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Part Three

2066

The division and numbering of the Commandments have varied

in the course of history. The present catechism follows the division of the

Commandments established by St. Augustine, which has become tradi­

tional in the Catholic Church. It is also that of the Lutheran confessions.

The Greek Fathers worked out a slightly different division, which is found

in the Orthodox Churches and Reformed communities.

2067

The Ten Commandments state what is required in the love

of God and love of neighbor. The first three concern love of God,

and the other seven love of neighbor.

As charity comprises the two commandments to which the

Lord related the whole Law and the prophets... so the Ten

Commandments were themselves given on two tablets.

Three were written on one tablet and seven on the other.

27

2068

The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments

are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound

to keep them;

28

the Second Vatican Council confirms: “The bish-ops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission

of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every

creature, so that all menmay attain salvation through faith, Baptism

and the observance of the Commandments.”

29

The unity of the Decalogue

2069

The Decalogue forms a coherent whole. Each “word” re­

fers to each of the others and to all of them; they reciprocally

condition one another. The two tablets shed light on one another;

they form an organic unity. To transgress one commandment is to

infringe all the others.

30

One cannot honor another person without

blessing God his Creator. One cannot adore God without loving all

men, his creatures. The Decalogue brings man’s religious and

social life into unity.

The Decalogue and the natural law

2070

The Ten Commandments belong to God’s revelation. At

the same time they teach us the true humanity of man. They bring

to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the funda­

mental rights inherent in the nature of the human person. The

Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law:

27 St. Augustine,

Sermo

33, 2, 2: PL 38, 208.

28 Cf. DS 1569-1570.

29

LG

24.

30 Cf.

Jas

2:10-11.

1853

1993

888

2534

1955