How well do you know the Catechism? Take our quiz and find out
Despite being a worldwide best-seller, the Catechism of the Catholic Church can be a little intimidating to the average reader, with its 900-plus pages and copious footnotes. I know from experience. Several years ago, when I was first asked to put the Catechism into “plain English” in what would become “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism,” I wondered if I had the stamina to get through it and understand it in such a way that I could “translate.” But something wonderful happened on my way through Church doctrine: I discovered the poetry and beauty of a book that weaves all of Catholic teaching into one magnificent tapestry of faith and morals.
It’s no wonder that even now, as the Catechism marks its 20th anniversary, it continues to sell in record numbers, inspire spinoff publications, turn up in various digital formats, and more. From teens devouring the new “YouCat” version of the Catechism, to adults going through RCIA, to lifelong Catholics looking to strengthen their already deep faith, the Catechism has proved to be the answer to a prayer, or, at the very least, the answer to the many, many questions Catholics and others have about the Church and its teachings.
If you’ve never read the Catechism from cover to cover — and even if you have — there are will be things inside its pages that will surprise and even amuse you. Just about every topic you can imagine, and probably quite a few you can’t, fit into the Catholic picture. Don’t believe me? Take the quiz below and see if anything stumps you. This is not your grandmother’s Catechism, and it was never meant to be.
The answer key at the end of this section will provide you with the correct Catechism paragraph numbers for many questions you may want to explore further.
Have fun and, remember, no cheating. But you already knew that.
Multiple Choice questions
1. Divine economy refers to:
2. The “four pillars” of the Catechism are:
3. Respecting and caring for animals is taught as part of which commandment:
4. The fourth “pillar” of the Catechism focuses at length on this prayer:
5. The first official universal Catechism was published in:
6. Some credit this person with producing the first Catechism text:
7. In which language was the current Catechism first published:
8. One draft of the Catechism submitted to the bishops of the world resulted in this many suggested changes:
9. The English translation of the Catechism was held up for more than a year when some U.S. bishops objected to the use of which word:
10. The second edition of the English version of the Catechism was changed to reflect stronger language on this topic in light of Evangelium Vitae:
11. “Parousia” refers to:
12. Final purification will take place in:
13. The “source and summit” of Christian life is:
14. Church teaching on a “heavenly liturgy” comes from:
15. What is considered the “feast of feasts”:
16. The Sacraments of Initiation are:
17. Chrism refers to:
18. It took this many years to complete the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
19. “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit” is spoken during which sacrament:
20. Who is the “physician of our souls and bodies”?
21. Pope Benedict XVI said this in reference to which version of the Catechism: “This Catechism was not written to please you. It will not make life easy for you, because it demands of you a new life.”
22. Which title below is NOT an actual version of the Catechism:
23. The “Decalogue” refers to:
24. Ecclesiastical Law refers to laws found in:
25. Believing in superstitions like horoscopes, tarot cards and clairvoyants goes against this commandment:
26. When the Catechism refers to a “privileged community,” it means:
D. Wealthy sector of secular society
27. Which of the following will you find in the Catechism index:
28. As of 2008, the Catechism had sold more than this many copies worldwide:
29. The Catechism includes a section on the following type of prayer:
30. “Marana tha” means:
1. T / F Meditation is a Catholic form of prayer.
2. T / F Deacons may baptize babies, bless marriages, anoint the sick and preside over funerals.
3. T / F Catholics must believe in the literal interpretation of creation from the Book of Genesis.
4. T / F Chastity is expected of all people, even married couples.
5. T / F Satan is pure spirit.
6. T / F The current Catechism of the Catholic Church replaced the Baltimore Catechism, which was also a universal catechism.
7. T / F In the Our Father, the line “deliver us from evil” refers to the general idea of evil in the world.
8. T / F The Catechism of the Catholic Church topped the New York Times best-seller list soon after being released.
9. T / F “Disparity of cult” is included in the section on divination and magic.
10. T / F The Church considers organ donation a noble act.
11. T / F Purgatory is based in Scripture.
12. T / F A Catholic couple confers the sacrament of marriage upon each other.
13. T / F A non-Catholic who has been baptized in another Christian faith and wants to convert to Catholicism must be baptized again.
14. T / F “YouCat” is a version of the Catechism targeted to young people.
15. T / F The Church does not allow cremation instead of burial.
16. T / F “Fecundity” refers to the afterlife.
17. T / F The Catechism includes a section on social communication media.
18. T / F Sacred art is discussed in the section on the Eighth Commandment, Thou shall not bear false witness.
19. T / F The Catechism index alone is more than 100 pages long.
20. T / F A priest forgives your sins in confession.
21. T / F The “domestic church” refers to the Church in the United States.
22. T / F Conversion is reserved to RCIA candidates and catechumen.
23. T / F The Our Father is a summary of the Gospel.
24. T / F The 12 cardinals and bishops appointed to the commission that prepared the current Catechism was chaired by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
25. T / F The Catechism is a like a Catholic rule book.
26. T / F More than 250 pages are devoted to the Profession of Faith.
27. T / F The “Communion of Saints” refers only to those souls who reside in heaven.
28. T / F A blessing is a “sacramental.”
29. T / F Keeping holy the Sabbath means making time for leisure, rest, and family activities, as well as attending Mass.
30. T / F The Catechism says that prayer is a “battle.”
Mary DeTurris Poust is the author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Catholic Catechism” (Alpha, $14.95), available in English and Spanish.