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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about Baltimore Catechism No. 3 (of 4).

Q. 1341.  What should one do who doubts whether or not he is obliged to fast?  A. In doubt concerning fast, a parish priest or confessor should be consulted.

Q. 1342.  When do fast days chiefly occur in the year?  A. Fast days chiefly occur in the year during Lent and Advent, on the Ember days and on the vigils or eves of some great feasts.  A vigil falling on a Sunday is not observed.

Q. 1343.  What do you mean by Lent, Advent, Ember days and the vigils of great feasts?  A. Lent is the seven weeks of penance preceding Easter.  Advent is the four weeks of preparation preceding Christmas.  Ember days are three days set apart in each of the four seasons of the year as special days of prayer and thanksgiving.  Vigils are the days immediately preceding great feasts and spent in spiritual preparation for them.

Q. 1344. {394} What do you mean by days of abstinence?  A. By days of abstinence I mean days on which no meat at all may be taken (complete abstinence) or on which meat may be taken only once a day (partial abstinence).  This is explained in the regulations for Lent.  All the Fridays of the year are days of abstinence except when a Holyday of obligation falls on a Friday outside of Lent.

Q. 1345.  Are children and persons unable to fast bound to abstain on days of abstinence?  A. Children, from the age of seven years, and persons who are unable to fast are bound to abstain on days of abstinence, unless they are excused for sufficient reason.

Q. 1346. {395} Why does the Church command us to fast and abstain?  A. The Church commands us to fast and abstain, in order that we may mortify our passions and satisfy for our sins.

Q. 1347.  What is meant by our passions and what by mortifying them?  A. By our passions are meant our sinful desires and inclinations.  Mortifying them means restraining them and overcoming them so that they have less power to lead us into sin.

Q. 1348. {396} Why does the Church command us to abstain from flesh-meat on Fridays?  A. The Church commands us to abstain from flesh-meat on Fridays in honor of the day on which our Saviour died.

LESSON THIRTY-SIXTH.  ON THE THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH, AND SIXTH COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH.

Q. 1349. {397} What is meant by the command of confessing at least once a year?  A. By the command of confessing at least once a year is meant that we are obliged, under pain of mortal sin, to go to confession within the year.

Q. 1350. {398} Should we confess only once a year? 
A. We should confess frequently, if we wish to lead a good life.

Q. 1351.  Should we go to confession at our usual time even if we think we have not committed sin since our last confession?  A. We should go to confession at our usual time even if we think we have not committed sin since our last confession, because the Sacrament of Penance has for its object not only to forgive sins, but also to bestow grace and strengthen the soul against temptation.

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