MARCH 16, 2008, Vol 58, No 6

"Cloning humans in animal eggs... in Singapore?" was published in the last issue of CatholicNews. The article, by the Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore and Father David Garcia, OP, explored the related ethical issues arising from the creation and use of "cybrids" for research. "Problems with formation of cybrids: The scientific point of view" by the Catholic Medical Guild highlights the problems of cybrid research from a scientific perspective.

THE SINGAPORE BIOETHICS Advisory Committee (BAC) released a Consultation Paper titled “Human-Animal Combinations for Research” on Jan 8, 2008, which discusses the ethical, legal and social issues arising from the creation and use of “cybrids” for research. This was done with the view of providing a regulatory framework for scientists to do such research work in Singapore. The BAC sought feedback on its proposal. Those interested in obtaining a copy of the Consultation Paper can do so from the BAC website:


The nucleus of a cell serves 2 functions:

1. It controls the activity of the cell; and

2. It houses genetic material (DNA) of the cell.

This DNA forms the genes which define what the cell/species is. It is what makes a dog a dog or a whale a whale.

In research involving cybrids, scientists remove the nucleus of the egg cell of an animal (e.g. cow) and replace it with the nucleus of a body cell (e.g. skin cell) of a human. The resulting embryo, a hybrid made of the cytoplasm of the animal egg cell and the nucleus of the human cell , is called a “cybrid” (short for cytoplasmic hybrid)

The human cybrid is a human clone in animal egg. It is made of 99% human genes and 1% animal genes

The animal genes come from the mitochondria (structures which provide energy for a cell’s activity). The cybrids are then made to divide until they are about 4 to 5 days old when they reach the blastocyst stage. At this stage, the embryos are killed and their stem cells harvested in the hope that they can be used to treat certain diseases like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes.

This article highlights the problems of cybrid research from a scientific perspective.

DESPITE ALL THE excitement generated in the scientific community, to date there has been only one published record of success in obtaining embryonic stem cells from cybrids. (Chen et al1 in 2003). Interestingly, since then, even this team had been unable to repeat their feat.

It is also significant that the eminent embryonic stem-cell researcher Robert Lanza,2 of Advanced Cell Technology disclosed that his company had failed despite many attempts at producing embryonic stem cells derived from cybrid. He observed that the artificially created cells were somehow just unable to progress beyond the 16-cell stage (i.e. just short of the blastocyte stage from which stems cells may be derived).

Lanza attributed this blockage in growth to the incompatibility of the animal mitochondrial gene and the human gene. Moreover, there are certain serious diseases that are transmitted specifically by mitochondrial genes.

Mitochondria contain genetic material, and are responsible for the production of energy that help power the cell's life processes. Any defect in their make-up, or the way they interact with the rest of the cell, could result in a number of serious diseases, such as fatal liver failure, blindness, mental retardation with intractable epilepsy, muscle weakness, diabetes and deafness.3

Since embryonic stem cells derived from cybrids are likely to retain the mitochondrial genes of the animal cell involved, there exists the strong possibility that animal related mitochondrial disease may be transmitted to humans through the cell lines created.

Therefore, formation of cybrids with the intention of harvesting the stem cells poses the following problems:

1. The potential for transmission of animal-related mitochondrial disease

2. In the field of human embryonic research, there remains the unresolved problem of possible tumor (cancer) formation. Embryonic cells obtained from cybrids are likely to face a similar if not greater obstacle.

3. In some experiments, scientists have noted significant changes in the genes (i.e. mutations) of the cultured human embryonic stem cells.4 Some of these mutations play a role in transforming normal cells into cancer cells. Transplanting such cells into a patient could cause more medical problems than they would be likely to solve.

4. There is also the risk of transmission of retroviruses and other forms of serious infections initially confined to the animal kingdom. The genes of such viruses existing within the mitochondria or cytoplasm of the egg, may integrate themselves with the genes of the cybrid and cause illnesses, including the formation of tumors. Presently, there is no way to guarantee that such mixed stem-cell lines are free from animal retroviral contamination. It is thus highly questionable if such cell lines can be safely used on humans.

Considering the above problems, one might reasonably question the wisdom of draining vast resources on a project which offers little guarantee of success when there are already viable alternatives, such as adult stem cells . Obtained from sources such as bone marrow, umbilical cord, and the placenta , adult stem cells do not involve the destruction of any human embryo and are free of ethical and legal concerns, Adult stem cell lines have been used to treat diseases successfully. There have been at least 65 proven reports of successful adult stem cell therapy whereas none had so far been recorded for embryonic stem cells.7

A final point: examples do exist where debilitating human diseases have arisen as a result of the crossing of the human-animal barrier, such as HIV8, the virus that causes AIDS, and which is known to have originated in primates. These are sober reminders that there exists a distinct boundary between man and the rest of the animal kingdom; a boundary that we may cross at our peril.

It is wise for us to remember this wise saying: “God always forgives, Man sometimes forgives, but Nature never forgives.”

References 1. Chen Y et al. Embryonic stem cells generated by nuclear transfer of human somatic nuclei into rabbit oocytes. Cell Research. 2003;13:251-263 2. Andy Coghlan. Human-animal cybrids may not be possible. New Scientist 14 September 2007; 2621: 15 3. Roger Highfield, “Transplant creates embryos with three parents”, The Telegraph, 05.02.2008. 4. Maitra A et al. Genomic alterations in cultured human embryonic stem cells. Nat Genet 2005; 37(10): 1099-1103 5. Baker M. Monkey stem cells cloned. Nature. 2007; 447(7147): 891 6. Prudhomme S et al. Endogenous retroviruses and animal reproduction. Cytogenet Genome Res. 2005;110(1-4):353-364 7. Prentice D, Tarne G. Adult versus embryonic stem cells : treatments. Science 2007 Jun 8;316(5830): author reply 1422-3 8. Keele BF et al. Chimpanzee reservoirs of pandemic and nonpandemic HIV-1. Science. 2006 ;313(5786):523-526

“RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO” is a name that is well associated with issues concerning the mentally ill and their caregivers. This name has been appearing in letters to the media, including The Straits Times, TODAY and CatholicNews, and on radio and television programmes.

Raymond has also written to Members of Parliament, doctors, and directors of various organizations to highlight the plight faced by the mentally ill and their caregivers, and made suggestions to help them.

In addition to the cost of treatment and medication, persons with severe cases of mental illness require constant home supervision. Raymond knows.

He is one such caregiver who had to give up his job in broadcasting seven years ago to care full-time for his schizophrenic wife, Doris. (Her mobility has also been impaired in recent months because of severe arthritis.)

He was 51 then, and had not received his pension. He soon found himself in great financial diffi culty and had to survive substantially on assistance from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. That was when he started writing “Loving A Schizophrenic”, in which he told the story of loving his wife of 30 years then (33 years now), who, at that time, had suffered 11 relapses.

Churchgoers might find Raymond familiar as he has been around parishes promoting his books, which are his main source of income these days. Along the way, he began advocating for the mentally ill and their caregivers.

Raymond's journey as an advocate for the mentally ill has garnered him several commendations: from letters including one from a 16-yearold girl who was inspired by his book to pursue her interest in psychiatry, to YMCA Singapore's testimonial of Raymond's monthly volunteering, teaching poetry to youth with cerebral palsy.

In September 2007, Raymond won the Asian Women's Welfare Association's Model Caregiver Award for being a “role model to inspire others in the giving of time and effort to bring about a higher level of caregiving in our community”.

Raymond admits that he has his fair share of critics, as any outspoken person would encounter. He often meets priests who refuse to let him promote his books at their churches, and doctors who believe that he is trying to make money from his wife's illness. But not all whom he meets are unhelpful or cynical.

Father Andrew Wong, parish priest of Church of the Holy Spirit, has been a source of strength for Raymond. It was through Father Andrew's support and encouragement in Raymond's time of greatest need that brought Raymond back to the Catholic faith after a 15-year absence.

Father Andrew shared with CatholicNews the reason for his support for Raymond's work. “Raymond does not want to stretch out his hands for free meals,” he explained.

“He is asking for an equal footing and stands on his own two feet supporting his wife. “I don't think he started out writing, but out of necessity and when you are 'desperate', you try anything, and from there comes his fl air to tell the world about living with a mentally sick wife.

“This is truly a genuine, touching story of 'for better, for worse, for good times and bad times, in sickness and in health'. He is a witness to the world of his love for his wife.”

Considering all the difficulties related to caring for Doris at home, it seems reasonable that people have asked Raymond why he doesn't put Doris in an institution, where she will presumably receive good treatment and companionship.

“I will never put Doris in a home for as long as I live, because I believe very much in what the Catholic religion says about the sanctity of marriage. I will always be with her,” Raymond emphasizes.

One of Doris' main worries, and Raymond's too, is what would happen to her if he dies fi rst? Would she be left in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) until her death? Raymond believes this would happen, and it is this prospect that gives him the will to live, especially in those moments when suicide crosses his mind.

A longing for family support

Over the Lunar New Year period this year, Doris suffered her 12th relapse and is undergoing Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) during her hospitalization at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

Although her condition prevents her from having visitors, Raymond shared with CatholicNews that in her disoriented and depressed state, Doris had said, “My wish is that I will be able to be reunited with my family and yours.”

A perception of a lack of family support is major cause of sadness and feelings of abandonment for Raymond and Doris.

“I've never asked money from my relatives; all I ask is that they come and see us once in a while,” he told CatholicNews.

Interviews with the relatives painted another side of the story. Raymond's fourth brother, Frank, knows Doris' condition and for him to hear the same issue repeatedly at every visit to his brother's has been depressing for him, and is not something he believes a weekend visit to a family member should be about. Hence he has stopped visiting.

Doris' second sister, Jenny, shared that what prevents her family from visiting in recent years is the fear that their visits might cause Doris more psychological harm than good. She used to visit them regularly during holiday periods such as Lunar New Year and Christmas, and had even brought both of them for holidays. Jenny has also helped Raymond to transport his books to sell at parishes. Another relative says he has family and other obligations.

Other relatives say they do not visit because Raymond is overly fussy and demanding when they visit, or he places restrictions, which is an additional strain on the family ties.

Perhaps it is true that Raymond is a demanding person, and perhaps it is also true that people not involved with caring for the mentally ill do not really understand the specialized care that the mentally ill need, or the unremitting emotional wear and tear that caregivers have to endure practically every hour of every day.

“Raymond is behaving the way he is because of his extremely difficult circumstances,” one observer noted. “He is in survival mode.”

While Raymond believes that isolation is a key contributing factor in the psychological stress that has led to Doris' latest relapse, Dr Eu Pui Wai, a Senior Consultant (General Psychiatry) at IMH clarified that reasons for her relapse are multi-factorial.

“Essentially when a person faces greater psychological stress, that places additional risk for relapse,” said Dr Eu in a telephone interview. “There are many other causes that could be psychological stresses, so basically whenever any event doesn't go well, [it] can bring about psychological stress. It just so happens that around Chinese New Year, with the reunion dinners and people visiting, Doris feels more lonely around this time.”

The "love hug" they need

So what do persons with mental illness and their caregivers need? Dr Eu believes that what can help the mentally ill and their caregivers would be if they can have a supportive community to replace their immediate family.

Raymond believes that 'befrienders' will be of great help to Doris. “Doris needs people in her life, other than me,” he added. But no befriender has visited on a regular basis yet.

Some parishes already have ministries dedicated to the elderly and homebound. An expansion to include visits to the mentally ill will be doubtlessly appreciated.

A second area of help would be “affordable home delivery meals” which are nutritious and tasty, said Raymond. He described the food from one such service arranged by a charity organization, at his request, as “terrible” and terminated the service. We, like others who heard about it, thought that Raymond was being unreasonably demanding. That was, until we found out that they were being catered sardine curry four times a week. He has approached some Catholic charity organizations for support in this form but they don't provide such a service.

Raymond believes that Catholic charities, like the Catholic and Social Community Council and the Society of St Vincent de Paul, should make funds available for the mentally ill and their caregivers.

Funds can perhaps be raised in collaboration with parishes by setting aside one Sunday in a year to raise money for them. Raymond has already “made his rounds” to various parishes to sell his books, and have drawn the support of a number of Catholic priests and parishioners, including Fathers Thomas Lim, Andrew Wong, John Lau, Eugene Chong, Henry Siew, Edmund Chong, Francis Lee, Augustine Joseph, John Sim, and Lawrence Yeo, all of whom he is grateful to. He prays that someone would help transport Doris to Sunday Mass.

Another area of help that would be greatly appreciated would be funding to print his books. When Raymond published “Loving A Schizophrenic”, he did so with the help of an arts grant of $6,000 from the Central Singapore Community Development Council. The reprint was sponsored by the Lee Foundation with the support of the Singapore Association for Mental Health.

Such grants are useful for persons with mental illness and their caregivers, because they are able to maintain their dignity by using the grants to make a living.

On a national level, Raymond hopes that the following measures can be taken:

1. Stop discrimination of the mentally ill. Those who openly discriminate against the mentally ill should be taken to task and counselled.

2. Raise funds for the mentally ill on a national level.

3. Remove the clause on job application forms asking the applicant to declare if she or he has a history of mental illness as this in itself is stigmatization and discrimination.

4. Provide structural support for both the mentally ill and their caregivers.

5. Provide a caregivers' allowance for caregivers of the mentally ill, as this task is round-the-clock.

6. Advise SBS to re-route an existing feeder bus or trunk bus service to enter the IMH grounds, so that the 400-metre route out to the main road does not wear out both the patient and the caregiver. Major transport companies must play a supporting role to help the mentally ill.

7. Award grants and opportunities that facilitate caregivers and patients to work from home.

There are some local organizations that provide some form of support for the mentally ill and their caregivers.

Organization Website Telephone Number
Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) 6255 3222
Singapore Anglican Community Services (SACS) Hougang Care Centre: 6386 3911 Simei Care Centre: 6781 8133
Action Group for Mental Illness 6386 9338
Asian Welfare Women’s Association 6511 5318
Institute of Mental Health 1800-3864541
Caregivers Association for the Mentally Ill (CAMI) 6782 9371
Family Service Centre Hotline 1800-838 0100

But a fear of stigmatization or lack of support could still prevent many sufferers from coming forward to receive the help they need, leaving the primary caregiver as the sole care provider for the mentally ill and without any support for himself.

At the XIV World Day of the Sick Mass held on Feb 11, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI called to mind “families with a mentally ill member who are experiencing the weariness and the various problems that this entails”.

The pope said, “We feel close to all these situations... These are forms of poverty which attract the charity of Christ, the Good Samaritan, and of the church, indissolubly united with him in her service to suffering humanity.”

It is time that Catholic organizations in Singapore, and Catholic individuals, take a closer look at the tough situation that the mentally ill and their caregivers face on a daily basis, and offer our neighbours something more to meet their financial, physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Get to know Raymond and Doris Fernando on TV

MEDIACORP TV has produced a new TV series of a one-hour women's talk show similar to the Oprah Winfrey Talk Show, titled, “Rouge”. This local talk show will be hosted by NMP Eunice Olsen.

In the second episode of this series, which is scheduled to be telecast on Sunday Mar 16, 2008 at 10pm on Channel 5, Raymond and Doris are featured as one of the couples in this real-life issue series. This particular episode touches on relationships/marriages.

Raymond will speak of his 33-year marriage to his beloved Doris and the many challenges he faces in providing a safe haven for his wife who has schizophrenia. -By Daniel Tay and Joyce Gan

THE BIBLE IS a treasury of great literature. Being aware of its rich and diverse forms of literary art offers many ways of picturing God’s relationship with human beings and helps us to see more clearly the original intentions of its inspired authors.

Thus, the artistic beauty and power found in the Bible’s large range of literary styles in every book enhances the glory and majesty of the infinite God.

If we read the books of the Bible as though they were all the same – commands for life gathered like recipes in a cookbook or directions for assembling a bookcase – we will think only of commandments and miss much of their ability to lift our minds and imaginations to the wonderful mystery of what God has revealed about himself.

Likewise, if we do not recognize the different rhetorical strategies and modes of writing commonly used by ancient writers, we are likely to misunderstand the message the human author intended to communicate.

The Bible uses poetry, legal codes, letters, oracles, proverbs, historical records, stories, fables, fiction and apocalypses, among others, but sometimes Christians treat them all as if they are supposed to be historical chronicles of the past.

It can lead to an unhealthy fundamentalist reading of the Bible to mistake a parable for a historical record, or to treat a myth as though it is a misguided or garbled history of an event.

What we should see is that each literary form reveals God in a different way to us.

Comparing the literary forms used by the prophets and the wisdom writings of the Old Testament in particular can illustrate this well. Writers use those literary styles that best capture the truth they want to express.

Prophets were deeply concerned with:

Calling the Israelites back to their God.

Urging the Israelites to recommit themselves to loyalty to God alone, and to keep his commands faithfully.

This requires persuasion, so prophets chose those literary techniques that emphasize changing people’s minds. Their primary form was the oracle, in which the message for reform was stated in God’s own voice, and the prophet claimed to be merely the messenger.

The typical oracle communicated the urgency of the message by combining a description of God’s personal concern with warnings of disaster ahead if people do not heed the divine word. Good examples of this are Micah 6:1-14, Amos 2:6-16, Hosea 6:1-11 and Malachi 2:10-17.

But prophets could also use moral lessons, telling the stories of those who heeded or refused. Consider Ezekiel’s powerful description of the father and son in Ezekiel 18:1-32, or Isaiah’s comparison of the disobedience of King Ahaz in Isaiah 7-8 with the obedience of his son Hezekiah in Isaiah 36-37.

They also loved to use images from the cosmic order of the universe that show God’s goodness and generosity to persuade their hearers to trust that God will show his goodness by coming to save them. See the soaring examples in Isaiah 35:1-10 and 40:12-31 and in Jeremiah 31:1-14.

Wisdom writers, however, were not trying to reinforce the commandments or proper obedience to the traditional Torah of the Pentateuch. They were instead asking questions about the difficulties of belief, examining the lessons of human experience, borrowing insights from other cultures and exploring the limits of human knowledge.

One of the literary forms they favoured was the proverb. It pronounces a common truth all should know in a pithy, parallel, poetic two-line verse, as in Proverbs 10:1: "A wise son makes his father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother."

They also loved the riddle because it expresses the mystery of life. Thus, Proverbs 30:18-19: "Three things are too wonderful for me, yes, four I cannot understand: The way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock, The way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden!"

Wisdom writers often question the certainty of knowing God’s ways. Both Job and Ecclesiastes point to experience that contradicts people’s certitudes: Does God always reward the just? (see Eccl 3:9-15; 4:1-6; 6:10-12; Jb 9:13-22; 19:7-11) All ask whether God treats us fairly or not.

Wisdom writers also use the "mashal", a short story or parable to teach a lesson about life. So Ecclesiastes’ poem on "A time to be born, and a time to die ..." (3:1-15) wonders if we can ever know what the future will bring.

Finally, wisdom writers will use the form of a father addressing his son (or a professor his students) with advice for a good life. All of Proverbs 1-9 and most of the Book of Sirach are shaped this way.

By choosing their literary forms of expression, prophets and wisdom sages clearly distinguish their different purposes. The prophet needs to convince us to hear, obey and trust in God’s ways, while the sage wants to question our judgmental and smug certitudes by challenging us to see that God’s ways are always mysterious and beyond human understanding.

Truly the medium is the message! -By Father Lawrence Boadt, CSP

PEOPLE IN 12-step programmes conclude the familiar form of the Serenity Prayer with " ... and the wisdom to know the difference". The practical wisdom they are praying for is the ability to discern what they can change and what they cannot change, what they are in control of and what they must accept if they are to remain serene and sober.

This wisdom requested by people in recovery today is similar to the wisdom Solomon reputedly petitioned over 2,000 years ago in his great prayer in the Book of Wisdom: "Give me Wisdom, the attendant at your throne ... that I may know what is your pleasure" (9:4, 10).

Solomon asks to know God’s will with the assumption that he will eagerly do it. This wisdom the late Bishop Raymond Lucker, formerly of New Ulm, Minn., used to describe as "God’s way of looking at things".

Yet a basic mistake many make repeatedly is thinking they are more powerful in others’ lives than they really are, or they give others more power over themselves than they ought. They also claim less power in their own lives than they really have.

For example, some criticize elected officials but do not vote, moan about a supervisor’s insensitivity but never ask for what is needed at work, wish a spouse would be more tender and responsive but never think to initiate being more tender and responsive.

When we fail to reflect on our own experience, which is the beginning of wisdom, and keep doing what we have always done, never-changing results are predictable.

Only when life hits us over the head do we wake up.

Wisdom often comes as a rude awakening. Usually the price of wisdom is letting go of our expectations of others and beginning to ask something more of ourselves.

The wisdom of the stock market is to "buy low and sell high". The wisdom of team sports is that "a good defense will beat a good offense". Both of these pieces of wisdom are intensely practical.

So too is biblical wisdom. It is anchored in the realization that there is one God, and you and I are not him. There is much we do not control; all we do control are our thoughts, feelings and actions. This is a simple lesson but not an easy one to learn.

This is why the first lines of the Serenity Prayer are "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can."

The wisdom to know the difference between these two remains the wisdom of Solomon today. -By Richard Rice

Pray to the Holy Spirit for self-knowledge and trust in the mercy of God. Examine your conscience, be truly sorry for your sins, and resolve to change your life.

Go to the priest and begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Welcoming you, the priest will say: “May God, who has enlightened every heart, help you to know your sins and trust in his mercy,” or similar words taken from Scripture.

You answer: “Amen”.

Then say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been ____ weeks/months/years since my last confession.”

Confess your sins openly and candidly. Tell the priest of all mortal sins and the number of times each was committed, and then you may confess some of your venial sins. (Although it is not strictly necessary to confess venial sins, the church recommends that you do.)

If you do not know whether a sin is mortal or venial, ask the priest.

If you have no mortal sins, confess venial sins you have committed since your last confession; you may also mention some mortal sin from your past life for which you are particularly sorry, indicating that it has already been confessed.

Listen to the priest for whatever counsel he may judge appropriate. If you have any questions about the faith, how to grow in holiness, or whether something is a sin, feel free to ask him. Then the priest will assign you a penance.

Pray the Act of Contrition when the priest tells you.

Listen as the priest absolves you of your sins and enjoy the fact that God has truly freed you from all your sins. If you forget to confess a mortal sin, you are still forgiven, but must mention it the next time you go to confession.

Do the penance the priest assigns you. If you are anxious or unsure of what to do, take this guide with you or tell the priest and he will make it easier for you.

(continued on page 3)

An aid to your examination of conscience

The Ten Commandments

1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
  • Do I seek to love God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength (Dt 6:5)?
  • Do I put anything or anyone above God?
  • Do I pray daily?
  • Have I had any involvement with the occult, witchcraft, wicca, ouija boards, seances, tarot cards, new age crystals, fortune telling, or the like?
  • Have I put faith in horoscopes?
  • Have I received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin?
  • Have I abused the sacrament of penance by lying to the priest or deliberately not confessing a mortal sin?
  • Have I denied a truth of the faith out of concern for the respect or opinion of others?

2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

  • Have I used God's holy name irreverently?
  • Have I blasphemed God, the church, Mary, the saints, or sacred places or things?

3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.

  • Do I try to keep Sunday as a day of prayer, rest, and relaxation, avoiding unnecessary work?
  • Have I deliberately come late or left early from Mass without a good reason?

4. Honour your father and mother.

  • Do I honour and respect my parents?
  • Have I deliberately hurt my parents?
  • Do I treat my children with love and respect?
  • Do I support and care for the wellbeing of all family members?
  • Have I neglected family duties?
  • Do I honour and obey my lawful superiors?

5. You shall not kill.

  • Have I deliberately harmed anyone?
  • Have I had an abortion or encouraged an abortion?
  • Have I attempted suicide or seriously considered it?
  • Have I abused drugs or alcohol?
  • Have I led anyone to sin through bad example or through direct encouragement?

6. You shall not commit adultery.

  • For the married:
    • Am I faithful to my spouse in thought and action?
    • Have I used artifi cial contraception or been sterilized?
    • Was I married outside the church without proper permission of the church?
  • For the unmarried:
    • Have I engaged in sexual activity with anyone of either sex?
  • For all:
    • Have I deliberately viewed pornographic magazines, videos or Internet websites?
    • Have I masturbated?
    • Have I used impure language or told impure jokes?
    • Do I dress modestly?

7. You shall not steal.

  • Have I stolen or accepted stolen goods?
  • Have I deliberately destroyed the property of others?
  • Have I cheated anyone of what I owe?
  • Do I gamble excessively?
  • Do I share what I have with the poor and the church according to my means?
  • Have I pirated materials: videos, music, software?

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

  • Have I lied?
  • Have I sworn falsely?
  • Have I plagiarized or been academically dishonest?
  • Have I gossiped?
  • Have I revealed secrets or confi dential information without good reason?
  • Have I ruined the good name of others by spreading lies or maliciously revealing their faults and sins?

9. You shall not desire your neighbour's wife.

  • Have I deliberately and consciously permitted sexual thoughts about anyone besides my spouse?
  • Do I guard my imagination and senses?
  • Have I watched shows, plays, pictures or movies that contain impure scenes with the deliberate intention of being aroused by them?
  • Am I responsible about what I read?

10. You shall not desire your neighbour's goods.

  • Am I envious of the possessions, abilities, talents, beauty, or success of others?
(continued on page 4)

You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

  • Do I love my neighbour?
  • Is there anyone whom I do not love or refuse to love?
  • Have I wished harm or misfortune on anyone?
  • Do I forgive from my heart those who have hurt me?
  • Do I harbour hatred or grudges?
  • Do I pray for my enemies?
  • Have I ridiculed or humiliated others?
  • Do I seek to help others in need?
  • Do I love myself as God loves me?
  • Do I care for my physical, emotional, and spiritual health?
  • Do I forgive myself for my sins after bringing them to God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

Precepts of the Church

  • Have I deliberately missed Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of obligation without a serious reason?
  • Do I go to confession at least once a year when I have serious sins to confess?
  • Do I receive Holy Communion, at least once during Eastertime?
  • Do I take part in the major feasts celebrating Our Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints?
  • Do I abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent (for ages 14 and over) and fast on one full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (for ages 18-59)?
  • Do I fast for one hour before Holy Communion (water and medicine allowed)?
  • Do I contribute to support the material needs of the church?

Copyright 2000 by Knights of Columbus