Baltimore Catechism III
by William C. Michael
Study Baltimore Catechism III in the Classical Liberal Arts Academy.
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Table of Contents- The Lord’s Prayer
- The Angelical Salutation
- The Apostles’ Creed
- The Confiteor
- Acts of Faith, Hope, Love & Contrition
- The Blessing Before & After Meals
- The Manner in Which a Lay Person is to Baptize in Case of Necessity
- On the End of Man
- On God and His Perfections
- On the Unity and Trinity of God
- On Creation
- On Our First Parents and the Fall
- On Sin and its Kinds
- On the Incarnation and Redemption
- On Our Lord’s Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension
- On the Holy Ghost and is Descent Upon the Apostles
- On the Effects of the Redemption
- On the Church
- On the Attributes and Marks of the Church
- On the Sacraments in General
- On Baptism
- On Confirmation
- Fruits of the Holy Ghost
- On the Sacrament of Penance
- On Contrition
- On Confession
- On the Making of a Good Confession
- On Indulgences
- On the Holy Eucharist
- On the Ends for Which the Holy Eucharist was Instituted
- On the Sacrifice of the Mass
- On Extreme Unction and Holy Orders
- On Matrimony
- On the Sacramentals
- On Prayer
- On the Commandments of God
- On the First Commandment
- On the Honor and Invocation of the Saints
- From the Second to the Fourth Commandment
- From the Fourth to the Seventh Commandment
- From the Seventh to the End of the Tenth Commandment
- On the First and Second Commandments of the Church
- On the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments of the Church
- On the Last Judgment and the Resurrection, Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven
The Lord’s Prayer
Q. 1. Say the Lord’s Prayer.A. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Q. 2. Who made the Lord’s Prayer?A. Our Lord Himself made the Lord’s Prayer for the use of His disciples and of all the faithful.
Q. 3. Why is the “Our Father” the most excellent of all Prayers?A. The “Our Father” is the most excellent of all prayers because Our Lord Himself made it and because its petitions ask for all we can need for soul or body.
Q. 4. How is the Lord’s Prayer divided?A. The Lord’s Prayer is divided into seven requests or petitions. Three of these petitions refer to God’s honor and glory, and the remaining four to our corporeal or spiritual wants.
Q. 5. Whom do we address as “Our Father” when we say the Lord’s Prayer?A. When we say “Our Father” in the Lord’s Prayer we address Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost united in the adorable Trinity.
Q. 6. Why do we say “our” and not “my” Father?A. We say “our” and not “my” Father to remind us that through our creation and redemption, we are all members of the great human family of which God is the Father; and that we should pray for and help one another.
Q. 7. Why do we call God Father?A. We call God Father because He does for us what a good father should do for his children. He gives us our existence; He protects us; He provides for us and teaches us; and because the name of “Father” fills us with love and reverence for him, and with confidence in Him.
Q. 8. Why do we say “Who art in heaven” if God be everywhere?A. We say “who art in heaven” to put us in mind (1) that heaven is our true home for which we were created; (2) that in heaven we shall see God face to face as He is; (3) that heaven is the place where God will be for all eternity, with the blessed.
Q. 9. What does “Hallowed be Thy Name” mean?A. Hallowed means set apart for a holy or sacred use, and thus comes to mean treated or praised as holy or sacred. “Thy name” means God Himself and all relating to Him, and by this petition we ask that God may be known, loved and served by all.
Q. 10. What do we ask for in the petition: “Thy kingdom come”?A. In the petition “Thy kingdom come” we ask (1) that God may reign in the souls of all men by His grace, so that they may attain eternal salvation; (2) that the true Church — Christ’s kingdom — may spread upon earth till all men embrace the true religion.
Q. 11. Who do God’s Will in heaven?A. In heaven the Angels and Saints do God’s Will perfectly. They never disobey, or even wish to disobey Him. In the petition, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we pray that all God’s creatures may imitate the Angels and Saints in heaven by never offending Him.
Q. 12. What do we ask for by “our daily bread”?A. In the petition for “our daily bread” we ask not merely for bread, but for all that we need for the good of our body or soul.
Q. 13. Why do we say “daily”?A. We say “daily” to teach us that we are not to be avaricious but only prudent in providing for our wants; and that we are to have great confidence in the providence of God.
Q. 14. What do “trespasses” mean?A. “Trespasses” mean here injuries done or offenses given to another, and when God is the person offended, “trespasses” mean sins.
Q. 15. What do you mean by “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”?A. In this petition we declare to God that we have forgiven all who have injured or offended us, and ask Him to reward us by pardoning our sins.
Q. 16. When may we be said to forgive those who trespass against us?A. We may be said to forgive our enemies when we act, and, as far as possible, feel toward them as if they had never injured us.
Q. 17. What is temptation?A. A temptation is anything that incites, provokes, or urges us to offend God.
Q. 18. What is the best means of overcoming temptation?A. The best means of overcoming temptation is to resist its very beginning, by turning our attention from it; by praying for help to resist it; and by doing the opposite of what we are tempted to do.
Q. 19. Does God tempt us to sin?A. God does not tempt us to sin; but He permits us to be tempted to try our fidelity or punish our pride; and to give us an opportunity of meriting rewards for ourselves by overcoming the temptations.
Q. 20. Can we always resist temptation?A. We can always resist temptation if we wish, for God always gives us sufficient grace and never permits us to be tempted above our strength.
Q. 21. Is it a sin to be tempted?A. It is not a sin to be tempted, because we cannot prevent it. It is sinful only to consent or yield to the temptation or needlessly expose ourselves to it.
Q. 22. From what do our temptations come?A. Our temptations come either from the devil, our spiritual enemy, or from the world; that is, the wicked persons, places, or things in the world; or from the flesh; that is, our body with its strong passions and evil inclinations.
Q. 23. Should we seek temptation for the sake of overcoming it?A. We must not expose ourselves to temptation, but, on the contrary, carefully avoid it, yet resist it bravely when it assails us.
Q. 24. From what evil do we ask to be delivered?A. We ask to be delivered from every evil of body and mind, but particularly to be delivered from sin, which is the greatest of all evils.
Q. 25. What does “Amen” mean?A. “Amen” means so be it; and expresses a desire that the petition may be granted.
Q. 26. What does Christian mean?A. A Christian is a baptized person who professes to believe all that Christ has taught, and to do all that He has commanded as necessary for our salvation.
The Angelical Salutation
Q. 27. Say the Angelical Salutation.A. Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Q. 28. What is a salutation?A. A salutation is the customary words or actions by which the people of a country greet one another.
Q. 29. Why is this salutation called Angelical?A. This salutation is called Angelical because it was given by an angel.
Q. 30. What does “hail” mean?A. “Hail” means, I wish you health. It is an exclamation of respectful greeting.
Q. 31. How is the “Hail Mary” divided?A. The “Hail Mary” is divided into two parts. The first part, made by the Angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth, contains the praises of the Mother of God; and the second part, added by the Church, begs her intercession for sinners.
Q. 32. Why is the “Hail Mary” usually placed after the Lord’s Prayer?A. The “Hail Mary” is usually placed after the Our Father because it is an inspired prayer, the most excellent after the Lord’s Prayer, and also that the Blessed Mother may, by her powerful intercession, aid us in obtaining what we ask.
Q. 33. Who was St. Elizabeth?A. St. Elizabeth was the mother of St. John the Baptist and the cousin of the Blessed Virgin.
Q. 34. What answer did the Blessed Virgin make to the words of St. Elizabeth?A. The Blessed Virgin answered St. Elizabeth in the words of the beautiful Magnificat.
Q. 35. What is the Magnificat?A. The Magnificat is the splendid canticle or hymn in which the Blessed Virgin praises God and returns Him thanks for the great things He has done for her. It is usually sung at Vespers in the Church.
Q. 36. Why do we address Mary as “full of grace”?A. We address Mary as “full of grace” because she was never guilty of the slightest sin; was endowed with every virtue, and blessed with a constant increase of grace in her soul.
Q. 37. Why do we say “the Lord is with thee”?A. We say “the Lord is with thee,” for besides being with her as He is with all His creatures on account of His presence everywhere; and as He is with the good on account of their virtue, He is with Mary in a very special manner on account of her dignity as Mother of His Son.
Q. 38. Why is Mary called “blessed amongst women”?A. Mary is called “blessed amongst women” on account of her personal holiness, her great dignity as Mother of God, and her freedom from original sin.
Q. 39. Why is Mary called “holy”?A. Mary is called “holy” because one full of grace and endowed with every virtue must be holy.
Q. 40. Why do we need Mary’s prayers at the hour of death?A. We need Mary’s prayers at the hour of death because at that time our salvation is in greatest danger, and our spiritual enemies most anxious to overcome us.
Q. 41. Why do we say the “Hail Mary”?A. We say the “Hail Mary” to put us in mind of the Incarnation, and to show our devotion to the Mother of God, and our confidence in her assistance.
Q. 42. In what form of prayer is the “Hail Mary” most frequently repeated?A. The “Hail Mary” is most frequently repeated in the recitation of the rosary or beads.
Q. 43. What is the Angelus?A. The Angelus is a prayer giving a brief history of the Incarnation.
Q. 44. Say the Angelus.A. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. And she conceived of the Holy Ghost. Hail Mary, &c. Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to Thy Word. Hail Mary, &c. And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary, &c. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God! That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may, by His Passion and cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Q. 45. At what time is the Angelus usually said?A. The Angelus is said in the evening, it memory of the Incarnation; in the morning, in memory of the Resurrection, and at noon in memory of the Passion of Our Lord.
Q. 46. What does “the Word was made flesh” mean in the Angelus?A. “The Word” means the second person of the Blessed Trinity, and “made flesh” means became man.
Q. 47. What is the Litany of the Blessed Virgin?A. The Litany is a form of prayer in which we address our Blessed Lady by many beautiful titles, such as Mother of God, Virgin Most Pure, Refuge of Sinners, &c., asking her after each to pray for us.
Q. 48. Are there any other Litanies in use besides the Litany of the Blessed Virgin?A. Besides the Litany of the Blessed Virgin there are other Litanies in use, especially the Litany of the Saints, the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, the Litany of the Sacred Heart, &c.
The Apostles’ Creed
Q. 49. Say the Apostles’ Creed.A. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into hell: the third day He arose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the HolyCatholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Q. 50. What is a creed?A. A creed is a summary or list of the chief truths we believe or profess to believe. It is a compendium of doctrine.
Q. 51. Why is this creed called the Apostles’?A. This creed is called the Apostles’ because it came down to us from the Apostles, and also to distinguish it from longer creeds in use in the Church, such as the Nicene Creed, which is said in the Mass; the Athanasian Creed, which is said in the priests’ divine Office, and the Creed of Pope Pius IV, which is used on solemn occasions.
Q. 52. Do all these creeds teach the same doctrines?A. All these creeds teach the same doctrines, for the longer creeds are only a fuller explanation of the truths contained in the Apostles’ Creed.
Q. 53 Who were the Apostles?A. The Apostles were the twelve men selected by Our Lord to be the first bishops of His Church.
Q. 54. How do you know the Apostles were bishops?A. I know the Apostles were bishops because they could administer the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders and make laws for the Church, as we learn from Holy Scripture, and these powers belong to bishops alone.
Q. 55. Who were the disciples of Our Lord?A. The disciples were the seventy-two chosen followers of Our Lord, whom He sent to preach and perform good works in every city and place whither He Himself was to come. The Apostles also are frequently called “the disciples.”
Q. 56. Why did the Apostles leave us a creed?A. The Apostles left us a creed that all who wished to become Christians might have a standard of the truths they must know and believe before receiving Baptism.
Q. 57. How many articles or parts in the Apostles’ Creed?A. There are twelve articles or parts in the Apostles’ Creed. They refer to God the Father in the works of creation; to God the Son in the works of redemption; to God the Holy Ghost in the works of sanctification; and each article contradicts one or more false doctrines on these subjects.
Q. 58. What does Creation mean?A. To create means to produce out of nothing. God alone has this power, and He alone can be called “Creator.”
Q. 59. Had Jesus Christ more than one Father?A. God the Father, the First Person of the Blessed Trinity, is the only real and true Father of Jesus Christ, as the Blessed Virgin is His true Mother. St. Joseph, whom we also call His father, was only His foster-father or guardian upon earth.
Q. 60. By what names is Our Lord called?A. Our Lord is called by many names, such as Our Saviour, Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Son of God; Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Messias, Son of David, Lamb of God and others to be found in the litanies. Each name recalls to our mind some benefit received or prophesy fulfilled.
Q. 61. Of what religion was Pontius Pilate?A. Pontius Pilate was a pagan; that is, a worshiper of false gods.
Q. 62. Why do we say “died” instead of “was put to death”?A. We say “died” to show that Our Lord gave up His life willingly; for how could He be put to death against His will, who could always restore His life as He did at His resurrection?
Q. 63. What is death?A. Death in man is caused by the separation of the soul from the body, for Adam was made a living being by the union of his soul and body.
Q. 64. Why do we say of Christ “He was buried”?A. We say that “He was buried” to show that He was really dead.
Q. 65. Did “hell” always mean only that state in which the damned are punished?A. The word “hell” was sometimes used to signify the grave or a low place. In the Apostles’ Creed it means Limbo.
Q. 66. Is Limbo the same place as Purgatory?A. Limbo is not the same place as Purgatory, because the souls in Purgatory suffer, while those in Limbo do not.
Q. 67. Who were in Limbo when Our Lord descended into it?A. There were in Limbo when Our Lord descended into it the souls of all those who died the friends of God, but could not enter heaven till the Ascension of Our Lord.
Q. 68. Name some holy persons who died before Christ ascended into heaven.A. Among the holy persons who died before Christ ascended into heaven, we may mention: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, the Prophets, St. Ann, St. John the Baptist, and St. Joseph.
Q. 69. What do we mean by “Judge the living and the dead”?A. By the “living” we mean all those who shall be alive upon the earth at the last day, and by the “dead” those who have died before that time. Or the “living” may also mean those who are in a state of grace; and the “dead” those who are in mortal sin.
Q. 70. How many branches or parts of the Church are there?A. There are three branches or parts of the Church, called the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant.
Q. 71. What do we mean by the “Church Militant”?A. By the “Church Militant” or “fighting Church” we mean all the faithful who are still upon earth struggling for their salvation by warring against their spiritual enemies.
Q. 72. What do we mean by the “Church Suffering”?A. By the “Church Suffering” we mean the faithful in Purgatory, who are being purified from the last stains and consequences of their sins.
Q. 73. What do we mean by the “Church Triumphant”?A. By the “Church Triumphant” we mean all the faithful now in heaven, rejoicing with God that they have defeated their spiritual enemies and attained their salvation.
Q. 74 Explain the “Communion of Saints.”A. The “Communion of Saints” means that the members of the three branches of the Church can help one another. We can assist the souls in Purgatory by our prayers and good works, while the Saints in heaven intercede for us.
Q. 75. Does the “Communion of Saints” mean anything else?A. The “Communion of Saints” means also that we all share in the merits of Our Lord and in the superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin and of the Saints, as well as in the prayers and good works of the Church and of the faithful.
Q. 76. Have the Saints their bodies in heaven?A. The Saints have not yet their bodies in heaven, as they will have them after the resurrection on the last day. Our Divine Lord and His blessed Mother are the only persons whose bodies are now in heaven.
Q. 77. Are there Saints in heaven whose names we do not know?A. There are many Saints in heaven whose names we do not know, because all who are admitted into heaven are truly Saints.
Q. 78. To whom do we usually give the name of “Saints”?A. We usually apply the name of “Saints” to those only whom the Church has Canonized.
Q. 79. What is the Canonization of a Saint?A.