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Catholic Essentials


Sunday: The Day of the Lord

Sunday is above all a day of worship and day to refrain from unnecessary labors. In the Ten Commandments we learn that God wants us to Keep Holy the Sabbath (CCC 2168-2195). Christians interpreted that through their experience of Christ to mean Sunday, the Day of the Resurrection.  It is primary among the seven days of the week and is God-given for our benefit and to help us be in right-relationship with God who is superior to human beings. For a beautiful reflection on the importance of Sundays, read Dies Domini (The Day of the Lord), an apostolic letter by Saint John Paul II, which he presented to the world in 1998, May 31, the Solemnity of Pentecost. He wrote it to the bishops, clergy and faithful on keeping the Lord's Day holy.

The Four Last Things  Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell

We will all one day face the reality of the end of our lives when we encounter death and face eternity. Will it be eternal life or eternal death? 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Part 1. Article 12) starts with these words taken from our Profession of Faith (Creed):  "I believe in Life Everlasting"  Go to it
It starts with a quote from the Prayer of Commendation found in the Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying (the Last Rites: Confession, Anointing, Communion, Prayers for the dying, prayers for the dead) CCC 1020

Section I.   The Particular Judgment  CCC 1021-1022
Section II.  Heaven  CCC 1023-1029
Section III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory  CCC 1030-1032
Section IV.  Hell  CCC 1033-1037
Section V.   The Last Judgment (General Judgment)  CCC 1038-1041
Section VI.  The Hope of the New Heaven and the New Earth  CCC 1042-1050
Summary    In Brief    CCC 1051-1065

The Catechism on this webiste here
Read more on EWTN

The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in addition to The Catechism of the Catholic Church, lays out in much greater detail the developments in Church teaching as we live it in the world.  Essentially, we claim that God is Love, Justice, Mercy and therefore, we has disciples must reflect that in the way we live our faith in action. 
Read the Compendium on the Vatican website.

The USCCB website explains, "The Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents. The depth and richness of this tradition can be understood best through a direct reading of these documents."
Their page highlights several of the key themes that are at the heart of our Catholic social tradition.

Seven Themes of Catholic Social Doctrine 
according to he United States Bishops USCCB.

  1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
  2. Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  3. Rights and Responsibilities
  4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
  6. Solidarity
  7. Care for God's Creation 
    More from the USCCB
  8. Go to our webpage with more information about Catholic Social Doctrine

The Works of Mercy

We could say that The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy express in summary the social teaching of the Church. Love one another as God loves us.

The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy

  • To feed the hungry
  • To give drink to the thirsty
  • To clothe the naked
  • To shelter the homeless
  • To care for the sick
  • To visit the imprisoned
  • To bury the dead
    See The Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 2447

The 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy

  • To share knowledge
  • To give advice to those who need it
  • To comfort the suffering
  • To be patient with others
  • To forgive those who hurt you
  • To give correction to those who need it
  • To pray for the living and the dead  Catechism 1030-1032
    See The Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 2447
    Purgatory (blog post Nov 2019) or this page Purgatory

Fruits of the Holy Spirit

  • Charity
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Goodness
  • Kindness
  • Long suffering
  • Humility
  • Faithfulness
  • Modesty
  • Continence
  • Chastity

The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

  • Wisdom
  • Understanding
  • Counsel/Right Judgment
  • Fortitude/Courage
  • Knowledge
  • Piety/Reverence
  • Fear of the Lord/Awe and Wonder


The 3 Theological Virtues

  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Love (Charity)

The 4 Cardinal Virtues

  • Prudence
  • Justice
  • Fortitude
  • Temperance

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are more than simply rules and laws. They are a foundation of moral teaching and shape our obligations as Christians in relationship to God. The Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai after being rescued by God from slavery in Egypt. These Commandments are the expression and sign of the Covenant between God and God’s people and are just as powerful and binding as they were when they were written.   (Introduction to Ten Commandments in the Catechism, § 2052

  1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me § 2083-2141
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain § 2142-2167
  3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's day  § 2168-2195
  4. Honor your father and your mother § 2196-2257
  5. You shall not kill  §  2258-2330
  6. You shall not commit adultery  § 2331-2400
  7. You shall not steal  § 2401-2463
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor  § 2464-2513
  9. You shall not desire your neighbor's wife  § 2514-2533
  10. You shall not desire your neighbor's goods  §2534-2557

The 2 Greatest Commandments

When asked which was the greatest of the commandments, Jesus responded with two. In this teaching of Jesus, these commandments complement each other and cannot be seen as existing apart from the other. The first is to love the Lord thy God with all thy YOUR heart, soul, mind and strength and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.

The 8 Beatitudes

These are teachings of Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount in which he describes the attitudes and actions that should characterize his disciples and followers. They can be seen as blueprints for living an authentic Christian life.

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
  2. Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land
  3. Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted
  4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill
  5. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy
  6. Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God
  8. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

The 14 Stations of the Cross

  1. Jesus is Condemned to Die
  2. Jesus is Made to Bear His Cross
  3. Jesus Falls the First Time
  4. Jesus Meets His Mother
  5. Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
  6. Veronica Wipes Jesus' Face
  7. Jesus Falls the Second Time
  8. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus Falls the Third Time
  10. Jesus is Stripped
  11. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
  12. Jesus Dies on the Cross
  13. Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
  14. Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

The 7 Last Words of Christ

  1. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
  2. Amen I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
  3. Woman, behold thy son. . . .Behold thy mother. (John 19:26-27)
  4. Eli, Eli, lamma sabachtani? (My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?) (Matthew 27:46)
  5. I thirst. (John 19:28)
  6. It is finished. (John 19:30)
  7. Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

Four Marks of the Catholic Church
from the Profession of Faith/Creed

  1. one
  2. holy
  3. catholic
  4. apostolic
    Read The Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 811-870

Precepts of the Church

  1. Assist at Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, doing no unnecessary work on those days.
  2. Confess serious sins at least once a year.
  3. Receive Holy Communion frequently and, at a minimum, during the Easter Season.
  4. Fast and abstain on appointed days and times.
  5. Contribute to the support of the Church.
  6. Observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage and give religious training to one’s children by word, example, and use of parish schools or religious education programs.
  7. Join the missionary spirit and work of the Church.
    See The Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 2041-2043

    Fast and Abstinence
    Catholics are expected to be disciplined in their spiritual lives and thus to conform their lives to Christ. All Fridays throughout the year are Penitential Days. During Lent, we follow additional rules of fast and abstinence.  Read more.

Glossary of Catholic Terms
   Available on the USCCB website here



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