Baltimore Catechism: On the Last Judgment and the Resurrection, Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven
Q. 1371. When will Christ judge us?
A. Christ will judge us immediately after our death, and on the last day.
Q. 1372. What is the judgment called which we have to undergo immediately after death?
A. The judgment we have to undergo immediately after death is called the Particular Judgment.
Q. 1373. Where will the particular judgment be held?
A. The particular judgment will be held in the place where each person dies, and the soul will go immediately to its reward or punishment.
Q. 1374. What is the judgment called which all men have to undergo on the last day?
A. The judgment which all men have to undergo on the last day is called the General Judgment.
Q. 1375. Will the sentence given at the particular judgment be changed at the general judgment?
A. The sentence given at the particular judgment will not be changed at the general judgment, but it will be repeated and made public to all.
Q. 1376. Why does Christ judge men immediately after death?
A. Christ judges men immediately after death to reward or punish them according to their deeds.
Q. 1377. How may we daily prepare for our judgment?
A. We may daily prepare for our judgment by a good examination of conscience, in which we will discover our sins and learn to fear the punishment they deserve.
Q. 1378. What are the rewards or punishments appointed for men's souls after the Particular Judgment?
A. The rewards or punishments appointed for men's souls after the Particular Judgment are Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell.
Q. 1379. What is Hell?
A. Hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned, and in which they are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity, and are in dreadful torments.
Q. 1380. Will the damned suffer in both mind and body?
A. The damned will suffer in both mind and body, because both mind and body had a share in their sins. The mind suffers the "pain of loss" in which it is tortured by the thought of having lost God forever, and the body suffers the "pain of sense" by which it is tortured in all its members and senses.
Q. 1381. What is Purgatory?
A. Purgatory is the state in which those suffer for a time who die guilty of venial sins, or without having satisfied for the punishment due to their sins.
Q. 1382. Why is this state called Purgatory?
A. This state is called Purgatory because in it the souls are purged or purified from all their stains; and it is not, therefore, a permanent or lasting state for the soul.
Q. 1383. Are the souls in Purgatory sure of their salvation?
A. The souls in Purgatory are sure of their salvation, and they will enter heaven as soon as they are completely purified and made worthy to enjoy that presence of God which is called the Beatific Vision.
Q. 1384. Do we know what souls are in Purgatory, and how long they have to remain there?
A. We do not know what souls are in Purgatory nor how long they have to remain there; hence we continue to pray for all persons who have died apparently in the true faith and free from mortal sin. They are called the faithful departed.
Q. 1385. Can the faithful on earth help the souls in Purgatory?
A. The faithful on earth can help the souls in Purgatory by their prayers, fasts, alms, deeds; by indulgences, and by having Masses said for them.
Q. 1386. Since God loves the souls in Purgatory, why does He punish them?
A. Though God loves the souls in Purgatory, He punishes them because His holiness requires that nothing defiled may enter heaven and His justice requires that everyone be punished or rewarded according to what he deserves.
Q. 1387. If every one is judged immediately after death, what need is there of a general judgment?
A. There is need of a general judgment, though every one is judged immediately after death, that the providence of God, which, on earth, often permits the good to suffer and the wicked to prosper, may in the end appear just before all men.
Q. 1388. What is meant by "the Providence of God"?
A. By "the Providence of God" is meant the manner in which He preserves, provides for, rules and governs the world and directs all things by His infinite Will.
Q. 1389. Are there other reasons for the general judgment?
A. There are other reasons for the general judgment, and especially that Christ Our Lord may receive from the whole world the honor denied Him at His first coming, and that all may be forced to acknowledge Him their God and Redeemer.
Q. 1390. Will our bodies share in the reward or punishment of our souls?
A. Our bodies will share in the reward or punishment of our souls, because through the resurrection they will again be united to them.
Q. 1391. When will the general resurrection or rising of all the dead take place?
A. The general resurrection or rising of all the dead will take place at the general judgment, when the same bodies in which we lived on earth will come forth from the grave and be united to our souls and remain united with them forever either in heaven or in hell.
Q. 1392. In what state will the bodies of the just rise?
A. The bodies of the just will rise glorious and immortal.
Q. 1393. Will the bodies of the damned also rise?
A. The bodies of the damned will also rise, but they will be condemned to eternal punishment.
Q. 1394. Why do we show respect for the bodies of the dead?
A. We show respect for the bodies of the dead because they were the dwelling-place of the soul, the medium through which it received the Sacraments, and because they were created to occupy a place in heaven.
Q. 1395. What is Heaven?
A. Heaven is the state of everlasting life in which we see God face to face, are made like unto Him in glory, and enjoy eternal happiness.
Q. 1396. In what does the happiness in heaven consist?
A. The happiness in heaven consists in seeing the beauty of God, in knowing Him as He is, and in having every desire fully satisfied.
Q. 1397. What does St. Paul say of heaven?
A. St. Paul says of heaven, "That eye hath not seen. nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man what things God hath prepared for them that love Him." (I. Cor. ii., 9.)
Q. 1398. Are the rewards in heaven and the punishments in hell the same for all who enter into either of these states?
A. The rewards of heaven and the punishments in hell are not the same for all who enter into either of these states, because each one's reward or punishment is in proportion to the amount of good or evil he has done in this world. But as heaven and hell are everlasting, each one will enjoy his reward or suffer his punishment forever.
Q. 1399. What words should we bear always in mind?
A. We should bear always in mind these words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: "What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul, or what exchange shall a man give for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then will He render to every man according to his works."
Q. 1400. Name some of the more essential religious truths we must know and believe.
A. Some of the more essential religious truths we must know and believe are:
- That there is but one God, and He will reward the good and punish the wicked.
- That in God there are three Divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and these Divine Persons are called the Blessed Trinity.
- That Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, became man and died for our redemption.
- That the grace of God is necessary for our salvation.
- That the human soul is immortal.