6. You shall not commit adultery
This command prohibits sexual activity with any person other than one’s spouse, and also any emotional connection as well. This command also extends to masturbation as it turns the sexual gift into a selfish act. It protects the dignity of the sacramental marriage, prohibits divorce, and encourages a chaste life. Regarding this command the catechism states, “They are contrary to the moral law. the sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion” (CCC para 2390). This command helps us remember that our bodies, though a gift from God, are also a gift to our spouses. Our spouse may be going through a situation, such as a medical condition, that would not allow sexual activity. This reminds us that marriage is much more than sex, but a union with that one person. It reminds us that our sexuality is gift to be given freely to our spouse.
7. You shall not steal.
This command prohibits the unlawful taking of one’s property. Two examples are stealing physical property and intellectual property. This command tells us to treat others how we want to be treated and promotes the fair treatment of all. It also helps us to treat the poor virtuously as not to take advantage of their situation and steal the time that they have with their families. The command tells us to treat every person with dignity, and the catechism echoes this when it states, “respect for human dignity requires the practice of the virtue of temperance, so as to moderate attachment to this world’s goods” (CCC para 2407). One situation that is dealt with daily is in regard to social media. Someone may post something that is insightful, but when it is posted it is now intellectual property. It is ok to share the quotation, but not ok to post it without citing who said it.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
This command tells us to not be dishonest in any way. Two examples are not to lie and not to gossip. The command encourages us to be fruitful witnesses to Christ and the gospel. It also tells us to denounce hypocrisy. Regarding this the catechism states, “Since God is “true,” the members of his people are called to live in the truth” (CCC para 2465). An example of how this command can be applied happens at places of employment throughout the world. When someone has a juicy piece of gossip to tell we must resist the temptation. To listen is to encourage, and the character of the person may never recover.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
This command tells us to not lust after someone else’s spouse or to look for sex outside of marriage. This command encourages us to live a life of modesty and chastity. We are to be chaste in the vocation in which we are called. If we are single then we are chaste, and if married we have sexual relations with our spouse. As the catechism states, “chastity lets us love with upright and undivided heart” (CCC para 2520). This command helps us make sound moral decisions by reminding us that we are set apart as a Christian people. Temptation is all around us, and we may be attracted to someone who is married. It reminds us to respect the marriage sacrament and the dignity of the individual. They are much more than their looks.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
This command tells to not be envious by the material possessions that some one has, and reminds to not be greedy. The command reminds us that we are to keep God first and be thankful for the blessings that he has given us. God has given us so much and we must remember that. The catechism says it best when it states, “The economy of law and grace turns men’s hearts away from avarice and envy” (CCC para 2541). This command plays out perfectly when looking at those who have been blessed with riches. Many think that since they have much they won’t miss it if we take a little. If we see them drop a $100 bill it is not okay to keep it. This command reminds us to act uprightly with our fellow man, and what is theirs is theirs. It keeps us from having bad thoughts and keeps us from breaking other commands.
Catechism of the Catholic Church. Doubleday Books. New York, NY: 1995. Print.
Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version