Baltimore Catechism 3

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The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Commandments of God


 * Q. 241. What is the fourth commandment of God?
A. The fourth commandment of God is: Honor thy father and thy mother.


 * This commandment deals explicitly with the duties of children toward their parents, implicitly with the obligation of parents toward their children. Parents should make themselves worthy of the honor which this commandment imposes.

 * All true authority of superiors comes from God. Subjects must therefore respect their legitimate superiors and obey their just commands. Superiors in turn must exercise their authority in full conformity with the laws of nature and of God.

 * > "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee" (Exodus 20:12).


 * Q. 242. What are we commanded by the fourth commandment?
A. By the fourth commandment we are commanded to respect and love our parents, to obey them in all that is not sinful, and to help them when they are in need.


 * Children respect their parents when they pay them due reverence, speak and act with proper deference, accept their corrections readily, seek their advice regarding important decisions, and bear with charity their parents' faults.

 * Children love their parents when they wish them well, show them a spirit of gratitude, try to please and help them, and pray for them.

 * Children should obey the lawful commands of their parents as long as they live under parental authority. Parents must not command their children to sin. Children must obey the laws of God rather than the commands of men-even of their parents, when such commands are against the law of God.

 * Children should ordinarily consult their parents about the choice of a state of life, but they are not strictly obliged to follow their advice.

 * Parents must not command a son or a daughter to marry. One may exercise one's natural right to live singly if one so desires; moreover, the state of virginity or celibacy, embraced for the love of God, is higher than the married state. Parents must not command their children to marry a certain person. Ordinarily children should consult their parents before definitely deciding to marry. They are not always obliged to follow their parents' advice.

 * Children are obliged to aid their parents in bodily or spiritual need, when they can do so. Children must provide for parents who are not able to support themselves.


 * The Holy Family


 * At the top, the Child Jesus is helping the Blessed Virgin Mary in her housework and St. Joseph in his craft.

 * At the bottom left, in the presence of the angel Raphael, the young is restoring the sight of his father by anointing his eyes with the fish gall that he brought back from his journey.

 * On the right, Our Savior is assisting St. Joseph, his foster-father, in his last moments, pressing him affectionately against His Sacred Heart.


 * Our Lord and the Centurion


 * This picture offers two touching examples of the duties of masters towards their servants. The first is that of the centurion of the Gospel:

 * "Now when He had entered Capharnaum, there came to Him a centurion who entreated Him, saying, 'Lord, my servant is lying sick in the house, paralyzed, and is grievously afflicted.' Jesus said to him, 'I will come and cure him.' But in answer the centurion said, 'Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, and have soldiers subject to me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.' And when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following Him, 'Amen I say to you, I have not found such great faith in Israel. And I tell you that many will come from the east and from the west, and will feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be put forth into the darkness outside; there will be the weeping, and the gnashing of teeth.' Then Jesus said to the centurion, 'Go thy way; as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee.' And the servant was healed in that hour." (Matthew 8:5-13)

 * At the top, this centurion is shown on his knees at the feet of Jesus, who is surrounded by His apostles. Two servants who accompanied him stand respectfully behind their master.

 * The second example, shown at the bottom left, is that of St. Elzear, count of Sabran, in Provence. Having drawn up a rule of life for his servants, St. Elzear has it displayed in one of the most beautiful rooms of his palace, and gathers his servants there to explain it to them. Here are the chief provisions:

 * Morning and evening prayers. Assistance at the Holy Mass. Frequent reception of the sacraments. Devotion to the Holy Virgin and to St. Joseph. To avoid idleness. To flee bad company. To avoid quarrels, etc.

 * St. Elzear is standing at a chair, facing his servants to whom he is showing the rule. A crucifix and a statue of the Holy Virgin adorn the room. St. Delphine, his wife, helps with the instructions and forms, with her servants and daughters of honor, the little group to the right of her husband.

 * We are obliged: (1) to respect our superiors, (2) to serve them with fidelity, (3) to obey them in all that is not contrary to the law of God. We must regard our superiors as the representatives of God and obey them as God Himself.

 * At the bottom right, Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, offers to us a remarkable example of the fidelity that we owe to our superiors. He embarks on a long journey and goes to Mesopotamia to look for a wife for Isaac, his young master. Laden with gifts, he is near a well with his camels. Rebecca, daughter of Nachor, brother of Abraham, is there with a few companions to draw water. She presents some to Eliezer, who, recognizing in this a sign of the will of the Lord, offers her in exchange the lavish gifts from his master.

 * > "He that honoreth his mother is as one that layeth up a treasure. He that honoreth his father shall have joy in his own children: and in the day of his prayer he shall be heard. He that honoreth his father shall enjoy a long life: and he that obeyeth the father shall be comfort to his mother. He that feareth the Lord honoreth his parents and will serve them as his masters that brought him into the world. Honor thy father, in work and word, and all patience: That a blessing may come upon thee from him, and his blessing may remain in the latter end" (Ecclesiasticus 3:5-10).

 * > "Support the old age of thy father: and grieve him not in his life; and if his understanding fail, have patience with him, and despise him not when thou art in thy strength: for the relieving of the father shall not be forgotten." (Ecclesiasticus 3:14-15).

 * > "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for that is right. 'Honor thy father and thy mother'- such is the first commandment with a promise - 'that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest be long-lived upon the earth' " (Ephesians 6:1-3).


 * Q. 243. Does the fourth commandment oblige us to respect and to obey others besides our parents?
A. Besides our parents, the fourth commandment obliges us to respect and to obey all our lawful superiors.


 * All are obliged to respect and to obey legitimate civil and ecclesiastical authorities when they discharge lawfully their official duties. Children must obey their teachers and other persons in whose charge they have been placed by their parents.

 * > "And he said to them, 'Render, therefore, to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's' " (Luke 20:25).

 * > "Let everyone be subject to the higher authorities, for there exists no authority except from God, and those who exist have been appointed by God. Therefore he who resists the authority resists the ordinance of God; and they that resist bring on themselves condemnation. For rulers are a terror not to the good work but to the evil. Dost thou wish, then, not to fear the authority? Do what is good and thou wilt have praise from it. For it is God's minister to thee for good. But if thou dost what is evil, fear, for not without reason does it carry the sword. For it is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who does evil. Wherefore you must needs be subject, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For this is also why you pay tribute, for they are the ministers of God, serving unto this very end. Render to all men whatever is their due; tribute to whom tribute is due; taxes to whom taxes are due; fear to whom fear is due; honor to whom honor is due" (Romans 13:1-7).


 * Q. 244. What duty have parents toward their children and superiors toward those under their care?
A. Parents must provide for the spiritual and bodily welfare of their children; superiors, according to their varying degrees of responsibility, must care for those entrusted to them.


 * Parents must manifest their love for their children in a reasonable manner. They must be on guard lest they spoil their children by granting them unreasonable requests; they must not neglect to correct their faults.

 * It is the duty of parents to care for the spiritual welfare of their children, by having them baptized as soon as possible, by having them well instructed in the truths of religion; by training them in the practice of the Christian virtues, both by word and example; by counseling them to choose good companions; by directing their reading and recreation; and by urging them to fulfill their obligations to assist at Mass on Sundays and holydays, and to receive the sacraments regularly, even frequently.

 * The Church forbids parents to send their children to non-Catholic or secular schools in which the Catholic religion is not taught, unless the bishop of a diocese grants permission because of particular circumstances.

 * Parents are responsible for the physical and social well-being of their children. They must provide the necessary food, clothing, shelter, and medical care insofar as they are able. Parents are equally responsible for the intellectual and religious instruction and moral training of their children. They should rear them to be useful, self-supporting, patriotic citizens and informed, practical members of the Church.

 * > "He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24).

 * > "Hast thou children? Instruct them, and bow down their neck from their childhood" (Ecclesiasticus 7:25).

 * > "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but rear them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).


 * Q. 245. What are the duties of a citizen toward his country?
A. A citizen must love his country, be sincerely interested in its welfare, and respect and obey its lawful authority.


 * A person who plots against his country or rebels against its legitimate government commits a grave sin. Citizens, however, have a right to defend themselves against tyranny when there is no other way to secure the exercise of their fundamental human rights.

 * See Scripture, question 243, Romans 13:1-7.


 * Q. 246. How does a citizen show a sincere interest in his country's welfare?
A. A citizen shows a sincere interest in his country's welfare by voting honestly and without selfish motives, by paying just taxes, and by defending his country's rights when necessary.


 * Citizens should exercise their right to vote. This is a moral obligation when the common good of the state or the good of religion, especially in serious matters, can be promoted.

 * Citizens should vote for the candidates who in their judgment are best qualified to discharge the duties of public office. Mere personal gain or friendship does not justify one's voting for a candidate. It would be sinful to cast a ballot for one who, in the judgment of the voters, would do grave public harm.

 * Citizens of a country as well as aliens should obey the law of paying just taxes in order to contribute their fair share to the lawful expenses of good government and public security.

 * Citizens are obliged to help their country wage a just war. They must serve in the armed forces if the government commands them to do so unless they are convinced from adequate and unquestionable evidence that the war is unjust.


 * Q. 247. Why must we respect and obey the lawful authority of our country?
A. We must respect and obey the lawful authority of our country because it comes from God, the Source of all authority.


 * Citizens may accept any form of government that does not claim for itself rights that belong to God alone or those that are proper to the individual, to the family, or to the Church. The state exists for the common good of men, and not men for the state. A government may not infringe on the right of an individual or of a family to worship God and to live according to His laws; nor may it forbid parents to instruct their children in the truths of God and to train them in virtuous living. A government may not prohibit the Church from preaching the Gospel, administering the sacraments, and legislating in all those matters that pertain to the worship of God and the salvation of souls.

 * If a government commands citizens to violate the law of God they must refuse to obey, for, according to Saint Luke, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

 * See Scripture, question 243.


 * Q. 248. Why are we obliged to take an active part in works of good citizenship?
A. We are obliged to take an active part in works of good citizenship because right reason requires citizens to work together for the public welfare of the country.


 * Q. 249. What are the chief duties of those who hold public office?
A. The chief duties of those who hold public office are to be just to all in exercising their authority and to promote the general welfare.


 * > "Give ear, you that rule the people, and that please yourselves in multitudes of nations: For power is given you by the Lord, and strength by the most High. Who will examine your works, and search out your thoughts" (Wisdom 6:3-4).


 * Q. 250. What does the fourth commandment forbid?
A. The fourth commandment forbids disrespect, unkindness, and disobedience to our parents and lawful superiors.


 * Children sin mortally when they fail to give the respect and love due to their parents by hating them, unjustly threatening them, or striking them, by seriously insulting or ridiculing them, by wishing them serious evil, by treating them heartlessly, by disregarding them when they are in grave need, by cursing them, by causing them great sorrow, or by provoking them to serious anger.

 * Children still subject to parental authority sin mortally by disobeying the just commands of their parents in serious matters. The command of parents to avoid bad companions, sinful reading or immoral amusements, to receive the sacraments and religious instruction, to assist according to the law of the Church at Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation, and to preserve the necessary order and peace of the home, must be considered as ordinarily binding under serious obligation. The disobedience of young children is frequently not sinful because of inadvertence, levity, or lack of seriousness on the part of parents who do not insist on their children obeying their commands under pain of sin.

 * Disobedience of children and of other subjects, even in slight matters, can become a grave sin when the motive of the disobedience is serious contempt for the authority of parents and legitimate superiors.

 * > "Cursed be he that honoreth not his father and mother. And all the people shall say: Amen" (Deuteronomy 27:16).

 * > "Render to all men whatever is their due; tribute to whom tribute is due; taxes to whom taxes are due; fear to whom fear is due; honor to whom honor is due" (Romans 13:7).


 * Q. 251. What is the fifth commandment of God?
A. The fifth commandment of God is: Thou shalt not kill.


 * Killing, which is forbidden by this commandment, means taking the life of a human being unjustly. Animals may be killed for man's reasonable need or convenience. Hunting, fishing, and using animals for scientific purposes are permissible. To kill or injure animals without a good reason is sinful but it is not a violation of this commandment.

 * > "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13).


 * Q. 252. What are we commanded by the fifth commandment?
A. By the fifth commandment we are commanded to take proper care of our own spiritual and bodily well-being and that of our neighbor.


 * Man does not have supreme dominion over his own life; he was not the cause of its beginning nor may he be the deliberate cause of its end. Man must use the ordinary means to preserve life. He is not, however, obliged to use extraordinary means which would involve relatively great expense or intolerable pain or shame.

 * Man is obliged to use prudent means in order to preserve his health and the health of those under his care.


 * Q. 253. What does the fifth commandment forbid?
A. The fifth commandment forbids murder and suicide, and also fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, drunkenness, and bad example.


 * Murder is the voluntary and unjust killing of a human being. It is a serious crime because it is an infringement on the right of God's dominion over human life and is an irreparable injustice to the victim, to his family, and to society.

 * The life of another person may lawfully be taken: first, in order to protect one's own life or that of a neighbor, or a serious amount of possessions from an unjust aggressor, provided no other means of protection is effective; second, by a soldier fighting a just war; third, by a duly appointed executioner of the state when he metes out a just punishment for a crime.

 * War is an armed conflict between sovereign states which is undertaken by public sanction. A nation may wage a just war under the following conditions: first, if it is necessary to defend the rights of the state in a grave matter, second, if it is undertaken only as a last resort after all other means have failed; third, if it is conducted justly in accordance with natural and international law; fourth, if it is not continued after due satisfaction has been offered or given by the unjust aggressor nation.

 * The direct intention to kill an innocent person is never permissible, either by public or private authority. The state does not have the right to take the life of a sick person, even at his own request, in order to relieve him of pain. An unborn child has the same right to life as any other person and may never be directly killed, even to save the life of the mother.

 * The human body may not be mutilated unless there is no other way to preserve the health or to save the life of a person.

 * It is sinful to risk one's life without a sufficiently good reason. To risk one's life in order to save the life of another person is permissible and in certain cases obligatory. It is the law of the Church that the bodies of those who have knowingly and deliberately committed suicide shall not be given Christian burial.

 * One may never take part in a duel, which is a prearranged contest between two persons with deadly weapons. The Church punishes with excommunication not only those who engage in a duel, but also those who assist them and even those who are deliberately present at a duel and do not, as far as they can, try to prevent it. Unjust anger leads to hatred, revenge, fighting, and other grave sins.

 * Excessive eating and drinking are sinful because they injure the health of a person and often lead to other sins. A person commits a mortal sin when by excessive use of alcoholic drink he deliberately deprives himself of the use of reason without a just cause, or when by habitual drinking he seriously injures his health, neglects to provide for his family or gives scandal, or when, as a result of excessive drinking, he violates a grave obligation arising from the law of God, the Church, or the state.


 * The Martyrdom of St. Stephen


 * The top picture shows St. Stephen, deacon and first martyr, giving the admirable example of the pardon of his enemies. Kneeling with his eyes lifted up to heaven, he addresses to God his touching prayer for the Jews who are stoning him:

 * > "Lord, do not lay this sin against them." (Acts 7:60) Suddenly, Heaven opens before him. God looks at him with pleasure with His arms extended towards him. An angel offers him the palm of martyrdom, and another shows him the crown that awaits him.

 * At the bottom of this plate on the left are Esau and Jacob being reconciled to each other, while on the right, St. Cyprian is about to be beheaded. His friends are paying the executioner twenty-five gold pieces, having been ordered to do so by the Saint. St. Cyprian was a bishop, and he shares the feast day of September 16 with St. Cornelius, Pope and Martyr. The two martyrs are mentioned together in the Canon of the Mass.

 * All the scenes of this plate relate to the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill."

 * > "You have heard that it was said to the ancients, 'Thou shalt not kill; and that whoever shall kill shall be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; and whoever says to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be liable to the Sanhedrin; and whoever says, 'Thou fool!' shall be liable to the fire of Gehenna. Therefore, if thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother has anything against thee, leave thy gift before the altar and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Matthew 5:21-24).

 * > "Woe to the world because of scandals! For it must be that scandals come, but woe to the man through whom scandal does come! And if thy hand or thy foot is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off and cast it from thee! It is better for thee to enter life maimed or lame, than, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if thy eye is an occasion of sin to thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee! It is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell-fire" (Matthew 18:7-9).

 * > "The works of the flesh are manifest, which are ... enmities, contention ... anger, quarrels ... murders, drunkenness, carousings, and suchlike. And concerning these I warn you, as I have warned you, that they who do such things will not attain the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).

 * > "But let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. For the wrath of man does not work the justice of God" (James 1:19-20).

 * > "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer. And you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:15).


 * Q. 254. What is the sixth commandment of God?
A. The sixth commandment of God is: Thou shalt not commit adultery.


 * > "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14).


 * Q. 255. What are we commanded by the sixth commandment?
A. By the sixth commandment we are commanded to be pure and modest in our behavior.


 * Purity is a moral virtue which rightly regulates all voluntary expression of sexual pleasure in marriage and excludes it altogether outside the married state. Purity, moreover, is necessary to preserve and to strengthen the other virtues.

 * Modesty inclines one to refrain from any action or word that might lead oneself or others to an unlawful incitement of the sexual appetite. Modesty is necessary for safeguarding purity.

 * > "I exhort you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living, holy, pleasing to God-your spiritual service" (Romans 12:1).

 * > "Or do you not know that your members are the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought at a great price. Glorify God and bear him in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).


 * Q. 256. What does the sixth commandment forbid?
A. The Sixth commandment forbids all impurity and immodesty in words, looks, and actions, whether alone or with others.


 * Impurity is any deliberate thought, word, look, or deed with one self or another by which the sexual appetite is aroused outside of marriage, and even in marriage when contrary to the purpose for which God instituted the married state.

 * Some of the chief sins against purity are: first, adultery, by which one violates the sexual rights of the married state. This sin is also committed by one who lives as the legal husband or wife of another after one or both parties have secured a civil divorce; second, fornication, by which an unmarried person usurps the marriage right by sexual intercourse with another unmarried person; third, deliberate actions with oneself or others performed to arouse the sexual appetite.

 * Immodesty is any deliberate thought, word, or action that tends toward impurity.

 * When there is full deliberation in any sin of impurity it is a mortal sin. Immodesty may be either a mortal or venial sin depending on the greater or less danger of impurity to which it tends, the degree of scandal, and the intention of the sinner.

 * Sins of impurity and immodesty are extremely dangerous because human nature is strongly inclined toward them and because they quickly develop into habits that are most difficult to eradicate.


 * Our Lord and Mary Magdalene


 * At the top is Our Lord and, at His feet, a woman who was guilty of the sin of adultery. We read in the Gospel:


 * > "Now the Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and setting her in the midst, said to Him, 'Master, this woman has just now been caught in adultery. And in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such persons. What, therefore, dost thou say?' Now they were saying this to test Him, in order that they might be able to accuse him. But Jesus, stooping down, began to write with His finger on the ground.

 * > "But when they continued asking him, he raised Himself and said to them, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.' And again stooping down, he began to write on the ground. But hearing this, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest. And Jesus remained alone, with the woman standing in the midst.

 * > "And Jesus, raising Himself, said to her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned thee?' She said, 'No one, Lord.' Then Jesus said, 'Neither will I condemn thee. Go thy way, and from now on sin no more.' " (John 8:3-11)


 * At the bottom right is King David, and before him the prophet Nathan. He is reproaching David for the adultery which he committed with Bethsabee and for the murder of her husband Urias.

 * On the left is shown the story which Nathan told to make David realize the enormity of his crime:


 * > "There were," he told him, "two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many sheep and oxen. But the poor man had nothing at all but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up, and which had grown up in his house together with his children, eating of his bread, and drinking of his cup, and sleeping in his bosom: and it was unto him as a daughter. And when a certain stranger was come to the rich man, he spared to take of his own sheep and oxen, to make a feast for that stranger, who was come to him: but took the poor man's ewe, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David's anger being exceedingly kindled against that man, he said to Nathan, 'As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this is a child of death.' "

 * > "Thou art the man," replied the prophet. "Thus saith the Lord, 'I anointed thee king over Israel; and I delivered thee from the hand of Saul, and gave thee thy master's house and all his goods, and I was to add far greater things to thee. Why therefore hast thou despised the word of the Lord, to commit sin by causing Urias the Hethite to perish by the sword and by marrying his wife? In punishment for thy double crime, it is from thy own family that the Lord will raise up ministers of His vengeance. Thy family will become for thee a source of unhappiness.'

 * > "The king was astounded, and was seized with repentance in the depths of his soul and uttered this saving cry of penitence that God will never despise, 'I have sinned against the Lord.' " ()

 * > "You have heard that it was said to the ancients, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' But I say to you that anyone who so much as looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).

 * > "But immorality and every uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becomes saints; or obscenity or foolish talk or scurrility, which are out of place; but rather thanksgiving. For now this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one (for that is idolatry) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one lead you astray with empty words; for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience" (Ephesians 5:3-7).

 * > "For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you abstain from immorality; that every one of you learn how to possess his vessel in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).


 * Q. 257. What are the chief dangers to the virtue of chastity?
A. The chief dangers to the virtue of chastity are: idleness, sinful curiosity, bad companions, drinking, immodest dress, and indecent books, plays, and motion pictures.


 * We must avoid as far as possible any person, place, or thing that is likely to tempt us to immodesty and impurity. Special care must be taken to avoid the near occasions of these sins.

 * Unmarried persons may not carry on a courtship with those who are not free to marry. They should avoid receiving any attention from them. Familiarity with such persons can readily lead to many sins of impurity and to an invalid marriage.

 * > "Idleness hath taught much evil" (Ecclesiasticus 33:29).


 * Q. 258. What are the chief means of preserving the virtue of chastity?
A. The chief means of preserving the virtue of chastity are to avoid carefully all unnecessary dangers, to seek God's help through prayer, frequent confession, Holy Communion, and assistance at Holy Mass, and to have a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin.


 * > "Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Mark 14:38).

 * > "Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same suffering befalls your brethren all over the world" (1 Peter 5:8-9).




 * After the first three commandments prescribing man's duties toward God come seven others laying down man's obligations toward himself and his fellow-men. There is first a special commandment regarding the important duties of children toward their parents, and of parents toward their children. This is the fourth of the Ten Commandments. In a general way, the others are concerned with actions (5, 6, 7), and words (8), and desires (9, 10).

 * It is important to remember that the commandments imply much more than they expressly command. For example, the fourth commandment explicitly prescribes only honor for one's parents, but under this heading are included love, obedience and service. Moreover, as the Church interprets it, this same commandment refers to the duties of all those in any position of subordination toward lawful superiors; it also imposes on those who rule others, particularly parents, the obligation to provide for the welfare of those in their charge. Similarly, the fifth commandment, though it explicitly forbids only killing, is to be extended to the prohibition of any unjust injury to the body, and even to the soul, whether of oneself or of other human beings. The sixth commandment is explicitly directed against adultery-the gravest sin of impurity that can be committed by or against a married person. Yet, it really forbids every external act against the noble virtues of chastity and modesty.

 * Many persons in public office seem to forget that they are strictly bound to provide for the welfare of the citizens and to protect their rights; they are guilty of sin if they neglect to perform the duties demanded of them or if they exercise their authority for their own personal advantage rather than for the benefit of their fellow citizens. A public official must always remember that the authority he possesses comes to him from God and that he must employ that authority in the way that God wills. It is unfortunate that there are many public officials nowadays who, while they may be conscientious in their duties as private citizens and perhaps even faithful in their religious practices, frequently transgress the fourth commandment in their public life.

 * It should be our concern to regard the commandments of God, not as merely forbidding what is bad but also as commanding what is good. Of the commandments considered in this lesson, the one which demands the most effort for its observance and entails the most exalted holiness on the part of those who obey it perfectly is the sixth commandment. Nowadays there is much in the world that incites people to sins of impurity. We must be constantly on our guard lest we fall into this degrading sin. To mention only a few of the sources of danger to chastity in our own land, there are obscene motion pictures, magazines filled with lewd pictures, a great laxity in the matter of dress. Catholics should be mindful of the admonitions of recent Popes regarding these dangers. If Catholics follow those admonitions of the Church, and make use of the means at their disposal to gain spiritual strength-particularly the frequent reception of Holy Communion, nourishing us with the immaculate flesh of Our Divine Saviour-they can avoid the dangers that surround them and practice perfectly the virtue of purity, known as the angelic virtue, because it makes us like the pure angels who surround the throne of God in heaven.




 * Resolve that you will carefully avoid anything that may endanger your purity, such as bad companions, dangerous reading, unchaste conversation and suggestive motion pictures.

 * Complete Exercises For Lesson 19





 * (Join correctly the parts of the sentences in Columns I and II, by placing the right key letter in the proper parenthesis.)


 * Column I


 * Ordinarily children should consult their parents (...).

 * Parents must have their children baptized (...).

 * A citizen is obliged to vote (...).

 * Disobedience even in slight matters can become a grave sin (...).

 * A public official is guilty of sin (...).

 * A person may lawfully kill an unjust aggressor (...).

 * It is a mortal sin to deprive oneself of the use of reason without a just cause (...).

 * It is sinful for a person to carry on a courtship (...).

 * A fully deliberate act of impurity (...).

 * Sins of impurity and immodesty are extremely dangerous (...).


 * Column II


 * By the excessive use of alcoholic drink.

 * Because human nature is strongly inclined toward them.

 * As soon as possible.

 * If it is the only way in which he can protect his own life.

 * Before definitely deciding to marry.

 * When the common good of the state or the good of religion demands it.

 * With one who is not free to marry?

 * Is always a mortal sin.

 * If he employs his authority for his personal advantage rather than for the benefit of the citizens.

 * When the motive is contempt for the authority of those who command.



 * (Answer the questions orally or write them as your teacher may direct):


 * Silvanus, a skilled pickpocket, is teaching his son Quintin to follow in his dishonest mode of life. He sends the lad to the church bazaar to try his skill for the first time. Is Quintin bound to obey his father?

 * Ella and her brother Lyle, both over 21 and still living at home with their parents, consider their parents old-fashioned. Father and mother demand that all the children be in the house by eleven o'clock each night. Ella and Lyle refuse to abide by that regulation. Are they guilty of any sin? Why?

 * John, a married man and a wealthy contractor, seldom visits his widowed mother. She lives in the poorer section of the same town and barely manages to get along on her limited income. What obligations, if any, has toward his mother?

 * Ida, eighteen years old, would like to join the Sisters after her graduation from High School. Her mother strongly objects to her ambition; she wants the girl to get married to Orlando, a young Protestant lawyer with lots of money. Must Ida obey her mother? Explain.

 * Jonas, a Catholic, has been keeping company with Rania, the daughter of a Protestant minister in the neighboring town. He plans to be married in three weeks. Both of his parents are still ignorant of the whole affair. Has acted correctly toward them? Explain.

 * Audrey in the seventh grade dislikes being reminded by her mother that it is time to go to confession and Communion with the Sodality girls. Has Audrey a just complaint against her mother? Explain your reply.

 * Paul is a very sick boy; the doctor has ordered certain tablets to be taken every three hours. Has Paul an obligation to take the doctor's prescription? What commandment imposes the obligation?

 * If Fido is run over by a bus, a policeman usually shoots the dog to end its misery. If you were to meet with the same accident may a doctor or a surgeon end your misery by an easy death (euthanasia)? Explain.

 * Leon, an honest and thrifty young man, saved his money to buy furniture for the home he planned after his marriage with Teresa, a devout Catholic girl. A few days before the wedding he drew $1200 out of the bank and kept it in his room, so that he could buy the furniture the next day. That night he awoke to see a robber leaving the room with his money. Leon seized a knife, pursued the robber, and grappled with him. The robber drew a gun, and Leon stabbed him in the heart, killing him. Was Leon allowed to do this? What difference would it make if the robber had no gun? If Leon had a gun would he have been allowed to shoot the robber?

 * What virtue are we commanded to practice by the sixth commandment?

 * The sixth beatitude encourages us to the practice of the same virtue. What is that beatitude? Who proclaimed it?

 * What girl saint is the patroness of holy purity? In the same virtue, who is the model saint for the boys?

 * In a paragraph of five or six sentences explain three practices of devotion that preserve and cultivate modesty and purity.

 * Ethelbert is accustomed to buy magazines that have indecent pictures, and he not only looks at them himself but he displays them to his companions. What sins does Ethelbert commit?

 * George and Rebecca, students in the sophomore class in High School and each sixteen years of age, are keeping company with each other steadily and have even mutually promised that they will marry each other in six or seven years. Are they allowed to do these things? Explain your answer, and tell what you think about steady company-keeping by high school boys and girls.


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