Lesson 38: The Fifth Commandment
"And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth:  and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul."  (Genesis 2:7)

  1. What is the Fifth Commandment?

  2.    Thou shalt not kill.

  3. What does the Fifth Commandment oblige you to do?

  4.    To take care of your own life and the lives of others.

  5. What are the mortal sins against the Fifth Commandment?
    1. Murder, the unjust killing of an innocent person.
    2. Abortion, deliberately causing the death of an unborn baby.
    3. Suicide, taking your own life.
    4. "Mercy killing", killing an innocent person who is dying of an incurable disease.
    5. Sterilization, making the sex organs unfruitful.
    6. Getting drunk.
    7. Serious anger and hatred.
    8. Helping another to commit a mortal sin.

  6. Are you ever allowed to use force or to kill?

  7.    Only in self-defense, when it is the only way you can protect yourself or another and when you or someone else is being seriously attacked here and now.
    You may kill in defense of life, bodily integrity, chastity or material goods of great value.  If possible, you should flee from the attacker, or wound him rather than kill him.

  8. Is abortion ever allowed?

  9.    No, because deliberately to take the life of any innocent person, even that of an unborn baby, is murder.
    Any Catholic who knowingly and willingly has an abortion is automatically excommunicated from the Church, and anyone who helps someone to procure an abortion commits a mortal sin.  See Lesson 30, questions 13 and 14.

  10. Is suicide ever allowed?
       No, your life belongs to God, and He alone can take it away.
    A Catholic who commits suicide while in his right mind loses his right to have a Catholic funeral.

  11. Is "mercy killing" ever allowed?

  12.    No, because it is murder.
    A person who allows himself to be killed in this way is guilty of suicide.

  13. Is sterilization ever allowed?

  14.    To have the Fallopian tubes or the seminal vesicles (sperm ducts) tied or cut is always a mortal sin.
    The reproductive organs may be removed only when they are diseased and present a danger to the whole body.

  15. What kind of sin is it to get drunk?

  16.    To get slightly drunk is a venial sin; to get seriously drunk is a mortal sin.
    You are guilty of any sins you commit while under the influence of alcohol, even though later on you do not remember committing them.

  17. Are you ever allowed to use narcotics?

  18.    Only when recommended by a competent doctor, and then only according to his directions.

  19. Are hatred and anger mortal sins?

  20.    Hatred of another person is a mortal sin and anger toward another person is usually a venial sin, unless you wish someone serious harm.

  21. Is there such a thing as sinless anger?

  22.    Yes, anger prompted by zeal for justice, honor to God, or some other good cause.
    Jesus, for example, was angry with the buyers and sellers in the temple.

  23. In what other way can you sin against the Fifth Commandment?

  24.    By helping another to commit sin by your sinful actions or words, or by giving another whatever is necessary to commit sin.
    "But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea."    (Matthew 18:6)

  25. Is capital punishment (the death penalty) ever allowed?

  26.    Yes, the state has the right to administer the death penalty for a grave crime in the interest of the common welfare.

  27. Can there ever be a just war?

  28.    Yes, both offensive and defensive wars are lawful for a serious and just cause if there is no other means to obtain justice.