Reformed Reflections

The Ten Commandments in the Roman Catholic Tradition 

The traditional Roman Catholic enumeration of the Ten Commandments is: 

1. "I, the Lord, and your God,... You shall not have other gods besides me, You shall not carve idols." 

The Catechism comments: "God makes himself known by recalling his all-powerful, loving, and liberating action in the history of the one he addresses: `I brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.' The first word contains the first commandment of the LAW: "You shall fear the Lord your God. you shall serve him...You shall not go after other gods.' God's first call and just demand is that man accept him and worship him." 

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

3. "Take care 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 dishonest witness against your neighbor." 

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

10. "You shall not desire your neighbor's house or field, nor his male of female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything that belongs to him" (summarily his goods). 

The traditional enumeration usage differs from the above. Thus: two commandments are made of the first, as above; the third and fourth are equivalent to the second and third, as above, and so on: and the 10th includes the ninth and 10th, as above. 

The Catechism states: '`The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: `The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord ... the mission of teaching all peoples, and of the preaching of the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation, ism and the observance of the Commandments (italics are mine).



1981   Catholic Almanac: The Most Complete One-Volume of Catholic Facts and Information On The Church. 

English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America. 1994.


Johan D. Tangelder