Life in Christ
Ministries should be exercised in a spirit of fraternal serv
ice and dedication to the Church, in the name of the Lord.
same time the conscience of each person should avoid confining
itself to individualistic considerations in its moral judgments of the
person’s own acts. As far as possible conscience should take ac
count of the good of all, as expressed in the moral law, natural and
revealed, and consequently in the law of the Church and in the
authoritative teaching of the Magisterium on moral questions.
Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to
the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church.
Thus a true
filial spirit toward the Church
can develop among
Christians. It is the normal flowering of the baptismal grace which
has begotten us in the womb of the Church and made us members
of the Body of Christ. In her motherly care, the Church grants us
the mercy of God which prevails over all our sins and is especially
at work in the sacrament of reconciliation. With a mother’s fore
sight, she also lavishes on us day after day in her liturgy the
nourishment of the Word and Eucharist of the Lord.
The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral
life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory char
acter of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is
meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in
the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God
The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy
days of obligation and rest from servile labor”) requires the faithful to sanc
tify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the
principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed
Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucha
ristic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by
resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sancti
fication of these days.
The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a
year.”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the
sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conver
sion and forgiveness.
82 Cf. CIC, cann. 1246-1248; CCEO, can. 880 § 3, 881 §§ 1, 2, 4.
83 Cf. CIC, can. 989; CCEO, can. 719.