Poor Christian Science Monitor! CSM finds I know only 64% the Catholic Church and I'm a Catholic

clip_image002MANILA: What I didn't know could have embarrassed me.

Today, Friday 15 March, with some trepidation I took the Christian Science Monitor online quiz, "How much do you know about the Catholic Church?" (csmonitor.com), and found out that I answered correctly only 16 out of 25 questions. 64%: Is that bad? Some of my answers were really just guesses. First, let me tell you the questions where I got the right answers, and you can try answering them yourself:

(1) What country has the largest total number of Roman Catholics?

(2) Which of the following is not a requirement to be a member of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, the Pope's personal bodyguards?

(3) In 2007, the Vatican released a document titled "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized," which cast doubt on the existence of what place?

(6) In what year was the doctrine of Papal infallibility formally declared?

(7) Which of Michelangelo's famous works of art is not housed in the Vatican?

(8) What is an antipope?

(12) What is the first prayer a Roman Catholic utters when praying the rosary?

(13) What biblical site was the original soil for the Vatican Gardens said to have come from?

(15) Which of these ancient sites was built where Vatican City now stands (across the river from Rome)?

(16) What proportion of the papal conclave is required for the election of a new Pope?

(18) As a sovereign city-state Vatican City may conduct or participate in which of the following diplomatic acts?

(19) What is the most common papal name? Twenty-one popes have adopted it, beginning in 523 AD.

(20) True or false: Vatican City is the smallest country in the world.

(21) Where does the Pope summer?

(23) Which automaker manufactured the current "Popemobile" used by Pope Benedict XVI?

(24) The 2004 John Jay report found that, between 1950 and 2002, about what percentage of priests in the United States had a sexual experience with a minor?

You can view my correct answers in the footnote below.[1]

These questions I didn't answer correctly:

(4) What city is home to the largest collection of holy relics outside the Vatican?

(5) According to the Vatican, what Pope had the longest reign, heading the Church for 35 years?

(9) True or false: The Dome of Saint Peter, completed in 1626, is the tallest dome in the world.

(10) Where do the cardinal electors meet to choose the next Pope?

(11) What color are the sacred vestments during "ordinary time"?

(14) Each Pope has his own coat of arms, but two keys, one gold, one silver are used on every Papal Coat of Arms; what do the keys represent?

(17) True or false: All citizens of Vatican City are Catholic.

(22) Saint Peter's Square is connected to Rome by a grand boulevard called Via della Conciliazione, or Road of the Conciliation, which passes many historic buildings and ends at the famed Castel Sant'Angelo (the mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Hadrian). What famous figure commissioned this street?

(25) What is the Immaculate Conception?

Again, my CSM Score: 16 correct, 9 wrong, 64%, where the Average Reader Score is 48%. The quiz column Expert Score is blank, meaning no one who has taken the CSM quiz has scored high. (There is no tally on how many have taken the quiz.)

Since I'm a teacher and I know my Tests & Measurements, and since the CSM quiz gives only 3 classes for the scores, which means the measure is poorly constructed, I will now create my own 5 measurement classes, to accommodate the 25 test items exactly:

21-25 correct answers, Expert
16-20 correct answers, Knower
11-15 correct answers, Average
06-10 correct answers, Uninformed
01-05 correct answers, Mystified

So, with 16 correct answers, I'm above average, a Knower, not quite an Expert when it comes to knowledge about the Roman Catholic Church - according to my classification based on the results of the quiz created by the Christian Science Monitor. I'm not happy with the results; I certainly thought I was an Expert. So, should I not brush up on Roman Catholicism so that when a non-Catholic like a CSM member asks me, I can answer his questions?

I say, pity the Christian Science Monitor! The CSM doesn't quite know what makes Roman Catholicism Roman Catholicism. Of those 25 questions, 22 (88%) are trivia and have nothing to do with doctrine; only 3 (12%) are basic to Catholicism: Limbo (No), Papal Infallibility (Yes), and Immaculate Conception (Yes) are doctrines. With its score of only 3 proper questions to ask about Roman Catholicism, I rate the Christian Science Monitor as Mystified in my scorecard.

So, for the edification of the members of the Christian Science Monitor and Protestants, for those who are Uninformed and Mystified about Roman Catholicism, let me tell you what I know as to how distinct Roman Catholicism is from Protestantism:

The Protestants believe in the Bible as the source of revealed truth, and the Bible only. Sola scriptura. The Catholics believe in the Bible, but not the Bible only. The Protestants believe that faith is enough: Sola fide. The Catholics believe that faith without works is dead. Ora et labora, pray and work.

The Catholic House is built on 3 rocks: Bible, Magisterium, and Holy Traditions. The Bible is written revelation, Scripture. The Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church as embodied in the Pope, applying the wisdom of the past to the problems of the present. Holy Traditions are oral traditions passed on to the next generation by the apostles and are believed to be divinely inspired.

Application: A Protestant asks you, a Catholic, "Where is that in the Bible?" Whether or not you can cite a verse either in the Old Testament or the New Testament to support your claim, tell him this:

Let me remind you that the Catholic faith is not based on the Bible alone. If you do not accept the authority of the Magisterium and oral traditions, we have nothing to talk about.

That answer is good for the Christian Science Monitor too!


[1] My correct answers were: (1) Brazil. (2) Members of the Swiss Guard must be fluent in Italian. (3) Limbo. (6) 1870. (7) the sculpture David. (8) A person backed by a significant number of cardinals and kings who is in opposition to the legitimately elected Pope. (12) The Apostle's Creed. (13) Golgotha. (15) All of the above: The Circus of Nero (the site of ancient Christian executions and naval battle reenactments), an ancient cemetery, the garden of Agrippina the Elder, and (sic) ancient highly revered Roman woman. (16) Two thirds plus one. (18) None of the above: establishing treaties, observing the United Nations General Assembly, establishing foreign embassies. (19) John. (20) True. (21) Castel Gandolfo in Italy's Alban Hills. (23) Mercedes Benz. (24) 4%.

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