A DOCTRINAL CATECHISM;
CATHOLIC FAITH AND PRACTICE ASSAILED BY
MODERN HERETICS Sustained by an Appeal to
HOLY SCRIPTURES, THE TESTIMONY OF THE ANCIENT
FATHERS, AND THE DICTATES OF REASON
CHAPTER I. Second Person, Blessed Trinity
Q. How many natures are there in Jesus Christ?
A. Two—the Divine and human natures; for Jesus Christ is true God and true man.
Q. How many persons are there in Jesus Christ?
A. Only one; he is a Divine and not a human person, although he has a human nature.
Q. What do you conclude from this?
A. That all the works of Jesus Christ are divine, infinite in value; because, the more excellent the person, the more valuable are his works: hence, the works of the divine person of Jesus Christ must be infinite in merit.
Q. Was it his Divinity or his humanity that suffered for us?
A. It was his humanity that fasted, prayed, and suffered for us; still we are right in saying it was God who suffered, because his sufferings and works must be attributed to the person, and the person of Jesus Christ is God.
Q. Where is Jesus Christ?
A. As he is a Divine person he is everywhere; but his humanity is only in heaven, and on the altar in the holy sacrament. Nor can it be said, that, as his Divinity is everywhere, so is his humanity, for that does not follow.
Q. Show us, by an example, how it does not follow.
A. Man’s head is intimately connected with his soul; yet it is not in every place where the soul is, otherwise the head would be in the feet also.
CHAPTER II. – Owe to Jesus
Q. What do we owe to Jesus Christ?
A. We owe him a sovereign confidence, love, and worship.
Q. What worship is due to him?
A. That sovereign worship or adoration which is due to God, and to God only.
Q. Do Catholics adore the saints?
A. God forbid that we should give to any, or all of the saints the worship which is due to God: we honor the saints as God’s servants enriched and honored with his divine grace.
Q. Do not Catholics consecrate altars, and offer upon them the sacrifice of the Mass to the saints?
A. No; altars are erected and consecrated to God alone; to God alone is the sacrifice of the Mass offered ; the former under the invocation of the saints, and the latter in memory of the saints.
Q. Why do we owe to Jesus Christ a sovereign confidence?
A. Because He is the only mediator, in the proper sense of the word, between God and Man.
Q. Why do you say he is the only mediator?
A. Because He alone could and did satisfy For sin;—He alone merited for us all the graces we receive from God.
Q. Could not a saint satisfy for the sins of men?
A. No; all the angels and saints that ever were, or ever will be, could not have satisfied the justice of God for even one mortal sin; because, by sin, an Infinite Being was offended; His justice required infinite satisfaction. Now this could not be given by any number or quality of saints or angels, who are, and must essentially be, finite creatures; but Christ, being a Divine person, could easily offer sufficient, because infinite satisfaction by restoring to God the glory of which sin had deprived him.
Q. Has Jesus Christ merited for us all heavenly graces?
A. Yes; “Blessed be the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephes. chap, i.)
Q. Do the saints merit graces for us?
A. They may, by their prayers, obtain graces for us from God, but they cannot, of themselves merit them. It was Christ alone, who could, and did, merit and purchase them with the price of his blood, both for the saints and for us.
Q. Why do you say we owe to Jesus Christ a sovereign love?
A. Because it was He “Who delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love” (Coloss. chap, i.)
CHAPTER III. – Catholics Glorify Jesus Christ
Q. Do Catholics glorify Christ and his merits more than Protestants?
A. Yes; much more. They worship him more frequently and more intensely;—they glorify him in his saints, and in the pictures and images of him, which they keep with respect and veneration.
Q. Why do you say that Catholics worship Christ in
his person, more than Protestants?
A. Because the worship which Catholics render to the person of Christ, present in the sacrament and sacrifice of the altar, shows it sufficiently. In conformity with their creed, they render to Christ, really present, all the adoration in their power.
Q. Why have you said that Catholics honor Christ,
in his saints, more than Protestants do?
A. Because Catholics, in honoring the saints, only glorify Jesus, who, by his mercies and graces, has made these saints what they are, worthy of our veneration and imitation; and, as often as Catholics show respect or veneration before a picture or image of Jesus, they uniformly refer both, not to the mere matter before them, but to the prototype, Jesus Christ him self.
Q. Why do you say that Catholics honor the merits of Christ more than Protestants?
A. Because Catholics think more of his sufferings and passion than their adversaries. Catholics observe Lent, a fast of forty days, in honor of his fasting and sorrows;—they abstain from the luxury of flesh meat on Friday, in honor of his death;—they make frequent use of the sign of the cross, to keep them in mind of the tortures he endured for sinners, and that it is from the merits of his passion and death an the cross, that they hope for heavenly strength and grace;—they end every prayer by these words: “Through Jesus Christ our Lord;”—and the last name they utter when they are dying, is his holy name:—Jesus, therefore, is the only hope of every Catholic; and those of our adversaries who say otherwise, are guilty of the very extreme of injustice; since all we ask the saints to do, is to pray for us to our Divine Saviour.
CHAPTER IV. – Asking Prayers of the Saints
Q. Do not Catholics abandon God, and put their trust in the saints, when they ask the prayers of the saints?
A. No certainly; not so much as Protestants do, when they ask the prayers of sinful men.
Q. Is it not derogatory to the merits of Christ to invoke the saints?
A. Certainly not; since the Scripture declares, that the prayer even of the just man avail much.
Q. In what are Protestants deceived on this subject?
A. In supposing that Catholics substitute the saints for Christ, and place their hope in the former and not in the latter. This is a very mistaken notion. Catholics do not ask grace from the saints; they merely ask the saints to pray that God may grant them all necessary graces through Christ. They say, when addressing God: “Have mercy on us;” “Forgive our sins;”—but when addressing the Blessed Virgin or the saints: “Pray for us.” Catholics know well, that all the virtues, merits, and graces of the saints are derived, not from themselves, but from Jesus Christ.
Q. Are the merits of the saints then useless to us?
A. No; the more agreeable the saints are to God, the more powerful will their intercession be in our favor; consequently, the more meritoriously they have co-operated with God’s grace, the more useful will their prayers be to us; in the same manner that we value more the prayers of the man that is truly just, than we do those of him who is imperfectly so.
Q. In whose place do we put the saints?
A. Not in the place of Jesus Christ but in our own; we conjure them to join with us in fervent prayer to God, that, through Jesus Christ, we may obtain all the graces we stand in need of.
CHAPTER V. – Subject of Scripture
Q. Does the sacred Scripture order us to invoke the saints?
A. It neither expressly orders, nor forbids it.
Q. Is it not said in the 49th Psalm?—”Call upon me in the day of tribulation;” and in the 11th chap. of St. Matthew?—”Come to me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” And are not these clear commands to invoke God alone?
A. As these passages do not forbid us to ask the prayers of men, so neither do they forbid us to ask the intercession of the saints.
Q. What then does God demand in these passages?
A. He demands that we invoke him, and him only, as our sovereign Lord, from whom both the saints and we must draw all help and consolation.
Q. Is it useful to ask the prayers of the saints?
A. Yes, surely most useful, if it be at all useful to have recourse to the prayers even of men.
Q. How do you know that it is useful to have recourse to the prayers of men?
A. In the first place, all sects admit this; and, secondly, God himself orders the friends of Job to have recourse to Job’s prayers, (chap xlii:) “Go to my servant Job,….and my servant Job shall pray for you; his face I will accept, that folly be not imputed to you.
Q. Do the angels and saints hear us when we ask their prayers?
A. Protestants admit, that even the devils know what is passing on earth; and yet they deny this knowledge to the blessed and perfect angels and saints of God. In Matth. xv, we are told, that “there is joy over one sinner that doeth penance more than over ninety-nine just persons.” If the saints and angels can see in this world even the penitent heart, they surely hear our prayers without any difficulty. In Luke, chap. xvi, Abraham, who, according to Protestants, must have been in heaven, heard the supplications of Dives, or the rich man, who was certainly in hell. See also Zachary, chap. i, 12.
CHAPTER VI. – Antiquity of Practice
Q. Is the practice of invoking the saints of very ancient date?
A. Yes; even the Protestant Centuriators of Magdebourg admit, that it has existed since the third century at which time all agree that the Church was pure. “You may trace,” say they, “manifest vestiges of the invocation of saints in the third century;”—thus Origin says: “Holy Job, pray for us.” The Protestants who drew up the Augsburg and Helvetic Confession, define it as sound Protestant doctrine “that relative and inferior veneration is due to the saints and angels.” To the same effect the testimony of all the early Fathers, and even of nearly all the most learned Protestant bishops, along with Kemnitius, and Luther himself, who says: “I therefore, with the whole Catholic Church, hold that the saints are to he honored and invocated by us.”
Q. What do you conclude from all this?
A. That the invocation of the saints, angels, and blessed Virgin, is a good and salutary practice, seeing that it has been adopted in every age of the Church; that it has been taught and practised by the wise, the learned, and the good; and that the most learned, though bitterest, enemies have been compelled to admit its utility.
Daily Indulgence: An indulgence on the usual conditions, for the daily repetition of three prayers with devotion. (S.S. Ind., Dec 8, 1897, Ap., May10,1933 and jun 10,1949.)
O’ glorious Apostle, Saint John, who for thy virginal purity wast so beloved by Jesus as to merit thy head upon His divine bosom, and to be left in His stead as a son to His most holy Mother, I implore thee to set me on fire with a burning love of Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me, I pray, this grace from our Lord, that, even now, with ,my heart set free from earthly affections, I may be made worthy to be ever united to Jesus as His faithful disciple and to Mary as her devoted child both here on earth and then forever in heaven. Amen.
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