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606

Part Three

A

rticle

10

THE TENTH COMMANDMENT

You shall not covet . . . anything that is your neighbor’s. . . .

You shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his

manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or any­

thing that is your neighbor’s.

317

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

318

2534

The tenth commandment unfolds and completes the ninth,

which is concerned with concupiscence of the flesh. It forbids

coveting the goods of another, as the root of theft, robbery, and

fraud, which the seventh commandment forbids. “Lust of the eyes”

leads to the violence and injustice forbidden by the fifth command­

ment.

319

Avarice, like fornication, originates in the idolatry prohib­

ited by the first three prescriptions of the Law.

320

The tenth

commandment concerns the intentions of the heart; with the ninth,

it summarizes all the precepts of the Law.

I.

T

he

D

isorder of

C

ovetous

D

esires

2535

The sensitive appetite leads us to desire pleasant things we

do not have, e.g., the desire to eat when we are hungry or to warm

ourselves when we are cold. These desires are good in themselves;

but often they exceed the limits of reason and drive us to covet

unjustly what is not ours and belongs to another or is owed to him.

2536

The tenth commandment forbids

greed

and the desire to

amass earthly goods without limit. It forbids

avarice

arising from a

passion for riches and their attendant power. It also forbids the

desire to commit injustice by harming our neighbor in his temporal

goods:

When the Law says, “You shall not covet,” these words

mean that we should banish our desires for whatever does

not belong to us. Our thirst for another’s goods is immense,

infinite, never quenched. Thus it is written: “He who loves

money never has money enough.”

321

317

Ex

20:17;

Deut

5:21.

318

Mt

6:21.

319 Cf.

1 Jn

2:16;

Mic

2:2.

320 Cf.

Wis

14:12.

321

Roman Catechism,

III, 37; cf.

Sir

5:8.

2112

2069

1767

2445