A Catechism of Christian Doctrine
Appendix – Why I am a CatholicRevised Edition of the BALTIMORE CATECHISM No. 2
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine 1941I. How does our reason point out the truth of the Catholic religion ?Our reason points out the truth of the Catholic religion by these principles:First, there is a God;
Second, the soul of man is immortal;
Third, all men are obliged to practice religion;
Fourth, the religion God has revealed through Christ is worthy of belief;
Fifth, Christ established a Church which all are obliged to join;
Sixth, the only true Church of Christ is the Catholic Church.II. How can we prove that there is a God ?
We can prove that there is a God because this vast universe could not have come into existence, nor be so beautiful and orderly, except by the almighty power and the wisdom of an eternal and intelligent Being.III. How can we prove that the soul of man is immortal ?
We can prove that the soul of man is immortal because man’s acts of intelligence are spiritual; therefore, his soul must be a spiritual being, not dependent on matter, and hence not subject to decay or death.IV. How we prove that all men are obliged to practice religion ?
We can prove that all men are obliged to practice religion because all men are entirely dependent on God and must recognize that dependence by honoring Him and praying to Him.V. How can we prove that the religion God has revealed through Christ is worthy of belief ?
We can prove that the religion God has revealed through Christ is worthy of belief, because: first, Jesus Christ, announcing Himself as the ambassador and the true Son of God, whose coming was foretold by the prophets, preached doctrines which He said all must believe; second, Christ worked wonderful miracles, which show that the God of truth approved His teachings.VI. How can we prove that Christ established a Church which all are obliged to join ?
We can prove that Christ established a Church which all are obliged to join, because: first, He gathered about Him a group of disciples, and called it His Church; second, He promised that this Church would last until the end of time; third, He declared that all men must believe and be baptized, that is, join His Church, in order to be saved.VII. How can we prove that the only true Church of Christ is the Catholic Church ?
We can prove that the only true Church of Christ is the Catholic Church because: first, only the Catholic Church possesses the marks of the Church established by Christ, that is, unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity; second, the history of the Catholic Church gives evidence of miraculous strength, permanence, and unchangeableness, thus showing the world that it is under the special protection of God.VIII. Whence do we chiefly derive our historical knowledge of Jesus Christ, His life and teachings, and of the Church He established ?
We derive our historical knowledge of Jesus Christ, His life and teachings, and of the Church He established chiefly from the books of the Bible. which can be proved to be reliable historical records.IX. What else are the books of the Bible besides being reliable historical records ?
Besides being reliable historical records, the books of the Bible are the inspired word of God, that is, written by men with such direct assistance of the Holy Ghost as to make God their true Author.X. How is the Bible divided?
The Bible is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament; the Old Testament being the inspired books written before the time of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament the inspired books written after His coming.XI. Are all the truths revealed for us by God found in the Bible ?
Not all the truths revealed for us by God are found in the Bible; some are found only in Divine Tradition.XII. What is meant by Divine Tradition ?
By Divine Tradition is meant the revealed truths taught by Christ and His apostles, which were given to the Church only by word of mouth and not through the Bible, though they were put in writing, principally by the Fathers of the Church.XIII. Why must Divine Tradition be believed as firmly as the Bible ?
Divine Tradition must be believed as firmly as the Bible because it also contains the word of God.XIV. How can we know the true meaning of the doctrines contained in the Bible and in Divine Tradition?
We can know the true meaning of the doctrines contained in the Bible and in Divine Tradition from the Catholic Church, which has been authorized by Jesus Christ to explain His doctrines, and which is preserved from error in its teachings by the special assistance of the Holy Ghost.XV. How can we best show our gratitude to God for making us members of the only true Church of Jesus Christ ?
We can best show our gratitude to God for making us members of the only true Church of Jesus Christ by often thanking God for this great favor, by leading edifying and practical Catholic lives, by trying to lead others to the true faith, and by helping the missions.XVI. How can we help the missions ?
We can help the missions: first, by praying for the missions, home and foreign, and for missionaries that they may fulfill the command of Christ: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations”; second, by knowing the missions and making them known to others; third, by making sacrifices for the missions, that is, by helping to support them and by personal service; fourth, by fostering vocations of self-sacrificing young men and women for every need of the missions.