Basic Catholic Doctrine:
Baltimore Catechism No. 2, Lessons 11-20

Revised Edition; Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, 1941

The Baltimore Catechism, which had been taught and revered by Catholics in the U.S. for many years, has been replaced in the modern Conciliar Church with humanistic, ecumenical teaching.


Lesson 11 — The Catholic Church

"I believe in ... the Holy Catholic Church ..."

136. What is the Church?
The Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him.

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. (Matthew 13:24)

137. Who founded the Church?
Jesus Christ founded the Church.

And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

138. Why did Jesus Christ found the Church?
Jesus Christ founded the Church to bring all men to eternal salvation.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. And I give them everlasting life; and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)

139. How is the Church enabled to lead men to salvation?
The Church is enabled to lead men to salvation by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, who gives it life.

140. When was the dwelling of the Holy Ghost in the Church first visibly manifested?
The dwelling of the Holy Ghost in the Church was first visibly manifested on Pentecost Sunday, when He came down upon the apostles in the form of tongues of fire.

And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Ghost prompted them to speak. (Acts 2:1-4)

141. How long will the Holy Ghost dwell in the Church?
The Holy Ghost will dwell in the Church until the end of time.

And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. (John 14:16)

142. Who sent the Holy Ghost to dwell in the Church?
God the Father and God the Son sent the Holy Ghost to dwell in the Church.

143. What does the indwelling of the Holy Ghost enable the Church to do?
The indwelling of the Holy Ghost enables the Church to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the faithful in the name of Christ.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will teach you all the truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he will hear he will speak, and the things that are to come he will declare to you. (John 16:13)

144. What is meant by teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in the name of Christ?
By teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in the name of Christ is meant that the Church always does the will of its Divine Founder, who remains forever its invisible Head.

145. To whom did Christ give the power to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the members of His Church?
Christ gave the power to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the members of His Church to the apostles, the first bishops of the Church.

He who hears you, hears me; and he who rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me. (Luke 10:16)

146. Did Christ intend that this power should be exercised by the apostles alone?
No, Christ intended that this power should be exercised also by their successors, the bishops of the Church.

And they prayed and said, "Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all, show which of these two thou has chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away to go to his own place." (Acts 1:24-25)

147. Did Christ give special power in His Church to any one of the apostles?
Christ gave special power in His Church to Saint Peter by making him the head of the apostles and the chief teacher and ruler of the entire Church.

But Peter, standing up with the Eleven, lifted up his voice and spoke out to them. (Acts 2:14)

148. Did Christ intend that the special power of chief teacher and ruler of the entire Church should be exercised by Saint Peter alone?
Christ did not intend that the special power of chief teacher and ruler of the entire Church should be exercised by Saint Peter alone, but intended that this power should be passed down to his successor, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, who is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the visible head of the Church.

149. Who assist the bishops in the care of souls?
The priests, especially parish priests, assist the bishops in the care of souls.

And when they had appointed presbyters for them in each church, with prayer and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14:22)

150. Who are the laity of the Church?
The laity of the Church are all its members who do not belong to the clerical or to the religious state.

151. How can the laity help the Church in her care of souls?
The laity can help the Church in her care of souls by leading lives that will reflect credit on the Church, and by cooperating with their bishops and priests, especially through Catholic Action.

Behave yourselves honorably among the pagans; that, whereas they slander you as evildoers, they may, through observing you, by reason of your good works glory God in the day of the visitation. (I Peter 2:12)

151A. What is Catholic Action?
Catholic Action is the active participation of the laity in the apostolate of the Church under the guidance of the hierarchy.

151B. In what ways can the laity participate actively in the apostolate of the Church?
The laity can participate actively in the apostolate of the Church when they arouse the interest of non-Catholics in the Catholic faith; promote high standards in the press, motion pictures, radio and television; participate in the work of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; take part in the activities of Catholic societies and organizations; represent, under proper direction, the Church's position in speaking and writing; and go as lay missionaries to foreign lands.

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Lesson 12 — The Marks and Attributes of the Church

152. Which is the one true Church established by Christ?
The one true Church established by Christ is the Catholic Church.

And other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. (John 10:16)

153. How do we know that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ?
We know that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ because it alone has the marks of the true Church.

Holy Father, keep in thy name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we also are. (John 17:11)

154. What do we mean by the marks of the Church?
By the marks of the Church we mean certain clear signs by which all men can recognize it as the true Church founded by Jesus Christ.

155. What are the chief marks of the Church?
The chief marks of the Church are four: It is one, holy, catholic or universal, and apostolic.

156. Why is the Catholic Church one?
The Catholic Church is one because all its members, according to the will of Christ, profess the same faith, have the same sacrifice and sacraments, and are united under one and the same visible head, the Pope.

Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread. (I Corinthians 10:17)

157. Why is the Catholic Church holy?
The Catholic Church is holy because it was founded by Jesus Christ, who is all-holy, and because it teaches, according to the will of Christ, holy doctrines, and provides the means of leading a holy life, thereby giving holy members to every age.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:17-20)

158. Why is the Catholic Church catholic or universal?
The Catholic Church is catholic or universal because, destined to last for all time, it never fails to fulfill the divine commandment to teach all nations all the truths revealed by God.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, for a witness to all nations. (Matthew 24:14)

159. Why is the Catholic Church apostolic?
The Catholic Church is apostolic because it was founded by Christ on the apostles and, according to His divine will, has always been governed by their lawful successors.

And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

160. How do we know that no other church but the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ?
We know that no other church but the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ because no other church has these four marks.

161. What are the chief attributes of the Catholic Church?
The chief attributes of the Catholic Church are authority, infallibility, and indefectibility. They are called attributes because they are qualities perfecting the nature of the Church.

162. What is meant by the authority of the Catholic Church?
By the authority of the Catholic Church is meant that the Pope and the bishops, as the lawful successors of the apostles, have power from Christ Himself to teach, to sanctify, and to govern the faithful in spiritual matters.

On behalf of Christ, therefore, we are acting as ambassadors, God, as it were, appealing through us. (II Corinthians 5:20)

163. What is meant by the infallibility of the Catholic Church?
By the infallibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, by the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, cannot err when it teaches or believes a doctrine of faith or morals.

But the Advocate, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you. (John 14:26)

164. When does the Church teach infallibly?
The Church teaches infallibly when it defines, through the Pope alone, as the teacher of all Christians, or through the Pope and the bishops, a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by all the faithful.

165. What is meant by the indefectibility of the Catholic Church?
By the indefectibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, as Christ founded it, will last until the end of time.

And, behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Matthew 28:20)

166. Are all obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved?
All are obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me." (John 14:6)

167. What do we mean when we say, "Outside the Church there is no salvation?"
When we say, "Outside the Church there is no salvation," we mean that Christ made the Catholic Church a necessary means of salvation and commanded all to enter it, so that a person must be connected with the Church in some way to be saved.

168. How can persons who are not members of the Catholic Church be saved?
Persons who are not members of the Catholic Church can be saved if, through no fault of their own, they do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church, but they love God and try to do His will, for in this way they are connected with the Church by desire.

169. Why is the Catholic Church called the Mystical Body of Christ?
The Catholic Church is called the Mystical Body of Christ because its members are united by supernatural bonds with one another and with Christ, their Head, thus resembling the members and head of the living human body.

Again, he is the head of his body, the Church. (Colossians 1:18)

169. What conditions are necessary in order that a person be a member of the Mystical Body in the full sense?
In order that a person be a member of the Mystical Body in the full sense, it is necessary that he be baptized, that he profess the Catholic faith, and that he neither separate himself from the Mystical Body nor be excluded by lawful authority.

And if he refuses to hear them, appeal to the Church, but if he refuses to hear even the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican. (Matthew 18:17)

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Lesson 13 - The Communion of Saints and the Forgiveness of Sins

"I believe in ... the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins ..."

170. What is meant by "the communion of saints" in the Apostles' Creed?
By "the communion of saints" is meant the union of the faithful on earth, the blessed in heaven, and the souls in purgatory, with Christ as their Head.

171. Through the communion of saints, what can the blessed in heaven do for the souls in purgatory and the faithful on earth?
Through the communion of saints, the blessed in heaven can help the souls in purgatory and the faithful on earth by praying for them.

It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins. (II Maccabees 12:46)

172. Should the faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, honor the blessed in heaven and pray to them?
The faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, should honor the blessed in heaven and pray to them, because they are worthy of honor and as friends of God will help the faithful on earth.

Let us now praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation. (Ecclesiasticus 44:1)

173. Can the faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, relieve the sufferings of the souls in purgatory?
The faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, can relieve the sufferings the souls in purgatory by prayer, fasting, and other good works, by indulgences, and by having Masses offered for them.

It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins. (II Maccabees 12:46)

174. Can the faithful on earth help one another?
The faithful on earth, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, can help one another by practicing supernatural charity and the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Pray for one another that you may be saved. For the unceasing prayer of a just man is of great avail. (James 5:16)

175. What is meant in the Apostles' Creed by "the forgiveness of sins"?
By "the forgiveness of sins" in the Apostles' Creed is meant that God has given to the Church, through Jesus Christ, the power to forgive sins, no matter how great or how many they are, if sinners truly repent.

Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. (John 20:22-23)

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Lesson 14 — The Resurrection and Life Everlasting

"I believe in ... the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting."

176. What is meant by "the resurrection of the body"?
By "the resurrection of the body" is meant that at the end of the world the bodies of all men will rise from the earth and be united again to their souls, nevermore to be separated.

Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again. (I Corinthians 15:51)

177. Why will the bodies of the just rise?
The bodies of the just will rise to share forever in the glory of their souls.

178. Has the body of any human person ever been raised from the dead and taken into heaven?
By the special privilege of her Assumption, the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary, united to her immaculate soul, was glorified and taken into heaven.

179. Why will the bodies of the damned also rise?
The bodies of the damned will also rise to share in the eternal punishment of their souls.

180. What is the judgment called which will be passed on all men immediately after the general resurrection?
The judgment which will be passed on all men immediately after the general resurrection is called the general judgment.

And he charged us to preach to the people and to testify that he it is who has been appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42)

181. What is the judgment called which will be passed on each one of us immediately after death?
The judgment which will be passed on each one of us immediately after death is called the particular judgment.

For it is easy before God in the day of death to reward everyone according to his ways. (Ecclesiasticus 11:28)

182. If everyone is judged immediately after death, why will there be a general judgment?
Although everyone is judged immediately after death, it is fitting that there be a general judgment in order that the justice, wisdom, and mercy of God may be glorified in the presence of all.

Then shall the just stand with great constancy against those that have afflicted them and taken away their labors. These seeing it, shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the suddenness of their unexpected salvation. (Wisdom 5:1-2)

183. What are the rewards or punishments appointed for men after the particular judgment?
The rewards or punishments appointed for men after the particular judgment are heaven, purgatory, or hell.

184. Who are punished in purgatory?
Those are punished for a time in purgatory who die in the state of grace but are guilty of venial sin, or have not fully satisfied for the temporal punishment due to their sins.

The fire will assay the quality of everyone's work; if his work abides which he has built thereon, he will receive reward; if his work burns he will lose his reward, but himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (I Corinthians 3:13-15)

185. Who are punished in hell?
Those are punished in hell who die in mortal sin; they are deprived of the vision of God and suffer dreadful torments, especially that of fire, for all eternity.

The he will say to those on his left hand, "Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)

186. Who are rewarded in heaven?
Those are rewarded in heaven who have died in the state of grace and have been purified in purgatory, if necessary, from all venial sin and all debt of temporal punishment; they see God face to face and share forever in His glory and happiness.

Then the king will say to those on his right hand, "Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)

187. What is meant by the word "Amen," with which we end the Apostles' Creed?
By the word "Amen," with which we end the Apostles' Creed, is meant "So it is," or "So be it"; the word expresses our firm belief in all the doctrines that the Creed contains.

Amen, I say to you, I have not found such great faith in Israel. (Matthew 8:10)

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Lesson 15 — The Two Great Commandments

188. Besides believing what God has revealed, what else must we do to be saved?
Besides believing what God has revealed, we must keep His law.

If you love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

189. Which are the two great commandments that contain the whole law of God?
The two great commandments that contain the whole law of God are:
first, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
second, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, "Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?" Jesus said to him, "'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.' This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)

190. What must we do to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves?
To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves we must keep the commandments of God and of the Church, and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18)

191. Which are the chief corporal works of mercy?
The chief corporal works of mercy are seven:

  1. To feed the hungry.
  2. To give drink to the thirsty.
  3. To clothe the naked.
  4. To visit the imprisoned.
  5. To shelter the homeless.
  6. To visit the sick.
  7. To bury the dead.

192. Which are the chief spiritual works of mercy?
The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven:

  1. To admonish the sinner.
  2. To instruct the ignorant.
  3. To counsel the doubtful.
  4. To comfort the sorrowful.
  5. To bear wrongs patiently.
  6. To forgive all injuries.
  7. To pray for the living and the dead.

193. Is everyone obliged to perform the works of mercy?
Everyone is obliged to perform the works of mercy, according to his own ability and the need of his neighbor.

For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me. (Matthew 25:35-36)

194. Are all the ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others true works of mercy?
All the ordinary deeds done every day to relieve the corporal or spiritual needs of others are true works of mercy, if done in the name of Christ.

For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ's, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. (Mark 9:40)

195. Which are the commandments of God?
The commandments of God are these ten:

  1. I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
  2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  3. Remember thou keep holy the Lord's 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. See Exodus chapter 20.

196. Should we be satisfied merely to keep the commandments God?
We should not be satisfied merely to keep the commandments of God, but should always be ready to do good deeds, even when they are not commanded.

If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. (Matthew 19:21)

197. What does Our Savior especially recommend that is not strictly commanded by the law of God?
Our Savior especially recommends the observance of the Evangelical Counsels — voluntary poverty, perpetual chastity, and perfect obedience.

You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

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Lesson 16 — The First Commandment of God

198. What is the first commandment of God?
The first commandment of God is: I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.

Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. (Exodus 20:3-4)

199. What are we commanded by the first commandment?
By the first commandment we are commanded to offer to God alone the supreme worship that is due Him.

It is written, "The Lord thy God shalt thou worship, and him only shalt thou serve." (Luke 4:8)

200. How do we worship God?
We worship God by acts of faith, hope, and charity, and by adoring Him and praying to Him.

201. What does faith oblige us to do?
Faith obliges us: first, to make efforts to find out what God has revealed; second, to believe firmly what God has revealed; third, to profess our faith openly whenever necessary.

Therefore, everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32)

202. What does hope oblige us to do?
Hope obliges us to trust firmly that God will give us eternal life and the means to obtain it.

Paul, a servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, in accordance with the faith of God's elect and the full knowledge of the truth which is according to piety, in the hope of life everlasting which God, who does not lie, promised before the ages began. (Titus 1:1-2)

203. What does charity oblige us to do?
Charity obliges us to love God above all things because He is infinitely good, and to love our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, "Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?" Jesus said to him, "'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.' This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)

204. How can a Catholic best safeguard his faith?
A Catholic can best safeguard his faith by making frequent acts of faith, by praying for a strong faith, by studying his religion very earnestly, by living a good life, by good reading, by refusing to associate with the enemies of the Church, and by not reading books and papers opposed to the Church and her teaching.

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will get in among you, and will not spare the flock. And from among your own selves men will rise speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:29-30)

205. How does a Catholic sin against faith?
A Catholic sins against faith by apostasy, heresy, indifferentism, and by taking part in non-Catholic worship.

206. Why does a Catholic sin against faith by taking part in non-Catholic worship.
A Catholic sins against faith by taking part in non-Catholic worship when he intends to identify himself with a religion he knows is defective.

This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. (John 18:37)

207. What are the sins against hope?
The sins against hope are presumption and despair.

208. When does a person sin by presumption?
A person sins by presumption when he trusts that he can be saved by his own efforts without God's help, or by God's help without his own efforts.

Nay I do not even judge my own self. For I have nothing on my conscience, yet I am not thereby justified. (I Corinthians 4:4)

209. When does a person sin by despair?
A person sins by despair when he deliberately refuses to trust that God will give him the necessary help to save his soul.

May no temptation take hold of you but such as man is equal to. God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also give you a way out that you may be able to bear it. (I Corinthians 10:13)

210. What are the chief sins against charity?
The chief sins against charity are hatred of God and of our neighbor, envy, sloth, and scandal.

Charity does not envy. (I Corinthians 13:4)

211. Besides the sins against faith, hope, and charity, what other sins does the first commandment forbid?
Besides the sins against faith, hope, and charity, the first commandment forbids also superstition and sacrilege.

212. When does a person sin by superstition?
A person sins by superstition when he attributes to a creature a power that belongs to God alone, as when he makes use of charms or spells, believes in dreams or fortune-telling, or goes to spiritists.

Neither let there be found among you any one that ... consulteth soothsayers, or observeth dreams and omens. Neither let there be any wizard, nor charmer. (Deuteronomy 19:10-11)

213. When does a person sin by sacrilege?
A person sins by sacrilege when he mistreats sacred persons, places, or things.

They have set thy sanctuary ablaze, they have profaned the dwelling of thy name on the earth. (Psalm 73:7)

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Lesson 17 — Honoring the Saints, Relics, and Images

214. Does the first commandment forbid us to honor the saints in heaven?
The first commandment does not forbid us to honor the saints in heaven, provided we do not give them the honor that belongs to God alone.

For, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Luke 1:48)

215. Why do we honor the saints in heaven?
We honor the saints in heaven because they practiced great virtue when they were on earth, and because in honoring those who are the chosen friends of God we honor God Himself.

216. How can we honor the saints?
We can honor the saints: first, by imitating their holy lives; second, by praying to them; third, by showing respect to their relics and images.

Brethren, be imitators of me, and mark those who walk after the pattern you have in us. (Philippians 3:17)

217. When we pray to the saints what do we ask them to do?
When we pray to the saints we ask them to offer their prayers to God for us.

218. How do we know that the saints will pray for us?
We know that the saints will pray for us because they are with God and have great love for us.

219. Why do we honor relics?
We honor relics because they are the bodies of the saints or objects connected with the saints or with Our Lord.

220. When does the first commandment forbid the making or the use of statues and pictures?
The first commandment forbids the making or the use of statues and pictures only when they promote false worship.

Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. (Exodus 20:3-4)

221. Is it right to show respect to the statues and pictures of Christ and of the saints?
It is right to show respect to the statues and pictures of Christ and of the saints, just as it is right to show respect to the images of those whom we honor or love on earth.

222. Do we honor Christ and the saints when we pray before the crucifix, relics, and sacred images?
We honor Christ and the saints when we pray before the crucifix, relics, and sacred images because we honor the persons they represent; we adore Christ and venerate the saints.

223. Do we pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics of the saints?
We do not pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics of the saints, but to the persons they represent.

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Lesson 18 — The Second and Third Commandments of God

224. What is the second commandment of God?
The second commandment of God is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

225. What are we commanded by the second commandment?
By the second commandment we are commanded always to speak with reverence of God, of the saints, and of holy things, and to be truthful in taking oaths and faithful to them and to our vows.

Blessed be the name of the Lord both now and forever. From the rising of the sun unto its going down, may the name of the Lord be praised. (Psalm 112:2-3)

226. What is an oath?
An oath is the calling on God to witness the truth of what we say.

For men swear by one greater than themselves, and an oath given as a guarantee is the final settlement of all their disagreement. (Hebrews 6:16)

227. What things are necessary to make an oath lawful?
To make an oath lawful, three things are necessary: first, we must have a good reason for taking an oath; second, we must be convinced that what we say under oath is true; third, we must not swear, that is, take an oath, to do what is wrong.

And thou shalt swear: As the Lord liveth, in truth, and in judgment and in justice. (Jeremiah 4:2)

228. What great sin does a person commit who deliberately calls on God to bear witness to a lie?
A person who deliberately calls on God to bear witness to a lie commits the very grievous sin of perjury.

Thou shalt not swear falsely by my name, nor profane the name of thy God. (Leviticus 19:12)

229. What is a vow?
A vow is a deliberate promise made to God by which a person binds himself under pain of sin to do something that is especially pleasing to God.

When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it; because the Lord thy God will require it. (Deuteronomy 23:21)

230. What is meant by taking God's name in vain?
By taking God's name in vain is meant that the name of God or the holy name of Jesus Christ is used without reverence; for example, to express surprise or anger.

Blessed be the name of the Lord both now and forever. From the rising of the sun unto its going down, may the name of the Lord be praised. (Psalm 112:2-3)

231. Is it a sin to take God's name in vain?
It is a sin to take God's name in vain; ordinarily, it is a venial sin.

232. What is cursing?
Cursing is the calling down of some evil on a person, place, or thing.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14)

233. What is blasphemy?
Blasphemy is insulting language which expresses contempt for God, either directly or through His saints and holy things.

Amen I say to you, that all sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they may blaspheme; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Ghost never has forgiveness, but will be guilty of an everlasting sin. (Mark 3:28-30)

234. What is the third commandment of God?
The third commandment of God is: Remember thou keep holy the Lord's day.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. (Genesis 2:2)

235. Why does the Church command us to keep Sunday as the Lord's day?
The Church commands us to keep Sunday as the Lord's day, because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday the Holy Ghost descended upon the apostles.

236. What are we commanded by the third commandment?
By the third commandment we are commanded to worship God in a special manner on Sunday, the Lord's day.

Keep you my sabbath; for it is holy unto you. (Exodus 31:14)

237. How does the Church command us to worship God on Sunday?
The Church commands us to worship God on Sunday by assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

238. What is forbidden by the third commandment of God?
By the third commandment of God all unnecessary servile work on Sunday is forbidden.

Six days shall you do work; in the seventh day is the sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord. (Exodus 31:15)

239. What is servile work?
Servile work is that which requires labor of body rather than of mind.

240. When is servile work allowed on Sunday?
Servile work is allowed on Sunday when the honor of God, our own need, or that of our neighbor requires it.

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Lesson 19 — The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments of God

241. What is the fourth commandment of God?
The fourth commandment of God is: Honor thy father and thy mother.

Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. (Exodus 20:12)

242. What are we commanded by the fourth commandment?
By the fourth commandment we are commanded to respect and love our parents, to obey them in all that is not sinful, and to help them when they are in need.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for that is right. (Ephesians 6:1)

243. Does the fourth commandment oblige us to respect and to obey others besides our parents?
Besides our parents, the fourth commandment obliges us to respect and obey all our lawful superiors.

Let everyone be subject to the higher authorities, for there exists no authority except from God, and those who exist have been appointed by God. Therefore he who resists authority resists the ordinance of God; and they that resist bring on themselves condemnation. (Romans 13:1-2)

244. What duty have parents toward their children and superiors toward those under their care?
Parents must provide for the spiritual and bodily welfare of their children; superiors, according to their varying degrees of responsibility, must care for those entrusted to them.

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but rear them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

245. What are the duties of a citizen toward his country?
A citizen must love his country, be sincerely interested in its welfare, and respect and obey its lawful authority.

246. How does a citizen show a sincere interest in his country's welfare?
A citizen shows a sincere interest in his country's welfare by voting honestly and without selfish motives, by paying just taxes, and by defending his country's rights when necessary.

247. Why must we respect and obey the lawful authority of our country?
We must respect and obey the lawful authority of our country because it comes from God, the Source of all authority.

248. Why are we obliged to take an active part in works of good citizenship?
We are obliged to take an active part in works of good citizenship because right reason requires citizens to work together for the public welfare of the country.

249. What are the chief duties of those who hold public office?
The chief duties of those who hold public office are to be just to all in exercising their authority and to promote the general welfare.

Give ear, you that rule the people, and that please yourselves in multitudes of nations; for power is given you by the Lord, and strength by the most High, who will examine your works, and search out your thoughts. (Wisdom 6:3-4)

250. What does the fourth commandment forbid?
The fourth commandment forbids disrespect, unkindness, and disobedience to our parents and lawful superiors.

Cursed be he that honoreth not his father and mother. (Deuteronomy 27:16)

251. What is the fifth commandment of God?
The fifth commandment of God is: Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20:13)

252. What are we commanded by the fifth commandment?
By the fifth commandment we are commanded to take proper care of our own spiritual and bodily well-being and that of our neighbor.

253. What does the fifth commandment forbid?
The fifth commandment forbids murder and suicide, and also fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, drunkenness, reckless driving, and bad example.

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (I John 3:15)

254. What is the sixth commandment of God?
The sixth commandment of God is: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)

255. What are we commanded by the sixth commandment?
By the sixth commandment we are commanded to be pure and modest in our behavior.

I exhort you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living, holy, pleasing to God. (Romans 12:1)

256. What does the sixth commandment forbid?
The sixth commandment forbids all impurity and immodesty in words, looks, and actions, whether alone or with others.

But immorality and every uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becomes saints. (Ephesians 5:3)

257. What are the chief dangers to the virtue of chastity?
The chief dangers to the virtue of chastity are: idleness, sinful curiosity, bad companions, drinking, immodest dress, and indecent books, plays, and motion pictures.

258. What are the chief means of preserving the virtue of chastity?
The chief means of preserving the virtue of chastity are to avoid carefully all unnecessary dangers, to seek God's help through prayer, frequent confession, Holy Communion, and assistance at Holy Mass, and to have a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8) 

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Lesson 20 — The Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Commandments of God

259. What is the seventh commandment of God?
The seventh commandment of God is: Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:15)

260. What are we commanded by the seventh commandment?
By the seventh commandment we are commanded to respect what belongs to others, to live up to our business agreements, and to pay our just debts.

Better is a little with justice, than great revenue with iniquity. (Proverbs 16:8)

261. What does the seventh commandment forbid?
Besides stealing, the seventh commandment forbids cheating, unjust keeping of what belongs to others, unjust damage to the property of others, and the accepting of bribes by public officials.

Do not any unjust thing in judgment, in rule, in weight, or in measure. Let the balance be just and the weights equal, the bushel just, and the sextary equal. (Leviticus 19:35-36)

262. Are we obliged to restore to the owner stolen goods, or their value?
We are obliged to restore to the owner stolen goods, or their value, whenever we are able.

If any man steal an ox or a sheep, and kill or sell it, he shall restore five oxen for one ox, and four sheep for one sheep. (Exodus 22:1)

263. Are we obliged to repair damage unjustly done to the property of others?
We are obliged to repair damage unjustly done to the property of others, or to pay the amount of the damage, as far as we are able.

If any man hurt a field or a vineyard, and put in his beast to feed upon that which is other men's, he shall restore the best of whatsoever he hath in his own field, or in his vineyard, according to the estimation of the damage. (Exodus 22:5)

264. What is the eighth commandment of God?
The eighth commandment of God is: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)

265. What are we commanded by the eighth commandment?
By the eighth commandment we are commanded to speak the truth in all things, but especially in what concerns the good name and honor of others.

Wherefore, put away lying and speak truth each one with his neighbor, because we are members of one another. (Ephesians 4:25)

266. What does the eighth commandment forbid?
The eighth commandment forbids lies, rash judgment, detraction, calumny, and the telling of secrets we are bound to keep.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. (Proverbs 12:22)

267. When does a person commit the sin of rash judgment?
A person commits the sin of rash judgment when, without sufficient reason, he believes something harmful to another's character.

Before thou inquire, blame no man. (Ecclesiasticus 11:7)

268. When does a person commit the sin of detraction?
A person commits the sin of detraction when, without a good reason, he makes known the hidden faults of another.

A good name is better than great riches, and good favor is above silver and gold. (Proverbs 22:1)

269. When does a person commit the sin of calumny or slander?
A person commits the sin of calumny or slander when by lying he injures the good name of another.

Devise not a lie against thy brother, neither do the like against thy friend. (Ecclesiasticus 7:13)

270. When are we obliged to keep a secret?
We are obliged to keep a secret when we have promised to do so, when our office requires it, or when the good of another demands it.

271. What must a person do who has sinned by detraction or calumny, or has told a secret he is bound to keep?
A person who has sinned by detraction or calumny, or who has told a secret he is bound to keep, must repair the harm he has done to his neighbor, as far as he is able.

272. What is the ninth commandment of God?
The ninth commandment of God is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife. (Deuteronomy 5:21) 

273. What are we commanded by the ninth commandment?
By the ninth commandment we are commanded to be pure in thought and desire.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

274. Are mere thoughts about impure things always sinful in themselves?
Mere thoughts about impure things are not always sinful in themselves, but such thoughts are dangerous.

275. When do thoughts about impure things become sinful?
Thoughts about impure things become sinful when a person thinks of an unchaste act and deliberately takes pleasure in so thinking, or when unchaste desire or passion is aroused and consent is given to it.

276. What is forbidden by the ninth commandment?
The ninth commandment forbids all thoughts and desires contrary to chastity.

277. What is the tenth commandment of God?
The tenth commandment of God is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his house. (Deuteronomy 5:21) 

278. What does the tenth commandment forbid?
The tenth commandment forbids all desire to take or to keep unjustly what belongs to others, and also forbids envy at their success.

Take heed and guard yourself from all covetousness, for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. (Luke 12:15)

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