Precepts of the Church

Precepts of the Church

When Jesus instituted the Catholic Church, He gave it the authority to put in place whatever was necessary to carry out his teaching about morality and worship of God.

The Church has established precepts, also called Commandments of the Church, which guide the faithful in life as a practicing Catholic.

Although more have been included in the history of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church currently lists five precepts to help Catholics grow in holiness.

Catholics are obligated to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, to confess mortal sins once each year, to receive Holy Communion at least once during the Easter season, to fast and abstain on the required days, and to assist with the needs of the Church.

These precepts are the very least that is required but all Catholics are expected to do more to truly grow in love of God and neighbor.

5 general rules for practicing Catholics:

Obligations to live as God’s holy people:

For the good of your moral life:

The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character 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 and neighbor.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2041

The very necessary minimum:

“So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

Luke 17: 10

Necessary for life in the Church:

How we define ourselves as Catholics:

The minimum for living an authentic Catholic life:

Even though the Church, in the reliance which it places on the liberty of the modern Christian with his increased awareness of his duties and his greater maturity and practical wisdom in fulfilling them, may make certain of its laws or precepts easier to observe, nevertheless the law retains its essential binding force. The Christian way of life as set forth and interpreted by the Church in its prudent legislation, demands a not inconsiderable degree of loyalty, perseverance and self-sacrifice. It constrains us, as it were, to take the “narrow way” recommended by Our Savior.

Pope Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, August 6, 1964

Urgent directions from the Church:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

A Journey of Catholic Spiritual Awakening:

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