Ten Commandments


What are the Ten Commandments?

The Catholic Ten Commandments are a summary of "the conditions of a life freed from the slavery of sin" (Catechism, 2057).

They must be understood in relation to the "Law of Love"

Love of God and love of neighbor summarize all of Catholic morality.

The Law of Love is also the first principle and source of the moral law.  It contains "all the law and the prophets" (Mt 22:40).

The Catholic Ten Commandments are a description of the minimum that love requires.

Christian life itself requires much more than simply following the Ten Commandments.

What's Catholic about them?

While the entire Judeo-Christian tradition uses the same Scriptural content for the Ten Commandments, their exact division and numbering varies.

The Catholic tradition uses the division of the Commandments established by St. Augustine (The Lutheran confessions also use this numbering, while some other confessions & traditions use slightly different numberings).


Ten Commandments

1.  You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.

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

3.  Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.

4.  Honor your father and your mother.

5.  You shall not kill.

6.  You shall not commit adultery.

7.  You shall not steal.

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

9.  You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

10.  You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

What do they mean?

The Ten Commandments are a description of the basic freedom from sin that is necessary to live as a Christian.  They are a minimum level of living.

The Ten Commandments and Catholicism have been bound together since the time of Christ.  In fact, Jesus refers to the Ten Commandments and assures their validity in his dialog with the rich young man in Matthew's Gospel (Mt 19:16-21).

It's important to note that each Commandment is simply a summary of a whole category of actions.  For example, "bearing false witness against your neighbor" covers any kind of falsehood:  perjury, lying, slander, detraction, rash judgment, etc.

The Commandments express man's fundamental duties to God and neighbor.  As such, they represent grave obligations.  To violate them knowingly and willingly in a significant way is to commit mortal sin. (See Catechism, #2702-3).



"And now, Israel, what does the Lord, your God, ask of you but to fear the Lord, your God, and follow his ways exactly, to love and serve the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul, to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord which I enjoin on you today for your own good?

                                                            Deuteronomy 10:12-13


First Commandment

You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.

Ø Worship the one, true and living God

Ø Willful doubt, incredulity (disbelief), heresy (rejection of part of the faith), apostasy (abandonment of the gaith), and schism (separation of a church from Christ’s Church) all break this commandment

Ø You cannot worship false gods or idols, or any creature whatsoever the honor which belongs to God alone

Ø The first Commandment forbids dealing with the devil and superstitious practices, such as consulting spiritualists and fortune-tellers, and trusting to charms, omens, or dreams.

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Is God the center of my life?

Ø Do I allow things such as money, work, pleasure, and superstition to replace God as my chief concern? 

Ø Do I pray daily?

Ø Have I done things that endanger my faith?

Ø Do I ever pray when tempted to sin?

Second Commandment

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

Ø We are commanded to speak with respect and reverence of God and all holy persons and things

Ø It forbids swearing false oaths, blasphemy, cursing, and the irreverent use of the names of God, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and the saints

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Do I reverence the name of God? 

Ø Have I used God's name to curse other people? 

Ø Have I been careless with his name, using it as a joke? 

Ø Have I used his name as an exclamation when I'm angry or surprised?

Third Commandment

Remember of keep holy the Lord's Day.

Ø Respect the Lord’s Day

Ø Our Lord wants us to have a day of rest.  A day when we can put aside our work and just think of how much we are loved by God.  That special day is Sunday

Ø We go to church on Sunday to spend time with our God.  We listen to God's Word at church and pray for each other

Ø We are commanded to keep the Sunday holy by attending and participating at Mass and by resting from our labors and business concerns

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Do I honor God, especially on Sunday and holy days?

Ø Have I deliberately (without just cause) missed Mass on these days?

Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and you mother.

Ø Respect your parents

Ø God gives you life but He shares that gift He has given with your Father and Mother.  He wants them to show you how to love by the love they give to you and each other

Ø We are commanded to love, honor, respect, and obey our parents and to assist them with their spiritual and material needs

Ø Parents have the duty to provide for their children’s spiritual and material needs; to provide a loving and caring home in which they can develop and grow physically and spiritually; to ensure that they have an adequate education and that they are brought up in the knowledge, love and service of God

Ø It forbids disobedience, stubbornness, and contempt to our parents and lawful superiors

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Have I always shown kindness and respect to my parent?

Ø Do I ever pray for them?

Ø Do I ever show them gratitude for being responsible for my life and welfare?

Ø Do I cause them undue worry?

Ø Do I always give them the obedience that I owe them?

Ø Do I always show due respect and obedience to those who have authority over me?

Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

Ø Respect Life

Ø God gave us life.  He gave each of us this special gift and we should treat our lives and the lives of others with care and respect

Ø We are commanded to treat all human life as sacred from the moment of conception to natural death and to avoid anything that could harm or endanger any human life

Ø It forbids all intentional killing, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, aggression, cruelty, anger, quarrelling, hatred and revenge and words that injure; also scandal and bad example because they can lead to the injury and spiritual death of our neighbor’s soul

Ø We do have the right to prevent an unjust aggressor inflicting harm

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Do I respect hum life in all its forms?

Ø Have I ever been responsible or partly responsible for the death of another (including abortion)?

Ø Have I been drinking even though I am not of legal age?

Ø Have I used drugs?

Ø Have I ever endangered my life or the lives of others by driving recklessly or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

Ø Respect the Sacrament of Marriage

Ø This is mostly for married people.  When two people get married, they promise to share their love only with each other.  They must keep that promise

Ø When people aren't married, this commandment reminds us to honor ourselves and be sincere with our friends.  We should be a true friend and not break promises and not lead our friends to break their promises

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Do I respect the sanctity of marriage?

Ø Have I ever engaged in a form of sexual activity with someone who is not me spouse?

Ø Have I masturbated or had sex outside of marriage?

Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

Ø Respect other’s property

Ø We all have things that are special to us.  Perhaps we have worked hard and earned it or perhaps it was a gift for Christmas or a birthday.  Whatever the reason, we would never want what is ours to be taken from us

Ø To just take what is not ours is wrong.  It is selfish and harmful.  Everyone has a right to what belongs to them

Ø When we cheat, it's the same thing.  When we are cheating to win a game, to get the right answer, whatever we cheat on, it's taking what is not ours

Ø It commands respect for the goods and possessions of others and for their right to private property. It demands the practice of Justice and Charity in the administration of earthly goods and the fruits of labor, and the right to a just wage. It calls for respect for the goods and resources of the earth

Ø It forbids theft, or the taking or using another’s goods or property unjustly. It forbids all forms of fraud and cheating. It forbids all acts which for commercial or totalitarian purposes lead to the enslavement of human beings or their being bought, sold or exchanged like merchandise

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Have I stolen what does not belong to me?

Ø Have I cheated anyone from having what was due to him? 

Ø Do I always respect public property?

Eighth Commandment

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Ø Respect other’s reputation

Ø The truth makes us happy and lies make us so sad.  Lies hurt other people and they hurts us.  There are times when we lie to get out of trouble.  There are times when a lie seems to help. That isn't true.  A lie always hurts the respect we have of ourselves and it usually hurts another person.  A lie brings shame on us.  A lie makes us sad.

Ø When you tell other people's secrets, even if it’s true, that hurts them.  When we make them hurt, we hurt ourselves

Ø The eighth Commandment commands that we bear witness to the truth and show ourselves to be honest in our deeds and truthful in our words, avoiding duplicity and hypocrisy

Ø It forbids misrepresenting the truth in our relations with others such as perjury, false witness, rash judgment, boasting, lying

Ø It also forbids any violation of the secrecy of the confessional, and the revealing of professional secrets or confidences

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Have I lied?

Ø Have I damaged the reputation of another by unkind words, gossip, or negative humor?

Ø Have I betrayed another by revealing secrets that were entrusted to me?

Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

Ø Be grateful for the gift of family

Ø Marriage is a special gift from God.  Gifts always make us happy.  This gift of marriage is very special between a man a woman and God doesn't want any other man or woman to take this gift away

Ø It commands us to purify our hearts and practice temperance and modesty

Ø It forbids lust and preoccupation with carnal thoughts and desires

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Am I chaste?

Ø Do I invite feelings of sexual desire for anyone who is not me spouse?

Ø Do I express lustful thoughts in the company of others?

Ø Do I look at pornography?

Ø Do I avoid all occasions of sexual temptations?

Tenth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

Ø Be grateful for your possessions

Ø Many times, other people have really neat things.  We might even wish that it was ours.  Many people are good in sports or have really wonderful clothes

Ø To want nice things for ourselves is okay.  When we become mean or nasty to others that have what we would like to have, that's wrong.  When we are unhappy and sulk because the other person is better in sports or wears better clothes than we wear, that's wrong

Ø We need to admire the things that other people have.  We need to admire their special talents.  We need to be happy for them.  We need to thank God for the special gifts He has given us

Ø It commands respect, even in our thoughts and desires, for the goods and property of others

Ø It forbids avarice, envy and the unjust desires for the goods and property of others

Questions to Consider When Examining Your Conscience for Confession

Ø Instead of delighting in God's generosity to me, am I ever jealous of the talents and possessions others have?

Ø Do I ever wish the misfortune of others so that I will profit?

Ø Am I ever selfish and self-centered to the exclusion of concern for others?


St. Patrick's Church at Moody Air Force Base