Do You Know These Basic Rules of the Catholic Church?


By: Pierre Roustan

6 Min Quiz

Image: Eddie Gerald/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you happen to be a Catholic, you might be surprised that even you don't know all the traditions and rules of the church. They're quite lengthy. Catholicism was, and has always been, about structure built by faith and for faith. It's crazy to think, though, that we might still not know how that whole house of cards got built. Who began it? What are all the rules? Do I know the rules? Am I bad person for not knowing the rules? Maybe, maybe not. But the fact is, even if you are a Catholic, you're not perfect, and that's okay.

But it's still curious to know just how much we, well, know! I mean, we had to have learned something in Catholic school. We went to all those Sundays, and we sat in class learning about Jesus, Moses, Noah, Abraham, Elijah, the Apostles and more—something had to stick. Do we know the Ten Commandments? Sure. What about the Seven Sacraments? Maybe. Let's face it: learning Catholicism is a natural next step after learning about faith. The good news is you have faith. And deep down, that's all that matters. Over time, though, you learn more and more about what it takes to be the very best Catholic you can be, and thankfully we have this quiz to guide you through all those steps. Give it a shot!

What is the "Eucharist"?

Holy Communion actually goes by a more official name in terms of the Sacraments: that's the "Eucharist." It's the term designated for the act of drinking and eating the blood and body of Christ during Sunday Mass.


What is "Holy Communion"?

Holy Communion typically refers to the entire congregation drinking wine that's in remembrance of Jesus' blood and then eating bread that's in remembrance of Jesus' body.


Can Catholic priests marry?

The covenant a Catholic priest makes is forever. A priest is celibate. They forsake marriage. They can't have relationships. Their sole purpose is to literally serve God and God alone.


Which Sacrament allows you to become a priest for the Catholic Church?

When you take on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, you're willingly giving yourself up to the entire Catholic Church as a servant, either as a deacon or priest either for a congregation or the Vatican itself.


Can you recite the First Commandment?

The First Commandment is actually quite simple: God wrote on one of the tablets Moses was holding that no one should worship other gods except Him.


What is fasting?

Fasting is what Christians often do, in fact, to ensure they remain in tune with their spirituality. They do this by refraining from eating anything, typically for a day or more.


What do you do in that "confession closet"?

Typically, the confessional is the place where you confess your sins privately. The priest is on the other side of that closet, to hear your confession.


What is a "pew"?

The pew is a specially designed long bench with a contraption at the bottom, allowing you to actually kneel on it, so you can pray to God.


What is "Ash Wednesday"?

"Ash Wednesday" is the day when Lent begins, typically involving not only penance and fasting, but ashes pressed on your forehead. Hence the name "Ash Wednesday."


How often can you receive Communion?

The Catholic church honestly doesn't have much of a limit to how often you can receive Holy Communion. Meet with the priest and you can receive it literally every day.


What are the names of the gospel writers in the New Testament?

If you were to open a Bible and turn to the New Testament, you'll notice that the first book belongs to "Matthew," who wrote the first account of Jesus. Mark then followed, along with Luke and then finally John.


Which Sacrament is responsible for you "graduating" from Sunday school?

When you graduate, you typically go on a "rite of passage." You're going to be an adult, sometimes physically, mentally, practically AND spiritually. That's what the Sacrament of "Confirmation" is, a rite of passage typically led by a Bishop who then anoints you with "holy oil" on your forehead as a celebration that you are ready to take on the world as an adult Catholic Christian.


What are Sundays for?

Sundays in general are all about Mass. It's where you meet for church and worship. Sundays can include everything like Lent, communion… and even sleep.


What is the first article of Catholic faith?

Since this is the "first" article, naturally this is all about the very "head" of the entire faith: God the FATHER. So, naturally, we say we FIRST believe in God.


What is the first "Sacrament"?

Baptism is the anointing of water, or the "washing" of water on your head when you're an infant. Generally, you can be baptized at any age, but traditionally the first Sacrament is when you're a child.


Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary?

They called Jesus the "Nazarene" for a reason. According to the Twelve Articles, Jesus was the one who was "conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary," and while he was born in Bethlehem in a manger, he grew up to be a man in Nazareth.


Which Sacrament allows you to basically have sexual relations with the opposite gender?

Marriage is not just sexual relations, of course, but it is with a specific person who you will then be bonded to for life. That's what "marriage" is, when you're joined in Holy matrimony with a promise to love, care and support your spouse through bad times and good times and in sickness and in health.


What is "Good Friday"?

"Good Friday" is the one last traditional day right before Easter Sunday. It's the day Jesus Christ died on the cross. Three days later, he rose again on Easter Sunday, which is why we celebrate on Easter Sunday as well.


What is the "rosary"?

The rosary is very traditional form of prayer designed to focus you on "Our Father" and the "Hail Mary" through beads on the necklace. You often kneel, holding onto the rosary by each bead and saying your prayer for each one.


Which day is traditionally the "Sabbath Day"?

The "Sabbath Day" is the day when God rested after the six days of work He did to create everything. In the same vein, Catholics also "rest" on the Sabbath Day, typically not working. Also, since it's on every Sunday, they go to church and worship.


What is tithing?

Tithing actually is represented in the New Testament: it's when you give 10% of your finances to the church. When you go to Mass and officials get ready to receive donations that help contribute to the cause of the Church, that's when you offer your help in the most actionable way.


What was the Apostle Peter's original name?

The Apostle Peter before he ever met Jesus was none other than a measly fisherman named Simon.


What is the second article of Catholicism?

When reciting the twelve articles, this one immediately follows the first, which is about God the Father, hence this is how it's written and recited as "And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord."


Which Commandment tells you to honor your parents?

According to the Old Testament, it says that the Fourth Commandment is "Honor thy father and mother."


Which prayer do you recite on the large beads of the Rosary?

The large beads on a rosary represent probably the most standard and first of all Catholic prayers: the "Our Father," which is a prayer actually written specifically in the New Testament as the way Jesus tells his disciples how they should pray.


Which Commandment are you breaking if you commit murder?

The most notable Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," happens to sit right in the middle of the ten. It's number five on the list.


Which Commandment forbids you from being jealous, greedy or envious of someone else's stuff?

As written in the Old Testament, the Tenth Commandment states: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods." It essentially means don't want what your friends or strangers have. Simply put, don't be jealous of others.


How often are you "required" to go to confession?

Traditionally, from the very beginning, you go to confession just once a year. You can, however, request to go more than once.


No matter how you look at it, Robin Hood's violating just one Commandment. Which one?

Stealing is forbidden in Catholic and full Christian faith. That's outlined in the Seventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not steal."


Do priests do anything for the sick or the terminally ill?

The fifth Sacrament is known as the "Anointing of the Sick," which occurs during those times when people fall horribly ill. This can include terminal illnesses, or even moments immediately before death for those individuals suffering from it. You're anointed with oil, and the priest recites a prayer of good will in your time of need. It's for not only the sick, but for all the family.


Who wrote the Book of Revelation in the Bible?

The Apostle John was famously the last Apostle alive back in the days of the early Christians. He wrote the Book of Revelation, which is why it happens to be the very last book of the Bible. It was the last great project John ever took on before he died.


Which Sacrament is "Reconciliation"?

The fourth Sacrament, "Reconciliation," typically happens to everyone just about on any day of the week. It's the term used for when you go to a confessional with a priest and discuss your sins, seeking to be absolved or forgiven.


What date is "Ash Wednesday" for 2019?

Generally, Lent is tough to get your head wrapped around, because the dates always change from year to year. This year, though, the first day of Lent happens to be on March sixth.


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