Biblical Studies/Christianity/Roman Catholicism/Morals
The Catholic Church teaches that, after the sin of Adam, each person who comes into the world inherits Original sin (correct?). Original sin is washed away in baptism. (?) Christ atoned for the sins of all, however man's cooperation is required in order to accept Christ's free gift of grace. Faith--which necessarily includes good thoughts, words, and actions--constitutes acceptance of this sanctifying grace. When a person performs an evil thought, word, or action, he commits a sin. Sin is classified into two categories: venial and mortal. A person who commits a venial sin weakens his soul, but has not rejected Christ's offer of sanctifying grace. Mortal sin constitutes a rejection of Christ's offer of grace and thus causes the individual to loose sanctifying grace until it is regained after reconcililing with God (normatively achieved through the making of a good confession). If a person dies in the state of mortal sin, he has failed to accept Christ's offer of salvation, and therefore has chosen eternal damnation in Hell over eternal life in Heaven with God. If a person dies who is in the state of grace but is not perfectly pure, he undergoes purification in Purgatory before entering Heaven. A person may remove the impurity resulting from sin in several ways. One of these ways is to gain an indulgence.
An indulgence may be gained by the recitation of certain prayers or the performance of certain acts. Indulgences are categorized as plenary and partial. Plenary indulgences completely remove the punishment due to sin. Certain conditions must be met to gain a plenary indulgence. A partial indulgence removes some of the punishment due to sin. Indulgences are administered by the Apostolic Penitentiary . The Enchiridion is the current book of indulgences. The Fourth edition (first published in 1999) can be found on the Vatican's website in the Latin language. A book called the Raccolta once served this purpose.
A summary of the moral requirements of Catholics is contained in the Gospel of Mark:
- And there came one of the scribes that had heard them reasoning together, and seeing that he had answered them well, asked him which was the first commandment of all. And Jesus answered him: The first commandment of all is, Hear, O Israel: the Lord your God is one God. And you shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like to it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these (see Mark 12:28-31).
Aspects of this calling are highlighted and defined in the Ten Commandments and in other commandments, laws, and principles.
The Ten Commandments
In quotations of the Ten Commandments, the Catholic Church uses the division in Deuteronomy rather than Exodus. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, topics similar to the commandment are explained.
The First Commandment
Idolatry, love of possessions and persons over God, superstition, witchcraft, atheism, apostacy, and agnosticism are forbidden. The faithful and clergy may only worship God and Him alone; they may honor those of His servants who have set an heroic example of fidelity to God.
The Second Commandment
Cursing, swearing, profanity, obscene speech, rash oaths, blasphemy, and improper use of God's name or the names of the saints are forbidden.
The Third Commandment
A day of rest is to be observed on Sunday.
The Fourth Commandment
Obedience and respect to lawful authority is required, except in the case where one would be required to commit a sin.
The Fifth Commandment
Murder, suicide, abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and intentional physical injury of oneself or another is prohibited. Unjust wars are also forbidden, and the few cases when a war is undertaken for a just cause are explained.
The Catholic Church teaches that life begins from conception and exists until natural death. Pope Paul VI wrote the encyclical Humanae Vitae on the matter.
The Sixth Commandment
Adultery, fornication, pre-marital sex, and homosexual intercourse are forbidden. (This is not to be misunderstood as homosexual feelings are seen as sinful, but only the act of a sexual exchange between those of the same sex is condemned. Persons with homosexual attractions are called to lead a chaste life just as any non-married heterosexual Catholic Christian and all Catohlics are urged to look upon those who bear this cross with sympathy and compassion.)
The Seventh Commandment
Theft, vandalism, and damage to the property of another are prohibited. Employers are required to pay just wages.
The Eighth Commandment
False witness, perjury, detraction, calumny, slander, boasting, bragging, lies, and gossip are forbidden.
The Ninth Commandment
Lust, impure thoughts, and impure desires are forbidden; purity and modesty are required.
The Tenth Commandment
Envy is forbidden.
The Six Precepts of the Church
- Catholics are required to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation
- Catholics are required to confess their sins at least once a year in the Sacarament of Reconciliation
- Reception of communion at least once during the Easter Season is required.
- Holy Days of Obligation must be kept holy.
- Observation of the fast and abstinence laws is required.
- The faithful are obligated to provide for the temporal needs of the Church.
Seven Corporal Works of Mercy
The seven corporal works of mercy are: give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the imprisoned, visit the sick, and bury the dead.
Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
The seven spiritual works of mercy are: ...Counsel the doubtful, admonish the ignorant,... forgive all injuries, and pray for the living and the dead.
Certain good qualities that should be practiced by Catholics are often classified as virtues.
There are three Theological virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity. These qualities apply directly to a person's relationship with God.
There are Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude. These are qualities that are naturally necessary for any moral life.