Catechism of the Catholic Church
Part Three: Life in Christ
Section Two: The Ten Commandments
Chapter One: You Shall Love the Lord your God with ...
2083 Jesus summed up man's duties toward God in this saying: "You shall
love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and
with all your mind." This immediately echoes the solemn call: "Hear, O
Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD."
God has loved us first. The love of the One God is recalled in the first
of the "ten words." The commandments then make explicit the response of
love that man is called to give to his God.
Article 1: The First Commandment
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of
the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall
not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is
in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.
It is written: "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you
I. "You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve"
2084 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.
2085 The one and true God first reveals his glory to Israel. The
revelation of the vocation and truth of man is linked to the revelation of
God. Man's vocation is to make God manifest by acting in conformity with
his creation "in the image and likeness of God":
There will never be another God, Trypho, and there has been no other Since
the world began . . . than he who made and ordered the universe. We do not
think that our God is different from yours. He is the same who brought
your fathers out of Egypt "by his powerful hand and his outstretched arm."
We do not place our hope in some other god, for there is none, but in the
same God as you do: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
2086 "The First Commandment embraces faith, hope, and charity. When we say
'God' we confess a constant, unchangeable being, always the same, faithful
and just, without any evil. It follows that we must necessarily accept his
words and have complete faith in him and acknowledge his Authority. He is
almighty, merciful, and infinitely beneficent. Who could not place all
hope in him? Who could not love him when contemplating the treasures of
goodness and love he has poured out on us? Hence the formula God employs
in the Scripture at the beginning and end of his commandments: 'I am the
2087 Our moral life has its source in faith in God who reveals his love to
us. St. Paul speaks of the "obedience of faith" as our first
obligation. He shows that "ignorance of God" is the principle and
explanation of all moral deviations. Our duty toward God is to believe
in him and to bear witness to him.
2088 The First Commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith
with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to
it. There are various ways of Sinning against faith:
Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what
God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt
refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections
connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If
deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.
2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal
to assent to it. "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some
truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is
likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total
repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to
the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject
2090 When God reveals Himself and calls him, man cannot fully respond to
the divine love by his own powers. He must hope that God will give him the
capacity to love Him in return and to act in conformity with the
commandments of charity. Hope is the confident expectation of divine
blesSing and the beatific vision of God; it is also the fear of offending
God's love and of incurring punishment.
2091 The First Commandment is also concerned with Sins against hope,
namely, despair and presumption:
By despair, man ceases to hope for his personal salvation from God, for
help in attaining it or for the forgiveness of his Sins. Despair is
contrary to God's goodness, to his justice - for the Lord is faithful to
his promises - and to his mercy.
2092 There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own
capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high),
or he presumes upon God's almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain
his forgiveness without conversion and glory without Merit).
2093 Faith in God's love encompasses the call and the obligation to
respond with Sincere love to divine charity. The First Commandment enjoins
us to love God above everything and all creatures for him and because of
2094 One can Sin against God's love in various ways:
- indifference neglects or refuses to reflect on divine charity; it fails
to consider its prevenient goodness and denies its power.
- ingratitude fails or refuses to acknowledge divine charity and to return
him love for love.
- lukewarmness is hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love;
it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity.
- acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes
from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.
- hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose
goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids
Sins and inflicts punishments.
II. "Him only shall you serve"
2095 The Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and charity inform and give
life to the moral virtues. Thus charity leads us to render to God what we
as creatures owe him in all justice. The virtue of religion disposes us to
have this attitude.
2096 Adoration is the first act of the virtue of religion. To adore God is
to acknowledge him as God, as the Creator and Savior, the Lord and Master
of everything that exists, as infinite and merciful Love. "You shall
worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve," says Jesus,
2097 To adore God is to acknowledge, in respect and absolute submission,
the "nothingness of the creature" who would not exist but for God. To
adore God is to praise and exalt him and to humble oneself, as Mary did in
the Magnificat, confesSing with gratitude that he has done great things
and holy is his name. The worship of the one God sets man free from
turning in on himself, from the slavery of Sin and the idolatry of the
2098 The acts of faith, hope, and charity enjoined by the first
commandment are accomplished in prayer. Lifting up the mind toward God is
an expression of our adoration of God: prayer of praise and thanksgiving,
intercession and petition. Prayer is an indispensable condition for being
able to obey God's commandments. "[We] ought always to pray and not lose
2099 It is right to offer sacrifice to God as a sign of adoration and
gratitude, supplication and communion: "Every action done so as to cling
to God in communion of holiness, and thus achieve blessedness, is a true
2100 Outward sacrifice, to be genuine, must be the expression of spiritual
sacrifice: "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit...."
The prophets of the Old Covenant often denounced sacrifices that were not
from the heart or not coupled with love of neighbor. Jesus recalls the
words of the prophet Hosea: "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice." The
only perfect sacrifice is the one that Christ offered on the cross as a
total offering to the Father's love and for our salvation. By uniting
ourselves with his sacrifice we can make our lives a sacrifice to God.
Promises and vows
2101 In many circumstances, the Christian is called to make promises to
God. Baptism and Confirmation, Matrimony and Holy Orders always entail
promises. Out of personal devotion, the Christian may also promise to God
this action, that prayer, this alms-giving, that pilgrimage, and so forth.
Fidelity to promises made to God is a sign of the respect owed to the
divine majesty and of love for a faithful God.
2102 "A vow is a deliberate and free promise made to God concerning a
possible and better good which must be fulfilled by reason of the virtue
of religion," A vow is an act of devotion in which the Christian
dedicates himself to God or promises him some good work. By fulfilling his
vows he renders to God what has been promised and consecrated to Him. The
Acts of the Apostles shows us St. Paul concerned to fulfill the vows he
2103 The Church recognizes an exemplary value in the vows to practice the
Mother Church rejoices that she has within herself many men and women who
pursue the Savior's self-emptying more closely and show it forth more
clearly, by undertaking poverty with the freedom of the children of God,
and renouncing their own will: they submit themselves to man for the sake
of God, thus going beyond what is of precept in the matter of perfection,
so as to conform themselves more fully to the obedient Christ.
The Church can, in certain cases and for proportionate reasons, dispense
from vows and promises
The social duty of religion and the right to religious freedom
2104 "All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God
and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know
it." This duty derives from "the very dignity of the human
person." It does not contradict a "Sincere respect" for different
religions which frequently "reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens
all men," nor the requirement of charity, which urges Christians "to
treat with love, prudence and patience those who are in error or ignorance
with regard to the faith."
2105 The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both
individually and socially. This is "the traditional Catholic teaching on
the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and
the one Church of Christ." By constantly evangelizing men, the Church
works toward enabling them "to infuse the Christian spirit into the
mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which
[they] live." The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken
in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make
known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic
and apostolic Church. Christians are called to be the light of the
world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all
creation and in particular over human societies.
2106 "Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone
to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in
religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with
others, within due limits." This right is based on the very nature of
the human person, whose dignity enables him freely to assent to the divine
truth which transcends the temporal order. For this reason it "continues
to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking
the truth and adhering to it."
2107 "If because of the circumstances of a particular people special civil
recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional
organization of a state, the right of all citizens and religious
communities to religious freedom must be recognized and respected as
2108 The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere
to error, nor a supposed right to error, but rather a natural right of
the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits,
from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities.
This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of
society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right.
2109 The right to religious liberty can of itself be neither unlimited nor
limited only by a "public order" conceived in a positivist or naturalist
manner. The "due limits" which are inherent in it must be determined
for each social situation by political prudence, according to the
requirements of The Common Good, and ratified by the civil Authority in
accordance with "legal principles which are in conformity with the
objective moral order."
III. "You shall have no other gods before me"
2110 The First Commandment forbids honoring gods other than the one Lord
who has revealed himself to his people. It proscribes superstition and
irreligion. Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of
religion; irreligion is the vice contrary by defect to the virtue of
2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the
practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer
the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical
to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the
efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external
performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to
fall into superstition.
2112 The First Commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to
believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God.
Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and
gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes,
but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those
who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them." God,
however, is the "living God" who gives life and intervenes in history.
2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a
constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not
God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in
place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism),
power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You
cannot serve God and mammon." Many martyrs died for not adoring "the
Beast" refuSing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the
unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with
2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The
commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an
endless diSintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious
sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of
God to anything other than God."
Divination and magic
2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still,
a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into
the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up
all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a
lack of responsibility.
2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or
demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to
"unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading,
interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and
recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history,
and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to
conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving
fear that we owe to God alone.
2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame
occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a
supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of
restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion.
These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the
intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the
intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism
often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part
warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures
does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation
of another's credulity.
2118 God's first commandment condemns the main Sins of irreligion:
tempting God, in words or deeds, sacrilege, and simony.
2119 Tempting God consists in putting his goodness and almighty power to
the test by word or deed. Thus Satan tried to induce Jesus to throw
himself down from the Temple and, by this gesture, force God to act.
Jesus opposed Satan with the word of God: "You shall not put the LORD your
God to the test." The challenge contained in such tempting of God
wounds the respect and trust we owe our Creator and Lord. It always
harbors doubt about his love, his providence, and his power.
2120 Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments
and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, things, or places
consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave Sin especially when committed
against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is
made substantially present for us.
2121 Simony is defined as the buying or selling of spiritual things.
To Simon the magician, who wanted to buy the spiritual power he saw at
work in the apostles, St. Peter responded: "Your silver perish with you,
because you thought you could obtain God's gift with money!" Peter
thus held to the words of Jesus: "You received without pay, give without
pay." It is impossible to appropriate to oneself spiritual goods and
behave toward them as their owner or master, for they have their source in
God. One can receive them only from him, without payment.
2122 The minister should ask nothing for the administration of the
sacraments beyond the offerings defined by the competent Authority, always
being careful that the needy are not deprived of the help of the
sacraments because of their poverty." The competent Authority
determines these "offerings" in accordance with the principle that the
Christian people ought to contribute to the support of the Church's
ministers. "The laborer deserves his food."
2123 "Many . . . of our contemporaries either do not at all perceive, or
explicitly reject, this intimate and vital bond of man to God. Atheism
must therefore be regarded as one of the most serious problems of our
2124 The name "atheism" covers many very different phenomena. One common
form is the practical materialism which restricts its needs and
aspirations to space and time. Atheistic humanism falsely considers man to
be "an end to himself, and the sole maker, with supreme control, of his
own history." Another form of contemporary atheism looks for the
liberation of man through economic and social liberation. "It holds that
religion, of its very nature, thwarts such emancipation by raiSing man's
hopes in a future life, thus both deceiving him and discouraging him from
working for a better form of life on earth."
2125 Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a Sin
against the virtue of religion. The imputability of this offense can
be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and the
circumstances. "Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise
of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction
in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their
religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than
to reveal the true nature of God and of religion."
2126 Atheism is often based on a false conception of human autonomy,
exaggerated to the point of refuSing any dependence on God. Yet, "to
acknowledge God is in no way to oppose the dignity of man, Since such
dignity is grounded and brought to perfection in God...." "For the
Church knows full well that her message is in harmony with the most secret
desires of the human heart."
2127 Agnosticism assumes a number of forms. In certain cases the agnostic
refrains from denying God; instead he postulates the existence of a
transcendent being which is incapable of revealing itself, and about which
nothing can be said. In other cases, the agnostic makes no judgment about
God's existence, declaring it impossible to prove, or even to affirm or
2128 Agnosticism can sometimes include a certain search for God, but it
can equally express indifferentism, a flight from the ultimate question of
existence, and a sluggish Moral Conscience. Agnosticism is all too often
equivalent to practical atheism.
IV. "You shall not make for yourself a graven image . . ."
2129 The divine injunction included the prohibition of every
representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: "Since you
saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the
midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image
for yourselves, in the form of any figure...." It is the absolutely
transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. "He is the all," but at
the same time "he is greater than all his works." He is "the author of
2130 Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted
the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the
incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the
covenant, and the cherubim.
2131 BaSing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh
ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the iconoclasts the
veneration of icons - of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the
angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God
introduced a new "economy" of images.
2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first
commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an
image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates
the person portrayed in it." The honor paid to sacred images is a
"respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone:
Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as
mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to
God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as
image, but tends toward that whose image it is.
2133 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all
your soul and with all your strength" (Deut 6:5).
2134 The First Commandment summons man to believe in God, to hope in him,
and to love him above all else.
2135 "You shall worship the Lord your God" (Mt 4:10). Adoring God, praying
to him, offering him the worship that belongs to him, fulfilling the
promises and vows made to him are acts of the virtue of religion which
fall under obedience to The First Commandment.
2136 The duty to offer God authentic worship concerns man both as an
individual and as a social being.
2137 "Men of the present day want to profess their religion freely in
private and in public" (DH 15).
2138 Superstition is a departure from the worship that we give to the true
God. It is manifested in idolatry, as well as in various forms of
divination and magic.
2139 Tempting God in words or deeds, sacrilege, and simony are Sins of
irreligion forbidden by The First Commandment.
2140 Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a Sin
against The First Commandment.
2141 The veneration of sacred images is based on the mystery of the
Incarnation of the Word of God. It is not contrary to the first
Article 2: The Second Commandment
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. You have
heard that it was said to the men of old, "You shall not swear falsely. .
But I say to you, Do not swear at all.
I. The Name of the Lord is Holy
2142 The Second Commandment prescribes respect for the Lord's name. Like
The First Commandment, it belongs to the virtue of religion and more
particularly it governs our use of speech in sacred matters.
2143 Among all the words of Revelation, there is one which is unique: the
revealed name of God. God confides his name to those who believe in him;
he reveals himself to them in his personal mystery. The gift of a name
belongs to the order of trust and intimacy. "The Lord's name is holy." For
this reason man must not abuse it. He must keep it in mind in silent,
loving adoration. He will not introduce it into his own speech except to
bless, praise, and glorify it.
2144 Respect for his name is an expression of the respect owed to the
mystery of God himself and to the whole sacred reality it evokes. The
sense of the sacred is part of the virtue of religion:
Are these feelings of fear and awe Christian feelings or not? . . . I say
this, then, which I think no one can reasonably dispute. They are the
class of feelings we should have - yes, have to an intense degree - if we
literally had the sight of Almighty God; therefore they are the class of
feelings which we shall have, if we realize His presence. In proportion as
we believe that He is present, we shall have them; and not to have them,
is not to realize, not to believe that He is present.
2145 The faithful should bear witness to the Lord's name by confesSing the
faith without giving way to fear. Preaching and catechizing should be
permeated with adoration and respect for the name of our Lord Jesus
2146 The Second Commandment forbids the abuse of God's name, i.e., every
improper use of the names of God, Jesus Christ, but also of the Virgin
Mary and all the saints.
2147 Promises made to others in God's name engage the divine honor,
fidelity, truthfulness, and Authority. They must be respected in justice.
To be unfaithful to them is to misuse God's name and in some way to make
God out to be a liar.
2148 Blasphemy is directly opposed to The Second Commandment. It consists
in uttering against God - inwardly or outwardly - words of hatred,
reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect
toward him in one's speech; in misuSing God's name. St. James condemns
those "who blaspheme that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are
called." The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against
Christ's Church, the saints, and sacred things. It is also blasphemous to
make use of God's name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce peoples
to servitude, to torture persons or put them to death. The misuse of God's
name to commit a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion.
Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. It is in
itself a grave Sin.
2149 Oaths which misuse God's name, though without the intention of
blasphemy, show lack of respect for the Lord. The Second Commandment also
forbids magical use of the divine name.
[God's] name is great when spoken with respect for the greatness of his
majesty. God's name is holy when said with veneration and fear of
II. Taking the Name of the Lord in Vain
2150 The Second Commandment forbids false oaths. Taking an oath or
swearing is to take God as witness to what one affirms. It is to invoke
the divine truthfulness as a pledge of one's own truthfulness. An oath
engages the Lord's name. "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall
serve him, and swear by his name."
2151 Rejection of false oaths is a duty toward God. As Creator and Lord,
God is the norm of all truth. Human speech is either in accord with or in
opposition to God who is Truth itself. When it is truthful and legitimate,
an oath highlights the relationship of human speech with God's truth. A
false oath calls on God to be witness to a lie.
2152 A person commits perjury when he makes a promise under oath with no
intention of keeping it, or when after promiSing on oath he does not keep
it. Perjury is a grave lack of respect for the Lord of all speech.
Pledging oneself by oath to commit an evil deed is contrary to the
holiness of the divine name.
2153 In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained The Second Commandment:
"You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not swear
falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.' But I say to
you, Do not swear at all.... Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No';
anything more than this comes from the evil one." Jesus teaches that
every oath involves a reference to God and that God's presence and his
truth must be honored in all speech. Discretion in calling upon God is
allied with a respectful awareness of his presence, which all our
assertions either witness to or mock.
2154 Following St. Paul, the tradition of the Church has understood
Jesus' words as not excluding oaths made for grave and right reasons (for
example, in court). "An oath, that is the invocation of the divine name as
a witness to truth, cannot be taken unless in truth, in judgment, and in
2155 The holiness of the divine name demands that we neither use it for
trivial matters, nor take an oath which on the basis of the circumstances
could be interpreted as approval of an Authority unjustly requiring it.
When an oath is required by illegitimate civil authorities, it may be
refused. It must be refused when it is required for purposes contrary to
the dignity of persons or to ecclesial communion.
III. The Christian Name
2156 The sacrament of Baptism is conferred "in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." In Baptism, the Lord's name
sanctifies man, and the Christian receives his name in the Church. This
can be the name of a saint, that is, of a disciple who has lived a life of
exemplary fidelity to the Lord. The patron saint provides a model of
charity; we are assured of his intercession. The "baptismal name" can also
express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue. "Parents, sponsors, and
the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to
2157 The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with
the Sign of the Cross: "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit. Amen." The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory
of God and calls on the Savior's Grace which lets him act in the Spirit as
a child of the Father. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations
2158 God calls each one by name. Everyone's name is sacred. The name
is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of
the one who bears it.
2159 The name one receives is a name for eternity. In the kingdom, the
mysterious and unique character of each person marked with God's name will
shine forth in splendor. "To him who conquers . . . I will give a white
stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him
who receives it." "Then I looked, and Lo, on Mount Zion stood the
Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty- four thousand who had his name and
his Father's name written on their foreheads."
2160 "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth" (Ps
2161 The Second Commandment enjoins respect for the Lord's name. The name
of the Lord is holy.
2162 The Second Commandment forbids every improper use of God's name.
Blasphemy is the use of the name of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Virgin
Mary, and of the saints in an offensive way.
2163 False oaths call on God to be witness to a lie. Perjury is a grave
offence against the Lord who is always faithful to his promises.
2164 "Do not swear whether by the Creator, or any creature, except
truthfully, of necessity, and with reverence" (St. Ignatius of Loyola,
Spiritual Exercises, 38).
2165 In Baptism, the Christian receives his name in the Church. Parents,
godparents, and the pastor are to see that he be given a Christian name.
The patron saint provides a model of charity and the assurance of his
2166 The Christian begins his prayers and activities with the Sign of the
Cross: "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
2167 God calls each one by name (cf. Isa 43:1).
Article 3: The Third Commandment
Remember The Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and
do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God;
in it you shall not do any work.
The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of Man
is lord even of the sabbath.
I. The Sabbath Day
2168 The Third Commandment of the Decalogue recalls the holiness of the
sabbath: "The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the
2169 In speaking of the sabbath Scripture recalls creation: "For in six
days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and
rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed The Sabbath Day and
2170 Scripture also reveals in The Lord's Day a memorial of Israel's
liberation from bondage in Egypt: "You shall remember that you were a
servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence
with mighty hand and outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God
commanded you to keep The Sabbath Day."
2171 God entrusted the sabbath to Israel to keep as a sign of the
irrevocable covenant. The sabbath is for the Lord, holy and set apart
for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on
behalf of Israel.
2172 God's action is the model for human action. If God "rested and was
refreshed" on the seventh day, man too ought to "rest" and should let
others, especially the poor, "be refreshed." The sabbath brings
everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest
against the servitude of work and the worship of money.
2173 The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating
the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this
day. He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation:
"The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." With
compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm,
for saving life rather than killing. The sabbath is the day of the
Lord of mercies and a day to honor God. "The Son of Man is lord even
of the sabbath."
II. The Lord's Day
This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in
The day of the Resurrection: the new creation
2174 Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week." Because
it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first
creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the sabbath, it
symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For
Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts,
The Lord's Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday:
We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the
Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from
darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior
rose from the dead.
Sunday- fulfillment of the sabbath
2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows
chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance
replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the
spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in
God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and
what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:
Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new
hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but The Lord's Day, in which our life
is blessed by him and by his death.
2176 The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by
nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public,
and regular worship "as a sign of his universal beneficence to all."
Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up
its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and
Redeemer of his people.
The Sunday Eucharist
2177 The Sunday celebration of The Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the
heart of the Church's life.
"Sunday is the day on which the paschal
mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be
observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal
"Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Ascension of Christ,
the feast of the Body and Blood of
the feast of Mary the Mother of God,
her Immaculate Conception,
the feast of Saint Joseph,
the feast of the Apostles
Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints."
2178 This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of
the apostolic age. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds the faithful
"not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but to
encourage one another."
Tradition preserves the memory of an ever-timely exhortation: Come to
Church early, approach the Lord, and confess your Sins, repent in
prayer.... Be present at the sacred and divine liturgy, conclude its
prayer and do not leave before the dismissal.... We have often said: "This
day is given to you for prayer and rest. This is the day that the Lord has
made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."
2179 "A parish is a definite community of the Christian faithful
established on a stable basis within a particular church; the pastoral
care of the parish is entrusted to a pastor as its own shepherd under the
Authority of the diocesan bishop." It is the place where all the
faithful can be gathered together for the Sunday celebration of the
Eucharist. The parish initiates the Christian people into the ordinary
expression of the liturgical life: it gathers them together in this
celebration; it teaches Christ's saving doctrine; it practices the charity
of the Lord in good works and brotherly love:
You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude,
where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where
there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond
of charity, the prayers of the priests.
The Sunday obligation
2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more
precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are
bound to participate in the Mass." "The precept of participating in
the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere
in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the
2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all
Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to
participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a
serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by
their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation
commit a grave Sin.
2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is
a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his
Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and
charity. Together they testify to God's holiness and their hope of
salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy
2183 "If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause
participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is
specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the
Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place
according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer
for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as
occasion offers, in groups of families."
A day of Grace and rest from work
2184 Just as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had
done," human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of
The Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate
their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.
2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to
refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed
to God, the joy proper to The Lord's Day, the performance of the works of
mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs
or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of
Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not
lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.
The charity of truth seeks holy leisure- the necessity of charity accepts
2186 Those Christians who have leisure should be mindful of their brethren
who have the same needs and the same rights, yet cannot rest from work
because of poverty and misery. Sunday is traditionally consecrated by
Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm,
and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and
care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days
of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the
mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior
2187 Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every
Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would
hinder them from observing The Lord's Day. Traditional activities (sport,
restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.),
require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take
care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity
the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence
sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic
constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for
rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their
2188 In respecting religious liberty and The Common Good of all,
Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church's holy days
as legal holidays. They have to give everyone a public example of prayer,
respect, and joy and defend their traditions as a precious contribution to
the spiritual life of society. If a country's legislation or other reasons
require work on Sunday, the day should nevertheless be lived as the day of
our deliverance which lets us share in this "festal gathering," this
"assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven."
2189 "Observe The Sabbath Day, to keep it holy" (Deut 5:12). "The seventh
day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord" (Ex 31:15).
2190 The sabbath, which represented the completion of the first creation,
has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by
the Resurrection of Christ.
2191 The Church celebrates the day of Christ's Resurrection on the "eighth
day," Sunday, which is rightly called The Lord's Day (cf. SC 106).
2192 "Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost holy day of
obligation in the universal Church" (CIC, can. 1246 # 1). "On Sundays and
other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the
Mass" (CIC, can. 1247).
2193 "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound
. . . to abstain from those labors and buSiness concerns which impede
the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord's
Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body" (CIC, can. 1247).
2194 The institution of Sunday helps all "to be allowed sufficient rest
and leisure to cultivate their amilial, cultural, social, and religious
lives" (GS 67 # 3).
2195 Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others
that would hinder them from observing The Lord's Day.
Mt 22:37; cf. Lk 10:27:". . . and with all your strength."
Ex 20:2-5; cf. Deut 5:6-9.
Cf. Ex 19:16-25; 24:15-18.
St. Justin, Dial. cum Tryphone Judaeo 11, 1: PG 6, 497.
Roman Catechism 3, 2,4.
Rom 1:5; 16:26.
Cf. Rom 1:18-32.
CIC, can. 751: emphasis added.
Cf. Deut 6:4-5.
Lk 4:8; Cf. Deut 6:13.
Cf. Lk 1:46-49.
St. Augustine, De civ Dei 10, 6 PL 41, 283.
Cf. Am 5:21-25; Isa 1:10-20.
Mt 9:13; 12:7; Cf. Hos 6:6.
Cf. Heb 9:13-14.
CIC, can. 1191 # 1.
Cf. Acts 18:18; 21:23-24.
Cf. CIC, can. 654.
LG 42 # 2.
Cf. CIC, cann. 692; 1196-1197.
DH 1 # 2.
DH 2 # 1.
NA 2 # 2.
DH 14 # 4.
DH 1 # 3.
AA 13 # 1.
Cf. DH 1.
Cf. AA 13; Leo XIII, Immortale Dei 3, 17; Pius XI, Quas primas 8, 20.
DH 2 # 1.
DH 2 # 2.
DH 6 # 3.
Cf. Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum 18; Pius XII AAS 1953, 799.
Cf. DH 2.
Cf. Pius VI, Quod aliquantum (1791) 10; Pius IX, Quanta cura 3.
DH 7 # 3.
Cf. Mt 23:16-22.
Ps 115:4-5, 8; cf. Isa 44:9-20; Jer 10:1-16; Dan 14:1-30; Bar 6; Wis
Josh 3:10; Ps 42:3; etc.
Cf. Rev 13-14.
Cf. Gal 5:20; Eph 5:5.
Origen, Contra Celsum 2, 40: PG 11, 861.
Cf. Deut 18:10; Jer 29:8.
Cf. Lk 4:9. 50 Deut 6:16.
Cf. 1 Cor 10:9; Ex 17:2-7; Ps 95:9.
Cf. CIC, cann. 1367; 1376.
Cf. Acts 8:9-24.
Mt 10:8; cf. already Isa 55:1.
CIC, can. 848.
Mt 10:10; cf. Lk 10:7; 2 Cor 9:5-18; 1 Tim 5:17-18.
GS 19 # 1.
GS 20 # 2.
GS 20 # 2.
Cf. Rom 1:18.
GS 19 # 3.
Cf. GS 20 # 1.
GS 21 # 3.
GS 21 # 7.
Cf. Num 21:4-9; Wis 16:5-14; Jn 3:14-15; Ex 25:10-22; 1 Kings 6:23-28;
St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto 18, 45: PG 32, 149C; Council of Nicaea II:
DS 601; cf. Council of Trent: DS 1821-1825; Vatican Council II: SC 126;
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 81, 3 ad 3.
Ex 20:7; Deut 5:11.
Cf. Zech 2:13; Ps 29:2; 96:2; 113:1-2.
John Henry Cardinal Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons V, 2 (London:
Longmans, Green and Co., 1907) 21-22.
Cf. Mt 10:32; 1 Tim 6:12.
Cf. 1 Jn 1:10.
Cf. CIC, can. 1369.
St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte 2, 5, 19: PL 34, 1278.
Mt 5:33-34,37; Cf. Jas 5:12.
Cf. 2 Cor 1:23; Gal 1:20.
CIC, can. 1199 # 1.
CIC, Can. 855.
Cf. Isa 43:1; Jn 10:3.
Ex 20:8-10; cf. Deut 5:12-15.
Cf. Ex 31:16.
Ex 31:17; cf. 23:12.
Cf. Neh 13:15-22; 2 Chr 36:21.
Cf. Mk 1:21; Jn 9:16.
Cf. Mk 3:4.
Cf. Mt 12:5; Jn 7:23.
Cf. Mt 28:1; Mk 16:2; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1.
Cf. Mk 16:1; Mt 28:1.
St. Justin, I Apol. 67: PG 6, 429 and 432.
Cf. 1 Cor 10:11.
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Magn. 9, 1: SCh 10, 88.
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II 122, 4.
CIC, can. 1246 # 1.
CIC, can. 1246 # 2: "The conference of bishops can abolish certain
holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval
of the Apostolic See."
Cf. Acts 2:42-46; 1 Cor 11:17.
Sermo de die dominica 2 et 6: PG 86/1, 416C and 421C.
CIC, can. 515 # 1.
St. John Chrysostom, De incomprehensibili 3, 6: PG 48, 725.
CIC, can. 1247.
CIC, can. 1248 # 1.
Cf. CIC, can. 1245.
CIC, can. 1248 # 2.
Cf. GS 67 # 3.
Cf. CIC, can. 120.
St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 19, 19: PL 41, 647.