29 Questions to Test Your Catholic Knowledge

Of the 33 Doctors of the Church, which one was born first? What is the name of the ring the pope wears?

Anonymous, “Evangelist With Lion,” 1524
Anonymous, “Evangelist With Lion,” 1524 (photo: Public Domain / Public Domain)

It’s Advent. What better time for the December edition of our Catholic quiz? As always: no Google, no Wikipedia, no Catechism — and, of course, no wagering!


  1. What presidential assassin had a cousin in the Jesuits whom he visited (and wrote to) at least twice?
  2. In a Catholic Church, what is a “Conopaeum”?
  3. Many people credit St. Bernard with founding the Cistercian Order of monks. However, it was not St. Bernard, but this saint who founded that branch of the Benedictines?
  4. Of the 33 Doctors of the Church, which one was born first?
  5. What cardinal engineered the agreement with Mussolini to create the Vatican City State?
  6. St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr and deacon—how many other deacons were ordained with him?
  7. Soteriology is the study of what branch of theology?
  8. There are two accounts of the death of Judas. One is that he committed suicide. According to the other, how did he die?
  9. What famous 20th-century architect was commissioned to design and build three churches/convents/monasteries in France despite being only nominally “Catholic”?
  10. What is the name of the ring the pope wears?
  11. What saint bears the sobriquet “the Astonishing”?
  12. The publication of his work The Expulsion of The Triumphant Beast led to the burning at the stake of this Dominican-turned-heretic on Ash Wednesday, 1600?
  13. This Venerable Servant of God founded the Saint Vincent de Paul Society in Paris in 1883.
  14. Which Crusade never made it to the Holy Land—and wound up sacking Constantinople instead?
  15. What saint is always depicted with a staff, a dog and an open wound on his knee?
  16. In Dante’s Inferno there is a City named “The City of _______.”
  17. What pope-saint coined the term “the Synthesis of All Heresies”?
  18. Pope St. John Paul II wrote a play (when he was still Karol Wojtyła) about a man he would later canonize. Who was that man?
  19. Thomas Merton is often thought of as a “New Yorker” or a hermit in Kentucky, but he was born in what country—and died in what other country?
  20. What 16th-century Italian composer is synonymous with High Mass settings?
  21. In what religious order are the men subject to an abbess?
  22. What Doctor of the Church was imprisoned in Spain by his own order?
  23. What current best-selling American author is also a deacon?
  24. In addition to Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (who are named in the Bible), can you name any of the five “apocryphal” angels?
  25. Who is the youngest founder of a religious order, society or congregation to be canonized?
  26. What deacon was Charlemagne’s closest adviser?
  27. What state flag has a “sun-cross” in the center of it?
  28. What 19th-century saint is known as “the Hermit of Lebanon?”
  29. What convert to Catholicism coined the phrases “the medium is the message” and “the global village?”


  1. Lee Harvey Oswald’s cousin Eugene Murrett was a Jesuit who asked Oswald to come to Mobile, Alabama, and speak on socialism in 1963. His letters to Oswald are in the Warren Commission files. He later left the Jesuits in 1968.
  2. A Conopaeum is a tabernacle veil
  3. St. Robert of Molesme
  4. St. Athanasius (b. 300)
  5. Cardinal Pietro Gaspari
  6. Six other deacons were ordained with St. Stephen in Acts 6: 5: Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicholas of Antioch.
  7. The study of salvation/salvation history
  8. According to Acts 1:18: “Falling headlong, he [Judas] burst in the middle and all his insides spilled out.” (New American Bible)
  9. Le Corbusier (Charles Edouard Jeanneret)
  10. The Ring of the Fisherman
  11. Saint Christina
  12. Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)
  13. Frederick Ozanam
  14. The Fourth Crusade (1202-1204)
  15. St. Rocco
  16. The City of Dis, which separates “Upper” from “Lower” hell
  17. Pope St. Pius X, in condemning “Modernism”
  18. St. Albert Chmielowski is the protagonist in the play “Our God’s Brother”
  19. Thomas Merton was born in France and died in Thailand.
  20. Palestrina
  21. The Order of the Most Holy Savior (the Bridgettines)
  22. St. John of the Cross
  23. Deacon Ron Hansen, author of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, among many other acclaimed works
  24. Zadkiel (The Righteousness of God), Jophiel (The Beauty of God), Chamuel (The Sight of God), Uriel (The Light of God),
  25. St. Paula Frassinetti, Founder of the Sisters of St. Dorothy. She was 28.
  26. Blessed Alcuin of York
  27. New Mexico’s distinctive flag, which was adopted in 1925.
  28. Saint Charbel Makhlouf
  29. Marshall McLuhan