A DOCTRINAL CATECHISM; WHEREIN DIVERS POINTS OF
CATHOLIC FAITH AND PRACTICE ASSAILED BY
MODERN HERETICS ARE SUSTAINED BY AN APPEAL TO THE
HOLY SCRIPTURES, THE TESTIMONY OF THE ANCIENT
FATHERS, AND THE DICTATES OF REASON BY THE R E V. S T E P H E N K E E N A N.
THIRD AMERICAN EDITION, REVISED AND
ABLY TO THE DECREES OF THE COUNCIL OF THE VATICAN.
CHAPTER I. – SCRIPTURE COMMANDS
Q. Are we obliged to obey the Church?
A. Yes; because our Saviour says, Matth chap. xviii, 17: “If he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican.” [pg. 172]
Q. What does Christ say to the pastors or the Church? Luke, chap. x, 16.
A. “He that hears you, hears me; and he that despise you, despise me; and he that despise me, despise him that sent me.”
Q. What says St. Paul? Heb. chap. xiii, 17.
A. “Obey your prelates, and be subject to them; for they watch, as being to render an account for your souls.”
Q. Are we bound, in conscience, to obey the ecclesiastical, as well as the civil powers?
A. Yes; because both are instituted by the appointment of God. St. Paul, Rom. xiii, 1, 2, 3, &c.,—” Let every soul be subject to higher powers; for there is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained of God; therefore, he that resist the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist purchase to themselves damnation,…wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”
Q. What follows from these passages?
A. That we are obliged to obey the civil authorities, and to observe the commandments of the Church.
Q. But are not the commandments of the Church the mere commandments of men?
A. True; but we are obliged to keep the commandments of men, when God ordains it,
For example, the command of a father or a magistrate,
is only the commandment of man; yet we are bound to observe both,
because God so ordains; thus also are we bound to obey the Church,
because it is the command of God we should do so.
Q. Does not Christ say, Matth. chap. xv, 9: “In vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men?”
A. Yes; but Christ speaks here of vain and useless human commandments, not in accordance with, but opposed to, his law.
CHAPTER II. – Object Commands of the Church
what purpose are the commandments of the Church?
A. They serve to lead us to the better observance of the commandments of God. Thus the law of God ordains, that we render to him the worship that is due to him,—that we should Fast and confess our sins, and receive the holy communion; but the law of God does not tell us how, or when, or how often, it is necessary to perform these acts of religion; he has left it to the Church to settle these matters of detail.
Q. Has the Church any right to appoint feast-days? [pg. 174]
A. The Christian Church has surely
a right, which even the Jewish Church possessed.
Q. Where do you find, in the Old Testament, feasts of precept instituted by the synagogue?
A. In the Book of Esther, chap. 9th, and in the last chapter of the Book of Judith.
Q. Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
A. Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her;—she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.
the Church power to appoint days of fasting?
A. Certainly; for St. Augustine, one of the bishops of the early and confessedly pure Church, taxed Aerius with heresy, for having disputed that right.
Q. Can the Church forbid us the use of certain kinds of food on particular days?
A. Yes; for she did so even in the time of the Apostles, Acts xv, 29—”That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled.” .[pg. 175]
Q. If the Christians of these times had used these forbidden meats, would they have committed sin?
A. Certainly; because, in that case, they would have violated a commandment of the Church.
Q. May not Protestants say, that that which enter the mouth defile not the man?
A. Yes; but we reply it is not the meat, it is the disobedience, which renders the man unclean; and we ask them, where did Adam and Eve put the fatal apple? Besides, in the passage alluded to, Matth. xv, 11, Christ is speaking, not of food taken in opposition to a precept of his Church, but merely of food taken with unwashed hands.
CHAPTER III. – WHY FASTS OF FLESH
Q. Why does the Church forbid
certain meats on particular days?
A. Not that in these meats there is anything unclean, but to chastise and mortify the body.
Q. Were there not some heretics in ancient times, who termed certain kinds of food unclean and the creatures of the devil?
A. Yes; the Marcionites and Manicheans; and this doctrine of theirs is styled by the Apostle the doctrine of the devil.
Q. Is it a very ancient Christian practice to abstain from the use of flesh meat two days in the week?
A. Yes; this practice commenced with Christianity itself; for St. Epiphanius, in his Catechetical Instructions, says: ” An Apostolic law has ordained a fast of two days in the week.”
Q. Were Friday and Saturday the two days of abstinence always observed over the whole Christian Church?
A. No; in some places the Wednesday and Friday were the days observed; and as to these disciplinary portions of Christian doctrine, it is proper, as St. Jerome remarks, to conform to the usages of the Church where we may happen to dwell.
Q. Why have the Greeks appointed Wednesdays and Fridays, as their days of abstinence?
A. Because Christ was sold or betrayed on Wednesday, and put to death on Friday.
Q. Why does the Western or Latin Church observe Friday and Saturday?
A. In honor of the death and burial of Jesus Christ.
A. In honor of the death
and burial of Jesus Christ.
Q. Does not the Apostle blame the Colossians for saying: “Touch not, taste not, handle not;” and again: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink?“—Coloss. chap. Ii, 16. [pg. 177]
A. The Apostle is speaking here of
the Jewish distinctions between meats; they considered some meats in
themselves clean and others unclean; it is this false and
superstitious notion, as well as other abrogated Jewish observances,
that the Apostle here condemns and this is quite evident from the
words immediately following those above quoted: “Let no man
therefore judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of a festival
day, OR OF THE NEW MOON, OR OF THE SABBATHS.”
Q. Does he not say, 2d Cor. iii, 17: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty?”
A. Why, this text may be quoted with as good a grace to throw off the whole law of God. “Liberty;” yes; but a rational and religious liberty consistent with the obligations and duties of one bound to observe the laws of Christ. “Free,” as St. Peter says, “as free and not as making LIBERTY a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God.”—l Peter, chap ii, 16.
CHAPTER IV. – LENT, who established?
Q. Who established Lent?
A. The Apostles.
Q. How do you prove this?
A. Firstly, by the rule of St. Augustine and, secondly, by the testimony of the Fathers.
Q. What is St. Augustine’s rule? Epist. 18th.)
A. “Every practice received by the whole Church, whose origin cannot be traced to any bishop, or Pope, or Council, must be regarded as an Apostolical institution.” Now Lent has been observed in all Christian ages and nations and cannot be traced to any merely human source posterior to the time of the Apostles; therefore it was instituted by the Apostles.
Q. What do you reply to those who say it was invented by the Council of Nice?
A. That this cannot be true; for Tertullian and Origen, who lived before that Council, make mention of it in their writings.
Q. Do you know any Father who has expressly declared that Lent was instituted by the Apostles?
A. Yes; St. Jerom and St. Leo declare it formally; the former, Epist. ad Marcel., says: “Following the Apostolical institution, we observe a fast of forty days;” the latter, Serm. 9 de Jejun—“It was the Apostles, who, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, established Lent.”
Q. Were people, in these
times, obliged in conscience to fast during Lent?
A. Yes; for St. Jerom, Epist. ad Marcel, says: “The Montanists fast three Lents in the year; We fast only one. That they observe three is a voluntary act of their own; but we observe one, because we are obliged.” St. Augustine says: ” Our fast at any other time is voluntary ; but during Lent, we sin if we do not fast.”
CHAPTER V. – WHY WAS LENT ESTABLISHED
Q. Why did
the Apostles institute the fast of Lent?
A. First, in honor of our Saviour’s fast of forty days; secondly, in honor of his passion; and, thirdly, to prepare ourselves, in the spirit of mortification, for the better celebration of the Easter solemnity.
Q. In what manner should Lent be observed?
A. We ought to attend in this to the Lenten Instructions of our respective bishops; to abstain from the use of flesh meat on the days its use is prohibited; to take only one meal about noon, and a slight collation in the evening. The sick are under no restrictions, when the nature of the disease requires a relaxation of the law; and if a sufficient reason be given to; the lawful superior, the collation may be taken in the morning.
Q. Are all Christians bound to fast?
A. No; various classes are exempted; 1st, all under twenty-one years of age; 2dly, all the aged who can be prudently deemed too weak to fast; 3dly, women with child and nurses; 4thly, all that are engaged in heavy and laborious employments; and, 5thly, the poor,who are never certain of sufficient and regular food. [pg. 180]
CHAPTER VI. – REPLY FASTING & ABSTINENCE
Q. What should a Catholic reply to those who scoff and rail at fasting and abstinence?
A. He, should tell them, that those who will not hear the Church, are declared, by Christ himself, to be as heathens or publicans. He should repeat to them the words of St. Augustine—”It is an impudent folly to blame that which is practised by the whole Church.”
Q. Upon whom does this reproach fall with full force?
A. Upon Luther, in an especial manner, who blamed fasting, although practiced over the whole Church.
Q. Can you prove, by any Scriptural example, that Catholics do well to abstain from certain kinds of food?
A. Yes; the prophet Jeremias praised the Rechabites for abstaining from wine, because Jonadab, their father, had forbidden them the use of it; hence, the Catholics cannot do evil by abstaining from any particular food, when the Church, their mother, orders them to do so.
Q. In what
manner can we show a Protestant, that he speaks unreasonably against
fasts and abstinences?
A. Ask him why he keeps Sunday, and not Saturday, as his day of rest, since he is unwilling either to fast or to abstain. If he reply, that the Scripture orders him to keep the Sunday, but says nothing as to fasting and abstinence, tell him the Scripture speaks of Saturday or the Sabbath, but gives no command anywhere regarding Sunday or the first day of the week. If, then, he neglects Saturday as a day of rest and holiness, and substitutes Sunday in its place, and this merely because such was the usage of the ancient Church, should he not, if he wishes to act consistently, observe fasting and abstinence, because the ancient Church so ordained? [pg. 181]
REFUTING PROTESTANTISM WITH DOCTRINAL CATECHISM 1846 continues next MONTH June 13th with… #13 Sacraments – Baptism 1846
Daily Indulgence: An indulgence, on the usual conditions for the daily recital of this invocation for a month (S.P. Ap., Mar 5, 1941)
“May our hearts be cleansed, O lord, by the inpouring of the Holy Spirit, and may He render them fruitful by watering them with His heavenly dew.”