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Catholicism - Religious Disciplines
Do you know what temperence means?

Catholicism - Religious Disciplines

This GCSE RE quiz on Catholicism takes a look at religious disciplines. Roman Catholicism, as you would expect of so well-established and widespread a religion, has developed and cherished a rich range of devotional practice. This includes the Liturgy (the approved sequences of prayer etc. within regular and occasional worship) and the private devotions of individual believers ~ including their spiritual life and routines at home and out-and-about in the ‘real world’, and what they do in, and in response to, their hopefully regular sessions at the Confessional. Not for nothing is the Church of Rome regarded, and indeed even respected, as ritualistic among the Christian denominations.

Christ Himself taught that individual prayer (talking with God), as distinct from corporate prayer in a public worship context such as a church or synagogue, is most effective when it is simple and sincere.

The prayer-life of monks and nuns under such orders as the Benedictine and Franciscan is guided, disciplined yet freely and willingly undertaken on behalf of the wider world. There is certainly much more in (and to) the hinterland of Catholic prayer in general, than the typical caricature of someone in time of turmoil clicking their way through the rosary.

Let’s peek carefully into some aspects of this spiritually intimate process.

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1.
Besides the Five Precepts, Catholics have Four Cardinal Virtues to bear in mind in their prayers and in their daily life. As ever, we have temporarily misinterpreted ONE of these: which?
Prudence (applied common sense and tact)
Justice (doing fairly by all people)
Temperance (limiting, or doing without, intake of alcohol)
Fortitude (standing firm for one's principles in challenging circumstances)
'Temperance' in this context does not just refer to alcohol, but to all permitted forms of 'fun' which should never be over-indulged
2.
The cyclic elevator was a feature of many public buildings worldwide, for a century or so (invented 1868, patented 1877; largely disinstalled 1970+ on safety grounds) within living memory ~ though rarely if ever, in fact, in churches. What on earth has this to do with a quiz on Catholic Devotions?
The little cabins coming endlessly round were widely used as a 'modern parable' for the cycle of human prayer ascending and Divine Grace descending
They were known as Paternoster lifts, from the apostrophic opening phrase of the Lord's Prayer ~ which comes round regularly as one is telling the Rosary
They were invented by a Catholic who, on the principle of 'what goes up, must come down', vowed that 50% of his profits from the invention would in perpetuity be devoted to a Catholic charity for good works on behalf of the fallen
The rise and fall of the cabins was compared to 'life's endless ups and downs', which through grace the Presence of God is always available to us
A very few specimens are still preserved for technical interest, but this method of moving people up and down (though proportionally very efficient) proved on too many occasions to be a menace to public safety. Meanwhile the 'Paternoster' itself ~ 'Our Father ... ' ~ is probably being said every minute of the day by a Catholic believer somewhere around the world as they pray their way through the Rosary
3.
One of the key texts recited during Catholic worship is the Apostles' Creed (as distinct from the Nicene Creed, so called after the Council of Nicaea, AD 325). After running through the historical outline of the Gospel, this creed effectively pledges allegiance to the Church in THREE of the following terms ~ but which one have we slipped-in falsely here?
' ... the holy, ... '
' ... Roman ... '
' ... Catholic Church ... '
' ... [and] the communion of saints.'
The fellowship of saints down the ages is very much included, but there is no exclusive narrowing of the Catholic ('worldwide') church to its Vatican-based arm
4.
In what Catholic context would you come across an apparently unlikely combination of a roof, a lamb and a fraction?
At the breaking of the bread at Mass (technically known as the Fraction), the 'Agnus Dei' is sung (referring to the Lamb of God), to which the spoken response acknowledges that the worshippers are unworthy to receive Jesus 'under their roof', symbolically or otherwise
This is a reference to the story of the healing of the paralysed man, where his friends could not edge the stretcher through the crowds, so they dismantled part (a 'fraction') of the roof of the house where Jesus was teaching. After the man was healed, he was told to give away the lambswool cushion on which he had been lying
The ancient people of God had to slaughter a (propitiatory) lamb at Passover and use some of its blood to mark the sign of a cross on their roof, so that the avenging angel of death would spare their firstborn (hence the 'fraction') while punishing the Egyptians
It refers to the Parable of the Lost Sheep, whose shepherd faithfully goes off to rescue just one of his 100 animals (a tiny fraction) and brings it home safely to his cottage
All our 'distractor' answers had some good, if often rather warped ~ sorry! ~ Biblical references in, but No.1 hits the mark
5.
From a mainstream non-Catholic Christian point of view, what is different about the Catholic version (in English) of the Lord's Prayer?
It stops at 'deliver us from evil'
It is re-worded to match the speech-rhythm of the 'traditional' English: 'Our Father enthroned in heaven, may Your name be praised', etc. This makes it less awkward when Catholics are solemnly praying in public side-by-side with others, such as at a Remembrance Day event
The passage about temptation runs: 'Protect us from temptation, and deliver us from evil'
It mentions Purgatory : a concept Protestants reject (or never accepted)
This apparent shortening is because the remaining words, so familiar to many other believers, are not there in the original Greek of Matthew's Gospel (6:13) nor the Vulgate (the first, and standard, Latin version from AD 400). At any ecumenical gathering you can usually 'spot the Prot.' when the Catholics reach ' ... evil; Amen' and then fall quiet, while the Protestants carry steadily* on from habit.

* It bears commenting (from years of occasional / anecdotal experience) that the usual speed of corporate Catholic prayer tends to be rather faster than in Protestant churches ~ this seems surprising, to one brought-up outside the Catholic church, but who assumed it would be more solemn (rather than seemingly less) about so central a matter of worship
6.
The Rosary is the most immediate, intimate and personal prayer-aid for Catholics. Surprisingly, it is not indexed as such in the 600-odd page 'Catholicism All-in-One for Dummies' ~ otherwise a reasonably approachable and informative manual ~ although there are occasional passing mentions. Which of the following prayers is NOT among the ones that come round during a recital of the Rosary?
The Lord's Prayer
The Apostles' Creed
The Miserere (opening verses of Psalm 51, the penitential Scripture set for Ash Wednesday)
The Hail Mary ('Ave Maria')
Several other prayers do come round, and particularly since Pope John Paul II there are a number of variant sequences for using it
7.
The Catholic Church apparently has some 1,752 Laws at latest count ~ near enough one for each year of its existence, at least since Nicaea or thenabouts. That's an awful lot for Joseph or Mary Layman to haul-in and live by. Rather as in the Old Testament, where the copious ancient Jewish laws were famously crystallised into the Ten Commandments (also / since adopted and respected by Christians and Muslims; and, themselves, further simplified to just two more positive commandments by Jesus Himself), the Catholic Church has Five Precepts, again perhaps not dissimilar in intention from the Pillars of Islam. Three of them are given correctly below; ONE (which?), as ever, is wrong or at best un-genuine ... and we'll fill in the other two later.
Practising Catholics should attend Mass (and Confession, prior to that) each weekend, preferably on the Sunday, and on certain other 'high and holy' festival days
They must otherwise attend Confessional at least once each year
They should bring any children God grants them forward for Baptism within three months of their birth
They should fast and abstain on the few days when their Church enjoins this
This isn't in the Precepts, though it's probably so obvious that it's expected. The missing two concerned receiving Eucharist during the season of Easter, and actively contributing to the support of the Church (locally or more widely; probably to include 'tithing', i.e. the setting-aside of a fixed portion of one's income as a thank-offering into church or charitable funds, such as for the work of CAFOD)
8.
What allowance is there for 'free prayer', i.e. other than as prescribed in the official liturgical wording, during Mass?
It is left to the individual worshipper to offer such prayers privately during quieter moments of the service
There is no stipulated provision for 'occasional' public prayers during the Mass
The presiding priest, or next most senior (and authorised) person present, will lead the congregation in any such topical prayers for the needs of the Church, world and local community
A named and trained lay member of the congregation will be responsible for drafting such prayers; it is normal for this draft to be approved by the priest before the service begins, in case of last-minute inclusions (e.g. news of someone sick in the parish) or any wording not consonant with Church doctrine
Such prayers are only ever led by the clergy; apart from formulaic Responses between the topical sections, the congregation stays silent and listens. In many Protestant churches it is standard practice to develop a rota of suitably articulate and trained congregants ~ your Anglican author has had the privilege of serving in this capacity on scores of occasions down the years
9.
While the main strands of the Mass are now delivered in the vernacular (i.e. whatever is the worshippers' local language), parts of the service are said ~ or often, more likely sung, in keeping with previous generations of tradition ~ in various 'original' ancient tongues. Which of these is NOT genuine?
The Gloria ('Glory be to God ...'), Sanctus ('Holy, holy, holy') and Agnus Dei ('Lamb of God') are given in Latin
The Lord's Prayer is recited in Aramaic: the same syllable-for-syllable as the model Jesus taught His Disciples
The Kyrie Eleison ('Lord, have mercy') is in Greek
Refrains such as 'Alleluia' and 'Amen' come straight from the Hebrew, so the church is echoing responses Jesus Himself would have known, used and loved
Slightly sadly, this is not the case (though your author, as a mature graduate modern-linguist, lifelong churchgoer and organist, confesses with shame that he couldn't yet do this himself, having never learnt it)
10.
What does fasting entail for modern Catholics? As ever, only ONE of the following details is false: which?
'Abstaining' from the meat of warm-blooded animals, on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays in Lent including Good Friday, does not apply to those under 14 (i.e., broadly, preadolescents &/or perhaps pubescent girls)
Fasting is obligatory for all aged 18-59 on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. One 'good meal' may be eaten, but no snacks, and up to two other lighter meals which together must not amount to equally much food as the single main meal
No true Catholic should eat the meat of a warm-blooded animal on any Friday (that being the weekday of the Crucifixion)
The Great Fast ~ for Eastern Catholics and in the Orthodox Church ~ includes abstinence from any meat, eggs or dairy products throughout Lent (this carries us close to the origins of Shrove Tuesday!)
This stipulation was dropped following 'Vatican 2' in the 1960s. Some commentators make a case that back in the pre-Reformation days of the monasteries, the monks enjoined faithful townsfolk to avoid meat every Friday and eat fish (cold-blooded) instead ... since the monasteries were responsible for stocks of fish, and these were therefore a 'nice little earner' ~ once the town people were convinced of the religious compulsion, and therefore regularly and dutifully paid good money into monastery funds for the fish they would eat in order to comply with the rules!
Author:  Ian Miles

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