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The Ultimate Catholic Quiz


This book offers a fun and challenging way to see how well you know Catholic teachings, practices, and history.


keating33How well do you know Catholic teachings, practices, and history?  You're about to find out.

In the following pages, I offer for your amusement one hundred questions.  Each is followed by five possible answers.  Only one of the answers is completely correct.  It's your task to find it.  It won't be as easy as you might imagine.  You will have difficulty in winnowing the answers.  Some questions will stump you completely, and you'll be reduced to making a random guess.  As a concession to those who are easily discouraged, for a few questions I have proposed one or even two glaringly wrong answers.  You should be able to spot them immediately.  (If you can't, go ahead and feel discouraged.)

There are no trick questions, but there are questions that will trip you up if you fail to read carefully.  Words are used precisely and not necessarily in the colloquial sense.  An answer is counted as wrong if any part of it — such as a date or a name — is wrong.  Your goal is not to find the answer that is least wrong but the one answer that is wholly right, which may be "none of the above".

This quiz does not pretend to be comprehensive.  It has only one hundred questions, after all, so most matters of Catholic belief and practice aren't mentioned.  Still, the questions cover multiple areas — doctrines, morals, customs, history, personalities — and should provide your mind with a good workout.  You likely will find areas of strength and weakness in your knowledge.  You might answer all the doctrine questions correctly, but none of the history questions.  Or the other way around.  None of us is omnicompetent.

I tested some of these questions with groups of intelligent, well-educated Catholics.  It may console you to know that never did anyone in those groups find all of the correct answers, and most people found only about half.  With that in mind, I suggest that you not reveal to anyone that you're taking this quiz until you learn whether your score merits cheers or jeers.

As you take the quiz, record your answers on a sheet of paper.  A scoring scale is provided at the back of the book.


The Ark of the Covenant

a.  was built by Noah.

b.  housed the tablets of the law.

c.  was burned piece by piece by Caiaphas.

d.  probably never existed; it was made up to instruct the Israelites about Yahweh's mercy.

e.  none of the above


The Ark of the Covenant - ANSWER

a.  The Ark of the Covenant wasn't a boat.  You will find the account of the Flood, and thus Noah's ark (a very large boat), in Genesis 6-9.

b.  Yes.  It was more like a safe-deposit box, made of gold-plated wood and measuring two and a half cubits in length and one and a half cubits in width and height.  (A cubit is the length from the elbow to the tip of the outstretched middle finger, about eighteen inches.)

c.  It was lost centuries before Caiaphas was born.  The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon's Temple in 597 b.c., and there is no record of the Ark's location after that.  According to the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, Caiaphas was appointed high priest in a.d.  18.

d.  If some adventurous biblical scholar has suggested this, I've missed the news — and, if he has suggested it, he's wrong.

e.  The right answer is b.


The patron of air travelers is

a.  Saint Frances of Rome.

b.  Sister Bertrille, the flying nun.

c.  Saint Joseph of Cupertino.

d.  Saint Bona of Pisa.

e.  none of the above.


 The patron of air travelers is - ANSWER

a.  In 1925 Pope Pius XI named Frances of Rome the patron saint of automobile drivers.  His choice derived from the legend that when Frances walked along roads at night, an angel lighted her way with a lantern so that she would not stumble.

b.  Sister Bertrille was the name of the main character in the television show The Flying Nun, which ran from 1967 to 1970.  She "flew" when a breeze caught her large, stiff cornette and lifted her off the ground.

c.  Joseph of Cupertino (1603–1663) was a Franciscan friar and mystic known to levitate when in deep prayer, an accomplishment sufficiently impressive for him to be named patron of air travelers, aviators, and astronauts.

d.  Bona of Pisa (1156–1207) almost qualifies.  She is the patron saint of travelers in general and specifically of guides, pilgrims, and flight attendants — but not of air travelers as such.

e.  Answer c is correct.


Who committed the first sin, not counting the fallen angels?

a.  Cain, when he murdered his brother Abel

b.  Adam, from whom we inherit original sin

c.  Eve, from whom we inherit original sin

d.  Adam and Eve together, from whom we inherit original sin

e.  none of the above


Who committed the first sin, not counting the fallen angels? - ANSWER

a.  No, since Adam and Eve had sinned even before Cain and Abel were born.

b.  No, because Eve sinned before Adam when she ate the forbidden fruit.  His sin came immediately thereafter.  See Genesis 3:6.

c.  Although Eve sinned first and induced Adam to sin, we do not inherit original sin from her but from him, because he was the head of the human race.

d.  No, since we don't inherit original sin from Eve.

e.  Each of the above answers is incorrect, making this one the right answer.




keatingKeating, Karl. "The Ultimate Catholic Quiz." an excerpt (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2016) 7-14.

Reprinted by permission of Ignatius Press.

The Author

keating2keating1Karl Keating is founder and senior fellow at Catholic Answers. He is the author of seven books, including He is the author of five books, including The Ultimate Catholic Quiz, The New Geocentrists, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, and What Catholics Really Believe

Copyright © 2016 Ignatius Press
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