Precepts of the Church - No real purpose?

I took an pamphlet from church that had the 5 Precepts of the Church.
After reading it, I thought to myself, why would the church even bother making this?

There were a few that was just dumb to even list, at least in my opinion. The rest was common sense kind of stuff. The first once especially, it’s in the 10 commandments. (Keep holy the sabbath)

2nd Precept- “You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”
-I’m sure the most righteous person on earth sins far more than once per year.
-I’m sure the most righteous of this earth would still need constant confession.
-Once a year confession is not going to save you.

3rd Precept- “You shall receive the sacrament of Eucharist at least during the Easter season.”
-The church preaches so much about how having communion often is good and important to heal us and all that good stuff, then why would they belittle the Eucharist this way?
-Once a year Eucharist is not going to save you.

I love my Catholic Church, but sometimes it seems this institution just documents things for the sake of doing it. Out of boredom maybe? I don’t know.

Sadly, there seems to be a sort of legalism in the Precepts. If I were to indulge in my cynical humanity, I’d say they were “do this or perish” rules just so people would at least come to Mass once a year. They’re a way of saying that the Church isn’t able to raise every human being perfectly, or at least can’t be bothered to catechise them properly. I view this set of precepts in particular as a sort guilt-trip. Think of a creationist trying to convince an evolutionist of Creationism, and when the former fails… he just says “well you have to believe it anyway so there”. It smacks of laziness in teaching, but perhaps there is something more to it…

Just so you know, if you receive the Holy Eucharist only once in your whole life, you are neither saved nor damned. St. Thomas points out that our being absorbed into the Body of Christ through faith is more important than partaking in Holy Communion, because faith in Christ is a sort of Communion.

Summa Theologiae, Part 3, Question 73, Article 3, Responde:

“the reality of the sacrament is the unity of the mystical body, without which there can be no salvation; for there is no entering into salvation outside the Church, just as in the time of the deluge there was none outside the Ark, which denotes the Church, according to 1 Peter 3:20-21. Before receiving a sacrament, the reality of the sacrament can be had through the very desire of receiving the sacrament. Accordingly, before actual reception of this sacrament, a man can obtain salvation through the desire of receiving it, just as he can before Baptism through the desire of Baptism, as stated above.”

It’s not dogmatic because even saints can be wrong :), but it’s something to think about.

Yea, problem with that is, if you really wanted to recieve communion, you’d just go to church, nowadays most people can walk to a catholic church (I’m form New Bedford, Massachusettes) We got a Catholic church basically every couple blocks.

Do they really want to receive it if they are too lazy to walk 1/6 of a mile?

There are many Catholics who have taken the protestant denominational view on Mass attendance.

How many times have we heard Catholic youth and even adults say, “I’m bored with Mass.” :blush: Clearly they have a connection problem to the Eucharist to ever make a statement like that.

Converts to the Church (many times due to improper catechesis) don’t attend Mass weekly.

The Precepts of the Church and are found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, citations 2041-43.

1.“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.” The faithful are required to attend the celebration of the Eucharist every Lord’s Day (Saturday vigil or Sunday Mass) and the holy days of obligation as established in the liturgical calendar, unless excused for a serious reason *. CCC 1388-9, 2042, 2043, 2177, 2180, 2185; 2187-8; 2192-3.

2.“You shall confess your sins at least once a year.” CCC 1457; 2042

3.“You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.” CCC 1389; 2042

4.“You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.” CCC 2043; 2177

5.“You help to provide for the needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.” CCC 1351; 1387; 1438; 2043

CCC# 2177: The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is the heart of the Church’s life. “Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church” [quotation from Canon Law: Codex Iuris Canonici, can.1246, art. 1].*

The precepts of the Church are primarily the disciplinary elements that Catholics need to understand and follow. These are not doctrinal points. They come mostly from canon law, not the Catechism. I would guess that 99% of Catholics haven’t read canon law or even know where to find it. These are the disciplinary rules, however, that affect all Catholics.

If you think most people can walk to a Catholic Church you need to get out more. New Bedford, MA is not ‘the world’.

There are people who have to walk 4-5 hours to attend the once-a-month Mass that is available to them. There are lots of rural parishes in North America that see a priest once a week and the parishioners range from living next door to the church to 5-6 miles away.

As a matter of fact, this summer I visited a town with a population of almost 13K and the only Catholic Church was a 15 minute drive out of town and served 3 communities: the town I was visiting, the city down the road with a population of 24K and a ‘county’ with a population of 30K.

So one Catholic Church for a combined population of almost 70K people. Not within walking distance of anywhere.

It’s worth pointing out (again) that the precept to confess sins once a year refers only to mortal sin. See Canon Law 989.

Soemtimes things are simplified to the point of being misleading.

Just curious, can you tell me where you are getting these from?

Frequent communion, while recommended by the Church is not required.
Confession is only really required when on has a mortal sin.

Now both frequent communion and confession are great, they are not required and there is no way that we can judge the state of ones soul regarding these to say that someone who follows the precepts of the Church can not be saved.

but im talking a majority… and majority of people live in cities with catholic churches.

but what the church requires may not be what the lord requires. no one REALLY knows what the lord requires.

The Church is God’s Church and is guided by the Holy Spirit.

I do not think you can separate the two in the way that you want to.

You also did not answer my question as to where you got the idea in the first place.

One single confession at the deathbed saves the person, w/o any prerequisites.

In the good traditional times 90+ % of the Catholics received this last confession and this is why Garrigou-Lagrange said that the majority of the Catholics is going to heaven. Unfortunately this changed drastically in the modern times.

As for the purpose of the Church precept those define the required minimum through the time and space. The minimum is the minimum, but still necessary to define

The precepts are reworded and renumbered every so often. That precept used to just say to go to Confession once a year. I liked it better that way. The precepts are all “rules” that are really for the good of the person. Too many people use that “only mortal sin” excuse to go for years without going to Confession.

They’re in the Catechism… not just tucked away in a dusty corner of Canon Law.

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