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Editor’s Note: Due to the pandemic, we were unable to hold weekly classes for 22 tenth-grade Confirmation students. So instead of using our regular text, Catholicism & Life, which covers the Commandments and Sacraments, we prepared a series of 14 lessons on the material, with a summary of each commandment and sacrament along with some questions to answer, and sent them to the students to complete and return to us. To their credit, they did complete the assignment, and we were able to discuss the material with them at a retreat a few weeks before they were confirmed.
It occurred to us that this material might be of interest to our readers, so we are passing the lessons along for whatever use you can find for them, even if it’s just for your own edification. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well, so please send them along and we will interrupt this series to answer them. See the postal mailing address and email address at the bottom of this column.

Special Course On Catholicism And Life – V

The Fifth Commandment (“You shall not kill”) forbids the murder of an innocent person and requires us to safeguard the life and health of ourselves and our neighbors. God is the Creator and Master of all life, and we are its guardians or stewards. No one has the right to take the life of an innocent person, whether by murder, abortion, euthanasia, or terrorism. Since our bodies were created by God as good and, as St. Paul says, are temples of the Holy Spirit, we are forbidden to harm them by abusing alcohol or drugs, by driving recklessly, or by mutilating them, say, by sterilizing one’s sexual organs to prevent pregnancy.
Some of the sins prohibited by the Fifth Commandment are murder (the killing of an innocent person), abortion (the killing of an unborn baby who is still in his mother’s womb), infanticide (allowing or helping a baby who survived an abortion to die), euthanasia (killing someone who is old or sick), suicide (taking one’s own life), assisted suicide (helping to take the life of another person), and terrorism (killing innocent people to further a political cause).
A person whose life is threatened by an aggressor has the right to self-defense, that is, to protect one’s life, or the life of one’s family, even if it means using deadly force as a last resort. It is also possible to extend this right of self-defense to protecting one’s neighbors or country from an aggressor. There is such a thing as a “just war” provided that the following conditions are met: the threat to one’s nation must be lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of averting war must be shown to be ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success; and the use of arms must not produce evils greater than the evil to be eliminated.
The Bible and the Church have long said that society has a right to defend itself through the use of capital punishment or the death penalty. However, in recent years, the Church has come out against the death penalty unless there is no other way that society can protect itself against a dangerous criminal. If people’s safety can be protected by other means, such as keeping the aggressor locked in prison, then that method should be used.
If it is wrong to harm another person’s body, it is also sinful to harm their soul by persuading them to commit a sin. This is called scandal and is the very opposite to showing love for another person. Also opposed to love is hate, so it is a serious sin to hate someone or to wish evil on them. To say that you hate a person is at least a venial sin; to truly mean it and to hope that something bad happens to that person is a mortal sin.
We can also lead persons into sin by giving them bad example through our words and actions. That is why we should always try to give good example to others. We can either help people get to Heaven by what we say and do, or we can put them on the road to Hell by our sinful words or actions. Seven ways of assisting the bodily health of others are the Corporal Works of Mercy. Seven ways of assisting the spiritual health of others are the Spiritual Works of Mercy. See Lesson I for examples of these works of mercy.

List Of Answers:

ABORTION
ABUSE
CORPORAL
DEATH
EUTHANASIA
EXAMPLE
FIFTH
GOD
HATE
INNOCENT
JUST
SCANDAL
SELF-DEFENSE
SPIRITUAL
SUICIDE
TEMPLES

Quiz:

  1. The ________ Commandment sums up our duties concerning the bodily and spiritual health of ourselves and our neighbors.
  2. ______ is the master of our life; we are its stewards or guardians.
  3. St. Paul said that our bodies are _____________ of the Holy Spirit.
  4. We are forbidden to take the life of an ________________ person.
  5. We have a right of __________________ to protect ourselves and others.
  6. The state has the right to defend itself as a last resort through a ____ war or, under very rare conditions, by means of the ____________ penalty.
  7. Assisted ______________, or helping a person kill himself, is always evil.
  8. ______________________, or killing an unborn baby, is an unspeakable crime.
  9. ______________________ means to kill an old or sick person.
  10. ______________________ of alcohol or drugs is a serious sin.
  11. It is also seriously sinful to _________ another person or to wish evil on them.
    12.___________________ means harming a person’s soul by inviting them or tempting them to commit a sin.
  12. We should always give good __________________ to other people.
  13. Seven ways of helping other people’s bodily health are the ______________ Works of Mercy.
  14. Seven ways of helping other people’s spiritual health are the_________________________Works of Mercy.
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Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: If the following lessons, which were prepared for Confirmation students, are of value to you, put them to whatever use you can. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well, so please send them along, either to the postal mailing address or the email address below, and we will interrupt this series to answer…Continue Reading

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