Baltimore Catechism III, Lesson 03. The Apostles’ Creed

Study Baltimore Catechism III

In this lesson, we study the third prayer to be learned by students, going deeper into the details than we did in Baltimore Catechism II. To complete the objectives of this lesson, complete the following tasks:

  1. Study the lesson for mastery.
  2. Work to memorize the answers to each question.
  3. Complete the lesson assessment.


Q. 49. Say the Apostles’ Creed.
A. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into hell: the third day He arose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Q. 50. What is a creed?
A. A creed is a summary or list of the chief truths we believe or profess to believe. It is a compendium of doctrine.

Q. 51. Why is this creed called the Apostles’?
A. This creed is called the Apostles’ because it came down to us from the Apostles, and also to distinguish it from longer creeds in use in the Church, such as the Nicene Creed, which is said in the Mass; the Athanasian Creed, which is said in the priests’ divine Office, and the Creed of Pope Pius IV, which is used on solemn occasions.

Q. 52. Do all these creeds teach the same doctrines?
A. All these creeds teach the same doctrines, for the longer creeds are only a fuller explanation of the truths contained in the Apostles’ Creed.

Q. 53 Who were the Apostles?
A. The Apostles were the twelve men selected by Our Lord to be the first bishops of His Church.

Q. 54. How do you know the Apostles were bishops?
A. I know the Apostles were bishops because they could administer the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders and make laws for the Church, as we learn from Holy Scripture, and these powers belong to bishops alone.

Q. 55. Who were the disciples of Our Lord?
A. The disciples were the seventy-two chosen followers of Our Lord, whom He sent to preach and perform good works in every city and place whither He Himself was to come. The Apostles also are frequently called “the disciples.”

Q. 56. Why did the Apostles leave us a creed?
A. The Apostles left us a creed that all who wished to become Christians might have a standard of the truths they must know and believe before receiving Baptism.

Q. 57. How many articles or parts in the Apostles’ Creed?
A. There are twelve articles or parts in the Apostles’ Creed. They refer to God the Father in the works of creation; to God the Son in the works of redemption; to God the Holy Ghost in the works of sanctification; and each article contradicts one or more false doctrines on these subjects.

Q. 58. What does Creation mean?
A. To create means to produce out of nothing. God alone has this power, and He alone can be called “Creator.”

Q. 59. Had Jesus Christ more than one Father?
A. God the Father, the First Person of the Blessed Trinity, is the only real and true Father of Jesus Christ, as the Blessed Virgin is His true Mother. St. Joseph, whom we also call His father, was only His foster-father or guardian upon earth.

Q. 60. By what names is Our Lord called?
A. Our Lord is called by many names, such as Our Saviour, Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Son of God; Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Messias, Son of David, Lamb of God and others to be found in the litanies. Each name recalls to our mind some benefit received or prophesy fulfilled.

Q. 61. Of what religion was Pontius Pilate?
A. Pontius Pilate was a pagan; that is, a worshiper of false gods.

Q. 62. Why do we say “died” instead of “was put to death”?
A. We say “died” to show that Our Lord gave up His life willingly; for how could He be put to death against His will, who could always restore His life as He did at His resurrection?

Q. 63. What is death?
A. Death in man is caused by the separation of the soul from the body, for Adam was made a living being by the union of his soul and body. 

Q. 64. Why do we say of Christ “He was buried”?
A. We say that “He was buried” to show that He was really dead.

Q. 65. Did “hell” always mean only that state in which the damned are punished?
A. The word “hell” was sometimes used to signify the grave or a low place. In the Apostles’ Creed it means Limbo.

Q. 66. Is Limbo the same place as Purgatory?
A. Limbo is not the same place as Purgatory, because the souls in Purgatory suffer, while those in Limbo do not.

Q. 67. Who were in Limbo when Our Lord descended into it?
A. There were in Limbo when Our Lord descended into it the souls of all those who died the friends of God, but could not enter heaven till the Ascension of Our Lord.

Q. 68. Name some holy persons who died before Christ ascended into heaven.
A. Among the holy persons who died before Christ ascended into heaven, we may mention: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, the Prophets, St. Ann, St. John the Baptist, and St. Joseph.

Q. 69. What do we mean by “Judge the living and the dead”?
A. By the “living” we mean all those who shall be alive upon the earth at the last day, and by the “dead” those who have died before that time. Or the “living” may also mean those who are in a state of grace; and the “dead” those who are in mortal sin.

Q. 70. How many branches or parts of the Church are there?
A. There are three branches or parts of the Church, called the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant.

Q. 71. What do we mean by the “Church Militant”?
A. By the “Church Militant” or “fighting Church” we mean all the faithful who are still upon earth struggling for their salvation by warring against their spiritual enemies.

Q. 72. What do we mean by the “Church Suffering”?
A. By the “Church Suffering” we mean the faithful in Purgatory, who are being purified from the last stains and consequences of their sins.

Q. 73. What do we mean by the “Church Triumphant”?
A. By the “Church Triumphant” we mean all the faithful now in heaven, rejoicing with God that they have defeated their spiritual enemies and attained their salvation.

Q. 74 Explain the “Communion of Saints.”
A. The “Communion of Saints” means that the members of the three branches of the Church can help one another. We can assist the souls in Purgatory by our prayers and good works, while the Saints in heaven intercede for us.

Q. 75. Does the “Communion of Saints” mean anything else?
A. The “Communion of Saints” means also that we all share in the merits of Our Lord and in the superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin and of the Saints, as well as in the prayers and good works of the Church and of the faithful.

Q. 76. Have the Saints their bodies in heaven?
A. The Saints have not yet their bodies in heaven, as they will have them after the resurrection on the last day. Our Divine Lord and His blessed Mother are the only persons whose bodies are now in heaven.

Q. 77. Are there Saints in heaven whose names we do not know?
A. There are many Saints in heaven whose names we do not know, because all who are admitted into heaven are truly Saints.

Q. 78. To whom do we usually give the name of “Saints”?
A. We usually apply the name of “Saints” to those only whom the Church has Canonized.

Q. 79. What is the Canonization of a Saint?
A. Canonization is a solemn ceremony by which the Church declares that a certain person, now dead, was remarkable for extraordinary holiness while on earth, and is now in heaven worthy of our veneration.

Q. 80. How does the Canonization of a Saint take place?
A. In the Canonization of a Saint (1) the accounts of the person’s holy life, heroic virtue, and miracles are collected and sent to the Holy See; (2) those accounts are examined by the Holy Father or his cardinals, and, if found to be true and sufficient, (3) the Saint is Canonized or perhaps only beatified.

Q. 81. What is the difference between the honors conferred on a person by beatification and Canonization?
A. Beatification limits the honor to be given to the beatified by restricting it to certain places or persons; whereas Canonization is the highest honor and permits all to venerate the Saint everywhere.

Q. 82. Why does the Church Canonize Saints?
A. The Church Canonizes Saints (1) to honor them, and (2) to make us certain that they are in heaven, and may, therefore, be invoked in our prayers.

Q. 83. Can the Church err in the Canonization of a Saint?
A. The Church cannot err in matters of faith or morals, and the Canonization of a Saint is a matter of faith and morals.

Q. 84. What is the difference between a Saint and an Angel?
A. The Saints lived upon the earth in bodies like our own. The Angels never inhabited the earth, though they visit it and remain for a time with us. They have not now and never will have bodies.

Q. 85. Through what means may we obtain the “forgiveness of sins”?
A. We may obtain the “forgiveness of sins” especially through the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance.

Q. 86. What do we mean by the “resurrection of the body”?
A. By the “resurrection of the body” we mean that the bodies of the dead shall be restored to life, rise again on the last day, and be united to the souls from which they were separated by death.

Q. 87. How is the resurrection possible when the bodies are reduced to ashes and mingled with the soil?
A. The resurrection is possible to God, who can do all things, and who, having created the bodies out of nothing in the beginning, can easily collect and put together their scattered parts by an act of His all-powerful will.

Q. 88. What does “life everlasting” mean?
A. “Life everlasting” means endless happiness in heaven; as endless misery in hell may be called “everlasting death.”

Q. 89. Is the Apostles’ Creed an act of faith?
A. The Apostles’ Creed is an act of faith, because by it we profess our belief in the truths it contains.

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