The Communion of Saints and the Forgiveness of Sins

Lesson 13 from the Baltimore Cathechism

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"I believe in ... the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins ..."

170. What is meant by "the communion of saints" in the Apostles' Creed?

By "the communion of saints" is meant the union of the faithful on earth, the blessed in heaven, and the souls in purgatory, with Christ as their Head.

171. Through the communion of saints, what can the blessed in heaven do for the souls in purgatory and the faithful on earth?

Through the communion of saints, the blessed in heaven can help the souls in purgatory and the faithful on earth by praying for them.

It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins. (II Maccabees 12:46)

172. Should the faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, honor the blessed in heaven and pray to them?

The faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, should honor the blessed in heaven and pray to them, because they are worthy of honor and as friends of God will help the faithful on earth.

Let us now praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation. (Ecclesiasticus 44:1)

173. Can the faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, relieve the sufferings of the souls in purgatory?

The faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, can relieve the sufferings the souls in purgatory by prayer, fasting, and other good works, by indulgences, and by having Masses offered for them.

It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins. (II Maccabees 12:46)

174. Can the faithful on earth help one another?

The faithful on earth, as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, can help one another by practicing supernatural charity and the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Pray for one another that you may be saved. For the unceasing prayer of a just man is of great avail. (James 5:16)

175. What is meant in the Apostles' Creed by "the forgiveness of sins"?

By "the forgiveness of sins" in the Apostles' Creed is meant that God has given to the Church, through Jesus Christ, the power to forgive sins, no matter how great or how many they are, if sinners truly repent.

Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. (John 20:22-23)

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