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Baltimore Catechism (1891)
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A. The commandments of God were given by God Himself to Moses on Mount Sinai; the commandments of the Church were given on different occasions by the lawful authorities of the Church. The Commandments given by God Himself cannot be changed by the Church; but the commandments made by the Church itself may be changed by its authority as necessity requires.
1. To hear Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation. 2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed. 3. To confess at least once a year. 4. To receive the Holy Eucharist during the Easter time. 5. To contribute to the support of our pastors. 6. Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are related to us within the third degree of kindred, nor privately without witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times. 7.
A. It is a mortal sin not to hear Mass on a Sunday or a holyday of obligation, unless we are excused for a serious reason. They also commit a mortal sin who, having others under their charge, hinder them from hearing Mass, without a sufficient reason.
A A "serious reason" excusing one from the obligation of hearing Mass is any reason that makes it impossible or very difficult to attend Mass, such as severe illness, great distance from the Church, or the need of certain works that cannot be neglected or postponed.
A. Children who have reached the use of reason are obliged under pain of mortal sin, the same as grown persons, to hear Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation; but if they are prevented from so doing by parents, or others, then the sin falls on those who prevent them.
A. One who is obliged to work on a holyday of obligation should, if possible, hear Mass before going to work, and should also explain this necessity in confession, so as to obtain the confessor's advice on the subject.
A. It is permitted on fast days, besides the one full meal, to take two other meatless meals, to maintain strength, according to each one's needs. But together these two meatless meals should not equal another full meal.
A. The Church does excuse certain classes of persons from the obligation of fasting on account of their age, the condition of their health, the nature of their work, or the circumstances in which they live. These things are explained in the Regulations for Lent, read publicly in the Churches each year.
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.
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.
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