Hey guys, I’m looking for some help finding official Church teachings about the duties incumbant upon all Catholics. (such as to spread the faith, to work, to help others via corporal acts of charity etc) In particular I am looking for anything related to external actions rather than internal ones (such as praying, meditating etc). I really appreciate any help you can give me with this.
All you have to do is read the complete Catachism of the Catholic Church. It is available on line.
Matthew 25 is a great start!
You might reference the 10 commandments.
I’ve kept these “Lists all Catholics should know” bookmarked for quite some time. Nothing specific on duties all Catholics are required to do, but I think a lot of stuff pertinent to what you might be looking for.
Perhaps start with the 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy, and the 7 Corporal Works of Mercy.
My thoughts exactly. They can be found here
One can even sneak a few of these acts in in between chapters whilst one is attempting to read the entire Catechism (as someone else here has suggested).
Thanks for all the input so far. I am hoping, for a friend, for something that not just lists duties, but states explicitly that they are duties of all Catholics. But I have to say I am very excited about the links and posts I have received so far, It is helping me to look at it from another perspective.
If you’re interested, Kevin Vost has published “Memorize the Faith!” and “Memorize the Reasons!”. Basically, Vost uses the method of loci to help you memorize Church things and with this method, you can basically memorize anything.
Let’s look at the five precepts of the Catholic Church (which “Memorize the Faith!” helps you memorize ):
1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
3. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
Of course, the other posts gave great resources such as the seven spiritual works of mercy and the seven corporal acts of mercy.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (English): vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
The corporal works of mercy is as follows:
To feed the hungry; To give drink to the thirsty; To clothe the naked; To harbour the harbourless; To visit the sick; To ransom the captive; To bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy are:
To instruct the ignorant; To counsel the doubtful; To admonish sinners; To bear wrongs patiently; To forgive offences willingly; To comfort the afflicted; To pray for the living and the dead.
Mercy as it is here contemplated is said to be a virtue influencing one’s will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune. It is the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that although mercy is as it were the spontaneous product of charity, yet it is to be reckoned a special virtue adequately distinguishable from this latter. In fact the Scholastics in cataloguing it consider it to be referable to the quality of justice mainly because, like justice, it controls relations between distinct persons. It is as they say ad alterum. Its motive is the misery which one discerns in another, particularly in so far as this condition is deemed to be, in some sense at least, involuntary. Obviously the necessity which is to be succoured can be either of body or soul. Hence it is customary to enumerate both corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
It will be seen from these divisions that the works of mercy practically coincide with the various forms of almsgiving. It is thus that St. Thomas regards them. The word alms of course is a corruption of the Greek elenmosyne (mercy). The doing of works of mercy is not merely a matter of exalted counsel; there is as well a strict precept imposed both by the natural and the positive Divine law enjoining their performance. That the natural law enjoins works of mercy is based upon the principle that we are to do to others as we would have them do to us.
The Divine command is set forth in the most stringent terms by Christ, and the failure to comply with it is visited with the supreme penalty of eternal damnation (Matthew 25:41): “Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, in everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in; naked, and you covered me not; sick and in prison, and you did not visit me”, etc. Here it is true there is mention directly and explicitly of only the corporal works of mercy. As, however, the spiritual works of mercy deal with a distress whose relief is even more imperative as well as more effective for the grand purpose of man’s creation, the injunction must be supposed to extend to them also. Besides there are the plain references of Christ to such works as fraternal correction (Matthew 18:15) as well as the forgiveness of injuries (Matthew 6:14). It has to be remembered however that the precept is an affirmative one, that is, it is of the sort which is always binding but not always operative, for lack of matter or occasion or fitting circumstances. It obliges, as the theologians say, semper sed non pro semper. Thus in general it may be said that the determination of its actual obligatory force in a given case depends largely on the degree of distress to be aided, and the capacity or condition of the one whose duty in the matter is in question. There are easily recognizable limitations which the precept undergoes in practice so far as the performance of the corporal works of mercy are concerned. These are treated in the article on Alms and Almsgiving. Likewise the law imposing spiritual works of mercy is subject in individual instances to important reservations. For example, it may easily happen that an altogether special measure of tact and prudence, or, at any rate, some definite superiority is required for the discharge of the oftentimes difficult task of fraternal correction. Similarly to instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, and console the sorrowing is not always within the competency of every one. To bear wrongs patiently, to forgive offences willingly, and to pray for the living and the dead are things from which on due occasion no one may dispense himself on the pleas that he has not some special array of gifts required for their observance. They are evidently within the reach of all. It must not be forgotten that the works of mercy demand more than a humanitarian basis if they are to serve as instruments in bringing about our eternal salvation. The proper motive is indispensable and this must be one drawn from the supernatural order.