2012 "We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him . . . For those whom he fore knew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified."[64]

2013 "All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity."[65] All are called to holiness: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."[66]
In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ's gift, so that . . . doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints.[67]

2014 Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called "mystical" because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments - "the holy mysteries" - and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.

2015 The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.[68] Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:
He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.[69]

2016 The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance and the recompense of God their Father for the good works accomplished with his grace in communion with Jesus.[70] Keeping the same rule of life, believers share the "blessed hope" of those whom the divine mercy gathers into the "holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."[71]


2017 The grace of the Holy Spirit confers upon us the righteousness of God. Uniting us by faith and Baptism to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, the Spirit makes us sharers in his life.

2018 Like conversion, justification has two aspects. Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, and so accepts forgiveness and righteousness from on high.

2019 Justification includes the remission of sins, sanctification, and the renewal of the inner man.

2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy.

2021 Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons. It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life.

2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.

2023 Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.

2024 Sanctifying grace makes us "pleasing to God." Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us.

2025 We can have merit in God's sight only because of God's free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man's collaboration. Man's merit is due to God.

2026 The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accordance with God's gratuitous justice. Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God.

2027 No one can merit the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.

2028 "All Christians . . . are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity" (LG 40 # 2). "Christian perfection has but one limit, that of having none" (St. Gregory of Nyssa, De vita Mos.: PG 44, 300D).

2029 "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16:24).


2030 It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation. From the Church he receives the Word of God containing the teachings of "the law of Christ."[72] From the Church he receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the "way." From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary; he discerns it in the authentic witness of those who live it; he discovers it in the spiritual tradition and long history of the saints who have gone before him and whom the liturgy celebrates in the rhythms of the sanctoral cycle.

2031 The moral life is spiritual worship. We "present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,"[73] within the Body of Christ that we form and in communion with the offering of his Eucharist. In the liturgy and the celebration of the sacraments, prayer and teaching are conjoined with the grace of Christ to enlighten and nourish Christian activity. As does the whole of the Christian life, the moral life finds its source and summit in the Eucharistic sacrifice.


2032 The Church, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth," "has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth."[74] "To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls."[75]

2033 The Magisterium of the Pastors of the Church in moral matters is ordinarily exercised in catechesis and preaching, with the help of the works of theologians and spiritual authors. Thus from generation to generation, under the aegis and vigilance of the pastors, the "deposit" of Christian moral teaching has been handed on, a deposit composed of a characteristic body of rules, commandments, and virtues proceeding from faith in Christ and animated by charity. Alongside the Creed and the Our Father, the basis for this catechesis has traditionally been the Decalogue which sets out the principles of moral life valid for all men.

2034 The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are "authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice."[76] The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for.

2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.[77]

2036 The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation. In recalling the prescriptions of the natural law, the Magisterium of the Church exercises an essential part of its prophetic office of proclaiming to men what they truly are and reminding them of what they should be before God.[78]

2037 The law of God entrusted to the Church is taught to the faithful as the way of life and truth. The faithful therefore have the right to be instructed in the divine saving precepts that purify judgment and, with grace, heal wounded human reason.[79] They have the duty of observing the constitutions and decrees conveyed by the legitimate authority of the Church. Even if they concern disciplinary matters, these determinations call for docility in charity.

2038 In the work of teaching and applying Christian morality, the Church needs the dedication of pastors, the knowledge of theologians, and the contribution of all Christians and men of good will. Faith and the practice of the Gospel provide each person with an experience of life "in Christ," who enlightens him and makes him able to evaluate the divine and human realities according to the Spirit of God.[80] Thus the Holy Spirit can use the humblest to enlighten the learned and those in the highest positions.

2039 Ministries should be exercised in a spirit of fraternal service and dedication to the Church, in the name of the Lord.[81] At the same time the conscience of each person should avoid confining itself to individualistic considerations in its moral judgments of the person's own acts. As far as possible conscience should take account of the good of all, as expressed in the moral law, natural and revealed, and consequently in the law of the Church and in the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium on moral questions. Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church.

2040 Thus a true filial spirit toward the Church can develop among Christians. It is the normal flowering of the baptismal grace which has begotten us in the womb of the Church and made us members of the Body of Christ. In her motherly care, the Church grants us the mercy of God which prevails over all our sins and is especially at work in the sacrament of reconciliation. With a mother's foresight, she also lavishes on us day after day in her liturgy the nourishment of the Word and Eucharist of the Lord.


2041 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 indispensable minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

2042 The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.") requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers together on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord.[82]
The second precept ("You shall confess your sins at least once a year.") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.[83]
The third precept ("You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season.") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.[84]

2043 The fourth precept ("You shall keep holy the holy days of obligation.") completes the Sunday observance by participation in the principal liturgical feasts which honor the mysteries of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints.[85]
The fifth precept ("You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.[86]
The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.[87]


2044 The fidelity of the baptized is a primordial condition for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church's mission in the world. In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men, it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of Christians. "The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw men to the faith and to God."[88]

2045 Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ,[89] Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. The Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until "we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."[90]

2046 By living with the mind of Christ, Christians hasten the coming of the Reign of God, "a kingdom of justice, love, and peace."[91] They do not, for all that, abandon their earthly tasks; faithful to their master, they fulfill them with uprightness, patience, and love.


2047 The moral life is a spiritual worship. Christian activity finds its nourishment in the liturgy and the celebration of the sacraments.

2048 The precepts of the Church concern the moral and Christian life united with the liturgy and nourished by it.

2049 The Magisterium of the Pastors of the Church in moral matters is ordinarily exercised in catechesis and preaching, on the basis of the Decalogue which states the principles of moral life valid for every man.

2050 The Roman Pontiff and the bishops, as authentic teachers, preach to the People of God the faith which is to be believed and applied in moral life. It is also encumbent on them to pronounce on moral questions that fall within the natural law and reason.

2051 The infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed.

The Ten Commandments

Exodus 20 2-17
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant or your maidservant or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or his maidservant or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.

Deuteronomy 5:6-21

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage.
You shall have no other gods before me . . .
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain . . .
Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy. . .
Honor your father and your mother . . .
You shall not kill.
Neither shall you commit adultery.
Neither shall you steal.
Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor.
Neither shall you covet your neighbor's wife .
You shall not desire . . . anything that is your neighbor's.

A Traditional Catechetical Formula

1. I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the LORD'S Day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.


   1 Phil 2:12-13.

   2 Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum: AAS 20 (1887/88), 597; cf. St.
   Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 90, 1.

   3 Cf. Tertullian, Adv. Marc, 2, 4: PL 2, 288-289.

   4 Rom 10:4.

   5 Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum, 597.

   6 GS 89 # 1.

   7 St. Augustine, De Trin. 14, 15, 21: PL 42,1052.

   8 St. Thomas Aquinas, Dec. praec. I.

   9 Cicero, Rep. III, 22, 33.

   10 Cf. GS 10.

   11 St. Augustine, Conf. 2, 4, 9: PL 32, 678.

   12 Pius XII, Humani generis: DS 3876; cf. Dei Filius 2: DS 3005.

   13 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 57, 1: PL 36, 673.

   14 Cf. Rom 7:12, 14, 16.

   15 Cf. Gal 3:24.

   16 Cf. Rom 7.

   17 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 15, 1: PG 7/1, 1012.

   18 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 107, 1 ad 2; cf. Rom 5:5.

   19 Heb 8:8, 10; cf. Jer 31:31-34.

   20 St. Augustine, De serm. Dom. 1, 1: PL 34,1229-1230.

   21 Cf. Mt 5:17-19.

   22 Cf. Mt 15:18-19.

   23 Cf. Mt 5:44,48.

   24 Cf. Mt 6:1-6; 16-18.

   25 Cf. Mt 6:9-13; Lk 11:2-4.

   26 Cf. Mt 7:13-14,21-27.

   27 Mt 7:12; cf. Lk 6:31.

   28 Cf. Jn 15:12; 13:34.

   29 Rom 12:9-13.

   30 Cf. Rom 14; 1 Cor 5-10.

   31 Jn 15:15; cf. Jas 1:25; 2:12; Gal 4:1-7.21-31; Rom 8:15.

   32 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 184, 3.

   33 St. Francis de Sales, Love of God 8, 6.

   34 Rom 3:22; cf. 6:3-4.

   35 Rom 6:8-11.

   36 Cf. 1 Cor 12; Jn 15:1 4.

   37 St. Athanasius, Ep. Serap. 1, 24: PG 26, 585 and 588.

   38 Mt 4:17.

   39 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1528.

   40 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529.

   41 Rom 3:21-26.

   42 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1525.

   43 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 72, 3: PL 35, 1823.

   44 Cf. Rom 7:22; Eph 3:16.

   45 Rom 6:19, 22.

   46 Cf. Jn 1:12-18; 17:3; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4.

   47 Cf. 1 Cor 2:7-9.

   48 Cf. Jn 4:14; 7:38-39.

   49 2 Cor 5:17-18.

   50 St. Augustine, De gratia et libero arbitrio, 17: PL 44, 901.

   51 St. Augustine, De natura et gratia, 31: PL 44, 264.

   52 St. Augustine, Conf. 13, 36, 51: PL 32, 868; cf. Gen 1:31.

   53 Cf. LG 12.

   54 Cf. 1 Cor 12.

   55 Rom 12:6-8.

   56 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1533-1534.

   57 Mt 7:20.

   58 Acts of the trial of St. Joan of Arc.

   59 Roman Missal, Prefatio I de sanctis; Qui in Sanctorum concilio
   celebraris, et eorum coronando merita tua dona coronas, citing the "Doctor
   of grace," St. Augustine, En. in Ps.  102, 7: PL 37, 1321-1322.

   60 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1546.

   61 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1548.

   62 St. Augustine, Sermo 298, 4-5: PL 38, 1367.

   63 St. Therese of Lisieux, "Act of Offering" in Story of a Soul, tr. John
   Clarke (Washington Dc: ICS, 1981), 277.

   64 Rom 8:28-30.

   65 LG 40 # 2.

   66 Mt 5:48.

   67 LG 40 # 2.

   68 Cf. 2 Tim 4.

   69 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Hom. in Cant. 8: PG 44, 941C.
   70 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1576.

   71 Rev 21:2.

   73 Rom 12:1.

   74 1 Tim 3:15; LG 17.

   75 CIC, can. 747 # 2.

   76 LG 25.
   77 Cf. LG 25; CDF, declaration, Mysterium Ecclesiae 3.

   78 Cf. DH 14.

   79 Cf. CIC, can. 213.

   80 Cf. 1 Cor 2:10-15.

   81 Cf. Rom 12:8, 11.

   82 Cf. CIC, cann. 1246-1248; CCEO, can. 881 # 1, # 2, # 4.

   83 Cf. CIC, can. 989; CCEO, can. 719.

   84 Cf. CIC, can. 920; CCEO, cann. 708; 881 # 3.

   85 Cf. CIC, can. 1246; CCEO, cann. 881 # 1, # 4; 880 # 3.

   86 Cf. CIC, cann. 1249-1251; CCEO, can. 882.

   87 Cf. CIC, can. 222.

   88 AA 6 # 2.

   89 Cf. Eph 1:22.

   90 Eph 4:13; cf. LG 39.

   91 Roman Missal, Preface of Christ the King.