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Catholicism - Modern Life
Who has been the only Catholic president of the United States?

Catholicism - Modern Life

This GCSE RE quiz on Catholicism focuses on modern life. As of 2010 there are well over 1 billion Catholics in the world, 1/8 of them in Brazil (where they comprise about 2/3 of the overall population). Given that ‘catholic’ in its broader original sense means ‘worldwide’ or even ‘unrestricted’, this suggests the institution as a whole is living up to its name and its missionary ideals.

Clearly, the lives and lifestyles of individual Catholics will vary hugely across this range, from the traditional village communities of the Mediterranean basin to the large congregations in several parts of the USA, the favelas of major South American cities and the teeming communities of the Philippines. But all these people have allegiance to Catholic doctrine under the Pope and his predecessors, they worship using the same liturgies, and they are encouraged to make their life’s decisions in accordance with the same precepts. Indeed, in a sense, however numerous they may be, they represent the Family of God on earth, seeking to develop their God-given talents and spread what they collectively believe to be the most wholesome of influences within and beyond their immediate communities.

Let’s have a look at how they set about this!

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1.
What emblem on the papal flag refers to the rights and duties Jesus declared Peter would have, along with his successors and followers?
A pair of keys (representing a treasury and a prison), so that popes would have authority over everything with either good or bad potential
A papal hat, indicating general authority
The flame of Pentecost, commissioning missionary work across the globe
A book, representing the primacy of God's revelation through scripture
You would do well to find Matthew 16:18 in a Bible, where Christ first announces this great commission. Seen from the air, the 'square' at St Peter's in the Vatican is in fact in the shape of a keyhole ~ a further reference to this image
2.
Non-Catholics (particularly those with no active other faith either) might scoff at Catholic people regularly spending time together in a Church ~ the typical parish building ~ which is isolated / exclusive, solemn, ornate, old-fashioned and generally out of keeping with the supposed spirit of our times. Which of the following appears the weakest &/or most unlikely Catholic response to such a challenge?
We all owe respect to God who has given us life and purpose: regular meeting to share and rejoice in this, with like-minded other people, is not only reasonable but necessary
Not all Catholic churches are physically old-fashioned or cluttered, though there may be plenty that seem so; but in any case, it's the quality and sincerity of living worship that count for most
We are guardians of a noble tradition, including many precious things offered to God. It would be disrespectful to Him and to our predecessors if we stopped, or even just downgraded, our worship
The Church (as a whole) is a mighty institution, and only at our own peril would we seek to break away from its teachings or practices
Like some other questions in quizzes on this subject, there may be scope for disagreement or discussion, but in the best of faith your current author suggests answer 4 to be the weakest. Even though in strict Catholic terms it's 'true', those very terms make it least likely to cut much ice in discussion with a seeker from outside the tradition (who would not feel bound to accept the premise). Answer 1 and the others at least throw the focus onto God and the community ~ rather than onto the Church itself, even though this is known from within as 'societas perfecta' ('perfect society' ... by nature, rather than because of, let alone despite, its members!)
3.
Churchgoing is clearly important for the cohesion and spiritual wellbeing of believers, but what else should Catholics be doing? ONE of the following (somewhat as usual) does not belong: which one?
In common with many faiths and denominations, Catholics are expected to give a proportion of their income to support the Church and its wider outreach activities (missionary initiatives; CAFOD, which is broadly the Catholic-specific counterpart to Oxfam, etc.)
Catholics are expected not only to uphold their Church's teaching on such issues as contraception (not allowed) and gay rights (e.g. to 'marriage': also not allowed) in their own personal lives, but also to devote time and energy to pressure groups on these issues in the wider arena
Individual Catholics need to receive the sacrament of Confession, ideally weekly before attending Mass
(Choose this answer if you believe ALL the others are in fact valid)
There is no formal requirement that Catholics should stand conspicuously on these matters, but plenty feel they should (for instance) demonstrate peacefully outside such contentious places as abortion clinics and nuclear bases. One of the most famous Nuclear Disarmament spokesmen from the days of the Cold War was Mgr Bruce Kent, a Catholic priest
4.
Wherever they are in the world, Catholics can depend on three principal pillars of their faith. As ever, we have snuck-in one element which should fairly clearly be somewhat less crucial or universal than the others: which ONE?
Faith in God's Revelation through scripture (i.e. the narratives and teaching)
The official edicts of the pope of the moment
Summa Theologica (strands of complementary, and reasonable, truth as codified by St Thomas Aquinas in the C13th)
Sacred Tradition (e.g. the Creeds, which, though clearly biblically-based and in keeping, are not themselves directly from within Holy Writ as they stand)
Nothing wrong with the Pope ('there can't be!'), but any one pope is just a single link within a chain of over 250 running back through the Christian era, at an apparent average rate a little swifter than one pontiff per decade. Even though many of them have since been made saints by their own successors, they cannot quite individually claim as much 'clout' as the other three longer-standing corpora of authority ~ even when backed by the full magisterium
5.
The United States of America, as we know and love them, are a young nation made up mainly of immigrants (or the descendants of relatively recent immigrants; apart, of course, from the native peoples who were already there before such settlers arrived). Their history and development have been much influenced by WASPS ('White Anglo-Saxon Protestants') and Jews among others, and this quiz happens to be being drafted in the closing weeks of the Obama presidency, which of course has been a historic 'first' on ethnic grounds. In amid all this, who has thus far been the only Catholic PotUS?
Thomas Adams
Richard Milhous Nixon
John F Kennedy
Calvin Coolidge
Kennedy (1961-3, when he was assassinated) had strong Catholic Irish ancestry. (Unlike Barack Obama, who on a visit to the Emerald Isle once joked he was 'seeking his missing ancestral apostrophe', i.e. as though his family name had once been O'Bama!)
6.
At time of writing, the Rio Olympics and Paralympics glow in the recent collective memory. Obviously there are many fine images of the sportspeople doing and achieving their 'thing' ... but what iconic feature of the landscape loomed over the whole venue?
Rio Cathedral
A Christian Cross, as part of the lantern for the Olympic Flame
The art-deco statue of Christ the Redeemer
Banners and placards proclaiming the host country as being 'the most Catholic' in the world
This wonderful and gigantic sculpture has stood watch over the bay since the late 1920s: possibly the largest and most iconic, overtly 'religious' feature of the landscape anywhere in the world, if one excludes the functional / architectural (i.e. cathedrals & abbeys)
7.
Any current pope, in our age of internet and jet aeroplanes, can (and, health permitting, is expected to) travel the globe to rally the faithful and exert moral and diplomatic pressure. What is the official call sign of any aircraft conveying the Pope?
Shepherd One
Holy Smoke
Papa Foxtrot
Vatican One
Usually he flies outbound with Alitalia and homebound with the national carrier of wherever he has last visited (e.g. on an 'open-jaw' tour to more than one country within a region). Meanwhile, apparently the Vatican has a heli-pad labelled in Latin (as though that were needed in so tiny a state; but that is the working language, even to the extent that it's used in the cash dispenser machines!)
8.
The current, elected Pope represents the Catholic Church worldwide; Pope Francis is a ground-breaker on several scores ... all except which ONE of the following?
He took office while his predecessor (Benedict XVI) was still alive but had resigned
He was the first non-European Pope to be elected in over 1250 years (5/8 or so of the Christian era); the first from the Americas, and from the Southern Hemisphere
He became the first Jesuit Pope, though his past apparently included a stint as a nightclub bouncer in Buenos Aires
In keeping with his ethos of humility and equality, he has commissioned a panel of cardinals to reopen dialogue with other denominations about such issues as married &/or women priests
(That'd be the day ... Catholics are never going to go there!)
9.
Which of the following would a Catholic not regard as broadly right and important? ONE of them is not so clearly a core belief as the others!
Free will is God-given, but needs to be developed and exercised in a godly way ('in tune with the Church')
It would therefore be possible, though misguided, to make selfish choices and shun God's grace
The (Catholic) Church is like a mother to the believer: comforting, correcting etc.
A Catholic's first loyalty is always to the Pope
Catholics believe the Pope is infallible (cannot be mistaken) ~ but their loyalty is of course to God through the Church, rather than primarily to him
10.
ONE of the following (as usual) has a temporarily intentional mistake in it, but otherwise this represents a list of Jesus' own declared expectations of what His faithful should be alert and prepared to do for others. In which answer is the 'rogue' element?
'Feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty ... '
' ... Clothe the naked; give shelter to the homeless ... '
' ... Visit the sick; share money with the poor ... '
' ... Ransom the captive, and bury the dead.'
Relief of the poor is pretty much subsumed within the earlier elements of the list. These are otherwise all regarded as Corporal Works of Mercy (i.e. at the most basic level/s of the Maslow hierarchy of human needs or rights); baptised Catholics are also expected to perform a range of more specifically spiritual works for others
Author:  Ian Miles

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