Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 501 Since there was a passing from the paradise of freedom to the slavery of this world, in punishment for sin, the first phrase of the Decalogue, the first word of God’s command­ ments, bears on freedom: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” 25 2062 The Commandments properly so-called come in the sec­ ond place: they express the implications of belonging to God through the establishment of the covenant. Moral existence is a response to the Lord’s loving initiative. It is the acknowledgement and homage given to God and a worship of thanksgiving. It is cooperation with the plan God pursues in history. 2063 The covenant and dialogue between God and man are also attested to by the fact that all the obligations are stated in the first person (“I am the Lord.”) and addressed by God to another per­ sonal subject (“you”). In all God’s commandments, the singular personal pronoun designates the recipient. God makes his will known to each person in particular, at the same time as he makes it known to the whole people: The Lord prescribed love towards God and taught justice towards neighbor, so that man would be neither unjust, nor unworthy of God. Thus, through the Decalogue, God pre­ pared man to become his friend and to live in harmony with his neighbor. . . . Thewords of theDecalogue remain likewise for us Christians. Far from being abolished, they have re­ ceived amplification and development from the fact of the coming of the Lord in the flesh. 26 The Decalogue in the Church’s tradition 2064 In fidelity to Scripture and in conformity with the example of Jesus, the tradition of the Church has acknowledged the primor­ dial importance and significance of the Decalogue. 2065 Ever since St. Augustine, the Ten Commandments have occupied a predominant place in the catechesis of baptismal candidates and the faith­ ful. In the fifteenth century, the custom arose of expressing the command­ ments of the Decalogue in rhymed formulae, easy to memorize and in positive form. They are still in use today. The catechisms of the Church have often expounded Christian morality by following the order of the Ten Commandments. 25 Origen, Hom. in Ex. 8, 1: PG 12, 350; cf. Ex 20:2; Deut 5:6. 26 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres., 4, 16, 3-4: PG 7/1, 1017-1018. 2086 142 2002 878