A COURSE OF TWENTY LESSONS
POINTS FOR DISCUSSION
If you study the lessons with a friend, or friends a discussion of the points suggested at the end of each lesson will help you to grasp the subject more fully. Points suggested for discussion are covered in the lesson to which they refer.
Even if you study alone, an effort to think out some comments on each point will deepen your grasp of the subject. Read the lesson again if you find you cannot comment meaningfully on the points suggested. There is no need to send us your comments.
1. GOD AND I
1. The order of the universe is the most common reason for believing in God. Give some examples of this order.
2. What practical reason did the astronomer Kircher give the young atheist for believing in God? Give similar stories from your own experience.
3. How would a better understanding of myself help me gain a deeper understanding of God?
4. How would you answer the objection: if there is a loving God why is there so much evil and suffering in the world.
5. A variety of personal experiences in life help man realize that he has an immortal soul. Recount your own strongest experience in this connection. What is your own strongest reason for believing you have an immortal soul.
6. Compose a short personal prayer in your own words that you would say before beginning to study your weekly lesson on religion.
2. Jesus Christ
1. Why did Pope Paul VI say, “If we truly wish to know God, we must turn to Jesus”?
2. Give examples from the life of Christ to show his mercy for sinners.
3. Give some quotations from the words of Christ showing that he claimed to be God.
4. Report on any incident from your own experience where someone acted in an outstandingly Christ like manner.
5. What is your favourite incident from the life or teaching of Christ. What is its particular appeal to you?
6. Christ said “The Father is greater than I”. How could this be so if he is God?
3. The Bible
1. Why should Christians read the Old Testament as well as the New Testament?
2. Why do we say God spoke to man in a variety of ways and over a long period before the birth of Jesus?
3. What connection do you see between the Jewish religion and Christianity?
4. “The Bible is the Word of God”. What does this statement mean to you?
5. “Sometimes the writers used colourful and dramatic stories of ancient times to teach religious truth”. Give examples of this from the Bible.
6. What is the danger of “private interpretation of the Bible?” Did St. Peter say anything about this?
4. The Cross
1. What in your opinion, is the chief reason why Christ died?
2. What was the crime for which Christ was condemned to death?
3. Quote from St. John’s Gospel (chapter 10) to show that Christ died willingly? What other incidents during the story of his arrest and trial show that he died willingly?
4. To what extent do you think the Bible Story of original sin is literally true?
5. What sort of saviour were the Israelites expecting? How did the prophet Isaiah describe the saviour?
6. Christ gave death a new meaning. Comment on this.
5. The Resurrection
1. Comment on this passage from the Vatican Council’s document on the Church. “In the human nature united to himself the Son of God, by overcoming death through his own death and resurrection, redeemed man and remoulded him into a new creation”.
2. How does the Resurrection assure us that Christ is God?
3. Which apparition of Christ do you consider the most impressive?
4. What was the final command given by Christ to his disciples before he went to heaven?
5. What significance did St. Peter and St. Paul attach to the Resurrection when telling others about Christ?
6. What connection do you see between the Resurrection and being baptized?
6. The Holy Spirit
1. Why in your opinion did God reveal the mystery of the Blessed Trinity to us?
2. By what special claim can the Christian call God “Father”?
3. In what sense is the Christian an adopted son of God?
4. Why do we say the Incarnation is central to the whole Christian Faith?
5. What in your opinion is the most important quality of holiness?
6. In your own words explain what a Christian means by “Sanctifying Grace”.
7. The Church
1. In what sense can the image of the human body demonstrate the intimate relationship between Christ and the members of the Church?
2. Why is it said that Christ founded a visible Church?
3. What in your opinion is wrong with the idea of “Christianity without the Church?”
4. What right has a bishop to tell us what we should believe?
5. “Catholic” means “Universal”. How can it be said that the Church is Catholic, if everyone is not a member of it?
6. “The obligation of spreading the faith is imposed on every disciple of Christ according to his ability” (II V at. Council). Has this statement any practical implications for the Australian Catholic laymen? If so, what?
8. Peter and the Eleven
1. What is the significance of the new name Peter, which Jesus gave to Simon Bar-Jona?
2. Read the opening chapters of the “Acts of the Apostles” and point out incidents which show Peter’s special role in the early Church.
3. What evidence can you recall from the Gospels to show us that Christ made Peter head of the Apostles?
4. In your own words how would you explain what is meant by The infallibility of the Pope? Does his infallibility make him more holy?
5. Some things in the Church can be changed; others cannot. List some of the things you think can never be changed, and give reasons why.
6. List some ways in which you feel you yourself, could become a better witness to Christ in today’s world.
9. The Christian Liturgy
1. This lesson speaks of a two way communication between God and ourselves: List some of the things you would like to give to God, and some of the things you would like God to give to you.
2. What are some of the reasons why the Jews before the time of Christ, offered religious sacrifices? Do we need to offer sacrifices for the same reasons?
3. List some reasons why you consider that Christ’s death Was the greatest sacrifice?
4. What connection can you see between Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary and the sacrifice of the Mass today?
5. Give your own idea of how a sacrament (e.g. Baptism or Holy Communion) is a meeting with Christ in this life.
6. The sacraments are the principal channels through which we meet Christ and receive his graces. By what other ways can we obtain his gifts and graces?
10. Baptism and Confirmation
1. Baptism is our birth into the new life of the Spirit. What does that statement mean to you personally?
2. Which form of baptism would you prefer, immersion or pouring? Give reasons for you preference.
3. Why baptize babies? Why not adults only?
4. What is divine faith?
5. Confirmation is the sacrament of Christian maturity. What does that mean to you?
6. Suggest some activities through which a confirmed Christian could become a more mature witness for Christ.
11. Holy Communion
(1) Can you quote some passages from chapter 6 of St. John’s Gospel to show that Christ promised the Eucharist to his followers.
(2) Give some reasons for believing that Christ wanted his words to be taken literally when he said “This is my body”.
(3) Suggest some ways in which the believing Christian can take advantage of Christ’s closeness to us in the Eucharist.
(4) How does the Eucharist strengthen the bond of unity between Christians.
(5) Using the effects of bodily food as an example, show the value of regular reception of Holy Communion.
(6) Suggest a suitable prayer in your own words to be said during a private visit to a Catholic Church.
12. Confession and Anointing of the Sick
1. What, in your own opinion, are some of the reasons why people sin?
2. Which incident from the life story of Christ do you consider shows his love of the sinner most clearly?
3. Give some example to show that some sins are more serious than others. What are the three aspects of a mortal sin?
4. What is the reason for confessing to a priest, since sin is an offence against God? Why not just confess to God?
5. What do you consider to be the most important aspects of genuine sorrow for sins?
6. What are the chief effects of the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick?
1. What are the main functions in the Church which can be performed only by priests?
2. Give some reasons for the belief that Jesus intended that the Apostles should pass on their priesthood to others.
3. List some motives which might prompt a person to become a Priest or a Brother or a Nun.
4. What are some of the reasons why the Church selects its candidates for the priesthood from those who promise to remain unmarried?
5. Describe the work of some Religious Community of Nuns you have come in contact with.
6. What in your opinion is the most necessary form of Christian service of others today?
14. Christian Marriage
1. What things would you consider important in preparation for marriage?
2. All marriages are sacred.
Does a Christian marriage have a more sacred dimension? Why?
3. Family planning is the responsibility of parents. What should guide the Christian in this regard?
4. What steps can be taken to avoid the breakdown of marriage due to religious differences.
5. What helps do married people have to reach the ideals of a Christian marriage?
15. The Communion of Saints
1. Show how prayers to the Saints can deepen our friendship with God.
2. “The bond of Christian love extends beyond death into everlasting life”. What, if anything, does this statement mean to you personally?
3. Give briefly the life story of some saint to whom you feel devoted.
4. Give some examples from the life story of Christ showing that he gave Mary a unique share in his work of Redemption.
5. Give your own reasons for the belief that Mary is the Mother of all Christians.
6. Why do we say it is appropriate that God would not allow Mary’s body to corrupt after death?
16. The Love and Service of God
1. For what reasons can it be said that God’s commandments are bonds of love uniting the Creator and his people?
2. Discuss the following statement: “My loyalty to God’s commandments is the measure of my response to his love”.
3. Why is it man’s most important duty to adore God?
4. Compose a short prayer in which you feel you could best express your gratitude to God. What are the things for which you wish to thank him most?
5. What are the reasons why it is sinful to miss Sunday Mass deliberately?
6. List some voluntary acts of self-denial which you think would best help people to become more Christlike.
17. The Love and Service of Man
1. Why does God want us to be submissive to human authority; e.g., parents, Church, State?
2. What are the reasons why a Christian holds that direct Abortion is always sinful?
3. “My body is my own I can do what I like with it”. How does that statement contradict Christian morality? How does it apply to sterilization?
4. For what reasons does the Church teach that drunkenness and drug abuse are sinful?
5. Give the reasons why Christian morality is totally opposed to pre-marriage sexual intercourse.
6. Give examples of circumstances in which a Christian would have an obligation to give some of his goods or property to others.
18. Christian Unity
1. What do you think are the main reasons why there are so many different religions in the world?
2. What do you see as the main causes why all Christians are not united?
3. Show from Christ’s address at his Last Supper that he wants all his followers to be united.
4. List some of the most important beliefs that all Protestants hold in common with Roman Catholics.
5. Suggest ways by which you could further the cause of Christian Unity, (a) in you own life, (b) among your friends, (c) in your parish.
6. How could Christian Unity further the work of Christian missionaries, (a) in Australia? (b) in Asia?
19. Catholic Living
1. Do you think it is necessary to live a religion before one can understand it properly? Give some reasons for your opinion.
2. Many devotional practices are helpful to some people but not to others. What practices help you to pray better: set prayers? Bible readings? Rosary? Family prayers/ spontaneous prayer? Etc?
3. suggest thoughts for an examination of conscience. How does self examination help us to be better Christians?
4. Compose a simple prayer that you would teach your own child to say at bed time.
5. Some people say they prefer to pray alone. Why is it necessary to pray also with others?
6. How much do you know about the life of your patron saint?
20. Eternal Life
1. In what way do you see the resurrection of Christ as a pledge of a future life in heaven? What did Christ say about this when bringing Lazarus back to life?
2. The word Purgatory is not used in the Bible. What are the reasons for believing in such a state of purification after death?
3. “The custom of praying for the dead is one of the most consoling of all Christian traditions”. Discuss this statement. Do you agree or disagree?
4. “If there is not hell, Christ is a liar”. Do you agree with this? Give your reasons.
5. Why do we believe that Christ will come again at the end of the world?
6. Can you quote St. John’s description of heaven. (Rev. 21, 3-4). It is worth learning by heart.
“THE CATHOLIC RELIGION” is Published By THE CATHOLIC ENQUIRY CENTRE