The Catholic Ten Commandments, a list of “the conditions for a life free from the slavery to sin” ( Catechism 2057).
These must be understood in relation the “law of Love”: Catholic morality is based on love of God and neighbor. The first principle and source of moral law is the law of love. It includes “all the law, the prophets” (Mt 22.40).
The Catholic Ten Commandments describe the minimum love requires.
The Christian life is much more complicated than following the Ten Commandments. For more information, see the Catholic morality article.
The Ten Commandments
1. I AM THE LORD THY GOD: THOU SHALT NOT HAVE STRANGE GODS BEFORE ME.
COMMANDS: faith, hope, love, and worship of God; reverence for holy things; prayer.
FORBIDS: idolatry; superstition; spiritism; tempting God; sacrilege; attendance at false worship.
2. THOU SHALL NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN.
COMMANDS: reverence in speaking about God and holy things; the keeping of oaths and vows.
FORBIDS: blasphemy; the irreverent use of God's name; speaking disrespectfully of holy things; false oaths and the breaking of vows.
3. KEEP THE SABBATH HOLY.
COMMANDS: going to church on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
FORBIDS: missing church through one's own fault; unnecessary servile work on Sunday and holy days of obligation.
4. HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER.
COMMANDS: love; respect; obedience on the part of children; care on the part of parents for the spiritual and temporal welfare of their children; obedience to civil and religious superiors.
FORBIDS: hatred of parents and superiors; disrespect; disobedience.
5. THOU SHALT NOT KILL.
COMMANDS: safeguarding of one's own life and bodily welfare and that of others.
FORBIDS: unjust killing; suicide; abortion; sterilization; dueling; endangering life and limb of self or others.
6. THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.
COMMANDS: chastity in word and deed.
FORBIDS: obscene speech; impure actions alone or with others.
7. THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.
COMMANDS: respect for the property of rights and others; the paying of just debts; paying just wages to employees; integrity in public office.
FORBIDS: theft; damage to the property of others; not paying just debts; not returning found or borrowed articles; giving unjust measure or weight in selling; not paying just wages; bribery; graft; cheating; fraud; accepting stolen property; not giving an honest day's work for wages received; breach of contract.
8. THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHOUR.
COMMANDS: truthfulness; respect for the good name of others; the observance of secrecy when required.
FORBIDS: lying; injury to the good name of others; slander; talebearing; rash judgment; contemptuous speech and the violation of secrecy.
9. THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHOUR'S WIFE.
COMMANDS: purity in thought.
FORBIDS: wilful impure thought and desires.
10. THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY NEIGHOUR'S GOODS.
COMMANDS: respect for the rights of others.
FORBIDS: the desire to take, to keep, or damage the property of others.
What’s ‘Catholic’ about the Ten Commandants?
The entire Judeo-Christian tradition has the same scriptural content for the Ten Commandments. However, the exact division and numbering of these commandments varies.
The Catholic tradition uses the divisions of the Commandments as established by St. Augustine. (This numbering is also used by the Lutheran confessions, but other traditions and confessions use slightly different numbers.
These are the Catholic Ten Commandments
- I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
- Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not kill.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
What Does the Ten Commandments mean?
The Ten Commandments, which are also a description of basic freedom from sin necessary for Christians to live a Christian life, are again mentioned.
These are the minimum living standards, and we should not live below them.
Since the time of Christ, Catholicism and the Ten Commandments have been linked together. Jesus actually refers to the Ten Commandments in Matthew's Gospel (Mt 19, 16-21). This is item #2052.
Each Commandment is a summary for a whole set of actions. It's important that you remember this. You don't have to be legalistic and try to find a way around them.
- For example, “bearing false witnesses against your neighbor” can refer to any type of falsehood, such as perjury or lying, slander and detraction, etc.
The Catholic Ten Commandments can be linked together to create a cohesive whole. You can break any one of the Ten Commandments, and you are guilty of breaking them all ( Catechism #2069).
The Commandments are man's basic duties towards God and his neighbor. They are serious obligations. It is mortal sin to violate them willfully and knowingly. (See Catechism #2702-3)
The Ten Commandments FAQ
The ten commandments, in order, are:
I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
Honor thy father and mother.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
The ten commandments simplified are;
I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other Gods before me.
You shall not worship false Gods.
You shall never take my name in vain.
You shall keep the sabbath day Holy.
Honor your Father and Mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
Two complete sets of the Ten Commandments are found in the Bible (Exodus 20.2-17 and Deut. Additionally, Leviticus 19 has a partial set (see verses 3-4 and 11-13), 15-16, 15, 16, 30, 32, and Exodus 34 is 10-26, which can sometimes be considered a ritual decalogue.
The New Commandment, a term used in Christianity, refers to Jesus's commandment “love one other” that was included in his final instructions to his disciples following the Last Supper and after Judas Iscariot had left in John 13:30.
Healthy relationships require honesty, trust, respect, and open communication between partners. They also require effort from both parties. There is no power imbalance. Each partner respects the independence of others, is free to make their own decisions and can share in decisions.