Baltimore Catechism questions


Is there a contradiction between question 5 and 141 in the catechism?

Question 5 is: How is the soul like God?
The soul is like God because it is a spirit that will never die, and has understanding and free will.

Question 141 is:Why are Baptism and Penance called Sacraments of the dead?

Baptism and Penance are called sacraments of the dead because they take away sin, which is the death of the soul, and give grace which is life.


It is only an apparent contradiction, both are true.

The human soul, like angels, is immortal and will never be destroyed. It will persist forever. This is unlike animal souls which are destroyed upon the death of the animal.

What question 141 refers to by “the death of the soul” is the absence of God’s divine life within it. That is, the Holy Spirit will leave it, the life of holiness will die within it. Its will, will become weakened, its intellect will be darkened, but it will nevertheless persist.

Death means two different things in these questions.

No contradiction.

They are each referring to entirely different things.

Question 5 is referring to the fact that the soul is immortal. It is referring to its actual properties.

Question 141 to the state of the soul in its relations to God-- i.e. it’s spiritual condition, whether it contains sanctifying grace or now, and whether Hell or Heaven would be its eternal destiny. IOW, it’s a metaphor.

Our soul may be “like” God but only because HE made us in His image and likeness, eternal When we say our soul can die, (from serious sin, mortal) it means death to the life of Grace within it.Our soul will still exist after our physical death, either in Heaven or Hell. We are a creature of God’s, HE is the Supreme Eternal Spirit. Thank God for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God Bless, Memaw

Thank you

I’d say the former deals with the living, animating force(?) in a living being. Humans and animals have souls. Man has an everlasting soul…after death it still exists.

The latter deals with spiritual death, separation from God. A spiritually dead person can be given grace…faith, regeneration (rebirth), etc. and become spiritually alive.


I am going to try to explain this to my friend. She doesn’t have the concept of everlasting soul/spirit . She believes that when Jesus says everlasting fire that he doesn’t mean Hell .God would never punish anyone for eternity. Eternal life is a gift from God and he wouldn’t mean eternal punishment.

I try to tell her that we choose what eternal life we have: either with God or Satan.

It amazes me that it is right in print ,and she is sola scriptura, and she doesn’t believe it. When Jesus says everlasting damnation he means you don’t exist any more. (according to her)

She doesn’t have the concept of the beatific vision. I don’t think that she believes that she will ever see God/Jesus. Mores the pity.


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