Whence has the Catholic
Church the right to make laws?
The Catholic Church
has the right to make laws from Jesus Christ, who said to the apostles,
the first bishops of His Church: "Whatever you bind on earth shall be
bound also in heaven."
Amen I say to you, whatever you
bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on
earth shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)
By whom is this right to make laws
This right to make laws in exercised by
the bishops, the successors of the apostles, and especially by the Pope,
who as the successor of the chief of the apostles, Saint Peter, has the
right to make laws for the Universal Church.
And I say
to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
which are the chief commandments, or
laws of the Church?
The chief commandments, or laws,
of the Church are these six:
To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holydays of
To fast and to abstain on the days appointed.
To confess our sins at least once a year.
To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.
To contribute to the support of the Church.
To observe the laws of the Church concerning
What sin does a Catholic
commit who through his own fault misses Mass on a Sunday or holyday of
A Catholic who through his own fault misses Mass on a
Sunday or holyday of obligation commits a mortal sin.
Keep you my Sabbath; for it is holy unto you. (Exodus
Which are the
holydays of obligation in the United States?
The holydays of obligation in the United States are
Christmas Day (December 25)
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1)
Ascension Thursday (40 days after Easter)
The Assumption (August 15)
All Saints' Day (November 1)
The Immaculate Conception (December 8)
Note: Christmas is always a holy day of obligation on
whatever day it falls. When the feasts of the Assumption, All Saints or
the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Jan. 1) are celebrated on a
Saturday or Monday, there is no obligation to participate in Mass. The
Immaculate Conception remains a holy day of obligation except when
December 8 falls on Sunday. Then the feast is transferred to Monday, in
which case it is not considered a holy day. However, the faithful are
still encouraged to participate at Mass on these days.
What else does the Church
oblige us to do on holydays of obligation?
The Church obliges us to abstain from servile work on
holydays of obligation, just as on Sundays, as far as we are able.
Why were holydays instituted
by the Church?
Holydays were instituted by the Church to remind us of
the mysteries of our religion and of the important events in the lives
of Christ and of His Blessed Mother, and to recall to us the virtues and
the rewards of the saints.
Then Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit to
be tempted by the Devil. After fasting for forty days and forty nights
he at last became hungry (Mt 4:1-2)
What is a fast day?
A fast day is a day in which only one full meal is
taken; the other two meals together should not equal a full meal. In the
United States the only fast days are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and
fruit juices, are allowed.
Who are obliged to observe
the fast days of the Church?
All baptized persons between the ages of eighteen and
fifty-nine are obliged to observe the fast days of the Church, unless
excused or dispensed.
Who are obliged to observe
the abstinence days of the Church?
All Catholics who have passed their fourteenth birthday
and have attained the use of reason are obliged to observe the
abstinence days of the Church, unless excused or dispensed.
Why does the Church command
us to fast and to abstain?
The Church commands us to fast and to abstain in order
that we may control the desires of the flesh, raise our minds more
freely to God and make satisfaction for sin.
But thou, when thou dost fast, anoint thy head wash
thy face, so that thou mayest not be seen fasting by men, but by thy
Father, who is in secret; and thy Father, who sees in secret, will
reward thee. (Matthew 6:18)\
Why does the Church
make Fridays of Lent days of abstinence?
The Church makes Fridays of Lent days of abstinence in
order that we may do penance for our sins, and also in order that we may
prepare ourselves more worthily for Good Friday, when we commemorate the
death of Jesus Christ.
How can we know the days
appointed for fast or abstinence?
We can know the days appointed for fast or abstinence
from the instructions of our bishops and priests.
What is meant by the
commandment to confess our sins at least once a year?
By the commandment to confess our sins at least once a
year is meant that we are strictly obliged to make a good confession
within the year, if we have a mortal sin to confess.
Confess, therefore, your sins to one another.
Why should we go to
We should go to confession frequently because frequent
confession greatly helps us to overcome temptation, to keep in the state
of grace, and to grow in virtue.
What sin does a Catholic
commit who neglects to receive Holy Communion worthily during the Easter
A Catholic who neglects to receive Holy Communion
worthily during the Easter time commits a mortal sin.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life
everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh
is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (John 6:55-66)
What is the Easter
time in the United States?
The Easter time in the United States begins at the Vigil
of Easter Sunday and ends on Pentecost Sunday (50 days after Easter
What is meant by the
commandment to contribute to the support of the Church?
By the commandment to contribute to the support of the
Church is meant that each of us is obliged to bear his fair share of the
financial burden of the Holy See, of the diocese, and of the parish.
So also the Lord directed that those who preach the
gospel should have their living from the gospel. (1Corinthians
What is the ordinary
law of the Church to be observed at the wedding of a Catholic?
The ordinary law of the Church to be observed at the
wedding of a Catholic is this: A Catholic can contract a true marriage
only in the presence of an authorized priest and two witnesses.
Does the Church forbid
Catholics to contract marriage with certain persons?
The Church does forbid Catholics to contract marriage
with certain persons, and the following are examples: first, a marriage
with a non-Catholic; this is a mixed marriage; second, a marriage with a
second cousin, or any relative closer than a second cousin.
Why does the Church forbid
Catholics to marry non-Catholics?
The Church forbids Catholics to marry non-Catholics
because mixed marriages often bring about family discord, loss of faith
on the part of the Catholic, and neglect of the religious training of
And it is better to die without children, than to
leave ungodly children. (Ecclesiasticus 16:4)
Does the Church ever permit
mixed marriages or marriages between close relatives?
For grave reasons the Church sometimes permits mixed
marriages or marriages between close relatives; such a permission is
called a dispensation.
Does the Church allow
Catholics to marry during Lent and Advent?
The Church allows Catholics to marry during Lent and
Advent, thought hey should do so without much festivity. A Nuptial
Mass is now allowed during these seasons.
What is a Nuptial Mass?
A Nuptial Mass is a Mass which has special prayers to
beg God's blessing on the married couple.