Lesson Thirty-First of the Baltimore Catechism No. 2 is the third of six lessons on the Ten Commandments, and the second of two devoted to the First Commandment.
A common misunderstanding of the First Commandment is that it forbids many of the practices of Catholicism, including praying to saints, venerating relics, and using statues and images of Christ and the saints. But all such practices are aimed at the honor of God Himself, and so do not violate the First Commandment.
The questions are numbered consecutively with Lesson Thirtieth. For more information and links to other resources, click on each question below.
A. The first Commandment does not forbid the honoring of the saints, but rather approves of it; because by honoring the saints, who are the chosen friends of God, we honor God Himself.
A. The first Commandment does not forbid us to pray to the saints.
A. By praying to the saints we mean the asking of their help and prayers.
A. We know that the saints hear us, because they are with God, who makes our prayers known to them.
A. We believe that the saints will help us because both they and we are members of the same Church, and they love us as their brethren.
A. The saints and we are members of the same Church, because the Church in heaven and the Church on earth are one and the same Church, and all its members are in communion with one another.
A. The communion of the members of the Church is called the communion of saints.
A. The communion of saints means the union which exists between the members of the Church on earth with one another, and with the blessed in heaven and with the suffering souls in purgatory.
A. The following benefits are derived from the communion of saints:--the faithful on earth assist one another by their prayers and good works, and they are aided by the intercession of the saints in heaven, while both the saints in heaven and the faithful on earth help the souls in purgatory.
A. The first Commandment does not forbid us to honor relics, because relics are the bodies of the saints, or objects directly connected with them or with our Lord.