The 16 Roman catholic commandments

I believe there are a total of 16 commandments for Roman catholics -how did these develop?

-among the RC faithful are violating on of the extra 6 an occasion for “mortal” sin

the original 10 would seem to be enough

  1. To respectfully and devoutly assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on all Sundays and Holydays of Obligation.

  2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed.

  3. To go to Confession at least once a year during the Easter Season.

  4. To receive the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist at least once a year during the Easter Season.

  5. To contribute financially (i.e. give money) to the support of the Catholic Church.

  6. To never violate the laws concerning the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Beyond the “required” nature of these things, do you see anything wrong with any of this? I think most of these things are, frankly, good things.


All of these are contained within:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)



The Precepts of the Catholic Church

  1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.

We must “sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation. This requires attending Mass, “and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.”

  1. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.

We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament “continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.”

  1. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.

This “guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.”

  1. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.

“The fourth precept ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.” See below for more about fasting & abstinence.

  1. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.

“The fifth precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.”

(These quotations are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in its section about the Precepts of the Catholic Church (#2041-3).)

These are not Commandments. These are called the Precepts of the Church, and we are well aware that they are not part of God’s 10 Commandments. What exactly is the problem here?

There are only Ten Commandments.

However, there are traditions as to what these Commandments mean. These traditions were passed down from the Old Testament and used to form an examination of conscience used to assess how we measure up to the Ten Commandments. Of course, it has changed with the times. One never had to worry about internet naughties before there was an internet. Jesus Himself never told us we could disregard all the traditions. There were some rules He superceded, and He clearly tells us about those. However, not all the traditions were thrown out or there would not have been any argument in Acts regarding whether or not the Gentiles should be circumsized.

I started out Episcopal, and then switched to Lutheran. I never saw an examination of conscience, nor was I aware of them until I became Catholic and had to confess all my sins since my baptism as a baby.

As a Protestant, I would peruse the Commandments occasionally, and assess myself as a pretty good Christian, actually. I mean, after all, my husband and I would attend church services, when it was convenient, we never killed anyone, and neither of us ever slept with anyone else. Good Christians, right?

The first time I read through an examination of conscience, I realized, that, in fact, I actually SUCKED at being a Christian. It was quite a shock, LOL! All those verses about ‘many being called but few will be chosen’, and all other references to the difficulty we humans have trying to achieve holiness, started to finally sink in.

Looking at the world today, what is ‘enough’ (the 10?) seems to not be well understood by most.

Trying to isolate necessity with a focus on a time or place past our present shows that we need to better understand our present purpose.

A little extra motivation and help with our present never hurts. Especially when it’s purpose is for the benefit of all people, regardless of level of understanding.

I don’t expect a personal trainer to coach pizza daily, rather a healthy active lifestyle.

I don’t expect my church to teach me that sin is ok, rather I hope it guides me to a better less sinful life. Those 6 seem to be angling in that direction.

" These are not Commandments. These are called the Precepts of the Church, and we are well aware that they are not part of God’s 10 Commandments. What exactly is the problem here? "

I did not imply that there was a “problem” -any denomination can set its own rules-I guess the fact that they are “required” and to not do so results in sin is peculiar-althouhg I did like the comment that they are contained in the commandment " Love thy God…"

I was just looking for some history not being critical per se-

I would surmise that the Orthodox have the same precepts

Since the Church is founded by Christ, then it’s natural for us Christians to help develop it, both temporally and spiritually.

Supporting the church can also mean supporting its members, such as the least of the brethren: poor and homeless, etc…

Matthew 25:35
Jesus Christ -----> I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. You welcomed me, a stranger, and sheltered me. You offered me comfort and drink, and eased my mind. You even visited me in prison. :slight_smile:

God’s faithful sheep, the righteous -----> When did we do this for you, Lord?? :confused:

Jesus Christ -----> Whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did for me. :cool:

Just asking a question here, not trying to derail the thread (I want to be refuted here):

Doesn’t the precept of receiving Holy Communion at least once during the Easter season present a Catch-22 for the divorced and illicitly remarried? It’s basically saying, “you can’t receive Communion because you are in a state of sin, and it’s also a sin for you to not receive Communion”.

If they are illicitly remarried then they have other problems.:rolleyes:

Not really. The Orthodox church is much less about rules and legalism than her Latin sister.

One should not remain in a state of sin. Not a good place to be. But God doesn’t play games so I wouldn’t worry about a Catch-22. One in a state of sin should refrain from communion until they are absolved. There is nothing wrong with a divorced person receiving communion. It is only if they re-marry.

The Ten Commandments are of divine origin. The Church simply upholds them as divinely revealed.

The Six Precepts are of ecclesiastical creation, by the power granted the Church to bind and loose. As such, the Church can theoretically abrogate them if she sees fit. But as it stands, because the Church has authority to bind the faithful, then disobeying them would be sinful, not so much of themselves, but for disobeying the Church.

I was looking for some history for you. I found this little item, but it’s focus is just on the number…

I think a good answer to ‘why’ though is as someone mentioned with the passing of authority with the creation of the church and it’s first appointed guardians…

‘What you bind / loose’

Another thing to consider is how we sin against more than God, like at mass we say, ‘I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, for I have sinned…’.

Full prayer here…

good answer

When the Church is calling us to receive Eucharitst (at least once a year, and during Easter if no other time) she is certainly impying to do so in a worthy manner, which means in a state of grace. This means fullfilling 3. To go to Confession at least once a year during the Easter Season. before recieving.

Please note the following carefully:

Acts 15:28-29
28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

So, you see? The Church has been establishing precepts since the middle of the first century. There are four in the letter sent to the churches just quoted.

As everyone else is asking, what’s the problem? :shrug:

This is a catch-22 for ANYONE in mortal sin, but isn’t this the nature of the Gospel? Without repentance, isn’t the Gospel itself a catch-22 ?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit