FOLLOWING CHRIST IN THE WORLD
CHAPTER 1 Philosophy: Theology’s handmaid
- State the principle of non-contradiction
- Simply stated, what was the fundamental philosophical position of Heraclitus? 3. Simply stated, what was the fundamental philosophical position of Parmenides?
- Briefly explain the difference between substance and accidents.
- Where does change usually take place, in the substance or in the accidents?
- Name three kinds of accidental change defined by Aristotle.
- Give one example of a substantial change.
- Define act (fact) and potency (possibility).
- Give an example of potency of (i) a living thing and (ii) an inanimate object
- Explain how act and potency are affected by the principle of non-contradiction.
- Explain the following, giving an example of each: material cause (what is x made of?) formal cause (what is x?)
efficient cause (who or what made or did x?) final cause (why is x what it is?
11. Explain why belief in objective truth and subjectivism are contradictory.
Summary task: “There is no such thing as objective truth: something may usually be true, it may even have been believed to be true for a very long time, but when circumstances change, ‘truth’ changes too.” Write a short essay arguing against this subjectivist position.
CHAPTER 2 He Who is
- Why is ‘being’ or existence essential for loss and gain? Why can existence not be lost?
- Why can a thing not be the cause of itself?
- Explain the difference between contingent and necessary being.
- Can a being be both contingent and necessary at the same time?
- Can a contingent being cause existence?
- How does the existence of contingent beings help us to understand the existence of God?
- Give an example of a secondary efficient cause.
- Of what is God both primary and secondary cause?
- Is there ever ‘new existence’?
- What is the philosophical flaw in Deism, in relation to God’s creative power?
- Refute Pantheism from a philosophical position.
- Explain why God is not the cause of the existence of evil.
- What is wrong with the notion of infinite regress?
- List the four essential duties we owe to God as our Creator.
Summary task: “I don’t understand how God can always have existed – everything has a beginning, however long ago it was. And how can He be everywhere at once – that’s impossible. And I don’t see why He can’t change – everything that’s alive changes. And does He have to be perfect? How do we know He isn’t just a lot, lot cleverer and better than us?” Try to answer this person’s objections using your knowledge of the attributes of God.
CHAPTER 3 Immortality and freedom
- State very briefly the essential difference between non-living and living beings in terms of action.
- Define an ‘immanent act’.
- Define ‘soul’.
- Identify three things which men have in common with animals.
- Explain the difference between the terms ‘immaterial’ and ‘spiritual’ with reference to the senses.
- Copy the syllogism concerning the spirituality of the intellect (page 9).
- Summarise the four proofs for the minor premise of this syllogism:
- i) intellectual knowledge of universals ii) the spiritual object iii) self reflection iv) use of language
- Why must a soul be directly created by God?
- Why must the soul be immortal?
- What are extrinsic and intrinsic necessity?
Summary task: “I don’t believe in free will. People aren’t really free to choose: sometimes they are forced to do things they don’t want to do. And anyway, why would God make our will free if, being omniscient, He knew we might choose bad things?” Using the information on page 11, try to explain to this person why, logically speaking, the will must be free, and why God made it that way.
CHAPTER 4 Before Abraham was
- If we reach a conclusion which is not a logical necessity, why are still bound to follow it if we become convinced that it is the most reasonable conclusion we could have reached?
- Which three religions claim to offer a divine revelation and to worship a God who is a necessary Being? By what term do we identify the common elements in these religions?
- What claim essentially distinguishes Christianity from other religions?
- Why is it necessary to prove the reliability of the New Testament?
- Summarise briefly the seven arguments for the reliability of the New Testament, or explain in more detail the three which you find most compelling.
- Give three scriptural references in which Christ claimed to be God. How does the reaction of the Hight Priest at Jesus’ trial prove that Jesus claimed to be equal with God?
- How could you show that Christ was neither insane nor a liar?
- Why is it so important that we accept the works or miracles of Christ as real events and not try to give them naturalistic explanations? 9. What are the implications for our lives if we accept the truth of Christ’s resurrection and divinity?
Summary task: “No reasonable person could believe that the resurrection of Jesus was a real historical event which actually happened the way the gospel writers claim. Clearly, there must be some other, natural explanation.” Refute, in your own words, the most commonly suggested non-supernatural explanations of the resurrection.
CHAPTER 5 The One True Church
- Summarise in your own words the logical, scriptural and historical arguments in favour of the assertion that Christ founded a church.
- How does the principle of non-contradiction help us to prove that there must be one true church?
- State, using a single word for each, the four marks of the true church.
- For each of these marks, give one piece of evidence in support of the Catholic church and one piece of evidence against the protestant denominations.
- Why is the sinfulness of some Popes not a valid argument to prove that the Catholic Church cannot claim either to preach apostolic doctrine or to be in any way ‘holy’?
- Why is the argument for a late (4th century) founding of the hierarchy of the Church (bishops and papacy) unconvincing?
- Surveying the brief history of the Church given here, choose three activities of the Church which contributed significantly to the creation of a civilised world.
SUMMARY TASK: ‘The scriptures are the only true source of revelation of Christian doctrine, yet many Catholic teachings are not even explicitly taught in the Bible. How, then, can anyone take seriously the Catholics claim to be the true Church founded by Christ?’ Basing your argument on the three main points given here, explain to your protestant friend why he is in error.
CHAPTER 6 Upon this rock
- Give the scripture reference (i.e. just chapter and verse) which contains the most crucial gospel passage pertaining to the foundation of the papacy (try to learn it).
- How is the name Peter rendered in Greek?
- What is the most obvious interpretation of Our Lord’s use of the new name ‘Peter’ with regard to the Church? What would it also have signified to the Jews?
- How does Our Lord’s reference to ‘the gates of hell’ support the argument for the doctrinal infallibility of the Church?
- It is sometimes argued that Our Lord gave these powers not to Peter only but to all the apostles. How would you refute this? Similarly, it is sometimes argued that Our Lord founded the Church on the faith of Peter not his person. How would you refute this?
- Does Peter’s threefold denial of His Saviour invalidate his position as head of the Church?
- What is the earliest recorded instance of a Pope disciplining a local church of which he was not bishop?
- Define the authority of the Pope (i.e. how far does it extend?). Can any temporal ruler have authority over the pope? Can one Pope alter a disciplinary law or liturgical norm established by an earlier pope?
SUMMARY TASK: “You claim the Pope is always right and Catholics must believe everything he says? So if he wakes up tomorrow and announces that in his opinion all women should wear blue mantillas at Mass (blue being his favourite colour), then they’d have to do that wouldn’t they? Your teaching on papal infallibility is a nonsense!” Explain why this person’s argument is false and betrays a lack of understanding as to the Church’s true teaching on the infallibility of the Pope.
CHAPTER 7 Credo Part 1 (Trinity, incarnation, redemption, resurrection)
- What can we deduce about God with our natural reason simply from the fact that God is perfect spirit?
- What adjective do we use to describe God’s not being composed of ‘parts’?
- Why can God’s intellect never be satisfied by the contemplation of creation? What is the only proper object for God’s intellect?
- Explain briefly how this knowledge of God’s intellect can begin to help us understand, with our reason, the relationship of the First and Second Persons of the Blessed Trinity.
- What is the only distinction between God the Father and God the Son?
- What is the proper object of God’s will? What is the proper act of His will (indeed of any will)?
- Explain briefly how this knowledge of God’s Will helps us to understand the relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost.
- What word do we use to mean ‘proceeds from’ when referring to the Holy Ghost?
- What is the only distinction between God the Holy Ghost and the Father and Son?
- In light of this doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, define the nature of God.
- Why did God not need to create?
- Why must God be triune?
- What is the profound connection between the Blessed Trinity and a soul in the state of grace?
CHAPTER 7 Credo Part 1 continued (Trinity, incarnation, redemption, resurrection)
- Give one example of ‘appropriation’ in relation to the Blessed Trinity.
- Only God the Son took to Himself a human nature. In what sense, then, can this redemptive act be said to belong to all three Persons?
- Explain ‘circuminsession’ and its implications for our reception of the Holy Eucharist.
- Define the incarnation.
- Why is Jesus one Person and not two?
- As a divine Person, Jesus knew all things, yet the scriptures tell us he could learn. In what sense could He learn anything?
- As God, any action of Our Lord would have been of infinite value. Why, then, did He suffer and die if this was not strictly necessary to redeem us?
- Explain the beautiful symmetry of the Incarnation belonging in part to God the Son.
- Some people say, ‘What is so special about Jesus’ resurrection? After all, Lazarus also came back from death.” Explain the crucial difference between these two resurrections.
- Explain the three-fold significance of the resurrection for us.
- “Jesus Christ rose from the dead.” “God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.” Are these statements contradictory? If not, why not?
CHAPTER 7 Credo Part 2 (Eschatology)
- Give the origin of our English word ‘eschatology’.
- What are the Four Last Things, and why, to the surprise of many, is purgatory not listed amongst them?
- At death, what single factor determines our eternal state?
- Why, if each person undergoes a particular judgement, does God also promise a General Judgement?
- What is the Beatific Vision? What are its primary and secondary objects?
- What determines each soul’s happiness in heaven?
- Name three of the ‘accessory joys’ of heaven.
- Name the four properties of the glorified body.
- What are the two kinds of pain in hell? Which is worse and why?
- What are the two purposes of purgatory?
- If our sins are forgiven, why need we still suffer for them?
- Give two reasons why it is better to suffer penance in this life than in purgatory.
- We can and should pray for the Holy Souls. Can they pray for us?
- Does the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception mean that Mary was not capable of sin?
- What is the direct connection between the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption?
- When, respectively, were the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption solemnly defined as of the Faith and necessary to the Faith of all Catholics?
Summary Task: “The problem with Catholics is that they focus on Mary too much. They honour Mary to the detriment of Jesus and that has to be offensive to God.” How would you defend the Church against these accusations, which are increasingly heard from Catholics themselves?
CHAPTER 8 Right and wrong
- Which three aspects of an action must be considered when assessing the morality of the action?
- Define ‘situation ethics’. Define ‘consequentialism’.
- Explain the difference between virtuous acts and sinful acts in relation to their consequences.
- Sometimes a doctor must remove (and in the process end the life of) an unborn baby because if the pregnancy continues the mother will die. How does this situation illustrate the principle of double effect?
- Give three examples of moral principles commonly derived from natural law.
- If we have natural law, why then do we need laws based on the authority of the Church?
7.What is the difference between positive Divine Law and positive law? Give an example of each.
- If we know that a person has committed an action which is objectively sinful, why are we still not permitted to judge his guilt?
- Why can a person say he ‘acted in good conscience’ and yet still be guilty of sin?
Summary Task: “I know the Church teaches that abortion is always wrong, but my conscience tells me that in some cases it is necessary. If I didn’t follow my conscience, I wouldn’t be being true to myself. I must follow my conscience first.” How might you answer this person’s objections?
CHAPTER 9 The Church and the World
- Give three reasons why the Church and the individual catholic not only have the right but the duty to comment on social and political issues.
- Why should the Church not concentrate primarily on social and political issues?
- When is disobedience to the laws of his country justified for a Catholic?
- Why is it the moral duty of the state to assist every individual to his or her supernatural end?
- Why is it the moral duty of the state to safeguard the dignity of every individual?
CHAPTER 10 Justice
- What are the twin foundations of economic justice?
- How can it be fair that a man with a family to support be paid more than a single man who does the same work, since it is the first man’s choice to have a family?
- Outline some of the responsibilities of
- a) the employer b) the employee
- Some argue that socialism (which enforces state ownership of the means of production, and holding of goods in common) is closest to the Christian social ideal. Why, then, has the Church tended rather to support the right to private property?
- Is the right to private property absolute? Explain your answer.