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Catechism of the Catholic Church

ARTICLE 10: THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not covet ... anything that is your neighbor's.... You shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant,, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's. 317

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 318

2534 The tenth commandment unfolds and completes the ninth, which is concerned with concupiscence of the flesh. It forbids coveting the goods of another, as the root of theft, robbery, and fraud, which the seventh commandment forbids. "Lust of the eyes" leads to the violence and injustice forbidden by the fifth commandment. 319 Avarice, like fornication, originates in the idolatry prohibited by the first three prescriptions of the Law. 320 The tenth commandment concerns the intentions of the heart; with the ninth, it summarizes all the precepts of the Law.

THE DISORDER OF COVETOUS DESIRES

2535 The sensitive appetite leads us to desire pleasant things we do not have, e.g., the desire to eat when we are hungry or to warm ourselves when we are cold. These desires are good in themselves; but often they exceed the limits of reason and drive us to covet unjustly what is not ours and belongs to another or is owed to him.

2536 The tenth commandment forbids greed and the desire to amass earthly goods without limit. It forbids avarice arising from a passion for riches and their attendant power. It also forbids the desire to commit injustice by harming our neighbor in his temporal goods:

When the Law says, "You shall not covet," these words mean that we should banish our desires for whatever does not belong to us. Our thirst for another's goods is immense, infinite, never quenched. Thus it is written: "He who loves money never has money enough." 321

2537 It is not a violation of this commandment to desire to obtain things that belong to one's neighbor, provided this is done by just means. Traditional catechesis realistically mentions "those who have a harder struggle against their criminal desires" and so who "must be urged the more to keep this commandment":

. . . merchants who desire scarcity and rising prices, who cannot bear not to be the only ones buying and selling so that they themselves can sell more dearly and buy more cheaply; those who hope that their peers will be impoverished, in order to realize a profit either by selling to them or buying from them . . . physicians who wish disease to spread; lawyers who are eager for many important cases and trials. 322

2538 The tenth commandment requires that envy be banished from the human heart. When the prophet Nathan wanted to spur King David to repentance, he told him the story about the poor man who had only one ewe lamb that he treated like his own daughter and the rich man who, despite the great number of his flocks, envied the poor man and ended by stealing his lamb. 323 Envy can lead to the worst crimes. 324 "Through the devil's envy death entered the world": 325

We fight one another, and envy arms us against one another.... If everyone strives to unsettle the Body of Christ, where shall we end up? We are engaged in making Christ's Body a corpse.... We declare ourselves members of one and the same organism, yet we devour one another like beasts. 326

2539 Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another's goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor it is a mortal sin:

St. Augustine saw envy as "the diabolical sin." 327 "From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity." 328

2540 Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity; the baptized person should struggle against it by exercising good will. Envy often comes from pride; the baptized person should train himself to live in humility:

Would you like to see God glorified by you? Then rejoice in your brother's progress and you will immediately give glory to God. Because his servant could conquer envy by rejoicing in the merits of others, God will be praised. 329

II. THE DESIRES OF THE SPIRIT

2541 The economy of law and grace turns men's hearts away from avarice and envy. It initiates them into desire for the Sovereign Good; it instructs them in the desires of the Holy Spirit who satisfies man's heart.

The God of the promises always warned man against seduction by what from the beginning has seemed "good for food . . . a delight to the eyes . . . to be desired to make one wise." 330

2542 The Law entrusted to Israel never sufficed to justify those subject to it; it even became the instrument of "lust." 331 The gap between wanting and doing points to the conflict between God's Law which is the "law of my mind," and another law "making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members." 332

2543 "But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe." 333 Henceforth, Christ's faithful "have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires"; they are led by the Spirit and follow the desires of the Spirit. 334

III. POVERTY OF HEART

2544 Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone, and bids them "renounce all that [they have]" for his sake and that of the Gospel. 335 Shortly before his passion he gave them the example of the poor widow of Jerusalem who, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on. 336 The precept of detachment from riches is obligatory for entrance into the Kingdom of heaven.

2545 All Christ's faithful are to "direct their affections rightly, lest they be hindered in their pursuit of perfect charity by the use of worldly things and by an adherence to riches which is contrary to the spirit of evangelical poverty." 337

2546 "Blessed are the poor in spirit." 338 The Beatitudes reveal an order of happiness and grace, of beauty and peace. Jesus celebrates the joy of the poor, to whom the Kingdom already belongs: 339

The Word speaks of voluntary humility as "poverty in spirit"; the Apostle gives an example of God's poverty when he says: "For your sakes he became poor." 340

2547 The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods. 341 "Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." 342 Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. 343 Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God.

IV. "I WANT TO SEE GOD"

2548 Desire for true happiness frees man from his immoderate attachment to the goods of this world so that he can find his fulfillment in the vision and beatitude of God. "The promise [of seeing God] surpasses all beatitude.... In Scripture, to see is to possess.... Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive." 344

2549 It remains for the holy people to struggle, with grace from on high, to obtain the good things God promises. In order to possess and contemplate God, Christ's faithful mortify their cravings and, with the grace of God, prevail over the seductions of pleasure and power.

2550 On this way of perfection, the Spirit and the Bride call whoever hears them 345 to perfect communion with God:

There will true glory be, where no one will be praised by mistake or flattery; true honor will not be refused to the worthy, nor granted to the unworthy; likewise, no one unworthy will pretend to be worthy, where only those who are worthy will be admitted. There true peace will reign, where no one will experience opposition either from self or others. God himself will be virtue's reward; he gives virtue and has promised to give himself as the best and greatest reward that could exist.... "I shall be their God and they will be my people...." This is also the meaning of the Apostle's words: "So that God may be all in all." God himself will be the goal of our desires; we shall contemplate him without end, love him without surfeit, praise him without weariness. This gift, this state, this act, like eternal life itself, will assuredly be common to all. 346

IN BRIEF:

2551 "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Mt 6:21).

2552 The tenth commandment forbids avarice arising from a passion for riches and their attendant power.

2553 Envy is sadness at the sight of another's goods and the immoderate desire to have them for oneself. It is a capital sin.

2554 The baptized person combats envy through good-will, humility, and abandonment to the providence of God.

2555 Christ's faithful "have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24); they are led by the Spirit and follow his desires.

2556 Detachment from riches is necessary for entering the Kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

2557 "I want to see God" expresses the true desire of man. Thirst for God is quenched by the water of eternal life (cf. Jn 4:14).

NOTES:

1 Jn 13:34.

2 Mk 12:29-31; cf. Deut 6:4-5; Lev 19:18; Mt 22:34-40; Lk 10:25-28.

3 Rom 13:8-10.

4 Ex 20:12; Deut 5:16.

5 Lk 2:51.

6 Mk 7:8-13.

7 Eph 6:1-3; cf. Deut 5:16.

8 Ex 20:12; Deut 5:16.

9 FC 21; cf. LG 11.

10 Cf. Eph 5:21b: 4; Col 3:18-21; I Pet 3:1-7.

11 GS 52 § 1.

12 Jas 1:27.

13 Cf. GS 47 § 1.

14 GS 52 § 2.

15 Cf. FC 46.

16 Cf. Eph 3:14.

17 Cf. Prov 1:8; Tob 4:3-4.

18 Cf. Ex 20:12.

19 Sir 7:27-28.

20 Prov 6:20-22.

21 Prov 13:1.

22 Col 3:20; Cf. Eph 6:1.

23 Cf. Mk 7:10-12.

24 Sir 3:2-6.

25 Sir 3:12-13, 16.

26 Prov 17:6.

27 Eph 4:2.

28 2 Tim 1:5.

29 GE 3.

30 Cf. FC 36.

31 CA 36 § 2.

32 Sir 30:1-2.

33 Eph 6:4.

34 LG 11 § 2.

35 Cf. LG 11.

36 Cf. GS 48 § 4.

37 Cf. Mt 18:21-22; Lk 17:4.

38 Cf. GE 6.

39 Mt 10:37; cf. 16:25.

40 Mt 12:49.

41 Mt 20:26.

42 Cf. CA 25.

43 Cf. Rom 13:1-2.

44 I Pet 2:13, 16.

45 Rom 13:7.

46 Ad Diognetum 5, 5 and 10; 6, 10: PG 2, 1173 and 1176.

47 I Tim 2:2.

48 Mt 22:21.

49 Acts 5:29.

50 GS 74 § 5.

51 Cf. CA 45; 46.

52 GS 76 § 3.

53 GS 76 § 5.

54 Ex 20:13; Cf. Deut 5:17.

55 Mt 5:21-22.

56 CDF, instruction, Donum vitae, intro. 5.

57 Cf. Gen 4:8-12.

58 Gen 4:10-11.

59 Gen 9:5-6.

60 Cf. Lev 17:14.

61 Ex 23:7.

62 Mt 5:21.

63 Cf. Mt 5:22-39; 5:44.

64 Cf. Mt 26:52.

65 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 64, 7, corp. art.

66 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 64, 7, corp. art.

67 Cf. Lk 23:40-43.

NT John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.

68 John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.

69 Cf. Gen 4:10.

70 Cf. GS 51 § 3.

71 Cf. Am 8:4-10.

72 Cf. CDF, Donum vitae I, 1.

73 Jer 1:5; cf. Job 10:8-12; Ps 22:10-11.

74 Ps 139:15.

75 Didache 2, 2: SCh 248, 148; cf. Ep. Barnabae 19, 5: PG 2, 777; Ad Diognetum 5, 6: PG 2, 1173; Tertullian, Apol. 9: PL 1, 319-320.

76 GS 51 § 3.

77 CIC, can. 1398.

78 CIC, can. 1314.

79 Cf. CIC, cann. 1323-1324.

80 CDF, Donum vitae III.

81 CDF, Donum vitae III.

82 CDF, Donum vitae I, 2.

83 CDF, Donum vitae I, 3.

84 CDF, Donum vitae I, 5.

85 CDF, Donum vitae I, 6.

86 Mt 18:6; Cf. I Cor 8:10-13.

87 Cf. Mt 7:15.

88 Pius XII, Discourse, June 1, 1941.

89 Cf. Eph 6:4; Col. 3:21.

90 Lk 17:1.

91 Cf. DS 3722.

92 Cf. Tob 1:16-18.

93 Cf. CIC, can. 1176 § 3.

94 Mt 5:21.

95 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 158, 1 ad 3.

96 Mt 5:22.

97 Mt 5:44-45.

98 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 19, 13, 1: PL 41, 640.

99 Cf. Isa 32:17; cf. GS 78 §§ 1-2.

100 Isa 9:5.

101 Eph 2:16 J.B.; cf. Col 1:20-22.

102 Eph 2:14.

103 Mt 5:9.

104 Cf. GS 78 § 5.

105 Cf. GS 81 § 4.

106 GS 79 § 4.

107 Cf. GS 79 § 5.

108 Cf. GS 79 § 3.

109 GS 79 § 4.

110 GS 80 § 3.

111 Cf. Paul VI, PP 53.

112 GS 78 § 6; cf. Isa 2:4.

113 Ex 20:14; Deut 5:18.

114 Mt 5:27-28.

115 FC 11.

116 Gen 1:27.

117 Gen 1:28.

118 Gen 5:1-2.

119 FC 22; Cf. GS 49 § 2.

120 MD 6.

121 Gen 2:24.

122 Cf. Gen 4:1-2, 25-26; 5:1.

123 Mt 5:27-28.

124 Cf. Mt 19:6.

125 Cf. Mt 5:37.

126 Cf. Sir 1:22.

127 GS 17.

128 St. Augustine, Conf. 10, 29, 40: PL 32, 796.

129 Cf. Titus 2:1-6.

130 FC 34.

131 GS 25 § 1.

132 Cf. Gal 5:22.

133 Cf. I Jn 3:3.

134 Cf. Jn 15:15.

135 Gal 3:27.

136 CDF, Persona humana 11.

137 St. Ambrose, De viduis 4, 23: PL 16, 255A.

138 CDF, Persona humana 9.

139 CDF, Persona humana 9.

140 Cf. I Cor 6:15-20.

141 Cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; I Cor 6:10; I Tim 1:10.

142 CDF, Persona humana 8.

143 FC 11.

144 Tob 8:4-9.

145 GS 49 § 2.

146 Pius XII, Discourse, October 29,1951.

147 GS 48 § 1.

148 Cf. CIC, can. 1056.

149 Mk 10:9; cf. Mt 19:1-12; I Cor 7:10-11.

150 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Eph. 20, 8: PG 62, 146-147.

151 FC 30.

152 HV 11.

153 HV 12; cf. Pius XI, encyclical, Casti connubii.

154 Cf. Eph 3:14; Mt 23:9.

155 GS 50 § 2.

156 GS 51 § 3.

157 Cf. HV 12.

158 HV 16.

159 HV 14.

160 FC 32.

161 GS 51 § 4.

162 Cf. HV 23; PP 37.

163 Cf. GS 50 § 2.

164 Gen 15:2.

165 Gen 30:1.

166 CDF, Donum vitae intro., 2.

167 CDF, Donum vitae II, 1.

168 CDF, Donum vitae II, 5.

169 CDF, Donum vitae II, 4.

170 CDF, Donum vitae II, 8.

171 Cf. Mt 5:27-28.

172 Cf. Mt 5:32; 19:6; Mk 10:11; I Cor 6:9-10.

173 Cf. Hos 2:7; Jer 5:7; 13:27.

174 Cf. Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Mk 10:9; Lk 16:18; I Cor 7:10-ll.

175 Cf. Mt 19:7-9.

176 CIC, can. 1141.

177 Cf. CIC, cann. 1151-1155.

178 St. Basil, Moralia 73, 1: PG 31, 849-852.

179 Cf. FC 84.

180 FC 19; cf. GS 47 § 2.

181 Cf. Lev 18:7-20.

182 I Cor 5:1, 4-5.

183 Cf. FC 81.

184 CDF, Persona humana 7.

185 Cf. FC 80.

186 Ex 20:15; Deut 5:19; Mt 19:18.

187 Cf. Gen 1:26-29.

188 GS 69 § 1.

189 Cf. GS 71 § 4; SRS 42; CA 40; 48.

190 2 Cor 8:9.

191 Cf. GS 69 § 1.

192 Cf. Deut 25:13-16; 24:14-15; Jas 5:4; Am 8:4-6.

193 Lk 19:8.

194 Philem 16.

195 Cf. Gen 128-31.

196 Cf. CA 37-38.

197 Cf. Mt 6:26; Dan 3:79-81.

198 Cf. Gen 2:19-20; 9:1-4.

199 GS 23 § 1.

200 GS 76 § 5.

201 Cf. CA 3.

202 Cf. SRS 1; 41.

203 Cf. CA 24.

204 Cf. GS 63 § 3; LE 7; 20; CA 35.

205 GS 65 § 2.

206 Mt 6:24; Lk 16:13.

207 Cf. CA 10; 13; 44.

208 CA 34.

209 Cf. GS 64.

210 Cf. Gen 1:28; GS 34; CA 31.

211 2 Thess 3:10; Cf. I Thess 4:11.

212 Cf. Gen 3:14-19.

213 Cf. LE 27.

214 Cf. LE 6.

215 Cf. CA 32; 34.

216 Cf. LE 11.

217 CA 48.

218 Cf. CA 37.

219 Cf. LE 19; 22-23.

220 Cf. CA 48.

221 Cf. Lev 19:13; Deut 24:14-15; Jas 5:4

222 GS 67 § 2.

223 Cf. LE 18.

224 Cf. SRS 14.

225 SRS 9.

226 Cf. SRS 17; 45.

227 CA 28; Cf. 35.

228 Cf. SRS 16.

229 Cf. CA 26.

230 Cf. SRS 32; CA 51.

231 SRS 47 § 6; cf. 42.

232 Mt 5:42; 10:8.

233 Cf. Mt 25:31-36.

234 Mt 11:5; cf. Lk 4:18.

235 CA 57; cf. Lk 6:20-22, Mt 8:20; Mk 12:41-44.

236 Eph 4:28.

237 Cf. CA 57.

238 Jas 5:1-6.

239 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Lazaro 2, 5: PG 48, 992.

240 AA 8 § 5.

241 St. Gregory the Great, Regula Pastoralis. 3, 21: PL 77, 87.

242 Cf. Isa 58:6-7; Heb 13:3.

243 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.

244 Cf. Tob 4:5-11; Sir 17:22; Mt 6:2-4.

245 Lk 3:11.

246 Lk 11:41.

247 Jas 2:15-16; cf. I Jn 3:17.

248 CDF, instruction, Libertatis conscientia, 68.

249 Deut 15:11.

250 Jn 12:8.

251 Am 8:6; cf. Mt 25:40.

252 P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668).

253 Ex 20:16; Cf. Deut 5:20.

254 Mt 5:33.

255 Ps 119:90; Cf. Prov 8:7; 2 Sam 7:28; Ps 119:142; Lk 1:50.

256 Rom 3:4; Cf. Ps 119:30.

257 Jn 1:14; 8:12; Cf. 14:6.

258 Jn 12:46.

259 Jn 8:32; Cf. 17:17.

260 Jn 16:13.

261 Mt 5:37.

262 DH 2 § 2.

263 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II 109, 3 ad 1.

264 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 109, 3, corp. art.

265 I Jn 1:6.

266 Jn 18:37.

267 2 Tim 1:8.

268 Acts 24:16.

269 Cf. Mt 18:16.

270 AG 11.

271 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom. 4, 1: SCh 10, 110.

272 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom. 6, 1-2 SCh 10, 114.

273 Martyrium Polycarpi 14, 2-3 PG 5, 1040; SCh 10, 228.

274 Eph 4:24.

275 Eph 4:25; I Pet 2:1.

276 Cf. Prov 19:9.

277 Cf. Prov 18:5.

278 Cf. CIC, can. 220.

279 Cf. Sir 21:28.

280 St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 22.

281 St. Augustine, De mendacio 4, 5: PL 40: 491.

282 Jn 8:44.

283 Cf. Sir 27:16; Prov 25:9-10.

284 CIC, Can. 983 § 1.

285 Cf. IM 11.

286 IM 5 § 2.

287 IM 8.

288 IM 12.

289 IM 12 § 2.

290 Wis 13:3, 5.

291 Wis 7:25-26.

292 Wis 7:29-30.

293 Wis 8:2.

294 Gen 1:26.

295 Cf. Wis 7:16-17

296 Cf. Pius XII, Musicae sacrae disciplina; Discourses of September 3 and December 25, 1950.

297 Heb 1:3; Col 2:9.

298 Cf. SC 122-127.

299 Ex 20:17.

300 Mt 5:28.

301 Cf. I Jn 2:16.

302 Cf. Gal 5:16, 17, 24; Eph 2:3.

303 Cf. Gen 3:11; Council of Trent: DS 1515.

304 John Paul II, DeV 55; cf. Gal 5:25.

305 Mt 15:19.

306 Pastor Hermae, Mandate 2, 1: PG 2, 916.

307 Mt 5:8.

308 Cf. I Tim 4:3-9; 2 Tim 2:22.

309 Cf. I Thess 4:7; Col 3:5; Eph 4:19.

310 Cf. Titus 1:15; I Tim 1:3-4; 2 Tim 2:23-26.

311 St. Augustine, De fide et symbolo 10, 25: PL 40, 196.

312 Cf. I Cor 13:12; I Jn 3:2.

313 Cf. Rom 12:2; Col 1:10.

314 Wis 15:5.

315 St. Augustine, Conf. 6, 11, 20: PL 32, 729-730.

316 GS 58 § 4.

317 Ex 20:17; Deut 5:21.

318 Mt 6:21.

319 Cf. I Jn 2:16; Mic 2:2.

320 Cf. Wis 14:12.

321 Roman Catechism, III, 37; cf. Sir 5:8.

322 Roman Catechism, III, 37.

323 Cf. 2 Sam 12:14.

324 Cf. Gen 4:3-7; I Kings 21:1-29.

325 Wis 2:24.

326 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 2 Cor. 27, 3-4 PG 61, 588.

327 Cf. St. Augustine, De catechizandis rudibus 4, 8: PL 40, 315-316.

328 St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job 31, 45: PL 76, 621.

329 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Rom. 71, 5: PG 60, 448.

330 Gen 3:6.

331 Cf. Rom 7:7.

332 Rom 7:23; cf. 7:10.

333 Rom 3:21-22.

334 Gal 5:24; cf. Rom 8:14, 27.

335 Lk 14:33; cf. Mk 8:35.

336 Cf. Lk 21:4.

337 LG 42 § 3.

338 Mt 5:3.

339 Cf. Lk 6:20.

340 St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus 1: PG 44, 1200D; cf. 2 Cor 8:9.

341 Lk 6:24.

342 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. in monte 1, 1, 3: PL 34, 1232.

343 Cf. Mt 6:25-34.

344 St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus 6: PG 44, 1265A.

345 Cf. Rev 22:17.

346 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 22, 30: PL 41, 801-802; cf. Lev 26:12; cf. 1 Cor 15:28.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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