Daily Catechism


541. From whom did Jesus learn how to pray?

Jesus, with his human heart, learned how to pray from his mother and from the Jewish tradition. But his prayer sprang from a more secret source because he is the eternal Son of God who in his holy humanity offers his perfect filial prayer to his Father.

Further reading: CCC 2599, 2620

542. When did Jesus pray?

The Gospel often shows Jesus at prayer. We see him draw apart to pray in solitude, even at night. He prays before the decisive moments of his mission of that of his apostles. In fact, all his life is a prayer because he is it in a constant communion of love with the Father.

Further reading: CCC 2600-2604, 2620

538. In the Old Testament, what relationship do the king and the temple have to prayer?

The prayer of the People of God developed in the shadow of the dwelling place of God – the Ark of the Covenant, then the Temple – under the guidance of their shepherds. Among them there was David, the King “after God’s own heart,” the shepherd who prayed for his people. His prayer was a model for the prayer of the people because it involved clinging to the divine promise and a trust filled with love for the One who is the only King and Lord.

Further reading: CCC 2578-2580, 2594

539. What is the role of prayer in the mission of the prophets?

The prophets drew from prayer the light and strength to exhort the people to faith and to conversion of heart. They entered into great intimacy with God and interceded for their brothers and sisters to whom they proclaimed what they had seen and heard from the Lord. Elijah was the father of the prophets, of those who sought the face of God. On Mount Carmel he achieved the return of the people to the faith, thanks to the intervention of God to whom he prayed: “Answer me, O Lord, answer me!” (1 Kings 18:37).

Further reading: CCC 2581-2584

540. What is the importance of the Psalms in prayer?

The Psalms are the summit of prayer in the Old Testament: the Word of God become the prayer of man. Inseparably both personal and communal, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, this prayer sings of God’s marvelous deeds in creation and in the history of salvation. Christ prayed the Psalms and brought them to fulfillment. Thus they remain an essential and permanent element of the prayer of the Church suited to people of every condition and time.
Further reading: CCC 2579, 2585-2589, 2596-2597

536. How is Abraham a model or prayer?

Abraham is a model of prayer because he walked in the presence of God, heard and obeyed him. His prayer was a battle of faith because he continued to believe in the fidelity of God even in times of trial. Besides, after having received in his own tent the visit of the Lord who confided his plan to him, Abraham dared to intercede for sinners with bold confidence.

Further reading: CCC 2570-2573, 2592

537. How does Moses pray?

The prayer of Moses was typical of contemplative prayer. God, who called to Moses from the burning bush, lingered in conversations with him often and at length, “face to face, like a man with his friend” (Exodus 33:11). In this intimacy with God, Moses attained the strength to intercede tenaciously for this people: his prayer thus prefigured the intercession of the one mediator, Christ Jesus.

Further reading: CCC 2574-2577, 2593

534. What is prayer?

Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God, or the petition of good things from him in accord with his will. It is always the gift of God who comes to encounter man. Christian prayer is the personal and living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is infinitely good, with his Son Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Spirit who dwells in their hearts.

Further reading: CCC 2558-2565, 2590

535. Why is there a universal call to prayer?

Because through creation God first calls every being from nothingness. Even after the Fall man continues to be capable of recognizing his Creator and retains a desire for the One who has called him into existence. All religions, and the whole history of salvation in particular, bear witness to this human desire for God. It is God first of all, however, who ceaselessly draws every person to the mysterious encounter known as prayer.

Further reading: CCC 2566-2567

531. What is required and what is forbidden by the tenth commandment?

This commandment, which completes the preceding commandment, requires an interior attitude of respect for the property of others and forbids greed, unbridled covetousness for the goods of others, and envy which is the sadness one experiences at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself.

Further reading: CCC 2534-2540, 2551-2554

532. What does Jesus call for in poverty of spirit?

Jesus calls his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone. Detachment from riches – in the spirit of evangelical poverty – and self-abandonment to divine providence free us from anxiety about the future and prepare us for the blessedness of the “poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

Further reading: CCC 2544-2547, 2556

533. What is the greatest human desire?

The greatest desire of the human person is to see God. “I want to see God” is the cry of our whole being. We realize our true and full happiness in the vision and beatitude of the One who created us out of love and draws us to himself with infinite love.

“Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive.”
(Saint Gregory of Nyssa)
 
Further reading: CCC2548-2550, 2557
 
529. How does one reach purity of heart?

In the battle against disordered desires the baptized person is able, by the grace of God, to achieve purity of heart through the virtue and gift of chastity, through purity of intention, purity of vision (both exterior and interior), discipline of the imagination and of feelings and by prayer.

Further reading: CCC 2520

530. What are the other requirements for purity?

Purity requires modesty which, while protecting the intimate center of the person, expresses the sensitivity of chastity. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their communion. Purity frees one from widespread eroticism and avoids those things which foster morbid curiosity. Purity also requires a purification of the social climate by means of a constant struggle against moral permissiveness which is founded on an erroneous conception of human freedom.

Further reading: CCC 2521-2527, 2533

 
527. What is required by the ninth commandment?

The ninth commandment requires that one overcome carnal concupiscence in thought and in desire. The struggle against such concupiscence entails purifying the heart and practicing the virtue of temperance.

Further reading: CCC 2514-2516

528. What is forbidden by the ninth commandment?

The ninth commandment forbids cultivating thoughts and desires connected to actions forbidden by the sixth commandment.

Further reading: CCC 2517-2519, 2531-2532

 
525. How is one to use the means of social communication?

The information provided by the media must be at the service of the common good. Its content must be true and – within the limits of justice and charity – also complete. Furthermore, information must be communicated honestly and properly with scrupulous respect for moral laws and the legitimate rights and dignity of the person.

Further reading: CCC 2493-2499, 2512

526. What relationship exists between truth, beauty and sacred art?

The truth is beautiful, carrying in itself the splendor of spiritual beauty. In addition to the expression of the truth in words there are other complementary expressions of the truth, most specifically in the beauty of artistic works. These are the fruit both of talents given by God and of human effort. Sacred art by being true and beautiful should evoke and glorify the mystery of God made visible in Christ, and lead to the adoration and love of God, the Creator and Savior, who is the surpassing, invisible Beauty of Truth and Love.

Further reading: CCC 2500-2503, 2513

 
523. What is forbidden by the eighth commandment?

The eighth commandment forbids:

  • false witness, perjury, and lying, the gravity of which is measured by the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims;
  • rash judgment, slander, defamation and calumny which diminish or destroy the good reputation and honor to which every person has a right;
  • flattery, adulation, or complaisance, especially if directed to serious sins or toward the achievement of illicit advantages.

A sin committed against truth demands reparation if it has caused harm to others.

Further reading: CCC 2475-2487, 2507-2509

524. What is required by the eighth commandment?

The eighth commandment requires respect for the truth accompanied by the discretion of charity in the field of communication ​and the imparting of information​, ​​​​​​where the personal and common good, the protection of privacy and the danger of scandal must all be taken into account; in respecting professional secrets​ which must be kept, save in exceptional cases for grave and proportionate reasons; and also in respecting confidences ​given under the seal of secrecy.​​​​​​

Further reading: CCC 2488-2492, 2510-2511

 
521. What is one’s duty toward the truth?

Every person is called to sincerity and truthfulness in acting and speaking. Everyone has the duty to seek the truth, to adhere to it and to order one’s whole life in accordance with its demands. In Jesus Christ the whole of God’s truth has been made manifest. He is “the truth”. Those who follow him live in the Spirit of truth and guard against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.

Further reading: CCC 2464-2470, 2504

522. How does one bear witness to the truth?

A Christian must bear witness to the truth of the Gospel in every field of his activity, both public and private, and also if necessary, with the sacrifice of his very life. Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith.

Further reading: CCC 2471-2474, 2505-2506

 
518. How is justice and solidarity among nations brought about?

On the international level, all nations and institutions must carry out their work in solidarity and subsidiarity for the purpose of eliminating or at least reducing poverty, the inequality of resources and economic potential, economic and social injustices, the exploitation of persons, the accumulation of debts by poor countries, and the perverse mechanisms that impede the development of the less advanced countries.

Further reading: CCC 2437-2441

519. In what way do Christians participate in political and social life?

The lay faithful take part directly in political and social life by animating temporal realities with a Christian spirit and collaborating with all as authentic witnesses of the Gospel and agents of peace and justice.

Further reading: CCC 2442

520. By what is love for the poor inspired?

Love for the poor is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes and by the example of Jesus in his constant concern for the poor. Jesus said, “Whatever you have done to the least of my brethren, you have done to me” (Matthew 25:40). Love for the poor shows itself through the struggle against material poverty and also against the many forms of cultural, moral, and religious poverty. The spiritual and corporal works of mercy and the many charitable institutions formed throughout the centuries are a concrete witness to the preferential love for the poor which characterizes the disciples of Jesus.

Further reading: CCC 2443-2449, 2462-2463

 
516. What is the task of business management?

Business managers are responsible for the economic and ecological effects of their operations. They must consider the good of persons and not only the increase of profits, even though profits are necessary to assure investments, the future of the business, employment, and the good progress of economic life.

Further reading: CCC 2432

517. What are the duties of workers?

They must carry out their work in a conscientious way with competence and dedication, seeking to resolve any controversies with dialogue. Recourse to a non-violent strike is morally legitimate when it appears to be the necessary way to obtain a proportionate benefit and it takes into account the common good.

Further reading: CCC 2435

 
513. What is the meaning of work?

Work is both a duty and a right through which human beings collaborate with God the Creator. Indeed, by working with commitment and competence we fulfill the potential inscribed in our nature, honor the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him, provide for ourselves and for our families, and serve the human community. Furthermore, by the grace of God, work can be a means of sanctification and collaboration with Christ for the salvation of others.

Further reading: CCC 2426-2428, 2460-2461

514. To what type of work does every person have a right?

Access to secure and honest employment must be open to all without unjust discrimination and with respect for free economic initiative and fair compensation.

Further reading: CCC 2429, 2433-2434

515. What responsibility does the State have in regard to labor?

It is the role of the State to guarantee individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. It is also the State’s responsibility to oversee and direct the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. According to circumstances, society must help citizens to find work.

Further reading: CCC 2431

511. How should social and economic life be pursued?

It should be pursued according to its own proper methods within the sphere of the moral order, at the service of the whole human being and of the entire human community in keeping with social justice. Social and economic life should have the human person as its author, center, and goal.

Further reading: CCC 2459

512. What would be opposed to the social doctrine of the Church?

Opposed to the social doctrine of the Church are economic and social systems that sacrifice the basic rights of persons or that make profit their exclusive norm or ultimate end. For this reason the Church rejects the ideologies associated in modern times with Communism or with atheistic and totalitarian forms of socialism. But in the practice of capitalism the Church also rejects self centered individualism and an absolute primacy of the laws of the marketplace over human labor.

Further reading: CCC 2424-2425

509. What is the content of the social doctrine of the Church?

The social doctrine of the Church is an organic development of the truth of the Gospel about the dignity of the human person and his social dimension offering principles for reflection, criteria for judgment, and norms and guidelines for action.

Further reading: CCC 2419-2423

510. When does the Church intervene in social areas?

The Church intervenes by making a moral judgment about economic and social matters when the fundamental rights of the person, the common good, or the salvation of souls requires it.

Further reading: CCC 2420, 2458

506. What does the seventh commandment require?

The seventh commandment requires respect for the goods of others through the practice of justice and charity, temperance and solidarity. In particular it requires respect for promises made and contracts agreed to, reparation for injustice committed and restitution of stolen goods, and respect for the integrity of creation by the prudent and moderate use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe with special attention to those species which are in danger of extinction.

Further reading: CCC 2407, 2450-2451

507. What attitude should people have toward animals?

People must treat animals with kindness as creatures of God and avoid both excessive love for them and indiscriminate use of them especially by scientific experiments that go beyond reasonable limits and entail needless suffering for the animals.

Further reading: CCC 2416-2418, 2457

508. What is forbidden by the seventh commandment?

Above all, the seventh commandment forbids theft, which is the taking or using of another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. This can be done also by paying unjust wages; by speculation on the value of goods in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; or by the forgery of checks or invoices. Also forbidden is tax evasion or business fraud; willfully damaging private or public property; usury; corruption; the private abuse of common goods; work deliberately done poorly; and waste.

Further reading: CCC 2408-2413, 2453-2455

503. What is set forth by the seventh commandment?

The seventh commandment requires respect for the universal destination and distribution of goods and the private ownership of them, as well as respect for persons, their property, and the integrity of creation. The commandment also forbids the unjust keeping or taking of the good of one’s neighbor, as well as wronging the neighbor in any way in respect to his/hers good’s or property. The Church also finds in this Commandment the basis for her social doctrine which involves the correct way of acting in economic, social and political life, the right and the duty of human labor, justice and solidarity among nations, and love for the poor.

Further reading: CCC 2401-2402

504. Under what conditions does the right to private property exist?

The right to private property exists provided the property is acquired or received in a just way and that the universal destination of goods for the satisfaction of the basic needs of all takes precedence.

Further reading: CCC 2403

505. What is the purpose of private property?

The purpose of private property is to guarantee the freedom and dignity of individual persons by helping them to meet the basic needs of those in their charge and also of others who are in need.

Further reading: CCC 2404-2406

501. What can spouses do when they do not have children?

Should the gift of a child not be given to them, after exhausting all legitimate medical options, spouses can show their generosity by way of foster care or adoption or by performing meaningful services for others. In this way they realize a precious spiritual fruitfulness.

Further reading: CCC 2379

502. What are the offenses against the dignity of marriage?

These are: adultery, divorce, polygamy, incest, free unions (cohabitation, concubinage), and sexual acts before or outside of marriage.

Further reading: CCC 2380 – 2391, 2400

499. Why are artificial insemination and artificial fertilization immoral?

They are immoral because they dissociate procreation from the act with which the spouses give themselves to each other and so introduce the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Furthermore, heterologous insemination and fertilization with the use of techniques that involve a person other than the married couple infringe upon the right of a child to be born of a father and mother known to him, bound to each other by marriage and having the exclusive right to become parents only through each another.

Further reading: CCC 2373-2377

500. How should children be considered?

A child is a gift of God, the supreme gift of marriage. There is no such thing as a right to have children (e.g. “a child at any cost”). But a child does have the right to be the fruit of the conjugal act of its parents as well as the right to be respected as a person from the moment of conception.

Further reading: CCC 2378

497. When is it moral to regulate births?

The regulation of births, which is an aspect of responsible fatherhood and motherhood, is objectively morally acceptable when it is pursued by the spouses without external pressure; when it is practiced not out of selfishness but for serious reasons; and with methods that conform to the objective criteria of morality, that is, periodic abstinence and use of the infertile periods.

Further reading: CCC 2368-2369

498. What are immoral means of birth control?

Every action – for example, direct sterilization or contraception – is intrinsically immoral which (either in anticipation of the conjugal act, in its accomplishment or in the development of its natural consequences) proposes, as an end or as a means, to hinder procreation.

Further reading: CCC 2370-2372

495. What are the goods of conjugal love to which sexuality is ordered?

The goods of conjugal love, which for those who are baptized is sanctified by the sacrament of Matrimony, are unity, fidelity, indissolubility, and an openness to the procreation of life.

Further reading: CCC 2360-2361, 2397-2398

496. what is the meaning of the conjugal act?

The conjugal act has a twofold meaning: unitive (the mutual self-giving of the spouses) and procreative (an openness to the transmission of life). No one may break the inseparable connection which God has established between these two meanings of the conjugal act by excluding one or other of them.

Further reading: CCC 2362-2367

493. Although it says only “you shall not commit adultery” why does the sixth commandment forbid all sins against chastity?

Although the biblical text of the Decalogue reads “you shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), the Tradition of the Church comprehensively follows the moral teachings of the Old and New Testaments and considers the sixth commandment as encompassing all sins against chastity.

Further reading: CCC 2336

494. What is the responsibility of civil authority in regard to chastity?

Insofar as it is bound to promote respect for the dignity of the person, civil authority should seek to create an environment conducive to the practice of chastity. It should also enact suitable legislation to prevent the spread of the grave offenses against chastity mentioned above, especially in order to protect minors and those who are the weakest members of society.

Further reading: CCC2354

490. What are the means that aid the living of chastity?

There are many means at one’s disposal: the grace of God, the help of the sacraments, prayer, self-knowledge, the practice of an asceticism adapted to various situations, the exercise of the moral virtues, especially the virtue of temperance which seeks to have the passions guided by reason.

Further reading: CCC 2340-2347

491. In what way is everyone called to live chastity?

As followers of Christ, the model of all chastity, all the baptised are called to live chastely in keeping with their particular state of life. Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner. Others, if they are married live in conjugal chastity, or if unmarried practice chastity in continence.

Further reading: CCC 2348-2350, 2394

492. What are the principal sins against chastity?

Grave sins against chastity differ according to their object: adultery, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape, and homosexual acts. These sins are expressions of the vice of lust. These kinds of acts committed against the physical and moral integrity of minors become even more grave.

Further reading: CCC 2351-2359, 2396

487. What responsibility do human person have in regard to their own sexual identity?

God has created human beings as male and female, equal in personal dignity, and has called them to a vocation of love and of communion. Everyone should accept his or her identity as male or female, recognizing its importance for the whole of the person, its specificity and complementarity.

Further reading: CCC 2331-2336, 2392-2393

488. What is chastity?

Chastity means the positive integration of sexuality within the person. Sexuality becomes truly human when it is integrated in a correct way into the relationship of one person to another. Chastity is a moral virtue, a gift of God, a grace, and a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Further reading: CCC 2337-2338

489. What is involved in the virtue of chastity?

The virtue of chastity involves an apprenticeship in self-mastery as an expression of human freedom directed towards self-giving. Man gains dignity and peace by ridding himself of slavery to his own passions. This calls for integral and continuation of formation, which is brought about in stages, and is necessary to achieve this goal.

Further reading: CCC 2339-2341

485. In case of war, what does the moral law require?

Even during a war the moral law always remains valid. It requires the humane treatment of noncombatants, wounded soldiers and prisoners of war. Deliberate actions contrary to the law of nations, and the orders that command such actions are crimes, which blind obedience does not excuse. Acts of mass destruction must be condemned and likewise the extermination of peoples, nations or ethnic minorities, which are most grievous sins. One is morally bound to resist the orders that command such acts.

Further reading: CCC 2312-2314, 2328

486. What must be done to avoid war?

Because of the evils and injustices that all war brings with it, we must do everything reasonably possible to avoid it. To this end it is particularly important to avoid: the accumulation and sale of arms which are not regulated by the legitimate authorities; all forms of economic and social injustice; ethnic and religious discrimination; envy, mistrust pride and the spirit of revenge. Everything done to overcome these and other disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war.

Further reading: CCC 2315-2317, 2327-2330

483. When is it morally permitted to use military force?

The use of military force is morally justified when the following conditions are simultaneously present:

  • the suffering inflicted by the aggressor must be lasting, grave and certain;
  • all other peaceful means must have been shown to be ineffective;
  • there are well founded prospects of success;
  • the use of arms, especially given the power of modern weapons of mass destruction, must not produce evils graver than the evil to be eliminated.

Further reading: CCC 2307-2310

484. In danger of war, who has the responsibility for the rigorous evaluation of these conditions?

This responsibility belongs to the prudential judgment of government officials who also have the right to impose on citizens the obligation of national defense. The personal right to conscientious objection makes an exception to this obligation which should then be carried out by another form of service to the human community.

Further reading: CCC 2309

480. What does the Lord ask of every person in regard to peace?

The Lord proclaimed “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). He called the peace of heart and denounced the immorality of anger which is a desire for revenge for some evil suffered. “But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment” (Matthew 5:22). He also denounced hatred which leads one to wish evil on one’s neighbor. These attitudes, if voluntary and consented to in matters of great importance, are mortal sins against charity.

Further reading: CCC 2302-2303

481. What is peace in this world?

Peace in this world, which is required for the respect and development of human life, is not simply the absence of war or a balance of power between adversaries. It is “the tranquility of order” (Saint Augustine), “The work of justice” (Isaiah 32:17) and the effect of charity. Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ.

Further reading: CCC 2304-2305

482. What is required for earthly peace?

Earthly peace requires the safeguarding of the goods of persons, free communication among human beings, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of justice and fraternity.

Further reading: CCC 2304, 2307-2308

478. What care must be given to the dying?

 

The dying have a right to live the last moments of their earthly lives with dignity and, above all, to be sustained with prayer and the sacraments that prepare them to meet the living God.

Further reading: CCC 2299

479. How are the bodies of the deceased to be treated?

The bodies of the departed must be treated with love and respect. Their cremation is permitted provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.

Further reading: CCC 2300-2301

475. When are scientific, medical, or psychological experiments on human individuals or groups morally legitimate?

 

They are morally legitimate when they are at the service of the integral good of the person and of society, without disproportionate risks to the life and physical and psychological integrity of the subjects who must be properly informed and consenting.

Further reading: CCC 2292-2295

476. Are the transplant and donation of organs allowed before and after death?

The transplant of organs is morally acceptable with the consent of the donor and without excessive risks to him or her. Before allowing the noble act of organ donation after death, one must verify that the donor is truly dead.

Further reading: CCC 2296

477. What practices are contrary to respect for the bodily integrity of the human person?

They are: kidnapping and hostage taking, terrorism and terrorism threats, torture, violence, and direct sterilization to any innocent persons. Amputations and mutilations of a person are morally permissible only for strictly therapeutic medical reasons.

Further reading: CCC 2297-2298

 
472. Why must society protect every embryo?

 

The inalienable right to life of every human individual from the first moment of conception is a constitutive element of civil society and its legislation. When the State does not place its power at the service of the rights of all and in particular of the more vulnerable, including unborn children, the very foundations of a State based on law are undermined.

Further reading: CCC 2273-2274

473. How does one avoid scandal?

Scandal, which consists in inducing others to do evil, is avoided when we respect the soul and body of the person. Anyone who deliberately leads others to commit serious sins himself commits a grave offense.

Further reading: CCC 2284-2287

474. What duty do we have toward our body?

We must take reasonable care of our own physical health and that of others but avoid the cult of the body and every kind of excess. Also to be avoided are the use of drugs which cause very serious damage to human health and life, as well as the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, and medicine.

Further reading: CCC 2288-2291

470. What is forbidden by the fifth commandment?

The fifth commandment forbids as gravely contrary to the moral law:

  • direct and intentional murder and cooperation in it;
  • direct abortion, willed as an end or as means, as well as cooperation in it. Attached to this sin is the penalty of excommunication because, from the moment of his or her conception, the human being must be absolutely respected and protected in his or her integrity;
  • direct euthanasia which consists in putting an end to the life of the handicapped, the sick, or those near death by an act or by the omission of a required action;
  • suicide and voluntary cooperation in it, insofar as it is a grave offense against the just love of God, of self, and of neighbor. One’s responsibility may be aggravated by the scandal given; one who is psychologically disturbed or is experiencing grave fear may have diminished responsibility.

Further reading: CCC 2268-2283, 2321-2326

471. What medical procedures are permitted when death is considered imminent?

When death is considered imminent the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. However, it is legitimate to use pain-killers which do not aim at in death and to refuse “over-zealous treatment”, that is the utilization of disproportionate medical procedures without reasonable hope of a positive outcome.

Further reading: CCC 2278-2279

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