THE CATECHISM OF ST. PIUS X - Penance in General
1 Q: What is Extreme Unction?
1 A: Extreme Unction is a sacrament instituted for the spiritual as well as for the temporal comfort of the sick in danger of death.
2 Q: What are the effects of Extreme Unction?
A: The sacrament of Extreme Unction produces the following effects: (1) It increases sanctifying grace; (2) It remits venial sins, and also mortal sins which the sick person, if contrite, is unable to confess; (3) It takes away weakness and sloth which remain even After pardon has been obtained; (4) It gives strength to bear illness patiently, to withstand temptation and to die holily; (5) It aids in restoring us to health of body if it is for the good of the soul.
3 Q: When should Extreme Unction be received?
A: Extreme Unction should be received when the illness is dangerous, and after the sick person has received, if possible, the sacraments of Penance and the Blessed Eucharist; it is even well to receive it while he has the use of his senses, and has still some hope of recovery.
4 Q: Why is it well to receive Extreme Unction when the sick person has still the use of his senses, and has still some hope of recovery?
A: It is well to receive Extreme Unction while the sick person retains the use of his senses, and while there remains some hope of his recovery because: (1) He thus receives it with better dispositions, and is hence able to derive greater fruit from it; (2) This sacrament restores health of body (should it be for the good of the soul) by assisting the powers of nature; and hence it should not be deferred until recovery is despaired of.
5 Q: With what dispositions should the sacrament of Extreme Unction be received?
A: The principal dispositions for receiving Extreme Unction are: To be in the state of grace; to have confidence in the power of this sacrament and in the mercy of God and to be resigned to the will of the Lord.
6 Q: What should be the sick person's feelings on seeing the priest?
A: On seeing the priest, the sick person should feel thankful to God for having sent him; and should gladly receive the comforts of religion, which, if he is able, he should request himself.
1 Q: What is the sacrament of Holy Orders?
A: Holy Orders is a sacrament which gives power to exercise the sacred duties connected with the worship of God and the salvation of souls, and which imprints the character of Minister of God on the soul of him who receives it.
2 Q: Why is it called Orders?
A: It is called Orders because it comprises various grades, the one subordinate to the other, from which the sacred Hierarchy is composed.
3 Q: Which are these grades?
A: The highest is the Episcopate, which contains the fullness of the Priesthood; then comes the Priesthood; then the Diaconate, the Sub-diaconate, and the Orders called Minor.
4 Q: When did Jesus Christ institute the Sacerdotal Order?
A: Jesus Christ instituted the Sacerdotal Order at the Last Supper when he conferred on the Apostles and their successors the power of consecrating the Blessed Eucharist. Then on the day of His resurrection He conferred on them the power of remitting and retaining sin, thus constituting them the first Priests of the New Law in all the fullness of their power.
5 Q: Who is the Minister of this sacrament?
A: The bishop is the Minister of this sacrament.
6 Q: Is the dignity of the Christian Priesthood a great dignity?
A: The dignity of the Christian Priesthood is great indeed, because of the two-fold power which Jesus Christ has conferred upon it -- that over His real body and that over His mystical body, or the Church; and because of the divine mission committed to priests to lead men to eternal life.
7 Q: Is the Catholic Priesthood necessary in the Church?
A: The Catholic Priesthood is necessary in the Church, because without it the faithful would be deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and of the greater part of the sacraments; they would have no one to instruct them in the faith; and they would be as sheep without a shepherd, a prey to wolves; in short, the Church, such as Christ instituted it, would no longer exist.
8 Q: Will the Catholic Priesthood therefore never cease on this earth?
A: In spite of the war that hell wages against it, the Catholic Priesthood will last until the end of time, because Jesus Christ has promised that the powers of hell shall never prevail against His Church.
9 Q: Is it a sin to despise Priests?
A: It is a very grave sin, because the scorn and insults cast on Priests fall upon Jesus Christ Himself, who said to His Apostles: He who despises you, despises Me.
10 Q: What motive should he have who embraces the ecclesiastical state?
A: The motive of one who embraces the ecclesiastical state should be the glory of God and the salvation of souls alone.
11 Q: What is necessary to enter the ecclesiastical state?
A: To enter the ecclesiastical state a divine vocation is necessary before all else.
12 Q: What should be done to find out whether God calls us to the ecclesiastical state?
A: To find out if God calls us to the ecclesiastical state we should: (1) Fervently pray the Lord to make known His will to us; (2) Consult our Bishop or a learned and prudent director; (3) Diligently examine whether we have the capacity necessary for the studies, the duties, and the obligations of this state.
13 Q: If one were to enter the ecclesiastical state without a divine vocation would he do wrong?
A: If one were to enter the ecclesiastical state without a divine vocation he would commit a great wrong and run the risk of being lost.
14 Q: Do those parents sin who, from worldly motives, impel their sons to embrace the ecclesiastical state without any vocation?
A: Those parents who, for worldly motives, impel their sons to embrace the ecclesiastical state without any vocation commit a very grave sin, because by thus acting they usurp the right God has reserved to Himself alone of choosing His own ministers; and they expose their children to the danger of eternal damnation.
15 Q: Which are the duties of the faithful towards those who are called to Holy Orders?
A: The faithful should: (1) Give their children and dependents full liberty to follow the call of God; (2) Pray God to deign to grant good pastors and zealous ministers to His Church -- it is precisely for this end that the fasts of Quarter Tense have been instituted; (3) Have special respect for all who are consecrated by Holy Orders to God's service.
Nature of the Sacrament of Matrimony
1 Q: What is the sacrament of Matrimony?
A: Matrimony is a sacrament, instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, which creates a holy and indissoluble union between a man and woman, and gives them grace to love one another holily and to bring up their children as Christians.
2 Q: By whom was Matrimony instituted?
A: Matrimony was instituted by God Himself in the Garden of Paradise, and was raised to the dignity of a sacrament by Jesus Christ in the New Law.
3 Q: Has the sacrament of Matrimony any special signification?
A: The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the indissoluble union of Jesus Christ with the Church, His Spouse, and our holy Mother.
4 Q: Why do we say that the bond of marriage is indissoluble?
A: We say that the bond of marriage is indissoluble or that it cannot be dissolved except by the death of either husband or wife, because God so ordained from the beginning and so Jesus Christ our Lord solemnly proclaimed.
5 Q: Can the contract be separated from the sacrament in Christian marriage?
A: No, in marriage among Christians the contract cannot be separated from the sacrament, because, for Christians, marriage is nothing else than the natural contract itself, raised by Jesus Christ to the dignity of a sacrament.
6 Q: Among Christians, then, there can be no true marriage that is not a sacrament?
A: Among Christians there can be no true marriage that is not a sacrament.
7 Q: What effects does the sacrament of Matrimony produce?
A: The sacrament of matrimony: (1) Gives an increase of sanctifying grace; (2) Gives a special grace for the faithful discharge of all the duties of the married state.
Minister -- Rite Dispositions
8 Q: Who are the Ministers of this sacrament?
A: The Ministers of this sacrament are the couple themselves, who together confer and receive the sacrament.
9 Q: How is this sacrament administered?
A: This sacrament, preserving, as it does, the nature of a contract, is administered by the contracting parties. themselves, who declare, in the presence of the parish priest, or another priest delegated by him, and of two witnesses, that they take each other in marriage.
10 Q: What use, then, is the blessing which the parish priest gives to the married couple?
A: The blessing which the parish priest gives to the married couple is not necessary to constitute the sacrament, but it is given to sanction their union in the name of the Church and to invoke on them more abundantly the blessing of God.
11 Q: What intention should those have who contract marriage?
A: Those who contract marriage should have the intention: (1) Of doing the will of God, who calls them to that state; (2) Of working out in that state the salvation of their souls; (3) Of bringing up their children as Christians, if God should bless them with any.
12 Q: How should those about to be married prepare themselves to receive this sacrament with fruit?
A: In order to receive this sacrament with fruit, those about to be married should: (1) Earnestly recommend themselves to God, so as to know His will and obtain the graces necessary for that state; (2) Consult their parents before making any promise, because obedience and the respect due to them demand this; (3) Prepare themselves by a good confession, or, if necessary, a general confession of their whole life; (4) Avoid all dangerous familiarity in word or act while in each other's company.
13 Q: Which are the principal obligations of married persons?
A: Married persons should: (1) Guard inviolably their conjugal fidelity and behave Always and in all things as Christians; (2) Love one another, bear patiently with one another, and live in peace and concord; (3) Think seriously of providing for their children, if they have any, according to their needs; bring them up as Christians, and leave them free to choose the state of life to which they are called by God.
Conditions and Impediments
14 Q: What is necessary to contract Christian marriage validly?
A: To contract Christian marriage validly it is necessary to be free from every diriment impediment to marriage; and to give consent freely to the marriage contract in the presence of the parish priest (or a priest delegated by him) and of two witnesses.
15 Q: What is necessary to contract marriage lawfully?
A: To contract marriage lawfully it is necessary to be free from every impeding impediment to marriage; to be instructed in the principal truths of religion; and, finally, to be in a state of grace; otherwise a sacrilege would be committed
16 Q: What are impediments to marriage?
A: Impediments to marriage are certain circumstances which render marriage either invalid or unlawful. The former are called diriment impediments and the latter impeding impediments.
6. NOTE: See Code of Canon Law, CIC 1083 and following for the current regulations on impediments. This affects the next two questions.
17 Q: Give examples of diriment impediments.
A: Diriment impediments are, for example, relationship to the fourth degree, spiritual relationship, a solemn vow of chastity, or difference in religion, that is, when one party is baptized and the other is not.
18 Q: Give examples of impeding impediments.
A: Impeding impediments are, for example, the forbidden times, a simple vow of chastity, and the like.
19 Q: Are the faithful obliged to make known to ecclesiastical authority impediments of which they have a knowledge?
A: The faithful are obliged to make known to ecclesiastical authority impediments of which they have knowledge; and for this reason the names of those who intend to get married are published in the Church.
20 Q: Who has the power to regulate impediments to marriage, to dispense from them, and to judge of the validity of Christian marriage?
A: The Church alone has power to regulate impediments to marriage, to judge of the validity of marriage among Christians and to dispense from the impediments which she has placed.
21 Q: Why has the Church alone power to place impediments and to judge of the validity of marriage?
A: The Church alone has power to place impediments, to judge of the validity of marriage, and to dispense from the impediments which she has placed, because the contract, being inseparable from the sacrament in a Christian marriage, also comes under the power of the Church, to which alone Jesus Christ gave the right to make laws and give decisions in sacred things.
22 Q: Can the civil authority dissolve the bonds of Christian marriage by divorce?
A: No, the bond of Christian marriage cannot be dissolved by the civil authority, because the civil authority cannot interfere with the matter of the sacrament nor can it put asunder what God has joined together.
23 Q: What is a civil marriage?
A: It is nothing but a mere formality prescribed by the law to give and insure the civil effects of the marriage to the spouses and their children.
7. NOTE: The law in this question refers to the human law of the state.
24 Q: Is it sufficient for a Christian to get only the civil marriage or contract?
A: For a Christian, it is not sufficient to get only the civil contract, because it is not a sacrament, and therefore not a true marriage.
25 Q: In what condition would the spouses be who would live together united only by a civil marriage?
A: Spouses who would live together united by only a civil marriage would be in an habitual state of mortal sin, and their union would always be illegitimate in the sight of God and of the Church.
26 Q: Should we also get the civil marriage?
A: We should perform the civil marriage, because, though it is not a sacrament, it provides the spouses and their children with the civil effects of conjugal society; for this reason, the ecclesiastical authority as a general rule allows the religious marriage only after the formalities prescribed by the civil authorities have been accomplished.
THE CATECHISM OF ST. PIUS X - Penance in General