Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Your Term:


Also called the Decalogue, they are the divinely revealed precepts received by Moses on Mount Sinai. Engrave on two tablets of stone, they occur in two versions in the Bible. The earlier form (Exodus 20:1-17) differs from the alter (Deuteronomy 5:6-18) in tow ways. It gives a religious motive, instead of a humanitarian one, for observing the sabbath; and in prohibiting avarice, it classes a man's wife along with the rest of his possessions, instead of separately.

With the exception of forbidding graven images and statues and the precept about the Sabbath, the Ten Commandments are an expression of the natural law. More or less extensive sections of the Decalogue are found in the law of other ancient people However, the Ten Commandments excel the moral codes of other religious systems in their explicit monotheism, their doctrine of god's awesome majesty and boundless goodness, and their extension of moral obligation down to the most intimate and hidden desires of the human heart. The following is a standard Catholic expression of the Ten Commandments:

1. I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.

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

3. Remember 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 false witness against your neighbor.

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

10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.


Start over.