for that boy, because in the first place he is disobedient, and secondly is injuring his health. Thus persons who indulge in sinful habits may commit more than one kind of sin, for besides the sins committed by the habits themselves, these vices may injure their health and bring sickness and disease upon their bodies.

368 Q. What is forbidden by the Fifth Commandment? A. The Fifth Commandment forbids all willful murder, fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, and bad example.

Therefore it forbids all that might lead to murder. So we can violate any of the Commandments by doing anything that leads to breaking them. "Revenge" is a desire to injure others because they injured you.

369 Q. What is the Sixth Commandment? A. The Sixth Commandment is: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

370 Q. What are we commanded by the Sixth Commandment? A. We are commanded by the Sixth Commandment to be pure in thought and modest in all our looks, words, and actions.

We should be most careful about this Commandment, because almost every violation of it is a mortal sin. For example, if you steal only a little, it is a venial sin; for in stealing the greatness of the sin will depend upon the amount you steal; but if you do a real bad action, or think a real bad thought against the Sixth Commandment, it will be a mortal sin, no matter how short the time. Again, we have more temptations against this Commandment, for we are tempted by our own bodies and we cannot avoid them: hence the necessity of being always guarded against this sin. It enters into our soul through our senses; they are, as it were, the doors of our soul. It enters by our eyes looking at bad objects or pictures; by our ears listening to bad conversation; by our tongue saying and repeating immodest words, etc. If then, we guard all the doors of our soul, sin cannot enter. It would be foolish to lock all the doors in your house but one, for one will suffice to admit a thief, and we might as well leave them all open as one. So, too, we must guard all the senses; for sin can enter by one only as well as by all.

371 Q. What is forbidden by the Sixth Commandment? A. The Sixth Commandment forbids all unchaste freedom with another's wife or husband: also all immodesty with ourselves or others in looks, dress, words, or actions.

372 Q. Does the Sixth Commandment forbid the reading of bad and immodest books and newspapers? A. The Sixth Commandment does forbid the reading of bad and immodest books and newspapers.

Reading brings us into the company of those who wrote the book. Now we should be just as careful to avoid a bad book as a bad man, and even more so; for while we read we can stop to think, and read over again, so that bad words read will often make more impression upon us than bad words spoken to us. You should avoid not only bad, but useless books. You could not waste all your time with an idle man without becoming like him--an idler. So if you waste your time on useless books, your knowledge will be just like the books--useless. Many authors write only for the sake of money, and care little whether their book is good or bad, provided it sells well. How many young people have been ruined by bad books, and how many more by foolish books! Boys, for example, read in some worthless book of desperate deeds of highway robbery or piracy, and are at once filled with the desire to imitate the hero of the tale. Young girls, on the other hand, are equally infatuated by the wonderful fortunes and adventures of some young woman whose life has been so vividly described in a trashy novel. As the result of such reading, young persons lose the true idea of virtue and valor of true, noble manhood and womanhood, and with their hearts and minds corrupted set up vice for their model.

Again, these books are filled with such terrible lies and unlikely things that any sensible boy or girl should see their foolishness at once. Think, for example, of a book relating how two boys defeated and killed or captured several hundred Indians! Is that likely? The truth is, if two Indians shook their tomahawks at as many boys as you could crowd into this building, every single one of them would run for his life.

Let me give you still another reason for not reading trashy books. Your minds can hold just so much good or evil information, and if you fill them full of lies and nonsense you leave no room for true knowledge.

Do not, therefore, get into the habit of reading foolish story-papers and cheap novels. Read good books in which you can find information that will be useful to you all through your life.

If now and then you read story-books for amusement or rest from study, let them be good story-books, written by good authors. Ask someone's advice about the books you read--someone who is capable of giving such advice: your pastor, your teachers, and frequently your parents and friends. Learn all through your life to ask advice on every important matter. How many mistakes in life would have been prevented if those making them had only asked advice from the proper persons and followed it. Your parents have traveled the road of life before you. Now it is known to them and they can point out its dangers. To you the road is entirely new, and it will be only after you have traveled it and arrived nearly at its end in the latter days of your life that you also will be able to advise others how to pass through it in safety. This road can be traveled only once, so be advised by those who have learned its many dangers by their own experience. You should be very glad that those of experience are willing to teach you, and if you neglect their warnings you will be very sorry for it someday.


373 Q. What is the Seventh Commandment? A. The Seventh Commandment is: Thou shalt not steal.

Stealing is one of those vices of which you have to be most careful. Children should learn to have honest hearts, and never to take unjustly even the smallest thing; for some begin a life of dishonesty by stealing little things from their own house or from stores to which they are sent for goods. A nut, a cake, an apple, a cent, etc., do not seem much, but nevertheless to take any of them dishonestly is stealing. Children who indulge in this trifling thievery seldom correct the habit in after life and grow up to be dishonest men and women. How do you suppose all the thieves now spending their miserable lives in prison began? Do you believe they were very honest--never having stolen even the slightest thing--up to a certain day, and at once became thieves by committing a highway robbery? No; they began by stealing little things, then greater, and kept on till they made stealing their business and thus became professional thieves. Again, the little you steal each day does not seem much at the time, but if you put all the "littles" together you may soon have something big, and almost before you know it--if you intend to continue stealing--you may have taken enough to make you guilty of mortal sin. If you intended to steal, for instance, only a small amount every day for the whole year, you would at the end have stolen a large amount and committed a mortal sin. There are many ways of violating the Seventh Commandment. Workmen who do not do a just day's work, or employers who cheat their workmen out of wages earned; merchants who charge unjust prices and seek unjust profits; dealers who give light weight or short measure or who misrepresent goods; those who speculate rashly or gamble with the money of others, and those who borrow with no intention or only slight hope of being able to pay back, all violate this Commandment. You violate it also by not paying your just debts or by purchasing goods that you know you will never be able to pay for. Moreover, besides the injustice, it is base ingratitude not to pay your debts when in your power to do so. The one who trusted or lent you helped you in your need and did you a great favor, and yet when you can you will not pay, and what is worse, frequently abuse and insult him for asking his own. Though such dishonest and ungrateful persons may escape in this world, they will not escape in the next, for Almighty God will make them suffer for the smallest debt they owe.

Again, others often suffer for the dishonesty of those I have mentioned, for when some good person who really intends to pay is in great need and wishes to borrow or be trusted, he is refused because others have been dishonest. Everyone should pay his debts, and even keep from buying things that are not really necessary till he is thus enabled to pay what he owes. You must pay your just debts even before you can give anything in charity.

374 Q. What are we commanded by the Seventh Commandment? A. By the Seventh Commandment we are commanded to give to all men what belongs to them and to respect their property.

"Respect their property"--that is, acknowledge and respect their rights to their property and do nothing to violate these rights.

375 Q. What is forbidden by the Seventh Commandment? A. The Seventh Commandment forbids all unjust taking or keeping what belongs to another.

"Taking," either with your own hands or from the hands of another; for the one who willingly and knowingly receives from a thief the whole or part of anything stolen becomes as bad as the thief. Even if you only help another to steal, and receive none of the stolen goods, you are guilty. There are several ways of sharing in the sin of another; namely, by ordering or advising him to do wrong; by praising him for doing wrong and thus encouraging him; by consenting to wrong when you should oppose it--for instance, a member of a society allowing an evil act to be done by the society when his vote would prevent it; again, by affording wrongdoers protection and means of escape from punishment for their evil deeds. This does not mean that we should not defend the guilty. We should defend them, but should not encourage them to do wrong by offering them a means of escape from just punishment. We share in another's sin also by neglecting to prevent his bad action when it is our duty to do so. For example, if a police officer paid for guarding your property should see a thief stealing it and not prevent him, he would be as guilty as the thief. Your neighbor indeed might warn you that the thief was stealing your goods, but he would not be bound in justice to do so, as the officer is, but only in charity, because it is not his duty to guard your property. Parents who know that their children steal and do not prevent them or compel them to bring back what they stole, but rather encourage them by being indifferent, are guilty of dishonesty as well as the children, and share in their sins of theft. But suppose you did not know the thing was stolen when you received it, but learned afterward that it was, must you then return it to the proper owner? Yes; just as soon as you know to whom it belongs you begin to sin by keeping it. But suppose you bought it not knowing that it was stolen, would you still have to restore it? Yes, when the owner asks for it, because it belongs to him till he sells it or gives it away. If you have bought from a thief you have been cheated and must suffer the loss. Your mistake will make you more careful on the next occasion. Suppose you find a thing, what must you do? Try to find its owner, and if you find him give him what is his, and that without any reward for restoring it, unless he pleases to give you something, or unless you have been put to an expense by keeping it. If you cannot find the owner after sincerely seeking for him, then you may keep the thing found. But suppose you kept the article so long before looking for the owner that it became impossible for you to restore it to him, either because he had died or removed to parts unknown during your delay--what then? Then you must give the article or its value to his children or others who have a right to his goods; and if no one who has such a right can be found, you must give it to the poor, for you have it unjustly--since you did not look for the owner when it was possible to find him--and therefore cannot keep it.

376 Q. Are we bound to restore ill-gotten goods? A. We are bound to restore ill-gotten goods, or the value of them, as far as we are able; otherwise we cannot be forgiven.

"Ill-gotten"--that is, unjustly gotten. "Value." It sometimes happens that persons lose or destroy the article stolen, and therefore cannot return it. What must be done in such cases? They must give the owner the value of it. However, when you have stolen anything and have to restore it, you need not go to the owner and say, "Here is what I stole from you." It is only necessary that he gets what is his own or its value. He need not even know that it is being restored to him, unless he knows you stole it; and then it would be better for your own good name to let him know that you are making amends for the injustice done. Therefore, no one need have any excuse for not restoring what he has unjustly, because he has only to see that it is returned in some way to its owner, or to those who have the next right to it, or to the poor. But you must remember you cannot make restitution by giving to the poor if you can restore to the proper owner. You must restore by giving to the poor only when the owner cannot be found or reached. Some persons do not like the duty of restoring to the proper owner, and think they satisfy their obligation by giving the ill-gotten goods to the poor; but they do not. You cannot give even in charity the goods of another without being guilty of dishonesty. If you wish to be charitable, give from your own goods. It is a sin to delay making restitution after you are able to restore. You must restore just as soon as you can, because the longer you keep the owner out of his property and its benefits, the greater the injury you do him and the greater the sin. One who, after being told by his confessor to make restitution, and promising to do so, still delays or keeps putting off, runs the risk of being guilty of sacrilege by receiving the Sacraments without proper dispositions. But suppose a person cannot restore; suppose he lost the thing stolen and has not the value of it. What must he do? He must have the firm resolution of restoring as soon as he possibly can; and without this good resolution he could not be absolved from his sins--even if he had not the real means of restoring. The good intention and resolution will suffice till he has really the means; but this intention must be serious, otherwise there will be no forgiveness.

377 Q. Are we obliged to repair the damage we have unjustly caused? A. We are bound to repair the damage we have unjustly caused.

378 Q. What is the Eighth Commandment? A. The Eighth Commandment is: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Either in a court, while we are acting as witnesses, or by telling lies about him at any other time.

379 Q. What are we commanded by the Eighth Commandment? A. We are commanded by the Eighth Commandment to speak the truth in all things, and to be careful of the honor and reputation of everyone.

"Reputation." If it be a sin to steal a man's money, which we can restore to him, it is certainly a much greater sin to steal his good name, which we can never restore, and especially as we have nothing to gain from injuring his character. It is a sin to tell evil things about another--his sins, vices, etc.--even when they are true. The only thing that will excuse us from telling another's fault is the necessity to do so in which we are placed, or the good we can do to the person himself or others by exposing faults. How shall you know when you have injured the character of another? You have injured another's character if you made others think less of him than they did before. If you have exposed some crime that he really committed, your sin is called detraction; if you accuse him of one he did not commit, your sin is calumny; and if you maliciously circulate these reports to injure his character, your sin is slander. But how shall you make reparation for injuring the character of another? If you have told lies about him, you must acknowledge to those with whom you have talked that you have told what was untrue about him, and you must even compensate him for whatever loss he has suffered by your lies: for example, the loss of his situation by your accusing him of dishonesty. But if what you said of him was true, how are you to act? At every opportunity say whatever good you can of him in the presence of those before whom you have spoken the evil.

380 Q. What is forbidden by the Eighth Commandment? A. The Eighth Commandment forbids all rash judgments, backbiting, slanders, and lies.

"Rash judgment"--that is, having in your mind and really believing that a person is guilty of a certain sin when you have no reason for thinking so, and no evidence that he is guilty. "Backbiting"--that is, talking evil of persons behind their backs. You would not like your neighbor to backbite you, and you have no right to do to him what you would not wish him to do to you. Besides, everyone hates and fears a backbiter; because as he brings to you a bad story about another, he will in the same manner bring to someone else a bad story about you. It is certainly an honor to be able to say of a person: "He never has a bad word of anyone"; while on the other hand, he must be a despicable creature who never speaks of others except to censure or revile them. Never listen to a backbiter, detractor, or slanderer--it is sinful. Another way of injuring your neighbor is revealing the secrets he has confided to you. You will tell one friend perhaps and caution him not to repeat it to another; but if you cannot keep the secret yourself, how can you expect others to keep it? Again you may injure your neighbor by reading his letters without his consent when you have no authority to do so. This is considered a crime in the eyes even of the civil law, and anyone who opens and reads the letters of another can be punished by imprisonment. It is a kind of theft, for it is stealing secrets and information that you have no right to know. It is dishonorable to read another's letter without his consent, even when you find it open. To carry to persons the evil things said about them by others so as to bring about disputes between them is very sinful. The Holy Scripture (Rom. 1:29) calls this class of sinners whisperers, and says that they will not enter into Heaven--that is, as long as they continue in the habit. If ever, then, you hear one person saying anything bad about another, never go and tell it to the person of whom it was said. If you do, you will be the cause of all the sin that follows from it--of the anger, hatred, revenge, and probably murder itself, as sometimes happens.

seriously injured his character? A. They who have lied about their neighbor and seriously injured his character must repair the injury done as far as they are able, otherwise they will not be forgiven.

382 Q. What is the Ninth Commandment? A. The Ninth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.

383 Q. What are we commanded by the Ninth Commandment? A. We are commanded by the Ninth Commandment to keep ourselves pure in thought and desire.

384 Q. What is forbidden by the Ninth Commandment? A. The Ninth Commandment forbids unchaste thoughts, desires of another's wife or husband, and all other unlawful impure thoughts and desires.

A. Impure thoughts and desires are always sins, unless they displease us and we try to banish them.

386 Q. What is the Tenth Commandment? A. The Tenth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

"Covet" means to long for or desire inordinately or unlawfully. If I should desire, for example, my friend to be killed by an accident, in order that I might become the owner of his gold watch, I would be coveting it. But if I desired to have it justly--that is, to be able to purchase it, or another similar to it, that would not be covetousness.

387 Q. What are we commanded by the Tenth Commandment? A. By the Tenth Commandment we are commanded to be content with what we have, and to rejoice in our neighbor's welfare.

388 Q. What is forbidden by the Tenth Commandment? A. The Tenth Commandment forbids all desires to take or keep wrongfully what belongs to another.


389 Q. Which are the chief commandments of the Church? A. The chief commandments of the Church are six:

1. To hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. 2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed. 3. To confess at least once a year. 4. To receive the Holy Eucharist during the Easter time. 5. To contribute to the support of our pastors. 6. Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are related to us

  within the third degree of kindred, nor privately without witnesses,
  nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.

390 Q. Is it a mortal sin not to hear Mass on a Sunday or a holy day of obligation? A. It is a mortal sin not to hear Mass on a Sunday or a holy day of obligation, unless we are excused for a serious reason. They also commit a mortal sin, who, having others under their charge, hinder them from hearing Mass, without a sufficient reason.

"Serious reason"--that is, a very good reason, such as sickness, necessity of taking care of the sick, great danger of death, etc. Some persons when they go to the country in the summer believe themselves excused from hearing Mass because the church is a little further from them or the Mass at more inconvenient times than in the city. When they are in the country they are bound by the same obligations as the Catholics who live in that parish the whole year round, and they must go to Mass as these do, even if it is more inconvenient than in the city. Persons who have it in their power to select their own summer resort, should not, without great necessity, select a place where there is no Catholic church, and where they will be deprived of Mass and the Sacraments for several months, and where there is danger of their dying without the Sacraments. Some excuse themselves from going to Mass because they are too tired to rise in the morning. They should be ashamed to give such an excuse. Was our Blessed Lord not tired when He carried His Cross? He was tired, for He fell under it several times. And where was He going? To Calvary, to offer up the bloody sacrifice of the Cross for you. Will you plead fatigue as an excuse when you come to be judged by Him? Others again have a great habit of coming late for Mass. No matter at what hour the Mass may be, they will always be late; and I am afraid these persons will also be too late to enter Heaven. By coming late they show disrespect to Our Lord and distract others; and to avoid doing so, they should, when late, take a place in the rear of the church. When you are very late for one Mass, you should wait for the next--at least, for as much of the next as you did not hear in the first. You should not, however, begrudge a little extra time to God. To hear Mass properly, you should be in your place a few minutes before the priest comes out, and make up your mind what blessing you will ask, or for what intention you desire to hear the Mass.

"Having others under their charge." Some parents are very careless about their children attending Mass, especially on holy days. Now, they must remember that in such neglect the sin will be theirs as well as the children's. Again, masters and mistresses do not at times give their workmen and servants sufficient opportunity to hear Mass, above all on holy days. All masters and mistresses must remember that they are bound not only to give their servants an opportunity to hear Mass, but they are bound as far as they conveniently can to see that they embrace the opportunity, just as they should see to their children in such matters. Catholics having in their employ others, such as engineers, drivers, conductors, etc., must make some arrangement between their men by which they will be able to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days. The same holds good for companies and corporations having under their charge a large force of men who are obliged by circumstances to work on Sundays.

A. Holy days were instituted by the Church to recall to our minds the great mysteries of religion and the virtues and rewards of the saints.

For just the same reason that the government has legal holidays. What would the people of this country know or think at the present time about the Declaration of Independence, and all connected with it, if they did not celebrate from childhood every year, on the Fourth of July, the great day on which their forefathers claimed to be free and independent from the nation that was persecuting them? The Fourth of July keeps alive in our memory the struggles of our ancestors of one hundred years or more ago--their great battles, their sufferings and triumph, the blessings they secured for us, and for which we praise them. In like manner, the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord keeps us in mind of the sad condition in which we were before Our Lord redeemed us, and how He liberated us from the slavery of the devil and secured for us so many wonderful blessings. Again, what would we remember about George Washington if we did not celebrate his birthday? That holiday keeps before our minds the life and actions of that great man and all he did for our benefit. So, too, when we celebrate every year the feast of a saint in the Church, it keeps before our minds his works and all that he did for God and the Church, and makes us anxious to imitate his virtues. On every day in the year the Church honors some mystery of our holy faith or some saint by saying Mass all over the world in honor of the feast, and by obliging the priests and bishops to say the divine office for the same purpose. The feast-day of a saint is generally the day on which he died; because that is considered the day on which he entered into Heaven--the day on which he was born into the new world.

The "divine office" is a collection of prayers, hymns, lessons, and psalms which every priest and bishop must read every day of his life. As it is said each day in honor of some particular mystery or saint, the greater part of it differs for each day. The prayers are to God, asking some grace or blessing in honor of the saint--generally such graces as were granted to the saint. The hymns are in the saint's honor; the lessons are parts of the Holy Scripture, or an account of the saint's life; and the psalms are those beautiful poems that King David composed and sang to God. The divine office is the prayer of the universal Church for its children, and if a priest neglects to say it he commits a mortal sin. It takes about an hour to say the whole divine office, but it is not intended to be said all at once. It is so divided that it is said at three times in the day. The part called "Matins" and "Lauds" is said very early in the morning and before Mass. The part called "Little Hours" is said later in the day; and the part called "Vespers" and "Compline" is said in the afternoon. See, therefore, how anxious the Church is for the good of its children, when it makes its bishops, priests, and religious pray daily for all the faithful, and send up in one voice the same prayer to the throne of God.

A. We should keep the holy days of obligation as we should keep the Sunday.

393 Q. What do you mean by fast-days? A. By fast-days I mean days on which we are allowed but one full meal.

According to the traditional Catholic method of fasting, one may eat "one full meal" each day with meat included, plus two smaller meatless meals, both of which together do not equal the one full meal. No eating between meals is allowed, although drinking beverages such as coffee and tea are allowed and are not considered to break the fast. (Milk, juice, and soft drinks are also considered not to break the fast, although they are in fact foods and mitigate the effects of the fast and work contrary to its intent because they satisfy one's hunger to some extent, since they have food value.) They, therefore, who follow the above regulations obey the Catholic method of fasting. Today the prescribed days of fast for the whole Church are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (these are also days of abstinence). However the Church today says that the meaning of the law of fasting during Lent remains, although the extent of the obligation has been changed. In other words, Lent remains as a season of penance in the Church, but how it is to be observed is greatly up to the individual, though no one may think himself excused from all penance whatsoever, and those who are in the fasting age group should still practice the Church's form of fasting, since fasting is a primary and very efficacious form of penance.

Those who, for sufficient reasons, are excused from the obligation of fasting, are not on that account freed from the law of abstinence, for all who have reached their fourteenth birthday are bound to abstain from flesh-meat on days when it is forbidden--Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent. The following persons are excused from fasting: (1) those who are not yet twenty-one or who have begun their sixtieth year (from their 59th birthday onward); (2) those whose infirmity, condition, or occupation renders it impossible or dangerous for them to fast. If you think you should be excused from fasting or abstaining, state your reasons to your confessor and ask his advice. On a fast-day, therefore, you have to look both to the quantity and the kind of food, while on a day of abstinence--as the Fridays in Lent other than Good Friday--you have to look only to the kind.

394 Q. What do you mean by days of abstinence? A. By days of abstinence I mean days on which we are forbidden to eat flesh-meat, but are allowed the usual amount of food.

395 Q. Why does the Church command us to fast and abstain? A. The Church commands us to fast and abstain in order that we may mortify our passions and satisfy for our sins.

"Mortify our passions," keep our bodies under control, do bodily penance. Remember it is our bodies that generally lead us into sin; if therefore we punish the body by fasting and mortification, we atone for the sin, and thus God wipes out a part of the temporal punishment due to it.

Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent and to abstain from flesh-meat or do some other chosen penance on the other Fridays of the year? A. The Church commands us to abstain, from flesh-meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent and to abstain from flesh-meat or do some other chosen penance on the other Fridays of the year in honor of the day on which Our Saviour died.


397 Q. What is meant by the command of confessing at least once a year? A. By the command of confessing at least once a year is meant that we are obliged, under pain of mortal sin, to go to confession within the year.

"Within the year"--that is, the time between your confessions must never be longer than a year, or, at least not longer than the period between the beginning of one Eastertime and the end of the next. All persons who have attained the age of reason are bound to comply with this precept, and parents should remind their children of it.

A. We should confess frequently, if we wish to lead a good life.

Some seem to think that they need not go to confession if they have not committed sin since their last confession. Two graces are given in penance, as you already know: one, to take away the sins confessed, and the other, to strengthen us against temptation and enable us to keep our good resolutions. Now, as we are always tempted, we should go frequently to confession to get the grace to resist. The saints used to go to confession very frequently, sometimes every day. They used to go when tempted, to obtain the grace to resist and to expose their temptations to their confessor and ask his advice. Again the Holy Scripture tells us that the just man falls seven times; and "just man" in Holy Scripture means a very good man, that is, one doing for God, his neighbor, and himself what he ought to do. St. Joseph is called in the Scripture a "just man," and he was the foster-father of Our Lord. Now, if the good man falls seven times, he must arise after each fall; for if he did not get up after the first fall, he could not fall the second time. This teaches us that we all commit some kind of sin, at least, and have always something to confess if we only examine our conscience closely. It teaches us also that when we have the misfortune to fall into sin, we should rise as quickly as possible.

A. Children should go to confession when they are old enough to commit sin, which is commonly about the age of seven years.

"To commit sin"--that is, when they know the difference between good and evil.

400 Q. What sin does he commit who neglects to receive Communion during the Easter time? A. He who neglects to receive Communion during the Easter time commits a mortal sin.

401 Q. What is the Easter time? A. The Easter time is, in this country, the time between the first Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday, inclusive.

Trinity Sunday is the eighth Sunday after Easter. Therefore the whole Easter-time is from the first Sunday of Lent--that is, seven weeks before Easter--to Trinity Sunday, eight weeks after it, or fifteen weeks in all; and anyone who does not go to Holy Communion sometime during these fifteen weeks commits mortal sin.

402 Q. Are we obliged to contribute to the support of our pastors? A. We are obliged to contribute to the support of our pastors, and to bear our share in the expenses of the Church and school.

And any charitable institution connected with the Church. The Holy Land was divided among the tribes of Israel, who were the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob. Now, one of these twelve tribes was made up entirely of priests and persons who served in the temple of God, called Levites. They received none of the land, but were to be supported by the other eleven tribes. All the people were obliged by the law to give what they called first-fruits, and tithes--that is, one tenth of their income in goods or money each year to the temple for its support and the support of those who served it. In the New Law no definite amount is assigned, but every Christian is left free to give what he can to God's Church according to his generosity. But if God left you free, should you therefore be stingy with Him? Moreover, all that we have comes from God, and should we return Him the least and the worst? For every alms you give for God's sake He can send you a hundred blessings; and what you refuse to give to His Church or poor He can take from you in a thousand ways, by sending misfortunes. We read in the Bible (Gen. 4) that Adam's sons, Cain and Abel, both offered sacrifice to God. Abel's sacrifice was pleasing, but Cain's was not. Why? Because, as we are told, Cain did not offer to God the best he had, but likely the worst; or at least, he offered his sacrifice with a bad disposition. Then when he saw that his brother's sacrifice was pleasing to God, being filled with jealousy, he killed him; and in punishment God marked him and condemned him to be a wanderer on the face of the earth. We are told he was always afraid of being killed by everyone he saw. See, then, what comes of being unwilling to be generous with God. What we give Him He does not need, but by giving, we worship and thank Him. Do not people in the world often give presents to those who have done them a favor, that they may thus show their gratitude? Now, God is always doing us favors, and why should we not show our gratitude to Him by giving generously in His honor? When we give to the orphans, etc., we give to Him; for He says: "Whatsoever you give to these little ones you give to Me." Again, when Our Lord tells what will happen on the Day of Judgment (Matt. 25:31, etc.), He says, the Judge will divide all the people of the world into two bodies; the good He will place on His right hand and the wicked on His left. Then He will praise the good for what they did and welcome them to Heaven; but to the wicked He will say, "Depart from Me, because when I was hungry you gave Me not to eat; when I was thirsty you gave Me not to drink; you clothed Me not," etc. And then the wicked shall ask, when did we see You in want and not relieve You? He will tell them that He considered the poor just the same as Himself; and as they did nothing for His poor, they did nothing for Him.

third degree of kindred? A. The meaning of the commandment not to marry within the third degree of kindred is that no one is allowed to marry another within the third degree of blood relationship.

"Third Degree." What relatives are in the third degree? Brother and sister are in the first degree; first cousins are in the second degree; second cousins are in the third degree. Therefore all who are second cousins or in nearer relationship cannot be married without a dispensation from the Church allowing them to do so. A dispensation granted by the Church is a permission to do something which its law forbids. Since it made the law, it can also dispense from the observance of it. The Church could not give permission to do anything that God's law forbids. It could not, for example, give permission to a brother and sister to marry, because it is not alone the law of the Church but God's law also that forbids that. But God's law does not forbid first or second cousins to get married; but the Church's law forbids it, and thus it can in special cases dispense from such laws. God's law is called also the natural law. You must be very careful not to confound the marriage laws that the Church makes with the marriage laws that the State makes. When the State makes laws contrary to the laws of God or of the Church, you cannot obey such laws without committing grievous sin. For instance, the State allows divorce; it allows persons to marry again if the husband or wife has been sentenced to imprisonment for life; it does not recognize all the impediments to marriage laid down by the Church. Such laws as these Catholics cannot comply with; but when the State makes laws which regard only the civil effects of marriage, such as refer to the property of the husband or wife, the inheritance of the children, etc., laws, in a word, which are not opposed either to the laws of God or of His Church, then you may and must obey them; for the authorities of the government are our lawful superiors, and must be obeyed in all that is not sin. What we have said with regard to the marriage laws is true for all the rest. Thus the civil court might, on account of some technicality, free you legally from the payment of a debt; but that would not free you in conscience from paying what you justly owe. Again, the court might legally decide in your favor in an unjust suit; but that would not give you the right in conscience to keep what you have thus fraudulently or unjustly obtained.

A. The command not to marry privately means that none should marry without the blessing of God's priests or without witnesses.

If persons wishing to be married suspect that there is any impediment existing between them, they should express their doubts and the reasons for them to the priest.

Here it is well for you to know that if any Catholic goes to be married before a Protestant minister, he is, by the laws of the Church in the United States, excommunicated. [In 1966 the penalty of excommunication for this offense was lifted by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Yet it remains a mortal sin for a Catholic to attempt to marry outside the Catholic Church, and such a "marriage" will be invalid.] You must know excommunication means cut off from the communion of the Church and the body of the faithful; cut off from the Sacraments and from a share in all the holy Masses and public prayers offered by the Church throughout the world. It is a punishment the Church inflicts upon its disobedient children who will not repent but persist in wrongdoing. If they die willfully excommunicated, they die in mortal sin, and no Mass or funeral prayers can be publicly offered for them; nor can they be buried in consecrated ground. Besides the excommunicated, there are others who cannot be buried in consecrated ground: namely, infants or others who have not been baptized; those who deliberately committed suicide; those who have publicly lived sinful lives and evidently died in that public sin; and all persons who are not Catholics. If a Catholic who is not publicly a sinner dies suddenly, we cannot judge that he is in mortal sin; and hence such a one may be buried in consecrated ground.

It is the desire of the Church that all its faithful children should be buried in the ground which it has blessed for their remains; and wherever it is possible Catholics must have their own burying ground.

forbidden times? A. The meaning of the precept not to solemnize marriage at forbidden times is that during Lent and Advent the marriage ceremony should not be performed with pomp or a nuptial Mass.

Persons may be married at these times quietly, wherever it is not positively forbidden by the laws of the diocese.

A. The nuptial Mass is a Mass appointed by the Church to invoke a special blessing upon the married couple.

It is a Mass especially for them and cannot be said for anyone else. At the most solemn parts of the Mass the priest turns to them and prays that God may bless their union.

A. Catholics should be married at a nuptial Mass, because they thereby show greater reverence for the holy Sacrament and bring richer blessings upon their wedded life.

The Church wishes to give to the marriage of its children observing its laws all the solemnity possible, and to impress its dignity and sanctity so deeply upon their minds that they may never forget the solemn promise made at the altar of God. The thought of that day will keep them from sin. On the other hand, the Church shows its great displeasure when Catholics do not keep its laws, but marry persons not of their own religion. At a mixed marriage the couple cannot be married in the church, nor even in the sacristy; the priest cannot wear a surplice or stole or any of the sacred vestments of the Church; he cannot use holy water, or the Sign of the Cross; he cannot bless the ring or even use the Church's language--Latin. Everything is done in the coldest manner, to remind Catholics that they are doing what is displeasing to their mother the Church.

Again the Church wishes its children to prepare for the Sacrament of Matrimony just as they would prepare for any other Sacrament--Penance, Holy Eucharist, Holy Orders, etc. Imagine a boy going up for First Communion laughing, talking, or gazing about him, without any thought of the great Sacrament he is about to receive; thinking only of how he appears in his new clothing, of those who are present, etc., and spending all his time of preparation not in purifying his soul, but in adorning his body! Think of him returning from Holy Communion and immediately forgetting Our Lord! Now, Matrimony is deserving of all the respect due to a Sacrament, and hence the Church wishes all its children to be married at Mass; or at least in the morning. It does not like them to marry in the evening, and go to the reception of the Sacrament as they would to a place of vain amusement. For on such occasions they cannot show the proper respect in the church, and possibly turn the ceremony into an occasion of sin for all who attend; for they often seem to forget the holiness of the place and the respect due to the presence of Our Lord upon the altar. Indeed it should be remembered, at whatever time the marriage takes place, that conduct, dress, and all else must be in keeping with the dignity of the place and the holiness of the Sacrament, and the women should not come into the Church with uncovered heads.


408 Q. When will Christ judge us? A. Christ will judge us immediately after our death, and on the last day.

"Immediately." In the very room and on the very spot where we die, we shall be judged in an instant, and even before those around us are sure that we are really dead. When we have a trial or judgment in one of our courts, we see the judge listening, the lawyers defending or trying to condemn, and the witnesses for or against the person accused. We are in the habit of imagining something of the same kind to take place in the judgment of God. We see Almighty God seated on His throne; our angel and patron saint giving their testimony about us--good or bad--and then we hear the Judge pronounce sentence. This takes place, but not in the way we imagine, for God needs no witnesses: He knows all. An example will probably make you understand better what really takes place. If you are walking over a very muddy road on a dark night, you cannot see the spattered condition of your clothing; but if you come suddenly into a strong light you will see at a glance the state in which you are. In the same way the soul during our earthly life does not see its own condition; but when it comes into the bright light of God's presence, it sees in an instant its own state and knows what its sentence will be. It goes immediately to its reward or punishment. This judgment at the moment of our death will settle our fate forever. The general judgment will not change, but only repeat, the sentence before the whole world. Oh, how we should prepare for that awful moment! See that poor sick man slowly breathing away his life. All his friends are kneeling around him praying; now he becomes unconscious; now the death rattle sounds in his throat; now the eyes are fixed and glassy. A few minutes more and that poor soul will stand in the awful presence of God, to give an account of that man's whole life--of every thought, word, and deed. All he has done on earth will be spread out before him like a great picture. He will, towards the end of his life, have altogether forgotten perhaps what he thought, said, or did on a certain day and hour--the place he was in and the sin committed, etc.; but at that moment of judgment he will remember all. How he will wish he had been good! How, then, can we be so careless now about a matter of such importance, when we are absolutely certain that we too shall be judged, and how soon we know not. When you are about to be examined on what you have learned in school or instructions in six months or a year, how anxious you are in making the necessary preparation, and how you fear you might not pass, but be kept back for a while! How delighted you would be to hear that a very dear friend, and one who knew you well, was to be your examiner! Prepare in the same way for the examination you have to stand at the end of your life. Every day you can make a preparation by examining your conscience on the sins you have committed; by making an act of contrition for them, and resolving to avoid them for the future. You should never go to sleep without some preparation for judgment. But above all, try to become better acquainted with your Examiner--Our Lord Jesus Christ; try by your prayers and good works to become His special friend, and when your judgment comes you will be pleased rather than afraid to meet Him.

409 Q. What is the judgment called which we have to undergo immediately after death? A. The judgment we have to undergo immediately after death is called the Particular Judgment.

"Particular," because one particular person is judged.

410 Q. What is the judgment called which all men have to undergo on the last day? A. The judgment which all men have to undergo on the last day is called the General Judgment.

"General," because every creature gifted with intelligence will be judged on that day--the angels of Heaven, the devils of Hell, and all men, women, and children that have ever lived upon the earth. The Holy Scripture gives us a terrible account of that awful day. (Matt. 24-25). On some day--we know not when, it might be tomorrow for all we know--the world will be going on as usual, some going to school, others to business; some seeking pleasure, others suffering pain; some in health, others in sickness, etc. Suddenly they will feel the earth beginning to quake and tremble; they will see the ocean in great fury, and will be terrified at its roar as, surging and foaming, it throws its mighty waves high in the air. Then the sun will grow red and begin to darken; a horrid glare will spread over the earth, beginning to burn up. Then, says the Holy Scripture, men will wither away for fear of what is coming; they will call upon the mountains to fall and hide them; they will be rushing here and there, not knowing what to do. Money will be of no value then; dress, wealth, fame, power, learning, and all else will be useless, for at that moment all men will be equal. Then shall be heard the sound of the angel's great trumpet calling all to judgment. The dead shall come forth from their graves, and the demons rush from Hell. Then all shall see our Blessed Lord coming in the clouds of Heaven in great power and majesty surrounded by countless angels bearing His shining Cross before Him. He will separate the good from the wicked; He will welcome the good to Heaven and condemn the wicked to Hell. The sins committed shall be made public before all present. Imagine your feelings while you are standing in that great multitude, waiting for the separation of the good from the bad. To which side will you be sent? Our Lord is coming, not with the mild countenance of a saviour, but with the severe look of a judge. As He draws nearer and nearer to you, you see some of your dear friends, whom you thought good enough upon earth, sent over to the side of the wicked; you see others that you deemed foolish sent with the good, and you become more anxious every instant about the uncertainty of your own fate. You see fathers and mothers sent to opposite sides, brothers and sisters, parents and children, separated forever. Oh, what a terrible moment of suspense! How you will wish you had been better and always lived a friend of God! The side you will be on depends upon what you do now, and you can be on the better side if you wish. Do, then, in your life what you would wish to have done at that terrible moment. Learn to judge yourself frequently. Say this, or something similar, to yourself. "Now I have lived twelve, fifteen, twenty, or more years; if that judgment came today, on which side should I be? Probably on the side of the wicked. If then I spend the rest of my life as I have lived in the past, on the last day I shall surely be with the wicked. If my good deeds and bad deeds were counted today, which would be more numerous? What, then, must I do? It will not be enough for me simply to be better for the future--I must try also to make amends for the past. If a man wishing to complete a journey on a certain time, by walking a fixed number of miles each day, falls behind a great deal on one day, he must not only walk the usual number of miles the next, but must make up for the distance lost on the previous day. So in our journey through this life we must do our duty each day for the future, and, as far as we can, make up for what we have neglected in the past.

A. Christ judges men immediately after death to reward or punish them according to their deeds.

412 Q. What are the rewards or punishments appointed for men's souls after the Particular Judgment? A. The rewards or punishments appointed for men's souls after the Particular Judgment are Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell.

413 Q. What is Hell? A. Hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned, and in which they are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity, and are in dreadful torments.

"Deprived of the sight of God." This is called the pain of loss, while the other sufferings the damned endure are called the pain of sense--that is, of the senses. The pain of loss causes the unfortunate souls more torment than all their other sufferings; for as we are created for God alone, the loss of Him--our last end--is the most dreadful evil that can befall us. This the damned realize, and know that their souls will be tortured by a perpetual yearning never to be satisfied. This is aggravated by the thought of how easily they might have been saved, and how foolishly they threw away their happiness and lost all for some miserable pleasure or gratification, so quickly ended.

Besides this remorse, they suffer most frightful torments in all their senses. The worst sufferings you could imagine would not be as bad as the sufferings of the damned really are; for Hell must be the opposite of Heaven, and since we cannot, as St. Paul says, imagine the happiness of Heaven, neither can we imagine the misery of Hell. Sometimes you will find frightful descriptions of Hell in religious books that tell of the horrible sights, awful sounds, disgusting stenches, and excruciating pains the lost souls endure. Now, all these descriptions are given rather to make people think of the torments of Hell than as an accurate account of them. No matter how terrible the description may be, it is never as bad as the reality. We know that the damned are continually tormented in all their senses, but just in what way we do not know. We know that there is fire in Hell, but it is entirely different from our fire; it neither gives light nor consumes what it burns, and it causes greater pain than the fire of earth, for it affects both body and soul. We know that the damned will never see God and there will never be an end to their torments. Now, all this is contained in the following: Hell is the absence of everything good and the presence of everything evil, and it will last forever. Now, a priest coming out to preach on Hell would not say to the people: "Hell is the absence of everything good and the presence of everything evil, and it will last forever," and then step down from the altar and say no more. He must give a fuller explanation to those who are unable to think for themselves. He must point out some of the evils present in Hell and some of the good things absent, and thus teach the people how to meditate on these dreadful truths. If, then, you bear in mind that there is nothing good in Hell and it will last forever, and often think of these two points, you will have a holy fear of the woeful place and a deep sorrow for your sins which expose you to the danger of suffering its torments.

It should be enough, therefore, for you to remember: there is nothing good in Hell, and it will last forever. Think of anything good you please and it cannot be found in Hell. Is light good? Yes. Then it is not in Hell. Is hope good? Yes. Then it is not in Hell. Is true friendship good? Yes. Then it is not in Hell. There the damned hate one another. There the poor sufferers curse forever those who led them into sin. Hence, persons should try to bring back to a good life everyone they may have led into sin or scandalized by bad example.

414 Q. What is Purgatory? A. Purgatory is the state in which those suffer for a time who die guilty of venial sins, or without having satisfied for the punishment due to their sins.

"Punishment"--that is, temporal punishment, already explained to you. After the general judgment there will be Heaven and Hell, but no Purgatory, for there will be no men living or dying upon the earth in its present condition to go there. All will be dead and judged and sent to their final abodes. Those in Purgatory are the friends of God; and knowing Him as they do now, they would not go into His holy presence with the slightest stain upon their souls; still they are anxious for their Purgatory to be ended that they may be with God. They suffer, we are told, the same pains of sense as the damned; but they suffer willingly, for they know that it is making them more pleasing to God, and that one day it will all be over and He will receive them into Heaven. Their salvation is sure, and that thought makes them happy. If, therefore, you believe any of your friends are in Purgatory, you should help them all you can, and try by your prayers and good works to shorten their time of suffering. They will help you--though they cannot help themselves--by their prayers. And oh, when they are admitted into Heaven, how they will pray for those that have helped them out of Purgatory! If you do this great charity, God will, when you die, put in some good person's heart to pray for you while you suffer in Purgatory. There must be a Purgatory, for one who dies with the slightest stain of sin upon his soul cannot enter Heaven, and yet God would not send him to Hell for so small a sin. But why does God punish those He loves? Why does He not forgive everything? He punishes because He is infinitely just and true. He warned them that if they did certain things they would be punished; and they did them, and God must keep His promise. Moreover He is just, and must give to everyone exactly what he deserves.

A. The faithful on earth can help the souls in Purgatory by their prayers, fasts, almsdeeds; by indulgences, and by having Masses said for them.

there of a general judgment? A. There is need of a general judgment, though everyone is judged immediately after death, that the providence of God, which, on earth, often permits the good to suffer and the wicked to prosper, may in the end appear just before all men.

"Providence of God." Sometimes here on earth we see a good man always in want, out of employment, sickly, unsuccessful in all his undertakings, while his neighbor, who is a very bad man, is wealthy and prosperous, and seems to have every pleasure. Why this is so we cannot understand now, but God's reason for it will be made known to us on the Day of Judgment. Sometimes the wicked do good actions here on earth--help the poor, or contribute to some charity, for instance; and as God on account of their wickedness cannot reward them in the next world, He rewards them chiefly in this world by temporal goods and pleasures. For all their good deeds they get their reward in this world, and for the evil their punishment in the next. The good man who suffers gets all his reward in the next world, that even his sufferings here atone partly for the evil he has done.

A second reason for a general judgment is to show the crimes of sinners and the justice of their punishment; also that the saints may have all their good works made known before the world and receive the glory they deserve. On earth these saints were sometimes considered fools and treated as criminals, falsely accused, etc., and now the whole truth will stand out before the world. But above all, the general judgment is for the honor and glory of Our Lord. At His first coming into the world He was poor and weak; many would not believe Him the Son of God, and insulted Him as an impostor. He was falsely accused, treated shamefully, and was put to death, many believing Him guilty of some crime. Now He will appear before all as He really is--their Lord and Master, their Creator and Judge. How they will tremble to look upon Him whom they have crucified! How all those who have denied Him, blasphemed Him, persecuted His Church, and the like, will fear when they see Him there as Judge! How they will realize the terrible mistake worldlings made!

417 Q. Will our bodies share in the reward or punishment of our souls? A. Our bodies will share in the reward or punishment of our souls, because through the Resurrection they will again be united to them.

A. The bodies of the just will rise glorious and immortal.

We honor the dead body and treat it with great respect because it was the dwelling place of the soul and was often nourished with the Sacraments; also because it will rise in glory and be united with the soul in the presence of God forever. For these reasons we use incense and holy water when the body is to be buried, and even bless the ground in which it is laid. "Faithful departed" means all those who died in a state of grace and who are in Heaven or Purgatory. They may be in Purgatory, and so we pray for them. We pray that they may "rest in peace"--that is be in Heaven, where they will have no sufferings.

A. The bodies of the damned will also rise, but they will be condemned to eternal punishment.

420 Q. What is Heaven? A. Heaven is the state of everlasting life in which we see God face to face, are made like unto Him in glory, and enjoy eternal happiness.

The most delightful place we could possibly imagine as Heaven would not be near what it really is. Everything that is good is there and forever, and we shall never tire of its joys. All the pleasures and beauties of earth are as nothing compared with Heaven; and though we think we can imagine its beauty and happiness now, we shall see how far we have been from the real truth if ever we reach this heavenly home.

"God face to face"--that is, as He is. We shall not see Him with the eyes of the body, but of the soul. That we may see with our natural eyes, two things are necessary: first, an object to look at, and secondly, light to see it. Now, to see God in Heaven we need a special light, which is called the "light of glory." God Himself gives us this light and thus enables us to see Him as He is. This beautiful vision of God in Heaven is called the "beatific vision," and thus our whole life in Heaven--our joy and happiness--consists in the enjoyment of the beatific vision.

A. We should bear always in mind these words of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: "What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul, or what exchange shall a man give for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels: and then will He render to every man according to his works."

What does it benefit the poor creatures in Hell to have been rich, or beautiful, or learned, or powerful? If they had been good, it was all that was necessary to escape all their sufferings. Is there anything on earth that they would not give to be released? Why, then, did they sell their souls for so little while on earth? The present is the only time you have to merit Heaven and escape Hell. The past you cannot recall, and of the future you are not sure. Then use the present well and decide daily whether you wish to be in Heaven or in Hell.

NOTE--Wherever in the foregoing pages explanations have been omitted after certain questions or answers it is because the matter they contain has been explained in some preceding question, or is to be explained in some following question, or is clear enough in itself without explanation. The explanations of such questions or answers can be easily found by referring to the index.


The Lord's Prayer

 1. Who made the Lord's Prayer?
 2. Why do we say "our" and not "my" Father?
 3. Why do we call God "Father"?
 4. What person of the Blessed Trinity is meant by "Father" in the
    Lord's Prayer?
 5. Was God called "Father" before the time of Our Lord? Why?
 6. Why do we say "Who art in Heaven," if God is everywhere?
 7. What does "hallowed" mean?
 8. What do we ask for by "Thy kingdom come"?
 9. What does "Thy kingdom" mean here?
10. Who do God's will in Heaven?
11. What do we ask for by "our daily bread"?
12. Why do we say "daily"?
13. What do "trespasses" mean?
14. What do we mean by "as we forgive those who trespass against us"?
15. What example did Our Lord give?
16. What is temptation?
17. Does God tempt us to sin?
18. Is it a sin to be tempted?
19. Are there any tempters besides the devil?
20. Should we seek temptation?
21. What does "Amen" mean?
22. What does "Christian" mean?
23. What makes us Christian?
24. What does "doctrine" mean?

The Angelical Salutation

25. How many parts in the Hail Mary?
26. What part did the Angel Gabriel make?
27. When did he make it?
28. How did Mary know what the angel's words meant?
29. What part of the Hail Mary did St. Elizabeth make?
30. Who was St. Elizabeth's son?
31. Why is Mary called "blessed amongst women"?
32. What part of the Hail Mary did the Church make?
33. What does "hail" mean?
34. Why do we say "full of grace"?
35. Why is Mary called "holy"?
36. Why do we need Mary's prayer at the hour of death?
37. What is the Angelus?
38. What does "the Word" mean?
39. What does "made flesh" mean in the third part of the Angelus?
40. What is the Litany of the Blessed Virgin?
41. Are there other litanies besides the Litany of the Blessed Virgin?

The Apostles' Creed

42. What is a creed?
43. Who were the Apostles?
44. Were the Apostles bishops or priests?
45. How do you know?
46. Who were the disciples of Our Lord?
47. Why did the Apostles make the creed?
48. How many articles or parts in the Apostles' Creed?
49. What does "Creator" mean?
50. By what names is Our Lord called?
51. How many sons had God the Father?
52. Why do we say "died" instead of "was killed"?
53. Why do we say "He was buried"?
54. Is Limbo the same as Purgatory? Why?
55. Who were in Limbo at the time Our Lord was crucified?
56. Name some good men who lived before Christ.
57. Did Our Lord's body descend into Limbo?
58. Was Our Lord three full days in the holy sepulchre?
59. How can you prove they could not put Our Lord to death unless He
    permitted it?
60. Why do we say "right hand of God" when God has no hands?
61. What do you mean by "judge the living and the dead"?
62. Who are "the living"?
63. Who are "the dead" mentioned here?
64. What are ghosts?
65. Are there any?
66. What do you mean by the "Church Militant"?
67. Who are its members?
68. Who are the enemies of our salvation?
69. Why does the devil wish to keep us out of Heaven?
70. What do we mean when we say "the world" is one of our spiritual
71. Have all the saints their bodies in Heaven?
72. Who are in Heaven in their bodies at present?
73. What is meant by our "concupiscence"?
74. Which tempts us most to sin, our soul or our body? Why?
75. Why did God leave concupiscence in us?
76. What do we mean by "the Church Suffering"?
77. Who are its members?
78. Why are souls in Purgatory?
79. What do you mean by "the Church Triumphant"?
80. Who are its members?
81. Are there any saints in Heaven whose names we do not know?
82. Who are saints?
83. What is the difference between a saint and an angel?
84. Why does the Church canonize holy persons?
85. Does canonization make the person a saint?
86. How does the Church canonize a saint?
87. Explain the "communion of saints."
88. What is the difference between beatification and canonization?
89. How is the resurrection of the body possible?
90. What is death?
91. What does "life everlasting" mean?
92. How many fathers had Our Lord? Who were they?
93. How many mothers had He?
94. Of what religion was Pontius Pilate?
95. Are all in Heaven saints?

The Confiteor and Acts

 96. In how many ways can we sin?
 97. What should we think of when we say the Confiteor?
 98. What is the substance of the "act of faith"?
 99. Why do we find different acts of faith?
100. What is the substance of the "act of hope"?
101. What is the substance of the "act of love"?
102. Do an "act of love" and an "act of charity" mean the same?
103. How do you show that they are the same?
104. What makes us help others?
105. How may we be charitable to our neighbor?
106. What is the substance of the "act of contrition"?
107. What does "grace" at meals mean?
108. Why should we say grace at meals?
109. Why should we be content with our food?
110. Is the Apostles' Creed an act of faith?
111. Did John the Baptist institute the Sacrament of Baptism?
112. In giving Baptism, can one pour the water and another say the


Lesson 1

113. What is a catechism?
114. What does our Catechism contain?
115. Why should we learn the Catechism?
116. What do we mean by the "end of man"?
117. For what end was man created?
118. In what respect are all men equal?
119. What is "woman"?
120. In the first question, what does "world" mean?
121. What is a creature?
122. Is every invisible thing a spirit?
123. Of what use is reason to us?
124. What makes man different from all other animals?
125. Have any brute animals reason?
126. How do you know brute animals have not reason?
127. Can we learn all truths by our reason alone?
128. What is revelation?
129. What is "free will" in man?
130. Have brute animals "free will"?
131. Why is it necessary for us to know God?
132. What does "worship" mean?
133. How do we know when we love God above all?
134. Does the Apostles' Creed contain all the truths we must believe?
135. Name some truths not mentioned in it.
136. Is a tree a creature?

Lesson 2

137. What is a spirit?
138. What does "infinite" mean?
139. Why does God watch over us?
140. Why is it necessary for God to watch over us?
141. Why must God be "just" as well as "merciful"?

Lesson 3

142. What does "supreme" mean?
143. When are two persons said to be equal?
144. From whom does authority come?
145. Is there any difference in the ages of God the Father and God the
146. Do first, second, and third in the Blessed Trinity mean that one
     person was before the other?
147. Why must we believe mysteries?
148. Must we understand everything we believe?

Lesson 4

149. How may the things God created be classed?
150. Why did God create angels?
151. If angels have no bodies, how can they appear?
152. Are the angels all equal in dignity?
153. How many classes of angels are there?
154. What did the Archangel Michael do?
155. What did the Archangel Gabriel do?
156. Who gave the angels their names?
157. What are the duties of the angels?
158. What does our angel guardian do for us?
159. How do you know that the angels offer our prayers and good works to
160. Give a short history of Tobias.
161. What do we mean by "Jacob's ladder"?
162. Are there other guardian angels besides the guardian angels of
163. Name some persons to whom angels appeared.
164. Were angels ever sent to punish men?
165. If God watches over us, why should angels guard us?
166. What was the devil's name before he was cast out of Heaven?
167. Why was he cast out?
168. Is the Blessed Virgin only a creature? Why?

Lesson 5

169. How did God create Eve?
170. What relation was Eve to Adam?
171. Were Adam and Eve created at the same time?
172. What was the "Garden of Paradise"?
173. How did Adam commit his first sin?
174. How was Eve tempted to disobey God?
175. In what way do we sometimes imitate Eve's conduct?
176. Why does the devil tempt us?
177. What were the effects of Adam's sin?
178. Why do we suffer for the sin of our first parents?
179. What did Adam lose by his sin?
180. What do you mean when you say Adam's will was weakened by sin?
181. Can we always overcome temptation if we wish?
182. Why was the Blessed Virgin preserved from Original Sin?

Lesson 6

183. How is sin divided?
184. In what ways can we commit actual sin?
185. What is a sin of omission? Give an example.
186. How is Heaven a reward?
187. How can we merit it?
188. Are all religions equally good? Why?
189. What do you mean by a person's "vocation"?
190. How are we to know our vocation?
191. How should parents act with regard to their children's vocation?
192. When is a soul said to be dead?
193. How can we judge whether a thing is sinful or not?
194. What is a material sin?
195. Why is it wrong to judge others guilty of sin?
196. Why does venial sin lessen the love of God in our hearts?
197. Why are pride, covetousness, etc., called "capital sins"?
198. What is meant by our "predominant" or "ruling" sin?
199. What is pride?
200. Why should we take care of our bodies?
201. What sins follow pride?
202. What is covetousness?
203. What sins follow covetousness?
204. What is lust?
205. What sins follow lust?
206. What is gluttony?
207. What kind of sin is drunkenness?
208. How can we commit gluttony by eating?
209. How can we commit gluttony by drinking?
210. What sins does the drunkard commit?
211. What three great sins should you always guard against?
212. Why are drunkenness, dishonesty, and impurity so dangerous?
213. What is envy?
214. How do we commit the sin of sloth?
215. How can we best destroy sin in our souls?
216. Should we cease striving to be good, if we seem to be making no
     improvement? Why?

Lesson 7

217. What does "incarnation" mean?
218. What does "redemption" mean?
219. Who are slaves?
220. How were we in slavery by the sin of Adam?
221. What price did Our Lord pay to redeem us?
222. Did Our Lord leave us any means of being redeemed more than once?
223. What does "abandon" mean?
224. Has Heaven really gates?
225. What are the "gates of Heaven"?
226. Is Our Lord now in Heaven as God or as man?
227. Who was Our Lord's foster-father?
228. What is a foster-father?
229. How many years from the time Adam sinned till the Redeemer came?
230. Why did God allow so long a time to pass before redeeming us?
231. What was the Deluge?
232. When and why did God send it?
233. Who were saved from the Deluge? How?
234. What animals did Noe have in the Ark?
235. What were the "clean animals"? Name some.
236. Why did he have more "clean" than "unclean" animals?
237. How long did Noe spend in making the Ark?
238. How old was Adam when he died?
239. Who was the oldest man?
240. What was his age?
241. How did the Deluge come upon the earth?
242. How long did the Ark float upon the waters?
243. How did Noe learn that the waters were going down?
244. What was the condition of men before the coming of Our Lord?
245. When and to whom did God promise the Redeemer?
246. What did the prophets foretell about Christ?
247. Why was the Redeemer not welcomed by all when He came?
248. What day of the year is Annunciation Day?
249. How could the good people of the Old Law be saved by the merits of
     Christ, when Christ was not yet born?
250. In what kind of a stable was Our Lord born?
251. Why did the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph go to Bethlehem before
     the birth of Our Lord?
252. Who were the Magi?
253. What brought them to Bethlehem?
254. Why did King Herod wish to find the Infant Jesus?
255. On what feast do we commemorate the adoration of the Magi?
256. At what time of the year is the Epiphany?
257. What is the feast of "Holy Innocents"?
258. When does it come?
259. Give a short history of Our Lord's life.
260. What do we mean by His "hidden life"?
261. What do we mean by His "public life"?
262. How old was Our Lord when He began His public life?
263. What do we know of Our Lord's hidden life?
264. Why did He lead a hidden life for so many years?
265. Does "mankind" mean men or women?
266. Had Our Lord any brothers or sisters?
267. What did the Angel Gabriel say at the Annunciation?

Lesson 8

268. What do you mean by Our Lord's "Passion"?
269. When did it begin and when did it end?
270. Give an account of Our Lord's Passion.
271. Where was Gethsemani or the Garden of Olives?
272. Who went into it with Our Lord?
273. What did Our Lord do in this garden?
274. What else happened there?
275. What caused Our Lord's sufferings in the garden?
276. Why could Christ's body suffer greater pain than ours?
277. What do we mean by the "agony in the garden"?
278. Who betrayed Our Lord?
279. How did the Jews act unjustly in the trial of Our Lord?
280. What was the "scourging at the pillar"?
281. What was the "crowning with thorns"?
282. What happened at the death of Our Lord?
283. Where was Calvary?
284. Why were no criminals put to death in Jerusalem?
285. How was the temple of Jerusalem divided?
286. What was the "Holy of Holies"?
287. What was the "Ark of the Covenant," and what did it contain?
288. Of what were the ark and its contents figures?
289. What was the veil of the temple?
290. Why was this veil rent asunder at the death of Our Lord?
291. What does Calvary mean?
292. Why was Our Lord crucified between thieves?
293. Why do we call one of these the "penitent thief"?
294. Why did Christ suffer more than was necessary?
295. What is a sepulchre?
296. How was Our Lord buried?
297. What did the Jews count the beginning and the end of their day?
298. Was the Jewish religion ever the true religion?
299. What is a miracle?
300. What does a miracle prove?
301. What miracles did Our Lord perform?
302. What was His greatest?
303. What are the qualities of a glorified body?
304. Show that Our Lord's body had all these qualities.
305. What was the "Transfiguration of Our Lord"? Describe it.
306. Who were present at it?
307. What happened on the way to Emmaus?
308. What benefit is derived from Thomas the Apostle doubting the
     resurrection of Our Lord?
309. Will all who rise on the last day have glorified bodies?
310. What does the "stigmata of Our Lord" mean?
311. Did anyone ever have it?
312. Was Our Lord visible to everyone during the forty days after His
313. About how many times and to whom did He appear during the forty
314. Describe Our Lord's Ascension.
315. Did Christ always live at Bethlehem?

Lesson 9

316. Did the Holy Ghost ever appear?
317. When and under what forms?
318. What does Whitsunday mean?
319. What does Pentecost mean?
320. What effect did the coming of the Holy Ghost have upon the
321. How many temples had the Jews?
322. What was a "synagogue"?
323. What was done in the synagogues?
324. How did the synagogues differ from the temple?
325. What did the feast of the Pasch or Passover commemorate?
326. Give a short history of Moses.
327. How did the Israelites come to be in Egypt?
328. Give an account of their sufferings in Egypt.
329. How were they delivered or liberated?
330. Give a short account of Joseph and his family.
331. Why did Joseph's brothers wish to put him to death?
332. What did they do to hide their crime?
333. What did the King of Egypt dream?
334. What did his dream mean?
335. What do we learn from the life of Joseph in Egypt?
336. How was Moses saved on the bank of the Nile?
337. What was the "burning bush" that Moses saw?
338. Why did God command Moses to remove his shoes before coming to the
     "burning bush"?
339. Who went with Moses to deliver the Israelites?
340. What signs did God give to Moses to show King Pharao?
341. What did the king's magicians do?
342. What were "the ten plagues of Egypt"?
343. Describe each plague.
344. Why did God send them?
345. What was the "Paschal Lamb"?
346. Of what was it a figure?
347. What happened to the Israelites and Egyptians at the Red Sea?
348. How long were the Israelites in the desert?
349. What was the "manna"?
350. Why were the Israelites so long in the desert?
351. What do you mean by the "gift of tongues"?
352. Why did God perform more miracles in the first ages of the Church
     than now?
353. How and where was St. Peter put to death?
354. How did the other Apostles die?
355. St. Paul?
356. What did the Apostles prove by suffering death for their faith?

Lesson 10

357. What do we mean by an effect?
358. What does "supernatural" mean?
359. What is merit?
360. What is a virtue?
361. What is a vice?
362. Does habit excuse us for the sins committed through it?
363. When will habit excuse us for the sin?
364. Why do we believe revealed truths?
365. Who is our neighbor?
366. What example did Our Lord give to explain this?
367. How do we love our neighbor as ourselves?
368. Why should we love our neighbor?
369. Can we merit the grace of perseverance?

Lesson 11

370. When did men begin to speak different languages?
371. Who were the prophets?
372. Give a short history of religion before the time of Christ.
373. What are the chief works of the Church?
374. Why are our churches holy?
375. What are the catacombs, and why were they made?
376. What are altar stones?
377. Why are relics placed in them?
378. How many general persecutions of the Church were there?
379. Tell what you know of these persecutions.
380. What lessons do we learn from the sufferings of the early
381. Who are "lawful pastors"?
382. Could anyone be Pope without being Bishop of Rome?
383. What does "vicar" mean?
384. Why are Catholics called Roman?
385. How could a Protestant be saved?

Lesson 12

386. What is an attribute?
387. What is authority?
388. Why is it sinful to resist lawful authority?
389. What does "cathedra" mean?
390. Why is the bishop's church called cathedral?
391. How do we know when the Pope speaks "ex cathedra"?
392. What is required that the Pope may so speak?
393. Is the Pope infallible in everything he says?
394. What do you mean by "faith and morals"?
395. How many Popes from St. Peter to Pius XI?
396. Why should we have the greatest respect for the opinions of the
     Holy Father on any subject?
397. Why must the Pope sometimes speak on political matters?
398. Can the Pope commit sin?
399. What do we mean by the "temporal power" of the Pope?
400. How did he acquire it, and how did he lose it?
401. Why has he need of it?
402. How is the "temporal power" useful to the Church?
403. What is "Peter's pence"?
404. Does the Church change its doctrines?
405. How can you show that the Church is one in government and doctrine?
406. What is the hierarchy of the Church?
407. Could a person be a Catholic and not believe all the Church
408. Why are Protestants so called?
409. Why does the Church use Latin as its language?
410. Why does the Church define some truths?
411. Does the Church by defining truths make new doctrines?
412. Give a short history of Luther.
413. Why was he cut off from the true Church?
414. Why did many follow him?
415. How did the first Protestants act towards the Church?
416. What foolish excuses do some give for not becoming Catholics?
417. Why must the true Church be visible?
418. Who are heathens?
419. Who were the "publicans" mentioned by Our Lord?

Lesson 13

420. What three things are necessary to make a Sacrament?
421. What is the outward sign in Baptism?
422. Why is water used in Baptism?
423. What is the outward sign in Confirmation?
424. Why is oil used in Confirmation?
425. What is the use of the outward sign in the Sacraments?
426. In what ways does the life of the soul resemble the life of the
427. What does a "Sacrament of the dead" mean?
428. In what ways can we commit sacrilege?
429. What is the sacramental grace given in Penance?
430. What are the "right dispositions" for Penance, for Holy Eucharist?
431. What is conditional Baptism, and when is it given?
432. Can all the Sacraments be given conditionally?
433. What is the outward sign in Matrimony?
434. Can a bishop give all the Sacraments?
435. Can a priest?
436. Can a person receive all the Sacraments?
437. Can any of the Sacraments be given to the dead?

Lesson 14

438. What is an heir?
439. Why is the Bible called the Old and New Testament?
440. What does the Old Testament contain?
441. What does the New Testament show?
442. What is the difference between Baptism and Penance in the remission
     of the guilt and punishment?
443. Could a person gain an indulgence immediately after Baptism? Why?
444. What does the "temporal punishment" for sin mean?
445. Where will persons go who have never sinned and who die without
446. What do we mean by "the ordinary minister" of a Sacrament?
447. Can you baptize an infant when its parents are unwilling?
448. What is private Baptism?
449. How is it given?
450. What ceremonies are used in solemn Baptism?
451. What do they signify?
452. What is the baptistery?
453. What do we mean by the "pomps" of the devil?
454. What is martyrdom?
455. Who are catechumens?
456. What is necessary that persons may be really martyrs?
457. What is meant by "patron saint"?
458. On what day is a saint's feast kept by the Church?
459. What does "sponsors" mean? Who are sponsors by proxy?
460. With whom do godparents contract relationship?
461. What names should be given in Baptism?

Lesson 15

462. What does balm in the chrism signify?
463. Why should we be proud of the Catholic religion?
464. When are we required to profess our religion?

Lesson 16

465. Why is the devil wiser than we are?
466. Who made the Beatitudes?
467. Where did Our Lord generally preach?
468. What do the Beatitudes teach?
469. How is a person "poor in spirit"?
470. How can the rich be "poor in spirit"?
471. Explain the other Beatitudes.

Lesson 17

472. How does the institution of Penance show the goodness of Our Lord?
473. What is absolution?
474. How do you know Our Lord could forgive sins?
475. How does the power to forgive sins imply the obligation of going to
476. How do we prepare for confession?
477. What is the best method of examining our conscience?
478. What is the most important part of the Sacrament of Penance?
479. What kind of sorrow should we have for our sins?
480. When should you say the penance given in confession?

Lesson 18

481. When is our contrition perfect?
482. What is attrition?
483. How many kinds of occasions of sin are there?
484. Why must we avoid occasions of sin?

Lesson 19

485. Who is a "duly authorized" priest?
486. How can a dumb man make his confession?
487. What can one do who cannot remember his sins in confession?
488. How can persons whose language the priest cannot understand confess
     if they are in danger of death?
489. Is it wrong to accuse ourselves of sins we have not committed?
490. Why is it foolish to conceal sins in confession?
491. How were the ancient Christian churches divided?
492. How did the early Christians do penance?
493. Explain the temporal and eternal punishment for sin.
494. Is your confession worthless if you forget to say your penance?
495. What is Lent?
496. What is almsgiving?
497. How can we distinguish between spiritual and corporal works of
498. When are we obliged to admonish the sinner?
499. What were the Crusades?
500. Why were they commenced?
501. How many Crusades were there?
502. How long did they last?
503. Why were those who took part in these expeditions called Crusaders?
504. What is a pilgrim?
505. How have we been relieved from doing many of the works of mercy
506. Who are religious?
507. What is a hermit?
508. What is a general confession?
509. When and why should we make it?
510. Who are scrupulous persons?

Lesson 20

511. When is it well to add to our confession a sin of our past life?
512. What duties does the priest perform in the confessional?
513. Show how he is judge, father, teacher, and physician.
514. Why is it well to confess always to the same priest?
515. Can you have half your sins forgiven?
516. When will perfect contrition blot out mortal sin?

Lesson 21

517. How does God reward us for good works done in a state of mortal
518. Is it easy to gain a plenary indulgence? Why?
519. What works are generally enjoined for indulgences?
520. What does praying for a "person's intention" mean?
521. How can we have the intention of gaining an indulgence?
522. What does "an indulgence of 40 days," etc., mean?
523. Why did the early Christians do more severe penance than we do?
524. Are indulgences attached to anything but prayers?

Lesson 22

525. What does "Eucharist" mean?
526. What is the difference between Holy Eucharist and Holy Communion?
527. What did Our Lord do at the marriage in Cana?
528. Is Our Lord's body in the Holy Eucharist living or dead?
529. How do you know you receive both the body and the blood of Our Lord
     under the appearance of bread alone?
530. Why does the Church not give the Holy Eucharist to the people under
     the appearance of wine also?
531. Could it do so? Did it ever do it?
532. How long does Our Lord remain in the Holy Communion?
533. What is the ciborium?
534. At what part of the Mass are the words of consecration said?
535. What are the parts of the Mass?
536. What is the sacristy?
537. What does the priest prepare for Mass?
538. What is the chalice?
539. What is the paten?
540. What is the purificator?
541. What is the pall?
542. What is the host?
543. Where does the priest get the host?
544. What are the different vestments used at Mass called?
545. What do they signify?
546. What is the "Offertory" in the Mass?
547. When does the "Canon" of the Mass begin?
548. What is the "Elevation" in the Mass?
549. Where does the priest get the Blessed Sacrament he gives to the
550. What is the tabernacle?
551. What is Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament?
552. What is the monstrance used at Benediction?
553. Why should we be anxious to attend Benediction?
554. What is the cope?
555. What is the humeral, or Benediction veil?
556. Why does the priest wear vestments?
557. What do their colors signify?
558. Can Holy Communion be given in the afternoon?
559. What is the Holy Eucharist called when received by a person who is
     not fasting?
560. Can the priest say Mass in the evening? Why?
561. Why does the priest genuflect, etc., during Mass?

Lesson 23

562. What should we do if we break our fast before Holy Communion?
563. When is Holy Communion called the "Viaticum"?
564. Who offered the first Sacrifice of the Holy Mass?

Lesson 24

565. When is the Holy Eucharist a sacrifice?
566. When a Sacrament?
567. What was the temple of the Pantheon in Rome?
568. Who are pagans, idolaters, heathens?
569. How many kinds of sacrifice had the Israelites?
570. How is the Mass a sacrifice?
571. What is the league of the Sacred Heart?
572. Why was it established?
573. What was the origin of offering the priest money for celebrating
     Mass for your intention?
574. What is the sin of simony?
575. Why is it so called?
576. How are the fruits of the Mass divided?
577. What is a spiritual Communion?
578. How is it made?

Lesson 25

579. What does "unction" mean?
580. How often in their lives are Catholics anointed?
581. Is it called Extreme Unction even when the person recovers after
     receiving it?
582. What parts of the body are anointed in Extreme Unction?
583. When should the priest be sent for in cases of sickness?
584. What should you do if the sick Catholic does not wish or refuses to
     see the priest?
585. How is sickness a benefit to some?
586. What Sacraments are never given in the Church?
587. What things should you prepare when the priest is coming to give
     the Viaticum or Extreme Unction in your house?
588. How is the Blessed Sacrament carried to the sick in Catholic
589. Who are the "other ministers of the Church," besides bishops and
590. What is the tonsure?
591. Of what does the tonsure remind the priest?
592. What are the duties and privileges of these other ministers of the
593. How many kinds of Masses are there?
594. Do they differ in value, one being better than another?
595. Who is meant by the "celebrant" of the Mass?
596. What does the "master of ceremonies" do?
597. What is a Requiem Mass?
598. Why is it so called?
599. What is Vespers?
600. Is it a mortal sin to be willingly absent from Vespers?
601. Will Vespers take the place of Mass on Sundays for those who do not
     attend Mass?
602. Who are cardinals?
603. What are their duties?
604. Who is a monsignor?
605. Who is a vicar general?
606. What is a diocese?
607. What is a parish?
608. Does "rector" and "pastor" mean the same?
609. What do we mean by "Suffragan Bishops"?
610. What is the pallium?
611. Who can wear it?

Lesson 26

612. When are persons lawfully married?
613. When was marriage first instituted?
614. What sin is it to marry unlawfully?
615. What are "impediments to marriage"?
616. What things should persons tell the priest when they are making
     arrangements for marriage?
617. Can persons marry invalidly without knowing it?
618. What evils follow divorce?
619. Why should children study?
620. What is meant by the "civil effects of marriage"?
621. What are the chief evils of "mixed marriage"?
622. What is a "mixed marriage"?
623. When are motives for marriage "worthy"?
624. How should persons make a choice for marriage?
625. How are parents sometimes guilty of injustice to their children in
     case of marriage?
626. What is holy oil?
627. When is it blessed?
628. Can a priest bless it in case of necessity?
629. How many kinds of holy oil are there?
630. For what are they used?
631. In the administration of what Sacraments is oil used?
632. Can persons receive the Sacrament of Matrimony more than once?
633. Where and at what time of the day should Catholics be married?
634. What is balm?
635. Was there any Sacrament of Matrimony before the time of Our Lord?
636. Were the people of the Old Law validly married?
637. How did their marriage differ from Christian marriage?

Lesson 27

638. Can the Church change the number of sacramentals? Why?
639. Why is it necessary to bless yourself properly?
640. When are candles blessed in the Church?
641. Of what do candles on the altar remind us?
642. When are ashes blessed in the Church?
643. Of what do they remind us?
644. Of what do the palms remind us?
645. What is the difference between a cross and a crucifix?
646. What is the Rosary?
647. How do we say the beads?
648. What is meant by "Mysteries of the Rosary"?
649. How many Mysteries of the Rosary are there?
650. How are they divided?
651. Name the different Mysteries of the Rosary.
652. What is the Magnificat?
653. Who baptized Our Lord?
654. Was the baptism of John the Baptist a Sacrament? Why?
655. To whom did Our Lord give an example by His hidden or private life?
656. What did the Church do for slaves?
657. What do the letters "I.N.R.I." over the Cross mean?
658. Did Our Lord claim to be king of the Jews?
659. Why was Our Lord put to death?
660. With whom did the Blessed Virgin live after the death of Our Lord?
661. Who was St. John the Evangelist?
662. What is the Apocalypse?
663. About how long did the Blessed Virgin live on earth after the
     Ascension of Our Lord?
664. What is meant by the "Assumption" of the Blessed Virgin?
665. What proof have we of it?
666. On what days are the different Mysteries of the Rosary said?
667. What does "I.H.S." with a cross over it mean?
668. What is the scapular, and why do we wear it?
669. What is the brown scapular called?
670. How many kinds of scapular are there?
671. What are the "seven dolors" of the Blessed Virgin? Name them.
672. What are the seven dolor beads?
673. What are "religious orders"?
674. What vows do the members of religious orders take?
675. Why were religious orders founded?
676. Why are there different kinds of religious orders?

Lesson 28

677. How many kinds of prayer are there?
678. What is "meditation"?
679. What should we do before praying?
680. What do you know of St. Monica?
681. Of St. Augustine?
682. Why does God not always grant our prayers?
683. If prayer is necessary for salvation, how can infants be saved who
     die without having prayed?

Lesson 29

684. Were people obliged to keep the Commandments before the time of
685. How many kinds of laws had the Israelites?
686. When were these laws abolished?
687. How were the Commandments given to Moses?
688. What was manna?
689. What is the difference between the Commandments of God and the
     commandments of the Church?
690. What does "love thy neighbor as thyself" mean?

Lesson 30

691. How did the Israelites come to worship false gods?
692. How do we sometimes worship strange gods?
693. What are "fortune tellers"?
694. Why is going to fortune tellers a sin?
695. What are spells, charms?
696. Are medals, scapulars, etc., worn about us charms?
697. What are dreams?
698. Did God ever use them to make known His will?
699. Why does He not use them now?
700. What are mediums and spiritists?
701. How do bad Catholics do injury to the Church?
702. Why did the Christian religion spread so rapidly?
703. Who are atheists, deists, infidels, heretics, apostates, and
704. Are all religions equally true?
705. Why is presumption a great sin?
706. How are we frequently presumptuous?
707. Are heretics Christians?

Lesson 31

708. What help does God give us to save our souls?
709. How do we honor God by praying to the saints?
710. What is a relic?
711. Have we any relics of Our Lord's body? Why?
712. Why does the Catholic religion suit all classes of persons?
713. Why are there so many kinds of Protestants?
714. Does the Bible contain all the truths of our religion?
715. How did God honor the relics of saints? Give an example.
716. When did the Jewish religion cease to be the true religion?

Lesson 32

717. Is it a sin to use the words of Scripture in a bad sense?
718. What is a perjurer?
719. Why was John the Baptist put to death?
720. Why is it sinful to be a member of a secret society?
721. When is an oath rash?
722. What is the difference between blasphemy and cursing?
723. Can we blaspheme by action?
724. Tell what happened to Julian the Apostate.
725. Are there any holy days not of obligation?
726. How is the Sunday well kept?
727. What is a real Catholic newspaper?
728. What books should be found in every Catholic family?
729. What is meant by the Old Law?
730. What by the New?
731. Are we bound to keep an unlawful oath?

Lesson 33

732. What do we mean by "magistrates"?
733. What should we remember when we are unjustly punished?
734. How does suffering make us more like to Our Lord and His Blessed
735. Why did the Blessed Virgin suffer so many trials upon earth?
736. What is contempt?
737. What is stubbornness?
738. Why is suicide a mortal sin?
739. What is revenge?
740. Why should we be most careful about the Sixth Commandment?
741. Why should we guard against bad reading?
742. Why should we seek advice?

Lesson 34

743. In how many ways may we violate the Seventh Commandment?
744. Why is it unkind and ungrateful not to pay our debts?
745. Is the receiver of stolen goods as bad as the thief?
746. In how many ways may we share in the sin of another?
747. If you bought an article not knowing that it was stolen, would you
     be obliged to give it up to its owner?
748. What must you do with anything you find?
749. What must you do if you have lost or destroyed the article you
750. Can we always make restitution by giving to the poor?
751. Is it a sin to delay making restitution?
752. What must a person do who cannot restore?
753. What will excuse us for telling another's faults?
754. How can you know when you have injured the character of another?
755. What is detraction?
756. What is calumny?
757. What is slander?
758. How can you make reparation for injuring another's character?
759. Are you bound to do so?
760. What is "rash judgment"?
761. What is backbiting?
762. Is it sinful to listen to backbiting, slander, etc?
763. Why is it wrong to tell another's secrets or read another's
764. What does "covet" mean?

Lesson 35

765. What is meant by a "serious reason" for missing Mass?
766. What excuse do some give for not hearing Mass?
767. Why is it wrong to come late for Mass?
768. On what day do we keep a saint's feast?
769. What is the "divine office"?
770. How is it divided?
771. Who are excused from fasting?
772. Who are obliged to abstain from flesh-meat on fast-days and days of
773. Is every fast-day a day of abstinence?

Lesson 36

774. Why should we go to confession even when we have not committed sin
     since our last confession?
775. When is Trinity Sunday?
776. How was the Holy Land divided?
777. Who were the "Levites" in the Old Law?
778. What were "first fruits" and tithes in the Old Law?
779. Why was Cain's sacrifice displeasing to God?
780. What relations are within the third degree of kindred?
781. What is a "dispensation" granted by the Church?
782. What is meant by the "natural law"?
783. When can we obey the laws that the State makes with regard to
784. What is "excommunication"?
785. What effect has it?
786. Who are excluded from Christian burial?
787. How does the Church show its displeasure when Catholics marry
     persons not Catholics?
788. How should persons prepare for marriage?
789. Are women ever allowed in the Church with their heads uncovered?
790. Can the priest say a "nuptial Mass" for a husband or wife after
     their death?

Lesson 37

791. Where will the particular judgment be held?
792. How will it take place?
793. Will the sentence given at the particular judgment be changed at
     the general judgment?
794. How can we daily prepare for judgment?
795. Who will be judged at the general judgment?
796. How will the general judgment take place?
797. What do we mean by the "pain of loss"?
798. What by the "pain of sense" that the damned suffer?
799. Why can we not imagine the sufferings of Hell?
800. How does the fire of Hell differ from our fire?
801. Will there be a Purgatory after the general judgment?
802. Why must there be a Purgatory now?
803. If God loves those in Purgatory, why does He punish them?
804. Why do we show respect to the bodies of the dead?
805. What does "faithful departed" mean?
806. What does "rest in peace" mean?
807. What does "seeing God face to face" mean, if God has no face?
808. What is the beatific vision?
809. Of what does our happiness in Heaven consist?
810. How long will Purgatory last?


Absolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Acolyte  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Actual grace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Adoration of the Magi  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Advice necessary and useful  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
Agony in the garden  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Alb  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Alms to the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Almsgiving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Altar boys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Altars and altar stones  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Amice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Ancient Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Angels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  35
Angelus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The Angelical Salutation
Anger  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Annunciation Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  64
Apocalypse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Apostles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Apostate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Apostolicity of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Apparitions of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  90
Archbishop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Ark of Noe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Ark of the Covenant  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Ascension of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  91
Ashes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Atheist  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Attributes of the Church . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 12, title
Attrition  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
Authority  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123


Backbiting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Bad company  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Bad example  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364
Baptism of blood and desire  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Baptism in case of necessity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Baptism of St. John  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Beads  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Bearing wrongs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Beatific vision  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 420
Beatification  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Beatitudes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Benefits of the Sacrament of Penance . . . . .  Lesson 17, title
Biretta  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Birth of Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Bishop of Rome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Blasphemy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
Blessed Sacrament carried to the sick  . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Bloody sweat of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Body of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  64
Body of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Breaking the fast for Communion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254
Burial of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  88
Burning bush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97


Cain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 11, title
Cain's sacrifice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Call of Abraham  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Calumny  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
Calvary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Candles, why used  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Canonization of saints . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Canonical penance  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Capital sins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Caravansary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Cardinals  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Carrying stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Catacombs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Catechumens  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Catechism  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 1, title
Cathedral  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Catholic books and newspapers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Catholicity of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Causes of unhappy marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
Celebrant of Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Census-taking in olden times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Chalice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Changing water into wine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Character in Baptism, etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Charitable institutions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Charity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Act of Love
Charms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
Chasuble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Choice of persons in marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Church, Militant, Triumphant, Suffering  . . The Apostles' Creed
Church instituted by Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Churches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Ciborium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
Cincture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Cities of ancient times  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Color of the vestments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Communion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Communion of saints  . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Commandments of God  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 29, title
Concealing sins in confession  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Concupiscence  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  40
Condition of the world before Christ . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Confession necessary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
Confessor's duties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
Confusion of tongues . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 11, title
Consecrated ground . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Consecration in the Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Contempt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
Contrition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Converts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
Cope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Coronation of the Blessed Virgin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Corporal works of mercy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Covetousness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Creation of Adam and Eve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  39
Crowning with thorns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Crucifixion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Crucifix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Cruelty of the Romans  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Crusades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223


Danger of living in sin  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272
Day of the Jews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  88
Days of abstinence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394
Deacon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Dead body  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Dead souls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Death  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Death of St. John the Baptist  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
Debts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377
Definition of Dogma of Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Degrees of kindred . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403
Deist  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Deliverance of the Jews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  95
Deluge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Descent of the Holy Ghost  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Despair  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
Detraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
Devil  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  38
Diocese  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Disciples  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Disciples on the way to Emmaus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Dishonest persons  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
Dispensations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Disrespect to parents  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
Distraction at prayer  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
Divine Office  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Division of the Holy Land  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403
Divorce or separation in marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Doubt of Thomas the Apostle  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Dreams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
Dress at weddings  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 407
Dress of the hierarchy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Drunkenness  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Duty to parents  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364


Egyptian bondage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Elevation in the Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
End of man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 1, title
Envy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Epiphany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 36, title
Equality among all men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
Eternity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Evils of divorce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Evil effects of scandal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Examination of conscience  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Example of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Ex cathedra  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Excommunication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Excuses for not embracing the true religion  . . . . . . . . 324
Excuses for not attending Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Extreme Unction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 25, title
Extreme Unction, to whom it can be given . . .  Lesson 25, title


Faith  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Faithful departed  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 418
Fall of the angels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  38
Fall of Adam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  43
False worship  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Fast-days  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 393
Feasts of the Jews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Feasts of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Final perseverance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Finding of Our Lord in the Temple  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
First Protestants  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Flight into Egypt  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Forgiveness of sins  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Forgiveness of injuries  . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
Fortune tellers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Foster-father  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  63
Fraternal correction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Free will in man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Frequent Communion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Fruits of the Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269


Gates of Heaven  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  60
General confession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
Gift of tongues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Gladiators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 25, title
Glorified bodies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Gluttony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59 
God, our Father  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
Gods of the pagans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Golden calf  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
Gratitude to benefactors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
Guardian angel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36


Hasty marriages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
Heaven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 420
Heaven a reward  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  51
Heirs of Heaven  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Hell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
Help to salvation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331
Heretics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Herod  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Hidden life of Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Hierarchy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
History of the Israelites in Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Holy days  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Holy Ghost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Holy Innocents' feast  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Holy of holies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Holy oils  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Holy Orders  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Holy Sepulchre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  88
Holy water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
Holiness of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Honoring the saints  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331
How to meditate  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
Human sacrifice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Humeral, or Benediction veil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250


"I.H.S." with a cross  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Images in the churches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
Immaculate Conception  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  50
Impediments to marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Impurity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
Incarnation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 7, title
Indefectibility of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Indifferentism in religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  51
Indulgences  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
Infallibility of the Pope  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Infidel  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Injuring the character of others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
"I.N.R.I." on the Cross  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Instinct of animals  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Intention at Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Intention of the Pope  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Intention to gain indulgences  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
Interpretation of the Holy Scriptures  . . . . . . . . . . . 129


Jacob, father of the twelve tribes . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Jacob's vision and the ladder  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
Jehova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
John the Evangelist  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Joseph in Egypt  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Journey of the Israelites in the desert  . . . . . . . . . .  97
Judgment, particular and general . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 408
Julian the Apostate  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
Justice of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20


Kinds of indulgences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Kinds of Masses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Kinds of scapulars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Kingdom of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
Knowledge of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6


Late-coming to Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Latin language in the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Lawful marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
Laws made by the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Laws of the Jews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 29, title
League of the Sacred Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Lent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Levites  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Life of Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Life of the Blessed Virgin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364
Limbo  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Litanies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  The Angelical Salutation
Lives of the early Christians  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Lost time  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Louise Lateau  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Love of our neighbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Lucifer or Satan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  38
Lust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Luther . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132


Magi or Wise Men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Magistrates  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
Mahomet  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Man  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Maniple  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Manna  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
Manner of confessing our sins  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Manner of examining our conscience . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Manner of giving absolution  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Marks of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Marriage at Cana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Marriage before a Protestant minister  . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Master of Ceremonies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Meaning of forty days' indulgence  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Meditation or mental prayer  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
Mercy of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
Merit  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Minister of Baptism  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Ministers of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Minor Orders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Miracles, true and false . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Mixed marriages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
Molech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Monks  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Monsignor  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Moses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Murder of infants or abortion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Mystery  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  31
Mysteries of the Rosary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302


Names in Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Names of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  66
Natural state of man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Necessary servile works  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
Necessity of religious instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Neighbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Newspapers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Noe's Ark  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Nuns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223


Oath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
Obedience to parents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Observance of Sunday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Occasion of sin  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Offertory in the Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Offering called "stipend" for Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Ostensorium or monstrance  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Outward signs of the Sacraments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136


Palestine  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Pall for the chalice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Pallium  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Palms  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Pantheon in Rome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Paradise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  40
Parish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Parts of the Divine Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Parts of the Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Pasch  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Paschal lamb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Passage of the Red Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Passion of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Passover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 17, title
Pastor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Paten  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Patron saint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Payment of debts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
Penance given in confession  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Penitent thief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  82
Penitents of the early ages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Pentecost  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Perfection of God  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Persecution of the Christians  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Persons excluded from Christian burial . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Peter's pence  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Pharao's dream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Pilgrim  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Plagues of Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Pledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351
Plenary indulgence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
Poor in the true Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Pope in politics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
Preaching of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Predominant sin  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Preparation for confession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Presence of God at our prayers . . . . . . . . . . . . Confiteor
Presentation in the temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Preservation of creatures by God . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
Presumption  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328
Priests  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Pride  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Promise of the Redeemer  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  60
Proof of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin  . . . . . . . 302
Prophets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 11, title
Providence of God  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 416
Public life of Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Public profession of faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
Purgatory  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 414
Purificator  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Purpose of amendment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191


Qualities of a good prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307


Rash judgment  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Reading bad books or papers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
Reading good books or papers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Reading the letters of others  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Real presence in the Holy Eucharist  . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
Reason . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Receiving stolen goods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
Rector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Redeemer promised  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Redemption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 7, title
Relics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
Religious orders and communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Respect at Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Respect in church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
"Rest in peace"  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 418
Restitution  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
Resurrection of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Resurrection of the body . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Revelation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Revenge  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 368
Rosary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302


Sabbath of the Jews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  88
Sacramental grace  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Sacramentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
Sacraments in which oil is used  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Sacraments of the dead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
Sacraments of the living . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Sacred Heart of Jesus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Sacrifice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Sacrilege  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Salvation out of the Catholic Church . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Sanctifying grace  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Saracens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Scandal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
Scapulars  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Schismatic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Scourging at the pillar  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Scrupulous persons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
Secret societies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
Secrets  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Seven dolors of the Blessed Virgin . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Seven dolor beads  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Sickness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273
Sign of the Cross  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
Simony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Sin, Original, actual, mortal, venial  . . . . . . . .  Lesson 6
Sins against faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Slander  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
Slavery  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 7, title
Sloth  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Soul like to God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Soul, importance of saving one's . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Spells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Spiritual Communion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Spiritual life resembles bodily life . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Spiritual works of mercy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Sponsors by proxy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Spread of the Protestant religion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
St. Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  63
St. Joseph's Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74
St. Monica and St. Augustine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
St. Patrick's Day  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74
Stable at Bethlehem  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
State laws for marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403
Stealing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
Stigmata of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Stole  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Strange gods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Sub-deacon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Sufferings of the damned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
Suicide  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367
Supernatural gifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103


Temple of Jerusalem  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Temporal power of the Pope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Temporal punishment  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Temptation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
Testament, Old and New . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Thanksgiving after Communion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
Things prepared for Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Things prepared for Viaticum and Extreme Unction . . . . . . 277
Time given to God's service  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Time valuable in youth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
Tithes and first-fruits in the Old Law . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Tobias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
Tonsure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Tower of Babel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 11, title
Transfiguration of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Transubstantiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Two natures in Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  65


Unity of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Unworthy Communion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
Use of sacramentals  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
Using the sayings of Holy Scripture in a profane sense . . . 340


Veil of the temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Vespers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Vestments, their names and signification . . . . . . . . . . 250
Viaticum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258
Vicar general  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Vice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Virtue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Visibility of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Visible and invisible head of the Church . . . . . . . . . . 116
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin . . .  The Angelical Salutation
Vocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  51
Vow  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350


Warning against impostors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
Ways of sharing in another's sin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
Whitsunday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Who offered sacrifice in ancient times . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Who cannot be sponsors at Baptism  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Why children should study  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Why God does not always grant our prayers  . . . . . . . . . 307
Why holy days were instituted  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Why sickness is sometimes sent . . . . . . . .  Lesson 25, title
Why there are different religious orders . . . . . . . . . . 302
Woman with issue of blood  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
Works necessary to gain indulgences  . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
World  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Worship of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
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