Commandments of the Church


In a broad sense, the laws or Precepts issued by the Church in pursuance of her office of authentic and authorized organ and interpreter of Revelation, binding on the faithful universally, with the gravest sanction; in a restricted sense, a particular code of precepts, limited in number, broad in character, moral and ecclesiastic, rather than doctrinal in content. The Church has defined nothing concerning the form and number of these commandments, although recommending in a general way the observance of such a code. Theologians in drawing up lists of these technical commandments have varied in details. The six commandments of the Church noted in the catechisms officially promulgated in the United States and prescribed in substantially their present form by the Fathers of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore of 1886 are the following

  • To keep the Sundays and Holy Days of obligation holy by hearing Mass and resting from servile work.
  • To keep the days of fasting and abstinence appointed by the Church.
  • To go to confession at least once a year.
  • To receive the Blessed Sacrament at least once a year and that at Easter or thereabouts.
  • To contribute to the support of our pastors.
  • Not to marry within a certain degree of kindred nor to solemnize marriage at the forbidden times.

MLA Citation

  • “Commandments of the Church”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 August 2010. Web. 30 September 2020. <>