One of the first things I became acutely aware of as I began ministering as a priest was that the vast majority of Catholics have never really learned their faith. For years I administered a simple test at the end of parish missions. The average grade, achieved by adults, was 43%. This failure translates into the ills and evils seen today in contemporary society. Why? For the simple reason that Catholic-Christians are called to be the salt and light of the world. When we fail to do so the world sinks under the weight of its sins. If we do not provide the moral compass to guide the world through dark and turbulent times, no one will.
Learning our faith is a moral mandate. It is not optional. We do it and please God, or we don't do it and don't please God. It isn't rocket science and it doesn't take that great a commitment in time and energy. To fail to do it is to fail in our mission, which is the same as the mission of the Redeemer - Redemption.
There is no opposition between learning and loving. If I love God and my neighbor as myself out of love for God (Charity) then I'll want to know God (Truth). Our ignorance of basic moral and doctrinal teaching is ultimately harmful to ourselves, our families, our Church, our society and our world.
We should make a commitment to study our faith at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week - or some comparable program. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which will in turn help you to understand your reading of Sacred Scripture. You should be able to answer the basic moral questions of the day, as well as give simple explanations for the Church's basic doctrinal teaching.
Give yourself this interactive test, which is not an advanced examination, but a very basic one. Any child preparing for Confirmation should be able to earn a grade of at least 80%. Take the exam. Take the exam honestly without looking up the answers, then take appropriate steps to advance in your faith. Click here for the answer key.
Basic Quiz: Level 1
1. Name the sacraments of initiation:
a. Holy Orders, Baptism, Anointing of sick b. Baptism, Matrimony, Eucharist, Confirmation c. Penance (Confession), Baptism, Matrimony, Confirmation d. Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation
2. Name the sacraments of healing:
a. Eucharist, Holy Orders, Matrimony b. Holy Orders, Baptism, Matrimony, Confirmation c. Penance, Anointing of the sick d. Matrimony, Holy Orders
3. Name the sacraments of service:
a. Eucharist, Holy Orders, Matrimony b. Penance, Anointing of sick, Baptism c. Matrimony, Holy Orders d. Confirmation, Baptism, Holy Orders
4. What are the three elements that would determine if a sin is mortal, as opposed to venial?
a. If it involves hurting an actual person, whether we know the person or not, whether we like the person, or not. b. The sin is grave or serious in itself, knowledge that it is grave or serious matter, full consent of the will in the light of that knowledge. c. The action or sin has serious consequences, knowledge of the seriousness, no mitigating or lessening circumstances exist. d. Serious intentions, serious circumstances, serious consequences.
5. What does the word angel mean?
a. a purely spiritual creature b. messenger c. flight attendant d. master of man/servant of God
6. What are the 3 critical and essential elements of Divine Revelation?
a. God's will, Sacred Scripture, The Church b. God's intent, The Church, The Trinity c. Sacred Scripture, Divine intent, the College of Cardinals d. Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, Magisterium
7. What is the Magisterium of the Church?
a. The College of Cardinals in their electoral capacity b. The bishops united to the Pope as a teaching authority c. The final court of appeals in Church law d. The Pope's personal attendants
8. Which of the Ten Commandments specifically deal with truth and sins against truth?
a. The ninth and tenth Commandments b. The first, second, and third Commandments c. The fifth Commandment d. The eighth Commandment
Is it necessary to confess every single mortal/serious sin when you go to Confession, or can you omit those you feel are irrelevant, or personally too embarrassing to confess?
a. Yes, all serious sins must be confessed in kind and number. b. Yes, all serious or mortal sins must be confessed unless the priest tells you not to. c. No, only those you are comfortable confessing need be confessed. d. No, only those sins that actually hurt a person directly must be confessed.
10. How many Gospels are there in the New Testament currently in use in the Catholic Church?
a. 6 b. 4 c. 3 d. 26
You should be able to answer these questions easily and without research or a book A minimum grade of 80% would indicate that you're on the right track, but not there yet. 100% is what excellence is about. Make a commitment to learn your faith. Then live what you have learned with perfection. Then we'll be doing something to turn the tide of evil and make the world a better place.