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I 1 











/a;. / '^. 


The Preface - - - - 
Preface to the Sixth Editiun 

I. TheNeeessity of a Religion - 
II. The Necessity of a Revealed Religion 
III. The Marks of Ihe Revealed Religion 



1. Holy Scripture 

II. Tradition 

III. The Church 

IV. Councils 

V. The Roman Pontiff 

VI. The Holy Fathers, Doctors, and Schoolmeu 
VII. History, Human Reason, and Philosophy 


I. General Idea of God 
II. The Immensity and Providence of God 




III. The Will of God, Predestination and Repro- 
bation 5S 

IV. The Beatific Vision 63 

V. The Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity - 66 



I. The Creation of the World ;— in general 
II. The Angels 

III. Man 

IV. Heaven, Purgatory and Hell - 

V. The Consummation of the World - 






I. General Idea of the Mystery - - - • 102 
II. The Body and Soul of Christ - - - - no 
III. The different TiUes which belong to Christ, 
the Worship due to Him, and the Worship 
proper to His Saints 1 16 



I. General Idea of the different kmds of Grace, and 

particularly of Actual Grace - - - - 121 

II. Sanctifying Grace 129 

III. The Merit of Good Works - - - - 134 



I. Idea of those Virtues in general 
II. The Virtue of Faith 

III. The Virtue of Hope 

IV. The Virtue of Charity - 





I. The Sacraments; — ingcDera! - . . . i6B 

II. Baptism 183 

III. Confirmation . 194 

IV, The Holy Eucharist 196 

V. Penance - - ao8 

Appendix om Indulgences . . aig 

VI. Extreme Unction 3ZI 

VII. Order a»3 

VIII. Matrimony 2a6 



I. The Importance of this teaching . - - 12S 

11. The Method to be observed in this teaching • 229 

III. The Maxims to be instilled into Children - - 23a 

IV. The qualifications which those who teach Children 

Christian Doctrine should endeavour to acquire 23S 


I. Regarding Confession 
II. R^arding the Holy Viaticum - 
III. Regarding Extreme Unction ■ 

F THE Catholic Faii 


The translation into English of Frassinetti's 
Catechism is highly opportune. The Council 
of the Vatican most wisely decreed that a 
Lesser Catechism should be prepared for the 
use of the Faithful. What the Council of 
Trent provided in the " Catechismus ad Paro- 
chos " for the " Ecclesia DocenSf' the Council 
of the Vatican is providing for the " Ecclesia 
Discens" But, in decreeing that one authori- 
tative text, in the form of a Catechism, should 
be prepared, the Council in no way limits, 
either the liberty of Bishops to frame Cate- 
chisms of a fuller and more explicit kind for 
the use of their dioceses, or that of Catechists 
to deliver such oral explanations as are suited 
to the capacities and needs of their people. 

The Bishops of England, in a united Pas- 
toral Letter, have enjoined the Clergy to 
renewed diligence and punctuality in their 

X Preface, 

office as Catechists. No one who knows the 
condition of this country can fail to see the 
need we have of expository Catechisms, rising 
from the simple text of the penny Catechism 
to such extensive works as Gaume's " Gate- 
chisme de Persivirancer The rapid develop- 
ment of intelligence in all classes renders the 
office of the Catechist both more necessary, 
and more difficult. It must never be forgotten 
that a good Catechist is a preacher of a very 
high order. The " traditio Symbol! " is not 
a mere repetition of question and answer, but 
an elucidation of the doctrines of faith, which 
affords full scope for the intelligence of a 
theologian, and for the charity of a pastor. 

The Catechism of Frassinetti is a good 
example of what a Catechist may do* It is 
singularly well adapted to the needs of our 
middle class, for whom, as yet, a sufficient 
provision has hardly been made. I therefore 
very heartily recommend the use of this 
Catechism to the Clergy and Faithful. 

>J< Henry Edward, 

Archbishop of Westminsten 
Nativity of Our Lady, 1 87 1 . 



This little work has been cordially received, not 
only here, but throughout Italy ; all former editions 
are exhausted, and I now put forth this sixth edition, 
to which some additions have been made. 

I published this compendium principally for the 
use of clerics, who might have to instruct children 
in Christian Doctrine, before they had themselves 
gone through the whole course of Dogmatic Theo- 
logy. At the same time I had in view the profit of 
lay persons, who are often deficient in the knowledge 
of certain subjects, not easily found in the books 
which come in their way. The knowledge of these 
subjects is of especial importance in our days, be- 
cause of the many errors so daringly scattered 
abroad among our people. 

To such persons the " Prologue on the necessity 
of a Religion," the chapters on " The Grounds o^ 
Theology," "God the Creator," "The Grace of 
Christ," " The Theological Virtues," and, above all, 
on " The Virtue of Faith," will be especially useful. 


xli Preface to the Sixth Edition, 

These chapters contain observations of great im- 
portance, and such as are rarely met with in cate- 
chetical works. The '' Important Instructions for 
the Administration of the Holy Sacraments to the 
Sick " will also be found useful. 

The Method I have observed is as follows : — 
I prove the Dogma by arguments which will satisfy 
all Catholics ; then I state the theological opinions 
which refer to the Dogma itself, and which are com- 
monly received in the schools. So that my reader, 
enlightened in regard to what he ought to hold as 
of Faith, and to embrace as agreeable to the truth, 
may easily guard himself from error, as well as from 
false or ill-grounded opinions. 

I protest that I submit all my opinions, and every 
word I have written to the judgment of the Holy 
Roman Chiurch: I glory in being her obedient son, 
and her interests I will promote to the utmost of 
my feeble power so long as I live. 


Giuseppe Fkassinetti, the author of the following 
Catechism, was bom at Genoa, on the rsth of 
December, 1803. He was the eldest son of 
Giambattista Frassinetti and his wife, Angela Viale, 
persons of moderate fortune, who however gave 
their children a good education, and consecrated 
them all to the Lord. 

From his infancy he gave indications of talent 
and genius, along with a reflective disposition. In 
his studies, he excelled his companions, and made 
especial progress in Literature, Philosophy, and 
Theology. In the last he would have made his 
public disputation, as was the custom with the more 
distinguished students, had he not been prevented 
by the death of the Professor of Dogma. 

His culture and learning, along with his con- 
spicuous piety and practice, gave his friends the 
greatest hopes, when at length he was ordained 
priest. He was assiduous in all that becomes an 
ecclesiastic, in sacred studies, in the instruction of 


XIV Notice, 

the young, and in the ministries of the house of 

In his zeal for the salvation of his neighbour, he 
became a member of the congregation of Evangelical 
Workers^ otherwise known as the Fransoniansy who 
day and night gave themselves to preaching, cate- 
chizing, and the confessional ; as well as of the 
Urban Missionaries of Sf. Charles^ to whom was 
committed the conversion of those condenmed to 
the galleys. 

His facility, thus acquired, in the pulpit and the 
confessional, was of the greatest value to the parish 
of S. Pietro di Quinto, to which he was appointed, 
in spite of his youth. Here he sowed the seeds 
of an extraordinary devotion to, and frequentation 
of, the Sacraments, the best antidotes to infidelity 
and heresy, to which the people of that country 
were especially exposed, being given rather to navi- 
gation than to agriculture. He introduced the 
Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and 
within two years was the means of assembling from 
that and the neighbouring parishes, no fewer than 
four thousand worshippers. He founded also a 
society of young women, which issued in the es- 
tablishment of the Institute of St Dorothea. In 
1839, he was transferred to S. Sabina in Genoa, 
where he signalized himself by his diligence in the 
confessional, his ability and clearness in catechizing, 

and the excellence of his explanations of the gospel, 
and his sermons on Sundays and feast-days. He was 
especially celebrated for preaching during Novenas, 
and the Month of Mary ; at other times he was 
wont to assemble the people in the evening for 
meditation, and to read to them some pious book. 
The visitation of the sick, the assistance of the 
dying, the succour of the poor, the care of those 
in peril of losing their innocence, the prevention of 
scandal, the consolation of the afilicted, and the cor- 
rection, now loving and now severe, as occasion 
demanded, of the erring, were the matter of his 
daily thoughts'and labours. His parishioners found 
in him a pastor of power, a master of virtue, meek, 
patient, and affable, careful in his conversation with 
women, profuse in giving, sober in his living, poor 
in apparel, and given to mortification. 

For years he did not pass the gates of the city, 
took no recreation, and passed his days in study, 
prayer, and parochial labours. Deploring the general 
decay of faith, diminution of fervour, and relaxa- 
tion of manners, he strove to anest and remedy 
the evil by the dissemination of devout books and 
edifying literature ; and by the formation of young 
men, girls, and ladies living in the world, into 
pious congregations for the promotion of their in- 
dividual sanctification, and the practice of good 





xvi Notice. 

Besides the present Catechism, he wrote many 
valuable works which have been translated into 
French, Spanish, and German. Among them are 
the following :— " The Comfort of the Devout Soul," 
« Holy Virginity ;"— " the Jewel of Maidens,'' " Spi- 
ritual Exercises, — ^for the Young of Both Sexes," 
*' Jesus Christ, the Rule of a Priest," " Devotion 
to Mary,— for the Young," " The Our Father of St. 
Theresa of Jesus," " A Treatise on Prayer,"—" The 
Rose without a Thorn," " Dialogues on the Com- 
mandments of the Church,'* " Two Hidden Joys," 
"The Art of Holiness," "Paradise on Earth," 
" An Hour of Holy Joy," " Words of Mary to 
Her Devout Clients," " The Twelve Stars," " In- 
structions on the Apostles* Creed,** "A Life of St. 
Joseph ; — ^in Seven Considerations,** and many others. 
The foregoing works are opuscula^ and mainly in- 
tended for popular use, for which they are eminently 
adapted; but to this learned, prudent, and holy 
priest, his brethren in the sacred, ministry were no 
less indebted. For their use he wrote "The 
Young Parish Priest,** and " The Compendium of 
the Moral Theology of St. Alphonsus di Liguori.*' 
This last took his intervals of leisure from parochial 
work during eighteen years. It was at first pub- 
lished in Latin, and had for its scope simply to give 
the mind of St. Alphonsus, without addition of his 
own. Subsequently he published it in Italian, with 

the exception of certain portions, for obvious 
reasons veiled in the language of the Church ; and 
this edition had notes and dissertations. It con- 
tained the fruits of long study and experience, and 
was especially valuable as applying the moral law 
to the various new questions to which changes in 
the civil laws, the progress of commerce, and the 
ever-varying manners and habits of the day gave 

Frassinetti was engaged in preparing the fourth 
edition of this work for the press, when he was 
seized with his last illness. He did not, however, 
it is believed, cease to say mass every day, until on 
the 31st December, 1867, as he was making his 
preparation for the Holy Sacrifice, he felt himself 
unable to proceed, and was compelled to take to 
his bed. His sickness speedily increased, and on 
the second day of 1S68 he died. He had been 
conscious of his danger, and received the Last 
Sacraments in full possession of his senses. No 
sooner was his sickness known, than his door was 
besieged by persons of all ranks j and after his 
death his chamber was despoiled of almost all it 
contained, by those who desired to carry away 
some memorial of one so much admired and be- 
loved. His funeral was celebrated with solemnity 
amid the tears of his people ; and an eulogium, 
tender and eloquent, was pronounced by his stedfast 

xviii Notice, 

friend, and literdry associate, the Canon and Pro- 
fessor Filippo Poggi. 

Thus passed to his reward the holy priest, whose 
Dogmatic Catechism is now for the first time ac- 
cessible in an English translation. It is, as its title 
implies, dogmatic^ rather than controversial. It 
traverses briefly the whole cycle of Christian doc- 
trine, and so covers more than those catechetical 
works which treat only of the points at issue 
between Catholics and Protestants. The Editors 
trust that it may prove of use to the many, who, 
from outside the Fold of Christ, are striving ear- 
nestly in their search after His Truth ; as well as to 
those, who, having found it, desire to develop 
their knowledge in detail. 

For the substance of this notice they have to ex- 
press their grateful acknowledgments to Father 
Antonio Ballerini, S.J., Professor of Moral Theo- 
logy in the Roman College, and the friend of 
Frassinetti. He writes ; and his words will commend 
the work to all who know him : " I rejoice in the 
diffusion of the writings of this excellent priest. 
In my poor judgment, they combine solid doctrine 
with a quality rarely to be found, that of adapta- 
tion to the capacities of all. There is in them an 
union of devotion and spiritual affectionateness 
with discretion, in no way inferior to the sweet 
spirit of St Francis de Sales." 

A'oiiff. xix 

To tills testimony, they need only add that of 
tlie Reigning Pontiff Pius IX., who in a Brief 
directed, in 1 863, to Sister Paola, Superioress of the 
Institute of St. Dorothea, speaks of Frassinetti as 
— "a priest ^VECTklJE. doctrin,€ et virtutis." 




Sect. I. The Necessity of a Religion. 

Is it necessary for men to have a Religion ? 

A. Taking for granted the certainty of the exist- 
ence of God, which no one who uses his reason 
can doubt, it is necessary for men to have a Religion ; 
that is to say, that they should offer worship to the 
Supreme Being, who is God, from whom they derive 
existence and all blessings. 

Why do you say that no one who uses his reason 
can doubt the existence of God, for many philoso- 
phers have not only doubted, but denied it : and 
they were men, who, besides being very learned, 
were most acute critics, and profound reasoners ? 

A. No true philosopher, that is to say, no good 
reasoner, even among Pagans, has ever doubted the 
existence of God. A few only, who, notwithstand- 
ing the acuteness of their intellects, abandoned 
themselves to every kind of infamy and crime, 
fearing God's chastisements, and not choosing to 





2 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

amend their lives, sought to persuade themselves 
that there was no God, so as, if possible, to arrive 
at being impious without fear and remorse. They 
therefore blasphemously asserted that there is no 
God. But none the less were they persuaded that 
He exists. In fact, after having in their life-time 
blasphemously denied God, in the hour of death, 
either in penitence or in despair, they confessed 
that there is a God. As a sick man, to whom the 
thought of death is grievous, seeks to persuade 
himself that he will recover from his sickness, 
however clear the reasons may be which should 
convince him to the contrary ; so did these impious 
philosophers, to whom the thought of the existence 
of a God was intensely obnoxious, seek to persuade 
themselves that there is no God, although they 
had the clearest evidence of His existence. 

Assuming the existence of God, why is it neces- 
sary that men should offer worship to this Supreme 

A. For the same reason that a son should love 
his father, that a subject should pay homage to his 
king, that one who has received benefits should be 
grateful to his benefactor, &c. This Supreme 
Being is our Father, our King, and our Sovereign 

Sect. II. The Necessity of a Revealed Religion, 

Is natural religion sufficient, that is to say, 
a worship given to God according to the dictates of 

TXf Necessity of a Revealed Sel^ion. 3 

mere human reason ; or is a detenninate worship, 

maoifested to us directly by God, by means of 
a supernatural revelation, requisite ? 

A. Mere human reason is not sufficient to make 
known to us all the truths necessary to the right 
knowledge of God. Human reason of itself cannot 
determine by what sacrifices, and with what rites 
man should acknowledge His supreme dominion, 
and honour Him. Moreover, of itself it is not able 
to determine all the laws of moral rectitude. 
Omitting' all the other arguments which might be 
brought forward, it is sufficient to observe that this 
proposition is an undeniable fact. None of the philo- 
sophers who have treated of God and His attributes 
by the light of natural reason alone, attained to giving 
a just idea of the Supreme Being; and whilst they 
all agreed that He was to be honoured and adored, 
they were never able to agree as to the kind 
of sacritices and rites ^^'llich ought to be adopted.* 
The laws of morals, when left in the hands of mere 
philosophers, ever inclined either on one side or on 
the other, to what was unjust and base. The 
Pagan philosophers among the Greeks recognized 
the necessity of a revelation, and constantly looked 
for, and desired it.+ 

' What Rousseau himself wrote of Deist philosophers may 
be appropriately quoted here. " If we consider Iheir reasons 
we shall find that they all tend to destroy— they agree only 
in mutual contradiction." 

t Here are Plato's sentiments in the Dialogues with 
Alcibiades. " Socrates,— The safest course is to wait 

4 A Dogmatic Caiechistn, 

It would seem that, as human reason became 
perfected, it might attain a point which it had 
not yet]|reached ; that is to say, a thorough know- 
ledge of tlie divine attributes, of the most accept- 
able modes of honouring God, and of all the rules 
of the moral law ; and now that, in consequence of 
the march of enlightenment, human reason is near 
this perfection, we shall henceforth no longer stand 
in need of a supernatural revelation. 

A. Considering the many centuries during which 

patiently, and we certainly must wait until he come who 
shall instruct us in our duties towards God and towards 
men. Alcibiades. — When will that hour come, and who 
shall instruct us in these things ? I ardently desire to behold 
this teacher ! Socrates. — He of whom we are speaking 
has care of thy concerns, but, as I think, he acts in regard to 
us, as Homer relates that Minerva acted with Diomed. 
Minerva dispelled the mists which darkened the eyes of 
Diomed, and he then saw the objects which, were before 
him. In like manner it is necessary that a dense mist 
should be taken away from the eyes of thy understanding, 
in order that thou shouldest discern good from evil, which 
at present thou canst not do. Alcibiades. — Oh ! that he 
would come ! Oh ! that he would dissipate this darkness t 
For my part, I would be ready to do whatever he should 
command, so that I might but become better than I am. 
Socrates. — This is what we ought to do, because in our 
ignorance we know not what sacrifices are pleasing to God 
and what are displeasing to Him. Alcibiades. — When 
that day shaU arrive, our sacrifices wiU happily be pleasing 
to God, and I trust in His goodness that this day cannot be 
far off." You see how even Pagtm philosophers desired ft 
revealed religion, and acknowledged its necessity. 


The I^ecessily of a Revtaled Religion. 5 

philosophers have studied how to bring the facuhies 
of the human mind to perfection, were our reason 
capable of an absolute perfection, it would by this 
tinae be perfect, and we should know all tilings, so 
to speak, better than the angels ; but instead of this, 
the republic of philosophers (I speak of those only 
who disdain the light of revelation) does but find 
itself in greater confiision, and greater darkness ; so 
that there is no doubt but that twenty centuries ago, 
Plato, Aristotle, and other heathens, taught a philo- 
sophy far more reasonable, correct and moral, than 
that taught by the infidel philosophers of the present 
day. Man has in his nature a depth of malice and 
ignorance which is unfathomable ; and if he would 
really perfect his spiritual faculties, he must join 
the light of revelation to the light of reason. More- 
over, it is not for us to judge of the progress of 
enlightenment in our own age ; future ages will 
judge of it dispassionately and without self-love. 
We may believe that it will not be denied its just 
meed of praise for progress in the industrial 
sciences ; we may doubt whether it ivill secure 
equal praise for progress in metaphysical and moral 
science. Meanwhile, we challenge our infidel 
philosophers to come to some agreement amongst 
themselves ; for, whilst we are deafened by the 
confused warfare of a multitude of irreconcil cable 
systems, we cannot even understand what they say 
to us. Let them agree among themselves, and then 
we may begin to entertain the supposition that they 

6 A Dogmaik Catechism, 

are capable of perfecting human reason. Whilst 
the tumultuous chaos of their opinions does but 
deepen more and more, what can we believe, what 
can we say ? Therefore the ridiculous hope of the 
complete perfection of human reason cannot exempt 
us from acknowledging the necessity of a revealed 
religion, which may instruct us in the knowledge of 
God, in the way in which we are to adore Him, and 
in the rules of true morality. 

Sect. III. The Marks of the Revealed Religion. 

Many are the religions in the world, which claim 
to have been revealed by God ; but since they are 
all opposed one to the other, they cannot all have 
been revealed ; one alone can have been revealed 
by God, and hpw are we to distinguish it from the 

A. Most certainly God, who is the Truth, cannot 
reveal as true, things contrary one to another, each 
of which supposes the falsehood of the rest; and 
so amongst all the so-called revealed religions one 
alone can be the offspring of a true revelation. No 
abstruse researches nor prolix demonstrations are 
needful to distinguish this one from the rest. As a 
precious diamond is distinguished amidst the frag- 
ments of brittle glass, so is the true revealed religion 
distinguished from those which are false. The 
religions which call themselves Revealed Religions 
are, Paganism, Mahometanism, Judaism, and Chris- 
tianity. Paganism, which is a huge collection, or. 

llie Marks of the Revealed Religion. 1 

to speak more correctly, a huge chaos, of innumer- 
able worships, is repugnant to reason, because, we 
may say, that of everything it makes a god. So 
that, according to its dictates, that which in one 
place is the god to whom victims are to be sacri- 
ficed, is in another place the victim which is to be 
sacrificed to, as a god. In Egypt, sacrifices were 
offered to the ox ; in Greece, it was the ox that was 
offered in sacrifice. One of the ancients relates 
that, in a certain place, the very priests disputed 
among themselves, which of two animals was the 
victim to be sacrificed, — which the god to whom 
the sacrifice was to be made. This religion has all 
the marks of folly, and none of divinity. Nor has 
Mahometanism anything divine about it; no 
prophecies verified, no miracles wrought; bom in 
ignorance and nurtured in ignorance, it was estab- 
lished and propagated solely by the power of the 
sword. Barbarity is its support, uncleanness is its 
food, and both together, all it hopes for in the life 
to come ; never was there a sage who did not abhor 
it, and hold it in derision. But of Judaism we must 
speak in a different way. Judaism can boast of 
prophecies fulfilled, and miracles performed ; its 
hooks are holy, and have impressed on them the 
character of divinity ; therefore the Jewish religion 
is a religion revealed by God. But this religion 
was not intended to endure for ever; it was to give 
place to that religion of which it was but tiie iigure. 
Its books say clearly that God would make to Him- 

3 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

self a new people, who should possess a new law, 
and a new sacrifice ; therefore the Jewish religion 
was that worship by which God chose once to be 
honoured by men ; but it is so no longer. And 
truly wonderful is the abandonment^ in which God 
has left it ; — ^without a temple, without a priesthood, 
without sacrifices, and, more than this, without a 
country ; so that the Jews, dispersed over all the 
world, are strangers in every land. The Jewish 
religion therefore, of itself, declares that it is no 
longer that religion which is pleasing to God, but 
that Christianity has been substituted in its place. 
Christianity is now the one and only religion which 
has the marks of divinity, and it alone will bear 
them to the end of the world. All the prophecies of 
Holy Scripture confirm its truth. Infinite miracles 
attest that Christianity is the work of God. The 
Christian religion is that which gives to men the 
grandest and most perfect idea of the Supreme 
Being, which it is possible for them to have ; it 
teaches a most sublime way in which He is to be 
adored; it prescribes moral laws, all based on justice 
and holiness ; and so the most ignorant Christian, if 
he be but instructed in the first rudiments of his 
faith, is more learned in divinity, in worship, and in 
morals, than any philosopher whatsoever, not a 
Christian. It suffices but to know the Christian 
religion, in order to feel compelled to proclaim it to 
be the true, the only religion which enjoys the 
marks of divine revelation. 

The Marks of the Rmaled Religion. 9 

How comes it that, since Christianity bears all 
the marks of revelatiow, it should be the most op- 
posed of all religions ? 

A. You must observe from whom the opposition 
comes ; because, from the quality of the enemy, we 
may recognise the quality of the object of his 
attack. The Christian religion was always more 
opposed than any of the other religions which are 
in the world, but it was always opposed by the 
impious and the impure. The persecutors of the 
Christian religion, as history shows us, were always 
the most lost in vice ; and the more fierce among 
them were always monsters of crime and infamy. 
What wonder is it that the wicked should hate that 
which ia good, and hate it the more, the greater it 
is ? Meanwhile this continued opposition, whilst it 
constitutes the glory of Christianity, furnishes us 
with another mark of its divinity ; for, whilst it has 
been the most opposed of all religions, it is at the 
same time the grandest and the most unchangeable. 
After twenty centuries of strife it is still the same, 
full of force and vigour, spreading itself triumphantly 
over the whole world, and changing its enemies 
into its children, so soon as it becomes known to 
them. This fact, over and above the promise of 
God, assures us of its indefectibility. 

But in the Christian religion there are many sects 
opposed one to another ; which of these is the true 

A. Not one of those sects ; all are false. The 


10 A Dogmatic Caiechism, 

true religion is that which is no sect ; that which 
was founded by the Apostles, which has their faith 
and their customs ; that which all sects oppose ; 
that which spreads itself over the whole world, em- 
braces all ages, and therefore calls itself, and is in 
truth, the Catholic religion. All sects have for their 
heads, men who are deserters from the religion of 
Christ and the Apostles ; therefore they can be 
called Christian sects, only in so far as that .they 
acknowledge Christ, andpretend to honour Himaiter 
their fashion. But they cannot be called Christian, 
in the sense of making part of that religion which 
was truly founded by Christ. Facts demonstrate 
that they are separated from it, because they fight 
against it. Of such sects we shall speak in chap. i. 
sect, iii.* 

* The unreasonableness of indifference in the matter of 
religion will be clear and manifest if we reflect sincerely on 
the subjects here briefly mentioned. If God ought to be 
honoured by a worship, if He has revealed what that wordiip 
is which He wills to receive from us, if in manifesting it to 
us, He warns us that every other worship is henceforth an 
abomination to Him : this being one of the fundamental 
truths of the Catholic religion, how is it possible we should 
believe that God is indifferent as to what kinds of worship 
there may be on the earth ? Can it be reasonable to suppose 
that God esteems Himself honoured equally by chaste and 
pure worship, and by the impure and abominable rites of 
paganism ? Can we imagine that the slaughter of the twenty 
thousand human victims who were annually sacrificed in 
idolatrous Mexico, when the breasts of those miserable beings 
were torn open in order to pluck thence their still living, palpi- 

Tlie Sources of Tlieolo^y. ii 



The sources of theology are the springs whence 
the necessary arguments are taken, both to prove 
and elucidate the truths of the faith and the prin- • 
ciples and rules of morals, and to defend those truths 
and rules from the sophiBms of heretics, or of bad 

tating hearts, was as pleasing to Him as the innocent and pious 
sacrifice of our altars? Can we suppose that the groans and 
shrieks of horrible despair which rang throuEh those halls of 
terror and death, pleased Him as much ns the peaceful 
hymns, breathing gratitude and love, which resound in out 
temples ? It seems to me a lesser evil to suppose that' God 
does not exist, than to suppose the existence of a God so 
stupid and insensate as he would be, who should hold himself 
equally honoured by all and every kind of worship that ever 
has been, and is now, in the world, 

Here we will give the propositions condemned in the 
Syllabus annexed to the Encyclical of the 8th December, 1864, 
sect, iii., in order to make knomi the errors which ihey 

"XV. Every man is free fo embrace and profess that 
religion which, by the guidance of the light of reason, he 
shall jndge to be true. 

" XVI. In theexerciseof any religion whatsoever, men may 
find the way of eternal life, and gain etemai salvation. 

"XVII. We may at leas! entertain a good hope of the 
eternal salvation of all those who are not m the true Church 
of Christ. 

" XVIII. Protestantism is but a different form of the same 



12 A Dogmaik Catechism, 

These sources or grounds are ten in number : — 
I. Holy Scripture ; 2. Tradition; 3. The Consent 
of the Church Catholic; 4. Councils; 5. The 
Judgments of the Roman Pontiff; 6. The Authority 
of the Holy Fathers ; 7. The Authority of the Doc- 
tors and Schoolmen ; 8. The Authority of History ; 
9. The Authority of Human Reason; 10. The 
Authority of Philosophy. This is the common 
teaching of theologians. 

Sect. I. Boly Scripture, 

What is meant under the name of Holy Scrip- 

A. The Holy Bible, which comprises all those 
divine books, to the number of seventy-two, which, 
by the sacred Council of Trent (Sess. 4) are recog- 
nised as having been inspired by God to their 

true Christian religion, in which equally as in the Catholic 
Church, men can please God." 

The Catholic Christian must believe precisely the con- 
trary of that which these condemned propositions set forth. 

The third proposition condemned in the above-mentioned 
Encyclical must also be noted ; as in it the following error, or 
rather errors, are confuted : " Liberty of conscience and of 
worship is the proper right of every man, and in every well- 
constituted society it ought to be proclaimed and established 
by law; every citizen has the right of perfect freedom in 
manifesting and declaring openly and in public, by word of 
mouth and in print, or in any other way, his own opinions, 
whatever they may be, unrestricted by any authority eccle- 
siastical or civil." 

Tht Sources of Theology. 13 

authors, and written by them with such assistance of 
the Holy Spirit, as that they could not have inserted 
therein the very smallest error, whether out of 
malice, or from human weakness. 

How is Holy Scripture divided ? 

A, It is divided into the Oid and New Tes- 
taments. The Old Testament contains all the 
sacred books written before the Incarnation of the 
Son of God, beginning with Genesis, and ending with 
the Second Book of Maccabees; the New Testa- 
ment contains those which were written after the 
Incarnation, beginning with the Gospel of St 
Matthew, and ending with the Apocalypse of St 

There cannot, of course, be errors in those books, 
the authors of which were inspired by God ; but 
there might be errors in the Latin Bible which we 
make use of, seeing that this is not the original, but 
is entirely a translation from the Hebrew and Greek 
texts ? • 

A. The Church has made use of this Bible for 
more than twelve centuries ; were it corrupted or 
changed in any important particular, Jesus Christ 
could not have permitted His Church so to make 
use of it, without failing in that assistance which 
He promised her, and which renders her infallible. 
The sacred Council of Trent {Sess. 4) even declares 
him excommunicated who does not believe any 

•■ Some pretend that the Epistle of St, Paul lo the Romana 

14 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

onei or any part of any one of the said sacred books 
which are contained in our Latin ; Bible which is 
also called the Vulgate of St. Jerome, because that 
most learned and holy Father is the author of the 
greater part of this version. 

But would it not be safer to trust to the ancient 
original texts, rather than to our Vulgate ? 

A. Whatever may be the state of the original 
texts at the present day, it is certain that they have 
not been revised and corrected by the Church in 
the same way as our Vulgate ; therefore, in matters 
concerning faith and morals, our Vulgate ought 
really to be preferred to the original texts. 

Have the words of Holy Scripture one meaning, 
or several meanings ? 

A. Very many words and sentences of Holy 
Scripture have two meanings ; that is to say, a literal 
meaning and a mystical meaning. The literal mean- 
ing is that which the words present of themselves ; 
the mystical meaning, on the contrary, is that which 
the things present which are signified by the words. 
For example : Holy Scripture narrates that Abra- 
ham had two sons — one by Agar, a bond-woman, 
the other by Sara, a free woman. The literal sense 
is, that Abraham had Ishmael by Agar his servant 
whoin he had taken to wife, and that afterwards he 
had Isaac by Sara, who was also his wife, and who 
was born of the same particular family from which 
he himself sprang : the mystical sense is, that God, 
figured in Abraham, had two peoples who wor- 

Ihe Sources of Theology. 15 

shipped Him, the one in bondage under the Mosaic 
law — that is, the Jewish people — the other free 
under the Gospel law — that is ourselves, the people 
of Christ. So the Holy Fathers explain St. Paul 
(Gal. iv.). 

There is still another sense, which is called — zs> 
commodated. What is that ? 

A. We call that the accommodated sense, when a 
sentence of Holy Scripture which expresses some 
determinate truth, is made use of to express another 
to which it may be applied. Thus, the Church uses 
in praise of Most Holy Mary, various encomiums 
applied by Scripture to the Divine Wisdom ; as for 
example, the following words : " I am the Mother 
of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of 
holy hope " (Ecclesiasticus xxiv. 24). 

May we trust to our own judgment alone, in the 
understanding and interpretation of Holy Scripture? 

A. The Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church 
is the depositary of Holy Scripture. She alone 
may judge definitively of the true senses of the 
sacred books; she desires, however, that in the 
understanding and interpretation of them we should 
follow the unanimous judgment of the Holy Fathers 
(Council of Trent, Sess. 4), who are the depositaries 
of tradition, and who were specially assisted by 
God in the interpretation and understanding of 
them. It should be noted that all heresies have 
sprung from the desire to interpret Holy Scripture 
according to the private judgment of individuals. 

i6 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

" No heresies have sprang up, save when the Scrip- 
tures, which are good, were not well understood " 
(St. Aug. on St. John, chap, xviii.). 

Would it not be well to make translations of the 
Bible into the vulgar tongue, so that it might be put 
into the hands of all, even of the laity ? 

A. The Church forbids that the Bible, literally 
translated into the vulgar tongue, should be given 
to be read by all persons indifferently. She even for- 
bids absolution of sins to be given to those who 
choose to read it, or retain possession of it without 
permission. The proof that it cannot be a good 
thing to put the Bible into the hands of all persons 
is, that being full of mysteries it would injure rather 
than profit the ignorant ; and this is manifest from 
the zeal with which Protestants scatter abroad, 
everywhere and at great expense, an incredible 
number of vernacular translations of the Bible. 
Moreover, the Sacred Congregation of the Index, 
in a decree dated the 13th June, 1757, prohibits 
" All translations of the Bible in the vulgar tongue, 
unless they have been approved by the Apostolic 
See, or edited with notes taken from the Fathers of 
the Church, or from learned and Catholic writers." 
Further, this decree was renewed in the Monitum 
of the Congregation of the Index, fer. v. die 7 
Januarii, 1836. 

This applies even to translations of the Bible in 
the vulgar tongue made by Catholic authoiis, and 
faithfully following the Vulgate, such as that of 


TTie Sources of Theology. 1 7 

Monsignor Martini, printed without notes.* Hence 
we may understand how rigorously proliibited are 
the translations made by Protestants, changed 
and mutilated as they are, and wanting in whole 
books. Such are Diodati's Bibles, which are scat^ 
tered abroad by the Bible Societies, with the hope, 
but we trust the vain hope, of protestantising Italy. 
Those Bibles especially may neither be bought, nor 
received as a gift, nor read, nor kept possession of, 
by any one. 

Sect. II. Tradition. 
What is Tradition, properly so called, as con^ 
- stituling one of the sources of theology ? 

• Of the edition, however, published by Monsignor Martini, 
wLlh notes, His Holiness Pius VI., in a letter to that prelate, 
in April, 1778, writes ; "You judge eseeedingly well that 
llie faithful should be entitled to the reading of the Holy- 
Scriptures : for these are the most abundant sources, which 
oii^t to be left open to every one, to draw from them purity 
of morals and of doctrine, and to eradicate the errors which 
are so widely disseminated in these corrupt limes. This 
you have seasonably effected, as you declare, by publishing 
the Sacred Writings in the language of your country, suitable 
to every one's capacity ; especially when you show and set 
forth that you have added explanatory notes which, being 
extracted from the holy Fathers, preclude every possible 
danger of abuse. Thus you have not swerved rither from 
the laws of the Congregation of the Index, or from the Con- 
stitution published on this subject by Benedict XIV." As 
to the Catholic translations in English, they may be read 
by all the faithful, as appears from the approbations of the 
bishops prefixed to them. — Ed. L 


1 8 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

A. According to the sense of the holy Fathers 
and the holy Council of Trent, (Sess. 4) by Tradi- 
tion is to be understood those doctrines which the 
inspired authors did not originally commit to 
writing, and which may, or may not, have been 
since written.' 

How are the Traditions divided ? 

A. Of the Traditions of the Evangelical Law, of 
which we are now speaking, some are called Divino- 
Apostolic Traditions ; and some, Apostolic Tradi- 
tions. The Divino-Apostolic Traditions are divided 
into traditions that regard dogma, and into traditions 
that regard morals. The first comprise the truths 
taught by Jesus Christ to His Apostles, or revealed 
to them after His ascension into heaven. Among 
this number may be placed the dogma that there 
are seven sacraments of the new law, neither more 
nor less. The Traditions that regard morals, that 
is, practice, comprise the precepts or command- 
ments given by Jesus Christ to His Apostles. 
Amongst them may be reckoned the rites essential 
to the administration of the sacraments, and which, 
if changed as to their substance, would render the 
sacraments invalid. For instance, in the form of 
the sacrament of penance, were the priest to say, 
I wash thee from thy sins, instead of saying, I 
absolve thee. These Divino-Apostolic Traditions, 
both as regards dogma and practice, are unchange- 
able, and constitute an irrefragable source of 
theology. The simply Apostolic Traditions comprise 

Tlte Sources of TTteology. 1 9 

the constitutions framed by the Apostles, as Pastors 
of the Church, for a sound rule of discipline. 
Among these may be placed the fast of Lent. 
Such Traditions are changeable ; so that the 
Supreme Pontiff, as Universal Pastor, may make 
changes in them as he deems expedient. 

Must the Traditions of the Church be necessarily 
admitted ? 

A. It is a dogma defined by the holy Council of 
Trent that there are traditions (sess. 4, and else- 
where). This must necessarily be admitted, because 
all that is to be believed and practised is not found 
in the books of the Bible. We do not find in the 
Bible that the sacraments of the new law are seven ; 
therefore without tradition we could not believe 
that dogma. In like manner the forms of the 
different sacraments are not found in the divine 
books ; therefore without tradition they could 
not be administered. For [this cause St. Paul 
said: "Hold the traditions; Tenete traditiones" 
(z Thess. ii. 14.) Moreover all heretics, as Canus 
points out, reject Tradition, because they recognize 
in it a weapon even more fitted to defeat them than 
Holy Scripture itself; for by interpreting Scripture 
according to their own fashion, they twist it to their 
own meaning, but Tradition does not depend upon 

20 A Dcgmatic Caiechism. 

Sect. III. 77ie Church. 

How do you define the Church of Christ? 

A. The true Church of Christ on Earth — not to 
speak of the Church Triumphant, which is the union 
of the blessed in heaven, — ^nor **yet of the Church 
Suffering, which is the union of just souls detained 
in purgatory ; — the true Church of Christ on earth 
that is, the Church Militant, is the union of all the 
faithful, who commimicate one with another, by 
profession of the same faith, by the participation of 
the same sacraments, and who are subject to their 
own Bishops, and in especial to the Roman Pontiff, 
who is the centre of all Catholic union. Such is 
the definition common to theologians. 

What persons do not belong to the Church of 
Christ ? 1 

A. Those who have not yet received baptism; and 
therefore, not infidels only, but even catechumens, 
although they believe all the revealed truths of the 
holy faith, do not belong to the Church. Heretics, 
that is to say, those who belong to some sect which 
does not believe all the dogmas of the faith, do not 
belong to it.* Schismatics, that is to say, those 
who refuse to submit to their own lawful pastors, 
and, still more, to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, 
do not belong to it. Excommunicated persons also 
who are notoriously and publicly declared such, do 
not belong to it. ' 

* All Protestants are heretics. 

755e Soui-ces of 77mhgv. tx 

Aie there then excoramiinicated persons who do 
belong to the Church ? 

A. Of right, no excommunicated person belongs 
to the Church ; but by indulgence or permission of 
the Church herself, such excommunicated persons 
as are called tolerated, that is, such as are not 
publicly declared excommunicated, belong to it. 
In like manner secret heretics, that is, such persons 
as, without declaring themselves for any sect 
in particular, secretly gainsay some Catiiolic dogma, 
whilst they affect to be united to the Church, 
and subject to their lawful pastors, belong to it 
Such men, however, belong not to tlie soul, but to 
the body of the Church, in the same way that 
a withered member sometimes remains united to 
the body from which it derives neither vigour nor 

Has it not been said by some, that imperfect 
Christians do not belong to the Church? 

A, There were a few heretics who pretended 
that the Church was composed of perfect Christians 
only ; but this was to destroy and annihilate the 
Church, for on this earth none were ever found 
perfect, properly so called, except the Most Blessed 
Virgin, who, preserved from original sin, was also 
free from every imperfection : other saints are 
called perfect, not because they really were so, but 
because they constantly aspired after perfection, 'and 

• A continual sU'iving after peifectioa is reputed perfection. 
(A. Bernard), 


23 A DegmaHc CkiecAism. 

with erery possible endeavoar, sought to strip 
themselTes of their imperfections. 

Are those to be considered as belonging to the 
Churchy who axe in a state of mortal sin ? 
. A. Without doubt; naj ! this is an article of the 
£dth, and the contrary error was condemned in 
various propositions of Quesnd by the Bull Uni- 

Do reprobate Catholics, that is those whom God 
foresees will be damned because of their iniquities, 
belong to the Church ? 

A. It is an article of the £sdth that they 
belong to it The contrary error was also con- 
demned by the said Bull Unigenitus. 

What are the marks of the Church of Christ ? 

A. They are four, as enumerated in the Niceno- 
Constantinopolitan Creed. The Church is One, is 
Holy, is Catholic, and is Apostolic. 

Ejcplain to me the first mark. 

A. The true Church is One, especially by the unity 
of her Head, which is Christ ; by the unity of the 
means which lead her to her end, which is eternal 
salvation ; by the unity of her one and the same 
spiritual food, which is the Body and Blood of 
Jesus Christ ; by the unity of one and the same 
faith, of one and the same hope, of one and the 
same Spirit who directs and governs her. 

Who is the origin and centre of this unity which 
the Church has on earth ? 

A. Following the authority of all the Holy Fathers, 

The Sources of Theology* 23 


all Catholics are agreed that the origin and centre of 
this unity is the Roman Pontiff; that he has a 
primacy of honour, jurisdiction and authority over 
all the various churches of the earth, which all, 
united under this head constituted by Jesus Christ, 
form one sole Church, Takfe away this centre of 
unity, and they would be so many separate churches, 
and no longer one Church. 

Explain to me the second mark. 

A, The true Church is Holy, especially by the 
holiness of her Head, which is Christ; by the holi- 
ness of her sacraments, of her faith, and of her 
morals ; by the holiness also of the more excellent 
of her members, who are the just ; and by the holi- 
ness of her rites. 

Explain to me the third mark. 

A. The true Church is Catholic, that is — universal, 
because she extends through all times, and will last 
to the end of the world ; because she extends over 
all places, being spread abroad in all the parts of 
the earth ; and because she gathers all nations within 
her fold. 

Explain to me the fourth mark. 

A. The true Church is Apostolic, because she was 
founded by the Apostles, because she preserves 
their doctrine, and because their successors are her 
legitimate pastors. 

What are the properties of this Church ? 

A. They are three. She is visible, indefectible, 
and infallible. 

S4 ^ Dogmatic Catechkm. 

, Are those properties necessary to her? 

A. Their necessity is manifest. The Church of 
Christ is the only true religion in the world, and 
those only who belong to her can obtain eternal 
life ; therefore it is necessary that she be visible, in 
order that those who are not in this Church may 
recognize her, and may seek to enter within her fold. 
It is necessary that she be indefectible, because if 
the Church could fail, even for a short time, during 
that time it would be made an impossibility for men 
to save their souls. It is necessary that she be 
infallible, because if she could err, she could not 
securely lead her children to the attainment of their 
end — of eternal salvation. 

In what matters is the Church infallible ? 

A. She is infallible in matters of faith and morals. 
So that when she declares that any truth appertains 
to the faith, and when she approves or disapproves 
of any practice appertaining to morals, it is im- 
possible that she should err. 

What renders her infallible ? 

A. The assistance of the Holy Spirit, who by a 
special providence governs her, and moreover 
speaks to men by means of her. 

To what Church do the foresaid marks and 
properties belong ? 

A. To the Roman Church; not simply as Roman, 
that is, as restricted within the limits of the territory 
of the diocese of Rome ; but as she is the universal 
Church, which has for its head and supreme pastor 

TAe Sources of Theology, 2 5 

the Roman Pontiff. For this reason^ not now only, 
but in the first ages of Christianity, to say Roman 
Christians, and to say Catholics, was one and the 
selfsame thing. 

What must we say, then, of the Protestant churches, 
who also claim to be called Holy, Catholic, and 
Apostolic ? 

A. They call themselves so with as much right 
as ItaHans would have to call themselves French. 
When they were united to the Roman Church, they 
really made part of the Holy, Catholic, and Apos- 
tolic Church ; but now they are neither Holy, nor 
Catholic, nor Apostolic. They are not Holy; because 
they have no longer Jesus Christ for their Head, 
who is the source of all holiness ; and they some- 
times authorise dogmas and morals which are not 
holy. They are not Catholic ; because they do not 
extend throughout all times, and are restricted to 
some particular province or kingdom. They are 
not Apostolic ; because their founders were not the 
successors of the Apostles, but deserters from the 
Church founded by the Apostles, and enemies of 
their doctrine ; and in the same way that Italians, 
if they chose to call themselves French, would find 
none, eitJxer friends or enemies, to give them that 
name, so Protestants will never find any one who 
will give to their Churches the names of Holy, Ca- 
tholic, Apostolic. They must be content with their 
own names, and to be called the Lutheran Church, 
the Calvinist Church, the Zuinglian Chiurch, the 
Anglican Church, &c. 

26 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

What must we say of the schismatical Greek 
Churches ? 

A. Inasmuch as they are schismatical — that is^ 
separated and divided from the Holy, Catholic^ 
and Apostolic Church — ^they do not belong to her. 
Moreover, they are also heretical, because they 
deny several dogmas of the faith-; and, amongst 
others, that the Holy Spirit proceeds, as from 
the Father, so also from the Son. Observe 
that although these Churches, separated from 
Catholic unity, are called by many by the name 
of Greek or Eastern Churches, they ought to 
be called simply Protestant, bedause in opposing 
dogmas defined by the Church, they protest against 
the Church, as is clearly pointed out by Count De 

We have seen that the Church is infallible in 
her decisions regarding faith and morals. Now, 
supposing some controversy should arise, to whom 
does the definition belong ? 

A. Observe that in the Church we must dis- 
tinguish two parts. The teaching Church and 
the hearing Church. The Sovereign Pontiff, with 
the other bishops, forms the teaching Church ; the 
whole of the rest of the Christian people, priests not 
excepted, forms the hearing Church. It belongs, 
therefore, to the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops 
to define questions which may arise in regard to 
faith or morals. 

Can any particular bishop define such questions? 

Tlie Sources of Theology. - 2 7 

A. Certainly not ; but the body of bishops united 
with the Roman Pontiff can definitively determine 
such questions ; and this agreement is made by 
means of a General Council, or by means of a 
Pontifical Bull, accepted by ihe whole body of 
bishops. It is not, however, necessary that all the 
bishops should accept it ; it is sufficient that it be 
received, or not opposed, by the majority; and in 
such case bishops who should dissent and refuse 
to submit themselves, would become schismatics 
and heretics. You must carefully note that all this 
is of faith,* as all Catholic theologians agree. 

How must we answer heretics who maintain that 
Scripture is the judge of all controversies regard- 
ing faith and morals ? 

* Since the date of the Vatican Conncil it is now also 
certain, by the certainty of Catholic faith, what before and 
always was certain by certainty of theological demonstration, 
tint the Supreme Pontiff, opart from the bishops, and by 
liimself, is infallible in his definition of questions of faith and 
morals. The Council teaches and defines : " That the Roman 
Pontiflf, when he speaks ex CatkedrS — that is, when, exercising 
his office of pastor and teacher of all Christians, in accordance 
with his supreme apostolic authority, he de^es a doctrine as 
to f^ih and morals, to be held by the Universal Church, — 
has, through the Divine assistance, promised to him in Blessed 
Peter, that Infallibility wherewith Ihe Divine Redeemer 
willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine as 
to &iith and morals ; and therefore, that such dctinitions of 
the Roman Pontiff are, of themselves, and not from the con- 
sent of the Church, irrcformabie."— i™,j'/4 Sesikn, July iB/.4, 
1S70. First Dogmatic Ccnstiliitian 011 the CImrch of Christ, 
chap, iv, — Ed, 

28 A Dogmaiic Cafechism. 

A, You must answer that Holy Scripture serves 
as a rule by whick errors are condemned, and truths 
defined ; but that Holy Scripture itself neither de- 
fines nor condemns. Every state has a body of 
laws ; but would it not be a ridiculous thing to sup- 
press the tribunals, and expect the laws to condemn 
the guilty and to absolve the innocent? Holy 
Scripture is the code of the Church ; but the Church 
is the tribunal to whom it belongs to define the 
meaning of her code. It pleases heretics to esta- 
blish Holy Scripture as the judge in all controver- 
sies ; because, by explaining it according to their 
caprice, they may say that the judgment is in their 
favour, and they are not afraid that Holy Scripture 
should ever summon a council, or issue a bull to 
condemn them. 

They say fiirther that every one may judge all 
controversies by his own private judgment, enlight- 
ened in the understanding of Holy Scripture by 
the Holy Spirit ? 

A. Were it true that the Holy Spirit enlightens 
the minds of all Christians, so that no one could 
err in the understanding of Holy Scripture, there 
would never have been controversies in such 
matters j hence we must say that He does not en- 
lighten all, and does not render all infallible. 
Which, then, are the private judgments illumi- 
nated by the Holy Spirit ? How shall we distin- 
guish them firom those which He has not illuminated? 
And further, if heretics are illuminated by the Holy 

The Sources of Theology. 29 

Spirit to decide controversies according to their 
private judgment, they must needs make the Holy 
Spirit the author of those innumerable contradic- 
tions which divide them into a thousand sects, and 
make a chaos of their faith or rehgion. 

What shali we say of those who give authority 
to decide controversies to the general multitude of 
the Christian people ? 

A. This is pure delirium in matters of faith. We 
may admit it when we see the sheep leading their 
shepherds to pasture. Jesus Christ said to the 
Apostles, Teach ye all nations. He did not say 
this to the multitude. 

May not the decision of religious controversies 
be assigned to the temporal sovereign ? 

A. From the very fact that the authority of 
sovereigns is temporal, it does not extend to reli- 
gious controversies, which are spiritual. Jesus 
Christ gave the keys to St. Peter, not to the kings 
or to the emperors. In a word, be well assured 
that to give authority to determine religious con- 
troversies to any, save only to the Church, and to 
those who represent her, is an error against the 
faith which no Catholic would ever take upon him- 
self to defend. 

Can the Church make laws which will bind the 
consciences of the faithful ? 

A. There is no doubt of it ; and all the councils 
and the bulls of the Sovereign Pontiffs prove it 
Both the one and the other are full of laws which 

36 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

are always observed by good Christians. Besides, 
no society can subsist without laws which shall rule 
and direct the actions of its members. Now the 
Church is a society; and so without laws to rule 
and direct the actions of her members, she could 
not subsist. 

Have the laws of the Church force and vigour 
without the approbation and sanction of the civil 
government ? 

A. Undoubtedly the laws of the Church have 
force and vigour of themselves, independently of 
any approbation or sanction whatsoever of civil 
governments. We have new proof of this in the 
condemnation of the following propositions, pro- 
scribed in the Encyclical of 8th December, 1864 : — 

"10. The laws of the Church do not bind in 
conscience, except when they are promulgated by 
the civil power. 

"11. It is necessary that the acts and decrees of 
the Roman pontiffs concerning religion and the 
Church, should have the approbation and sanction, 
or at least the assent, of the civil power. 

" 12. The apostolic constitutions by which secret 
societies are condemned (whether the oath]of secresy 
be exacted in them, or be not exacted), and by which 
their followers and abettors are excommunicated, 
has no force whatever in those countries where 
such assemblies are tolerated by the civil govern- 
, "17. The ecclesiastical power is not, of divine 

The Sources of Theology. 3 i 

right, distinct from and independent of the civil 
power, nor can such distinction and independence 
be maintained without invasion and usurpation by 
the Church of the essential rights of the civil 

The errors contained in these propositions are 
reproved, proscribed, and condemned; and the 
Sovereign Pontiff wills and commands that they be 
regarded as such by all the children of the Catholic 

Can the Church decree anything which binds 
the consciences of the faithful in order to the use 
of temporal things, if those temporal things have 
regard to spiritual things ; as for example, were she 
to punish the invaders of ecclesiastical property 
with excommunication? 

Ar It is certain that the Church has such a right 
and power; of this right and power she has need 
for her spiritual interests; and although in the 
abstract these are diverse and distinct from tem- 
poral interests, nevertheless, in practice, they are 
so closely allied with them, that it would be impos- 
sible for her to promote the former, if she were hin- 
dered her guardianship of the latter. In this world 
spiritual things have need of material things, as the 
soul has need of the body. The sacraments them- 
selves, the very dogmas of the faith, have need of 
material objects: one sacrament needs water; 
another, bread and wine; another, oil, &c. The 
dogmas of faith need paper on which they may be 

32 A DogmaHc Catechism. 

written and by which they may be transmitted un- 
changed from generation to generation. It is clear 
that her ministers need food and raiment ; that the 
Churches need objects appropriated to worship, 
&c. It is clear, therefore, that the Church could 
not promote her spiritual interests if she could not 
also guard her temporal or material interests. The 
Church, then, having the right and the power to 
guard her temporal interests, inasmuch as they are 
necessaiy to her spiritual interests, it follows, as a 
consequence, that she can bind the consciences of 
the faithful in order to the use of temporal things, 
where such temporal things have regard to spiritual 
things. This is proved by the condemnation of the 
following propositions, which are proscribed by the 
same Encyclical as those above-mentioned : — 

" 14. The Church may decree nothing which can 
bind the consciences of the faithful in order to the 
use of temporal things.'* 

" 13. The excommunication fulminated by the 
Council of Trent and by the Roman pontiffs against 
those who invade and usurp the rights and property 
of the Church, is based on the confusion of spiritual 
with civil and political order, in the sole pursuit of a 
worldly good." 

Sect. IV. Councils, 

How do you define an Ecclesiastical Council? . 
A. It is an assembly of the prelates of the Church, 
convoked by their legitimate head, in order to decide 

The Sources of Theology, 33 

questions which may arise concerning the truths 
of religion, and to reform the morals of the Christian 
people, and ecclesiastical discipline. A Council is 
not always assembled for all these motives at once ; 
it may be convened for one or other of them. 

How many kinds of Councils are there ? 

A. There are four kinds, viz. : a General Council, 
to which all the Bishops of the Catholic world are 
summoned by the Sovereign Pontiflf. It is not ne- 
cessary, however, that all should assist at it. A 
National Council, to which all the Bishops of a 
nation or kingdom are summoned by the Primate. 
A Provincial Council, to which the Metropolitan 
summons all the Bishops of the province who are 
his suf&agans, and even such as are exempt, accord- 
ing to the terms of the Council of Trent. A Dio- 
cesan Council, to which the Bishop summons those 
priests of the diocese who have cure of souls, or an 
ecclesiastical benefice. 

Has the Roman Pontiff alone the right to con- 
voke a General Council ? 

A. All Catholics agree that this right belongs 
solely to the Roman Pontiff. Heretics pretend 
that this right belongs to the Emperor; but this 
pretence is most foolish, since it would be necessary 
that all the kingdoms of the world should be subject 
to the Emperor, if he is to exercise in them an act 
of jurisdiction, by convocation of the bishops. 
Moreover, he must hold the primacy in the Church, if 
the Bishops are to be obliged to assemble at his order, 


34 ^ Dogmatic Catechism. 

The Roman Pontiff alone has supreme power and 
jurisdiction over all the Christians of the world, 
and therefore over all Bishops. You must observe 
that if Councils have sometimes been convoked by 
the Roman Emperor, it was done with the consent, 
and by order of the Roman Pontiff. All sound 
theologians and historians are agreed on this point. 

To whom does it belong to preside at a General 
Council ? 

A. To the Roman Pontiff, as it belongs to the 
head to preside over the members. He may pre^ 
side, however, either in person, or by means of his 
legates. This is the doctrine of all Catholic theo- 

What prelates may assist at a General Council ? 

A. Of ordinary right. Bishops alone can assist 
and give decisive votes, as judges of religious con- 
troversies. Cardinals, who are not also Bishops 
assist, and give their votes, as advisers of .the Sove* 
reign Pontiff; as also Abbots and Generals of reli- 
gious orders, by privilege. Temporal sovereigns, or 
their ambassadors, assist as protectors. 

Is a General Council of infallible authority? 

A. No Catholic has ever doubted that it is of 
infallible authority ; it has not, however, such au- 
thority, until after the approbation and confirmation 
of the Roman Pontiff. 

Are other Councils, which are not General 
Councils, infallible ? 

A. Of themselves they are only authoritative 

TTie Sources of Theology. 35 

and not infallible \ for infallibility is promised only 
to the Universal Church, and to him who represents 
it. We say, of themselves, because whenever their 
decisions have been approved by the Roman 
Church, they become infallible. Further, you must 
observe that, in matters regarding discipline, they 
are of obligation only for the places in which they 
are made ; that is, if they are national, for that na- 
tion ; if they are provincial, for that province ; if 
diocesan, for that diocese. 

Sect. V. The Rovian Pontiff. 

Who is the Roman Pontiff? 

A. The Roman Pontiff is the Bishqp who is the 
successor of St. Peter in the Roman See. 

Has the Roman Pontiff all the privileges of St. 
Peter, and^all the authority which he had over the 
Church ? 

A. He has all the privileges and all the authority 
which St. Peter received from Christ, when He con- 
stituted him Head of the Apostolic College, and of 
His Church \ that is to say, he has the same juris- 
diction and authority over all the Bishops, and over 
all the faithful. This is of faith. 

Is it then an article of the Faith that the Roman 
Pontiff has the primacy over all the Church ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, specially defined 
in the Council of Florence, with the full consent of 
both Greeks and Latins. 


36 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

Is this primacy of the Roman Pontiff in the 
Church necessary? 

A. A society that had many independent heads, 
such as Bishops would be without the Roman Pon- 
tiff, could not but result in confusion and anarchy. 
The very heretics themselves acknowledge this, 
when they give jurisdiction to the Emperor, or to 
Kings over Bishops. 

Supposing it were at any time necessary to call 
the Roman Pontiff to account for disorderly or 
wicked conduct, to whom would belong the right of 
judging his case ? 

A. God has reserved this right to Himself. No 
one on earth can judge the Roman Pontiff. Be- 
sides the authorities which might be adduced, a 
palpable reason is this : — ^The head of a govern- 
ment can never be called to account, save in case 
of a revolt ; but the Church does not admit revolt 
within her bosom. If a revolt occur in the Church, 
from the mere fact that it is a revolt, those who pro- 
mote it, and those who take part in it, are separated 
and cut off from the Church, at least as schismatics; 
and therefore, as separated from her, they no longer 
have any authority in her. The Roman Pontiff 
may be fraternally admonished, but not judged. 

When the Roman Pontiff, as Head and Master 
of the whole Church, decides a controversy in mat- 
ters of faith and morals, or, to use theological terms, 
when he defines ex ccUhedra^ is he infallible in his 
judgment ? 

7 fie Sources vf Theology, 37 

A. He IS infallible, as might be proved by every 
sort of authority and reason. It is an established 
fact, that when the Roman Pontiffs have defined any 
question, in their quality of Heads and Masters of 
the Church, they have never erred. Contumacious 
men have ever been found to reclaim against the 
truth of the Pontifical decisions, but the matter has 
always ended by the whole Church accepting the 
Pontifical decisions, and declaring the recusants 
to have fallen into heresy.* 

Is the authority of the Roman Pontiff inferior to 
the authority of a General Council ? 

A. The Roman Pontiff, by his authority, gives 
force to a General Council, and therefore he is 
superior, and not inferior to it. The Supreme Pon- 
tiff does not cease to be Head of the Church when 
the Church is assembled in Council. Remember 

* The Nestorians and Eutychians opposed the decisions of 
St. Leo the Great ; the Monothelites, those of St. Martin I. ; 
the Lutherans, those of Leo X.; the Jansenists, those of 
Innocent X., Alexander VIL, &c. But these and all others, 
both ancient and modem, who have imitated them in their 
opposition to the decisions of the Roman ' Pontiffs, are all 
heretics in the judgment of Catholics. The condemnations 
of the Roman Pontiffs are called, and are, thunderbolts 
which issue from the Throne of God, and there is no shield 
which they will not shiver in pieces. There is no escape for 
him who provokes them, unless he submits, and humbly pro- 
nounces his own condemnation. It is impossible to repel 
them. They are like the arrow of Jonathan, of which Holy 
Scripture says : — " The arrow of Jonathan never turned back." 
(2 Kings, i. 22.) 

33 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

that no General Council has ever been recognised 
as infallible by the Church, without the confirmation 
and approbation of the Pope. Remember, more- 
over, that it is impossible to conceive the idea of a 
General Council without the Pope. The Pope must 
convoke it, must preside over it, either in person or 
by his legates, and finally, as we have said, must 
confirm it. To conceive a General Council with- 
out the Pope, we must conceive a General Council 
in opposition to the Pope; and in that case it 
would be an unlawful material assembly of Bishops, 
all really disunited, because without a centre of unity. 

This would be the case in regard to a Pope 
living at the time a General Council was assembled ; 
but would the Pope be subject to the decrees of 
former General Councils, lawfiiUy celebrated^ and 
confirmed by the authority of the Popes his 
predecessors ? 

A. Undoubtedly, in dogmatic decisions, because 
that which was true, and infallibly true once, will 
be true to all eternity : moreover, to say that the 
Pope must in this way be subject to Councils, is 
the same as to say that the Pope must be catholic ; 
which no one doubts. In decisions, however, which 
regard discipline, which in the Church is change- 
able, the Pope is superior Ko Councils, and may 
derogate from their laws when he sees necessity for 
so doing ; and this authority is necessary to him, 
for otherwise the well-being of the Church would 
be ill-provided for. 

The Sources of Theology, 39 

Why would the well-being of the Church be ill- 
provided for ? 

A. For this reason ; as an inferior can in no case 
derogate from the laws of a superior, so the Pope 
would be unable in any case to dispense or derogate 
from the canons of Councils ; therefore for every 
dispensation and for every derogation, which a 
council had not authorized the Supreme PontilGf or 
others to make, it would be necessary to convoke 
a General Council. Now we all know how difficult 
a matter this is, and that many times it would even 
be an impossibility. Hence on many occasions 
the Church would lack the means of providing for 
her own needs.* 

• The Infallibility of the Supreme Pontiff in his dogmatic 
decisions, and his authority over General Councils, are now 
dogmas, not only Divinely revealed, but proposed by the 
Church, and so binding on the intellects and consciences 
of all the faithful, under pain, not only of error, but of 
heresy. See the definition on this pointy of the Vatican 
Council, Note J page 27. This Council, also teaches and de- 
clares — "that the Roman Pontiff is the Supreme Judge of the 
faithful ; and that, in all causes pertaining to ecclesiastical 
examination, recourse maybe had to his judgment ; and that 
the judgment of the Apostolic See, than whose authority 
there is no greater, can be revised by no man ; and that to no 
one is it lawful to judge its judgment, and that they there- 
fore err from the right way of truth, who affirm that it is » 
lawful to appeal from the judgment of the Roman Pon- 
tiff to an CEcnmenical Council, as to an authority superior 
to the Roman Pontiff." Chap. iv. 

The authorities quoted in the text will serve to shew the 
previous absolute theological certainty of the doctrine, which 
is now also of Catholic faith. — Ed, 

40 A DogmaHc Catechism. 

However it is not a truth defined, as of faith that 
the Pope is infallible in his dogmatic decisions, 
and that he has authority over General Councils.'^ 

A. It is true that this is not in the number 
of those truths which must be firmly believed, 
under pain of heresy in him who does not believe 
them. Still it is one of the most certain truths 
which we have in theology next to the dogmas 
which are of faith. The following proposition 
was condemned by Alexander VIII., the 7th De- 
cember, 1690. " The assertion of the authority of 
the Roman Pontiff over an (Ecumenical Council, 
and his infallibility in determining questions of 
faith, is futile, and has repeatedly been overthrown." 
He who should defend such a proposition would 
incur an excommunication reserved to the Pope. 

Has the Pope authority to declare books to be 
heretical or scandalous, -and to prohibit such ? 

A. Undoubtedly he has, for as Universal Pastor it 
is for him to determine what pastures are unwhole- 
some, and to hinder his flock from approaching them. 

When the Pope declares that a book contains a 
certain heresy, must we blindly submit our own 
judgment to his declaration ? 

A. There is no room to doubt it; because in 
matters of faith the homage of the tongue which 
submits to keep silence is not suflicient, there 
is required also the submission of the heart, that is 

' This Divine truth is now of Catholic faith, as defined by 
the Vatican Council. See notes on pages 27 and 39. — ^£d. 

The Sources of Theology. 41 

to say, of the will, which is made with submission 
of the understanding. This truth, which was 
always recognized in the Church, has in these later 
times been more clearly illustrated by the fact of 
the condemnation of the heretical propositions 
of Jansenius. 

Sect. VI. The Holy Fathers^ the Doctors and the 


Who are the Holy Fathers ? 

A. The Holy Fathers are those great men, who, 
for their great learning, sanctity, and antiquity have, 
either expressly or tacitly, been declared such 
by the Church. The last of the Holy Fathers 
was St Bernard. 

Who are the Doctors ? 

A. Men famous for learning and sanctity, declared 
such by the Church, as St Thomas, St Bona- 
venture, &c. 

When the Holy Fathers and the Doctors of 
the Church are unanimous in affirming anything 
pertaining to faith and morals, may we doubt of its 

A, We may not doubt of it, for they are the 
depositaries of the Tradition of the Church, and if 
they are Unanimous in affirming any truth in 
such matters, it is as much as to say that it comes 
directly from the Apostles. 

Is it necessary that they be all agreed, without 
any exception ? 

42 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

A. This is not necessary, for no one of the Holy 
Fathers, of himself alone, is infallible, and any one 
of them might be mistaken, and so not agree with 
the rest : in such case the error of one must not 
detract from the force of the truth taught by all, or 
nearly all. 

The opinion of one Holy Father must then 
be accounted of no weight ? 

A. Not so ; on the contrary it must be accounted 
of great weight, if it be not opposed to the common 
opinion of the other Fathers ; if however it be 
contrary to their judgment, it must not be regarded. 

Who are the Schoolmen ? 

A. Those who wrote after the Doctors of the 
Church, in defence of truths contradicted by 
heretics. They were very numerous in the sixteenth 
century, and opposed the heretics of that age ; for 
this reason the Schoolmen are hated and abused by 
all Protestants even in these days, as well as by 
persons of doubtful or insincere belief, although 
they may affect Catholicism and union with Holy 

What authority have the Schoolmen ? 

A. If all are commonly agreed in affirming any- 
thing appertaining to faith and morals, their 
authority is irrefragable, even before such truth is 
expressly defined by the Church; for we cannot 
suppose that all the learned men who adorn the 
Church should be mistaken; or that, if they were mis- 
taken, the Church would not condemn their error. 

The Sources of Theology, 43 

but suffer it to be thus authorized, and taught by 
all. If, however, they are not generally agreed, but 
are divided in their opinions, each one has no fur- 
ther authority than the weight of the reasons which 
he adduces. This is meant however, speaking gene- 
rally ; for the Schoolmen, who have been specially 
distinguished for right judgment and profound know- 
ledge of the Holy Fathers, have a personal authority 
of great account. Who, for example, would not 
shew consideration for the opinion of Bellarmine, if 
it were only because he was so judicious, and 
learned in ecclesiastical science?* However, the 
authority of the Schoolmen can never be put on a 
par with that of the Holy Fathers or of the 

Sect. W\J History^ Human Reason^ and Philosophy, 

What authority has History ? 

A. History has considerable authority in religious 
controversies, for it furnishes great light, and supplies 
many facts for the elucidating, and proving of truth, 
and for the confutation of error. Nevertheless he 
who would sincerely make use of the authority of 
History in matters of religion, must not be content 
with a mere superficial knowledge, nor with the 
knowledge of disconnected and isolated facts, for if 

* When his Holiness, Clement VIII., elected Bellarmine 
Cardinal, he said of him to the Sacred College, " We have 
chosen this man, because the Church of God has not his equal 
as to doctrine 1*' 

44 -^ Dogmatic Catechism, 

in regard to all sciences, it is better to be ignorant of 
them, than to have an incorrect knowledge of them, 
this is especially true in regard to History. I speak 
of Ecclesiastical History, as being the most neces- 
sary for theological controversies ; profane history, 
generally, cannot be so useful. 

What authority have Himian Reason and Philo- 
sophy ? 

A. They have considerable authority, when they 
are held subject to Faith, and are used in such 
theological controversies as admit of the arguments 
which they furnish. You may easily imagine that 
if the Faith were subject to Reason and to Philo- 
sophy, the Faith would be destroyed. They cannot 
decide in matters which are in no way within their 
sphere. How, for instance, could the existence of 
the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity be proved 
from Philosophy ? 

God — the One and Trine, 45 



Who is God ? 

A. He is a Lord infinitely perfect, the Creator 
and Preserver of heaven and earth, and of all things 
visible and invisible. 

What do those words infinitely perfect, signify? 

A. They mean that in God is all good, and that 
He is Infinite Goodness. 

What does the word infinite signify ? 

A. It signifies something that has no end. For 
example, if there were a sea whose bottom we could 
never fathom, how deep soever we might dive, 
whose surface we could never reach, how high 
soever we might soar, whose shores we could 
never find, though we might continually pass from 
side to side ; or better still, if there were a bottom- 
less, surfaceless, shoreless sea, and if this sea spread 
itself on all sides without limit, this would be an 
infinite sea. Observe, however, that it is impos- 
sible that any material thing, such as the sea is, for 
example, could be infinite. 

But supposing such a sea to exist, would it be a 
figure of the Goodness of God ? 

A. Yes. The Goodness of God is as great 
spiritually, as this huge sea would be materially, 
were its existence possible. The Goodness of God 
has no limit or term ; no one can measure it ; no 
one, not even the Angels, can comprehend it ; God 

46 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

alone, by His infinite Wisdom, comprehends His 
own infinite Goodness. 

Could we find no creature, either in heaven 
or on earth, whose goodness might be put in 
comparison with the Goodness of God ? 

A. As there can be no comparison between time 
and eternity, so there can be no comparison 
between the goodness of any creature whatsoever, 
and the Goodness of God. The ineflfable goodness 
of even the Ever Blessed Virgin is not only little, 
but we might even say, is nothing, compared with 
the infinite Goodness of God. Hence it is that 
not even in Paradise, can the Angels, the Saints, 
or the Most Blessed Virgin herself — with all the 
immense love which they bear to God — ^approach 
to loving Him as much as He merits to be loved 
in Himself God alone loves Himself, as much as 
He merits to be loved. 

What is meant by this Infinite Goodness? 

A. The aggregate, the union of His infinite 
Perfections or Attributes; His Omnipotence by 
which He can make or destroy all things, by an act 
of His Will; His Wisdom, by which He clearly 
sees the past, the present, the future, and all 
possible things ; His Justice, with which he rewards 
the good, and chastises the wicked ; His Mercy, 
with which He pardons the sins of those who with 
a true heart repent; His Eternity, whereby He 
has never had any beginning, and whereby likewise 
He shall have no end ; His Immensity, by which 

God— the Ofte and Trine. 47 

He is in Heaven, on earth, and in every place ; His 
Impassibility, by which He Who is a most pure 
and perfect Spirit, cannot suffer or endure any evil 
whatsoever; and all His other infinite perfections 
by which He is truly an Infinite Good. 

What do you mean by saying that God is a most 
pure Spirit ? 

A. I mean that God has not a body as we have, 
therefore we cannot picture Him to ourselves as 
high or low, or broad or narrow ; we cannot touch 
Him with our hands, nor can we see Him with the 
material eyes of our body. 

Then He is nothing? 

A. On the contrary, you should say that He is 
all things, because He is infinitely rich in every 
perfection, and in all good. He is not material, 
such as are the things we see and touch, and 
therefore He has not the properties of material 
things, which are large or smgQl, broad or narrow 
and which may be seen and touched ; but He has 
all spiritual perfections, by which He is a spirit 
infinitely good. Our soul is also a spirit which can 
neither be seen nor touched, and yet our soul thinks, 
judges, reasons, gives motion to the whole body, 
and is a far more noble part of man than his body. 

How can you say that God has no body, when 
Holy Scripture speaks of the eyes of God, the ears 
of God, the hands of God, and of other members 
of His body? 

A. Wh^n Holy Scrlptmre attributes to God 

48 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

members of the human body, it does so in a figura- 
tive sense. If I say that a horse flies rapidly over 
the plain, I do not mean that the horse has wings 
and flies like a bird: by the word ^ I intend to 
signify the speed with which he traverses the 
country, so, when Holy Scripture speaks of the 
eyes and ears of God, it means, to signify His 
Wisdom, whereby He sees and knows all things ; 
when it speaks of His hands it means to signify 
His Omnipotence, whereby He performs all His 
works; and so as to the rest. All Theologians 
and interpreters resolve such difficulties in this way. 
In fact when Scripture speaks literally, it says, God 
is a Spirit (John iv. 24) ; and this is an article of 
the Faith. 

Why do you say that God is a most simple Spirit ? 

A. Because there is no composition of diverse 
substances in God, nor any real distinction of 
perfections or attributes. The Omnipotence of 
God is God Himself. The Wisdom of God is God 
Himself; and so we may say of His Justice, of 
His Mercy, and of all His other perfections. In 
man, power, wisdom, and piety, are things dis- 
tinct from the man himself, and therefore a man 
may exist without power, without wisdom, and 
without piety* But in God every attribute i§ God 
Himself, neither more nor less. Thus do all 
theologians, with St. Bernard, answer those heretics 
who have imagined that in God there is real 
distinction between His Attributes. 

God-^he Ofu and Trine f 49 

Why then do you say that God has so many 
attributes, and so many diverse perfections? 

A. We say so according to our mode of under- 
standing, because the Divine Nature or Substance 
is omnipotent, wise, just, merciful, &c., although 
this omnipotence, wisdom, justice, &c., are in reality 
nothing else than the most simple Divine Substance 

Seeing that God is infinitely Good, and the Author 
of all things that exist, who produced evil in the 

A. Evil came into the world, from the abuse of 
their liberty, in creatures gifted with free will. God 
has given this liberty to angels, and to men. The 
abuse which many of the Angels made of their 
liberty, when they sinned by pride, is the origin of all 
the evils which the devils suffer, and which they pro- 
duce by their malice. The abuse which man made 
of his liberty is the origin of all the evils suffered 
by men. Observe, however, that the Holy Angels 
who remained faithful to God, cannot now any 
longer sin, that is, abuse their liberty. 

Still there are so many evils in the world, which 
have not been produced by the abuse of liberty in 
the creature. For instance, Hell is a great evil, so 
are hurtful beasts, pestilence, earthquakes, &c. Is 
God the author of all these evils ? 

A. All those things, and others like them, are not 
evils in themselves. They are evils only to those 
who suffer them, inasmuch as they are afflicted by 


so A Dogmatic Catechism. 

them : in themselves they are benefits necessary to 
hinder sin, and for the punishment of sin ; they 
manifest the Divine Justice, give occasion for the 
exercise of virtue, &c. They are benefits, because 
they are ordained by God against the one only true 
evil, which is sin — that is, against the abuse of 
liberty. If there were no sin in the world, there 
would be no afflictions in it, that is, no punishment 
for sin ; in like manner as if there were no criminals 
in a kingdom, there would be no need of prisons, 
or of other punishments. 

But if God is infinitely good, why has He per- 
mitted His creatures toabuse their liberty and com- 
mit sin, the cause of so great miseries ? 

A. God has given His creatures liberty, in order 
that they may merit by making a good use of it, and 
He gives them, at the same time, the necessary aid 
that they may use it as He requires ; and more we 
cannot expect from His infinite goodness. Further, 
He brings forth greater good from the evils that are 
committed : as, for example, when He has permitted 
the cruelty of tyrants, in order to exercise the faith 
and love of innumerable martyrs. 

Some have imagined that we ought to recognize 
two principles, — one of good, who would there- 
fore be the good God, and another of evil, who 
would therefore be the wicked God. They attri- 
buted all the good in the world to the first, and all 
the evil to the second. Is not this opinion 
plausible ? 

God — the One and Trine, 5 1 

A. This is not an opinion, but a most stupid 
heresy ; for evil is not a reality. Evil is an imper- 
fection, a lack of good, just as darkness is not a 
reality, but simply lack of light. Hence, a wicked 
God would be an infinite lack of good, and there- 
fore an infinite nothing. Such an idea is contradic- 
tory, and a ridiculous imagination. 

Sect. II. The Immensity and Providence of God, 

How are we to understand that God is Immense ? 

A. God is Immense, because He is not contained 
in any place, but, on the contrary, contains all places 
and the universe itself. He is everywhere by His 
Presence, clearly beholding all things; by his Power, 
preserving the existence of all creatures, and con- 
curring to all their operations; by His Essence, 
because, as we have already said, the Wisdom and 
the Power of God are none other than the Divine 
Substance itself. 

If God concurs to all the operations of creatures, 
do you mean to say that He concurs also to sin, and 
that therefore He approves it, and co-operates with 

A. In all free actions there is the material act and 
i\iQ formal of the act. In a murder the material act 
is the thrusting a dagger into a body, which, of itself, 
is an indifferent action ; the formal of the act is the 
evil will, that is, the wickedness of unjustly depriv- 
ing a man of life. Now God concurs to the mate- 
rial act, inasmuch as it is an indifferent action, but 


52 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

He does not concur to the formal of the act, that 
is, to the wickedness; on the contrary, He dis- 
approves, condemns, and punishes it 

What is the Providence of God ? 

A. It is the disposition of all created things, in 
order to the attainment of their last end. 

Does God exercise His providence towards all his 
creatures, without exception ? 

A. This is of faith : " He has equally care of all," 
as we read in the book of Wisdom, vi. 8. 

Many things in the world happen by chance, 
which would not be the case if the Divine Provi- 
dence regulated all things. 

A. I will shew you your error by a comparison of 
St. Thomas. A master sends one of his servants to 
the market place. Unknown to him, he sends an- 
other to the same place, without telling him that 
he has already sent the first, because he desires that 
they should both meet there unexpectedly. The 
two servants, at first meeting one another, would 
think they had met by chance, while, in fact, their 
meeting is of premeditated design. You will un- 
derstand from this that nothing in the world happens 
by chance. Our ignorance, through which we 
know not the causes of many things, has made us 
imagine that they happen by chance ; but, instead 
of this, God rules all things by His providence, and 
nothing happens without a reason determined by 
Him. For instance, a leaf falls from a tree : why 
should it lie straight on the earth rather than the 

God— the One and Trine, 53 

reverse ? It is impossible for us to know the reason; 
but there is a reason for it in the Divine Providence. 
Chance and fortune are mere names without reality, 
nor can they signify aught save our ignorance of 
the causes of things. 

Does the Providence of God extend to all the 
free actions of men, both good and bad? 

A. Undoubtedly : directing, moreover, the evil 
actions to some good. The sons of Jacob sold 
Joseph, because of the envy they cherished against 
him. God directed and overruled this barbarous 
sale in order to the advantage of the Egyptians, to 
the salutary confusion of his envious brethren, to 
the preservation and glory of the family of Jacob, 

You mean to say that God is the First Cause of 
all things : but are there not second causes, on 
which all things in their events depend ? 

A. There are indeed second causes; because, for 
example, it is water that wets us, it is fire that bums 
us : but still, you must observe that all second causes 
act in dependence on the First Cause, so that, what- 
ever happens, always excepting the malice of sin, 
we must recognize as coming from God. Observe, 
also, that God does not always make use of second- 
ary causes, for He can act without them. If it be 
His will to send a pestilence or an earthquake. He 
can make use of secondary causes, but he can also 
act immediately by Himself, without availing Him- 
self of them, that is, without permitting the gene- 

54 ^ Dogmatic Cateehism. 

rating of the poisonous insects which naturally pro- 
duce pestilence, and without permitting the rarefac- 
tion and condensation of subterranean vapours, or 
that disturbance of the equilibrium of electricity 
which in the ordinary way occasions earthquakes ; 
but observe carefully, that this is a matter of as 
much indiflference as it would be a matter of indif- 
ference whether the king punished a criminal abso- 
lutely, by a sentence written with his own hand, or 
by a sentence caused by him to emanate from his 
tribunals. Attend especially to this truth, for it is 
precisely in these days, by continually crying out in 
all circumstances of public or private chastisements, 
that they are the effect of secondary causes, that 
men seek to extinguish and dissipate that salutary 
fear of God which might correct sinners. Be it so, 
that all is the effect of secondary causes ; it is God, 
notwithstanding, who regulates those secondary 
causes by His Providence. He is a king who does 
not write the sentence with His own hand, but 
causes it to emanate from His tribunals. He does 
not execute it with His own hands, but causes it to 
be executed by His ministers : all the same, the 
sentence and the punishment come from the king. 
Above all, therefore, remember, that to reward, to 
punish, or to do any other act whatever, God has 
no need of secondary causes ; and when He does 
adopt them, it is always He who rewards, He who 
punishes, and He who acts, by His Providence. 

God— the One and Th'ne, 55 

Sect. III. Tke Will of God; Predestination and 


What is the Will of God ? 

A. The Will of God, which is one of His Attri- 
butes, which we conceive in God as, as it were,faculties, 
such as His Understanding and His Omnipotence ; 
is that perfection by which He loves good and hates 
evil j that perfection by which He is directed in all 
His operations. Observe, that as there is no real 
distinction between the Perfections of God and God 
Himself, the Will of God is none other than the 
Divine Substance and Essence itself. 

Is the Will of God free in its operations ? 

A. It is free — ^not to will evil, because God would 
not be Infinite Goodness if it were possible for Him 
to will the very least evil ; but it is free in willing 
good, without being forced to do so by anything 
whatsoever. For example, God was free to create 
the world, and free not to create it ; and this is the 
case in regard to all those other operations of His 
which are called operations ad extra. 

Which are His operations ad extra ? 

A. They are the creation, preservation, and 
government of all things.. They are called ad ex- 
tra, to distinguish them from those which take place 
in God Himself, which are called ad intra, and in 
regard to which the Divine Will is not free, because 
they are necessary operations, essential to the Divine 
nature. As we have already said, God might or 

56 A DagmaHc Caiechism. 

might not create the world, but the Father was not 
free not to generate the Son, that is to say, the 
Eternal Word ; nor the Holy Ghost free not to pro- 
ceed from the Father and from the Son, because 
this generation and this procession are absolutely 
necessary in the Divine Substance, according to the 
idea which the Faith gives us of God. 
Must we acknowledge Love in God ? 
A. God loves Himself infinitely, and He also 
loves his creatures, particularly His intelligent and 
rational creatures, such as the angels and men. 
Must we acknowledge hatred in God ? 
A. God hates sin and sinners. He does not, 
however, hate sinners in that they are His creatures, 
but in that they are sinners : when they cease from 
sin, He no longer hates them. 

I wish to know if God wills the eternal salvation 
of all men. 

A. God sincerely wills the eternal salvation of all 
men. This was always the faith of all Catholics in 
all ages, according to the sense of Holy Scripture, 
and the tradition of all the Fathers. The contrary 
error, which is, that God wills only the salvation of 
some men, was solemnly condemned in Calvin, and 
afterwards in Jansenius. 

I can easily understand that God wills the salva- 
tion of all the faithful, because He furnishes them 
with the means necessary to obtain it ; but how can 
you say that He wills the salvation of infidels who 
have no means whatever of gaining it? 

God— the One and Trine. 57 

A. It is false that infidels have no means what- 
ever of obtaining eternal salvation; God gives 
many graces to infidels, and if they did not abuse 
them, lie would bring them to the knowledge of 
the true faith, that so they might be saved ; and He 
would do this, even if it required miracles, as 
St. Thomas teaches. 

At least you must admit that God does not will 
the salvation of children, who die without Baptism, 
and particularly of those who die before coming 
to the light ? 

A. Holy Scripture, the Fathers, and the senti- 
ment of the whole Church give us sufficient 
assurance that God wills the salvation of every soul, 
and therefore also of the souls of such children ; 
nor must we s^y the contrary, though it may be 
difficult for us to understand in what manner He 
wills it. In our Holy Religion it is not only what 
we can understand that is true ; we must believe 
many things without understanding them, and this 
is one. 

What do you say in regard to the Predestination 
and Reprobation of men ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith that there is true 
Predestination, that is to say, that from all eternity 
God has determined to give Paradise to some men ; 
and that there is true Reprobation, that is to say, 
that firom all eternity God has decreed to condemn 
some men to Hell ; and hence the number of both 
the one and the other is determined. The predes- 

58 A Dogmatic Catechism^ 

tinate are all those who die in the grace of God, 
the reprobate are all those who die in mortal 

These answers seem to me too material, could 
you not speak more profoundly of such mysteries ? 

A. It is enough for me to explain to you what is 
most necessary to be known: many things which 
might be added are not necessary for all, nor suited 
to all. In regard to predestination and reprobation 
it is sufficient for you to know, that God sincerely 
wills the eternal salvation of all men ; and sincerely 
willing it, He. grants to all means sufficient to 
obtain it. (When I say sufficient, I understand 
means, which really suffice, because, if in fact they 
did not suffice, they would not be sufficient means). 
These means are His graces, without which we 
cannot obtain salvation ; those who correspond to 
this grace will certainly be saved, and therefore are 
predestinate. Observe that it is St. Peter (2 Ep. 
St. Peter, i. 10) who exhorts you to make sure 
your election to eternal life by means of your good 
works, and it will be well if the simple Divine 
Word content you, without seeking further. More- 
over the reprobate must not be looked upon as 
persons to whom God on His part, has been 
wanting, but as persons who merit to be excluded 
from the Kingdom of God for their wickedness. 

What do you say about children who die before 
the use of reason, some baptized and some not, 
and so, some predestinate and others reprobate? 

God-^he One and Trine. 59 

A. Children who are predestinate are so through 
the merits of Jesus Christ, applied to them 
by means of Holy Baptism. That such a lot is 
theirSy is the work of Divine Mercy. Children who 
are reprobate, are such through original sin, by 
which they die deprived of sanctifying grace. 
That such a misfortune should be theirs is an act 
of Divine Justice. But you who read this ought 
not to penetrate too far into these mysteries j if 
they present difficulties which the Holy Fathers 
could not solve, how much greater must these diffi- 
culties be to you ? Do you suppose that by force 
of reasoning you would ever come to know the 
secrets of an earthly sovereign, if he did not choose 
to manifest them to you ? Certainly not. How 
much less then can you come to know the secrets 
of the King of Heaven if He will not discover them 
to you.* We find mysteries in the conduct of 
finite men, which we cannot solve, and shall we 
wonder because we find them in the dispositions of 
Infinite Divine Wisdom? In whatever way God 
may predestinate the good, or reprobate the wicked, 
it is impossible but that His purpose should be 
most just, and worthy of His Infinite Goodness. 
Let it suffice for you to know that God loves you 
more than you love yourself; that God wills your 
salvation more than you desire it yourself; that 
God will not exclude you from His Kingdom unless 

* *' To will not to know what the best of masters wills not 
to teach, is a wise ignorance." — Scaliger. 

6o A DogmaHc Catechism, 

you refuse it of your own free w31. He has already 
done more for us, — ^redeeming us at so much cost, 
and calling us into the bosom of His Church ; 
now there remains but the lesser work, which is to 
give us fitting aids in order that we may profit by 
His Infinite mercies, and this He will do ; have this 
hope and you will not be confounded. 

There is yet another difficulty which I cannot 
pass over in silence. It is impossible that what 
God has appointed should not come to pass ; there- 
fore, if God have predestinated Titius to glory it is 
impossible that Titius should be damned; while 
if He have reprobated Caius, it is impossible that 
Caius should be saved. 

A. To avoid perplexing ourselves, we must first 
of all consider, that God never works but by the 
rules of an Infinite Wisdom; therefore, although 
we may not know it, there must always be a most 
just reason for His predestinating Titius and not 
Caius,* Besides he predestinates Titius, who will 

* " He has riot mercy on those to whom, by an equity most 
hidden, and far removed fiom human perceptions, He 
judges that grace is not to be afforded. This the Apostle 
does not disclose, but marvels at, saying, ' O the height of 
the riches of God.'" — Saint Augustine. The same Holy 
Father affirms (Enchir. q. 95) that in Paradise we shaU see 
such reasons and such causes as are now hidden from us ; and 
similarly we shall know for what motive God has conferred 
many of His graces on those whom He foresaw would not 
profit by them, and has not conferred them on those who 
would have derived profit from them. St. Bonaventure 

God— the One and Thine, 61 

freely do good, by means of which he will merit 
glory, and He rejects Caius, who will freely do evil, 
by means of which he will merit damnation, so that 
we cannot say that Titius will necessarily be saved, 
and Caius necessarily damned. 

But since God foresees that Titius will do good 
and that Caius will do evil, and since die Divine 
Foreknowledge cannot be mistaken, must not this 
good and this evil be done of necessity? If then 
God sees that I am in the number of the predesti- 
nate it is impossible that I should be damned ; if, 
on the contrary He sees that I am in the number of 
the reprobate, it is impossible that I should be 

A. You must reflect that God's Prevision is none 
other than His Infinite Knowledge, to which the 
past and the future is always present. It is a simple 
vision of things, which does not deprive free causes 
of their liberty. For instance, I see one man steal, 
and I see another man give alms ; when I see the 
former stealing, I do not say that, because I see 
him, he steals of necessity, but that he is 
certainly stealing; when I see the latter giving 
alms, I do not say that, because I see him, he does 
so of necessity, but that he is certainly doing so ; 

teaches the same doctrine. Observe, however, that such 
causes, reasons, and motives, cannot be other than most 
worthy of God, that is to say, of Infinite Goodness. Our 
ignorance should humble us, but not discourage us. 

62 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

therefore God, when He foresees our future actions, 
does not necessitate them. This is the teaching of 
all true philosophers, along with all theologians, 
and so, God's seeing you in the number of the 
predestinate, or of the reprobate, is but His seeing 
the good or the bad use which you make of your 
liberty. Hence you may know that this difficulty, 
which appears to you so serious, means no more 
than this : if you, dying well, merit Paradise, it is 
impossible that you be damnsd ; if, on the contrary, 
dying ill, you merit Hell, it is impossible that 
you be saved. So that, not\^ ithstanding the dogma 
of Predestinatioir and Reprobation, that which the 
Holy Ghost declares will always come to pass, 
namely, that life and death is in the hand of man 
(Eccles. XV. 1 8), and that it depends on man 
himself whether he will be saved or damned. 

Then we may not say that God, as absolute 
master of His creatures, without having regard 
to future merits or demerits, elects some men for 
Paradise and destines others to Hell ? 

A. So Calvin blasphemously maintained. God, 
it is true can predestinate men to Paradise, and 
give them all opportune and efficacious aids, in 
order that they may attain it, although they have 
no right to such predestination; but He cannot 
destine His creatures to eternal misery, without 
foreseeing their demerits. The reason is, that the 
liberality which confers gifts on those who have no 
right to pretend to them, is a perfection, and there- 

God— the One and Trine. " 63 

fore is in God ; on the contrary, the cruelty and 
injustice, which would destine men to punishment 
without pre-supposing sin in them, are repulsive 
vices which destroy the idea, not only of infinite, but 
even of ordinary goodness. 

Sect. IV. The Beatific Vision. 

Do the Saints in Heaven see God ? 

A. They see Him intuitively, that is to say, they 
see Him in Himself, really as He is. 

Does not Holy Scripture say that God is Invi- 
sible, and that no one has ever seen Him? 

A. It says that God is Invisible, and that no one 
ever saw Him in this life. On this account the 
most probable opinion among the interpreters of 
Scripture is, that not even Moses saw Him intui- 
tively ; but that it was an Angel who appeared to 
him, and gave him orders and commands in God's 
name j they assert therefore that, when he says that 
he saw God, he means to say that he saw an Angel 
who spoke to him in the person of God. But it is 
a truth of the faith, that in the other life we shall 
see God, and we shall " see Him as He is," accord- 
ing to the expression of Scripture (i John iii. 2). 

After the Resurrection, shall we see God with the 
eyes of our body ? 

A. We shall never see God with our bodily eyes, 
because God is a pure Spirit. Our bodily eyes are 
material, and will be material, even after our 
Resurrection; and it is certain that material eyes 

64 A Dogmatic Catichism. 

cannot see spiritual things. But we shall see God 
with our intellect, illuminated by the Light of 

What is this Light of Glory ? 

A. It is a supernatural habit, by which the mind, 
whether of men or Angels, is perfectly disposed to 
see God. 

Could we not see God, even in Heaven, without 
this Light of Glory ? 

A. It is certain that we could not see Him, any 
more than, with our bodily eyes however strong, we 
could sec a mountain, however near it might be to 
us, without the aid of light. 

What shall we see in God ? 

A. We shall see His Divine Substance with His 
Divine Perfections, which are in reality but the 
same most simple Divine Substance, (as we have 
already shewn in the ist Section, answer to the loth 
question) ; the mystery of the most Holy Trinity ; 
and we shall also see creatures, as effects in their 

I wish to know whether, when we see God 
clearly in Heaven^ we shall comprehend Him ? 

A. To comprehend God, it is not sufficient to see 
God clearly. To comprehend Him it would be 
necessary to know Him with that perfection 
wherewith God, by his Infinite Knowledge, 
knows Himself; and this is impossible for any 
creature. And so, not even the most Holy Soul of 
Jesus Christ; which is hypostatically united to His 

God — the One and Trine, 65 

Divinity, can arrive at comprehending God, that is 
to say, knowing Him, with that perfection with which 
God knows Himself. 

In Heaven shall we understand all the mysteries 
of the Faith, which now we must blindly believe ? 

A. No one has ever doubted that in Heaven is 
seen clearly all that we believe on earth ; and so 
the Saints in Heaven have not the virtue of Faith, 
whereby we believe what we do not see. 

Will all the Saints in Heaven see God equally ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith that the Beatific 
Vision in Heaven will not be alike for all, but 
proportioned to the greater or less merits of each. 
(So the Councils of Florence and Trent.) This 
diversity arises from the greater or less Light of 
Glory which the Saints will enjoy, and which is 
measured by the greater or less charity with which 
they will be inflamed in Heaven. 

Will not^ such diversity be displeasi^o to the 
Saints ? 

A. They are no longer capable of envy ; but rejoice 
in the good of otliers as in their own, and the felicity 
of those who are among the least in the Kingdom 
of Heaven is so great, and so commensurate to 
the capacity which they have for enjoyment, that 
there remains nothing for them to desire. The 
following comparison will explain the truth of this. 
A man and a child, both thirsty, reach the banks of 
a great river. The man drinks, and so does the 

. S 

66 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

child. Do you suppose that the child, who must 
needs drink less on account of the capacity of his 
stomach, envies the greater quantity which the man 
drinks? The child is content with being able to 
drink as much as he wants, and as much as he can. 
Are we to believe that God grants the Vision 
of Himself, to the Holy Souls in Paradise, before 
the Resurrection of the Body, and the General 
Judgment ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, as appears from 
the definition of Faith of the Council of Florence, 
25th Sept., that souls, fully purged from all sin, and 
released from all punishment due to sin, areadmitted 
at once to the clear Vision of God in Paradise. 

What is to be said in regard to the opinion which 
teaches, that after the Resurrection, the Saints, 
together with Christ, will reign, here upon earth for 
a thousand years ? 

A. This is a heresy of the Apollinarians, con- 
demned by the first Council of Constantinople. 
The reign of the Blessed and of Christ will be in 
Heaven, and not upon earth, and it will be eternal. 

Sect. V. — TTie Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. 

I wish that in speaking to me of this Mystery, 
so sublime and difficult, you would use the strictest 
terms of the Schools, in order to my more certain 
and exact understanding of it. 

A. I intend so to speak to you of this mystery 
that every word may be available for teaching the 

God—the One and Trine, 67 

Catechism to children, therefore it is not my inten- 
tion to make rigorous use of the terms of the 
Schools, which would not be understood, and 
would require too prolix explanations. You must 
be content that I explain such things as are most 
necessary for you to know, with the utmost brevity, 
and in the clearest and most intelligible terms. 

How do you define the Mystery of the most Holy 

A. One God subsisting in Three Persons. 
' How is it possible that God, being one and most 
simple, subsists in Three Persons ? 

A. There are two truths, equally of faith ; — that 
God is one and most simple in His Divine Sub- 
stance, and trine in Persons, who are called the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This is a 
mystery however, which, while on earth, we must 
adore, and which we shall not understand, till we 
can contemplate it in Paradise. 

It seems to me, however, to be a contradiction 
that he who is three should be one, or that he 
who is one should be three. 

A. There is no contradiction in it, because 
these Three Divine Persons have one and the 
same Divine Nature and Substance. It would be 
a contradiction if They had three diverse sub- 
stances, because three substances would be three 
Gods, and could not be one only God. 

We may say then that the Father is God, that the 
Son is God, and that the Holy Ghost is God ? 

5— a 

68 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

A. You not only may, but you must say so. It 
IS an article of the Faith ; for the Father has the 
Divine Substance, the Son has the Divine Substance, 
the Holy Ghost has the Divine Substance, which is 
one only, and so there is one only God. 

Is the Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the 
Holy Ghost Eternal ? 

A. Most certainly : but they are not three Eter- 
nals, but one Eternal, because one only God. 

Is the Father Almighty, the Son Almighty, and 
the Holy Ghost Almighty ? 

A. Undoubtedly: but they are not three Al- 
mighties, but only one Almighty ; and so it is in 
regard to the other attributes of God, which are the 
same one and indivisible substance of God^ as we 
have already said (Ch. II.; § i, A. x.). (See also the 
Athanasian Creed). 

Have the Persons of the most Holy Trinity the 
same Perfections, the same Understanding, and the 
same Will ? 

A. They have the same Wisdom and the same 
Goodness. They live with the same Life, know 
with the same Understanding, will with the same 
Will, and work with the same Power. The reason 
of this is always the same, that they have the same 
Divine Nature and Substance. 

May we then say that the Person of the Father 
is the Person of the Son, and the Person of the 
Holy Ghost ? 

A. You must not say so, for it is an article of the 

God-^he One and Trine. 69 

Faith that They are Three Persons, really distinct 
(Aihanasian Creed); and therefore the Person of the 
Father is not the Person of the Son, nor of the 
Holy Ghost \ the Person of the Son - is not the 
Person of the Father, nor of the Holy Ghost ; the 
Person of the Holy Ghost is not the Person of the 
Father, nor of the Son. They are Three Persons 
really distinct one from another, although They have 
the same Substance. 

Can we say that God is distinct in Three 
Persons ? 

A. The expression that God is distinct in Three 
Persons is condemned by the dogmatic Bull Auc- 
torem Fidei; hence you must say that in God there 
are Three distinct Persons, and not that God is 
distinct in Three Persons. 

May we not say, in any sense whatever, that 
there are Three Gods ? 

A. No, in no sense whatever ; whoever should 
say so would be a heretic. 

May we say that God is Father, Son and Holy 
Ghost ? 

A. You should say so, as appears from the de- 
finition of the 4th Lateran Council.* 

Give me some comparison which may render this 
less obscure to me. 

* **We believe and confess that there is one Supreme, 
Incomprehensible and Ineffable Reality, which is truly 
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Three Persons together, and 
each of them distinct." 

70 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

A. Picture to yourself three persons called Peter, 
Paul, and John, who, nevertheless, had one and the 
same soul, and one and the same body. We should 
call them three persons, because one would be 
Peter, the other Paul, and the third John; they 
would, however, be one man only, and not three 
men, not having three bodies or three souls, but 
only one body and one soul. This would be im- 
possible amongst men, because man's substance is 
little and limited, and therefore cannot be one and 
the same in more than one person ; but the Sub- 
stance of God, that is the Divinity, is infinite, and 
therefore can be found, and in fact, is found, in 
several persons. The Substance, therefore, that is 
to say, the Divinity of the Father, is found also in 
the Son and in the Holy Ghost. 

Why is the Father called the First Person of the 
Most Holy Trinity? 

A. Because the Father is without a Principle ; 
that is to say, He has not His origin from, nor is 
produced by any one ; but He is the Principle from 
which the other Persons proceed, and by whom 
they are produced. 

Why is He called the Father ? 

A. Because from all eternity He produces or 
generates a Person like to and equal with Himself, 
of the self-same Substance and Nature, that is to 
say, the Son. 

Then if the Son proceeded from the Father, the 
Father was the first to exist ? 

God-^the One and Trine. ] 71 

A. I have told you that the Father generates the 
Son from all eternity ; therefore the Father, who 
was from all eternity, from all eternity generated the 
Son, and ever generates Him eternal as Himself. 

Why is the Second Person called the Son, and 
how is He generated? 

A. He is called the Son because He is generated by 
the Father ; and this generation is by way of under- 
standing and knowledge. The Father, from all 
eternity contemplates in Himself His Infinite Per- 
fections, and, like a most clear mirror, produces a 
living and most perfect Image of Himself, which has- 
His same Divine Substance, and is called the Son, 
and also the Eternal Word of God. 

Why is the Third Person called the Holy Ghost ? 
^ A. Because He proceeds from the Father and 
from the Son by way of will and love, and is, as it 
were, a Spiritual Breath; and because He is the 
Love of God, He is essentially Holy. 

How are we to understand His proceeding from 
the Father and from the Son, by way of will and 

A. The Father and the Son, loving one another 
perfectly from all eternity, produce the Holy Ghost, 
who is the Mutual Love of the Father and the Son, 
and has the same Divine Substance. Observe here, 
that it is an article of the Faith that the Father pro- 
ceeds from none, that the Son proceeds from the 
Father, and that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the 
Father and the Son. 

72 A Dogmatic Catechism^ 

Then the Father is the greatest of the Persons of 
the Most Holy Trinity, the Son - is less than the 
Father, and the Holy Ghost less than the Father 
and the Son ? 

A. Fix thoroughly in your mind what has been 
so often said, —that the Persons of the Most Holy 
Trinity have the same Divine Nature and Substance, 
and therefore are all three Equal, and equally Per- 
fect. Among the Persons of the Most Holy Trinity 
there is neither greater nor less, but a perfect equality 
of Goodness and Perfection. 

God— the Creator, 73 



Sect. I. The Creation of the World; — in general. 

What is the meaning of the word create? 

A. To create means to bring out of nothing ; so 
that when we say that God created the world, we 
mean to say that God, by His omnipotence, drew 
the world out of nothing. Creating differs from 
makings inasmuch as in making anything we use 
materials which already exist, whereas, in creating, 
existence itself is given to things. 

What end did God propose to Himself in the 
Creation of the World ? 

A. In the Creation of the World, Almighty God 
proposed to Himself two ends, one primary, the 
other secondary. The primary end was the mani- 
festation of His own perfections; the secondary 
end was the felicity of intelligent creatures, both 
men and angels. 

Creatures, then, manifest the Infinite Perfections 
of God? 

A. It is evident that they manifest them, because 
from creatures we know the Creator, His Omnipo- 
tence, His Wisdom, &c. They manifest them, how- 
ever, in a limited degree, because creatures, being 
circumscribed and finite, cannot manifest the In- 

74 ^ Dogmatic Catechism, 

finite Perfections of God in their real extent. 
Observe, that God oould have created a world, 
which, considered in itself, would have been more 
perfect than that which He has created, that is to 
say, which would have manifested in a more sub- 
lime degree His Divine Perfections. Nevertheless, 
this world is perfect of its own kind, manifesting in 
the best mode the Divine Perfections, in the degree 
in which it has pleased the Infinite Wisdom of God 
to manifest them. The Wisdom of God requires 
that He should choose the means most fitted to the 
attainment of His end : His Omnipotence demands 
that He should be able to do always more than He 
has done. 

God attains the primary end for which He created 
the world, which is the manifestation of His Infinite 
Perfections, in the exact degree which He has deter- 
mined ; but He does not attain the secondary end, 
for many intelligent creatures are not happy — men, 
for instatice, on this earth, and the damned and the 
demons in hell. 

A. God has given to all His intelligent creatures 
the necessary means of happiness ; therefore, on 
His part, He has attained ^the end for which He 
created them, which was conditional — that is, the 
rendering those intelligent creatures happy, who 
should will to be happy by making a good use of 
their liberty. If many intelligent creatures are not 
happy, it is because, abusing their own liberty, they 
have refused the happiness offered them, and be- 

God— the Creator. 75 

come unhappy by their own fault When I give 
alms, my end is to relieve the misery of my indigent 
neighbours : on my part, I attain my end, which is 
conditional, to relieve him, if he wills to be re- 
lieved : it is the fault of the popr man himself, if, 
abusing the liberty he has to make use of my alms, 
he throws it away, and so remains unrelieved. 

Sect. II. — The Angels. 

How do you define the Angels ? 

A. They are created, spiritual, complete, and 
intelligent substances. They are called created 
substances, because in the creation of the world 
they were drawn out of nothing. They are called 
spiritual^ because they have no bodies, not even a 
most subtle body of air or light, as some of the 
Ancients supposed. No Catholic can now have 
any doubt on this head, the 4th Lateran Council 
having expressly declared in favour of the entire 
spirituality of the Angels. They are called com- 
plete^ as differing from the human soul, which is 
designed, not by itself alone, but in union with a 
body, to form a whole, — that is, the person of man. 
They are called intelligent^ because they have great 
force and subtlety of understanding ; so that they 
are called simply — Intelligences, 

What does the name Angel signify ? 

A. Angel means messenger ; therefore, the name 
Angel is given to the Celestial Intelligences, not as 
the proper name of their nature, but as the proper 

76 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

name of their office, when they are sent by God to 
discharge some embassy, or to give some counsel. 

Is it an article of the Faith that Angels exist ? 

A. Undoubtedly it is, as is apparent from innu- 
merable passages of Holy Scripture, and from the 
Chapter Firmiter, of the 4th Lateran Council. 

Is the nature of Angels superior to human 
nature ? 

A. It is superior, as appears from Scripture and 
the Holy Fathers. 

Do the Angels know our thoughts, and the secrets 
of our hearts ? 

A. They conjecture them from signs and in- 
dications which we give, even without reflection; 
they have not, however, a certain knowledge of 
them. They have certain knowledge of them, 
when we will that they should know our thoughts 
and the secrets of our hearts ; and also, when God, 
for His own ends, reveals these to them, even with- 
out our willing it. 

How can you affirm that the Angels have not 
bodies, since they have often appeared in visible 

A. On such occasions they adapted to them- 
selves a body which was not their own; they 
assumed it when needful, and laid it aside as 
soon as they had executed the commissions which 
God sent them to accomplish among men. 

Have the Angels power over material things ? 

A. They have greater power over them than 

God—the Creator, ' 77 

men have ; with their most subtle intelligence and 
strength they can produce wonderful effects even in 
material things, such as no man is capable of. 
They can move the winds, cause storms, produce 
earthquakes and pestilences, and heal diseases, 
humanly speaking, incurable. 

May we not believe that all these things proceed 
immediately from natural causes, as philosophers 

A. We do not say that every wind that blows, that 
every storm that rages, and that every destro)dng 
pestilence, comes immediately from the action of 
some Angel ; such things happen ordinarily by the 
immediate concourse of natural causes, subject to 
the government of God, as we have already said 
(Chap, ii., Sect 2, Providence) ; but philosophers 
will never be able to prove that at times Angels do 
not co-operate in such things. Moreover, it is appa- 
rent from many passages of Holy Scripture, from 
the tradition of the Holy Fathers, and from the 
sentiment of the entire Catholic Church that they 
do concur in them ; hence, sound philosophers do 
not refuse to attribute this power over material 
things to the Angels. 

Were the Angels created in a state of grace ? 

A. Certainly; they did not however enjoy the 
Vision of God, and it was in their own power 
to preserve or to lose grace, according to the good 
or bad use they made of their liberty. 

Did theyall preserve themselves in a state of grace? 

78 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

A. Many preserved themselves in grace ; but a 
great part speedily fell into the sin of pride, were 
excluded from the kingdom of God, and condemned 
to Hell. I say speedily , because when Adam sinned, 
the Angels had already sinned, and had been trans- 
formed into demons. Meanwhile, the good Angels 
who remained humble, were admitted to the clear 
Vision of God, and became impeccable. 

Who was the chief of the bad Angels, whom we 
now call demons ? 

A. Lucifer: who in this way is the Chief or 
Prince of all the proud. 

What pimishments followed on the sin of the 

A. Four: i, blindness of mind in regard to 
supernatural things; for a great knowledge of 
natural things they retain ; 2, obstinacy of the will 
in evil ; 3, privation of Paradise ; 4, and the torment 
of eternal fire. 

Can the evil Angels induce us to evil ? 

A. They can tempt us in various ways, but they 
.cannot do violence to our will. 

Is it true that enchantments and sorcery can be 
wrought by the power of demons, and by their 
power over natural things ? 

A. It is most true, as appears from many passages 
of Holy Scripture, as many undeniable facts demon- 
strate, and as is manifest from the sentiment of the 
Church in all ages. It is rash and ridiculous to 
venture to deny such a truth, which, moreover, in our 

Godr^the Creator, 79 

days is made even more manifest and palpable by the 
wonders of table turning and spirit rapping, and by 
magnetism, the abuse of which has been condemned 
by the Church in two decrees, emanating from the 
Supreme Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition, 
of the 28th July, 1847, and the 30th July, 1856. 
Hence we may consider it certain that the devil, 
by permission of Almighty God, has power in many 
ways over the persons of men, and over natural 

Are there any obsessed by evil spirits ? 

A, Although more than once impostors have 
pretended to be obsessed by evil spirits, it is most 
certain that, even after the death of Christ, persons 
have been obsessed by the devil; this has been 
proved by incontrovertible evidence, and cannot be 
denied without accusing the Catholic Church of 
prejudice and ignorance; for she uses exorcisms 
over obsessed persons, and confers an Ecclesias- 
tical Order, and consecrates Ministers for this 

Still in our days many doubt it. 

A. St Thomas, speaking of those who in his 
time doubted these things, feared not to assert that 
this doubt sprang from a principle of unbelief * 

• " It proceeds from a root of unbelief or incredulity, that 
they believe that demons exist only in the estimation of the 
vulgar." Even Cudworth does not hesitate to assert, that 
only the impious, and men suspected of Atheism, doubt of 
such matters. 

8o A Dogmatic Catechism. 

What forbids our saying the same of those who 
doubt them in our own days ? We add, moreover, 
that such men are lacking in logic, in criticism, and 
in erudition. 

How many orders of Angels are there? 

A. There are nine, which constitute three 
Hierarchies or Choirs ; the highest containing the 
Seraphim, the Cherubim, and the Thrones; the 
next, the Dominations, the Virtues, and the Powers ; 
the last, the Principalities, the Archangels, and the 

Does God destine the Angels to be the guardians 
of men? 

A. It is a truth, clearly expressed in Holy Scrip- 
ture, that men are guarded by the Angels ; but we 
cannot say that it is absolutely of Faith that each 
individual has his Guardian Angel : such, however, 
is the sentiment of all the Holy Fathers, and of all 
the Faithful, in opposition to the heretic Calvin. 
Moreover, theologians agree that there are Angels 
deputed to be the guardians of the various king- 
doms of the earth, and of the diflferent Churches 
or Dioceses which constitute the Catholic Church. 
The Archangel St Michael, who formerly was the 
Guardian Angel of the Synagogue, is now the 
Guardian of the Universal Church. 

. What is the office of the Angel Guardians in re- 
gard to the men confided to them by God ? 

A. They guard them from perils and imminent 
evils ; they hinder the demons from injuring them. 

God — the Creator, 8i 

suggest holy thoughts, pray for them, and offer their 
prayers to God, console the souls in Purgatory, and 
when they are fully purged, conduct them to 

Sect. III. Man, 

Of what does man consist ? 

A. Of soul and body. 

What are the principal properties of the soul of 

A. It is simple, it is free, and it is immortal. 

What do you mean by man's soul being simple ? 

A. The soul of man is a spirit, not composed of 
parts, and therefore like to the Angels. It is neither 
high nor low, neither broad nor narrow; it has 
neither right nor left, it can neither be seen with the 
eyes of the body, nor touched with the hands ; it 
is in the body, and gives life to the body, but it has 
not any of the qualities which the body has. 

What do you mean by the soul being free ? 

A. The soul knows good and evil, and has the 
power of applying itself to the one or the other as 
it pleases. When it does good, it is in its power 
not to do it, and when it does evil, it is equally .in 
its power not to do it. 

What do you mean by its being immortal ? 

A. Not only does the soul survive the death of 
the body, but uniting itself again'to the body in the 
day of the General Resurrection, it will share with 
the body a life which shall never end ; eternally 


82 A Dogmatic CateMsm, 

ha]^y or unhappy accoiding to its merits or de- 
ments, diat is to say, acoHding to the good or bad 
use it shall have made of its liberty. 

Could not God cause the death of the soul of 
man; that is to say, could He not reduce it to 

A. He could do so of absolute power. Moreover, 
should He for a single moment cease to preserve it, 
it would be immediately reduced to nothing, as 
would be the case with every other creature ; but 
having decreed to preserve man's soul in life for ever, 
and His decree being immutable, He cannot reduce 
it to nothing. 

: Is it an article of the Faith that the body of man 
will rise again after death, and that it will be united 
anew to the soul ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, expressed in 
the Creed. 

Who was the first man created by God ? 

A. Adam was the first man created by God. He 
then took one of his ribs, and of it formed Eve, 
who was the first woman. 

Relying on the Chronology of Holy Scripture, we 
reckon about six thousand years from Adam to us; 
but many learned men, skilled in the antiquity of 
monuments, are of opinion that some of these are 
ten or twelve thousand years old. If this be true, 
it is as much as to say that Adam was not the first 
man created by God, but that other men existed 
before him. ' 

God— -the Creator, 83 

A. There is no occasion for me to point out to 
you that those learned men, whom you call skilled 
in the antiquity of monuments, are either* impos- 
tors or ignorant. It is sufficient for you to know 
that they attribute ten thousand years or more to 
certain ancient monuments, particularly Egyptian 
monuments, in order to bring into discredit the 
Sacred Scriptures; and so to shake the foundations 
of our most holy Religion. Adam was the first man 
created by God. He is as old as Heaven and Earth, 
within five days, having been created on the sixth 
day of creation ; and all the buildings or monuments 
which are in the world are less ancient than Adam. 

Did God create Adam and Eve in a state of 

* The Author here condemns those men only who endeavour 
to undermine the facts, and cast discredit on the truths of 
Divine Revelation, as contained in Holy Scripture and tra- 
dition, and as proposed by the Catholic Churchy on the ground 
that they are in contradicti(»i to the conclusions of modem 
philosophy and the progress of science, — as, for instance^the 
Pre- Adamites and Co- Adamites, who maintain that Adam was 
not the first man, and that the human race has not sprung 
from one man and one woman, created and made in the be- 
ginning, immediately by God Himself ; both of which are 
facts Divinely revealed, and so for which we have a certainty 
greater than that of all human science — an infallible and 
Divine certainty. 

He does not condemn the opinion that the six days of 
Creation were — ^not so many natural dajrs, but epochs, or 
periods of years. — Ed. 


8 - A Dogmatic Catechism. 

A. When God created Adam and Eve, He 
adorned them with sanctifying grace. 

In the estate of innocence in which they were, 
could it be said that this sanctifying grace was 
natural in them, that is to say, due to nature ? 

A. No ; this grace was a supernatural and gra- 
tuitous gift in Adam and Eve, therefore not due to 
their nature ; and this truth is apparent, especially 
from the condemnation of the xxii. xxiii. and Ixxix. 
propositions of Baius, condemned by the Supreme 
Pontiffs, St. Pius v., Gregory XIII., and Urban 
VIII. as well as from the condemnation of the 
xxxiv.' and xxxv. propositions of Quesnel, made by 
His Holiness Clement XI. 

Were Adam and Eve created immortal ? 
A. Certeinly ; and if they had persevered in good, 
they would have passed to the possession of eternal 
glory without dying. Observe, however, that even 
this immortality and destination to the glory ot 
Paradise were supernatural gifts. 

If sanctifying grace, immortality, immumty from 
concupiscence, and destination to the glory of Para- 
dise were supernatural gifts, it is as much as to say 
that God might have created man in the same state 
in which he is now born since the fall- _ 

A Certainly ; sin always excepted, God might 
have created man in the state in which he is now 
bom, without detracting from His justice or His 

God-^the Creator, 85 

Were they perfectly happy in respect both of soul 
and body ? 

A, There is no doubt of it, because all misery 
began from sin; therefore, had they remained 
obedient in the terrestrial Paradise, where God 
placed them, they would never have suffered the 
least affliction nor adversity. 

What was Adam's sin ? 

A. The sin of pride, which is the origin of dis- 
obedience, and from which, as Holy Scripture tells 
us, every sin has its beginning (Eccl. x. 14). 

What were the punishments of original sin ? 

• A. Expulsion from the terrestrial Paradise, the 
death of the body, all the infirmities and miseries of 
this life, and the loss of all the other supernatural 
gifts of which we have spoken. Being deprived of 
sanctifying grace, they stood deprived also of the 
right which they formerly had to eternal glory,- and 
condemned to eternal death. 

Is Adam's sin inherited by all his descendants ? 

• A. It is an article of the Faith. Not only was 
Adam, by his sin, subjected to the said punishments, 
but also all his descendants, with the exception of 
the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Why is the Blessed Virgin excepted ? 

A. Because this pious belief always obtained in 
the Church ; and it is now defined as an irrefragable 
dogma, by the Bull Ineffabilis Deus^ of His Holi- 
ness Pius IX. ; for which cause, should any one 

86 A D^^matic Catechism. 

now deny, or cast any doubt on the immunity 
of the Blessed Virgin from original sin, he would 
be a heretic. 

But has the Pope, by himself, authority to define 

A. The Pope has, by himself alone, authority 
to define dogma (see chap. i. Of the Sources of 
Theology, § v.). Observe, however, that this 
definition was preceded by the vote of all the 
Bishops of the Catholic world, and was accepted, 
not -only with submission, but also with exultation 
by all the Churches of the world, who, together 
with the Church of Rome, form the Catholic or 
Universal Church. Hence, no one, without being 
manifestly heretical, can deny or even doubt that 
the Blessed Virgin Mary was Immaculate in her 

How can it be that Adam's descendants should 
be justly subjected to suffer the penalty of a sin 
which they had not personally committed ? 

A. This is somewhat of a mystery. It is enough 
for us to know that God is just, and that he cannot 
punish save the guilty. It would be necessary to 
know clearly the nature of, or what constitutes ori- 
ginal sin, in order to be able to see how just it is 
that we should bear the punishment of it. If you 
know little of the nature of a crime which the sove- 
reign punishes, you will, perhaps, be tempted to say 
that his rigour is excessive; but you would not have 
had this suspicion, had you seen and examined the 

Godlike Creator 87 

trial of the criminal. We believe by faith that God 
cannot exceed in rigour, and this is enough for us. 
Original sin is transmitted to us through carnal 
generation ; how this transmission comes to pass, 
how it is imputed to us, has not yet been defined 
by the Church ; but this obscurity in which we find 
ourselves can give us no right to doubt a truth which 
is of faith. Can you say that a thing is not because 
you do not know or understand how it is ? 

Then children who die without baptism are there- 
fore condemned to eternal death ? 

A. We cannot doubt it; not, however, in the 
same way in which Adam and Eve would have suf- 
fered eternal death, had they not repented. In 
them this sin was a sin committed by the malice of 
their own will : not so with us their descendants. 
Hence, theologians almost universally believe that 
such children suffer no other pain than that of being 
deprived of the vision of God ; and St. Thomas is 
of opinion that they will not be sensible even of 
this pain. This opinion of St. Thomas is embraced 
by most grave and sound authors, and is therefore 
very probable. According to this opinion, eternal 
death for those children would consist in the simple 
deprivation of eternal life, without sorrow or suffer- 
ing. Observe, moreover, that there being no neces- 
sity why God should reveal to us how He punishes 
original sin in such children, we ought not to marvel 
that He has not revealed it to us. 

88 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

Sect. IV. Paradise, Purgatoryy afid HelL 

Is it an article of the Faith that there is a 
Paradise ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, expressed in the 
Creed, under the name of Eternal Life. 

Where is Paradise ? 

A. Paradise is in Heaven : " Be glad and rejoice, 
for your reward is very great in Heaven " (St. Matt. 
V. 12) j and it is a place of so great beauty, 
riches, and magnificence, that in this world we can 
form no adequate idea of it. Every shadow of evil 
is completely excluded from Paradise, and every 
kind of good is found there. 

What do the saints enjoy in Paradise? 

A, Their Essential Beatitude consists in seeing 
and loving God. In contemplating His Infinite 
Beauty, clearly manifested to their intellects as it is 
in itself, and in loving His Infinite Goodness, with a 
love which causes them to taste it in its own proper 
sweetness, consists that blessedness which, as St. 
Paul says,—" Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, 
neither hath it entered into the heart of man to 
conceive" (i Cor. ii. 9). 

Why do you say Essential Beatitude ? 

A. Because this Beatitude is so great and com- 
plete, that with it alone the Saints are so blessed 
that they cannot desire anything else. They enjoy, 
moreover, the material beauty of Heaven, the 
society of the Saints their companions, and that of 

God'-the Creator. 89 

the Angels, the presence of Mary, the Queen of 
Heaven, and, above all, of the Sacred Humanity of 
Jesus Christ : but this joy being in no way neces- 
sary to perfect beatitude, it may be called accidmtaly 
or accessory joy. In Heaven, moreover, are given 
certain accidental rewards, which are called Aureoles, 
that is to say, coronets, as distinct from the Aurea, or 
Crown of Eternal Glory common to all the Blessed. 
St. Thomas defines these Aureoles as " a joy, or ac- 
cidental reward, added to the essential reward, or 
joy, for some extraordinary victory.'* He says 
further, that there are three kinds of Aureoles : the 
first, those of Virgins, who, overcoming the flesh, 
live the lives of Angels in human bodies ] the se- 
cond, those of Martyrs, who overcome the world 
with'all its terrors, and all human respect ; the third, 
those of Doctors, who overcome the Devil, discover- 
ing his frauds, and driving him from men's souls. 
Observe that these Aureoles are called coronets, not 
because they 'are small in themselves, for their 
splendour and value are immense; but they are 
called coronets, or small, in comparison with the 
Aurea,thdX is to say, in comparison with the Essential 
Beatitude. which is common to all the Blessed. In 
the same way, we should call the greatest treasure 
in the world small, compared to a high mountain of 
gold, or to a sea shore composed of gems. The 
glory of those crowns, although it vAW be specially 
in the souls of the Blessed, will also redoujid to their - 

90 A Dogmatic Catechism, \ 

glorified bodies after the resurrection^ as the same 
St Thomas affirms. 

Will the Blessed be secure of not losing Paradise 
for all eternity ? 

A. They will be perfectly secure ; and it is this 
certainty which makes their Beatitude complete, 
knowing that whatever they then enjoy they will 
enjoy for ever. 

Is it an article of the Faith that there is a 

A. It is an article of the Faith, always acknow- 
ledged as such by all Catholics, and finally declared 
to be so by the most Holy. Council of Trent In 
Purgatory satisfaction is made for every debt of 
temporal punishment which we owe to the Divine 
Justice for venial sins, and also for mortal sins, 
already pardoned as far as regards their guilt and 
the eternal punishment which they have merited. 
We shall see afterwards, in its proper place, how 
mortal sins, which are pardoned so far as regards 
their guilt and the eternal punishment due to them, 
must still be satisfied for by some temporal punish- 
ment, either by good works and Indulgences in 
this life, or else in Purgatory. 

What kind of pain do the Holy Souls suffer in 
Purgatory ? 

A. The pain of fire, which will be most fierce, 
for as St Augustine says (on Psalm 37), the fire of 
Purgatory .is sharper than any pain that can be 

God — the Creator, 9L 

experienced on earth; they suffer also the still 
greater pain of seeing themselves deprived of the 
Vision of God, after which souls separated from the 
body ardently aspire. 

Is it an article of the Faith, that in Purgatory 
there is material fire ? 

A. It is not an article of the Faith, and .some 
have thought that Purgatory is a place of darkness, 
full of sadness, but without fire ; but the common 
opinion of Theologians, as Bellarmine proves, is 
contrary to this opinion, and therefore, as we have 
said in the ist Chapter, 6th Sect., we must hold it 
as a certain and undeniable fact, that there is in 
Purgatory true material fire. 

Do the souls in Purgatory remain there for a 
long time ? 

A. The time is proportioned to the temporal 
punishments for which they are debtors to the Divine 
Justice; hence some souls remain there for a 
longer, some for a shorter time. The Church 
desires that pious bequests for the souls of the 
departed should still be fulfilled, even for centuries- 
after their death ; and thus makes known to us her 
belief, that there are some souls in Purgatory who 
must there remain suffering for an immense time. 
Observe, that at the day of the Universal Judgment 
Purgatory will be at an end, and should there then 
be some souls who ought to remain a yet longer 
time, in order to satisfy for their debts, God will 
cause that in a shorter time they shall suffer more 

92 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

intense pains, and so be more quickly purged j in 
order that all the elect may, on that day ascend 
glorious and blessed into Heaven. 

Are the souls in Purgatory certain of their eternal 
salvation ? 

A. They are most certain of it Luther taught 
the contrary error ; but it was condemned, with his 
other errors, by Pope Leo X. 

Are the souls in Purgatory resigned to the 
Divine Will, in so much pain ? 

A. They are perfectly resigned, and although they 
suffer most grievous pain, they sleep the sleep of 
peace, being perfectly conformed to the Divine 
Will, loving God and His adorable dispensations 
with the intense aflfection of charity. 

Where is Purgatory ? 

A. It is the common opinion of the Doctors of 
the Church, that Purgatory is in the bowels of the 

Can the living afford relief to the souls in 
Purgatory ? 

A. This is an article of the Faith, as declared by 
the most Holy Council of Trent. The means by 
which they can afford them relief, are works of 
mortification, prayers made in their behalf, and the 
application of such Indulgences as are applicable to 
them; but above all, the souls of Purgatory are 
succoured by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as 
the Council of Trent declares. 

Is it an article of the Faith that there is a Hell ? 

God — the Creator, 93 

A. It is an article of the Faith, as declared by 
several General Councils. By Hell is meant a 
place of torment, where the devils, and sinners who 
die stained with mortal sin, are punished. This place 
of torment will never have an end, nor can the 
devils or the damned be ever liberated from it. 

Is it also an article of the Faith, that the pains of 
the devils and of the damned will never come to an 

A. It is as much an article of the Faith as the 
existence of Hell; and is affirmed by the same 
General Councils. 

What are the principal pains of Hell ? 

A. Fire, privation of the Vision of God, and 
eternal despair; the damned being most certain 
that their pains will never end. 

Will the damned all suflfer equal pain ? 

A. No ; it would be contrary to the Justice of 
God. As in Heaven, the Blessed have divers 
degrees of glory according to the diversity of their 
merits, so in Hell, the damned have diverse degrees 
of -pain, according to the diversity of their de- 
merits. Although all who are in Hell are most 
miserable, still the pain they suflfer is more or less 
intense, according to the number and gravity of 
their sins. 

Do the devils and the damned ever come out of 

A. It is the opinion of Theologians, that some 
devils, by the permission of God, inhabit the regions 

94 ^ Dogmatic Catechism, 

of the air ; founding on the authority of St. Paul 
who calls them : Rectores tmcbrarum harum . . , in 
ccdestibus, '' The Rulers of the world of this dark- 
ness, the spirits of wickedness in the high places " 
(Ephes. vi. 12) : but the permanent place assigned 
to them is Hell, from which they, as well as the 
souls of the damned, can issue, for some just 
cause permitted by God. Observe, however, that 
when they do come out of Hell, they are not freed 
from the pains which they suffer there, and which 
accompany them in every place. Further it is certain 
that, afler the General Judgment, they will never 
more be able to quit Hell. It is an undeniable 
fact, from many facts related in history, that devils 
and souls of the damned do sometimes come out of 

Sect. V, The Consummation of the World, ) 

When will the consummation of the world arrive? 

A. It is most uncertain, nor is there any argu- 
ment to prove with certainty whether it will happen 
shortly, or after many ages. Moreover, such an 
enquiry appears useless, Jesus Christ having said 
that the Angels know nothing of that day, and that 
hour, in which the world shall come to an end ; 
nay ! that in regard to His Humanity not even He 
Himself knows it (Mark xiii. 32); knowing it 
only, as St. Gregory the Great says, by reason of His 
Divinity, and not choosing to manifest it. Hence 
it is not to be wondered at, if various ancient 

God — the Creator. 95 

authors, famous for learning and sanctity^ wishing to 
fix the epoch of the Consummation of the World 
were deceived. Wisely, therefore, did St. Thomas 
set himself to combat every conjecture made by 
men on this point ; and St. Alphonsus de Liguori 
in the work from which we have already quoted 
(diss, v.), concludes thus : " What is certain is 
what Jesus Christ said : De die autem illS, et 
hori nemo scit. Of that day, and of that hour 
no man knoweth." Moreover, Leo X., in the 
Lateran Council, expresses himself as follows: 
"Tempus quoque praefixum futurorum malorum, 
vel Antichristi adventum, aut certam diem Judicii 
praedicare, vel asserere quis nequaquam prse- 
sumat." " Let no man presume to lay down, or 
set forth the time appointed of the coming evils, or 
the advent of Antichrist, or the certain day of the 

Will Antichrist precede the end of the world ? 

A. It is the teaching of all the Holy Fathers, and 
the sentiment of the Faithful in all ages, that Anti- 
christ will certainly precede the end of the world. 
Holy Scriptm-e also speaks clearly on this point, in 
several passages. 

Who will Antichrist be ? 

A. Antichrist will be a most wicked man, who 
will have commerce with the devil, will work 
false prodigies, will seek to make himself adored 
as God, will persecute Catholics more cruelly than 
they have ever yet been persecuted, and who will 
have a great number of followers. He will be the 

g6 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

author of great devastation and ruin ; and in his 
time the public celebration of the Divine Mysteries, 
particularly of the Holy Mass, will cease. 

Who will come to preach against him ? 

A. Enoch and Elias, who, according to the 
common opinion of Catholics, are yet living. They 
will preserve many Catholics from error, and will 
convert many infidefs, especially Jews, who be- 
fore the end of the world will detest their obstinate 
perfidy, and acknowledge Jesus Christ. Enoch and 
Elias will crown their preaching at last by martyr- 

Will other signs precede the end of the world ? 

A. Many terrible signs described in the Holy 
Gospels, such as tempests, earthquakes, famines, 
pestilences, disturbance of the seasons, &c., will 
precede the end of the world. 

What will be the end of the world ? 

A. It will end by a prodigious fire, which will 
consume everything on this earth, and by which 
even the Heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, 
as St. Peter says (2 St. Peter, iii., 10, 12, 13). 

Is it an article of the Faith that the bodies of 
men will rise again at the end of the world ? 

A. It is an Article of the Faith, as expressed in 
the Creed by the words ; " The Resurrection of 
the Flesh." 

Will all men rise again, without exception ? 

A. We must except the Most Blessed Virgin 
Mary, who rose again soon after her death; a 

God — the Creator, 97 

truth most certain on the authority of the Holy 
Fathers and Doctors, as well as by the sentiment 
of the whole Catholic Church, which celebrates with 
the greatest solemnity Her glorious Assumption into 
Heaven. We must also except Enoch and Elias, 
who will rise again three days and a half after their 
martyrdom, as we read in the Apocalypse (ch. 
xi., V. II, 12). St. Thomas and Maldonatus except 
also the Saints who rose again, at the time of our 
Lord's death (Matt.xxvii. 52). With these except- 
ions, there is no doubt that all men will rise again, 
for all men must die, and afterwards present them- 
selves with their bodies at the Universal Judgment. 

But if all men must die before they present them- 
selves at the Judgment, why is Jesus Christ called 
the Judge of the Living and the Dead ? 

A. St. Thomas answers, that by the living, are 
meant those who will remain alive up to the last day 
of the world. Nevertheless, they too will die, because 
of the condemnation pronounced by God against 
all the children of Adam. £ut, being alive a few 
hours before the Universal Judgment, their death 
is scarcely considered, and it is said that they will 
go, as it were alive, to Judgment, because they have 
remained in life up to the extremity of time, which 
ends with the judgment 

Since all men will rise again, will they rise with 
the same bodies which they had formerly ? 

A. This is an article of the Faith. Were they to 
rise again with other bodies, how could it be said 


98 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

that the flesh, or the bodies which were dead, rose 
again. The bodies of the damned will rise horrible 
and frightful, although in their natural form. The 
bodies of the Blessed will also rise in their natural 
form, but most beautiful and glorious, endowed, 
moreover, with the four qualities which belong to 
glorified bodies : Brightness, Impassibility, Agility, 
and Subtility. 

Explain to me those qualities. 

A. Brightness signifies a splendour, of most vivid 
light, with which they will shine as suns ; Impas- 
sibiliiy will render them immortal and incapable of 
suffering the least pain or inconvenience ; Agility 
will render them most prompt in corresponding with 
the desires of the soul, for the bodies of the Blessed 
being without weight or heaviness, they will trans- 
port themselves from one place to another with the 
most rapid motion. By the gift of Subtility they 
will be freed from all density, as St. Alphonsus 
expresses it, in such sort that the soul will govern 
the body as if it were a spirit, not because it will 
become a spirit or an ethereal body, but because the 
body will be perfectly obedient to the soul. 

What will be the stature of the rising bodies ? 

A. St. Thomas says, that men will rise with the 
stature which they had, or would have had at the 
natural termination of the increase of the body. 
Those, however, who were, or might have been, of 
defective stature, from being immoderately tall or 
short, will by the Divine Omnipotence have these 

God— the Creator. 99 

defects supplied, that they may rise again of an 
ordinary stature. 

In what place will the Universal Judgment be 

held ? 

A. The general opinion of the Doctors teaches 
that the Universal Judgment will take place in the 
Valley of Jehoshaphat There the Elect will be 
placed on the Right, and the reprobate on the 


What will be the Sign of the Son of Man which 
will appear, according to the prediction in the 
Gospel of St Matthew, ch. xxiv., v. 30 ? 

A. According to the common opinion of the 
Holy Fathers and Doctors, this Sign will be the 
resplendent Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is 
to say, either the very same Crosspn which He died, 
or, as is more probable, an image of His Cross. 

Will Jesus Christ descend in human form, to 
judge men ? 

A. It is certain and undoubted that^ as in human 
form He ascended into Heaven, so He will descend 
thence in human form, and that with great power 
and majesty, as is revealed in the Holy Gospels. 
How will the Judgment proceed ? 
A. Jesus Christ will cause all the good works of 
the just, and all the evil deeds of the damned to be 
made manifest ; so that each one will know clearly 
his own merits or demerits, and in like manner will 
see the merits or demerits of others. In that day 
the admirable conduct of the Divine Justice in re- 
gard to all men will be seen. 

7— a 

100 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

How will the sentence be given ? 

A. After all things shall have been thus made 
known, Jesus Christ will invite all the Elect to 
Paradise, and will condemn all the reprobate to 
Hell. < Then shall the Elect, as in a most glorious 
triumph, ascend into Heaven, there to rest for ever ; 
whilst the earth opening under the feet of the 
reprobate, they shall be engulfed by Hell, from 
whence neither tlie damned nor the devils shall 
ever any more issue forth. 

Will there then be the consummation of the 

A. Such will be the end of this World, that is to 
say, the series of vicissitudes amidst which the chil- 
dren of Adam live. Oh ! that whilst we are in time, 
we might know the vanity of all transitory, and the 
importance of all eternal things, so that, in that 
great day, we might receive a favourable sentence 
from Christ the Judge. 

Will our earth, the sun and stars, cease to exist ? 

A. The earth cannot cease to exist since it 
contains in its bosom Hell, which will never end ; 
neither will the sun and stars cease to exist, but they 
will shine with a more beautiful and brilliant light. 
St. John, in the Apocalypse, saw a new heaven and 
a new earth (Apoc. xxL, i). All will therefore be 
renewed in a better form by the Omnipotence of 

But what will be the use of the surface of the 
earth, and of the sun and stars, when all the elect 
will be in Paradise, and all the reprobate in Hell ? 

God^ the Creator, xoz 

A. Holy Scripture tells us nothing on this head \ 
nor can we imagine anything probable about it. 
Therefore let us turn all our curiosity to the search 
after those means, whereby we may secure to our- 
selves the possession of Heaven. There we shall 
see all things ; and in all things, and for all things 
we shall give to God eternal praise. 

103 A Dogmatic CaUchism. 



Sect. L Notion of the Mystery, 

How do you define the mysteiy of the Incarnation ? 

A. It is a primaiy mystery of the Christian re- 
ligion, whereby the Eternal Word assumed insepar- 
ably, in the unity of His Person, a true and entire 
human nature, in order to appease Aknighty God 
by His sufferings, and to reconcile Him with the 
human race. 

Why do you call it a primary mystery ? 

A. Because it is the foimdation of the Christian 
religion, and the basis of all our hopes. 

Why do you say that the Eternal Word did this ? 

A. To express that a Divine Person became in- 
carnate, and that therefore Christ is not a mere 
man, but True Man and True God ; and further, to 
denote that the Second Person of the Blessed 
Trinity alone became incarnate, and not the Father, 
nor the Holy Ghost 

Then, the Incarnation of the Son of God is not 
the work of all the Persons of the Blessed Trinity ? 
The Father and the Holy Ghost did not concur 
to it? 

A. The Incarnation of the Son of God is the 
work of the Divine Omnipotence ; and so is the 
work of the Blessed Trinity. Therefore the Father 

The Incarnation of the Son of God, 103 

and the Holy Ghost did concur to it; but the 
union with a human nature was made only by the 
Second Person, the Son alone took and assumed 
human flesh. To make use of a material compa" 
rison, suppose that Peter is dressing himself, whilst 
James and John are assisting him. Peter alone 
puts on the dress, but James and John co-operate 
and concur in the dressing of Peter. 

Why do you employ the word inseparably ? 

A. Because the Word having assumed human 
nature, united it to Himself, so as never more to 
separate Himself from it : therefore, when Christ 
died upon the cross, the Soul of Christ was separ- 
ated from His Body, but the Eternal Word was not 
separated either from the Body which remained in 
the sepulchre, nor from the Soul which descended 
into hell ; and throughout all eternity Jesus Christ 
will ever be True Man and Triie God. 

Why do you say that He assumed human nature, 
and not that He assumed man ? Could you not say 
that He united man to Himself? 

A. You must understand that God did not create 
a soul and a body, and form a man of them, and 
then unite Himself with that man, in the Incarna- 
tion; but He created a soul and formed -a body, 
and assumed, or united both to His Divine Person ; 
therefore, the Eternal Word did not take a human 
person, but a human nature. And anyone who should 
say that in Christ there are two persons, a human and 
a Divine, would be a heretic : in Christ there are 

T04 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

two natures, the Divine Nature and the Human 
Nature, but not two persons. Christ is one only 
Person, that is, the Second Person of the Blessed 

Why would it be heresy to say that in Christ 
there are two persons, a human and a Divine ? 

A. Because the Church has condemned this error 
in Nestorius. Nestorius maintained that Christ 
consisted of two persons, a human and a Divine, 
united together by the bond of charity; and so he 
would not have the Blessed Virgin called the 
Mother of God, because, according to his error, 
she was mother only of the human person of 
Mary, then, is the true Mother of God ? 
A. This is an article of the Faith, because in the 
Womb of Mary there became incarnate, and of 
her there was bom, a Divine Person, Jesus Christ. 

Admitting that in Jesus Christ there is one 
Person alone, might we not also say that in Him 
there is one nature alone ? 

A. This would be the heresy condemned in 
Eutyches. The Church has defined, as an article 
of the Faith, that in Christ there are two Natures, 
a Human and a Divine, and only one Divine 
Person, as we have already said ; and this is what 
we must firmly believe and profess. 
What consequences follow from these truths ? 
A. That in Christ we must admit, what is called 
by theologians a Communicaiio idiomatum^ by which 

Hie Incamaiian of the Sen of God. 105 

the properties and attributes which belong to the 
Human Nature, as well as those which belong to the 
Divine Nature, are attributed to Jesus Christ 
And so we say that Jesus Christ was bom, and we 
say that He is eternal: He was bom, because His 
Humanity had Its beginning in the womb of the 
Virgin Mary; He is eternal because His Divinity 
has existed from all eternity. We say that He is 
limited, and we say that He is Immense: He is 
limited because His Humanity is limited; He is 
Immense because His Divinity is Immense ; and 
so of the other properties of the two natures. 

Can we say, then, that the Humanity of Christ is 
Immense, and that His Divinity is limited ? 

A. No. Speaking absolutely of Christ, who is 
one only Divine Person, and has two distinct 
natures, we may speak of Him inasmuch as He is 
God, and inasmuch as He is Man ; but when we 
speak of His Divinity or of His Humanity, separ- 
ately, then we may not admit this reciprocal com- 
munication ; and so we must say that the Humanity 
of Christ is limited, and that His pivinity is 
Immense ; that His Humanity had Its beginning in 
time, and that His Divinity is eternal, &c. 

What other consequences foUowfrom these truths? 

A. That Christ must be called the Son of God 
by nature, and not the Son of God by adoption, 
not even inasmuch as He is Man ; and so the 
Church has defined, in opposition to certain here- 
tics, that Christ is to be adored with the supreme 
worship of Lairia^ and not with the worship of 

io6 A Dogmatic Caiechtsm, 

Duliay or Hyperdulia^ with which we adore the 
Saints, and the Blessed Virgin, respectively ; that 
the actions of Christ had an infinite merit ; that the 
Virgin Mary is true Mother of God; and other con- 
sequences, which you will find in theological writers. 
If the Blessed Virgin Mary is to be called the 
Mother of God, because in Her womb the Son of 
God became incarnate, we must call the Holy 
Ghost the Father of God, because it was by His 
operation that the Son of God became incarnate in 
the womb of the Virgin Mary. 

A. That one be called father, it is necessary 
that he contribute of his substance to his son ; now 
the Holy Ghost did not contribute the substance, 
for the formation of the Body of the Incarnate 
Word. The Blessed Virgin alone ministered this 
substance, and from Her most pure blood, by virtue 
of the Holy Ghost, was formed the Body of Jesus 

Why do you say further that Christ took a true 
and entire human nature ? 

A. In order to avoid the error of those heretics 
who taught, that Christ took a body which was 
ethereal and in appearance only, and so did not take 
true human flesh. Also to indicate that He took a 
true, rational human soul, in opposition to the error 
of those other heretics, who imagined that Christ had 
taken only a body ; or, admitting that he had taken 
a soul, imagined that it was not a human, that is 
a rational soul,— but that in Christ the Eternal 
Word took the place of a soul. 

TTie Incarnation of the Son of God, 107 

Finally, for what reason do you say, — ^in order to 
appease God by His sufferings, and to reconcile 
Him with the human race ? 

A. These words shew the end of the Incarna- 
tion, which was to free men from sin, and from the 
punishment, which sin merits ; they shew also the 
means which Christ adopted to attain this end, to 
wit. His Passion and Death, by which the Divine 
Justice was appeased in regard to us. 

Did Christ suffer really, that is to say, did He 
really feel those interior and exterior pains, which 
He appeared to suffer ? 

A. It is as much an article of tlie Faith that 
Christ really suffered, as that He took true human 
flesh. The Eternal Word took a Human Body, 
subject to hunger and weariness, to wounds and 
pain, passible and^ mortal; and He truly suffered 
all that the Holy Evangelists relate of His Suffer- 
ings. He took, moreover, a Human Soul, which 
was capable of sadness, heaviness, and affliction, 
like the souls of other men; with this difference, 
that we suffer sadness, heaviness, and afflictions 
which very often we can neither alleviate nor re- 
move, by our own will ; whereas' the Soul of Christ 
ruled as Lord over these passions, and suffered 
them only in that degree which He willed. 

Is it of faith that Christ has merited for us the 
pardon of our sins, the graces necessary for salva- 
tion, and that He has restored to us the right to 
eternal life, which we had lost ? 

io8 A Dogmatk Catechism, 

A. These are truths of the Faith. Jesus Christy 
by His humiliations and sufferings, has not only 
merited for Himself, as St. Paul sajrs (Phil, ii.), the 
Glory of His Body and the Exaltation of His Name, 
but He has also merited for us every supernatural 
grace ; and He has merited them, not only for those 
who have lived since the time of His Incarnation, 
but also for those who lived before that time ; so 
that all the supernatural graces bestowed upon 
men> even before His Incarnation, were merited 
for them by Jesus Christ; that is to say, they 
obtained them in regard of the merits of Jesus 
Christ, Who was to come, in order to make satisfac- 
tion for the sins of the whole world, and to obtain 
for men every good availing to eternal life. 

If He has merited eternal life for all men, do 
you mean to say that all men will be saved ? 

A. He has merited eternal life for all men, but 
He requires the co-operation of men, in order to 
their obtaining the same. He has not merited for 
men so that they should be compelled to save 
themselves, but He has so merited for them, that 
by the help of His grace, they, willing it, may be 
able to save themselves. Hence, notwithstanding 
His superabundant merits, which are capable oi 
saving innumerable men, more than ever existed, 
now exist, or shall hereafter exist, he who chooses 
to damn himself is damned, as we see is the case 
with the greater part of men, who, abusing their 
own liberty, are lost. 

The Incarnation of the Son of God, 109 

Could not God have saved men in some other 
way, without becoming man ? 

A. He could have saved us, of His Absolute Power, 
in other ways, but He chose this way, in order to 
receive an adequate satisfaction for the injury, which 
sin had done Him. Observe that God, of His 
Absolute Power, could have pardoned sin, without 
exacting any satisfaction, or by accepting the satis- 
faction which might have been offered Him by some 
holy Creature, as, for instance, by an Angel ; but this 
satisfaction would not have been proportionate to 
the injury received. 

For what reason, then, did God choose this mode, 
rather than any other? 

A. We must not seek to know the reason of God's 
operations; nevertheless, we may say that He chose 
this mode, because it was the most fitting ; His 
Divine Justice being in this way most fully satisfied, 
and His other Attributes, such as His Clemency, 
His Wisdom, His Omnipotence, &c., being made 
manifest in an incomparable degree. Moreover, 
this was the most efficacious mode to gain our love. 
For, that a God should become man, and subject 
Himself to sufferings and to death, in order to save 
men, is such an excess of love as to oblige even 
the hardest hearts to love this God. 

Was God obliged to provide a remedy of some 
kind, for the ruin into which sin had plunged us? 

A He might justly have abandoned us in our 
sin, and to the consequences of our sin ; it was the 

xio A Dogmatic Catechism, 

work of His Infinite Mercy, to provide a remedy for 
our evils. 

Was the Incarnation of the Son of God foretold, 
before it was effected ? 

A. It was foretold immediately after Adam's fall, 
and the Prophets all spoke of it. Hence Jesus 
Christ was expected by the Jews; and even the 
Gentiles, as we gather from profane history, were in 
expectation of a Saviour. 

For what reason would the Jewish people not ac- 
knowledge Him when He came? 
' A, Because of their pride, and the obstinacy of 
their prejudices. The Jews were absolutely without 
excuse, for they had the Prophecies which spoke 
clearly of Him ; and those Prophecies they saw veri- 
fied in Jesus Christ 

Sect. II. TTie Body and Soid of Christ. 

Can we say that the Body of Jesus Christ consists 
of human flesh \ and that therefore He became a 
son of Adam ? 

A. We have already declared it to be a Catholic 
truth, that Christ took true and real human flesh, like 
that of other men, with this difference — that He did 
not take It by the operation of man, but by the ope- 
ration of the Holy Ghost ; therefore, having taken 
true and real human flesh, He became a son of 

Was not St. Joseph, the Husband of Mary, the 
Father of Jesus ? 


The Incarnation of the Son of God, iti 

A. St. Joseph was the Husband of Mary ; but he 
remained ever a virgin, and left the Blessed Mary 
ever a virgin. It would be heresy to say that St. 
Joseph was the true father of Jesus Christ ; he was 
only the reputed father, that is, believed to be such 
by persons who, knowing that he had espoused and 
lived with Mary, and seeing that she had a son, 
thought that she had had him by Joseph. On the 
contrary, however, St Joseph always lived with 
Mary, as if he had been Her brother, and nothing 

. How could the Blessed Mary have had a son, 
whilst she remained a Virgin ? 

A. This is a miracle of the Omnipotence of God j 
and so great a miracle that none has ever taken 
place like it. The Holy Ghost, as we have already 
mentioned, formed the Body of Jesus Christ, of the 
most pure blood of Mary ; in due time Mary brought 
Him forth in the stable of Bethlehem, remaining 
even then a Virgin as before ; and so she brought 
Him forth without pain or sorrow, and without any 
injury or violation of her virginal integrity. Observe 
that it is an Article of the Faith, that Mary was a 
Virgin before childbirth, in childbirth, and after 
childbirth, as defined by the General Council of 

In the Holy Gospel mention is made of' the 
Brethren of Jesus Christ \ does it mean that the 
Blessed Mary had other children ? 

A. The Blessed Mary had no other children. 

112 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

The Jews called other relations by the name of 
brethren ; these, therefore, were relations of Jesus 
Christ, but not His true brothers. 

How did the death of Jesus Christ occur? 

A. His Soul was separated from His Body, as 
happens when men die ; His Divinity, that is, the 
Eternal Word, however, remaining united, as we have 
already said, both to His Body and to His Soul. 

During the time that the Body of Christ remained 
In the Sepulchre, did It begin to corrupt, as do other 
dead bodies ? 

A. The Body of Jesus Christ suffered no cor. 
ruption in the sepulchre, as the Prophet David had 
foretold. (Ps. xv.) 

For how long did the Body of Christ remain in 
the sepulchre ? 

A. Part of Friday, the whole of Saturday, and 
part of Sunday. On the morning of Sunday His 
Soul was re-united to His Body, Which rose Glorious, 
Immortal, and Impassible. Thus risen. He appeared 
several times to His disciples, and forty da3rs after 
His Resurrection He ascended into Heaven. 

When the Eternal Word became man, did He 
take a Soul, of the same nature as our Soul ? 

A. It is an article of tiie Faith, as we have 
already shewn, that the Eternal Word took a Human 
Soul, and therefore of the same nature as ours. 

Are we to acknowledge a Human Will in Christ, 
besides the Divine Will ? 

A. It is an Article of the Faith that we are to ac- 

The Incarnation of the Son of God. 1 13 

knowledge a Human Will in Christ, which, although 
free like ours, was nevertheless always conformed to 
the Divine Will, the Soul of Christ never having 
willed other than was willed by the Eternal Word. 
The Church defined this Article of the Faith, in 
opposition to an ancient sect of heretics— the Mo- 

Must we acknowledge human operations in 
Christ, besides the Divine operations ? 

A. Christ being not only True God but also True 
Man, we must certainly acknowledge human opera- 
tions in Him. In fact, when we read in the Holy 
Gospels that Christ suffered hunger and weariness, 
that He wept, that He was sorrowful, &c., we at 
once understand that these are human operations. 
Moreover, the Human Operations of Christ have an 
Infinite Merit, because, by virtue of the Hypostatic 
Union, they were the actions of a Divine Person. 
Was the Soul of Christ endowed with knowledge? 
A. The Soul of Christ, from the first moment of 
Its creation, had a full and most perfect knowledge 
of all things ; and although, as Christ grew in age. 
He appeared, as the Gospel observes, to grow in 
wisdom, it was not really so, since He had always 
possessed the fulness of wisdom. Moreover, the 
Soul of Christ enjoyed the Intuitive Vision of God, 
even as the Saints enjoy it in Paradise, beholding 
clearly the Person of the Eternal Word, with Which 
It was hypostatically united, and, necessarily, along 
with the Person of the Eternal Word, It beheld the 


114 A Dogmatic Caiechism, 

Person of the Father, and the Person of the Holy 

If the Soul of Christ beheld God clearly, It must 
have been Blessed, and incapable of suffering. 
How then can the Catholic dogma, that Christ 
really suffered in His Passion and Death, consist 
with this Vision of God, attributed to Christ ? 

A. It is true that the Beatific Vision of God 
renders the soul incapable of suffering ; but, by a 
great miracle of the Divine Omnipotence, the joy 
which the Vision of God occasioned in the superior, 
that is, in the intellectual part of His Soul, was held 
in check and restrained, so to speak, in order that 
it might not be communicated to the inferior, that 
is, to the sensitive part of His Soul, and that so It 
might be capable of suffering. Hence He truly 
suffered both interior and exterior pains, as the 
Gospel teaches us. 

Can you explain this to me better, by some 
example ? 

A. Observe what happens on very high moun- 
tains. Sometimes the clouds thicken and tempests 
gather half way up the mountain, whilst the sun 
shines on the summit. Thus he who is on the 
summit of the mountain enjoys a serene sky, whilst 
he who is on its sides is enveloped in clouds and 
tossed by the tempest. According to our mode of 
understanding, the same thing took place in the 
Soul of Christ ; the superior, that is the intellectual 
part, enjoyed the clear Vision of God, the inferior. 

TTie Incarnation of the Son of God, 115 

that is the sensitive part, suffered every kind of 
sorrow and pain. 

The Soul of Christ beheld and knew God, more 
clearly than any other creature whatsoever can 
know Him ; was It able therefore to comprehend, 
that is, to know God, as He comprehends and 
knows Himself? 

A. We have already shown (Ch. ii., Sect. 4), that, 
God being Incomprehensible, no creature can com- 
prehend Him ; and as, although the Soul of Christ 
had a more clear knowledge of Him than any 
other creature, yet It did not comprehend, that is, 
did not know God with that fulness of knowledge, 
with which God knows Himself. 

Was the Soul of Christ endowed with liberty? 

A. Undoubtedly; otherwise Its operations would 
not have been human actions ; and It would have 
been diverse in nature from the nature of our souls. 

Could He sin ? 

A. Being hypostatically united with the Eternal 
Word, He could not sin ; on the contrary. He had 
a grace, called the Grace of Union, or Substantial 
Grace, whereby He was Holy substantially. 

Had He sanctifying grace ? 

A. He had it in its highest degree, which without 
comparison exceeded the grace of all the angels, of 
all the saints, and of the Blessed Virgin herself. 

Were all the virtues in Christ ? 

A. Undoubtedly, except those which presuppose 
sin, or other imperfection. He could not therefore 


ii6 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

possess the virtue of Penance, for there was in 
Him nothing of which He could repent ; nor the 
virtues of Faith and Hope, because these virtues 
cannot be present in a soul which enjoys the intui- 
tive Vision of God. 

When Christ died on the Cross, and His Soul was 
separated from His Body, did It descend into hell ? 

A. This is an article of the Faith, and expressed 
in the Creed. Observe, however, that here, under 
the name of Hell, is not meant the hell destined 
for the devils and the damned, but the subter- 
ranean regions, commonly called Limbus, where the 
Holy Souls of all the Just, who had died before the 
coming of Christ, reposed, and there waited till the 
Gates of Paradise should be opened to them, by 
the completion of the work of redemption. 

Then the Just, who died before the period of the 
death of Christ, did not enjoy the Vision of God 
in Heaven ? 

A. They did not; but they reposed, in the most 
perfect peace and tranquillity, in Limbus. Thither 
the Soul of Christ descended, and freed them from 
this prison, in order to conduct them to Heaven. 

Sect. III. The various Tities which belong to Christ; 
the Worship due to Him, and that which belongs to 
His Saints. 

What titles belong to Christ ? 
A. I. He is the Son of God by nature; not even 
considering Him as Man, can He be called the 

i The Incarnation of the Son of God, 117 

Son of God by adoption, 2. He is a King, not 
only according to His Divinity, but according to 
His Humanity. 3. He is the Head of men and of 
angels. 4. He is a Lawgiver. 5. He is a Judge. 
6. He is a Priest, and a Priest for ever. 7. He is 
the Mediator or Reconciler between God and men, 
having fully, nay, superabundantly made satisfaction 
to the Divine Justice for them. 

Does Christ pray for us to His Father ? 

A. St. Augustine says that Christ, as Man, prays 
for us, and that as God, He, along with the Divine 
Father, hears our prayer ; Christus homo pro nobis 
est orator; ut Deus est cum Patre exauditor. Christ 
as man prays for us ; and, as God, He, with the 
Father, hears our prayers. 

What worship is due to Christ ? 

A. Observe that there are three kinds of worship. 
The first is that of Latria, which is the supreme 
and absolute adoration wherewith we adore God, 
by reason of His Uncreated and Infinite Excellence. 
The second is the worship of Dtdiay which is the 
adoration with which we venerate certain creatures, 
for their supernatural, but not supremely, or singu- 
larly excellent, dignity. The third is the worship 
of Hyperduliay which is the adoration with which we 
honour a creature for her supernatural, and singularly 
excellent dignity. Observe this, it is of faith that 
Christ, God and Man, is to be adored with the ador- 
ation of Latria; and that, with the same adoration 
of Latria His Humanity is also to be adored, not by 

ii8 A Dogmattc Catechism. 

reason of itself, but by reason of the Uncreated 
and Infinite Excellence of the Eternal Word, with 
which it is personally and substantially united. 

To whom is the worship oiDuiia duel 

A. It is due to the angels and saints, who pos- 
sess a supernatural dignity, but not in a singular 
degree of excellence. 

To whom is the worship of Hyperdulia due ? 

A. This pertains to the Blessed Virgin Mary 
alone, who enjoys a supernatural dignity in a 
singular degree of excellence, She being, as we 
have already said, the true Mother of God. 

Is it meet that we venerate the saints, the angels, 
and the Blessed Virgin ? 

A. It is most meet, as it is always most meet 
lo honour the friends, the ministers, and much 
more, the Mother of the Sovereign. Earthly sove- 
reigns, when they see their Triends, ministers, or 
mothers honoured, reckon this honour as if paid 
to themselves. In like manner God is honoured 
by the honour rendered to the saints, to the angels, 
and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Is it useful to have recourse to the Intercession of 
the Saints, the Angels, and the Blessed Virgin Mary ? 

A. It is most useful; for they hear our prayers, 
they are most zealous for our welfare, and they 
obtain for us the graces which we need. Above all, 
it is most useful to have recourse to the intercession 
of Mary, for Her prayers are so powerful with Her 
Divine Son, that one prayer of Hers is of more value 

TTie JncarficUion of the Son of God. 119 

than the prayers of all the Angels and Saints in 
Paradise combined. The Church has always pro- 
moted, with singular earnestness, devotion to the 
Blessed Virgin, and this devotion consists in vene- 
rating Her, and in praying to Her to intercede for us. 
The Saints who have been most eminent for know- 
ledge and piety, were ever distinguished by a most 
special devotion to Mary. The authors who enjoy 
the reputation of the soundest and most stainless 
doctrine, have ever written great things of devo- 
tion to Mary ; Her worship is disapproved only by 
heretics ; and those who have little devotion to Her 
are those only who are not good Christians. I ask 
pardon of Mary, I ask pardon of Her devout clients 
when I say merely, that devotion to Her is most 
useful; for more than this might be said without 
fear of error. 

Do those who say that Mary bestows graces 
express themselves correctly ? 

A. They express themselves well, because the 
Church asks Mary to bestow graces, Solve vincla 
reisjpro/er lutnen coscis, &c. Break the bonds of 
the captive, give light to the darkened, &c Under- 
stand, however, that Mary impeirates these graces 
for us, it being certain that the Author of all grace, 
as the Author of all good, is God alone. 

What points are expressly defined as of Faith, in 
regard to the worship of the Saints ? 

A. The sacred Council of Trent, in the 25 Sess., 
declares it to be of Faith that the Saints pray for us 

120 A Dogmatic Caiechism. 

before God ; and that it is a good and a useful thing 
suppliantly to invoke them. Hence he who should 
deny this truth would be a heretic. 

Are the Images of the Saints to be venerated ? 

A. It is of the Faith, as defined in the Second 
Council of Nice, and in the Council of Trent, that 
Holy Images are to be venerated, referring however 
the worship which is rendered to them, either to 
Christ, or to the Blessed Virgin, or to the Saints 
whom they represent. 

Are the Relics of the Saints to be venerated ? 

A. The sacred Council of Trent expressly defines 
that veneration and honour are due to the Relics of 
the Saints. Observe moreover, that among all 
Relics, the Wood of the True Cross of Christ merits 
a special veneration, as the most precious Relic 
which remains to us of our Saviour. 

The Grace of God, 121 



Sect. I. The notions of the different kinds of Grace, 
and particularly, of Actual Grace. 

What do you mean by the Grace of Christ ? 

A. A supernatural gift of God which, in regard 
of the merits of Jesus Christ, is conferred upon man 
gratuitously, in order that he may attain to his super- 
natural end, which is eternal salvation. From this 
definition you will perceive, that under the name of 
the Grace of Christ we do not intend to speak of 
natural graces, such, for example, as health, or a 
good understanding ; nor yet of the grace bestowed 
upon the first man in the estate of innocence, and 
upon the Angels ; but of the medicinal grace of the 
Saviour, which is bestowed upon man, since his fall 
by original sin, in regard of the merits of the same 

How is this grace divided ? 

A. It is divided into external grace, internal grace, 
and grace gratis data. External graces are the 
example of Christ, the preaching of the Holy Gospel, 
&c. Internal graces are good inspirations, the gifts 
of the Holy Ghost, &c. Graces gratis daice are 
those which are given to a man, not so much for his 
own personal advantage, as for the benefit of others ; 
«uch as the gifts of prophecy, discerning of spirits. 

122 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

mirsbcles, &c. But the grace of which we would 
more particularly speak at present, is that which is 
called in the schools grcUia interna grcUum fctciefis 
(internal grace making gracious )i whic^ is a super- 
natural gift particularly directed to the spiritual 
well-being of him on whom it is bestowed. This is 
divided into Actual grace ; and Sanctifying, or Ha- 
hitucU grace. 

What is Actual Grace ? 

A. By Actual Grace we mean those aids called 
transient m the schools, or, as we should say, passing, 
transitory, momentary aids, with which God, from 
time to time, aids our weakness, so that we may do 
•good and avoid evil, in order to the salvation of our 

What is Sanctifying or Habitual grace ? 

A. Sanctifying grace is a supernatural gift of God, 
which is permanent and inherent in our souls, by 
way of a habit, and by means of which a man 
"becomes just and the friend of God, and so a son 
of God by adoption, an adopted brother of Jesus 
Christ, and an heir of Paradise. 

Could you, by some comparison, explain to me 
more clearly the difference, which exists between 
Actual grace and Sanctifying grace ? 

A. Picture to yourself a little chijd who has fallen 
down in the mire. This child has not the power to 
get up again of himself, and he has need of dry, 
clean clothes, because his clothels are all wet and 
soiled with mud. His mother hastens to his assist- 

*" The Grace of God. 1 23 

ance, and first gives him her hand to help him up, 
and then dresses him again, as there is need. Here 
you have a twofold aid from the mother correspond- 
ing to the twofold necessity of the child ; but the first 
is a passing, transitory, momentary aid, since when 
the mother helps him up, she does nothing which 
remains on him, to use a material expression ; the 
second, however, is a permanent aid, since the firesh 
clothes, with which she covers him, remain on the 
child. In the help which the mother gives her child 
to get up again, you have a similitude of Actual grace; 
in the clothes which she puts upon him, you have a 
similitude of Habitual grace. The first is transitory ; 
the second is permanent, remaining with a man. 
Is Actual Grace necessary to man ? 
A. It is a dogma of the Faith, that, without the 
supernatural grace of God, man can do no good 
work contributing to Eternal Life. We must there- 
fore say, that actual grace is most necessary, since we 
cannot do the very least good action contributing to 
the salvation of our souls, unless this grace moves 
us, that is, unless it excites us in the beginning, and 
accompanies us in the course of our actions, and 
even to the end. It is necessary, not only for 
sinners, but also for the just, that is, for those who 
possess sanctifying grace. St. Augustine says that 
however sound the eye may be, it cannot see without 
light, and however just a man maybe, he cannot do 
good without grace moving him, and accompanying 
him in his good and saving works. 

124 ^ Dogmatic Catechism, 

Can we not overcome temptations without grace ? 

A. Without supernatural grace we cannot over- 
come any temptation, from a supernatural motive, 
either from the love of God, or from the fear of 
God ; for he who overcomes temptation from either 
of these motives, does a good in itself saving and 
meritorious of eternal life. Certain temptations, 
however, and particularly slight temptations, may be 
overcome from other motives, and in such case do 
not require grace. For example, I may vanquish 
the temptation to steal, from fear of the punishment 
which the civil law inflicts ; in like manner I may 
vanquish the temptation to tell lies, from fear of the 
shame which would come upon me were my false- 
hood made known ; such temptations would be over- 
come from natural motives, and would in no way 
be meritorious of Eternal Life ; in this way infidels 
and the most hardened sinners overcome many 
temptations. In general, however, we affirm that 
temptations are not overcome without grace, since 
there is an infinite number of even grave temptations, 
to which we might consent without fear of temporal 
evils ; and without this fear we might always consent, 
at least by complacency and in desire. 

Cannot we observe all the precepts of the Natural 
Law without grace ? 

A. We cannot observe all, particularly those 
against which the temptations are strongest and 
most frequent ; hence it follows that without grace 
we cannot avoid all sins. 

The Grace of God, 125 

Is it necessary that the just should have a special 
grace, in order to enable them, in this life, to avoid 
all and every venial sin ? 

A. It is a truth defined by the Holy Council of 
Trent, that not even the just can, during the whole 
course of their life, avoid all, even venial sins, with- 
out a special privilege from God ; and it is not cer- 
tain that this privilege was ever granted to any one, 
except to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was never 
stained with the least shadow of sin. This refers to 
venial sins which we commit without full advertence ; 
for every one who wills, can avoid all sins to which 
he fully adverts. 

Is the grace of persevering till death in the friend- 
ship of God — that is to say, is the grace of Final 
Perseverance a special gift of God ? 

A. Undoubtedly it is a special gift, for the Holy 
Council of Trent calls it the great gift. 

How is Actual Grace divided ? 

A. It is divided into Efficacious grace and Suffi- 
cient grace. 

What is Efficacious grace ? 

A. That which obtains its effect. For example, 
God gives me grace, in order that I may be]sincerely 
converted to Him ; I do not resist this grace — on 
the contrary, I co-operate with it with my free will, 
and therefore am really converted. Here is effica- 
cious grace — that is, grace which obtains its effect. 

What is Sufficient grace ? 

A. That which gives to a man sufficient strength 

126 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

to do good and avoid evil, but which, being resisted 
by man*s evil will, does not obtain its effect. 

Can you explain the efficacy and sufficiency of 
grace in any other way ? 

A. Theologians have framed various systems, and 
have explained, some in one way, some in another, 
the efficacy and sufficiency of grace ; but, in this 
most difficult matter, it will suffice for us to know 
what is certain and beyond possibility of doubt It 
is certain, that there are Radons graces — that is to 
say, graces which obtain their efifect. It is certain, that 
there are graces which are only sufficient, and which, 
being resisted, do not obtain their eflfect. This is a 
truth of the Faith,'^defined against Jansenius. This 
sufficient grace must be capable of obtaining — ^that 
is, sufficient to obtain the effect for which it is given. 
If it did not suffice to its end it would be insuffi- 
cient, and sufficient grace which is not enough — that 
is to say, which is not sufficient, is a contradiction. 
It is certain, that God sincerely wills the salvation of 
all men ; it is certain, that without His interior and 
actual grace no adults can be saved ; it is certain, 
that God will not allow them to want the true aids 
of grace, as means absolutely necessary for the 
attainment of their end — that is, of their salvation ; 
and so we all have grace sufficient to save us, and, if 
we co-operate with this grace, our salvation is secure. 
'* To every one is given light and grace, that, doing 
what is in him, he may save himself by giving only 
his consent" This is the doctrine, and these are the 


TTie Grace of God, 127 

words of St. Catherine of Genoa, whose authority, 
as all know, is certainly as good as that of a theo- 
logian. Precisely, and in the full rigour of the ex- 
pression, this is the belief of the whole Christian 
people. I confess, however, that I prefer the beau- 
tiful words of the Council of Trent before all the 
systems : — " God does not command what is impos- 
sible ; but commanding He warns thee to do what 
thou art able, and to ask for what thou art not able 
to do. In the meanwhile He helps thee in order 
that thou mayest be able. His commandments are 
not grievous. His yoke is sweet. His burden is light. 
. . . Those whom He has once justified He does 
not abandon, unless they first abandon Him." This 
is the consoling doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and all 
the more consoling because it is infallible. 

Is Necessitating grace given — that is to say, grace 
which compels man of necessity to operate ? 

A. This would be — not grace, but violence. It is 
an article of the Faith that grace does not take 
away, and does not hinder the use of man's liberty ; 
therefore all that is done with grace is entirely free. 
St. Paul says, "I can. do all things in Him Who 
strengtheneth me "-r-he does not say, " in Him Who 
forces me." It is as much of Faith that grace has 
part in our good works, as it is of Faith that our fi-ee 
will has part in them. 

Does God ever impart any grace to hardened and 
obstinate sinners ? 

A. Even the most hardened and obstinate sinners 

128 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

are never without some graces — at least remote 
graces, to enable them to pray and obtain mercy. 
If they availed themselves of these graces the grace 
of conversion would not be wanting to them. It is 
not in accordance with the common sentiment of 
the faithful, that God should ever wholly abandon 
anyone in this life, and therefore we should never 
despair of the'salvation of anyone, as long as he lives. 
Moreover, this accords with the teaching of St. 
Paul, who, speaking to hardened and impenitent 
sinners, instructs them that the Benignity of God 
invites them to penance (Romans, ch. ii.) 

What do you say with regard to infidels who have 
no Icnowledge of the true Faith, because it has 
never been proclaimed to them ? 

A. Even these have some graces, by means of 
which they could observe the natural law ; and if 
they availed themselves of these graces, doing what 
was possible to their natural powers, aided by these 
graces, God would certainly, either by ordinary or 
extraordinary means, bring them to the knowledge 
of the true Faith, in order that they might be saved, 
as St. Thomas teaches.* 

Are actual graces given to man's merits ? 

A. This would be a heresy clearly condemned by 
Holy Scripture, and by the decisions of the Church. 

* He says further, that it arises from our negligence that 
grace is wanting to us : — " The primary cause of lack of grace 
is from ourselves. It is from his own negligence that a man 
has not grace." 

The Grace of God, 129 

Graces are gratuitous gifts, which Godj grants to 
whom He wills, and when He wills. (Council of 

You mean to say, then, that the good have no 
foundation for hoping that God exercises towards 
them a special providence of graces ? 

A. This would be another error, because, although 
graces cannot be merited, God nevertheless, in Holy 
Scripture, promises a special assistance to the good 
— "The eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and 
his ears unto their prayers " (Psalm xxxiii.). There- 
fore, although God is not obliged to confer graces 
either upon the just or upon sinners, nevertheless 
He who loves them that love Him (Prov. viii.) ordi- 
narily abounds in greater graces to those who show 
themselves faithful to Him. I say ordinarily, be- 
cause sometimes, in order more wonderfully to 
manifest His mercy. He confers great grace even 
upon great sinners. Such graces He bestowed upon 
David, the Magdalen, the Good Thief, &c. 

Sect. II. Sanctifying Grace, 

What is it that justifies a man? 

A. Sanctifying grace, the definition of which we 
have already given in the answer to the fourth 
question of the previous section. 

When is sanctifying grace acquired ? 

A. It is acquired in Holy Baptism. 

Once acquired can it be lost ? 


130 A Dogfnatic Catechism. 

A. It is lost by every mortal sin, because by 
every mortal sin we lose charity. 

Once lost can it be re-acquired ? 

A. It can be regained by means of the Sacrament 
of Penance, which was expressly instituted for the 
remission of sins committed after Baptism ; and 
even by means of charity, which includes the in- 
tention, or desire of this Sacrament, as we shall 
explain in the following chapter. 

This sanctifying grace is perhaps the Justice of 
Jesus Christ, imputed to us ? 

A. To say that sanctifying grace is the identical 
Justic of Jeesus Christ, imputed to us, is a heresy 
condemned by the Council of Trent. This grace 
consists in a supernatural gift, not imputed, but really 
conferred on, and made intrinsic to our souls, and 
by which we are truly justified, and truly cleansed 
from sin. 

Could we not say that sanctifying grace serves as 
a garment to the soul, covering it, and concealing 
the deformity of sin ? 

A. To say so would be a heresy condemned by 
the same Council. Sanctifying grace is not extrinsic 
to the soul, as a garment is extrinsic to the body 
which it covers ; and by the infusion of this grace 
sins are not concealed or covered, but absolutely 
taken away and cancelled, so that their stains no 
longer exist. In the same way as, when a filthy 
garment is washed, the stains which were in it are 
not covered over, but taken away, so that they no 

The Grace of God. 131 

longer exist, God, when He justifies a man by in- 
fusion of His grace, takes away sin from his soul. 

Would not Faith alone be sufficient for the justi- 
fication of the soul ? 

A. This would be an heretical doctrine, in like 
manner condemned by the Holy Council of Trent. 
Faith is only the root and foundation of justifica- 
tion, as the Council defines; otherwise all the 
faithful would be in a state of grace, and mortal 
sin would not be found, save in infidels. For the 
justification of a man, good works are requisite as 
well as Faith. Faith without works is dead, as St. 
James says. (Ch. ii., v. 20.) 

Some have thought that those only were justified, 
and so that those only had sanctifying grace who 
firmly believed that they had that grace, in the 
same way as we must firmly believe the dogmas of 
the Faith. What do you say as to this doctrine ? 

A. This is also an heretical doctrine, condemned 
by the Council of Trent. On the contrary, observe 
that no one can firmly believe that he has this 
grace, without a special revelation from God, 

No one then can be certain of having sanctifying 

A, The Christian who is not conscious to himself 
of mortal sin, either because he knows not that he 
has ever committed it, or because, after having 
fallen into sin, he has rightly confessed and detested 
it, may be certain of having sanctifying grace. 
This certainty, however, cannot be firm and certain, 


132 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

as is the infallible certainty with which we believe 
the verities of the Faith ; and the reason of this is, 
that God has revealed the verities of the Faith, and, 
therefore, as to them there can be no deception ; 
but to no one has it been revealed that he has never 
committed a mortal sin, or that, having committed 
it, he has sufficiently confessed and detested it, so 
as to obtain pardon. So that, in regard to the cer- ' 
tainty of being in a state of grace, it is possible for 
a man to deceive himself. 

For what reason does God leave us in this state 
of uncertainty ? 

A. In order that fear may be a continual spur, 
stimulating us to secure more and more the pos- 
session of His grace, by the exercise of the Chris- 
tian virtues, and so to increase our merits for life 
eternal. We may, however, be certain of having 
sanctifying grace, not indeed with infallible and 
divine certainty, but with moral and human cer- 
tainty. Moreover, we must guard against excessive 
fear in this particular, for it would diminish our 
confidence in God and our love of Him. 

What is the strongest argument we can have of 
our being in a state of grace ? 

A. Listen to St Francis of Sales, quoted by St 
Alphonsus di Liguori, both of whom were great 
theologians : — "The greatest security which we can 
have in this world of being in the grace of God does 
not consist in the feeling of love we may have for 
Him, but in the entire and irrevocable abandon- 

The Grace of God. 133 

ment of all our affections into His Hands, and in a 
firm resolution never to consent to any sin, whether 
great or small.'' Let us, then, resign ourselves 
wholly inta God's Hands ; let us resolve to suffer, 
no matter what, rather than knowingly to offend 
Him in the very smallest matter, and we shall have 
the strongest argument which upon this earth we 
can have, of possessing the great treasure of sancti- 
fying grace. 

Can there be augmentation of sanctifying grace 
in the soul of a just man ? 

A. This is a truth of the Faith, defined by the 
Holy Council of Trent, and this augmentation is 
acquired by means of good works. 

You mean to say, then, that sanctifying grace can 
be merited ? 

A. The grace of justification cannot be merited, 
it being the free gift of God ; and this is of Faith. 
No one who is in sin can merit that God should 
pardon him, and enrich him with sanctifying grace; 
but, on the other hand, the just — that is, those 
who already possess sanctifying grace — can, by 
their good works (as we shall explain in the follow- 
ing section), really merit an increase of this grace. 

Is sanctifying grace necessary to good works ? 

A. It is necessary, in order that good works be 
meritorious of eternal life ; still, even without sanc- 
tifying grace, we can do works which are good in 
the sight of God. God accepted the alms of the 
Centurion, who was an infidel, and Daniel counselled 

134 ^ Dogmatic Catechism, 

Nabuchodonosor to give alms, etc. Hence sinners 
should endeavour to do good works, which, although 
they cannot merit for them eternal life, may yet 
serve to impetrate for them the mercy of God. 

Some say that all the works of infidels and 
sinners are sins ? 

A. This detestable error was condemned in the 
twenty-fifth and thirty-fifth propositions of Baius by 
the Sovereign Pontiflfs St. Pius V., Gregory XIII., 
and Urban VIII. I call it a detestable error, 
because it casts sinners into despair, and deprives 
them of the use of those means — that is to say, of 
good works — whereby they might obtain God's 
mercy and the grace of conversion. 

Is sanctifying grace the same thing as charity ? 

A. The most probable opinion is, that it is the 
same things others, however, suppose it to be a 
gift distinct from charity. However this may be, 
it is certain that he who has charity has sanctifying 
grace, and he who has sanctifying grace has also 

Sect. III. The Merit of Good Works. 

Are good works meritorious ? 

A. It is a truth of the Faith, defined by the Holy 
Council of Trent, that by good works, done in a 
state of grace, we truly merit an increase of the same 
grace, that is, of sanctifying grace and eternal life. 

Now is it possible that by good works, which, 

77ie Grace of God^ 135 

however many and great they may be, can bear no 
proportion to the pricelessness of an eternal re- 
ward, we can truly merit Paradise ? 

A. You must consider that by our good works, 
regarded in themselves alone, we could not merit 
eternal life, because there would be no proportion 
between these works and the reward which is given 
them. But we must look upon our good works as 
ennobled by the infinite merits of Jesus Christ, 
and raised to so great a dignity and value by His 
merits, that there is a most true proportion between 
them and eternal life. Further, we must pre-sup- 
pose the Divine promise, whereby God has bound 
Himself to reward them in this manner ; the Divine 
promise which, in a wide sense, obliges Almighty 
God, in regard of us, to recompense us with this 
reward. I say in a wide sense, because Grod can- 
not be bound, in regard of us, by a rigorous debt, 
but He is bound by His own infinite fidelity which 
demands that He fail not in His promises. And so 
you see that Eternal Life is a true grace, inasmuch 
as all our merits spring from the grace of God ; and 
it is by a simple act of His Divine Goodness 
that our good works are raised to so great a value 
as to merit Paradise, which also was promised 
to them by a simple act of His Divine Good- 
ness. Paradise is, moreover, at the same time a 
true reward, because in virtue of the supernatural 
excellence and dignity of our good works, and in 
virtue of the Divine promise whereby God has 

t$6 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

bound Himself to reward them, this reward is 
truly due to them. Therefore, as is defined against 
the heretics, by good works performed in a state of 
grace, we truly merit, not only increase of the same 
grace, but also Eternal Life.< 

What conditions must good works have in order 
that they may be meritorious ? 

A. The first condition is, that the good works be 
done by men who are wayfarers^ that is to say, during 
this life; for the Saints in Heaven, who are no 
longer wayfarers, but have finished their journey and 
attainedtheir end, can no longer merit. The second 
is that they h^free; for, in order to merit, it is neces- 
sary that a man know what he does, and that he can 
do or not do, what he does. The third condition is 
that they be done by dijust man, that is, by one in a 
state of grace, as we have already shewn. The 
fourth is, that they be good works, good by a super- 
natural goodness, either in themselves, such as the 
receiving of the holy sacraments, or by reason of 
their end, such as the making a pilgrimage to some 
sanctuary in order to venerate a devout image of 
the Blessed Virgin. Those four conditions, besides 
the Divine Promise, which we take for granted, are 
the conditions which necessarily and undoubtedly 
are required in all good works, in order that they 
may be truly meritorious. This is the teaching of 
all Theologians. 

For what reason does the Council say that in- 
crease of grace may be merited ? 

The Grace of God, xyi 

A. Because, as the same Council defines, the 
first sanctifying grace cannot be truly merited. 
The sinner, who is deprived of grace, may impetrate 
it by his prayers and good works, but truly merit it 
he cannot, his prayers and good works not being 
of sufficient value to do so. When, however, he 
obtains sanctifying grace, and is therefore justified, 
then by the good works which he thereafter per- 
forms, he truly merits the increase of this grace. 

Explain to me more clearly the second condition, 
which requires that good works be free, ■ 

A. Freedom is essential in man, in order to his 
merits or demerits before God, that is, in the per- 
forming good works which shall be worthy of recom- 
pense, as well as in the committing sins which 
shall be worthy of punishment ; and this freedom 
demands knowledge, and determination, not forced 
or necessitated by any cause, whether external 
or internal. It demands knowledge; and so if I 
bestow a gift on a poor man, believing him to be 
rich, my gift has not the merit of an alms ; in like 
manner, were I to give poison to some one, believing 
that I was giving him a wholesome drink, I should 
not incur the guilt of murder. It requires detertnv- 
nation^ without compulsion from any external cause ; 
therefore, for example, should any one by main 
force compel me to prostrate myself before the 
Blessed Sacrament, I should not have the merit of 
that adoration ; and if I were forced to prostrate 
myself before an idol, I should not incur the guilt 

138 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

of idolatry. It is necessaiy, moreova:, that there be 
no violence or compulsion proceeding from any 
internal cause; and therefore were the grace of God 
to force our will, as Calvin imagined, or draw it 
irresistibly, as Jansenius taught, there could be no 
merit in good works ; so likewise, if concupiscence 
forced or irresistibly drew our will, there would be no 
demerit in wicked works. And in truth ought we to 
suppose that possible in God, which we could not sup- 
pose possible in men, without doing them grievous 
wrong ? . If a Sovereign were to reward good actions 
performed by one who could do no less than per- 
form them, and to punish wicked actions committed 
by one who could do no other than commit them, 
should we not say that in the first case he was a 
fool, in the second that he was a tyrant? From 
this you will easily understand why we say that for 
a man to merit, by his good works, it is necessary 
that he should know what he is doing, and that it 
should be in his power to do, or not to do, what he 
does. That free will remained to man after original 
sin, is a truth of the Faith defined by the Holy 
Council of Trent. Perfect freedom, exempt not 
only from all violence, but also from all necessity, 
in order to man's merits or demerits, is a truth of 
the Faith, as defined in the condemnation of the 
third proposition of Jansenius. Before Jansenius, 
Baius had blasphemously maintained that ''man 
sins and merits punishment, even in those things 
which he does of necessity." 

77ii Tluological Virtues, 139 



Sect. I. Explanation of the Theological Virtues; — 

in general 

How many Theological Virtues are there? 

A. There are three, Faith, Hope, and Charity. 

Why are they called Theological ? 

A. Because God is the object of these virtues. 
By Faith we believe God, and we believe in God. 
By Hope, we hope for God, that is for the posses- 
sion of Him in Paradise \ and we hope in God, 
that is, in His aid. By Charity we love God, and 
we also love our neighbour for God, that is, for the 
love of God. 

Are these Virtues supernatural ? 

A. They are supernatural ; and this means that 
by our natural strength we could not acquire them, 
but God infuses them into our souls when we receive 
Holy Baptism. 

Do you mean to say then that children just bap- 
tized possess these Virtues ; and are we also to 
affirm that, before the use of reason, such children 
believe, hope, and love ? 

A. It is certain that children, who are just bap- 
tized, do possess these Virtues ; that is to say, they 
have the habits of them, but they do not exercise 
them by actually believing, hoping, and loving, be- 
cause they are hindered from doing so by not having 
the use of reason. We say they have the habits of 

14© A Dogmatic Catechism. 

them, meaning thereby a prompt disposition actually 
to believe, to hope, and to love when they attain 
the use of reason. I will explain this by a com- 
parison. A child, to whom his father at his death 
has left great wealth, is, in point of fact, rich whilst 
he is under the care of guardians, but he cannot dis- 
pose of his riches, he cannot spend them. till the 
appointed time. So, before the use of reason, 
children have the habits of the Theological Virtues, 
but cannot then exercise them. 

By making Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, do 
these Virtues grow in us ? 

A. By exercising the acts of any virtue whatso- 
ever, virtues grow in us and attain greater perfec- 
tion j and so the oftener we make Acts of Faith, 
the more lively will our Faith become ; the more 
frequently we make Acts of Hope, the firmer will 
our Hope be ; and the more we multiply Acts of 
Charity, the more ardent will be our Love. 

Can these Virtues be lost ? 

A. Faith is lost by the sin of infidelity, which is 
committed when any one does not will to believe, 
or advertently doubts some truth taught by Holy 
Church ; for instance, he who would not believe, 
or should doubt, that there are seven Sacraments, 
would lose it. Hope is lost when one despairs of 
the Divine Mercy, that is, if he should think that 
God will no more pardon his sins. Charity is lost 
by any mortal sin whatever ; therefore if we lose 
Faith or Hope, we also always lose Charity. 

The Theological Virtues. .141 

If these Virtues are lost, can they be regained ? 

A. They can be regained by due repentance of 
the sin which caused their loss. 

Have the Saints in Heaven the Theological 

A. The Saints have Charity bnly ; for, as is clear, 
all that they believed they now see in God, and 
what is an object of sight is no longer an object of 
Faith. What they formerly hoped for they now 
possess, since they enjoy God; and what is actually 
obtained is no longer an object of Hope. Faith 
and Hope, therefore, must accompany us to Paradise, 
but they will not enter with us. 

Is there an obligation to make Acts of Faith, 
Hope, and Charity ? 

A. There is an express obligation to do so, as 
might be proved by numberless testimonies of Holy 
Scripture and of the Holy Fathers. The contrary 
error was condemned by Alexander VII, There- 
fore make these Acts frequently, and more parti- 
cularly make frequent Acts of Charity. 

Sect. IL The Virtue of Faith. 

What is the Virtue of Faith ? 

A. It is a Theological Virtue infused by God into 
our souls, by which we firmly believe, from the 
motive of the Divine veracity, all those things 
which God has revealed, and which the Church 
proposes to be believed. 

143 A DogmaHc Catechism. 

Why do you say from the motive of the Divine 
Veracity t 

A. Because we firmly believe all those things 
which Holy Church proposes to us to believe, on 
the ground that God who has revealed them is 
Infallible Truth, and can neither deceive nor be 
deceived. The certainty of our Faith rests, there- 
fore, on the Divine Veracity. 

Why do you say all those things which God has 
revealed ? 

A. Because he who should fail to believe even 
one, would be an infidel ; and as much wrong is 
done to Infinite Truth by doubting Its veracity on 
one point as on many. 

Why do you say that the Church proposes them 
to us to believe ? 

A. Because God revealed truths immediately 
to the inspired writers, such as Moses, David, &a 
In like manner truths were revealed by Christ 
to His Apostles ; but now we cannot expect parti- 
cular revelations as the Protestants do, who pretend 
that the Holy Spirit manifests directiy to the under- 
standing of each individual the truths which he is 
to believe. On the contrary, there is the Catholic 
Church who is the supreme Mistress of the Truth, 
and teaches infallibly to her children all those 
truths which they are to believe. She speaks by 
means of General Councils, and by means of the 
definitions of the Sovereign Pontiflfs. For example, 
she taught, by means of the Holy Council of Trent, 

The Theological Virtues, 143 

in opposition to the errors of the Protestants, that 
there are seven Sacraments. She taught, by means 
of definitions of the Supreme Pontiffs, in opposition 
to the errors of the Jansenists, that Christ did not 
die only for the elect : and he who should say that 
there are not seven Sacraments, would be as much 
a heretic as he who should say that Christ died on 
the Cross only for the predestinate, (See Sect, iii* 
of the chapter on the Sources of Theology.) 

When can we give the name of Heretic to any 

A. When he pertinaciously asserts an error which 
is contrary to some truth of the Faith. I say/^r- 
finaciously^ because if any one asserts an error out 
of ignorance, even culpable ignorance, he is not to 
be called a heretic. For example, a man neglect- 
ing to instruct himself, may not know that the 
Church has defined that there are seven Sacra- 
ments ; if he says that there are only three, he says 
what is heresy, but he is not a heretic, because he 
utters this heresy from ignorance. 

In what respect does Heresy differ from Infidelity? 

A. In this, that Infidelity is the privation or lack 
of Faith, in one who has never embraced it; and 
in this way Idolaters, Turks and Jews, are infidels ; 
Heresy, on the contrarj', is lack of Faith in one 
who has once embraced it as a baptized person, 
or at least as a catechumen. Further, heresy is a 
partisJ want of Faith, that is to say, when one or 
more dogmas, and not all, are disbelieved ; because 

144 -^ Dogmatic Catechism. 

if any one should deny all the dogmas of the Faith, 
and so absolutely renounce the Christian Religion, 
his sin woiild be Apostacy. A Christian, therefore, 
who should renounce his belief in Christ and in 
His Church, to become a Turk, would not be called 
a heretic, but an apostate. This is meant, speak- 
ing with the precision of the schools, because the 
name of infidels can be given even to heretics, 
inasmuch as, sinning against the Faith, they lose the 
virtue of Faith. The sin, therefore, of not believing, 
or of doubting any article of the Faith, is called the 
sin of Infidelity. 

How many kinds of Infidelity are there, properly 
so called ? 

A. There are two kinds, negative infidelity and 
positive infidelity. Negative Infidelity is found in 
those who do not believe, because they have never 
heard, and never could have heard, the truths of 
the Faith announced to them ; and this is not sin. 
Positive Infidelity is found in those who have heard 
the truths of the Faith preached to them and will 
not believe, or who might have heard them preached 
and would not give ear to them ; and this is sin. 

Will infidels who have never heard the truths of 
Faith announced to them, and who have never had 
the opportunity of hearing them, be saved ? 

A. Without Faith it is impossible that any one 
should be saved, for St. Paul says that without 
Faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. xi.) 
Nevertheless if those infidels should observe the 

The Theological Virtues. i4S 

natural law, the Lord would supply their necessity 
either by ordinary or by extraordinary means, even 
sending an Angel to instruct them, were it necessary, 
as St. Thomas says, and as we have already shewn. 
If those infidels sin against the natural law, they 
are damned for such sins, and not for the sin of 
infidelity, which in them is not voluntary. 

How many kinds of Acts of Faith are there ? 

A. There are two kinds, Internal and External. 

How do you define an Internal Act of Faith ? 

A. It is the firm consent of our mind to believe 
revealed truths. 

How is an Internal Act of Faith subdivided ? 

A. Into implicit and explicit. It is an Implicit 
Act of Faith when, without regard had to one dogma 
more than to another, we beHeve generally all that 
the Holy Catholic Church teaches : it is Explicit 
when we believe expressly one or more determinate 
articles of the Faith. For example, if I say, — I firmly 
beHeve all the truths which the Church teaches ; 
or if, not knowing what the Holy Council of Trent 
has defined concerning the doctrine of justification, 
I say : In regard to justification, — I believe all that 
the Church teaches, it is an Implicit Act of Faith. 
But if, on the other hand, I say, — I believe that there 
are seven Sacraments ; or, — I believe that, without 
the grace of God, I can do nothing that shall avail 
for Eternal Life, — it is an Explicit Act of Faith. 

Is Implicit Faith sufficient for salvation, that is to 


146 A Dogmaik Catechism, 

say, does it suffice to believe all that the Church 
teaches, without knowing what she teaches ? 

A. This Faith does not suffice, because it is 
necessary to believe explicitly the principal truths 
of our Holy Religion, that is, we must know them. 
The principal truths are, that God is Just, and 
therefore that He rewards the good and punishes 
the wicked; that God is One in Three Persons, 
that is to say, the mystery of the Blessed Trinity; 
that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, 
that is, the Son, was made Man, and as Man 
suffered and died for our salvation : whoever 
does not believe these truths expressly, is not 
capable of receiving the Holy Sacraments, and can- 
not be saved. Moreover we must believe expressly 
all the other truths which are in the Apostles' Creed ; 
though any one who should not know tliem without 
fault on his part, that is to say, because he was not 
able to learn them, might be saved. The first must 
be known by necessity of means ; the second by 
necessity of precept In regard to many other 
truths which Holy Church has defined, it is not 
necessary that all Christians should know them, 
but each one must instruct himself according to his 
own state and capacity. We must resort to instruc- 
tions, and if we cannot attain to a distinct know- 
ledge of some articles of the Faith, it will suffice 
that we believe them implicitly, intending to believe 
all that Holy Church teaches. Observe also, by 
the way, that besides the Creed, it is necessary 

The TTuological Virtues, 147 

to know the Pater Noster, the Ave Maria, the 
Commandments of the Law of God, and of the 
Church, all that is necessary for the worthy recep- 
tion of those Sacraments, to which we must approach, 
and the duties of our own state. 

During the time of the Law of Nature, that is, 
before God gave the Written Law to Moses, and 
during the time of this written law, until the com- 
ing of our Saviour, what Faith was necessary for 
men in order that they might obtain Eternal Life ? 

A. Besides believing that God punishes the 
wicked and rewards the good, it was necessary for 
them to have an implicit Faith in the Saviour of the 
world ; that is to say, to have some knowledge of 
the promised Saviour. And so all the Just of the 
Old Testament were saved, not only through the 
merits of Jesus Christ, but through Faith in the 
same Christ. 

When are we obliged to make Internal Acts of 

A. I have already shewn that we ought to make 
them frequently, and in particular at the commence- 
ment of the use of reason, and at the hour of death. 
Some have said tliat it suffices to make one single 
Act of Faith during our whole life, but this mistake 
was condemned by the Holy Pontiff Innocent XI. 

I should like to know whether an Internal Act of 
Faith can consist with doubt of the truth of the 
things believed ? 

A. In defining Faith, we have said that it is a 


148 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

virtue by which we believe firmly, therefore it can- 
not consist with doubt of the truth of the things 
believed. Faith excludes all doubt, and includes 
certainty that the thmg cannot be otherwise. 

What can we say then of certain Catholics, who, 
listening to errors against the Faith, as for example, 
against the eternity of the pains of Hell, against 
Purgatory, against the Virginity of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, against the Supremacy of the Pope, 
profess themselves Catholics, but still think that 
the Protestants who teach these errors may pro- 
bably, or at least possibly, be right? 

A. If they admit doubt, that is to say, if they ad- 
mit the probability, or even the possibility, that the 
Church may err in teaching the contrary truths, 
they have lost the Faith, and if they profess still to 
be Catholics, they profess to be what they are not 
He who does not believe firmly, absolutely, does 
not believe with that Divine Faith which is neces- 
sary for salvation. 

A Catholic Christian, however, may examine if 
the things which the Church teaches him are really 

A. If a Catholic Christian examines the truths 
which the Church teaches him, in order to know if 
they are really true, and therefore doubts whether 
they may not be fisdse, he shows by so doing that 
he has already lost the Faith, which is destroyed 
in every case whatsoever, by every doubt, tf such 
doubt be adverted and consented to. 

The Theological Virtues, 149 

But then we must believe without reason, or 
even against reason, however unanswerable may be 
the arguments against those things which the Church 
teaches ? 

A. There is no doubt that we must believe 
under any circumstances ; because if Divine Faith, 
from any motive, ceases to be firm and unshaken, 
by that very fact it is destroyed. Besides, Divine 
Faith can never be without, or against reason, 
for it rests on the infallible authority of God re- 
vealing; and if the things which Holy Church 
teaches appear to us to be without reason, or 
contrary to reason, this proceeds from our igno- 
rance, and limited understanding, which cannot 
arrive at comprehension of the truth of the Divine 
Mysteries; just as many physical and mathe- 
matical truths which are evident to philosophers, 
appear to an ignorant man to be without reason, or 
contrary to reason. We must be firmly persuaded 
that whatever argument we may find against truths 
revealed by God, however strange and unanswerable 
it may seem to be, can only be a false reason and a 

And yet we exhort Protestants and other un- 
believers to examine the truths which the Faith 
teaches, in order that they may be convinced in 
regard to them. Now if they may examine them, 
why may not we also examine them ? 

A. Observe the difference there is between them 
and us Catholics. They have not as yet Divine Faith, 

150 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

and therefore cannot lose it by doubt, and it is need- 
ful that by study they should convince themselves 
of the truth, and dispose themselves to obtain this 
gift from God; we, on the contrary, have this gift 
already, hence, whilst we cannot acquire it, we 
might lose it by admitting doubt. Nevertheless we 
may examine the truths of the Faith, in order the 
better to know their reasonableness, and to put our 
selves in a position to convince others. We must 
make this examination, however, with firm belief, 
without admitting even the shadow of a doubt. 

Why do you say that Protestants have not Divine 
Faith ? They believe many revealed truths as well 
as we do, therefore, in regard to those truths, have 
they not the faith that we have ? 

A. Divine Faith is a supernatural gift, which only 
those who are members of Holy Church can pos- 
sess ; therefore Protestants, who are outside the 
Church, are deprived of this gift, and if they believe 
some truths of the Faith, they believe them with 
human faith^ that is to say, from the conviction 
produced in their minds, by the reasons which mili- 
tate in favour of these truths. For example, we 
believe that Christ is the Saviour, and that Plato 
was a philosopher ; we believe the first of those 
truths by a virtue, or supernatural force, which 
operates on our minds, and inclines us to believe it ; 
we believe the second, by force of the arguments 
with which history presents us ; and so we believe 
the first with Divine isx^ the second with human 

The Theological Virtues. 151 

faith. Protestants who believe both these truths 
with us, believe both by the power exercised on 
their minds by the reasons which militate in favour 
of both the one and the other, without that super- 
natural aid which inclines us Catholics to believe 
the first ; therefore, when they believe that Christ 
is the Saviour, they believe it, not with Divine Faith 
but with mere Human Faith, 

When do we make an External Act of Faith ? 

A. When we manifest our Internal Faith in a 
visible"or sensible manner. If I say that I am a 
Christian, if I prostrate myself before the Blessed 
Sacrament, &c., — these are External Acts of Faith. 

Is it necessary to make External Acts of Faith ? 

A. It is most necessary, and St. Paul says so 
expressly (Romans X.); therefore it is not enough 
to have Faith only in our heads, we must manifest 
It in our words and actions. 

But when, by manifesting our Faith, we might 
be threatened with some grave injury, might we not 
feign that we ire not Christians, or might we not out- 
wardly renounce our Faith, retaining it in our hearts? 

A. This would be a very great sin. Like the 
Holy Martyrs, we should be ready to suffer any 
kind of death, rather than renounce our Holy 
Faith, or feign not to be Christians. 

But will not God, who sees the heart, be content 
with the homage of the heart, particularly if we 
could not manifest our Faith without serious injury ? 

A. God, who is Sovereign Lord of the whole 



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The Theological Virtues, 153 

excommunication not only whoever should deny 
it in express terms, but also any one who should 
dare to allege any objections against it, without 
at the same time confuting them by sufficient 

It does not follow that, because a truth has not 
been defined and declared to be of faith, it may be 
denied with impunity, or at least looked upon as 
doubtful, but only that he who does not believe it, or 
doubts it, is not guilty of the sin of heresy^ though 
he may be guilty of the most grievous rashness. 
Before the Council of Trent, certain truths were not 
defined and declared to be of faith, which in that 
Council were defined and declared to be so, against 
the novelties of the Protestants; and yet those 
truths were commonly believed, and recognized as 
certain by Holy Church, and it would have been 
grave temerity to deny or cast doubt upon them, as 
Luther and Calvin did. 

If it were necessary that a truth should be de- 
fined and declared to be of faith, in order to be 
certain, it would not be certain that Christ walked 
upon earth m\h His Feet, such fact having never 
been defined and declared to be of faith. 

Hence we clearly perceive that it would be a 
perverse and unreasonable mode of reasoning for a 
theologian to argue thus, — it is not defined and 
declared to be of faith, that in Hell there is material 
fire, — that the Diaconate is a sacrament, — that the 
contracting parties are the ministers of the sacra- 

154 ^ Dogmatic Catechism. 

ment of matrimony, — that the Pope is infallible 
when he speaks ex cathedra^ and is superior to a 
General Council;* thetefore all these things may 
be denied, or regarded as doubtful. A theologian 
who should reason in this manner, would err 
grievously, for although these truths have not been 
defined and declared as of faith, they are commonly 
believed, and recognized as certain by the Church. 

Sect. II. The Virtue of Hope, 

What is the Virtue of Hope ? 

A. It is a Theological Virtue, by which, with 
certain confidence, we expect Eternal Happiness 
and the means to attain thereto, through the Divine 
aid, and according to the promise which God has 
made us in regard of the merits of Jesus Christ 

Why do you say with certain confidence! 

A. Because our hope rests on the infinite 
merits of Jesus Christ, and on His promise that 
He will give us Paradise in reward for our good 
works, and that He will give us the necessary means 
to attain it, therefore our hope is certain and secure. 
Hence St. Paul calls it,— ^an anchor of the soul, sure 
and firm (Heb. vi. 19.). 

You mean to say then that we cannot fear being 

A. Observe that I say certain confidence^ and 
not sure certainty ; because confidence of attaining 

* This cannot now, since the date of the Vatican Council, 
be adduced as an example. See p. 30. — Ed» 

The Theological Virtues. 155 

any good always pre-supposes the peril of losing it 
Now on God*s part our hope is most certain, 
because nothing that is necessary for our salvation 
can be wanting to us on £Us part ; but on our part 
the necessary correspondence to His grace may be 
wanting, and therefore we cannot say that we are 
certain that we shall infallibly be saved. Looking 
therefore at the certainty of the Divine Promise on 
the one side, and at our weakness on the other, our 
Hope cannot be an absolute certainty^ but only a 
certain confidence. 

Ought we, in short, to feel most confidence in regard 
to the certainty there is on God's part, or most fear in 
regard to the danger arising from our own weakness ? 

A. We ought to feel most confidence in regard 
to the certainty there is on God's part, because the 
goodness of God is infinitely greater than our 
wickedness ; therefore our confidence in God ought 
to be greater than our fear of ourselves. 

Can, then, the fear of Hell subsist with the hope 
of Paradise ? 

: A. You must distinguish between different kinds 
of fear. There is the fear called Filial Fear^ whereby 
we fear Hell, as we fear an offence against God, 
which alone can confine souls in Hell, and we fear 
it as an injury done to Infinite Goodness ; such 
fear is not fear of our own injury, as it is our own 
injury, but fear of injury to the object beloved, 
that- is to God. Again, there is the fear called 
Servile Fear^ whereby we fear Hell as an injury to 

156 A Dogmatic CaieckUm. 

ourselves, but without affection to sin, by which we 
merit HelL Again there is the fear called Servilely 
Servile Fear^ with which we fear Hell on account of 
the injury to ourselves, but wUh affection to sin, so 
that it is not sin, but Hell which displeases us, and 
we ^ould wish, in a way, that there were no Hell, in 
order to be able to sin without fear. The first, as is 
clearly evident, is a most holy fear ; the second 
also is good, as the Holy Council of Trent defined 
against the heretics; so that both the first and 
second kinds of fear can well subsist with Christian 
Hope. The third kind is the fear of the wicked, 
and most unworthy of Christians. 

Is it not an interested and defective service to 
serve God, with the hope of reward? 

A. Some false mystics of these later times have 
thought so, but their errors have been condemned 
by the Sovereign Pontiffs. The Holy Spirit, as we 
learn firom the Scriptures, would have us hope for 
Paradise, and this hope has animated the greatest 
Saints to do great things for God ; hence, when we 
serve our Lord, hoping that He will recompense our 
service with an eternal reward, we do not commit 
any defect, but exercise the most necessary virtue 
of Hope. Observe that the Council of Trent ex- 
communicated anyone who should say that the just 
sin, when they perform good works in order to gain 
an eternal reward. 

Can we say, then, that sinners commit sin, when 
they perform works in order to gain this reward? 

The Theological Virtues. 157 

A. If sinners should perform good works in order 
to gain Paradise, but with the intention of not being 
converted to God, they would most certainly com- 
mit sin ; because it is the worst kind of presumption 
to expect salvation without having the will to for- 
sake sin; but, if sinners perform good works in 
order to attain God's mercy, to reconcile them- 
selves to Him, and hence to attain salvation, they 
do that which is good and holy; in fact this is 
what Gk>d commands, and what He would have 
them do. 

Ought we to hope for Paradise, only for our own 

A. We ought to refer all our good to God, and 
therefore we ought to hope for, and to seek the 
blessedness of Heaven, in order that it may redound 
to the Eternal Glory of God. In one word, we 
ought to endeavour to become Saints, in order that 
God may be glorified by our sanctity. This is 
taken firom the Holy Council of Trent.* 

You said a little while ago that our Hope rests 
on the infinite merits of Jesus Christ : what do you 
mean by that ? 

A. Jesus Christ is our Saviour : He offered the 
infinite merits of His Incarnation, Passion, and 

* The Council declares those to be heretics, who hold that 
in all their works the just sin, if in them they excite their 
indolences and are moved to running the race, by this, that 
in the first place God be glorified, but also in view of an 
eternal reward. 

158 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

Death for us ; and by the value of His merits we 
have been made capable of meriting Heaven. 

You added that our Hope rests on the promise 
of God to give us Heaven in reward of our good 
works : what do you mean by that? 

A. We have seen in Sect . 3, Chap. 5, that we 
could not merit Heaven without that promise; 
therefore all our hope rests on it. This Divine 
promise is the motive through which we hope for 

" When we exercise Acts of Hope, must we have 
the intention of performing good works ? 

A. Without such intention our hope would 
become presumption, because Heaven is pro- 
mised to the merit of good works ; and we can 
only have a solid foundation for our Hope of 
salvation, when we have the intention to do the 
good that is required of us in order to attain 

Sect. IH. The Virtue of Charity. 

What is the Virtue of Charity ? 

A. It is a Theological Virtue, infused by God 
into our souls, by which we love God above all 
things, because He is the Infinite Good, and love 
our neighbour for the love of God. 

What do you mean by saying that we love God 
because He is the Infinite Good ? 

A God ought to be loved for His Infinite Good* 
ness. Everything is loved in proportion to the 

The Theological Virtues, 159 

goodness contained in it ; therefore we love a thing 
because it is good, and, the better it is, the more we 
love it Hence we love God because He is good, 
and we love Him above all things, because there is 
no goodness which can be put in comparison with 

In how many ways can we love God above all 
things ? 

A. In two ways, appreciatively and intensely, 
God is loved above all things appreciatively when 
the will is so united to God that it is ready to 
suffer anything whatever, rather than offend Him 
by any mortal sin ; He is loved intensely^ above all 
things, when, to the firmness and attachment of the 
will, is united a lively transport and ardent affection, 
so that nothing makes so great impression on the 
feelings of our heart, as the pleasure or displeasure 
of Almighty God. 

In which of these two ways are we obliged to 
love God ? 

A. In the first, that is to say, appreciatively ; and 
he who should be without this love could not be 

Does this appreciative love oblige us only to at> 
stain from mortal sin ? 

A. Appreciative love obliges us to prefer 
Almighty God and His good pleasure before all 
things, and therefore to abstain even firom venial 
sin; nevertheless, since venial sin does not ex' 
tinguish charity in us, appreciative love would 

x6o A Dogmatic Catechism. 

suffice for our salvation, although it might not 
attain to making us avoid venial sin. 

For what reason are we not obliged to love God 
intensely above all things ? 

A. Because this intense love is not in our own 
power; it is an extraordinary gift of God, most 
precious and greatly to be desired. The purest 
souls possess it, generally speaking, even in this 
life; still, even they have not the fulness of the 
intensity of the Divine love, this fulness of love 
being reserved for the Saints in Heaven. 

How can it be that a soul should prefer God and 
His good pleasure before all things, whilst some 
other object may make greater impression on the 
feelings of the heart ? 

A. The act of giving preference to one thing 
before all others is an act of the will, which is free ; 
feeling the impression of one thing more than 
another belongs to the sensitive faculty, which in 
us is not free, but of necessity. For example, I 
may determine to give preference to bitter food 
instead of sweet, but I cannot prevent myself 
feeling the bitterness when I eat it. From the 
same sensitive faculty it arises that even pious 
mothers feel more lively joy in seeing their children 
restored to health after a dangerous illness, than in 
seeing them penitent after the commission of some 
sin ; and yet their will would prefer rather to see 
them sick than sinners. 

When a man prefers God before all things be- 

The Theological Virtues. 16 1 

cause He is an infinite good, and would lose any- 
thing whatever rather than offend Him grievously, 
has he the perfect love of God ? 

A. It is certain that such an one then possesses 
the perfect love of God ; perfect in its nature, though 
capable of becoming more and more perfect, as is 
clearly seen in the case of a man who would be 
ready to lose anything whatever rather than offend 
God by even a venial sin. 

Can Love, or perfect Charity subsist in a soul 
together with mortal sin ? 

A. Baius taught that perfect Charity might be 
found in a soul together with mortal sin, but the 
Church has condemned this doctrine. Hence it is 
certain that the perfect love of God cannot be found 
in any soul together with mortal sin, any more than 
light can be in a room at the same time with dark- 

But suppose the 'case, that a person guilty of 
some mortal sin should make an act of perfect love 
of God, should we not then find in the same soul 
'mortal sin and the perfect love of God? 

A. This could never happen, because that act of 
perfect love of God would immediately expel mortal 
sin firom the soul, just as a lighted taper when carried 
into a dark room at once expels the darkness. 

But is not Sacramental Confession required, -in 
order to take away sin fi'om the soul ? 

A. Sacramental Confession is requisite, either in 
effect or in intention. It is requisite in effect, when 


1 6a A Dogmatic Qiiechism. 

there is only Attrition ; and in that case it is neces- 
sary for a Christian to confess, and receive Sacra- 
mental Absolution, in order to expel sin from his 
soul. But when there is perfect Charity, then the 
intention to confess at the usual time suffices. He 
who has Charity or the perfect Love of God, has 
Contrition implicitly^ that is to say, sorrow for 
having offended God, it being impossible that any 
one should love God above all things, and not 
abhor sin above all things ; he has also the inten- 
tion of confessing at^ the usual time, because it is 
equally impossible that any one should love God 
above all things, and not have the intention of 
obeying His commands ; therefore, if a sinner 
makes an act of perfect love of God he is imme- 
diately justified. Nevertheless, he is obliged to 
confess his mortal sins at the proper time, that is 
to say, when he has to fulfil the precept of Con- 
fession, or, even when he does confess, apart firom 
precept, as is clearly to be understood. 

Might we not say that the perfect love of God 
justifies the soul only in case of necessity, as, for 
instance, when at the point of death it is not 
possible to have a Confessor ? 

A. He who should say this, would in effect 
say that perfect charity may subsist in the soul 
together with mortal sin, and would assert a propo- 
sition precisely condemned in Baius.* If charity is 

* This is the proposition of Baius. '' By contritipn, even 
with perfect charity, and with a desire of receivings the 

The Thtologieal Virtues, 163 

perfect, that is to say, if God is loved above all 
things^ because He is an infinite good, mortal sin 
is immediately taken away from the soul. 

Suppose a man to have been justified by some 
act of perfect love of God, including the intention 
of confession at a convenient time ; if such an one 
should change his intention, and resolve never to go 
to confession again, would the mortal sins, which 
were cancelled by his act of the love of God, return 
once more to stain his soul ? 

A. It is a most certain truth, that sins which have 
been once cancelled cannot again return to stain 
the soul : other similar sins may be committed, but 
the same sins cannot return again. Take the fol- 
lowing comparison : You drop a pocket-handker- 
chief in the mud, so that it is dirty and stained ; 
you rinse it out in a stream, and the stains and dirt 
are washed out by the water \ that dirt, those par- 
ticular stains are removed, they are gone with the 
stream, and it is impossible that the handkerchief 
can be stained by them any more, although it might 
be stained anew, should you again let it fall in the 
mud. Observe, however, that a person who should 
liave the evil intention of going no more to 
Confession, would commit a fresh mortal sin, and 
would immediately lose the love of God, and His 

sacrament, sin is not remitted, save in case of necessity, or of 
martyrdom, without actual reception of the sacrament," 

II — sr 

i64 A Df^moHc Catechism. 

If the perfect love of God has so great an efficacy, 
as to restore the soul to a state of grace, even 
beyond the case of necessity, a person in mortal 
sin need not think it of great consequence to con- 
fess his sin at once, but may rest satisfied with 
making acts of the love of God, and acts of con- 

A. Beware of drawing such a conclusion, for it is 
false. Not all who make acts of the love of God 
and acts of contrition, make them with that per- 
fection which is requisite in order that they may 
take away sin from the soul, and therefore many 
persons might believe themselves to be justified, 
whilst they were really in mortal sin. Moreover, 
although the acts of the love of God and the acts 
of contrition might be perfect, they would not con- 
fer Sacramental grace, which is given solely in the 
Sacrament of Penance when the penitent receives 
absolution. Hence the soul would remain without 
the great help of this grace, of which we shall speak 
in the 15th Answer of the Tst §, Chapter vii. 
Therefore, when one falls into mortal sin, let 
him immediately make acts of contrition, in order 
that by making one perfectly he may speedily 
recover the grace of God ; but then, without waiting 
for the obligation of annual confession, or even for 
his own convenience, let him go as soon as he 
can to confession, in order to provide for his soul in 
the best way possible in a matter of so great im- 
portance. The doctrine of the efficacy and value 

The Theohgical Virtues. 165 

of contrition must be taught, because it is the 
doctrine of the Church, and because every one 
ought to know the value of the Virtue of Charity 
and of Acts of Charity; but no one must take 
occasion from this doctrine to defer going to con- 
fession after having committed mortal sin. How- 
ever great may be the contrition which he feels in 
his heart, let the sinner go to confession as soon as 
he can, even if it be to his own inconvenience. 

How ought we to love our neighbour? 

A. We ought to love him as we love ourselves, 
and for the love of Gk)d. Thus the love of our 
neighbour is founded in the love of God, inasmuch 
as we love our neighbour in regard of God, and for 
the love we bear to God. 

If a man love his neighbour because he is of a 
good disposition, because he is learned, rich, his 
benefactor, his friend, or his relation, does he love 
him with the love of charity? 

A. If he love him for these titles and reasons 
only, he loves him with a natural love, which is 
found even in infidels, and therefore does not love 
him with supernatural love, such as the love of 
charity is ; besides all these motives, then, he must 
love him also for the love of God, and because God 
wills that he should love Him. 

Must we love all our neighbours, absolutely and 
without distinction ? 

A. We must love all our neighbours absolutely, 
whether friends or enemies, good or bad, faitMil or 

1 66 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

unfaithful to us; nevertheless there may be dis- 
tinctions in our love, seeing we ought to prefer our 
friends and relations, our benefactors, those who 
are faithful, &c., to those who are not so. Thus, 
for example, if we had to clothe two poor persons, 
one of whom was a relation, and the other not, and 
we had but one coat to give away, we ought to 
give it to our relation. 

In order to love our neighbour, does it not suffice 
to do him good, without however loving him in 
our heart ? 

A. It does not suffice ; and Pope Innocent XI. 
condemned two propositions which said that we are 
not bound to love our neighbour with internal and 
formal acts, but that we can satisfy the precept 
by mere external acts. Therefore, it is necessary 
to love our neighbour with affection of the heart, 
and hence to do to him what we would reasonably 
wish done to us, and not to do to him what we 
would not reasonably have done to us. 

Are we obliged to make Acts of Charity, equally 
with Acts of Faith and Hope ? 

A. We are ; and Theologians agree that we are 
even obliged to make them more frequently. 

Does the precept of charity oblige us to refer all 
our actions to the service and glory of God ? 

A. Certainly ; it obliges us to refer to the glory 
of God and to His service all our actions, even such 
indifferent actions as eating, sleeping, suitable 
amusements, recreations, &c. 

The Theological Virtues. 167 

Is it necessary in every action that we perform^ to 
say expressly : I intend to do this for the glory of 

A. This is not necessary; it suffices that, from 
time to time, we renew our intention of doing all 
our actions for the glory of God. 

i68 A Dogmatic Catechism. 



Sect. I. The Sacrammis ; — ingenerc^, 

^ How do you define the word Sacrament ? 

A. A Sacrament is a sacred sign, visible and 
permanent, instituted by Christ, which effects, ex 
opere operato^ our sanctification. This definition 
belongs to all the Sacraments of the New Law, that 
is to say, to all the Sacraments of the Church. 

Are there then other Sacraments besides those of 
the New Law ? 

A. Before Christ instituted the Sacraments which 
are administered in the Church, that is to say, before 
His coming, there were Sacraments, but they were 
very inferior to ours, and such as it is not necessary 
to speak of in this compendium. It is sufficient 
to observe that he who should say that the Sacra- 
ments of the Old Law were of equal value with 
the Sacraments of the New Law, that is to say, 
» with the Sacraments of Holy Church, would be a 
eretic. (Council of Trent. Sess. 6.) 

For what reason is the word Sacrament defined 
as — a sign ? 

A. Because it makes known to lis the thing 
which it signifies. Thus, in Baptism, the washing 
makes known to us the purity which the soul ac- 
quires in receiving this sacrament. 

'Why is it called a sacred sign ? 

A. Because the use of such a sign is a religious 
act pertaining to the worship of God. 

' The Sacraments. 169 

Why is it called visiUei 

A. It is called visible^ because it is necessaiy that 
it fall under the cognisance of the senses, that is to 
say, that in some way it should be material ; there- 
fore here the term visible is used in the signification 
of sensible. Anything purely spiritual could not be 
a sacrament 

Why is it C8l31\tA permanent ? 

A. Because the Sacramaits are the foundations 
of Religion, and, like Rdigion, must endure per- 
petually; hence the Sacraments are rites which will 
continue even to the end of the world. 

Why is a Sacrament said to be instituted by 
Jesus Christ ? 

A. Because He is the Author of all the Sacra- 
ments which are administered in the Church, as is 
defined by the Holy Council of Trent 

Why is it said, to efifect our sanctification, ex opere 

A. Because the Sacraments have the intrinsic 
virtue of conferring grace on the soul, so that it is 
not the good dispositions which confer grace when 
we receive the Sacraments, but the Sacraments 
themselves which confer it That they .confer it 
ex opere operato is an article of the Faith, defined 
by the Holy Council of Trent 

It is of no importance then to approach the 
Sacraments with good dispositions ? 

A. It is of the utmost importance, and moreover 
necessary, in order that the Sacraments may pro- 

170 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

duce their effect, in the same way that it is of 
importance and necessary that wood should be 
dry, in order that it may bum quickly. If you 
take dry wood and put it on the fire, it soon bums ; 
if you take wood full of spring sap, you will find it 
impossible to kindle it into a flame. The property 
of burning, however, is neither in the dry nor in the 
green wood, the property of buming is in the fire. 
In like manner when the Sacraments are given to 
one who is well disposed for their reception, he 
acquires either grace or an augmentation of grace, 
because there exists no impediment to hinder their 
effect \ if, on the contrary, they are given to one 
who is not well disposed for their reception, he does 
not acquire grace, because there exists the impedi- 
ment of his bad dispositions, which impediment 
does not suffer them to produce their effect, just as 
the quantity of moisture does not suffer the fire to 
bum the green wood. Therefore I repeat, that as 
the property of buming is in the fire, and. not in the 
dispositions of the wood, so the property of con- 
ferring grace is in the Sacraments, and not in the 
dispositions of him who receives them. 

Will ijot the effect of the Sacrament be greater 
or less, according to the greater or less disposition 
of him who receives it ? 

A. Certainly it is so ; just as we see that the 
effect of fire is greater or less, according as the 
wood which is set on fire is more or less dry. 

Why do you say that the Sacraments either confer 
or increase grace ? 

77ie Sacraments, 171 

A. Because some of the Sacraments are insti- 
tuted in order to confer sanctifying grace on those 
who lack it; and others to increase grace in 
those who already possess it Baptism and Penance 
confer grace on those who do not possess it ; all 
the other Sacraments, on the contrary, increase grace 
in those who have already received it, and preserved 
it. The first two are called Sacraments of the Dead, 
and all the others, Sacraments of the Living; because 
the first two are given to those who are dead to the 
grace of God, and the others to those who are 
alive by the same grace. 

May there not be cases in which the Sacraments 
of the Dead increase grace in those who already 
possess it, and in which the Sacraments of the Living 
confer grace on those who are deprived of it ? 

A. Such cases may certainly occur. Suppose 
that a catechumen, by a perfect act of Contrition, 
puts himself into a state of grace before he receives 
Baptism, when he afterwards receives Baptism, 
the sacrament cannot confer grace on him, but can 
only increase it. The same may be said of the 
Sacrament of Penance, when the penitent, by his 
perfect contrition, is already in a state of grace 
before he receives absolution ; or, if he have only 
venial sins to confess. In such cases, the Sacra- 
ments of the Dead increase sanctifying grace in 
those who already possess it. All this is certain ; 
and there is no room for doubt in regard to it. 
On the other hand, the Sacraments of the Living 

ij2 A DopnoHc CaUchism. 

sometimes confer sanctifying grace on those 
who are deprived of it, as theologians, with St 
Thomas, commonly teach. Suppose a person with 
simple attrition, makes his confession to a priest 
who has not the necessary^ jurisdiction, or to a lay- 
man who pretends to be a priest. Such a person, 
in^ spite of his confession, remains in a state of 
mortal sin ; but if, afterwards, believing himself to 
be validly absolved, he approaches to the Holy 
Table, then Holy Communion puts him in a state 
of grace, the Most Holy Eucharist, which is a 
Sacrament of the Living, conferring on him that 
grace which, as yet, he does not possess. What I 
say of the Most Holy Eucharist holds good in 
regard to all the other Sacraments of the Living, 
whenever, without fault on his own part, they are 
received by a person in a state of mortal sin, but 
who has repented of his mortal sin with the sorrow 
of attrition. The reason is, that attrition removes 
from the soul the evil will which would be an im- 
pediment, to the acquisition of grace. 

If this be so, we can always approach the Sacra- 
ments of the Living with simple attrition, without 
the necessity of confession. By attrition we shall 
remove the impediment of an evil will, and thus the 
Sacraments of the Living will confer on us sanctify- 
ing grace? 

A. By no means ; the Sacraments of the Living 
were not instituted by Jesus Christ in order that 

^ The Sacraments. 273 

of their institution they should AT^i^sanctifying grace 
on those who are deprived of it; but in order that 
they should give augmentation of grace to those who 
already possess it ; and therefore there is an express 
Divine command that men are not to approach 
those sacraments^ except in a state of grace. So 
that he who knows himself to be still in mortal sin, 
and yet chooses to approach them, transgresses 
this Divine command, and, by so doing, commits a 
fresh mortal sin : hence in him, the attrition would 
be false, because it would be united to the will to 
transgress a Divine command; and could not 
remove the impediment to obtaining sanctifying 
grace. Only, fer accidenSy as Theologians say, that 
is to say, when a man is in good faith, and has done 
all that he knows he ought to do in order to place 
himself in the grace of God, when he believes him- 
self to be justified and rightly disposed, so that if 
he were conscious of having still the stain of sin 
upon his soul, he would abstain from receiving this 
or that Sacrament of the Living — ^in this case only, 
and having, moreover, attrition for his mortal sins, 
by receiving one of these sacraments, he obtains 
sanctifying grace. 

You mean to say then, that in order worthily to 
receive the Sacraments of the Living, we must first 
either confess our sins with attrition, or excite our* 
selves to perfect contrition \ and that one or other 
of these, it matters not which, will suffice^ since 
both one and the other places us in a state of grace ? 

174 ^ Difgmatic Catechism, 

A. If you mean that one or other of these in- 
differently suffices for all the Sacraments of the 
Living, you greatly err; for in order to receive the 
Most Holy Eucharist, it is not sufficient that those who 
are in mortal sin should make an act of contrition ; 
they are under obligation, except in case of indis- 
pensable necessity, of going to Confession ; the 
Sacred Council of Trent having thus understood 
the precept of St. Paul : Prohet autem seipsum hotnoy 
'' Let a man prove himself." In like manner those 
who- are in mortal sin and find themselves at the 
point of death, should confess their sins, because 
presently they will be imable to satisfy the precept 
of confession; and so they could not receive 
Extreme Unction without Confession, and with 
merely making an act of Contrition. In regard, 
however, to Confirmation, Holy Orders, and Matri- 
mony, there is no express command [that Confes- 
sion should precede them ; it would suffice there- 
fore, that those who are about to receive any one 
of these Sacraments should repent of their sins 
with true contrition, having, however, the intention 
of confessing in due time. Observe, nevertheless, 
that this doctrine is not to be preached to simple 
people ; it is well that they should be ignorant of 
it, lest they should abuse it to their own injury, and 
with a mere imperfect act of contrition on the tip 
of their tongue, approach the Sacraments of Confir- 
mation and Matrimony. You should know this 
doctrine, as a rule for yourselves, in order that 

The Sacraments* 175 

you may not preach that there is equal necessity 
that Confession should precede Confirmation and 
Matrimony, as Communion, which would be false ; 
inasmuch as in regard to Communion there is the 
precept of St. Paul, which is not found in regard to 
the three foresaid sacraments. Preach, however, 
none the less, that the means left us by Jesus 
Christ to cleanse the soul from mortal sin is Sacra- 
mental Confession ; and that,* therefore, every one 
who finds himself guilty of grievous sin, must go 
to confession before approaching to receive any 
sacramjent whatsoever. 

Do the Sacraments confer other graces, besides 
sanctifying grace ? 

A. They each confer a grace proper to the Sacra- 
menty to wit, a right founded on the sanctifying 
grace conferred by the sacrament, to receive at op- 
portune times certain aids, or actual graces, in order 
that a man may obtain the end of the sacrament. 
Hence the sacramental grace of Baptism entitles 
one to seasonable aids to lead a life worthy of a 
Christian ; the sacramental grace of Confirmation 
gives one special aids to confess the Faith courage- 
ously ; that of the Eucharist, to nourish, that is, to 
preserve and increase charity ; that of Penance, to 
avoid sin for the future ; that of Extreme Unction, 
to make a good and tranquil passage to the other 
life; that of Holy Orders, to comport oneself worthily 
and with zeal in the Sacred Ministry ; that of 
Matrimony, that the wedded may lead a. peaceable 

176 A Dogmatic Caieehism, 

life, and train up their children in the holy fear 
of God. 

Who has given so great an efficacy to the Sacra- 

A. Jesus Christ, who is the Author of them, and 
who has merited it for them by the merits of His 
Incarnation, Passion, and Death. 

Do the Sacraments produce any other effect, be- 
sides conferring sanctifying^ and sacramental grace ? 

A. Three of the Sacraments, namely. Baptism, 
Confirmation, and Order, confer character^ that is, 
a spiritual, indelible mark imprinted on the soul, 
by means of which those who shall have received 
all three, or any one of these sacraments, will be 
distinguished to all eternity from those who have 
not received them. This character will be for a spe- 
cial glory to the Blessed ; and for a special confusion 
to the damned. Observe also that it is an article 
of the Faith that those three sacraments can be 
received but once. 

Is it of Faith that this character will be indelible 
to all eternity ? 

A. It is certainly an article of the Faith, defined 
by the Council of Trent, that this character can 
never be cancelled during this life ; but it is not a 
matter expressly defined as of Faith, that it shall 
be indelible also for all eternity. Such is, however, 
the teaching of St Thomas, and the general senti* 
ment of the Faithful. 

Would one who should receive these three sacra- 

The Sacraments, , . 177 

ments with bad dispositions^ remain for ever de« 
prived of the effects of those sacraments ? 

A. When any one of these sacraments has been 
received validly, but bad dispositions have hindered 
the effect of the sacrament; for instance, if one 
have received Baptism, with an affection to mortal 
'sin, or Confirmation, or Order, in a state of mortal 
sin. Theologians say that if the bad dispositions be 
removed by a good confession, or, at least, by an 
act of contrition including the desire of confession, 
as has been already shewn (Ch. 6, § iv.), then 
the effect of these sacraments, however badly 
received, revivesy so that the sacramental aids of 
which the man was deprived when he received 
these sacraments will be obtained. They teach 
the same in regard to ^Matrimony and Extreme 
Unction, because they suppose that the Divine 
Compassion will not suffer penitent sinners to be 
deprived of the special aids which the wedded need 
or the whole or nearly the whole of their lives, and 
which the dying need in order to make a good pas- 
sage into eternit>'. The Sacraments however of Pe- 
nance and the Eucharist, which may be received as 
often as we will, do not revive in their effects ; and 
those who have received them badly must repair the 
loss by receiving them well another time. If, however, 
a sacrament have been received, not only with bad 
dispositions, but invalidiyy it is certain that it must 
be received anew; and this even in the case of 


178 A Dogmatic CaUchism. 

What things are required to the validity of the 
Sacraments ? 

A. Matter, form, a proper minister, and intention. 

What is the maUer in the Sacraments ? 
' A, The matter is the thing used in conferring 
the Sacrament ; for example, in Baptism, the matter 
is water. 

What is Hat farm ? 

A. The words which are uttered in conferring 
the Sacrament \ for instance, in Baptism, the form 
is : I baptize thee, in the Name of the Father, and 
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 

Can the Church change the matter or fonn of 
the Sacraments ? 

A. The Church, as the. Sacred Council of Tirent 
teaches, has no authority to change the matter or 
form of the Sacraments; hence, if the matter 
or form were changed, the Sacraments would be 

Still, in different places there is some difference 
in the form of the Sacraments ? 

A. There are accidental differences in words, 
which do not substantially change the meaning. If 
in any place a form were used which changed the 
sense of the form instituted by Christ, the sacra- 
ment would be without effect, and the Church 
would not permit it. 

Who is the Minister of the Sacraments ? 

A. The Sacraments have a Primary Minister, and 
a Secondary Minister. The Primary Minister is 

77ie Sacraments, 179 

Jesus Christy who is the Author of the Sacraments j 
the Secondary Minister is he who has received from 
Jesus Christ authority to confer them. Who are 
the different ministers of the different sacraments 
we shall see when we come to speak of each sacra- 
ment in particular. I merely remark here that the 
Council of Trent has defined^ against heretics, that 
not ail Christians are ministers of all the sacra- 
ments j to affirm the contrary, therefore, would be 

Are £uth and sanctifying grace requisite in the 
Minister of the Sacraments ? 

A. In order that he may confer them worthily 
and with merit it is undoubtedly requisite that he 
have faith, and that he be in a state of grace ; 
but in respect of the validity of the sacrament it is 
an article of the Faith, that neither the one nor the 
other is requisite; and so Baptism, conferred by d^ 
impious heretic, has the same validity as if con- 
fenred by a pious catholic. 

Is intention necessary in the Minister ? 

A. It is of Faith, that in conferring the Sacra- 
ments, it is necessary to have the intention of doing 
what the Church does ; without such intention the 
Minister would confer the Sacrament invalidly. 

Suppose heretics, who do not believe in the Holy 
Catholic Church, or idolaters, Turks, &c., who 
attach no value to the Sacraments, were to ad- 
minister Baptism, would they not administer it 
invalidly, because they could have no intention of 

I a — 2 

i8o A Dogmatic Catechism, 

doing what the Church does : for in regard to 
heretics, they do not believe in her, and in regard 
to idolaters, Turks, and Jews, they believe neither 
in her nor in her sacraments ? 

A. It is not necessary for the validity of the 
sacrament that the Minister intend to do a holy 
action, to confer a sacrament, nor that he believe 
in the virtue of the Sacraments, nor that he have 
the intention of doing what the true Catholic and 
Roman Church does ; it is sufficient that he have 
the intention of doing what the Church in general 
does. So a Lutheran, who supposes that the true 
Church exists in his sect, when he baptizes with 
the intention of doing what the Church does, 
baptizes validly. In like manner, if a Turk, to 
annoy and spite another Turk, should seriously 
baptize a child, intending to give him the Baptism 
of the Christians, that child would be validly 

Would Baptism, Absolution, or any other sacra- 
ment be valid, if given in sport and jest ? 

A. They would be invalid, as was declared by 
Holy Church against Luther. Hence if any one 
should take an unbaptized child, pour water on his 
head, and utter the form, saying : " This is what the 
Parish Priest will do when he baptizes him," that 
child would not be baptized. Observe that such 
jesting in regard to the Sacraments is mortal sin. 

What sort of intention is required in him who is 
the Minister of the Sacraments ? 




The Sacraments, i8i 

A. The intention may be actual^ as, for example, 
when he who baptizes says to himself, whilst he 
baptizes : " I intend to baptize;" or it may be virtual ^ 
as, for example, when one sets out with the intention 
of baptizing, and afterwards in the act of baptizing, 
from some distraction does not reflect on what 
he is doing. Or, finally, the intention may be 
habittial, as, for example, when one who is accus- 
tomed to baptize, administers this sacrament, at a 
time that from some disease he is deprived of the 
use of reason. The first is not necessary; the 
second suffices ; but not so the third, because with 
it the Minister of the Sacrament does not perform 
a human act. 

What intention is required in those who receive 
the Sacraments ? 

A. It is most cfertain that no intention whatever 
is required to receive the Sacrament of Baptism in 
children before the use of reason, and in adults 
who have never had free use of reason. Moreover 
it is an express article of the Faith, that Baptism, 
conferred on children before the use of reason, is 
valid, as we gather from the Sacred Council of 
Trent, and from the practice of the universal 
Church of baptizing children as soon as they are 
born. But, on the other hand, in adults who have 
perfect use of reason, or, at least, who have once 
had it, it is necessary, either that they have actually 
the will to receive Baptism, or that, having had that 
will, they have not retracted it. Such will is still 

1 82 A DogmaOc Catechism. 

more requisite in the Sacraments of Penance, 
Matrimony, and perhaps even of Order.* To 
receive die Sacraments of Confirmation, the 
Eucharist and Extreme Unction, ho^irever, itUerprer 
tative intention suffices : which consists in this, that 
he who wishes to be a Christian, wishes also to 
enjoy all the privileges and graces of a Christian, 
and therefore also the graces of these Sacraments. 

You think then that a sick person, deprived of 
his senses, would receive Confirmation, the Eucharist 
and Extreme Unction with profit, although he 
might not, while in his senses, have asked fixr 
these Sacraments ? 

A. If he were in the grace of God he would 
receive them with profit, or, at all events, if, before 
the loss of his senses, he had had a sincere sorrow 
of attrition, as we pointed out in the answer 
to the twelfth question. It is evident fi*om the 
practice of the Church, which in early times gave 
the Eucharist to infants, that these Sacraments may 
be received with profit, without that positive inten- 
tion which the other Sacraments require. It is 
even now permitted to give Confirmation toinfants, 
in cases where there is good reason to fear that they 
will not be able to receive it when they shall have 
attained the use of reason, as we shall shew in 
§. iii. Extreme Unction is given to sick persons 

* It has "been matter of controversy among Theologians 
whether the Sacrament of Order can be validly administered 
to children. 

The Sacraments. 183 

deprived of their senses, not only when they have 
previously asked for it, but even when/ from unfore- 
seen attacks, they have not had time to ask for it, 
and are in immediate danger of death. This the 
Church would not have permitted, were it necessary 
to have a positive intention in order to receive 
these Sacraments with profit. Observe, however, 
that the Eucharist must not be given to sick persons 
wholly deprived of their senses, by reason of the 
irreverence which might occur in such cases. 

Is it an article of the Faith that there are Seven 
Sacraments ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, expressly defined 
by the Sacred Council of Trent ; and so he would 
be a heretic who should assert that there are more 
than seven Sacraments, or less than seven Sacra* 
ments. They are : — Baptism, Confirmation, the Eu- 
charist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, and 

What is required in a sacred rite, in order that it 
may be called a Sacrament of the New Law? 

A. There must be an external sign, Divine insHtu* 
tion^ and power of conferring grace. These three 
things united are only found in the foresaid seven 
Sacraments, recognised in the Catholic Church. 

Sect. II. Baptism. 

How do you define the Sacrament of Baptism ? 
A. It is a Sacrament of the New Law, instituted 
by Christ, for the spiritual regeneration of man. 

184 A Dogmatic Caiechtsm. 

What do these words, far the spiritual regenera- 
tion of many signify ? 

A. Man, by sin, is bom dead to the grace of 
God, and by means of Baptism, he is bom again 
to this grace, which is the supernatural life of the 
soul. In this spiritual regeneration, he is admitted 
to make part of Christ's faithful, that is to say, 
he becomes a member of His Church, and he 
acquires the right to receive the other Sacra- 

What is the matter of this Sacrament? 

A. Natural water, whether from a well, a spring, 
or. from the sea. In Solemn Baptism, however, 
that is, in Baptism conferred with the accustomed 
ceremonies, the holy water, blessed in the Font on 
Holy Saturday, should be used. 

Would not any other liquid, such as wine, oil, 
&c., suffice in case of necessity, for the administra- 
tion of Baptism ? 

A. It is of faith that true, natural water is 
necessary for the valid administration of Baptism. 
Hence if any other liquid whatsoever were made 
use of, the Baptism would be invalid. 

Suppose that true, natural water were used, but 
that some other liquid or matter were mixed with 
it, in that case would the Baptism be likewise in- 
valid ? 

A. If a- small quantity of other matter were 
mixed with the water, the Baptism would not be 
invalid : we see, in fact, thai a little Oil and Chrism 

The Sacramento. i8s 

is mixed with the water which is blessed in the 
Font 00 Holy Saturday, and this is the water which, 
except in case of necessity, ought to be used for 
baptizing. If, however, .the liquid or other matter 
mixed with the water were in such quantity that it 
could no longer be called water — if, for example, 
so much earth were mixed with the water that it 
became mud — in that case the Baptism would be 
invalid, that is to say, it would have no effect. 

What is the form of the Sacrament of Baptism ? 

A. " I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." 

Would the Baptism be invalid if any one of 
these words were changed, or omitted to be ex- 
pressed ? 

A. If the change or omission were not essential^ 
the Baptism would be valid, but if essential, then 
it would be invalid. For instance, if the word Ego 
were omitted, the Baptism would retain its effect; 
but if the word haptizo were omitted, it would 
have no virtue whatever. 

To what must attention be paid in the act of 

A. To pouring water over the head of the child, 
in such quantity that it flow over the head, pro- 
nouncing meanwhUe, with great precision, the words 
of the form. 

Why must attention be paid to pouring water 
over the head? 

1 86 A Dogtnatic Catechism. 

A. Because, although the Baptism might probably 
be valid if the water were poured over any other 
part of the body, especially if it were any principal 
part, such as the breast or shoulders, still its validity 
would not be so certain as if it were poured over 
the head. And therefore it is prescribed by the 
Roman Ritual, that, if a child shall have been bap- 
tized on any other part of the body, he is to be re- 
baptized under condition. Moreover, in pounng 
water upon the head, care must be taken that it 
does not merely flow upon the hair, if the person 
baptized have thick hair, because some' doubt 
whether, unless the water touch the skin, the 
Baptism be valid. There is small foundation for 
this doubt, but as to a sacrament of so great neces- 
sity, we should adopt every precaution, and so 
take care that the water flow over the forehead 
or temples. 

Why is it requisite that water should be poured 
in such quantity as to flaw 9 

A. Because Baptism is a washing, and it could 
not be called so unless the water flowed; we 
certainly could not say a thing was washed if only 
a few drops of water were let fall upon it^ and 
remained where they fell. 

Is it necessary that the water be poured tiiree 
times over the head of the baptized ? 

A. The Church so prescribes, and therefore this 
rite ought to be observed : the Baptism, however, 

The Sacramenist 187 

would certainly be valid, even if the water were 
only poured once. 

Why is it requisite that the form should be pro- 
nounced, at the same moment that the water is 
poured upon the head of the baptized? 

A. Because, in all the Sacraments the form 
should always be applied to the matter, and if 
there were any considerable interval between pro- 
nouncing the form and applying the matter, the 
sacrament would be invalid. 

Who is the Minister of the Sacrament of Bap- 

A. The ordinary Minister of the Sacrament of 
Baptism is a Priest, the extraordinary Minister of 
this sacrament is a Deacon, who, when there is 
just cause, may be delegated to administer it with 
the accustomed ceremonies. Should it happen, 
however, that neither Priest nor Deacon can be had, 
then any person, even a child, provided he have 
the use of reason, nay, even an infidel, may ad- 
minister Baptism. This is defined by the fourth 
Lateran Council. 

If a Cleric not yet ordained Deacon, or a lay- 
man should baptize a child when it was not a case 
of necessity, would such Baptism be valid ? 

A. It would be valid, certainly : but it would be a 
grave sin for any ordinary person to presume to 
baptize, when it was not a case of necessity. 

Is Baptism necessary for every one? 

A. Baptism is necessary for all, in order that they 

1 88 A Dogmatic Caiechism, 

may attain eternal salvation ; and this is an article 
of the Faith defined by the Sacred Council of 
Trent. Theologians, however, distinguish three 
sorts of Baptism : the Baptism of Blood, the Bap- 
tism of Desire, and the Baptism of Water. This 
latter alone is properly a Sacrament ; the other two 
may stand in place of the Sacrament, but they are 
not Sacraments. 

What is the Baptism of Blood ? 

A. The Baptism of Blood is Martyrdom. If a 
child were killed out of hatred to the Faith, before 
he had been baptized, he would be saved. When, 
during the persecutions, adult Christians, and even 
their infants were killed, such infants, although not 
baptized, were saved. 

What is the Baptism of Desire? 

A. The desire to receive Baptism. If a Turk, 
finding himself at the point of death, desired Bap- 
tism, but had no one at hand to baptize him, he 
would be saved. 

What is requisite to constitute Martyrdom ? 

A. In the case of children,' it is required that they 
be killed out of hatred to Christ and His Faith ; 
nothing more is requisite. In this way the Holy 
Innocents vvhom Herod caused to be put to death, 
were truly martyrs. In the case of adults, how- 
ever, it is required: i. That they accept death from 
a right and supernatural motive, hence should any 
one accept martyrdom out of vain-glory, in order 
to be honoured as a martyr, his death would not 

The SacramenU, 189 

have the merit of martyrdom ; nor^ should any one 
accept it, in order to free himself from a life made 
grievous to him by . indigence, would he be a 
martyr. 2. That they have no will to defend them- 
selves ; because to die in battle for the Faith is not 
properly martyrdom. 3. In the case of one guilty 
of mortal sin, repentance of his sin, at least by 
attrition, is requisite. Observe also, that martyrdom, 
being an act of the virtue of fortitude, should be 
voluntary. It is not, however, necessary to have 
the actual will, nor even the virtual will of meeting 
death in order to bear witness to the Faith ; the 
habitual will suffices. For 'example, in time of 
persecution, a Christian, resolved to die rather than 
to renounce his Faith, were he surprised by the 
persecutors whilst asleep, and killed, would be a 
true martyr because of such habitual disposition. 
Observe, further, that martyrdom doeanot free a man 
from all his other obligations at the point of death, 
if he has time to fulfil them. If he has not been 
baptized, he is obliged, if possible, to receive Bap- 
tism ; and in the case of a baptized person, if he 
have any mortal sin on his soul still unconfessed, 
he would be obliged to confess it, were there a 
Priest at hand to absolve him. 

Would one be a martyr who should suffer death, 
in order not to offend against some other virtue, 
as, for example, against chastity ? 

A. Certainly ; and the virgins who suffered death, 
rather than yield to the seductions of those who 

190 A Dcgmatic Catechism. 

attempted their chastity^ are venerated as mar- 

Can those be called true martyrs, who suffer 
death through their charity in serving the sick in 
time of pestilence? 

A, They could not be called martyrs, in the 
strict sense of the term, because martyrdom is an 
act of the virtue of Fortitude in defence of the 
Faith, or of some other Christian virtue ; and in 
exposing themselves to danger of death by serving 
the plague-stricken, they make an act of Fortitude, 
not in defence of the virtue of charity, but in the 
practice of it Still, in God's sight, this may have 
a merit equal to that of real martyrdom ; and the 
Church in her Martyrology of the 28th of February, 
venerates as martyrs those who died in the service 
of the sick in time of pestilence.* 

Does martyrdom supply all the effects of Bap- 

A. Martyrdom supplies by infusion of grace 
and remission of sins, but it cannot supply the 
other effects of Baptism, of which we shall speak 
presently; and for which the Baptism of Water, 
that is, the sacrament, is requisite. With regard 
to the remission of sins, you must observe that in 
martyrdom they are all remitted with the same ful- 
ness with which they are remitted in Baptism, so 
that the martyr has no remains of temporal punish- 

• Quos velut martyres religiosa fides venerare consuevit. 
" Them a religious fiuth is wont to venerate as martyrs." 

Tke Sacraments, 191 

ment to sufifer in the othar life, but no sooner is dis 
martyrdom consummated, than he is admitted to 
the estate of eternal beatitude. 

In case of necessity, is the simple desire of Bap- 
tism sufficient for the attainment of eternal salva- 

A. The simple desire of Baptism is not sufficient 
if it be not accompanied by an act of contrition, or 
of charity ; because, apart from the Sacrament, save 
in the case of martyrdom, sins are not remitted with- 
out contrition, that is to say, unless the sinner de- 
tests them from the motive of the pure love of God, 

Is it, however, certain that children can be validly 

A. It is an article of the Faith, defined by the 
Sacred Council ' of Trent, and he who should 
say that children so baptized are not really Chris- 
tians, or that, on attaining the use of reason, they 
ought to be re-baptized, or that it is better to defer 
Bkptism till they have attained the use of reason, 
would be a heretic, and excommunicated by the 
said Council. 

Supposing children, on attaining the use of 
reason, are dissatisfied at having been baptized, are 
they in such case bound to live as Christians ? 

A. Baptism constitutes them subjects of Holy 
Church ; hence they would be bound to live as 
Christians ; nor must any attention be paid to their 
dissatisfaction, it being most unreasonable and un- 

192 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

But would not this be to do violence to con- 
science ? • 

' A. To oblige a person to do what is his positive 
duty, cannot be called doing violence to conscience. 
If men, who are constituted subjects of the Church 
through Baptism, could, when they attain the use 
of reason, refuse to remain subjects to the Church ; 
much more could they, when they attain the use of 
reason, refuse to submit to the authority of the 
lawful government of the state in which they are 
bom. I say mi4ch more, because the authority 
which the Church has over baptized persons is 
more sacred and inviolable, than the authority 
which any sovereign has over his people. In fact, 
we are not made subjects by any sacrament, nor 
do we receive any indelible character constituting 
us such in perpetuity in regard to the lawful sovereign 
in whose states we are born. If we change our 
country we are no longer his subjects. But we can 
go to no part of the world where we can withdraw 
ourselves from subjection to the Church, after 
having been once baptized.* 
, What are the effects of Baptism ? 

A. There are six effects of the Sacrament of 

* By this we do not mean to say that the authority which 
the sovereign has over his subjects is not sacred and inviolable. 
It is sacred because princes derive their authority from God ; 
and inviolable because, except in case of a prince command- 
ing what would be a crime, and which case would be not a 
use of authority but an abuse of power, it cannot happen that 
subjects should have the right to disobey their sovereign. 

The Sacraments. 193 

Baptism, i. It remits original sin and every actual 
sin, as well in respect of the guilt, as in respect of 
even the temporal punishment due to actual sin ; 
so that, should an adult pass out of this life imme- 
diately after having received Baptism, he would 
have no debt of temporal punishment to pay in 
Purgatory ; and therefore, if an adult were baptized 
when d)dng, no indulgence could be given him. 
2. It confers sanctif)dng grace, infused virtues, and 
the other supernatural gifts whereby a man is 
sanctified and interiorly renewed. 3. It gives a 
certain right of receiving the actual graces necessary 
to attainment of his end, that is to say, the graces 
necessary to enable a man to live a Christian and 
holy life. This last constitutes the sacramental grace 
of which we have spoken in the preceding Sect., 
A. 15. 4. It imprints an indelible character on the 
soul ; and for this reason, Baptism can be received 
but once. 5. It constitutes us members of the 
Church; and subjects us to her jurisdiction. 6. It 
gives us the capability, and the right to receive the 
other Sacraments ; and it makes us participators in 
the common treasures of the Church, such as indul- 
gences, the fruits of the Sacrifice of the Mass, &c. 

When adults receive Baptism, ought they to have 
sorrow for their sins ? 

A. They need not have sorrow for original sin, 
because we can only repent of sins which we 
have committed from our own proper, individual, 
personal malice. It is certain, however, that they 


194 ^ DogmaHc Catechism, 

ought to repent of actual mortal sins, at least with 
the sorrow of attrition, because those sins are 
forgiven to no one who has not sorrow for them. 

Sect. III. Confirmation, 

How do you define the Sacrament of Confirma- 
tion ? 

A. Confirmation is a Sacrament of the New Law, 
by which the strength of the Holy Spirit is given 
to baptized persons, in order that they may remain 
firm in the Faith, and profess it intrepidly. 

Who is the Minister of this Sacrament ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, declared by the 
Sacred Council of Trent, that Bishops alone are the 
ordinary Ministers of this Sacrament. The Supreme 
Pontiff can, however, delegate even a simple 
Priest to confer Confirmation. In such case, that 
Priest is the extraordinary Minister of this Sacra- 

What is the Matter in Confirmation ? 

A. The imposition of hands, and the unction of 
the Sacred Chrism. 

What is the Form in Confirmation ? 

A. These words : " I sign thee with the sign of 
the Cross. I confirm thee with the Chrism of 

Who are the subjects of this Sacrament ? 

A. All baptized persons ; hence it was in ancient 
times given to infants immediately after Baptism ; 
although now, according to the present discipline of 

TTie Sacramehts. 195 

the Church, it ought not to be conferred on children 
under seven yeiars of age, except in cases of 

What dispositions are requisite in those who 
receive this Sacrament ? 

A. When the Bishop believes there is sufficient 
cause to confer this Sacrament on children before 
the use of reason, all that is required is, that they 
should have been baptized. But when this Sacra- 
ment is conferred on adults, or on children who have 
attained the use of reason, it is required that they 
be in a state of grace, and that they be properly 
instructed in matters of Faith, and in regard to the 
nature and effects of this Sacrament 

Is this Sacrament necessary in order to the at- 
tainment of eternal salvation ? 

A. It is not necessary absolutely speaking; for 
otherwise simple Priests would have been the 
Ministers of this Sacrament, in order that it might 
be an easy matter for all to receive it Still, every 
one who has it in his power, is obliged to receive 
this Sacrament under pain of mortal sin ; as Bene- 
dict XIV. commanded the Bishops to teach those 
who had not yet received it 

What are the effects of this Sacrament ? 

A. There are two : i. The indelible character ; 
as we have shewn in the ist Sect. A. 17. 2. The 
fulness of the Holy Spirit, which gives a special 
strength to the soul, enabling it easily to over- 


196 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

come temptations against the Faith, and to endure 
with invincible constancy persecutions for its sake. 
This fulness of the Holy Spirit includes also in- 
crease of sanctifying grace. 

Sect. IV. The Holy Eucharist 

Is the Holy Eucharist a Sacrament of the New 

A. It is a true Sacrament of the New Law, and 
that it is so is an express article of the Faith. 

Is it also a true Sacrifice ? 
' A. It is likewise an express article of the Faith, 
that the Holy Eucharist is a true Sacrifice. 

How do you define the Holy Eucharist, — as it 
is a Sacrament ? 

A. The Holy Eucharist is a Sacrament of the 
New Law, which really contains the Body and 
Blood of Jesus Christ under the species of bread 
and wine, and was instituted for the spiritual refec- 
tion of the Faithful. 

What is the Matter of this Sacrament ? 

A. Bread made of wheat, and wine made of 

What is the Form of this Sacrament ? 

A. The words of consecration which the Priest 
pronounces over the bread and wine in the Holy 

What change is wrought in the bread and wine 
when the words of consecration are pronounced ? 
, A. It is an article of the Faith that the whole 

The Sacraments. 197 

substance of the bread is changed into the Body of 
Jesus Christ, and that the whole substance of the 
wine is changed into His Blood. 

Why do you say the whole substance ? 

A. Because it is an article of the Faith, declared 
by the Church against certain heretics, that, after 
the words of Consecration, there remains nothing 
of the substance of the bread and of the wine, but 
that it is all changed into the Body and Blood of 
Christ ; and to denote that the species, that is, the 
colour, smell, taste, and quantity, as well of the 
bread as of the wine, remain ; and so, these sub- 
stances being changed into the Body and Blood of 
Christ, there remain the appearances of bread and 

Then, in the consecrated Host there is only the 
Body, and in the consecrated chalice there is only 
the Blood of Christ ? 

A. This would be a heresy, for it is of Faith that 
Whole Christ, and therefore His Soul and His 
Divinity, is as well in the Host under the species of 
bread, as in the chalice under the species of wine. 
We say that the bread is changed into the Body of 
Christ, and the wine into His Blood, because by 
virtue of the words of Consecration the bread is 
changed into His Body, which, as a living body, 
contains His Blood ; and because, by virtue of the 
words of Consecration of the chalice, the wine is 
changed into the Blood of Christ, which, as living 
blood, is united to His Body, and so by concomi- 

198 A Dogmatic Caiechism, 

tatice His Blood is along with His Body, and His 
Body along with His Blood. 

Then we receive the Living and Whole Christ as 
much under the species of bread, as under the 
species of wine ? 

A. Certainly ; and this is an article of the Faith. 

What kind of bread ought to be consecrated ? 

A. Any kind of bread, provided it be made of 
wheaten flour, can be validly consecrated ; and so, 
whether the bread be made with leaven or without 
leaven, by the words of Consecration it is changed 
into the Body of the Lord. You must observe, 
however, that the Church commands us to use 
bread made without leaven, and prohibits the con- 
secration of leavened bread. At the same time, 
many of the Greeks having an ancient custom of 
consecrating leavened bread, the Church permits 
this use to them; nay, not only permits it, but 
desires that it be maintained. 

Would it not be well that lay persons also, when 
they communicate, should receive the Blessed 
Sacrament under the species of wine, as well as 
under the species of bread ? 

A. For many wise reasons the Church has pro- 
hibited the administration of the Blessed Sacrament 
to lay persons under the species of wine ; nor can 
even priests communicate under the species of wine, 
except when they celebrate the Holy Mass. More- 
over, it would be a heresy, condemned by the 
Sacred Council of Trent, to say that Christians are 

The Sacrammis, 199 

obliged to communicate also under the species of 
wine. Observe further, that, receiving the Living 
and Whole Christ, as well under the species of 
bread as under the species of wine, he who receives 
Him only under the species of bread, is not de- 
frauded of any part of the fruit of the Sacrament. 

When a consecrated host is divided, what hap- 
pens to the Body of Christ ? 

A. No change nor alteration takes place in the 
Body of Christ ; but it is of Faith that when the 
Host is broken into small particles — the Living and 
Whole Christ is under each particle — and the same 
happens if the species of wine in the chalice is 
divided into small drops. 

For how long a time does the Body and the 
Blood of Christ remain really present in the Blessed 
Sacrament ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, that the Body 
and Blood of Christ remain present therein so long 
as the species are not consumed, or have become 
corrupted. Therefore, if the species of wine were 
left in the chalice until it evaporated, or became 
vinegar, there would no longer be the Blood of 
Christ in that chalice. 

When we communicate, for how long a time does 
the Real Presence of Christ remain in us ? 

A. It remains in us so long as the heat of the 
stomach does not change the sacramental species] 
therefore, according to the greater or less activity 

200 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

of the stomach, Christ remains a greater or less 
time really present in us. 

Who is the Minister of the Sacrament of the 
Eucharist ? 

A. Priests alone can consecrate the bread and 
wine ; therefore, not even in case of necessity can 
one who is not a Priest consecrate validly. Hence, 
for example, should a Deaton say Mass, he would 
not consecrate, and the bread would still remain 
bread, and the wine would still remain wine. This 
is of the Faith. Moreover, the administration of 
this Sacrament belongs also to Priests alone, so 
that no other, ordinarily speaking, can give com- 
munion. I say ordinarily speaking, because, in case 
of necessity, a Deacon also can give- communion, 
and so Deacons are the extraordinary ministers of 
this Sacrament, not in respect of consecration, but 
of administration. 

Who are the subjects of this Sacrament ? 

A. All baptized persons are the subjects of this 
Sacrament, that is to say, they are capable of receiv- 
ing it ; but in adults, to receive it with profit, the 
necessary dispositions are requisite. 

May children then also receive Communion? 

A. For many centuries it was the custom of the 
Church to give Communion to children before the 
use of reason, but this custom has now ceased ; so 
that according to the present discipline of the 
Church, it is not lawful to give them Communion. 
Observe, moreover, that the Sacred Council of 

The Sacraments. 201 

Trent excommunicates those who should assert 
that Communion is necessary fbr children before 
they attain the use of reason. 

What dispositions are requisite in adults ? 

A. Sanctifying grace; knowledge of the Sacra- 
ment, that is to say, that they know what they are 
receiving; and, except in the case of danger of 
death, fasting from every kind of food and drink, 
even though it were medicinal. These are the most 
essential dispositions ; there are others which cause 
us to receive this Sacrament with greater fruits, but 
the masters of the spiritual life will instruct you in 
regard to these. 

Suppose a person in mortal sin were about to 
communicate, would it suffice that he put himself 
in a state of grace by an act of perfect contrition? 

A. In the 14th A. of the present chapter, Sect. I. 
we have said that it would not suffice, there being 
the precept of St. Paul, which obliges all those who 
would communicate, to go first to Confession every 
time they have been guilty of any mortal sin. This 
is meant speaking generally, for if there were urgent 
necessity to communicate, and no Confessor could 
be had, a person might receive Holy Commumon 
with an act of perfect contrition alone. But it is 
for moralists to discuss such cases of necessity, as 
well as the obligation which remains of confessing 
the sin. 

What are the effects of this Sacrament ? 

A. The first effect is spiritual nourishment of the 

202 A Dogfnatic Catechism. 

soul, through the increase of sanctifying grace \ the 
second effect is deliverance from venial sins; the 
third, preservation from mortal sins. The Sacred 
Coimcil of Trent assigns these effects to this 
Sacrament. The Councils of Florence and Vienne 
add a fourth effect, which is spiritual delectation ; 
this, however, as St Bernard observes, is only con- 
ferred on those who are thoroughly detached from 
earthly affections, and very fervent in spirit. Such 
as these, when they communicate, experience in a 
sensible manner how sweet is the Lord. 

What necessity is there to receive Holy Com- 

A. All adults, by Divine and Ecclesiastical pre- 
cept, are bound to communicate, and the Church 
has fixed this obligation at onde a year, so that he 
who should not fulfil this obligation would not be 
saved. There is also obligation to communicate 
when death is approaching ; but moral theologians 
will tell you of these obligations. Observe, how- 
ever, that this necessity is only of precept^ so that 
should an adult find it impossible to receive Holy 
Communion, he might notwithstanding be saved. 

Is the practice of daily Communion to be ap- 
proved in the case of lay persons ? 

A. It is doubtless to be approved, i. Because 
such was the common practice of the early Church. 
2. Because it is in comformity with the desire of 
the Council of Trent. 3. Because the Roman 
Catechism directs Parish Priests frequently to 

The Sacraments, 203 

exhort the Faithful to practise it. 4. Because a 
decree of the Sacred Congregation, approved by 
Innocent XI., forbids that even married persons, or 
those engaged in business, should be debarred from 
daily Communion, and orders it to be left to the 
judgment of Confessors as to who shall^be admitted, 
or not admitted to it. Much more is daily Com- 
munion to be approved for persons living in re- 
ligious communities. 

You said that the Blessed Eucharist is not only 
a Sacrament, but that it is also a true Sacrifice. I 
should like, in the first place, to know what a Sacri- 
fice is ? 

A. A Sacrifice may be defined as — an oblation 
or offering of a sensible thing, made to God by His 
legitimate Minister, in recognition of His supreme 
dominion over all creatures, — and this offering 
must import some destruction of the thing or 
victim which is offered : otherwise, should this des- 
truction be wanting, it is no longer a Sacrifice, but 
a simple Oblation. This definition belongs also to 
the Sacrifices of the Old Law, in which animals were 
offered to God by lawful Priests, in recognition of 
His supreme authority, and they offered them by 
putting them to death. 

How can this definition be applied to the Holy 
Eucharist ? 

A. In the Hojy Mass there is the oblation of a 
sensible thing, that is, of the Body and Blood of 
Jesus Christ, under the species of bread and wine. 

204 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

There is a legitimate minister, that is, the Priest, 
and there is the immolation or destruction of a 
victim, which immolation was made recUly in the 
Sacrifice of the Cross, when Jesus Christ really 
shed His Blood, and really died ; but in the Holy 
Mass this immolation is made mystically^ for Jesus 
Christ does not shed His Blood any more, nor die 
any more really, but mystically, inasmuch as by 
virtue of the words of Consecration the Body alone of 
Christ is made present under the species of bread, 
and the Blood alone of Christ under the species 
of wine ; and although along with His Body there 
is also His Blood, and along with His Blood there 
is also His Body, this happens not by virtue of the 
words of Consecration, but by way of concomitance, 
inasmuch as the Blood of Christ cannot now be 
again really separated from His Body. Therefore 
in the Mass, the Body and Blood of the Lord are 
offered as if separated under the diverse species of 
bread and wine ; and this suffices for mystical des- 
truction or immolation of the victim. 

AVhat kind of sacrifice must we say is the Sacri- 
fice of the Mass ? 

A. The Sacred Council of Trent has defined 
that the Holy Mass is the same Sacrifice as that of 
the Cross, differing from it only as to the manner in 
which it is offered ; for the same Victim Who was 
offered then, is offered now upon our altars, that is 
to say, Jesus Christ, who was made a Victim for our 
sins, and it is the same Priest who offers that Victim, 

The Sacraments. 205 

inasmuch as Jesus Christ is the principal offerer, 
offering Himself as He did upon Calvary, but 
through the ministry of His Priests. Therefore, 
when Holy Mass is celebrated, the Sacrifice of 
the Cross is renewed ; which then was a Bloody 
Sacrifice, that is, with a 'real blood-shedding ; and 
now is an Unbloody Sacrifice, that is, with a not real 
but mystical blood-shedding. 

What are the qualities of the Sacrifice of the 
Holy Mass ? 

A. It is LatreutiCy that is to say, it is a Sacrifice 
of Praise, rendering infinite praise to God. It is 
EucharisHCf that is to say, it is a Sacrifice of Thanks- 
giving, which avails to thank Him for all possible 
benefits. It is Propitiatory^ that is to say, it is 
such as to appease Him for all sins. It is Impe- 
tratory, that is to say, it can impetrate for us every 

Had not the Sacrifice of the Cross all these cha- 
racteristics, and was it not all-sufficient ? Why, then, 
must we acknowledge the Holy Mass to be a true 
Sacrifice ? 

A. In the first place, you must observe, as St. 
Thomas shews, that the true Religion must have 
a Sacrifice to offer to God. Now we have no other 
Sacrifice, for the ancient sacrifices were abrogated ; 
and therefore, if it were not for the Holy Mass, the 
Christian religion could offer no Sacrifice to God. 
In the second place, observe that, although the 
Sacrifice of. the Cross was all-sufficient, and more 

ao6 A DogmaHc Catechism. 

than all-sufficient, yet by the Holy Mass the honour 
which God received from the Sacrifice of the Cross 
is renewed ; and it is a most powerful means, by 
which the merits of that same Sacrifice, which our 
Saviour offered upon the Cross, are applied to us. 

Does the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass aid only the 

A. It is an article of the Faith, defined by the 
Sacred Council of Trent, that the Sacrifice of the 
Holy Mass aids not only the living, but also the 
dead who are in Purgatory. 

Can Masses be celebrated in honour of the 

A, It is likewise an article of the Faith, defined 
in the said Council, that it is well to celebrate 
Masses in honour of the Saints. Observe, however, 
that the Holy Sacrifice can only be offered to God 
in thanksgiving for the great graces which he has 
bestowed upon the Saints, and to obtain their 
patronage. Hence the Holy Mass can be offered 
to no Saint, but only to God, in thanksgiving for 
the graces which He has bestowed upon them, and 
in order that He may deign to make us partakers 
of their intercession. Nevertheless, since all this 
redounds to the honour of the Saints, we say rightly 
that Masses are celebrated in honour of the Saints. 

Who can offer the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass ? 

A. Jesus Christ, who instituted it at the Last 
Supper, and Who then thus offered a true Sacrifice 
of His Body and >Blood under the species of bread 

TTie Sacraments* 207 

and wine, is truly and properly the Principal Oflferer 
of the Holy Mass. In the second place, Priests 
alone can, immediately and properly, as ministers, 
offer this Sacrifice, as we have already said ; nor 
could it be validly celebrated by any person what- 
ever who was not a Priest In the third place, all 
the Faithful, as members of the Church, when they 
hear Holy Mass, offer the Holy Sacrifice together 
with the Priest, as appears from the prayers of the 

If all the Faithful offer the Sacrifice together 
with the Priest, ought they not all to communicate 
when they hear Mass ? 

A. It is well that all who are disposed should 
communicate. The Council of Trent desires that 
all who are present should dispose themselves to 
receive Holy Communion from the Priest who 
celebrates, as we have already shewn \ nevertheless, 
this is not a matter of necessity. Moreover, the 
same Council excommunicates any one who should 
assert that Holy Mass cannot be celebrated unless 
the assistants communicate. 

Is it necessary to put a little water in the wine 
which is consecrated in Holy Mass ? 

A. It is not necessary for validity^ because, by 
the words of Consecration, the wine would be 
changed into the Blood of Christ, although no 
water were put into the chalice; but it is necessary 
to add the water, because, as, as the Holy Fathers 
declare, Christ did so at the Last Supper, it has 

2o8 A Dogmaiic Catechism, 

always been the custom of the Church, and the 
Church has most rigorously commanded it. More- 
over, the Council of Trent excommunicates any one 
who should assert that this small quantity of water is 
not to be put in the wine. You must be carrful, 
however, not to put too great a quantity of water 
into the chalice, because if the wine were mixed 
with much water, it would no longer be fit matter 
for the Consecration. 

Would it not be better if the Holy Mass were 
celebrated in the vulgar tongue, and in a loud 
voice, so that the people might understand all the 
prayers ? 

A. He who should say that the Mass ought to 
be celebrated only in the vulgar tongue, and the 
whole of it, including the Canon and the words of 
Consecration, in a loud voice, would incur the ex- 
communication fulminated by the Council of Trent. 
In like manner, he who should despise the cere- 
monies, rites, or vestments which are used in cele- 
brating the Holy Mass, would incur the excom- 
mimication fulminated by the same Council. 

Sect. V. — Penance, 

Is Penance a Sacrament of the New Law? 

A. Penance is a supernatural moral virtue, which 
inclines the sinner to detest and grieve for his sins, 
inasmuch as they are offences against God, and to 
have a purpose of amendment and satisfaction. This 
virtue was always necessary for sinners, even under 

The Sacraments. 209 

the old law, in order that they might obtain the 
pardon of their sins, and Jesus Christ raised it to 
the rank of a Sacrament, so that, when Penance has 
the due requisites, according to the institution of 
Christ, it is a tnie Sacrament. 

Is not Penance then always a Sacrament ? 

A. When there is not only sorrow for sin com- 
mitted, not only purpose of amendment, and of 
making satisfaction to the Divine Justice, — ^but also 
confession of sins made to a Priest approved for 
confession, and absolution received from him, then 
it is of faith that Penance is a true sacrament; 
but when these two last are wanting, it is a simple 

How do you define the Sacrament of Penance ? 

A. Penance is a Sacrament, instituted by Jesus 
Christ, in which, by the acts of the penitent and 
the absolution of an approved priest, sins com- 
mitted after Baptism are remitted. 

What is the Matter of this Sacrament ? 

A. Sins committed after Baptism are the remote 
matter of this Sacrament ; Contrition, Confession 
of the same sins, and Satisfaction are ^t proximate 

Are all sins committed after Baptism equally 
the matter of this Sacrament. 

A, Mortal sins never previously confessed are 

the necessary matter, so that, except in case of real 

nability, they must be confessed in order to obtain 


210 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

pardon ; venial sins, however, and all mortal sins 
already confessed are sufficient matter ; so that there 
is no obiigation to confess them, but they may be 
confessed, and, there being no other sins to con- 
fess, Absolution may be received for them. 

In case of real inability, how are mortal sins for- 
given without Confession ? 

A. They are pardoned by means of perfect Con- 
trition, which includes the desire or purpose of Con- 
fession, as we pointed out in Ch. 6, § iii. 

Is it a good thing to frequent Confession, when 
we have no mortal sins to confess ? 

A. It is certainly a good thing, and conformable 
to the desire of the Church, and the practice of 
fervent Christians. 

What is Contrition ? 

A. The Council of Trent defines Contrition as 
''a hearty sorrow and detestation of sins com- 
mitted, accompanied by a purpose not to sin any 
more." Contrition is perfect when this sorrow 
springs from perfect love of God. It is imperfect 
when it springs from a supernatural motive, indeed, 
but not from the perfect love of God. If a person 
repents of having offended God because he has 
offended the Supreme Good who merits to be 
loved above everything, he has perfect contrition. 
If, on the other hand, he repents for having forfeited 
Heaven and merited Hell, he has imperfect con- 

77ie Sacraments, 211 

Is perfect or imperfect Contrition necessary for 

1^ ' A. Perfect Contrition is undoubtedly desirable, 
but it is not necessary ; since otherwise every one 
who went to Confession would go already in a state 
of grace, there being no doubt, as we have said in 
Ch. 6, § iii. that perfect Charity and perfect Con- 
trition place the soul in the grace of God, before 
receiving Sacramental Absolution, and that, too, 
apart from case of necessity. Imperfect Contrition 
therefore suffices for Confession. 

What conditions ought Contrition, that is, sorrow 
for sin, to have ? 

A. It must be internal^ that is to say, it must come 
from the heart : it must be supreme^ that is to say, it 
must cause us to detest sin above every other evil ; it 
must be universal^ making us abhor all mortal sins 
whatsoever ; it must be supematuraly that is to say, 
it must spring from a motive revealed by the Holy 

Is a sorrow which has these conditions necessary 
in Confession, when we have only to accuse our- 
selves of venial sins ? 

A. There is no doubt of it, except in regard to 
the third condition ; for it is not necessary that the 
penitent should have an universal sorrow for all his 
venial sins ; it is sufficient that, when confessing 
only venial sins, he should repent of some one of 
them. He must, however, have an internal, su- 

14— a 

ai3 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

preme, supernatural sorrow on account of that of 
which he repents, so that he may^be disposed to 
suffer anything whatever, rather than commit it 

any more. 

Could a person who had only venial sins to con- 
fess, and who did not feel this sorrow, go to Con- 
fession ? 

A. Such an one could not receive Absolution, 
otherwise the Sacrament would be void, as wanting 
an essential part On this account Theologians 
advise persons who frequent Holy Confession and 
who accuse themselves only of habitual venial sins, 
to add to their confession some graver sin of their 
past life for which they have a more certain sorrow, 
in order that the matter of the Sacrament may 
not be wanting. For want of such caution it is 
possible that not a few persons who frequent Holy 
Confession receive Absolution in vain. But we 
leave this to be discussed by Moral Theolo- 

Of what sort ought our purpose of amendment 
to be ? 

A. Our purpose of amendment must ht firm, 
that is to say, the will must be resolute never more to 
return to the sin which we detest j it must be 
universal^ so that it be resolute to guard against 
committing any mortal sin whatsoever : it must be 
efficacious, so that it be disposed to adopt all the 
necessary means to avoid sin. 

77te Sacraments. ^13 

What is Confession? 

A. Confession is accusation of one's own sins, 
committed after Baptism, made by the penitent, in 
the presence of the Priest, in order to obtain Abso- 

Can we not obtain pardon of mortal sins without 
confessing them ? 

A. This is an article of the Faith, defined by the 
Sacred Council of Trent, because there is an express 
Divine Command to confess all and each of our 
mortal sins ; and if the pardon of such mortal sins 
is obtained by means of perfect contrition, it is 
obtained because in that perfect contrition there 
is included the purpose or desire of confession. 

How often are we under obligation to fulfil this 
precept ? 

A. Generally speaking, there is obligation to ful- 
fil it once a year, and at the point of death. There 
may, however, be other circumstances which also 
oblige us to fulfil this precept, as may be seen in 
the Moral Theology. 

What is Satisfaction ? 

A. Satisfaction, which is a part of the Sacrament 
of Penance, is the acceptance, and voluntary fulfil* 
ment of the Penance enjoined by the confessor, in 
order to compensate for the injury we have done to 
God by the sin. 

The guilt of sin being pardoned, do we remain 
debtors to any punishment ? 

2X4 ^ DogfnaHc Caiechism. 

■ A. Contrition is sometimes so powerful and 
vehement that it takes away not only the guilt, but 
also all the punishment : but for the most part, as 
the Council of Trent teaches, there remains a debt 
of temporal punishment due for sin, after the guilt 
is pardoned, and we must satisfy this either by 
works of penance in this life, or in Purgatory in the 

It seems to me that the penance should be per- 
formed before receiving Absolution ? 

A. The practice of the Church is contrary to this, 
which enjoins a penance and, if he who confesses 
his sins be rightly disposed, gives Absolution im- 
mediately, leaving him to perform the penanee 
enjoined afterwards. Moreover, the Church has 
condemned certain modem rigorists, who pretended 
that the penance enjoined by the confessor ought 
to be performed before receiving Absolution. 

Is the penance enjoined by the Confessor an 
essential part of the Sacrament ? 

A. It is not an essential part of the Sacrament, 
for, in cases where it cannot be imposed or can- 
not be fulfilled, the Sacrament still produces its 
effect, that is, the justification of the sinner. On 
the other hand, it is a necessary part of the Sacra- 
ment, for it is of Divine precept that this penance 
should be imposed and performed, except in cases 
where there is an impossibility of fulfilling it. There- 
fore, should any one go to confession with the in- 

The Sacraments. 215 

tention of not performing his penance, he would 
have a bad intention, which would render him ill 
disposed, and he would receive the Absolution 
unworthily, and his sins would not be forgiven 

Is this penance entirely in the power of the Con- 
fessor ? 

A. It is not in such manner in the power of the 
Confessor, that he can impose penances according 
to his own caprice ; but it is so far in the power of 
the Confessor, that, after prudently considering the 
number and quality of the sins, and the disposi- 
tions of the penitent, it rests with him to assign such 
penance as he shall prudently judge to be most fit- 
ting and salutary ; such penance being directed, as 
the Sacred Council of Trent teaches, not only as a 
punishment for past sins, but also as a remedy to 
preserve from future sins. 

What is the Form of the Sacrament of Pen- 

A. " I absolve thee from thy sins, in the Name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost.** These last words, however, are not essen- 
tial, for though he who should omit them would sin 
by so doing, the Absolution would be valid. The 
essential words are : "I absolve thee.*' 

What is the meaning of these words ? 

A. The meaning of these words is : "I administer 
to thee the Sacrament of Absolution.** This is the 

320 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

dispositions of the penitent. In conclusion, the 
Indulgence is given by those who have the faculty 
to dispense, &c.y because no one can grant Indul- 
gences who has not legitimate authority to distribute 
the common treasures of the Church. The Pope 
has this power, without limit, for the whole Church ; 
the Bishops have it, limited, for their own Dioceses, 
and restricted by the Fourth Lateran Council, so 
that they can only grant Indulgences of forty 
days, and of one year in the Dedication of a 

Of what does the spiritual treasury of the Church 

A. The spiritual treasury of the Church is formed 
of the infinite merits of Jesus Christ and of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints ; also of 
the merits of the just still living upon earth, as 
Clement VI. teaches in his Bull Unigenitus of the 
year 1350. The Church has authority to dispense 
these treasures, in remission of the temporal punish- 
ment due to God on account of sin. 

Is it certain that in the Church there is this 
power to grant Indulgences ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, as declared by 
the Sacred Council of Trent. 

Are there different kinds of Indulgences ? 

A. Some Indulgences 21^ plenary y and somtpartial. 
Plenary Indulgences remit the whole of the temporal 
punishment due to the Divine Justice. Hence, to 
obtain the full effect of a Plenary Indulgence, it is 

TAe Sacrammts, 217 

Cannot priests, not approved for the hearing of 
confessions, absolve from venial sins ? 

A. It is certain that they cannot absolve even 
from venial sins, as was declared by the Congrega- 
tion of Cardinals under Innocent XI., in 1679. 

Can some sins be reserved, so that priests other- 
wise approved for the hearing of confessions, shall 
not have jurisdiction in regard of such sins ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, declared in the 
Sacred Council of Trent, that Bishops can reserve 
to themselves certain sins, for which ordinary con- 
fessors cannot give absolution; and what each 
Bishop can do for his own Diocese, the Pope can 
do for the whole Church. 

The Church orders that all the Faithful shall 
confess once a year to their own priest ; what is 
meant by their awn priest ? 

A. By their own priest is meant the Parish 
Priest; at the present day, however, it is sufficient 
to confess to any priest approved by the Bishop ; 
such is the present practice recognized by the 
Supreme Pontiff, and by all the Bishops. 

What are the effects of the Sacrament of 

A. Five principal effects may be enumerated : 
I, the remission of sin, and of the eternal punishment 
which sin merits, if it be mortal ; 2, the diminution 
of the temporal punishment due to sin, a diminution 
greater or less, according to the more or less per- 

2i6 A DogmaHc Catechism. 

explanation of St. Thomas. Or : " I give thee, in 
so far as I can, the grace which reconciles, or which 
remits sins." In this sense the form is true, even 
for those who approach the Sacrament already freed 
from sin, by perfect contrition, and who in reality 
could not have their sins taken away, because they 
have been taken away already. In such sense the 
form is true; because the sinner receives grace 
which, of its nature, is directed to the taking away 
of sin ; because he reconciles himself more per- 
fectly to God, and advances in His friendship ; and 
because in the sacrament a part of the temporal 
pain due to sin is condoned. 

Who is the Minister of the Sacrament of 
Penance ? 

A. Only Priests who have been approved for the 
hearing of coufessions. All Priests who have cure 
of souls, are so approved, and also all others on 
whom jurisdiction to hear confessions has been 

Wlio can give Priests jurisdiction to hear Con- 
fessions ? 

A. The Pope for the whole Church, as Universal 
Pastor; a Bishop in his own diocese ; and a Regular 
Prelate to the religious subject to him. Observe, 
however, that Regulars cannot hear the confessions 
of Nuns, even of those who are exempt from the 
jurisdiction of the Bishop and subject to the 
Regular Prelate, without the approbation of the 
Bishop of the place. 

TAe Sacraments. aiy 

Cannot priests, not approved for the hearing of 
confessions, absolve from venial sins ? 

A. It is certain that they cannot absolve even 
from venial sins, as was declared by the Congrega- 
tion of Cardinals under Innocent XI., in 1679. 

Can some sins be reserved, so that priests other- 
wise approved for the hearing of confessions, shall 
not have jurisdiction in regard of such sins ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, declared in the 
Sacred Council of Trent, that Bishops can reserve 
to themselves certain sins, for which ordinary con- 
fessors cannot give absolution; and what each 
Bishop can do for his own Diocese, the Pope can 
do for the whole Church. 

The Church orders that all the Faithful shall 
confess once a year to their own priest ; what is 
meant by tAeir awn priest ? 

A. By their own priest is meant the Parish 
Priest ; at the present day, however, it is sufficient 
to confess to any priest approved by the Bishop ; 
such is the present practice recognized by the 
Supreme Pontiff, and by all the Bishops. 

What are the effects of the Sacrament of 

A. Five principal effects may be enumerated : 
I, the remission of sin, and of the eternal punishment 
which sin merits, if it be mortal ; 2, the diminution 
of the temporal punishment due to sin, a diminution 
greater or less, according to the more or less per- 

2i8 A Dogmatic CaUchism. 

feet disposition of the penitent; 3, renewal of 
friendship with God, which has been violated; 
4, the restitution or revival of virtues and merits 
which have been lost by sin ; 5, the aids of actual 
grace, that is to say, a certain right to have such 
aids in time of need, by means of which the 
penitent is strengthened against falling anew into 
sin, and strengthened to persevere in good. 

What is meant by the virtues or merits being re- 
stored which have been lost by sin ? 

A. Sin causes us to lose the habits of virtue ; the 
sin of infidelity, for example, causes us to lose 
Faith; the sin of despair causes us to lose Hope, 
&C. ; and by means of a good confession these 
virtues are restored to the soul. Similarly, sin 
strips the soul of all the merits it had acquired for 
Eternal Life, and by means of confession those 
merits are restored to the soul. 

Tke Sacraments. 219 

Appendix. On Indulgences. 

What is an Indulgence ? 

A. An Indulgence is a remission of the temporal 
punishment^ which remains due to us, on account 
of our sins, after their guilt has been pardoned ; 
which remission is given us outside the sacrament, 
by those who have the faculty to dispense the 
spiritual treasures of the Church. 

Explain this to me more distinctly. 

A. An Indulgence is said to be a remission of 
punishment^ because it is not the sin which is 
remitted by the Indulgence, but the punishment 
due for the sin. It is said to be a remission of 
temporal punishment, because the eternal punish- 
ment due to mortal sin is not remitted by the 
Indulgence : that is remitted only in the Sacrament 
of Penance. This temporal punishment remains 
due after the guilt is pardoned, because, as we 
have already shewn, after Absolution has been re- 
ceived, there remains, for the most part, some debt 
of temporal punishment, which we must satisfy, 
either by works of penance in this life, or by Purga- 
tory in the next. Observe further : this remission 
is given outside the Sacramenty which means that 
we must not confound an Indulgence with the 
remission of that part of the temporal punishment 
which is obtained by virtue of the Sacrament of 
Penance, in proportion to the more or less perfect 

220 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

dispositions of the penitent In conclusion, the 
Indulgence is given by those who have the faculty 
to dispense, &c, because no one can grant Indul- 
gences who has not legitimate authority to distribute 
the common treasures of the Church. The Pope 
has this power, without limit, for the whole Church ; 
the Bishops have it, limited, for their own Dioceses, 
and restricted by the Fourth Lateran Council, so 
that they can only grant Indulgences of forty 
days, and of one year in the Dedication of a 

Of what does the spiritual treasury of the Church 
consist ? 

A. The spiritual treasury of the Church is formed 
of the infinite merits of Jesus Christ and of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints ; also of 
the merits of the just still living upon earth, as 
Clement VI. teaches in his Bull Unigenitus of the 
year 1350. The Church has authority to dispense 
these treasures, in remission of the temporal punish- 
ment due to God on account of sin. 

Is it certain that in the Church there is this 
power to grant Indulgences ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith, as declared by 
the Sacred Council of Trent. 

Are there different kinds of Indulgences ? 

A. Some Indulgences are//^a/7, and some/^ffro/. 
Plenary Indulgences remit the whole of the temporal 
punishment due to the Divine Justice. Hence, to 
obtain the full effect of a Plenary Indulgence, it is 


77ie Sacraments* 221 

necessary not only to be in a state of grace, but 
also to be detached from all affection to venial sin. 
Partial Indulgences remit a part of the temporal 
pmiishment corresponding to forty days, seven 
years, or the like, of the penances formerly imposed. 

What was this ^tmncQ formerly imposed ? 

A. In early times, for many sins the Canons 
appointed penances either of days or years, which 
penances were to be performed by sinners when 
they were converted to God ; these penances were 
called the pains imposed. They are now no longer 
prescribed; but when an Indulgence of forty days, 
seven years, or the like, is granted, so much tem- 
poral punishment is remitted, as would have been 
remitted to the penitent, had he fulfilled a penance 
of forty days, seven years, &c. 

Can Indulgences be given also for the dead ? 

A. They can, and such is the practice of the 
Church. You must observe, however, that to the 
living, over whom the Church has jurisdiction, they 
are given by way of absolution; to the dead, over 
whom the Church has no longer jurisdiction, they 
are given by way of suffrage^ 

Sect. VI. Extreme Unction. 

Is Extreme Unction a Sacrament? 
A. That it is a true Sacrament is an article of 
the Faith, as defined by the Council of Trent 
What is the Matter of this Sacrament ? 

1122 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

A. The Matter of this Sacrament is the Oil 
blessed by the Bishop on Maunday Thursday. 

What is the JFbrm ?, 

A. The Prayer which is offered by the Priest, 
while he is anointing the senses of the sick person. 

Who is the Minister of it ? 

A. Priests alone are Ministers of this Sacrament. 

Who are the Subjects of it? 

A. Sick persons alone, in peril of 'death, who 
have arrived at the use of reason; because for 
children who have not yet sinned such a form could 
not be used as : ''By this holy anointing, and by 
His most piteous mercy, the Lord pardon thee, 
whereinsoever thou hast sinned by seeing, hear- 
ing, &C." 

What are the Ej^eds of this Sacrament ? 

A. The first is sanctifying grace^ with a right to 
actual graces given to comfort and strengthen the 
soul of the sick person amidst the pains and 
troubles of his sickness, and against the temptations 
of the devil. The. second is to free him from the 
rdia (t/'jiVi, which are the weakness, languor, tepidity 
in good, anxiety and timidity which sin leaves 
behind it in the soul ; besides this, the temporal 
punishments still due to sin (see Sec. V., of Penance) 
are taken away or pardoned, according to the more 
or less perfect disposition of him who receives this 
sacrament. The third effect is to free him from 
venial sinSy and even from mortal sins, if there be no 
possibility of confessing them, or if they have been 
forgotten, provided there be the repentance of 

The Sacramenis, 223 

attrition, as we have already shewn in Sect. I. 
The fourth is bodily healings if it be expedient for 
the salvation of the soul. 

Is there any necessity to receive this Sacrament? 

A. You may see clearly, from the importance of 
the foresaid effects, that every one ought to be 
careful to fortify himself with this sacrament at the 
terrible approach of death. 

Sect. VII. Order. 

Is Order a true Sacrament of the new Law ? 

A. This is an article of the Faith, expressly de- 
clared by the Sacred Council of Trent. Order 
is defined to be; — A Sacrament of the New Law, 
whereby the spiritual power is given to baptized 
men, of consecrating bread and wine in the most 
august Sacrament of the Altar, of administering 
the Sacraments, and of exercising other ecclesi- 
astical ministries. 

What powers must we recognize as derived from 
this Sacrament? 

A. Two powers : the first is called the power of 
Ordery which regards the Holy Sacrifice, or the Real 
Body of Christ ; the second is called the power of 
JurisdicHony which regards the governing of the 
Mystical Body of Christ, that is to say, of the 
Christian people. 

Have these two powers distinct grades ? 

A. It is certain that they have distinct grades, 
of which the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy is formed. It 
is defined by the Sacred Council of Trent, that 

8it4 A, Dogmatic Catechism. 

there is such an hierarchy. This hierarchy is com- 
posed of bishops, priests, and the inferior ministers. 

Are several orders to be recognized in Sacred 

A. It is of Faith that several orders are to be re- 
cognized, the Greater Orders and the Minor Orders, 
as the Sacred Council of Trent has defined. 

Which are the Greater Orders? 

A. The Greater Orders are three in number: 
Priest, Deacon, and Sub-deacon. 

Which are the Minor Orders ? 

A. There are four Minor Orders, Ostiarius, 
Lector, Exorcist, and Acolyte. 

Who are the ministers of the Sacrament of Order ? 

A. Bishops alone, as defined by the Sacred 
Council of Trent. 

What is the matter of this Sacrament, and what 
is \\sform ? 

A. The matter is the imposition of the hands of 
the Bishop upon the person to be ordained ; the 
form consists of the words with which the Bishop 
accompanies this action.* 

* It is to be observed, that in regard to the different greater 
and lesser Orders, to the Episcopate, and to the matter and 
form of this Sacrament, much more might be said, but we 
omit it here, as not necessary for the scope of this work. 
Moreover, such subjects, being somewhat difficult, would 
require to be treated at length, in order to be made intel- 
ligible to unmstructed persons. [There is required, for instance, 
in the Western Church, besides the imposition of hands, the 
tradition of the instruments, that is to say, delivery of the 
sacred vessels to the person ordained. — £d.] 

The Sacraments. 225 

What dispositions are required in those who 
aspire to the priesthood ? 

A. The principal dispositions are :**i. Vocation 
from God, for without a positive vocation — which, 
moreover, must be well examined — no one should 
dare to aspire to so eminent an estate in the Church. 
2. Sanctity of life ; for he who does not live habitu- 
ally in the grace of God, cannot pretend to occupy 
himself with the most sacred mysteries. 3. The 
gift of perpetual continence ; and he who does not 
feel himself disposed to preserve this continence 
should on no account aspire to the sacerdotal state. 
4. Competent knowledge; for an ignorant man can 
never be a useful minister of Holy Church. 5. Im- 
munity from all censures and irregularities. 

Cannot the ecclesiastical state be entered on, like 
any other, when family convenience requires it, 
provided there be the intention of living in a manner 
conformable to that state ? 

A. No family convenience, nor any other tem- 
poral motive, should determine one to embrace that 
estate, but the Divine vocation alone. He who 
should receive Holy Orders without such vocation 
could not expect to live in a manner conformable 
to the ecclesiastical state, because be could not ex- 
pect that God would give him the grace which He 
bestows on those whom He coils to serve Him in 
the priesthood. 

Then he who should have received Sacred Orders 


226 A Dogmatic CaUMsm. 

without this diyine vocadim could not hope for 
salvation ? 

A. Such an one would be in great peril ; still, if, 
considering this peril, and detesting his rashness, 
he have recourse to the mercy of God, he will ob- 
tain the graces necessaiy for him to save his soul in 
the state he has entered on, and from which he can 
never wididraw, because it is a state which is im- 

What are the ^eOs of this Sacrament ? 

A. The indelible character which it imprints on 
the soul, and, 2, grace, as we observed in Sect I., 
when speaking of the Sacraments in general 

Sect. VIII. Matrimony. 

Did Jesus Christ raise the marriage contract to 
the dignity of a Sacrament ? 

A. This is an article of the Faith, as affirmed by 
the Sacred Council of Treut 

Is it lawful for a man to have more than one 

A. Under the Old Law, a man was permitted to 
have more than one wife at the same time ; but it 
is forbidden by the New Law. If, however, the 
first wife dies, it is lawful to take another ; nay, it 
is an article of the Faith, that to marry successively 
a second, a third, or a fourth wife is lawful. 

Is marriage, after it is consummated, indissoluble? 

A. It is an article of the Faith that, in the case 
of Christians, it is indissoluble. Marriage, in the 

The Sacraments, 227 

case of infidels, may be dissolved if the party who is 
converted to the Faith have good reason for ceasing 
to cohabit with the party who remains in infidelity. 

Is marriage indissoluble when only ratified^ that 
is to say, after the marriage has been contracted, 
but before the wedded persons have yet cohabited ? 

A. It is an article of the Faith that it may be 
dissolved by means of religious profession. If the 
man enters an approved religious Order, and makes 
his profession, Jhe woman is free ; and vice versa. 

Has the Church authority to declare impedi- 
ments to marriage, which in certain cases may 
render the marriage unlawfiU, and even invalid ? 

A. This. is an article of the Faith, as declared 
by the Sacred Council of Trent. 

Is marriage commanded for all ? 

A. Marriage is conunanded to no one in par- 
ticular ; on the contrary, as of greater perfection, 
it is better to preserve oneself in perfect chastity. 
This is also an article of the Faith, recognized as 
such in all ages of the Church, and so declared by 
the Council of Trent, where it is defined : " If any 
one shall say that the married state is to be pre- 
ferred to the estate of virginity or celibacy, and that 
it is not a better and a happier condition to remain 
in virginity or celibacy than to be joined in matri- 
mony, let him be exconununicated."* 

* Many other things might be mentioned concerning this 
Sacrament, but as they are not suited to the primary scope of 
this littljs work, it is thought better to omit them. 

IS— 2 

228 A Dogmatic Catechism. 




Sect. I. The Importance of this Teaching, 

1. Man^s first and highest need is to know God, 
and the truths which He has revealed. Without 
this knowledge life must pass unhappily in this 
world, and will end in eternal miser}' in the next. 
This first and highest need of man becomes of 
urgent necessity, as soon as the light of reason dawns 
upon the understanding. Hence, while all other 
kinds of instruction may be deferred till the child 
has advanced in years, instruction in the truths of 
religion must not be delayed. On this account the 
teachmg of Christian Doctrine to children is of the 
highest importance, nay ! of absolute necessity. 

2. Moreover we must consider that the tenderest 
age is the best suited for such instruction ; for if 
the first ideas which are communicated to children, 
when they attain the use of reason, are Christian 
ideas, these will become, as it were, natural to them, 
and will remain profoundly impressed on their 
minds : they will seem to have been bom Christians 
rather than to have been made Christians ; nor in 
later years will they easily suffer those ideas to be 
altered or effaced. Christian instruction, b^[un 
with the first development of the understanding, 
and carried on afterwards, as it ought to be, with 
patient and diligent perseverance^ is the surest 

Appendix. 229 

goarantee we can have that the child will become 
a good youth and a good man. 

3. For this reason, General Councils, the Supreme 
Pontiffs, and the Bishops have ever prescribed, by mo§t 
earnest and vigorous precepts, that children should 
not be left without this instruction ; and hence, also, 
men the most distinguished for learning and sanctity 
have always promoted it with indefatigable zeal, and 
have taken delight in making it their own personal 

Sect. II. On the Method to he observed in this 


1. This instruction should be uniform. Hence 
children should be taught only the Catechism of 
the Diocese, and, if possible, made to learn it word 
for word. Great confusion would be caused by the 
use of different catechisms. Moreover, a particular 
form of words is more easily retained, and keeps 
longer alive in the memory the substance or under- 
standing of the things taught. 

2. It is not meant, however, that the mere letter 
of the catechism is alone to be taught. Persons 
who are not instructed in theology should confine 


themselves to this, and content .themselves with 
teaching the catechism as it stands, without expa- 
tiating on it or explsdning it, because, as they are 
wanting in the necessary theological knowledge, they 
might very possibly teach grave error ; but let those 
who are sufficiently instructed endeavour to dilate 

ajo A Dogmatic Catechism, 

upon and explain it according to the children's 
capacity, in order that they may the better under- 
stand it, and that the truths which it contains day 
make a deeper impression on their minds. 

3. But be careful not to think it always easy or 
desirable to explain too minutely to children the 
truths of Christian doctrine. This is not an easy 
matter, because in the mysteries of the Faith we 
cannot know all that we should like to know, but 
only what God has chosen to manifest to us. St. 
Athanasius said, in regard to the mystery of the Most 
Blessed Trinity, that we must be content to know 
just so much as the Church teaches us concerning 
it, and that the rest is (Covered by the wings of the 
Cherubim. In like manner, as to the mystery of 
the incarnation, in regard to Grace, and to all 
other mysteries, you must not attempt to give a 
reason for every difficulty that you meet with, or 
expect to understand and be able to explain every- 
thing. Neither is it desirable ; for, even supposing 
that he who is teaching Christian doctrine be very 
learned, and capable of treating Catholic truths 
with profound depth and subtlety, still this would 
not be suitable for children, who are scarcely able 
to understand the subjects of primary importance, 
and that in a general way. Explain, therefore. 
Christian doctrine, but not too minutely, so that 
children may learn what is necessary, without having 
their minds confused rather than enlightened. 

4. Another important caution is, not to touch on 

Appendix. 231 

those objections which cannot be answered so as 
fully to satisfy the unformed intellects of children, 
nor on those difficulties which cannot be cleared 
away by evident, or, so to speak, palpable reasons, 
of which alone the minds of children are capable. 
Such knowledge as is important for all, should be 
given to children, and that with the greatest possible 
clearness and simplicity ; they have not to confute 
heretics, nor to sit in the chair of the teacher. This 
caution is very necessary for clerical students, who 
are sometimes apt to set to work to teach children 
what they themselves are learning in the schools. 

5. Children must be ^xai^X, gradually, beginning 
with such things as are most necessary to be known, 
and proceeding from these to the rest ; hence they 
ought not to be taught a multitude of things at once. 
For example, you should begin by teaching them 
the existence of God, His Attributes, the mysteries 
of the Trinity, the Incarnation, &c., and so lead 
them on from one subject to. another without con- 
fusion. You must, however, it is true, often recur 
to the previous subjects, in order that they may not 
be forgotten. And here I would insist on the im- 
portance of so explaining the Divine Attributes that 
children may conceive a grand idea of God, and 
the grandest idea possible ; for this grand idea will 
be of the utmost service in causing the maxims of 
the holy Love and Fear of God to make a great 
impression on their hearts. We know that the 
reason why God is so little loved and so little feared 

9^2 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

by many Christians is^ because they have too little 
knowledge of His Goodness, and of His Greatness. 
6. Remember that in teaching children you can- 
not expect the same success with all. Therefore, 
let those who are quick and bright, and have good 
memories, learn more ; while you must be content 
that those who are slow and dull, and of feeble 
memory, should learn only those things that are 
really necessary. You will only lose time, if you 
try to make dull children leam as many things as 
children of better capacity, and you will only 
puzzle them. Hence the prudent catechist will seek 
to instruct children of dull understanding only in 
such truths as are most important, and indispensably 
necessary for them to knowr 

Sect. IH. The Maxims to be instilled into Children, 

I. Teaching children Christian doctrine should not 
be a bare, dry teaching of the truths of the Faith, 
such as to tell them : There is a God, — ^there is a 
Hell,— there is a Heaven, — ^there are seven Sacra- 
ments, &:c. ; but it should be a teaching full of life and 
vigour, which inflames the heart, at the same time 
that it enlightens the mind. This will be effected 
by teaching and explaining good Christian maxims ; 
and I will here put down a few principal ones, by 
way of example. The first maxim is this ;— that God 
has placed us in this world, not that we may eat 
and drink and amuse ourselves, &c., but that we 

Appendix. 233 

may know Him, love Him and serve Him now, and 
afterwards enjoy Him in Heaven ; you must tho- 
roughly explain this fundamental maxim, and make 
children understand, that whoever does not live in 
this world for the end of knowing, loving and serving 
God and gaining Heaven, lives ill, and deserves to 
be removed from the world, just as ,a vine which 
does not bear grapes, or a fig tree which bears no 
figs, would deserve to be cut down and consumed. 

2. That the grace of God is the greatest treasure, 
nay, the only real treasure that there is in the world ; 
that, to preserve the grace of God in our hearts, we 
should throw overboard the whole world, if it were 
ours, and if it were necessary so to do in order to 
preserve the grace of God. 

3. That the greatest evil is sin, which deprives us 
of the grace of God, and that it would be better to 
keep a live serpent in our bosoms than a mortal sin 
in our souls ; and that, as he who should carry a 
live serpent in his bosom would be unable to eat or 
sleep, or amuse himself, from the fear that at any 
moment this serpent might sting him to death, so 
it should seem impossible that a person, who has 
ever so little faith, could eat, or sleep, or amuse 
himself, while he has on his soul a mortal sin, which 
at any moment might cast him into Hell ; and so, 
if a child have the misfortune — the greatest of all 
misfortunes — to commit a mortal sin, he should im- 
mediately make a lively act of contrition, and then, 
as soon as possible, go and confess it. 

234 -^ Dogmatic Catechism. 

4. That he who has wicked companions has no 
need of the devil to tempt him, that he may go to 
Hellj for it often happens that a wicked com- 
panion does more hurt to the soul than the devil 
himself. Moreover, unrestricted intercourse be- 
tween boys and girls, if not evil, is always dangerous, 
and is displeasing to their Guardian Angels. 

5. That it is far better not to go to Confession at 
all, than to make a bad confession by concealing 
sins. With this object, it would be well for you to 
bring forward some terrible example of badly-made 

6. That they must exercise themselves in acts of 
the love of God, which, according to S'- Teresa, are 
like the wood which maintains and increases in the 
heart the holy fire of God's love. And here it will 
be well to suggest to chUdren the practice of making 
them often in the course of the day, such, for in- 
stance, as — "My God, I love Thee above all 
things" — "I love Thee, O Lord, with my whole 
heart." Theologians are of opinion, that as soon as 
children attain the use of reason they are botind to 
make acts of the love of Cod ; yet, generally speak- 
ing, they are not instructed or incited to fulfil this 
duty, and, from the natural thoughtlessness of child- 
hood, they themselves think but little of it. In order, 
therefore, that they may acquire the habit of making 
frequent acts of the love of God, it will be well for 
you to examine them from time to time as to this. 

7. That a person, truly devout to our Blessed 

Appendix, 235 

Lady, was never lost. And here I would exhort 
you carefully to instil into the hearts of children 
this tender and fervent devotion, teaching them ever 
to regard Maiy as a most loving Modier, and to 
have recourse to Her in all their needs. Among 
other practices you might suggest to them the fol- 
lowing easy and most fruitful devotion ; that every 
morning and evening they should say three Aves, 
adding this short prayer — " Dear Mother, keep me 
from mortal sin. Dear Mother, let me rather die 
than offend God." 

8. If such and similar maxims are instilled into 
the hearts of children and young persons, at the 
same time that you teach them Christian Doctrine, 
they will be easily trained to goodness and piety: 
and these maxims, being thoroughly impressed on 
their hearts in early years, will never be effaced in 
later life. 

Sect. IV. The gualijicatians which persons who 
teach children Christian Doctrine should strive 
to acquire, 

I. He who has to teach children must be 
patient, grave, and kind. He must, in the first 
place, be patient, because children, either from a 
heaviness of disposition, or from a rude up-bring- 
ing, or from thoughtlessness and levity, are often 
tiresome and difficult to manage. You must com- 
passionate them: all the evil which is in tliem 
is not pure malice, and sometimes certain defects 

236 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

exist which you must put up widi. Hence that 
Saint said well when he said to children: ''Be 
wise, if you can." You must affect not to see many 
faults and acts of thoughtlessness, which after all 
are of no great consequence. When the faults are 
really considerable, you must take the* opportunity 
of scolding them, or punishing them; but, if a 
child finds himself scolded and punished for every 
trifle, while he knows not how to avoid all these 
scoldings and punishments, he will begin to care for 
neither the one nor the other, and so will gradually 
become insensible, and therefore incorrigible. 

2. You must preserve a befitting gravity, in order 
that the children may always have the necessary 
respect for their master, without which there will be 
neither attention nor profit. TheCatechist, therefore, 
must always preserve a certain decorum of coun- 
tenance and manner, in order that the children 
may respect him. This caution is especially neces- 
sary, even on other accounts, for all who teach 

3. But gravity must not be separated from kind- 
ness, in order that children may take pleasure in 
being with those who teach them Christian Doctrine. 
If your manners are harsh and repulsive, you will 
alienate the minds of the children from your teach- 
ing, and the few who are present will soon grow 
weary, be distracted and learn nothing. 

4. Those, however, who teach Christian Doctrine 
with true zeal, will never find themselves deficient 

Appendix, 237 

in the requisite qualifications, for the love of God 
will teach them how to profit by all means and op- 
portunities. Cultivate, therefore, a great love of 
God, reflect how important a thing it is to instruct 
the mind and form the heart of youth, and then 
you may hope for abundant firuit from your labours. 
In the eyes of some, those labours may appear 
of small esteem and little honour, because they are 
expended on children of tender age, and often of 
rude natures and low birth, but in the eyes of God, 
Who does not regard things with the prejudices of 
human vanity, they are of priceless value. 

23^ A Dogmatic Catechism, 


Instruction I. In r^ard to Confession, 

All Christiaiis, whether men or women, who are 
prevented by sickness from repairing to the Church, 
even although not in danger of death, may be con- 
fessed at home ; and this for many reasons. First, 
because they may be in a state of mortal sin, and 
so have need of confession that they may regain 
the grace of God Secondly, because it often hap- 
pens that illnesses, which at the beginning do not 
appear dangerous, unexpectedly become serious, so 
as even to deprive the patient of the use of his 
senses. Moreover, this doctrine goes back to the 
Decrees of the Lateran Council under Pope Inno- 
cent III. and St Pius V. These decrees are com- 
mon both to men and women, as the reasons which 
induced the Church to issue them are common to 
both. Observe that there is no need to ask the 
doctor's permission to receive this sacrament, nay, 
that it would be ridiculous to ask the doctor's per- 
mission to do that which the Church not only per- 
mits but commands. 

Instruction II. In regjard to the Holy Viaticum, 

The Holy Viaticum, according to the teaching of 
all Theologians, may be administered whenever the 

Appendix, 239 

illness is serious, and there is danger of death, 
although there may yet be good hope of recovery. 
I say a serious illness with danger of deaths because 
a serious illness necessarily implies peril of life ; 
nay, in all grave maladies, fatal and sudden danger 
is to be feared. Except in clear cases the doctor 
will judge of the gravity and danger of the illness. 
But observe, that if the patient have reason to 
believe his illness serious and dangerous^ (provided 
the doctor do not absolutely affirm the contrary) he 
may insist on the administration of the Holy Viati- 
cum, even though he -may be told, in all sincerity, 
that his illness is not desperate, nay tliat there is 
every probable appearance of his recovery. 

Instruction III. In regard to Extreme Ututim. 

Observe, in the first place, that this Sacrament is 
so called, not because it is to be administered at 
the last moment of life, but because it is the extreme, 
or last of the sacred unctions which the Church 

Observe, secondly, that Extreme Unction, like the 
Holy Viaticum, may be administered every time there 
is serious illness with danger of death, as ahready 
stated. And, as this is a point on which great 
ignorance commonly prevails, it is well you should 
hear how St Alphonsus Liguori speaks of it. Here 
is a faithful translation of his words : '^ The Doctors 
of the Churchi such as Suarez, Layman, Castro- 

240 A Dogmatic Catechism. 

palao, Bonacina, Conninch, the Salmanticenses and 
others, are commonly agreed, that it suffices that 
the sickness be perilous to life, at least remotely ^^ 
It suffices, therefore, that there be remote danger. 
He goes on to prove this doctrine from the 
authority of the Councils of Aquisgrana, Magonza, 
Florence, and Trent And he then proceeds thus: 
" This was confirmed still more clearly by Benedict 
XIV. in the Bull already quoted, in which it is said 
that the Sacrament of Extreme Unction is not to 
be administered to those who are in health, but 
only to those who are seriously ill ; on which aci 
count, Castropalao says correcdy that whenever the 
Holy Communion can be given to a sick person as 
the Viaticum and, therefore, without fasting, Ex- 
treme Unction may be given, and it is expedient to 
give it" Therefore, when a sick person has 
received the Holy Viaticum, he may ask for ExI 
treme Unction, and he has a right to receive it* 

These instructions may be useful as rules, not 
only for the sick themselves, but also for their rela- 
tions and for doctors. 

* At Paris it is customaxy to give Extreme Unction imme- 
diately after the Viaticum, as we read in the Life of Victorine 
de Gallard, who died in 1836. (Life. Partiv.) 

Appendix. 241 


I, N, N.^ with a firm faith believe and profess all 
and every one of those things which are contained 
in that Creed which the Holy Roman Church 
maketh use of. To wit : 

I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, 
Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible 
and invisible ; and in One Lord Jesus Christ, the 
Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father 
before all ages ; God of God ; Light of Light ; True 
God of True God; begotten, not made, con- 
substantial with the Father, by Whom all things 
were made. Who for us men, and for our salvation, 
came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the 
Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made 
man. Crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, 
He suffered, and was buried. And the third 
day He rose again according to the Scriptures ; 
He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand 
of the Father, and shall come again with glory 
to judge the living and the dead; of whose 
kingdom there shall be no end. I believe in the 
Holy Ghost, the Lord and Lifegiver, who proceedeth 
from the Father and the Son : who together with 
the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified ; 
Who spake by the Prophets. And in One, Holy, 
Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess One 
Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for 


242 A Dogmatic Catechism, 

the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the 
world to come. Amen. 

I most steadfastly admit and embrace the apos- 
tolical and ecclesiastical Traditions, and all other 
observances and constitutions of the same Church. 

I also admit the Holy Scriptures, according to 
that sense which our holy mother the Church hath 
held and doth hold, to whom it belongeth to judge 
of the true sense and interpretation of the Scrip- 
tures : neither will I ever take and interpret them 
otherwise than according to the unanimous consent 
of the Fathers. 

I also profess that there are truly and properly 
Seven Sacraments of the New Law, instituted by 
Jesus Christ our Lord, and necessary for the salva- 
tion of mankind, though not all for every one : to 
wit, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, 
Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony ; and 
that they confer grace ; and that of these. Baptism, 
Confirmation, and Order cannot be repeated with- 
out sacrilege. I also receive and admit the received 
and approved ceremonies of the Catholic Church, 
used in the solemn administration of the aforesaid 

I embrace and receive all and every one of the 
things which have been defined and declared in 
the holy Council of Trent, concerning original sin 
and justification. , 

I profess, likewise, that in the Mass there is 
offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory 

Appendix, 243 

sacrifice for the living and the dead. And that in 
the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist there is 
truly, really, and substantially the Body and Blood, 
together with the Soul and Divinity of our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; ajid that there is made a conversion 
of the vvhole substance of the bread into the Body \ 
and of the whole substance of the wine into the 
Blood; which conversion the Catholic Church 
calls Transubstantiation.' I also confess that 
under either kind alone, Christ is received whole 
and entire, and a true sacrament. 

I constantly hold that there is a Purgatory, and 
that the souls, therein detained, are helped by the 
suffrages of the faithful. 

Likewise, that the Saints, reigning together with 
Christ, are to be honoured and invocated, and that 
they offer prayers to God for us, and that their 
relics are to be had in veneration. 

I most firmly assert that the Images of Christ, of 
the Mother of God, Ever Virgin, and also of other 
Saints, ought to be had and retained, and that due 
honour and veneration are to be given them. 

I also affirm, that the power of Indulgences was 
left by Christ in the Church, and that the use of 
them is most wholesome to Christian people. 

I acknowledge the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and 
Roman Church for the Mother and Mistress of all 
Churches: and I promise true obedience to the 
Bishop of Rome, Successor of S. Peter, Prince of 
the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ. 

16 — 2 

244 -^ Dogmatic Catechism. 

I likewise undoubtedly receive and profess all 
other things delivered, defined, and declared by 
the Sacred Canons, and General Councils, and par- 
ticularly by the holy Council of Trent. And I 
condemn, reject, and anathematize all things con- 
trary thereto, and all heresies which the Church 
has condemned, rejected, and anathematized. 

I, N, N,, do at this present freely profess and 
sincerely hold this true Catholic faith, without which 
no one can be saved : and I promise most con- 
stantiy to retain and confess the same, entire and 
inviolate, by God*s assistance, to the end of my 
life, and to procure, as far as in me lies, that it 
shall be preached, taught, and observed by all those 
who depend on me, and all those who shall be 
committed to my charge. 

So help me God. 

The Catholic Christian has in this Profession an 
excellent Act of Faith, and a certain rule by which 
to recognize all Protestants.