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Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Life and Death Quiz




How much do you know about heaven and hell?

        In these final years of the second millennium, people speculate more than ever on the end times... and what will follow. How much do you know about the end of the world, Christ’s Second Coming, heaven and hell? Begin with No. 1 and follow the directions.

1. The traditional “last things” are heaven, hell, death, and what

a. Judgment. (Go to 14)
b. Infinity. (Head for 42)

2. Right. That’s the traditional name of the “good thief” who was crucified next to Jesus. After scolding the other thief for taunting Our Lord, Dismas asked Jesus to remember him when Christ came into the kingdom. Jesus answered, “Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43). Now move on to 23.

3. Yes. Hell – Gehenna in Scripture – was described as having “the unquenchable fire” (Mk 9:43), but what makes it hell is eternal separation from God. Now move to 24.

4. Let’s stay in purgatory just a bit longer. What’s the difference between purgatory and hell?

a. The souls in purgatory are still in union with God. (Go to 17)
b. Purgatory’s clock is ticking. Just like the world, it will come to an end. (Move to 34)

5. According to the catechism, “the Church also commends alms giving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.” Historically, some Church members abused indulgences and incorrectly claimed what?

a. An indulgence can also be applied to oneself while living. (Head for 35)
b. It’s possible to buy a person out of hell. (Move to 38)

6. No Return to 24.

7. No, that was the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Return to 23.

8. The Church also teaches there is “particular judgment” for each of us at the moment of death. At that time, our souls will be headed for where?

a. Heaven or hell. (Go to 22)
b. Heaven, hell, or purgatory. (Move to 37)

9. No, the males in this flock weren’t separated Rams, ewes, and lambs are all sheep. Return to 20.

10. According to Scripture, this person is certainly in heaven.

a. Dismas. (Go to 2)
b. Joseph (Move to 40)

11. Jesus tells the story of the Final Judgment in Matthew 25. Those who helped the poor and needy in this life were helping Christ. Those who ignored them were ignoring Our Lord. The first group – the sheep – belong on God’s right. The second – the goats – go to the left. The “sheep” receive heaven; the “goats” go to hell. Now go to 8.

12. The Church’s teaching on hell certainly isn’t “in limbo.” Who’s one human being we know for certain is in hell?

a. Judas (Go to 16)
b. We don’t know. (Head for 28)

13. No, it isn’t just an idea some Catholics came up with. Return to 32.

14. Yes. The Church teaches a general judgment will take place after Christ’s Second Coming, or Parousia. Now head for 20.

15. Wrong. And thank God it’s true. Return to 18.

16. Sometimes we assume Judas or some horrible dictator or serial killer is in hell, but only God can judge. Only God knows. Return to 12.

17. Both answers are correct. The souls in purgatory are still in union with God, even if it is an imperfect union. Also, just as a soul’s time is limited in purgatory, purgatory’s time is limited. The Church teaches it will exist only until the Last Judgment. Now head for 32.

18. Here’s your last question. Is it true that each of our bodies will also rise from the dead and be reunited with our souls at the end of time, after the Final Judgment?

a. No way. That’s common misunderstanding. (Go to 15)
b. Yes, yes, yes! (Head for 26)

19. No. Sorry. Back to 27, please.

20. In Jesus’ parable about the Final Judgment, the sheep are at God’s right hand. What are at God’s left?

a. The rams. (Go to 9)
b. The goats. (Head for 11)

21. As long as we’re tackling thorny issues, let’s examine limbo. What does the catechism have to say about that?

a. It was a false teaching. (Go to 31)
b. Nothing. (Move to 41)

22. Sorry. That list is incomplete. Return to 8.

23. Mary’s assumption into heaven – body and soul – is the only declared exercise of papal infallibility. After consulting with all the bishops of the Church, which pope made this declaration when?

a. Pope Pius IX in 1854. (Go to 7)
b. Pope Pius XII in 1950. (Move to 30)

24. There was a famous Italian poet noted for writing about hell. Who was he?

a. Macchiavelli. (Go to 6)
b. Dante. (Go to 29)

25. Yes. And they’re right – and wrong. It’s in the Catholic Bible but not the Protestant Bible. The reference to purgatory – to the living praying for the dead – is found in 2 Maccabees 12:46. That’s an Old Testament book that Protestant denominations don’t include in their Bible. Now head for 5.

26. How about that? When we say in the creed we believe in the resurrection of the body, we don’t just mean Jesus on Easter. All the dead will rise, the catechism explains (no.998). Now head for 43)

27. In the Apostle’s Creed, we say Jesus descended into hell. What do we mean?

a. The gates of heaven weren’t open until Jesus rose on Easter Sunday. (Go to 19)
b. Jesus went where dead people went. (Move to 36)

28. That’s right. We don’t know. Now head for 39.

29. Yes. This 14th century writer’s Divine Comedy tells the story of a journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven. Now move on to 27.

30. Yes, though the Feast of the Assumption was celebrated by Christians as early as the seventh century. Now head 18.

31. Sorry. Return to 21.

32. “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified,” explains the "Catechism of the Catholic Church,” are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name purgatory to this final purification...” (nos. 1030, 1031). What’s a main reason Protestant teaching doesn’t agree with that?

a. The Catholic Church “invented” it. (Head for 13)
b. It’s not Bible-based. (Go to 25)

33. You’re not even warm. Return to 39.

34. Both answers are correct. The souls in purgatory are still in union with God, even if it is an imperfect union. Also, just as a soul’s time is limited in purgatory, purgatory’s time is limited. The Church teaches it will exist only until the Last Judgment. Now head for 32.

35. While still alive, an individual can gain indulgence for himself or herself or for a soul in purgatory. So, this statement is a correct claim regarding indulgences. Return to 5.

36. That’s right. Traditionally, we use the English word hell in that prayer, but it doesn’t refer to what we generally mean by hell. Hell comes from the Teutonic word hela, which means a hidden or covered place. It would be used to refer to a pit, for example, or a dungeon, or a hole. A more accurate team would be lower regions or wherever it was people went after they had died. Now head for 10.

37. Yes. Though purgatory isn’t as commonly talked about (or written about) in recent years, the Church has never stopped teaching that it exists. Now head for 4.

38. You’re right, this statement is an incorrect claim. Indulgences were unfortunately bought and sold to raise money or peddled as get-out-of-hell-free cards for anyone living or dead. It was a scandal that furthered the Protestant Reformation. But, as the Church explains in the catechism, an indulgence is a “remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven.” So nothing can really be bought or sold with regard to Redemption. Now move to 21.

39. Where did we get the idea hell had fire?

a. From Scripture. (Go to 3)
b. From the Hebrew word for hell, which is almost the same as the one for flame. (Move to 33)

40. No. Though we guess he is, Scripture doesn’t say so. Return to 10.

41. Traditionally, limbo was considered the destination of infants who died prior to being baptized. The name comes from the Latin limbus, meaning edge or border. It was thought these souls weren’t in hell or heaven, but on the edge. Theologians have speculated on its existence but the Church has never officially defined it, and it’s not mentioned in the catechism. Now head for 12.

42. No, you’ll have to guess again. Return to 1.

43. When is the Parousia when all this is going to happen? In apostolic times, some people thought Jesus would come again before they died. At the end of the first millenium, others thought the end of the world was at hand. Now, as we approach the year 2000, people are making that claim again.
But we don’t know when Christ will be coming again. It could happen today; it could happen eons from now. What Jesus did tell us is to be prepared for our own death and for the end of time (Mt. 24: 36-51). We “know neither the day nor the hour’) (Mt. 25:13), but by choosing to love and serve God and our neighbor here and now, we ultimately choose heaven.
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