The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism (1969)
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Baltimore Catechism

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A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Council of Baltimore (or, simply, the Baltimore Catechism) was the de facto standard Catholic school text in the United States from 1885 to the late 1960s. It was the first such catechism written for Catholics in North America, replacing a translation of Bellarmine's Small Catechism. In response to criticisms, various editions include annotations or other modifications. The Baltimore Catechism remained in use in nearly all Catholic schools until many moved away from catechism-based education, though it is still used up to this day in some.

History

In the nineteenth century, repeated efforts had been made in the United States towards an arrangement by which a uniform textbook of Christian Doctrine might be used by all Catholics. As early as 1829, the bishops assembled in the First Provincial Council of Baltimore, Maryland decreed: "A catechism shall be written which is better adapted to the circumstances of this Province; it shall give the Christian Doctrine as explained in Cardinal Bellarmine's Catechism (1597), and when approved by the Holy See, it shall be published for the common use of Catholics" (Decr. xxxiii). The clause recommending Bellarmine's Catechism as a model was added at the special request of the Congregation of Propaganda. It may be mentioned here that Bellarmine's "Small Catechism," Italian text with English translation, was published at Boston, in 1853.

The wish of the bishops was not carried out, and the First and Second Plenary Councils of Baltimore (1852 and 1866) repeated the decree of 1829. In the Third Plenary Council (1884) many bishops were in favor of a "revised" edition of a 1775 catechism by Irish Archbishop Butler, but finally the matter was given into the hands of a committee of six bishops. At last, in 1885, was issued "A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Council of Baltimore." Although the council had desired a catechism "perfect in every respect" (Acta et Decr., p. 219), theologians and teachers criticized several points (Nilles, "Commentaria", II, 265, 188). Soon various editions came forth with additions of word-meanings, explanatory notes, some even with different Arrangements, so that soon there was a considerable diversity in the books that go by the name of Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism became the standard text for Catholic education in the United States. Since the 1960s, many Catholic churches and schools have moved away from catechism-based education, but a modernized edition is available under the title of the New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism (ISBN 0-89942-242-X).

[edit] External links

* Baltimore Catechism No. 1, available at Project Gutenberg.. An abridged edition for younger students.
* Baltimore Catechism No. 2, available at Project Gutenberg.. The main edition.
* Baltimore Catechism No. 3, available at Project Gutenberg.. An expanded edition for older students.
* Baltimore Catechism No. 4, available at Project Gutenberg.. An annotated edition for teachers.

This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.

from the 1891 Catechism:

Sacred-Texts Christianity Index Next
Baltimore Catechism No. 1
LESSON FIRST: ON THE END OF MAN


1. Q. Who made the world?
A. God made the world.


2. Q. Who is God?
A. God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.



3. Q. What is man?
A. Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.



6. Q. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.



9. Q. What must we do to save our souls?
A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in
Him, and love Him with all our heart.



10. Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic Church, through which God speaks to us.



11. Q. Where shall we find the chief truths which the Church teaches?
A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church teaches in the Apostles' Creed.



12. Q. Say the Apostles' Creed.





LESSON SECOND: ON GOD AND HIS PERFECTIONS



13. Q. What is God?
A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.



14. Q. Had God a beginning
A. God had no beginning; He always was and He always will be.



15. Q. Where is God?
A. God is everywhere.



16. Q. If God is everywhere, why do we not see Him?
A. We do not see God, because He is a pure spirit and cannot be seen with bodily eyes.



17. Q. Does God see us?
A. God sees us and watches over us.



18. Q. Does God know all things?
A. God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts, words, and actions.



19. Q. Can God do all things?
A. God can do all things, and nothing is hard or impossible to Him.



20. Q. Is God just, holy, and merciful?
A. God is all just, all holy, all merciful, as He is infinitely perfect.





LESSON THIRD: ON THE UNITY AND TRINITY OF GOD



21. Q. Is there but one God?
A. Yes; there is but one God.



22. Q. Why can there be but one God?
A. There can be but one God, because God, being supreme and infinite, cannot have an equal.



23. Q. How many Persons are there in God?
A. In God there are three Divine Persons, really distinct, and equal in all things-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.



24. Q. Is the Father God?
A. The Father is God and the first Person of the Blessed Trinity.



25. Q. Is the Son God?
A. The Son is God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.



26. Q. Is the Holy Ghost God?
A. The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.



27. Q. What is the Blessed Trinity?
A. The Blessed Trinity is one God in three Divine Persons.



29. Q. Are the three Divine Persons one and the same God?
A. The three Divine Persons are one and the same God, having one and the same Divine nature.





LESSON FOURTH: ON THE ANGELS AND OUR FIRST PARENTS



34. Q. Which are the chief creatures of God?
A. The chief creatures of God are men and angels.



35. Q. What are angels?
A. Angels are bodiless spirits created to adore and enjoy God in heaven.



39. Q. Who were the first man and woman?
A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.



40. Q. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God?
A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God.



43. Q. Did Adam and Eve remain faithful to God?
A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God; but broke His command by eating the forbidden fruit.



44. Q. What befell Adam and Eve on account of their sin?
A. Adam and Eve on account of their sin lost innocence and holiness, and were doomed to misery and death.



45. Q. What evil befell us through the disobedience of our first parents?
A. Through the disobedience of our first parents we all inherit their sin and punishment, as we should have shared in their happiness if they had remained faithful.



47. Q. What is the sin called which we inherit from our first parents?
A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called original sin.



50. Q. Was any one ever preserved from original sin?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary, through the merit of her Divine Son, was preserved free from the guilt of original sin, and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.





LESSON FIFTH: ON SIN AND ITS KINDS



51. Q. Is original sin the only kind of sin?
A. Original sin is not the only kind of sin; there is another kind of sin, which we commit ourselves, called actual sin.



52. Q. What is actual sin?
A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed or omission contrary to the law of God.



53. Q. How many kinds of actual sin are there?
A. There are two kinds of actual sin-mortal and venial.



54. Q. What is mortal sin?
A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.



57. Q. What is venial sin?

A. Venial sin is a slight offense against the law of God in matters of less importance; or in matters of great importance it is an offence committed with out sufficient reflection or full consent of the will.



59. Q. Which are the chief sources of sin?
A. The chief sources of sin are seven: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth; and they are commonly called capital sins.







LESSON SIXTH: ON THE INCARNATION AND REDEMPTION



60. Q. Did God abandon man after he fell into sin?
A. God did not abandon man after he fell into sin, but promised him a Redeemer, who was to satisfy for man's sin and reopen to him the gates of heaven.



61. Q. Who is the Redeemer?
A. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind.



62. Q. What do you believe of Jesus Christ?
A. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true man.



69. Q. What do you mean by the Incarnation?
A. By the Incarnation I mean that the Son of God was made man.



70. Q. How was the Son of God made man?
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.



74. Q. On what day was the Son of God conceived and made man?
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man on Annunciation day-the day on which the angel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God.





75. Q. On what day was Christ born?
A. Christ was born on Christmas day in a stable at Bethlehem, over nineteen hundred years ago.





LESSON SEVENTH: ON OUR LORD'S PASSION, DEATH, RESURRECTION, AND ASCENSION



78. Q. What did Jesus Christ Suffer?
A. Jesus Christ suffered a bloody sweat, a cruel scourging, was crowned with thorns, and was crucified.



79. Q. On what clay did Christ die?
A. Christ died on Good Friday.



83. Q. Why did Christ suffer and die?
A. Christ suffered and died for our sins



89. Q. On what day did Christ rise from the dead?
A. Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death.



91. Q. After Christ had remained forty days on earth, whither did He go?
A. After forty days Christ ascended into heaven, and the day on which He ascended into heaven is called Ascension day.





LESSON EIGHTH: ON THE HOLY GHOST AND HIS DESCENT UPON THE APOSTLES



* De-scent', the act of coming down.
* En-a'ble, to make able.
* En-light'en, to make them understand better.
* Pen'te-cost, the fiftieth day after Easter.
* Preach, declare publicly, spread by word of mouth.
* Sanc'ti-fy, to make holy.
* Strength'en, make strong.
* Whit'sun-day, white Sunday.



94. Q. Who is the Holy Ghost?
A. The Holy Ghost is the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.



97. Q. On what day did the Holy Ghost come down upon the Apostles?
A. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles ten days after the Ascension of our Lord; and the day on which He came down upon the Apostles is called Whitsunday, or Pentecost.



99. Q. Who sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.



100. Q. Why did Christ send the Holy Ghost?
A. Christ sent the Holy Ghost to sanctify His Church, to enlighten and strengthen the Apostles, and to enable them to preach the Gospel.
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