A Christian Doctrine
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Laurence Vaux, B.D.,
Canon Regular & Sub-Prior
former Warden of
the Collegiate Church
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PRINTED FROM AN EDITION OF 1583
FOR THE CHETHAM SOCIETY IN 1885 BY
CHARLES E. SIMMS
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A NOTE FROM THE WEBMASTER
TO THE READER:
Apparently, this catechism from Fr. Vaux
was the first such published for English-speaking Catholics after Martin
Luther’s Rebellion against the Church in 1517. The original printing was
in 1567. Further printings & editions followed in 1574, 1583, 1599 &
1605. The edition used for this version was the printing of 1583, which was
republished by The Chetham Society in 1885 in
One, an old catechism avoids the corruptions of doctrine that crept into the minds of Catholics in later centuries as we neared closer & closer to the time of the Great Apostasy in the 1900s. Any catechism, of whatever language, is automatically suspect from the late 1800s onward. Popes were dogmatically weak, bishops unvigilant or wolves in sheep’s clothing, priests careless in their work & teaching or outright enemies of the Faith, laity increasingly ignorant & wandering from the One True Religion given of old from the time of the Apostles. In short, Satan was let loose upon the world to deceive all of humanity.
And, two, an old catechism from this particular point in time is
still muscular & strong, addressing the errors & lies of Protestant
heresy with intelligence, boldness & pertinence. This is something
increasingly missing in later catechisms, which either fail to respond to
Protestant attacks or do so with insipid, blanded-out,
‘ecumenical’ platitudes. In a word, catechisms of this period still
talked like Catholicism is the
Nonetheless, isn’t the language too archaic and too long-winded for most readers today?
Not at all. The 1885 republishing updated many anachronistic spellings, and I have gone through the text with a fine tooth comb to clean up any lengthy sentences, old-fashioned wordings & complicated phrasings that are too confusing or obscure for contemporary people. But as for older writings being overly ‘long-winded’, I can only say one thing with gentle yet firm conviction:
Prepare to think hard.
Someday, perhaps, I can write a catechism that will be really simple for most modern persons to understand. In the meantime, realize that modern minds are goo. It’s like someone lying in bed day after day, hardly moving except to crawl to the bathroom or glance out a window. The body becomes weak & lazy. Likewise our minds. However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to think. It just means it’s going to feel extremely hard to think carefully when you haven’t done it for so long… if ever. Nevertheless, the mental muscles are there, waiting to go into action, provided you try to use them. It will hurt at first. You may not enjoy it. But once you get moving, then after a few weeks it gets easier. Longer sentences don’t look so long. Complicated thoughts don’t seem so complicated anymore. Strange terms start looking more familiar. You don’t have to keep referring to a dictionary every few minutes or stop every other sentence to ponder for a moment. It flows naturally.
So don’t give up! Just knuckle down and keep moving. God gave you a mind and, provided that you’re not disabled, this mind will work for you when you strengthen its muscles. That strengthening comes from attempting to think hard. Don’t shy away from the challenge!
Yet how have I dared to tamper with the text, however good my intentions are? What are my qualifications for doing so?
First, I speak English. Second, I’m a real Catholic. Third, I
am a lifelong student of all branches of knowledge, and especially of theology
& doctrine. Fourth, I am a connoisseur of languages & words, being an
instinctive writer. Fifth, I grew up, while still a Protestant heretic, reading &
hearing the archaic words of the King James Version of the Bible, which was
published in 1611 (not to mention that as a Catholic for the last ten years, I
have used the archaically-worded Douay Rheims Version of the Bible that is the authorized standard
for English-speaking Catholics). Sixth, I grew up, while in public schools
& colleges, reading & acting the plays of William Shakespeare, which
were published at the turn of the 17th century. And, seventh, I hold
a baccalaureate of science degree in speech communication from
In brief, I am adequately qualified to update the archaic language of this old catechism, allowing contemporary people to understand what they read in it. Hence, like the translator of a foreign book (because changing archaic words, phrasings & sentences into more contemporary ways of saying things is exactly like translating from one language into another, the only difference being the degree of translation that is done), I have gone through the text of this old catechism and put everything into a language that is possible for most readers to easily grasp. And I have done so using what is nowadays called ‘dynamic equivalence’. For while not a cautious ‘word-for-word’ rendering that often leaves complex or idiomatic expressions incomprehensible, I have considered a more ambitious approach permissible since a catechism, unlike Sacred Scripture, is not authored by God and thus does not hide, within it, depths of meaning unfathomed by a few cursory readings. That is to say, a ‘word-for-word’ approach would have left the catechism nearly as hard for modern minds to understand as it is for them to grasp in the original, archaic wording. It would have accomplished little. Which is why, given that it’s not Scripture, I have translated it in both word & thought. I have as well, in certain places, done what the 1885 printer hoped for (see paragraph two of his note below), enlarging what is written to better explain it for the modern reader. This is because the original author wrote when some topics were simply presumed to be understood without qualification or amplification. That is to say, some things were once so well known --- being understood by everyone --- that the author never would have suspected that later readers during our times wouldn’t get it, being either too ignorant of religion to comprehend, or else so modernized in our thinking that we misinterpret it.
Nevertheless, a small example of what I have done to the text to make it easier to grasp might help the contemporary reader to see why I have dared to do this, and that I am capable of the task. Eleven times in the catechism we find the term “ghostly” used. For instance, from the portion on the Sacrament of Penance we read, “The matter of the Sacrament of Penance is the humble & true confession of a penitent sinner, that is contrite in heart for the sin committed: plainly confessing before the Priest (sitting in God’s stead) the sin done, being in will and mind not to commit sin again, and being content to do satisfaction by the appointment of his ghostly Father.” (emphasis added)
Now, the term ‘ghostly’ during our times is only rarely used, and it invariably means having to do with ‘ghosts’ --- as in the ‘souls of the dead’ or ‘spooks’ or ‘hauntings’ or what-have-you. Hence, the sentence quoted above is mystifying, even bizarre-sounding to our contemporary ears. After all, “ghostly Father”? What in the world is that supposed to be!
The mystification ends, though, once we realize how hundreds of years ago the word ‘ghost’ was merely synonymous with the term ‘spirit’, whether the spirit of someone deceased or someone still alive. As a matter of fact, it broadly referred to the world of the unseen. Consequently, “ghostly” signifies ‘spiritual’ and the phrase better reads nowadays as “spiritual Father.” That is to say, the priest to whom the Catholic man confesses his sins in the Sacrament of Penance, the priest then giving him a ‘penance’ or ‘satisfaction’ to perform in order to pay for the temporal debt of his confessed sins. Indeed, we find this archaic terminology still hanging on in the eternally beautiful phrase, ‘the Holy Ghost’. For Who is the Holy Ghost? He is the Third Person of God Almighty, being the Spirit of God and He Who transforms good-willed men from darkness into light, from death unto life, by their earnest conversion to Jesus’ Body on Earth, God’s One & Only Roman Catholic Church.
May this work be unto the Greater Glory of the Triune Catholic God, Creator of All That Exists, and to the praise of His Immaculate Handmaiden, the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mary, as well as for the conversion & ultimate salvation of the precious, immortal souls of the Children of Adam within Christ’s Roman Catholic Body, the Pillar of the Truth. Amen.
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A NOTE FROM THE 1885 PRINTER TO THE READER
CONCERNING THIS CATECHISM:
Oftentimes I have heard many devout Christians complain about the scarcity and lack of this Catechism, long ago compiled and set forth by the good reverend Father L. Vaux; and have heard also many commend the same, as a book that they themselves & others have reaped much profit from.
Therefore I have long since intended to publish this Catechism. Yet because wonderful books are written for the same purpose in other languages, I put the matter off, everyday expecting some better option --- a book that might help everyone, both the highly educated person and the not so very educated person. But when I told some good men about my idea and what I hoped for, they replied that it makes more sense to go with what you have for sure than to wait endlessly for something that may never appear and might not ever exist. And to do this is neither wisdom nor piety. For though it might well be that some learned man would later enlarge the Catechism and publish it, yet it is uncertain when this will happen. Furthermore, when it does happen, it may not perhaps so perfectly help young scholars and the uneducated person (for whose use this short but plentiful book was first meant and presented) as this Catechism does.
Thus, to satisfy the desire of these good men, and for the benefit that my suffering & work to make this Catechism available might give to God’s glory, and to the furtherance and increasing of the Catholic Faith & Religion with the accomplishment of the godly intent of Fr. Vaux, the first author, I have, at my own expense & by my personal labour, newly printed this Catechism with the instructions on Catholic ceremonies recently added to it.
And finding in other godly books, many different brief notes of good & pious matters in foreign languages not immediately relevant to the subject matter of this Catechism, I have thought it worthwhile to collect, compile, translate and publish these notes as an appendix to this book, for a further assistance to the unlearned: which effort I hope will be accepted by everyone, as profitable to the readers as it can be, and with as good a will as I offer it.
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“And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty… and… say to them that shall be on his right hand: ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…’ Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.’”
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A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR (FR. VAUX) TO THE READER
CONCERNING THIS CATECHISM:
When I pondered inside myself a Decree in the Seventh Canon made at the 2nd General Council held at the Lateran wherein Teachers are strictly charged, upon Sundays & Holydays to instruct and teach their Students Christian doctrine pertaining to Religion and right behaviour, such as the Articles of Faith, the Commandments of God, and so forth; and also to exhort & compel their Students to be present in the Church with a reverent devotion, in prayer at the times of Mass, Matins, and Evensong, the very same Decree I saw diligently observed at Louan, and other places in Germany & Italy: these and similar things I thought about, and in my own conscience I confessed a great negligence on my part, that I had not done my duty up till now in bringing up my Students.
About these things I once had a talk with a serious, godly man, who formerly held an honorable office in England, and who much pitied the lack of instruction of youth, and the ignorance that was among the simple people there, and who had a godly zeal for the salvation of the souls of the simple & unlearned, he earnestly requesting me to put forth in writing an Instruction regarding what all people must believe & do if they wish to be saved. His request I was willing to satisfy for two reasons --- partly to make up for my negligence, in that I had not done my duty in teaching & instructing them that were under my authority (taking comfort in the parable in the Gospel, that he who entered into the vineyard to work at eleven o’clock, received his wages just the same as him that entered into the vineyard early in the morning to work… see Matthew 20:1-16), partly to join with this godly man, with the intent to do good to many people and to hurt no one, trusting that although I had come late, nonetheless, this tiny effort of mine might be received along with the poor widow’s offering. (Mark 12:41-44) Even so, I was very afraid to put something into print lest it should come into the hands of highly educated men, such as those who would look for perfection of sentence & eloquence of words, which are lacking in me. This frightened me, lest my good will and diligent labor should result in my rebuke & reproach.
Being in this way confused about what I should do, it happened that I talked about this topic with a learned man, whose judgment I trusted better than mine own. And wholly depending upon his counsel, I gave up my own thinking & liberty in the matter. And being enlivened & encouraged by my learned friend to take the project in hand, in my own simple & rustic way I have compiled this little book for young students, and for the uneducated, begging God in my daily prayers (if it be His will & pleasure) to give his grace to the readers of this book, that some goodness may come from it and result in them changing their lives for the better, to God’s glory, and to their souls’ health & comfort, which is the only purpose & intent that moved me to take pains to set forth this little book called A Christian Doctrine.
And what I have set forth in this little book, the material for it
I have collected & translated out of Sacred Scripture, from the
Church’s General Councils, out of the books of Dr. Petrus
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What is man?
Man is a reasoning creature of God, which God has made wonderfully from a body & a soul. As far as the body goes, he is mortal like the animals. But as far as the soul is concerned, he is immortal like the Angels, made in the likeness & image of God --- that is to say, with the ability for knowledge & love, designed to be happy & truly blessed, which results from the clear knowledge of & assistance from God.
Who can be called a Christian?
He who has received the Sacrament of Baptism, whereby he is made a member of the Catholic Church, and who professes in heart, word & deed, the saving doctrine of Jesus Christ & of the Catholic Church, and does not consent to, nor agree with, any false religions, or opinions, that the Catholic Church disowns or condemns.
How does someone become a Christian?
I become a Christian first by the special grace of God in me, and by his mercy: in which way (when I was still a servant of the devil & destined for damnation) by Baptism He has received me, to be adopted as His child, when I could neither see it nor know it because of my young age. And also now by His special inspiration & grace (as firmly I believe) He has convinced me of these things in my mind, and made me certain, that this faith, and doctrine of Religion, which I hold & believe, He has revealed in the Catholic Church, which was taught by Christ & His Apostles, and their successors, to this day. And I am convinced that this same faith & doctrine is the only one that is true, and that it shall continue until the end of the world; but all other sects, false religions & heresies, which have arisen from time to time, are pernicious, hurtful & damnable.
What must a man first learn about in order to be Christian?
About Faith, Hope, & Charity, about the Sacraments, and about the Offices of Christian Righteousness. For although the teaching of Christ & His Catholic Church is large and contains all the holy Scripture, with traditions unwritten (which we must firmly believe), notwithstanding, in these five categories especially all other things are contained --- and thoroughly so --- whether expressed outright in words or only implied. These five categories are:
One, those things which are connected to Faith, that we must believe, that are contained in the Articles of our Creed.
Two, those things which are connected to Hope, and which we should desire & expect, that are contained in what we ask for in the prayer of the Our Father.
Three, those things which are connected to Charity, that are included in the Ten Commandments of God.
Four, Grace, Mercy & Sanctification that are given to us by the holy Sacraments.
And, five, by the Offices of Righteousness we are instructed and taught to turn from evil and to do good.
How do we come to God?
Before anything else we must come unto God by Faith, for “…without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)
What is Faith?
Faith is the Gift of God and a light that shines inside of us, causing us to believe all things that are revealed to us in Christ’s Church, either by word written or unwritten.
Tell me more about Faith. What is the Creed, what are the main things we must believe?
There are Twelve Articles (separate sections) in the Creed that the Apostles gave to us. Every one of the Apostles made one Article, as here follows:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven & 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 & was buried;
He descended into Hell, the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty;
From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
The Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints;
The forgiveness of sins;
The resurrection of the body;
And Life Everlasting. Amen.
What does the first article of the Creed mean?
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven & Earth” means we must believe in God the Father Almighty, the First Person of the Trinity (Three Persons in One God), the Creator and Maker of Heaven & Earth, and of all the creatures in them, both visible and invisible. (Genesis 1)
What does the second article of the Creed mean?
“And in Jesus Christ, His Only Son, Our Lord” means we must believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, His Only Son Our Lord, born of His Father before the beginning of the world --- true God of true God, light of light, being of the same substance with the Father. (Matthew 16, Hebrews 1)
What does the third article of the Creed mean?
“Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary” means we must believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, taking His Flesh & Blood from her (by the working of the Holy Ghost without the seed of a man), which conception happened immediately after the Greeting of the Angel Gabriel and her Consent. So He was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary after nine months, being true God & perfect man. (Luke 1)
What does the fourth article of the Creed mean?
“Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died & was buried” means we must believe that Christ Our Lord, being without any sin, was condemned to suffer death (Pontius Pilate being the judge), was cruelly crucified, died upon the Cross, and was buried with great reverence by Joseph & Nicodemus. (Matthew 20)
What does the fifth article of the Creed mean?
“He descended into Hell, the third day He rose again from the
dead” means we must believe that Christ’s Body lay dead in the
grave, His Soul descended into Hell. Not to suffer pains, like some heretics
claim, but for the consolation & comfort of many obedient souls there. And
from that place --- called ‘Limbus Patrum’ or ‘the Limbo of the Fathers’
(Matthew 8, Luke 14, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 15) --- He freed the souls of
the blessed Fathers from captivity, and carried them away with Him. The third
day He rose again from death to life, clearly showing Himself to His Disciples,
eating with them, and speaking about the
What does the sixth article of the Creed mean?
“He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty” means we must believe that Our Lord Jesus Christ, after that He had done as a man everything necessary for our salvation, on the fortieth day after his glorious, bodily resurrection, marvelously ascended into heaven with great glory & triumph, bringing with him the souls that he had freed from captivity in Hell & from enslavement to the Devil. And there Christ rules peacefully in Heaven, with great glory & majesty, both judging & doing everything quietly & peacefully with God the Father in everlasting blessedness (which is what we are to understand by the phrase “the right hand of God”) where His Throne was prepared from the beginning of the world. (Acts 1, Matthew 16, Luke 24, Hebrews 1)
What does the seventh article of the Creed mean?
“From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead” means we must believe that Christ Our Lord on the Day of Judgment --- being in the form of a man just like He was when He ascended into Heaven --- shall come back from Heaven. He will do this to receive the good people into eternal joy, and to judge the bad people as deserving perpetual pain. (Matthew 25)
What does the eighth article of the Creed mean?
“I believe in the Holy Ghost” means we must believe in God the Holy Ghost (the Third Person of the Trinity), Who proceeds from both the Father & the Son, being equal in power with them. We must believe that He teaches the Catholic Church all truth, and that He appointed the Bishops to govern & rule this Church, and that He makes us holy through the holy Sacraments. (John 15, Acts 10)
What does the ninth article of the Creed mean?
“The Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints”
means we must believe in the One, Holy,
What is the Church?
The Church is a visible group of people, first gathered together by
Christ & His Disciples, continuing until this very day in an endless
succession in a single Apostolic Faith, living under Christ the Head, and, on
earth, under His Representative, Pastor & Chief Bishop. (
Why do we call the Church ‘One’?
Because in this way we exclude all people who are part of the false & malignant Church, and who are divided into many different divisions, sects & opinions about doctrine --- such as the Lutherans who do not agree with the Zwinglians, nor the Zwinglians with the Anabaptists, and etc. Therefore Christ in His Church is called One, being gathered together in one Spirit of Jesus Christ. In this Church we proclaim & worship one God, we proclaim & teach one Faith & one Baptism, and one uniform order of Sacraments are served to the members of this Church without schism or division, having one Head on Earth, God’s Representative in the Apostolic See, the Successor to St. Peter. ( Ephesians 4)
Why do we call the Church ‘Holy’?
Because in this Church we are sanctified and made holy by receiving many benefits from God, as we have indeed received. The Church being Christ’s dear spouse, the Pillar & Foundation of Truth (Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 6), Christ has sanctified it by his precious shedding of blood; the blessed Martyrs have suffered cruel martyrdom as members of this Church; and many miracles have been worked in this Church by the Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors & Virgins, in order to confirm their teaching.
Why do we call the Church ‘Catholic’?
Because everywhere, at all times, and amongst most peoples, this Church both exists and has existed. (Matthew 28)
Why do we call the Church ‘Apostolic’?
Because this Church is established upon the Apostles, and in this Church we can show & prove by one man after another in the See of Rome, an endless line of Bishops, who have received & kept the Scriptures with the correct interpretation, traditions & rituals, from the time of the Apostles until our very own days, from one Bishop to another. In this way we are able to demonstrate that the true teachings, main traditions, general rituals & customs used in the Church at the present time were started or permitted by the Bishops who came after the Apostles Peter & Paul, these two Apostles having ruled in Rome, there laying a foundation for Christ in His Church, and also suffered martyrdom there.
What do we mean by the ‘Communion of Saints’?
We must believe that all good & loyal Christian people, whether they are in Heaven, Earth or Purgatory, are members of Christ’s Mystical Body (which is the Church) and are connected to & can interact with one another.
The Saints in Heaven pray for those of us here on Earth, and we take part in the benefit of their prayers & merits. We that are in this world participate with another in prayers and the Sacrifice of the Mass, with all good spiritual things that are done in the universal Church. We ought to pray for those souls that are in Purgatory, and they may benefit with us from the Sacrifice of the Mass, and from our prayers & other good deeds, gaining relief in this way.
What does the tenth article of the Creed mean?
“The forgiveness of sins” means we must believe (that is, assuming we still remain within the Catholic Church) that we have remission & forgiveness of sins, this forgiveness of sins taking place by the holy Sacraments, which in turn get their power to help us from the merits of Christ’s Suffering & Passion.
What does the eleventh article of the Creed mean?
“The resurrection of the body” means we must believe that --- although our bodies die & are eaten with worms or by wild animals, or in some other way destroyed --- nevertheless, at the Day of Judgment these same bodies with the same flesh & bones will rise again, united to our souls once more.
What does the twelfth article of the Creed mean?
“And Life Everlasting” means we must believe that, at the Day of Judgment, our souls & bodies will be joined together. (Matthew 25) And we must appear before Christ, to give a reckoning for our own deeds. And they that have done well will go to everlasting joy both of body & soul, while those that have done evil will go to everlasting pains both of body & soul. In short, after this life is over, we shall each & every one of us experience an everlasting existence, either in joy or in pain. “This is the Catholic Faith… which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” (Athanasian Creed)
What is the main point of all of the articles of the Apostle’s Creed?
We must believe in our hearts & proclaim with our mouths that our Lord God being most mighty in power, prudent in wisdom, and of an infinite goodness, is One in Nature & Substance while Three in Persons, the Father, the Son & the Holy Ghost, so that these Three are a One, True, Eternal & Incomprehensible God, of whom, by whom, and in whom all things exist. (1 John 5) In a special way Creation pertains to the Father, Redemption to the Son, and Sanctification to the Holy Ghost. (Romans 2)
is alienated & utterly separated from the
Unconverted Jews and all Infidels, and they that by Apostasy forsake their Catholic Faith. And Heretics who, although they may be properly baptized, even so obstinately defend their error against the Catholic faith. Moreover, Schismatics, who separate themselves from the peace of Catholic unity; also those that are lawfully excommunicated. All these kinds of people are excluded from the Communion of Saints, the rightful participation of the Sacraments, and from the benefits of membership in Christ’s Church --- they are completely void of spiritual life, and are in bondage to the Devil.
What is the best rule of thumb to distinguish Catholics from Heretics?
The easiest rule of thumb to know who is truly Catholic is this:
Whoever proclaims the Faith of Christ and the whole authority of the Catholic Church, and loyally holds the doctrine and Faith of this Church, which the leaders of the Catholic Church define & teach are to be believed, is Catholic. Because he that will not obey the Church (Christ Himself says) let him be treated like a Heathen & Sinner. (Matthew 18) He who wants God to be his Father, must take the Church to be his Mother. (St. Cyprian)
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What is Hope?
Hope is a virtue given from God above, by which we look for the goodness of our salvation & everlasting life with a confident trust.
How may we learn the right way to trust God and ask for His Help?
From the prayer of the Our Father, which Our Lord & Master with His own mouth taught & ordered us to learn. In which prayer there are seven requests, as you may see here:
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 them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation:
But deliver us from evil.
What does the beginning of this prayer mean?
“Our Father, Who art in Heaven” is a preface, which reminds of a high & unique benefit, that Christ Our Saviour has gained through his merits. In this way God the Father is willing to take us as his children and heirs by adoption. And by this sweet name of the Father, we are motivated & attracted, both to love him again and also to pray with great trust. (Romans 8, Galatians 4, Ephesians 1)
What does the first request of the Our Father prayer mean?
“Hallowed be Thy Name” means we desire that, just as God the Father is holy by nature, so by grace from the holy Sacraments we may become holy & sanctified; and that this gift of holy fear (lest we should offend God) be so firmly planted in our hearts that, in this way, all corruption of sin be thrown out & excluded from us; and that the love of God be so kindled in our hearts with pureness of life that, with all our power & strength, we may strive to magnify, extol & praise the honour, worship & magnificence of the Eternal Majesty, and whatever is connected to the glory of the most high & mighty God the Father.
What does the second request of the Our Father prayer mean?
“Thy Kingdom come” means we both want
& ask for the glory of the
What does the third request of the Our Father prayer mean?
“Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” means we both ask for & want the help of divine grace to be given to us, so that willingly, sincerely & constantly we may obey the Will of God the Father on Earth, just like the blessed Saints do in Heaven. (Romans 8, Matthew 25)
What does the fourth request of the Our Father prayer mean?
“Give us this day our daily bread” means we both want & ask that those things may be given to us which have to do with the nourishment & sustaining of the life of our bodies & souls. That is to say, food, drink & clothing; the word of God; and the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. (1 Timothy 6, Matthew 4)
What does the fifth request of the Our Father prayer mean?
“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us” means we want pardon & forgiveness for our sins, being ready ourselves to forgive & pardon whatever offense anyone has done against us. Thus, he who does not have Charity (divine love) for all men, can never truly say this Our Father prayer. And just as we show mercy, pity & compassion upon the poor, and to those who have need of us, so, too, will God show mercy, pity & compassion upon us.
What does the sixth request of the Our Father prayer mean?
“And lead us not into temptation” means we want, in the midst of such great stupidity, helplessness & weakness of earthly life, that God may so uphold us & assist us with His Divine Power & Strength that we may be defended against the Devil, our wicked flesh & the world, lest by any chance we are overcome with temptation by our demonic enemies and give in to the evil of their suggestions.
What does the seventh request of the Our Father prayer mean?
“But deliver us from evil” means we want God the Father to save us from all enemies & sufferings, both of body & soul, and from all circumstances where enemies & sufferings might afflict us, whether in this present life or in the life to come. Finally, “Amen” (which is the same as saying in English ‘so be it’) signifies the hope we have to receive all that we asked for in the Our Father before ending our prayer.
What is the main point of the first four requests of the Our Father prayer?
By the first request we ask that the honour & glory of the Divine Majesty may be reverenced & treated as holy among us; by the second we desire our own happiness; by the third request we wish for proper obedience to God; and by the fourth, necessary sustenance of our bodies & souls.
What is the main point of the other three requests in the Our Father prayer?
The other three petitions talk about the evil things & miseries
that we ought to do away with through prayer --- such as sins, which close the
What about the Hail Mary prayer? Where did it come from?
The first part came from the words of the Angel Gabriel that he used with great reverence & humility to greet the Virgin Mary, being sent from God, in order to reveal the wonderful incarnation as a man of Our Saviour & Redeemer, Christ, saying, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” (Luke 1:28) The second part came from the words of St. Elizabeth, who, being moved by the Holy Ghost, greeted the Virgin Mary by saying, “Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” (Luke 1:42) Now, the praying of these words --- of the greetings of Ss. Gabriel & Elizabeth --- comes from the custom of the Catholic Church, being taught by the Holy Ghost that this Angelic & Saintly Greeting is a very necessary prayer of honour & praise, to be said often and to be joined with the prayer of the Our Father.
How is this supposed to help us?
It makes us more spiritually alive and stirs up in us the beautiful & helpful memory of the holy Virgin Mary & Our Lord’s Incarnation. What’s more, it reminds us not to forget that we may ask for the gracious assistance of the Virgin Mary, that she can talk to God for us & gain for us His favors.
What can we conclude from this Angelic & Saintly Greeting?
The excellent gifts & praises of the incomparable Virgin: that she was replenished & filled with the gifts of God, as well as the most singular virtues; that she was a Virgin & a Mother; that she was blessed among all women of all times; that she was the Mother of the King of All Kings, Mother of Christ Our Lord God. Also, that she was the means of God’s Grace, and Mother of Life, which is Christ Himself.
So why is the Hail Mary said so often in prayer when there are no requests in it?
Whoever has any need or request, that he would gladly have taken care of by a person of power or authority, will often use words that please & delight the one to whom his request is directed. In this way the person may be moved with kindness and will listen to you, granting all your requests. In the same way all Christian people make their requests to God, and ought to make their needs & requests known for mercy, grace & godly help, to receive eternal glory. And because our Blessed Lady was pre-selected & chosen by God before all other creatures to be the Mother from whom Christ took His Flesh --- and by which He redeemed us --- it is thus sensible to ask this Mother of God to pray for us, that by her intercession we may the better gain our requests from God.
No words can be found in the holy Scripture of more usefulness & strength, to better convince the Holy Trinity to mercifully hear our needs, and grant our requests, then the Angelic & Saintly Greeting.
First, what words can be more pleasing to God the Father than these words, which words He Himself composed and (as one might say) edited in Heaven, and then sent them down to Earth by his mighty Archangel Gabriel, when he had decreed mankind’s redemption & salvation?
What words can be more pleasing to God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, than the words of the Angel, by which His Blessed Incarnation is most specially remembered? That He, being God, was also become a perfect man, taking His Flesh from the most pure blood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and was the blessed fruit of her womb. And this fruit that the Blessed Virgin brought forth is really present in the blessed Sacrament of the Altar (the Eucharist), to feed & nourish those who are worthy recipients, and to bring everlasting life to them that eat it worthily. It is also like a medicine, getting rid of the poison of the fruit that Eve first ate, which brought death & condemnation to all mankind.
What words can more pleasing to God the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Trinity, than these words that the Angel spoke to the Blessed Virgin Mary, by which He accomplished the miraculous Incarnation of Our Saviour as a man in the Virgin’s womb? And so the Will of the holy Trinity was brought about by the Greeting of the Angel, to the great joy of all the Angels, and to the inexpressible comfort of mankind.
What words can be more joyful to the Blessed Virgin Mary than to hear these words that the Angel greeted her with, at the conception of Our Saviour Christ in her womb? When Eva was turned into Ave (‘Eva’ being the poetic name of Eve, and ‘Ave’ being the first word in Latin --- ‘Hail’ --- that Gabriel the Archangel spoke to Mary), declaring her to be innocent, without spot of sin, and so full of grace as no earthly creature ever had. Of such a sort and in such a way as to have our Lord God with her, like no creature ever experienced. To have such blessedness, like no woman ever possessed. Being a pure Virgin & Mother, without grief or pain, bringing forth such fruit from her womb that His Glorious Passion redeemed the world. What can better motivate the Blessed Virgin to pray to God for us, than the Angelic & Saintly Greeting (usually called the ‘Ave Maria’ or ‘Hail Mary’) in which are contained such mystical words (says St. Bernard) that, as often as it is said with a reverent devotion, it makes Angels glad and the Devils to fear & tremble.
Which is why, for these reasons, the
[Webmaster’s Note: The Hail Mary Prayer originally consisted
of the greeting of St. Gabriel the
+ + +
What is Charity?
Charity is a virtue given from God, which, by practicing this
virtue (as Christ said), we will get everlasting life in the
How many Commandments of God are there?
There are Ten Commandments of God. (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5)
What is the 1st Commandment of God?
The 1st Commandment is that you shall have no other gods except for One God & One God only --- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, Three Persons yet One God. You shall worship this Lord God and serve him alone. (Exodus 20, Matthew 4)
What does this Commandment mean?
It forbids & condemns all idolatry and worshipping of false gods, magical arts, divination, superstitious observations and all types of false & wicked religion. Moreover, to the contrary, it also requires that we believe in God and worship Him. (Exodus 23, Deuteronomy 18)
How many different kinds of honour, worship & reverence are there?
There are three. They are called ‘latria’, ‘hyperdulia’ & ‘dulia’.
What is the honour, worship & reverence called ‘latria’?
‘Latria’ is a Service, Adoration, Honour & Worship that must be given to God alone, He being the beginning & end of every creature. By this honour & worship called ‘latria’ we must honour, worship & reverence the Blessed Trinity, as well as Christ Incarnate, Who is the Second Person of the Trinity.
What is the honour, worship & reverence called ‘hyperdulia’?
‘Hyperdulia’ is a reverence, worship & honour due to no other creature except that creature which is most closely joined to God. Such a creature is Our Most Blessed Lady, Mother of God, from whom Christ took his manhood.
What is the honour, worship & reverence called ‘dulia’?
‘Dulia’ is a reverence, worship & honour given to
persons worthy of honour both in Heaven and on Earth. By this honour called
‘dulia’ we worship & honour the Angels & Saints in heaven.
But we neither honour & worship Saints by putting more confidence &
trust in them than we do in God, nor with the same honor that is due to God.
Because we merely honour them as the friends of God, they being His Children
& Heirs by Grace, and our Advocates & Intercessors with God, He Who is
the Giver of All Honour. On Earth we reverence their Relics & Images, but
the honour is given to the Saints themselves --- not to the Relics &
Images. Also, with this same honour of ‘dulia’ we honour our
Parents, Authorities & all others who are worthy of honour. (
How are we to honour God and serve Him?
In our hearts by Faith, Hope & Charity. In our bodies by outward gestures & acts, such as Sacrifice & Fasting, etc. We also honour & serve God by believing the twelve articles of the Apostle’s Creed, both as the Creed is expressed in words and as the Creed is to be understood in the way the Holy Catholic Church believes & teaches it. Finally, by having an inward devotion of mind toward God & His Saints for His Sake.
How do we honour God through Hope?
We must have a steadfast trust in God, knowing that, because of His Mercy & Grace (our good works cooperating with them), He will reward us with everlasting joy in Heaven.
How do we honour God through Charity?
We must love God with all our hearts so firmly that neither fear nor kind words, good times nor bad times, can carry us away from God. (Matthew 22) The love of no creature can remain in our hearts; we must love only God & godliness. With all our souls we must love God so faithfully that we would rather have our souls ripped from our bodies than have them torn from God. This love makes everything light & easy. This love caused the glorious Martyrs to suffer all kind of torments both patiently & gladly because of their intense love for God. This ardent love for God caused the blessed Fathers in the wilderness to practice great pains & penance upon themselves in fasting, praying, weeping & mourning. Their food & drink used to be dry bread and cold water, plants, roots & barks of trees. Their clothing was rough sackcloth, the cold earth was their bed, a hard stone their pillow. And they were ready to suffer any cruel death for Christ’s Sake, so hot were their hearts with a burning Charity & Love toward God.
In how many ways is the 1st Commandment broken in regards to Faith?
1. By Infidelity.
2. By doubting the Faith.
3. By arrogant analysis of the Faith.
4. By denying the Faith.
5. By testing God.
6. By lack of respect for God.
7. By magical arts.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through Infidelity?
All Heretics, Pagans, Muslims & unconverted Jews, and all those who do not profess the Catholic Faith in heart, word & deed, which our godfathers & godmothers promised for us at the time we received the Sacrament of Baptism. Also, all those who fail by their own fault to learn the Articles of Our Faith’s Creed & the Commandments of God. Because we ought to learn these Articles of Our Faith’s Creed & the Ten Commandments before we receive the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through doubting the Faith?
They who do not loyally believe, but instead doubt whether there is
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through arrogant analysis of the Faith?
They who proudly analyze the Articles of Our Faith’s Creed, or who, full of doubts, argue about Faith & Truth. And they who will believe nothing concerning the Faith except those things that can be logically examined & physically proven --- because the Faith does no one any good when the ultimate foundation for his belief is his own logical thought & physical tests. No man can test or prove the Catholic Faith solely by the power of reason & rational thought. (St. Gregory)
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through denying the Faith?
They who will not confess the Catholic Faith with their mouths,
even though they believe it in their hearts. Because a Christian man ought to
be of such courage & constancy that he would rather have his life taken
from him than his Faith. As
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through testing God?
They who require from God, or from His Saints, miracles, and who seek to be helped by God through a miracle when they could be helped in some other way. And they who, because of poverty, sickness or trouble, complain & hold grudges against God when God doesn’t grant them their wish to be relieved from their poverty, sickness or trouble --- when, in fact, they want what is not best for the health of their souls. For many times God does not give us what we want, giving us instead that which is better for us.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through lack of respect for God?
They who do not pay due respect to God, and to His Saints, or to their Relics & Images. Secondly, they who unworthily receive the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar (the Holy Eucharist). Third, they who behave themselves badly in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Fourth, those who behave themselves badly in the Church, or other places dedicated to God’s service, as if such places are no different from any other places in this world and as if foolish, immodest, profane, worldly, common or silly behaviour, dress & talk is acceptable in the Presence of God in the Eucharist when they can behave better. Such people are those who will not pray with their mouths, kneel upon their knees, strike their chests in penitent humility, or lift up their hands & their eyes when the liturgy requires it and when neither real need nor good reason excuses them from doing so.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through magical arts?
They who purposely predict the future based on a random event, or use random verses in the Scriptures to do so. Also, Enchanters, Witches, Sorcerers, interpreters of dreams, and all similar types of people that are forbidden by the law of God --- as well as all those who, by the bad advice of others, use these people’s help to get back their health or to find something that is lost.
In how many ways can the 1st Commandment be broken in regards to Hope?
In three different ways: by being desperate, by presuming on God’s Mercy, and by presuming on our good works.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through desperation?
First, those who --- being tempted by the Devil, cowardice, or other sickness of the soul --- destroy themselves through mistrust in God’s Mercy. Second, those who think that their sins are so great that God either cannot, or will not, forgive them their sins. And third, they who heap sin upon sin, never stopping their wickedness, and will not seek forgiveness for their sins. All of these people break this Commandment.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through presumption on God’s Mercy?
First, those who continue to sin trusting that, without doing any penance, God will be merciful to them and grant them everlasting life despite their lack of good works --- and who say, “God has created me and redeemed me, and so He has to save me.” Secondly, those who trust only in Christ’s Suffering, Passion or Crucifixion, or who imagine that faith alone will save them. Thirdly, those who continue to sin trusting that at the hour of death they will ask for God’s Mercy and get it --- such misplaced confidence is an arrogant presumption without any good sense. Because when the heart is pierced with pangs of death, the body weighed down with sickness, the mind gripped by fear of hellfire, and both body & soul surrounded by horrible swarms of demons, it is far too common that grace is scarce & our memory fails us, so that we neglect to ask for mercy at this terrible moment. And then it happens (as Scripture says) that “…he that loveth danger shall perish in it.” (Ecclesiasticus 3:27 DRC) Because he who will not seek for mercy when he can, often lacks it when he would have it. All such people break the Commandment of God by presumption of God’s Mercy.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through presumption on our good works?
All those who think that the merits of their good works are so great that they ought to have no trouble in this life, and that they will receive Heaven only by their merits. And they who think that they can be good enough by themselves without the continual Grace of God. Such people break the Commandment of God by presumption of good works.
In how many ways is the 1st Commandment broken in regards to Charity?
In three different ways: by love of the things of this world, by fear of this world, and by slavish fear.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through love of the things of this world?
First of all, those who love their Wife, Child, Boss, Friend, or themselves more than God. Second, they who, for the sake of material gain, the preference of men or bodily pleasure, neglect their duty to God. Third, they who are more careful about the things of this world than they are for the things of Heaven, and who would stay in this world forever if they could. Because the love of God & the love of this world can not live together at peace in the same heart. Nor can one’s heart serve both God & Wealth. All such people break the Commandment of God.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through fear of this world?
First of all, they who, because they are afraid of their Leaders, Rulers, Judges or Bosses, do not obey the Commandment of God. Secondly, they who are more afraid of upsetting men than they are of displeasing God. Third, they who, because they’re afraid of being talked about or looked down upon by other persons, refuse to serve God or worship Him or honour His Saints. All such people like these break this Commandment of God.
Who are those that break the 1st Commandment through slavish fear?
All those who obey the Commandments of God only because they are afraid of the punishment of hellfire, and not because they love God. All of these people break this Commandment of God.
How many causes are there that can motivate Catholics to love God above all other things?
1. The fact of God’s supreme goodness.
2. The fact that He loved us first.
3. The fact that He is our Father.
4. The fact that He has redeemed us.
5. The fact that He takes care of us continually.
6. The fact that He is present for us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
7. The fact that He promises us a reward which no eye has ever seen, which no ear has ever heard, and which no heart has ever imagined.
What is the 2nd Commandment of God?
You shall not take the Name of God in vain.
What does this Commandment mean?
It forbids & condemns the abusive & disrespectful use of the Name of God, of His Saints, or of any other creature --- which is a sin committed by liars & blasphemers. No man is permitted to swear an oath without a very good reason, and he must do so before a Judge with honesty, justice & wisdom. That is to say, he must do so honestly, uprightly & wisely. Otherwise, all of our talk, when answering & assuring people, should simply be a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’.
In how many different ways can the Name of God be taken in vain?
In five ways:
1. By Perjury.
2. By Blasphemy.
3. By taking unlawful Vows.
4. By breaking Vows that are lawful.
5. By foolish & disrespectful use of the Name of God & the names of His Saints.
In how many different ways is God offended by Perjury?
In seven ways:
1. By calling on God or His Saints as witnesses, confirming with an oath that which is false --- or, at least, that which we think to be false.
2. By confirming with an oath that which we are doubtful about, even if it proves to be true afterward.
3. By promising with an oath that which we do not intend to do.
4. By cleverness or subtilty of words, while under oath, we deceive those who hear us into understanding something that is not true or correct.
5. By swearing to do a wicked or evil deed, which is an oath that is not supposed to be kept.
6. By swearing not to do a good deed or work of charity, which is also an oath that is not supposed to be kept.
7. By purposely forcing any man to commit perjury, i.e., to lie, or otherwise uphold that which is false or evil, while he is under oath.
In how many different ways is God offended by Blasphemy?
In seven ways:
1. By swearing in the names of false gods.
2. By saying God is something that He is not --- for instance, saying that He is not righteous or merciful.
3. By denying that God is something which He actually is --- for instance, denying that He is in control of things on earth.
4. By saying that a mere creature is equal to God in some way --- for instance, saying that the Devil or chance is in control of all things.
5. By saying that God is not simply One God, but that He is two or three or four or more.
6. By cursing God or His Saints, claiming that He is not good if we don’t get our own way or what we ask for (because just as light is painful to sore eyes and perfectly decent food is repugnant to the sick stomach, so the working of God’s Mercy displeases those people who are wicked & evil).
7. By injuring God or His Saints when we hurt that which belongs to them & is holy --- for instance, a Catholic sanctuary, the statue of a Saint, the Holy Eucharist, a bishop of the Church, a venerated relic, & etc., etc.
In how many different ways is God offended by unlawful Vows?
In four ways:
1. By making a vow to do something evil --- e.g., to take an oath to murder a man, or to maim him.
2. By making a vow to not do something good --- e.g., to take an oath to not become a monk or nun, or to not give alms to the poor & needy.
3. By making a vow that is good, in & of itself, for an evil purpose, in this way causing God (Who is perfectly good) to be associated with something that is terribly evil --- e.g., to take an oath to be a monk or nun in order to avoid having children in the Sacrament of Marriage.
4. By making a vow that is foolish, indiscreet or unreasonable --- e.g., to take an oath to not ever eat food again.
In what way do we break Vows that are lawful?
We break Vows that are lawful by not doing what we solemnly promised to do in a reasonable amount of time. Nevertheless, some oaths for a just & reasonable cause may be changed or dispensed with, by those who have the Authority to change them or dispense with them (for instance, a father who changes or dispenses with the oath that his child took, or a husband who changes or dispenses with the oath that his wife took, or a bishop who changes or dispenses with the oath that one of his flock took).
In what way do we misuse the Name of God or the names of His Saints?
We misuse the Name of God by carelessly, needlessly or disrespectfully saying the Name of God. For example, if without any serious need we swear that something is true, or if we swear out of a wicked habit, or if we purposely swear by God or His Saints in a moment of idle chatter or heated anger. Because he that is used to swearing all the time, cannot avoid perjuring himself.
What is the 3rd Commandment of God?
Remember to respect & keep holy the Sabbath Day.
What does this Commandment mean?
In Moses’ Law the people were commanded to respect & keep holy the Sabbath Day, the day that we call Saturday --- i.e., the seventh & last day of the week. Because after Almighty God had created all the different kinds of creatures in six days, on the seventh day He rested or stopped creating new creatures. But during the Law of Grace nowadays we as Catholics do not respect or keep holy the seventh day, which we call Saturday, more than we do any other normal day. Instead, we respect or keep holy the day following Saturday, which we call Sunday or Our Lord’s Day. On this day Christ Our Lord came back to life from the dead, making mankind (who was created as an earthly creature) into a heavenly creation by His Resurrection. Furthermore, this rule of respecting or keeping holy the day of Sunday, Our Lord’s Day, also means that we must respect all Holy Days started & commanded by the Church. And we respect a Holy Day --- keeping it as holy --- by applying ourselves to the worship of God. Therefore, on Sundays & Holy Days we ought to examine our consciences and purge them from sin: we should cry out & call unto God for Mercy & Grace, thanking Him for His many benefits that He has given to us; we ought to remember Christ’s Passion & Suffering, Heaven, Hell & Purgatory, so as to cause ourselves to keep from sinning; and we ought to train ourselves in doing things that are godly & good for our souls’ health, such as going to Church, praying devoutly, attending Mass reverently, and other divine services.
In how many different ways is a Sunday or Holy Day violated?
In four ways:
1. By slavish work.
2. By failing to worship God.
3. By lack of respect & reverence for holy things.
4. By wicked or unlawful recreation.
How is the Sabbath Day violated by slavish work or labour?
If we on Sundays or Holy Days work --- or cause someone else to do slavish work that is the kind of labour done by servants or employees, such as plowing, carrying, digging & so forth, or jobs that center upon and require the use of the hands or body --- then we break God’s Commandment and violate the Sabbath Day or Holy Day. However, for the sake of mercy or true need, there are some things that are permitted to be done upon Holy Days. For instance, the preparation of food for meals, the making & dispensing of necessary medicines, the burying of the dead, and similarly urgent things. As well, it is allowed on Sabbath Days or Holy Days to practice scholarly & artistic pursuits, such as to debate, or to study, or to sing, or to play upon musical instruments. And if good reason exists, it is permitted to take a journey upon the Sabbath or Holy Day.
How is the Sabbath Day violated by failing to worship God?
If we every Sunday & Holy Day are not present at the Divine Service of the Mass, and if we do not listen completely to one Mass with a devout, serious & reverent mind; or if we do not say our Divine Service that we are supposed to, and if we do not confess our sins at least once a year at the season of Easter & receive the Blessed Sacrament; then, in failing to do these and similar things, we violate the Holy Day.
How is the Sabbath Day violated by lack of respect & reverence for holy things?
If we listen to Mass with a lack of respect & reverence, by talking, walking, gazing about foolishly, or occupying ourselves idly and failing to pay attention, then we violate the Holy Day. Too, if we misuse a Church or the property upon which it sits, or in any way pollute these holy things with worldly behaviour, or if we use anything forbidden by Christ or His Church, we break the Holy Day.
How is the Sabbath Day violated by wicked or unlawful recreation?
If we waste the Holy Day in gambling or when we should be at Mass; or if we dance for the sake of lustful pleasure; or if we spend time at taverns, bowling alleys or other places of idle amusement; or if we recreate in any sinful & criminal place or in the presence of sinful & criminal people; then, by these and similar things, we break the Holy Day and so offend God.
What is the 4th Commandment of God?
Honor your Father & Mother, so that you may live a long life upon the Earth. (Ephesians 6, Colossians 3)
What does it mean to give our Fathers & Mothers honor?
It means three things:
1. To respect them.
2. To obey them.
3. To help them.
How are we supposed to respect our Fathers & Mothers?
By loving them, doing good to them, praying for them, being careful --- and afraid for the fate of our souls --- lest our words or our actions offend them. In short, we defer to them. We must respect them both in our words & our gestures.
How do we sin in not respecting our Parents?
First, we sin by ignoring our natural Parents or Family when they are in poverty or misery, by deriding them or scorning them, by needlessly stirring them up into anger, by yearning for their death because we hate them or because we want to inherit their wealth & prestige, etc., etc.
Secondly, we sin by not respecting our Prelates, Bishops, spiritual Fathers, and other religious rulers & governors in Christ’s Church, who have responsibility for the health of our souls. Because whoever condemns, despises or scorns either his earthly Parents or spiritual Fathers is cursed by God, just as Cham was cursed for laughing at his father, Noe. (Romans 13, Hebrews 13, 1 Peter 2, Genesis 9)
Thirdly, we sin by not respecting our godfathers & godmothers, by not respecting those who are in authority over us (such as masters, employers, kings, judges, or anyone who leads us), and by not respecting anyone who is our elder in age, gravity, wisdom, virtue, learning, office, authority & dignity.
In what ways must we obey our Parents?
In everything that has to do with God, with good manners, with that which is honest & lawful. We must obey them because of the example of Our Saviour, Christ, Who was obedient to His Parents. And just as we are supposed to obey our earthly Parents, so we are supposed to obey our Prelates, Bishops & other spiritual leaders in Christ’s Church --- we must obey their rules and carefully keep their teaching, which they have taught us for the health of our souls.
We must be very careful that we are not carried away with any false & heretical teaching, and that we do not mix ourselves up in the strife & division of schism. We must very carefully stick to the teaching concerning Faith & Religion, which has been taught in Christ’s Church by a series of Pastors & Bishops coming straight from the Apostles. Their teaching, their doctrine, is gotten from the Apostles until this very day, having been passed from one to another over the centuries. Whoever does not obey these spiritual Fathers, flaunting or ignoring their authority, greatly offends God.
In what ways must we help our Parents?
By comforting them, and by serving them in their needs. Because if any Catholic man is so unnatural & cruel that he will not comfort his Parents when they are alive & pray for them when they are dead, then he breaks the Commandment of God.
Also by this Commandment every man & woman in the Church is bound to honestly pay their tithes --- their material support --- to their religious leaders, as well as all other debts & duties that are owed to others.
And just as Children must obey their Parents, so, too, Fathers & Mothers ought to give a good example to their Children. Yet some Parents try so hard to spoil their Children with worldly & material things that they instead end up damning both themselves & their offspring to everlasting Hell. Such Parents reveal themselves to care only about their Children’s bodies, and not about their souls. Because if they see their Children in poverty or misery, they weep over it… but if they see their Children living a sinful life, they think nothing of it! (Ephesians 6)
What is the 5th Commandment of God?
You shall not murder.
What does this Commandment mean?
It is to be understood that you shall not kill without just authority, or hurt any man in body or in soul in such a way. And therefore both a Judge in a particular Nation does rightfully & lawfully put lawbreakers to death --- or otherwise punish them bodily --- and also a Bishop in the Catholic Church does rightfully & lawfully excommunicate (cast out of the membership of the Church) any wicked or disobedient person in order to preserve the peace & tranquillity of a Nation or of the Church.
In how many different ways can we break this Commandment?
In twelve ways:
1. If we purposely kill, hurt or maim our own selves, or murder any other person; or if we order any man to be killed unjustly, or hurt him, or if we advise, assist & otherwise help someone to do this to another person.
2. If Women use some medicine --- such as plants, drinks or other substance or tools --- to kill their own Children after conception in the womb. Or, similarly, if anyone kills the Child in a Mother’s womb by hitting her violently or doing something perilous to the Child. Or, likewise, if any man or woman causes themselves to be barren, or makes someone else to be barren & infertile.
3. People break this Commandment when they use witchcraft, or other sorcerous means, to cause another man’s death.
4. This Commandment is broken when people shorten their life by gluttonous or foolish eating, or by drunkenness & drugs, or by constant & wicked partying.
5. This Commandment is broken when leaders, or anyone in authority, take actions or make laws to put innocent people to death --- or any man unjustly --- such as when they have devised evil laws to put holy Martyrs to death for the sake of Christ & the Catholic Faith.
6. They who, out of malice, hope for another man to suffer hurt, death or damnation, or who are glad about another man’s trouble, or who are sorry to hear about someone being happy, or who speak badly about a person. Also, those who unjustly want God to take vengeance upon any man or woman.
7. They who fail to
assist & help those who are in great need.
8. They who plan to hurt or displease any man, or who conspire against someone, or who devise ways to imprison someone, or to upset & trouble innocent persons, or any man because of his Catholic Faith & Religion.
9. They who have sinned against someone and won’t ask for forgiveness. Too, he who will not forgive the person that has sinned against him, but responds to evil actions with evil deeds in return.
10. Those who murder the souls of the people with heresy or wicked teaching or bad advice, in this way bringing them to Eternal Damnation.
11. Those who give a bad example in their words or their deeds, as well as those who refuse to admonish their neighbor when he commits a serious sin.
12. Fathers, Mothers & Teachers when they do not discipline sinful Children with the rod in a discreet manner --- because he that won’t use the rod for the sake of discipline hates the Child, says Solomon in Proverbs 23. Those Parents or Teachers who will not discipline their Children murder their souls. Whereas, by disciplining Children with the rod (spanking them, either with the hand or with a stick, etc.), Fathers, Mothers & other Caretakers of Children can save the Children’s souls from Hell. Which is why it is better to be unborn than untaught. Yet in disciplining, the anger of the Parent, Teacher or other Caretaker must be reasonable & guided by good reason.
We must be very careful that we do not break this 5th Commandment of God in any of the twelve ways just said.
What is the 6th Commandment of God?
You shall not commit adultery.
What does this Commandment mean?
God by this Commandment forbids all unlawful & intimate relations between human beings, whether it be fornication between unmarried persons (1 Corinthians 6, Matthew 5), seducing virgins, rape, incest between family members, sacrilege (such as when priests pretend to marry a woman or when a monk & nun enter wedlock with one another), or homosexuality, which is a most horrible sin in the sight of God. Also, this Commandment is broken when those who are lawfully married nevertheless give themselves over too much to sexual desire. Because the main reason for marriage is the procreation & bearing of Children. As well, this Commandment forbids all willful participation in the excessive delights & voluptuous pleasure of sexual lust & lechery --- such as wickedly touching ourselves, or others, for the sake of lust or a perverted desire, which is how our evil flesh is stirred up, and the fire of impurity kindled.
In the same way, this Commandment is broken when people willingly let others touch them in a wicked manner. Too, people break it by excessive or sexual kissing, by hugging too closely, by nasty songs or music, by suggestive talk, or by any impure behaviour --- such as an immodest sight or picture, dancing with the intent to get sexual pleasure, or to seduce anyone into filthy sin. The Commandment is violated by those who bring any persons together to fornicate or commit impurity, or by those who, whether through word or deed, go about advising, aiding, assisting or helping such people to do so. Finally, if in our hearts we give a full & deliberate consent to filthy sin of the flesh --- which may happen because of a nasty picture or immodest woman, or suggestive & lewd talk, or filthy thoughts & our corrupt imaginations, etc., etc. --- even if we don’t carry out our wicked lust either in deed or in words, we may still commit a deadly sin.
By all of these ways just said we can break the 6th Commandment of God, and so put ourselves in the state of damnation.
How do we avoid the filthy & lustful sin of the flesh?
First we must consider that sexual lust infects everyone regardless
of age, that it overwhelms all the senses, that it
causes confusion & disorder, that it twists everything that it touches,
that it attacks both young & old, men & women, wise & simple, those
in charge & those who must obey. Furthermore, sexual lust weakens the body,
it kills the soul, it ruins your reputation, it hurts your neighbor, it offends
God, it makes you friends with the Devil, it deadens
your mind, and causes you to behave like an animal. And while a Catholic is
part of God’s
Consider, too, that the more a man gives himself to voluptuous & sexual pleasure, willing to satisfy this filthy desire, the more his desire will increase while, at the same time, the less he will be able to satisfy it. The pleasure is only for a moment, the filthy lust & its delights are gone forever --- but the painful torments that we endure for enjoying this forbidden pleasure are eternal in hellfire.
To avoid this filthy sin, we must, first, keep our hearts clean from idle & impure thoughts by thinking in a holy way about Christ & His Saints. Secondly, we must close our eyes to useless sights, and plug our ears against ungodly talk. Thirdly, we must stop our mouths from all talk that leads to sin, and pray devoutly instead. Fourthly, we must control our bodies with abstinence (not eating meat or other rich foods) & fasting (not eating at all for a time, or only eating some of what you usually eat), and prayer & rituals of some godly good. Always have something good & useful to do (avoid idleness), and stay away from bad friends or acquaintances, so that, by the help of God’s Grace, this filthy & damnable sin may be avoided.
What is the 7th Commandment of God?
You shall not steal.
What does this Commandment mean?
This Commandment forbids us to take, keep, or occupy anything that belongs to another man against this man’s will by violence, fraud, or deceit.
In how many different ways do we break this Commandment?
In seventeen ways:
1. By sacrilege, which is the robbing of Churches, taking away anything that is dedicated to God or to His Saints, out of a Church or other holy place, and putting it to a worldly & godless use.
2. By simony, which is buying, selling or making any kind of business agreement for spiritual gifts or positions of power & wealth in the Church --- such as people who offer or give any ecclesiastical benefice or promotion for the sake of profit & gain (Acts 8), either for themselves or for some friend of theirs. They also break this Commandment who become a priest or bishop by paying money for it, or who pay money to get promoted within the Church or who promise any part of their ecclesiastical income in order to receive some position of power & wealth within the Church. Whoever does such a thing not only sins horribly, but should have the privilege taken away and make amends for what he took.
3. By usury in lending money, with the intent of loaning money so that the money is eventually paid back along with an extra amount of money --- or some form of wealth --- given to the loaner in excess of what was borrowed & owed. All such creditors must make amends for what they have charged as interest above & beyond what they originally loaned. Yet he who is in great need and cannot help himself in any other way, does not sin by borrowing money & promising to pay interest on the amount loaned to him.
4. By stealing, vandalizing or robbing someone, whether openly or in secret.
5. By deceiving or defrauding --- or by any means doing wrong to --- Children before they are of an age where they can reason as adults & be treated as such by the laws of the land in which they live.
6. By bargaining with, or buying from, employees or servants who have no authority to sell what they are selling.
7. By neglecting to pay the debts or wages that you owe to someone.
8. By extortion, intimidation or oppression of one’s employees, subjects or tenants.
9. By taking money from a client or employer that is intended for certain necessities and using it, instead, to buy things that were not sanctioned or are extravagant & otherwise unnecessary.
10. By deceiving anyone in paying with counterfeit money or selling counterfeit goods, and even though you may have been deceived yourself (but are no longer deceived) by the counterfeit money or counterfeit goods that you are, in turn, now using to deceive & defraud another.
11. By hurting or destroying another man’s property, either openly or secretly, and not bothering to make amends for the damage that you have done.
12. By not doing the work you have agreed to do, that your employer or client expects you to do --- a theft for which you are required to make amends to your employer or client.
13. By keeping or holding onto anything you’ve found which belongs to another person, and which this person lost by accident against his will. Because what you find and yet don’t return to the rightful owner is something that is stolen by you. And if after careful searching & asking you cannot find the owner, you must give what you have found to the poor.
14. By using false weights & measures when buying or selling, or by selling something as if it is of good quality, when, in fact, it is worthless junk. Too, by not giving the buyer what he thought he was buying, through the use of deceptive & misleading words.
15. By making your living or wealth through cleverly sly deceit, for which you must pay back what you have stolen in this way.
16. By fraudulent, frivolous & greedy legal actions that unjustly oppress a man for the sake of gain at his expense; or by giving advice to, or approval of, a person who does such a thing in order for him to do so the more surely or successfully. As well, by praising a person who does this terrible thing, or by holding your tongue & keeping quiet when, by speaking up, you could stop or hinder such a thing from being done.
17. By being in authority and not making laws, upholding laws already made, or otherwise justly using your power to stop any of the seventeen types of theft from being done and God’s Commandment from being violated.
What is the 8th Commandment of God?
You shall not tell hurtful lies against your neighbor.
What does this Commandment mean?
It means fourteen things:
1. It forbids all hurtful lying --- whether formally, in some official capacity, or informally, in everyday conversation or social chatter, and by which any man or woman suffers.
2. It forbids you to slander or speak badly for no good reason about anyone, or to make public someone’s secret sin.
3. It forbids you to put down or belittle the good deeds of someone, causing people to think less of him.
4. It forbids you to sneakily hide the truth about something when, in a court of law, you are expected to tell the truth.
5. It forbids you to deride or needlessly scorn others with vicious words, or to needlessly expose the hidden faults of others in order to displease & shame them.
6. It forbids you to detract or needlessly hurt the good name & reputation of anyone that is not present at the time you speak, and regardless of whether what you say is true or not. You must undo the damage you have done and give his good public reputation back to him.
7. It forbids you to enjoy hearing bad things said about any man or woman --- because everyone ought to defend his neighbor & try to protect his neighbor’s good reputation wherever possible.
8. Whoever says bad things about, or slanders, his own self, offends God by doing so.
9. They who curse themselves or other people with evil words of harm, or vengeance, or similarly ungodly words; and also they who ask for vengeance or trouble to come upon poor irrational creatures, such as cattle, grain, the soil & etc.: these things break God’s Commandment.
10. It forbids you to judge rashly & prematurely, without knowing adequately the facts, or to twist & interpret the words & actions of any man in the worst possible light, so as to believe the worst about him --- because when all of the relevant facts are not known for certain (and cannot be known with enough certainty without sufficient effort, time, investigation, and the opportunity for this man to fully explain & defend himself), then we should believe the best we can about him and not the worst.
11. It forbids you to talk behind someone’s back, using offensive words to make a man angry, or to purposely start a fight between one side & another, or to purposely cause a fight (even if you didn’t start it) to continue.
12. It forbids you to use flattery so as to encourage any man or woman to commit a deadly & mortal sin, or to praise anyone with the intent to hurt his body or soul, or, by flattery & wicked praise, to be the cause of deadly sin.
13. It forbids you to hide your true feelings & motives in matters where someone has a genuine need to know what it is you truly feel or think, or to do so in order to harm someone.
14. It forbids you to hurt the souls of other people with heresy & false teaching, which is contrary to the Catholic Faith and which is how people are deceived & brought into the state of damnation. Heretics speak lies with the Devil against Christ & His Dear Spouse, the Catholic Church. They uphold falsehood against the truth. And even if they suffer pain or death or burning or other torture for the Name of Christ, they will receive no Crown of Martyrdom, but instead receive a punishment for their infidelity & war against the truth. In this way heretics are the Children, Martyrs & Witnesses of the Devil against Christ & His Church.
Thus, all kinds of lies are to be hated, and are forbidden by this Commandment of God.
What is the 9th Commandment of God?
You shall not covet or unlawfully desire your neighbor’s wife, servant or daughter.
What does this Commandment mean?
Just as the 6th Commandment forbids misusing one’s body, or the body of another, to gratify the sexual lust of the sinful flesh, so does the 9th Commandment forbid misusing one’s heart & mind to cherish or hide an unlawful sexual lust for your neighbor’s wife, daughter or other member of his household. Because many persons are chaste with their bodies, who, unknown to anyone else, have committed adultery & unlawful sexual lust secretly in the privacy of their minds, hearts & wills. Christ says that he who has imagined fornicating with his neighbor’s wife --- and even though he doesn’t physically act upon what he thinks & imagines --- has already committed adultery with her in his mind & heart. (Matthew 5) For although the thoughts of a man’s mind are hidden from everyone else and he cannot be punished for these secret thoughts by men, nevertheless, everything we think & imagine in our hearts is completely open & known to the eyes of God, Who sees all hidden things. And the evil will & evil intent of a man who is ready to commit sin is considered by God to be the same as the evil deed already done, that the man wants to do even if it never gets done due to his evil will being hindered. Because he who has an eagerness to commit sexual sin, if only the chance would present itself, breaks this Commandment. This Commandment is also broken by those who do not fight hard enough against sexual temptations, failing to beat down & restrain the passions of our wicked flesh, or who allow thoughts of sexual pleasure to continue with delight in the imagination of their minds. Because everyone ought to defend his chastity & purity just as he would fight for the survival of his life. Finally, they who dress or primp themselves in order to attract & arouse others with sexual lust, or who use flattery or pretense to cause others to sin --- all of these kinds of people break this Commandment of God.
What is the 10th Commandment of God?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s possessions.
What does this Commandment mean?
Just as the 7th Commandment forbids the outward physical acts of theft, damage & hindrance to be done to your neighbor so as to harm his soul, body or possessions, so this 10th Commandment forbids you to have any inner will & desire to unjustly have your neighbor’s possessions. Because those who only refrain from unjustly taking or keeping what belongs to their neighbor out of fear of punishment or shame in this world, break this Commandment. And those who are eager in their minds & wills to lend their money at interest, committing usury, or otherwise to steal by unjustly taking a man’s possessions & keep them, or hurt him by keeping something of his that they find, if only the chance would present itself --- all such people break this Commandment. Also, anyone who gambles with the goal of getting his neighbor’s belongings breaks this Commandment. Finally, they who yearn to have an Ecclesiastical promotion, authority & dignity by unlawful means, break this Commandment. No man may do evil with the intent that good may come from it. How much more terribly offensive to God are those who desire this world’s possessions --- land, prestige, or promotion --- to maintain their comfort & pleasure.
What is the main point of God’s Ten Commandments?
The main point of the Ten Commandments consists in love of God, and love of our neighbor. (Ephesians 4, Matthew 7)
On the first tablet of the Ten Commandments are the first three of these Commandments, which stand against & forbid sin and vice against the right worship of God. They forbid idolatry, apostasy, heresy, superstition, perjury & blasphemy, and they motivate us to the pure & true worship of God in heart, word & deed.
On the second tablet of the Ten Commandments are the last seven of these Commandments, which tell us to give reverence & honour to every man according to his position, to help all and hurt no one, to treat others just as we would have them treat ourselves.
How many Commandments does the Church give us that we must obey?
There are five rules specially commanded by Our Mother the Catholic Church, Christ’s Dear Spouse, which we must obey. Because if we turn out be disobedient children to Our Mother the Catholic Church, and don’t obey Her rules, we cannot expect God to be our loving Father. (St. Cyprian)
What are these Commandments?
They are as follows:
1. We must celebrate & keep Holy Days that are commanded by the Catholic Church. Just as in the Old Testament the people were required to celebrate many different feasts aside from the Sabbath Day, so, too, during the New Testament we are required to celebrate many different kinds of feasts aside from the Day of Sunday.
2. Every Sunday & Holy Day we must reverently & respectfully hear Mass.
3. We must fast on the days that the Church commands, and we must refrain from eating meat on those days that the Church prohibits & forbids it.
4. Every man & woman in the Catholic Church must at least once a year confess their sins to their Priest, or to some good & wise Priest who has authority to absolve them of their sins.
5. Every man & woman in the Catholic Church must at least once a year receive the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar (the Holy Eucharist), and particularly at the time of Easter.
These and similar rules of the Church we must obey & observe. The obeying of these rules, and similar things, is both helpful & necessary.
Why are these Commandments of the Church good & necessary?
There are three reasons:
1. They help our Faith, Humility & Christian Obedience.
2. They feed, keep & maintain godly worship, true discipline & public peace, as well as wonderfully put everything in a decent order & harmony in Christ’s Church.
3. Obeying them
with the Charity of God in our hearts brings us to everlasting life; while, to
the contrary, disobedience to these rules of the
[Webmaster’s Note: The Commandments of the Church, as given to us by Fr. Vaux in 1567, are fewer in number and not exactly similar to the Commandments of the Church as given to us in later centuries. This is because, these Commandments not coming directly from God Himself, then it is permitted to change them from time to time as circumstances or reason dictate. The overarching principle is that they contribute to the salvation of our souls within the Catholic Church. A more recent tabulation of the Commandments of the Church is as follows:
1. To keep Sundays & Holy Days of Obligation holy by attending Mass and resting from servile works.
2. To keep the days of fasting & abstinence as ordered by the Church.
3. To go to confession at least once a year.
4. To receive the Blessed Sacrament at least once a year.
5. To contribute to the support of our priests & bishops.
6. Not to marry extended family members that are too closely related, nor to contract marriage during certain times of the year that are forbidden.
7. To join in the missionary spirit & apostolate of the Church, so that, by conversion to the Catholic Faith, souls may have hope of entering Heaven & escaping Hell.
Every real Catholic would do well to follow these Ecclesial Commandments.]
How many outward physical senses of the body has God given to us?
There are five bodily Senses: Sight, Hearing, Smelling, Tasting, & Touching. We ought to use these Senses to honor God, for the health of our souls & for the necessary use of our bodies. And unless with much carefulness we protect & restrain these physical Senses, they are like open windows for sin & death to enter in, killing our souls.
Why has God given us our eyes?
God has given us our eyes so that we may see to stay away from those things that are harmful, whether to our bodies or to our souls, and keep things safe which are good & necessary for our existence. And just as this sense of sight is better & more valuable than our other senses, so, too, is it more dangerous --- because unless our sight is restrained & ruled by reason, it will allure & tempt us into many sins.
What kinds of sins do we commit with our eyes?
There are eight primary sins of the eyes:
1. We sin by taking pleasure in the beauty or handsomeness of our own bodies or clothing, and similar things.
2. We sin by proud looks, turning our eyes from place to place and from thing to thing in our arrogance.
3. We sin by looking with unlawful sexual desire on anyone --- because a wicked & unchaste eye is a sign of a wicked & unchaste heart & mind.
4. We sin by staring idly, for no good reason, at the movements & walk of a person.
5. We sin by seeing a man’s happiness, and not liking it; or by seeing a man’s tragedy, and loving it.
6. We sin by refusing to look upon a man out of hatred for him.
7. We sin by looking at another man’s possessions and lusting for them.
8. We sin by looking with pleasure upon filthiness, impurity & any ungodliness.
All of those who do these things abuse their sense of sight, and commit sin.
Why has God given us our ears?
God has given us our ears so that we may hear those things which are good & honest. God being an ingenious designer, He gave us each two ears --- but only one tongue --- with the purpose that we should listen more than we should talk. Our ears are given to us to hear & understand the teaching of God, for the health of our souls.
What kinds of sins do we commit with our ears?
There are four primary sins of the ears:
1. We sin by being angry --- more than is reasonable --- when we hear something that we don’t like.
2. We sin by being pleased & proud to hear people tell us how wonderful we are.
3. We sin by taking pleasure in hearing nasty or evil talk, scoffing, flattery or slanderous words.
4. We sin by taking delight in hearing heresy or demonic teaching.
In each of these ways do we abuse our sense of hearing, and so offend God.
Why has God given us the sense of smell?
God has given us the sense of smell --- of which the nose is the way we do so --- to enjoy sweet fragrances & beautiful aromas that are helpful to the body & not hurtful to the soul.
What kinds of sins do we commit with our ability to smell?
There are three primary sins coming from the sense of smell:
1. We sin by being far too delighted with the pleasant aroma of delicious foods, wanting them more than we should.
2. We sin by sexual lust or a love of luxury, beauty & the pleasures of the senses that are aroused by the sweet smells of ointments, powders, perfumes & etc.
3. We sin by detesting people who are poor or sick, and by being too fickle, lest we sense the odor of them or smell them.
In each of these ways do we abuse our sense of smell.
Why has God given us the sense of taste?
God has given us the sense of taste --- of which the tongue is the way we do so --- to enjoy or discern pleasant savors or tastes in those things that are for the nourishment of the body & not hurtful to the soul.
What kinds of sins do we commit with our ability to taste?
There are two primary sins coming from the sense of taste:
1. We sin by overwhelming & gluttonous amounts of food or drink, or in drunkenness, or in being too much delighted with delicious food & drink.
2. We sin by eating food on the fast days of the Church, or by eating food at the wrong times --- or too much food --- on such days, or by eating meat on those days that the Church has commanded us to refrain from eating meat.
This sense of taste, unless we rule it with reason, brings many diseases to the body, and is the cause of sin.
Why has God given us the sense of touch?
God has given us the sense of touch --- which all parts of the body experience, but is especially concentrated in our hands where many veins & tendons come together --- that we should use it to the good of our bodies & souls.
What kinds of sins do we commit with our ability to touch?
There are three primary sins coming from the sense of touch:
1. We sin by unjustly killing, wounding or hitting any man.
2. We sin by stealing, robbing or taking anything for a wrong reason.
3. We sin by touching ourselves or any other person unchastely, with unlawful sexual desire.
And just as we abuse these five Senses, so, too, do we abuse the other parts of our bodies and let sin enter into our souls.
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