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Catholicism - What is life for Catholics?
What do Catholics think about alcohol?

Catholicism - What is life for Catholics?

This GCSE RE quiz on Catholicism looks at life for Catholics. Most faiths would probably agree that ~ apart from their God/s (in cases that have one, or any) ~ human life is the most precious thing on earth. Even in times when lives can seem sadly cheap … as through the wars and migrations and epidemics and other sapping problems facing our world today, as much as ever … the birth of each unique baby is an awesome phenomenon, and what any such baby may grow up to achieve remains potentially amazing ~ in such realms as science, medicine and other technology, charity, sport or the creative arts among many other fine fields of human endeavour.

So what is life for Roman Catholics? Its God-given preciousness is the ultimate key to its value: a life lived in as full harmony as possible, on earth, with God’s eternal will, can accomplish much good.

A recent example (at time of writing: autumn 2016) would be the sainting of Mother Teresa [of Kolkata; died 1997] whose tireless works of mercy, amid the poor and destitute, are an example to many. Any life is sacred in itself and to be respected, hence any conduct that could prevent or extinguish one (contraception, abortion, murder, euthanasia) is to be abhorred.

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1.
Which of the following forms of euthanasia is NOT deemed immoral by the Catholic Church?
Direct passive euthanasia, i.e. the pausing or withdrawal of medication that would keep the patient alive
Active euthanasia, i.e. the giving of a substance to speed the occurrence of death (rather than palliation and comfort while awaiting it)
Indirect passive euthanasia, i.e. withholding medicine or treatment for one condition, once the dying process from another separate condition has irreversibly begun (e.g. progressive multiple organ failure in a patient who already had cancer)
'Mercy-killing', whereby a sufferer is 'put out of their misery' and/or indignity
Such is the only context in which Catholicism accepts the withdrawal of support ~ where the condition at issue is not the primary one from which the patient will imminently expire
2.
Which of these does NOT correctly interpret the Catholic view on alcohol?
Drinking moderate amounts, most usually in social contexts (where people can keep a benevolent eye on the state of each other) and as a 'pleasurable lubricant', is acceptable
Since Jesus miraculously generated wine from water in His first public miracle, presumably endorsed such occasional social drinking, and built wine into His own commemoration at the Last Supper (re-celebrated at each Mass, on His command) ... we may fairly conclude that wine ~ and by extension, other forms of alcoholic drink ~ should be welcomed and accepted by His followers down the centuries
The drinking of alcoholic beverages is a mortal sin because it abrogates a person's responsibility, allows 'demons' in or out of the mind, and makes the drinker a danger to their own wellbeing and potentially that of others
The sensible, lucid and responsible management of one's own conduct around alcohol, as with many of life's other pleasures, is a matter of temperance
Other faiths (e.g. Islam) reject alcohol entirely since they interpret its use as a temptation to allow ~ so to put it, and not in their own terminology ~ 'evil hands to pull one's strings', i.e. that under diminished responsibility or inhibition, all manner of unworthy impulses and sinful conduct may declare themselves. The Christian view is clearly different; meanwhile it may be scant accident that most of the traditional old-world vineyards of Europe are in the Catholic heartlands of the Mediterranean basin (France, Italy, Spain and elsewhere) ...
3.
Which of these most correctly describes the Catholic view on what happens at the time of death?
The soul of a holy and virtuous person goes to heaven, and of an evil person (&/or who dies in unforgiven mortal sin) to hell forever
Jesus will come again to judge that person and take them with Him to heaven, unless the person refuses forgiveness
The person's soul will go to hell for eternity, unless they have said all the right prayers while they were dying
The soul of a holy and virtuous person goes to heaven, and of an evil person (&/or who dies in unforgiven mortal sin) to hell forever; but some people only reach heaven via purgatory, awaiting private judgement
We will aim to explore the doctrine on purgatory elsewhere; but at least there is that third option, so Ans.1 was lacking; meanwhile Ans.3 is clearly too stern to be compassionate (and what of those who die suddenly?)
4.
Many humans seem glad to believe their life exists for some higher overall purpose (than merely to work, earn a wage and perhaps raise children). What would most Catholics regard as the pinnacle of their life's calling?
To serve others in God's name
To live and thrive within the fellowship of God's family on earth, i.e. the Church
To say their prayers and attend Mass without fail whenever they are supposed to
To achieve forgiveness and a clear spiritual pathway to God through regular attendance at Confession
Each of the other answers was (we hope) a worthy component of Christian life and witness, but membership of The Church is key to everything
5.
In which (if any) of the following circumstances does Catholic teaching allow for the taking of a human life?
During a just war (as established through the teachings of SS Augustine and Thomas Aquinas)
Any state (country) may retain the extreme right to execute a citizen, but only if the criminal cannot be stopped using any lesser than deadly force
(Choose this answer if you believe Catholic teaching accepts EACH of the above)
(Choose this answer if you believe Catholic teaching accepts NEITHER of the above)
With regard to Ans.2: if a convicted criminal is already in jail, this containment should prevent further serious crime, while allowing time for rehabilitation ... so the practice of the death penalty ought to be very, very rare indeed (almost more a theoretical 'valid end-point' along the scale, but which should never really need invoking)
6.
For heterosexual married couples experiencing difficulty starting a family, which of the following methods is/are acceptable to the Catholic church?
In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) &/or embryo transfer
The use of donor gametes (egg/s &/or sperm), and/or artificial insemination (AI)
Cloning
(None of the above techniques is regarded as morally acceptable)
Each of these recently-possible techniques (as remarkable as they may be, in terms of technological accomplishment) represents an artificial, human-directed interference with what should otherwise be a natural process within the scheme created by God. If in His greater wisdom He sees fit for a couple to remain childless, even they cannot presume to know His wider purposes. You are meanwhile, therefore, probably about as unlikely to meet a Catholic embryologist as you would be to meet a Muslim brewer, or eat a hog-roast at a barmitzvah ...
7.
Why ~ if it's widely believed to be so enjoyable ~ is adultery* a sin, in the eyes of the Church as a whole and Catholics in particular?
(* = the pursuit, and having, of sexual relations with anyone to whom you are not married: i.e., before or outside a marriage)
(Opt for this Answer if you believe all the others are more or less equally important spiritually, and inextricable)
If the active adulterer truly respects the person they're 'after', they shouldn't wish to impose their own selfish desires ~ while also enmeshing that person in complicit sin
Sex between people who aren't married to each other could result in the birth of a child (whose parents could then not offer the 'model couple' upbringing context) ~ unless either or each were using contraception, which in turn would be defined as sinfully trying to prevent or subvert God's will to bring a child into the world
Adultery has been forbidden since the Ten Commandments, and most people in their right mind (out of the heat of the moment, so to put it) recognise it usually creates more problems than it might appear to solve
There are enough wholesome pleasures on offer in life; self-control is the less harmful option in a potentially tempting situation
8.
Which of the following probably comes closest to the Catholic position on the purpose of life?
God's purpose is that we should live blameless and helpful lives for Him amidst the circumstances to which He calls us
All true Catholics should, as a regular and willing habit, unite with and within God's family at Mass in order to receive HIs grace and to be able to channel it to His will in the wider world
The purposes of God require adoration and confession on the part of all who profess themselves to be His through the Church
Every good Catholic should make it their priority never to break God's Commandments (nor the rules and customs of the Church), for its greater good and glory as His agency in the world
The centrality of the Mass is paramount
9.
So far as Catholics are concerned, at what point does a human life begin?
In the mind of God at the Creation
At the moment of conception
At the moment of birth
Upon the sacrament of Baptism
The moment the parental gametes are fused (to use a biological style of determination), the life of a unique individual begins
10.
Which of these statements is NOT in accord with Catholic doctrine on the 'demographics' of life?
The traditional ('nuclear') human family is the best earthly model for divine fellowship, within which all children given by God should be nurtured
Where an individual has a vocation to the single calling of the Priesthood, or as a nun ('sister'), and this has been duly tested and consecrated ~ through vows, including one of chastity ~ this must be their right calling under God, rather than to live a family life
Anything otherwise resembling a marriage (i.e. a formally pledged, exclusive lifelong union), except between one previously single man and one previously single woman, cannot be recognised as a true marriage in the deepest sense
Nobody can be validly married to more than one eligible member of the complementary sex at the same time
Answer 1 is of course broadly right in Catholic terms ~ you probably passed straight through from it in the present context, to check the others. But while it promotes a true and worthy model, this version makes no apparent allowance for (for instance) accidental orphans
Author:  Ian Miles

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