Catechism of the Catholic Church

512 Part Three just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the ju­ ridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right. 38 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. 39 The “due limits” which are inherent in it must be determined for each social situation by political prudence, according to the require­ ments of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority in accord­ ance with “legal principles which are in conformity with the objective moral order.” 40 III. “Y ou S hall H ave N o O ther G ods B efore M e ” 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 religion. Superstition 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. 41 Idolatry 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 38 Cf. DH 2. 39 Cf. Pius VI, Quod aliquantum (1791)10; Pius IX, Quanta cura 3. 40 DH 7 § 3. 41 Cf. Mt 23:16-22. 2244 1906 210