A Sampling From the Compendium
10 Catechetical Questions and Answers
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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of 10 questions and answers from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, approved for publication today by Benedict XVI.
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3. How is it possible to know God only with the light of reason?
Starting from creation, that is, from the world and the human person, man, with reason alone, can know with certainty a God as origin and end of the universe and as the highest good, truth and infinite beauty.
23. What unity is there between the Old and New Testaments?
Scripture is one, as the Word of God is one; the salvific plan of God is one, the divine inspiration of both Testaments is one. The Old Testament is a preparation for the New, and the New is the fulfillment of the Old: both illuminate one another mutually.
32. How should non-Catholic Christians be regarded?
There are many elements of sanctification and truth in the Churches and ecclesial Communities, which have distanced themselves from the full communion of the Catholic Church. All these goods come from Christ and lead to Catholic unity. The members of these Churches and Communities are incorporated to Christ in Baptism: for this reason, we recognize them as brothers.
171. What is the meaning of the affirmation: "There is no salvation outside the Church"?
It means that all salvation comes from Christ-Head through the Church, which is his Body. Therefore, those cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, do not enter it and do not persevere. At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his Church, those can attain eternal salvation who, without fault, do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church, but seek God sincerely and, under the influence of grace, try to do his will known through the dictates of their conscience.
471. Why must society protect every embryo?
The inalienable right to life of every human individual, from his conception, is a constitutive element of civil society and of its legislation. When the State does not put its force at the service of the rights of all, and, in particular, of the weak, among whom are the unborn conceived, the very foundations of the State of law are undermined.
475. When are scientific, medical or psychological experiments with persons or human groups morally legitimate?
They are morally legitimate if they are at the service of the integral good of the person and society, without disproportionate risks for life and the physical and psychic integrity of the individuals, opportunely informed and with their consent.
482. What is required for peace in the world?
It requires the just distribution and protection of the goods of people, free communications between human beings, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, [and] the assiduous practice of justice and fraternity.
502. What are the offenses to the dignity of marriage?
They are: adultery, divorce, polygamy, incest, free unions (living together, concubinage), the sexual act before or outside of marriage.
514. To what type of work does every person have a right?
Access to secure and honest work must be open to all, free of unjust discrimination, in respect of free economic initiative and a just compensation.
533. What is man's greatest desire?
Man's greatest desire is to see God. This is the cry of his whole being: "I want to see God!" Man attains his authentic and full happiness in the vision and the blessedness of the One who created him out of love and attracts him to Himself by his infinite love.
[Translation by Zenit]