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.

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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. 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)
    There are enough wholesome pleasures on offer in life; self-control is the less harmful option in a potentially tempting situation
  2. Which of the following probably comes closest to the Catholic position on the purpose of life?
    The centrality of the Mass is paramount
  3. Which of the following forms of euthanasia is NOT deemed immoral by the Catholic Church?
    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
  4. So far as Catholics are concerned, at what point does a human life begin?
    The moment the parental gametes are fused (to use a biological style of determination), the life of a unique individual begins
  5. Which of these does NOT correctly interpret the Catholic view on alcohol?
    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) ...
  6. For heterosexual married couples experiencing difficulty starting a family, which of the following methods is/are acceptable to the Catholic church?
    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. Which of these statements is NOT in accord with Catholic doctrine on the 'demographics' of life?
    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
  8. 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?
    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
  9. In which (if any) of the following circumstances does Catholic teaching allow for the taking of a human life?
    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)
  10. Which of these most correctly describes the Catholic view on what happens at the time of death?
    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?)

Author: Ian Miles

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