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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. 511.  Why do we say it is only possible for a person to be saved who does not know the Catholic Church to be the true Church?  A. We say it is only possible for a person to be saved who does not know the Catholic Church to be the true Church, because the necessary conditions are not often found, especially that of dying in a state of grace without making use of the Sacrament of Penance.

Q. 512.  How are such persons said to belong to the Church?  A. Such persons are said to belong to the “soul of the church”; that is, they are really members of the Church without knowing it.  Those who share in its Sacraments and worship are said to belong to the body or visible part of the Church.

Q. 513.  Why must the true Church be visible?  A. The true Church must be visible because its founder, Jesus Christ, commanded us under pain of condemnation to hear the Church; and He could not in justice command us to hear a Church that could not be seen and known.

Q. 514.  What excuses do some give for not becoming members of the true Church?  A. The excuses some give for not becoming members of the true church are:  (1) They do not wish to leave the religion in which they were born; (2) There are too many poor and ignorant people in the Catholic Church; (3) One religion is as good as another if we try to serve God in it, and be upright and honest in our lives.

Q. 515.  How do you answer such excuses?  A. (1) To say that we should remain in a false religion because we were born in it is as untrue as to say we should not heal our bodily diseases because we were born with them; (2) To say there are too many poor and ignorant in the Catholic Church is to declare that it is Christ’s Church; for He always taught the poor and ignorant and instructed His Church to continue the work; (3) To say that one religion is as good as another is to assert that Christ labored uselessly and taught falsely; for He came to abolish the old religion and found the new in which alone we can be saved as He Himself declared.

Q. 516.  Why can there be only one true religion?  A. There can be only one true religion, because a thing cannot be false and true at the same time, and, therefore, all religions that contradict the teaching of the true Church must teach falsehood.  If all religions in which men seek to serve God are equally good and true, why did Christ disturb the Jewish religion and the Apostles condemn heretics?

LESSON TWELFTH.  ON THE ATTRIBUTES AND MARKS OF THE CHURCH.

Q. 517.  What is an attribute?  A. An attribute is any characteristic or quality that a person or thing may be said to have.  All perfections or imperfections are attributes.

Q. 518.  What is a mark?  A. A mark is a given and known sign by which a thing can be distinguished from all others of its kind.  Thus a trademark is used to distinguish the article bearing it from all imitations of the same article.

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