Via Ten Reasons is the following version of the Ten Commandments from a textbook called "Coming to Jesus, Grade 2" of which I will contrast with the Exodus 20 from the RSV version.
1. We try to put God first in our lives
"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."
2. We use God’s name only with love and respect.
"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."
3. We keep Sunday as God’s special day of prayer and rest.
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.
4. We listen to and obey those who care for us.
"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you."
5. We care for all living things.
"You shall not kill.
6. We care for our bodies and respect others.
"You shall not commit adultery."
7. We do not steal; we are fair to everyone.
"You shall not steal."
8. We are truthful in what we say and do.
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor"
9. We are faithful to those we love.
"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."
2514 St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.301 In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another’s goods.
10. We help people to have what they need to live.
"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 anything that is your neighbor’s"
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 commandment.319 Avarice, like fornication, originates in the idolatry prohibited 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.
Rich Leonardi rightly called this dumbed down version the Ten ‘Cuddly’ Commandments and while some of them are closer to the truth others are misleading and politically correct.
Update: Reader Ron Kozar sent me a scanned copy of the relevant pages in the text book in question
He had also stated in the comment box.
"The textbook in question presents these teachings as the ten commandments. They are not presented as a mere outline or something. The textbook pictures the words on two stone tablets. The first three are preceded by the statement, "The first three commandments tell us how to love God." The remaining seven arep receded by the statement, "The other commandments show us how to love ourselves and others.""
You can see the scanned image here.
five out of ten arn’t even recogniseble. They’re not even commandments. They’re like… the 10 suggestions
1. They’ve been carefully mutated to avoid the negative. As a result, it’s hard to tell what the expectation is on God’s side of things. It’s like telling a kid “play nice with your sister” or “don’t pull your sister’s hair”. What does play nice mean? whereas it’s not hard to understand the other. Similarly #6 — what counts as “caring” and “respecting?
2. I can’t help but think that the “we” format is not a good idea. The commandments, for one thing, are clearly directed from one person to another. It’s easy to understand what’s expected of us (ie my first point). But what if the kid sees that “we” DON’T do those things? Daddy isn’t faithful to mommy! Teacher isn’t fair to me! There’s no line in these between the ideal or expectation and actual behavior.
3. The last two are really blatant and TERRIBLE. It’s like somebody just threw out the original ones and invented two more.
There’s probably a degree of well-meaning here, but geez couldn’t they have been passed by the Diocesan Censor first?
#9 This could mean “love thy gay partner”?
#10 This could endorse supporting or actually being involved in bank-robbing!
Frankly, folks, they are not worth the paper (actually that dignifies it, say toilet tissue) they’re written on.
Now I think I need to take a couple of tablets (NICE HEAVY ONES, and I know what I’d like to do with them! In a metaphorical way of course.)
Its not what you say, its how you say it. If you have an agenda, the best thing to start with is to get people to use a language or vocabulary that does not degrade your agenda, and then move on to bigger and better world domination plans. Scary!
Hey, you could stap those up in a court house. I’ll bet know one would recognise them as the ten commandments would they? 10 suggestions is right.
Re-do……Hey, you could slap those up in a court house somewhere and I’ll bet no one would recognise them as the ten commandments would they? 10 suggestions is right.
It’s way too late, and I need to go to bed…….
I used the presentation of the 10 Commandments as a basis for evaluating new catechetical materials for our parish here. Of all the materials recommended by the Diocesan office in charge of parish catechesis, they all read like these here. All variations on the theme of “let’s all be nice to each other.”
As a former third grade catechist for my parish, I would often take the theme and objective of the text book chapeter and use it as a platform to create my own lesson, using materials that weren’t watered down and fluffy. When I failed to create my own lesson and simply followed the book, the children were bored and fidgety. I’m not saying that I was a good catechist, I just refused to talk down to the students, and they, in turn, rose to the occasion. In some cases, textbook publishers don’t give students enough credit.
4. We listen to and obey those who care for us.
How could they have left out the words “Father” and “Mother”? Outrageous.
Tell me: is this book on the List of Approved “Catechisms” issued by the USCC?
On second thought–DON’T tell me.
I’m surprised at the vigor against number 4. Surely respect for authority entails more than parents: adult relatives, teachers, coaches, or even (gasp) the pope.
Up to age nine or so, I wouldn’t have a particular problem with these. The PC comment strikes me as being disingenuous; the Ten Commandments as is taught to five-year-olds would be equally PC and not terribly effective.
Todd, these “ten commandments” come from a second-grade textbook called “Coming to Jesus.” It is not being presented to five-year-olds. My son was 8 when he brought this home. Most of his classmates were 9.
As for your comment about no.4, you are right. Respect for authority does entail more than parents. Still, the 4th commandment mentions only parents. It says nothing about general respect for authority of for “those who care for us.” The editors have accordingly changed the meaning. Whether the sentiment they wish to substitute for the 4th commandment is worthy or not, it is still not truthful to call that substituted sentiment the 4th commandment.
Wow, I didn’t think it was possible for things to be “fuzzier” than they were when I was a child in the 70’s and 80’s. I was wrong.
Ron’s quite right. Respect for authority can be extrapolated from Commandment #4, but the primary thing to learn is the actual commandment, no? Which is what second-grade-level texts should be about.
I suppose we should be glad they at least used the “Catholic” and not the “Protestant” commandements . . .
Has anyone here had much experience with Ignatius Press’ Faith and Life series? We use it here, and I know it is faithful and solid. One downside I have heard from teachers is that it is not creative enough (depending on one’s understnading, that may be a very good thing) I just wanted to solicit impressions regarding Faith and Life. Also, does anybody produce a confirmation curriculum? I would just as soon use the catechism, but a pre-written curriculum with a solid foundation would be helpful.
I agree that second graders should learn the commandments as is. But I don’t see this as a serious abuse, as I said, for nine-year-olds.
Context is always instructive, and the question I raise: Are these actually presented as the Ten Commandments, or are they part of a paraphrase, or are they part of a chapter review or examination of conscience?
I don’t see a problem with encouraging children to avoid the elementary parallels of committing adultery or being greedy for another’s property.
More sniping, and what good does it do?
Thanks to Jeff for presenting another near-occasion of sin for the St Blogodrome.
Pretty funny for somebody that supports women priests to be talking about near-occasion of sin for the St Blogodrome. You and other progressive bloggers who flout Church doctrine for a doctrine more informed by modern society are the scandal to the faithful. We wouldn’t have to carp about liturgical abuses if priests simply followed what is procribed. There is nothing hard to implement it and that fact that they go there own way on liturgical rules is that they also go there own way in theology and think outside of the Church.
Cardinal Mahony who has basically ordered some liturigical abuses in his diocese has not stopped at just that but has also ordained an openly gay man as a deacon. Not somebody who just has the cross of same-sex attraction but it openly living with another man and promotes gay rights on various web sites. Who is the one causing near occasion of sin? The ones who complaint when the litury and theology is abuses or the ones who are doing the abusing?
“Pretty funny for somebody that supports women priests to be talking about near-occasion of sin for the St Blogodrome.”
There’s a distinction between what I say in regard to the possible ordination of women (a matter not of faith or morals, but of discipline) and open support of ordination cruises, which I have publicly criticized. Far from being funny, you would seem to be holding to a standard of those without sin are the only ones eligible to cast a stone, and it is very true, my friend, you cast quite a bit and encourage your guests, through humor, to do likewise. My question remains: is it wrong to stir up such feelings, or is it at all productive?
“You and other progressive bloggers who flout Church doctrine for a doctrine more informed by modern society are the scandal to the faithful.”
You can say it, but you can’t prove it.
“We wouldn’t have to carp about liturgical abuses if …”
Carp is a good word. But my experience is that people tend to carp whether they are abuses, peccadilloes, or sometimes that the sun rose in the East. People complain, and they do lots of it. I ask: does it further the Kingdom of God to do so and to encourage it. And do I have to be free from sin (maybe fresh out of the confessional) to say it?
This is why it is so hard talking with you when you make such an outlandish statement tht the ordination of women is a matter of dicipline. That it is only Church law and not part of the doctrine of the faith. That it is the category of for example allowing priest to marry. This is just pure nonscence. You can not back up such a statement from one document from the magisterium. In fact it is one hundred percent the other way around. It is really hard for me to take you seriously when you misrepresent a teaching of the Church in such a manner.
“Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.
Responsum: In the affirmative.
This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved this Reply, adopted in the ordinary session of this Congregation, and ordered it to be published.
Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the Feast of the Apostles SS. Simon and Jude, October 28, 1995.”
So while Pope John Paul II’s statement in his encyclical was not infallible in and of itself it is an infallible statement of the ordinary magisterium.
Even if that was not true then you will still be required to hold to the teaching as Lunem Gentium (a document from the real Vatican II.) said:
“Religious submission of mind and of will must be shown in a special way to the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff even when he is not defining, in such a way, namely, that the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to according to his manifested mind and will, which is clear either from the nature of the documents, or from the repeated presentation of the same doctrine, or from the manner of speaking.”
So by publically disagreeing on this doctrine how can you have “Religious submission of mind and of will”
I will take you more seriously when you do this.
Jeff, Todd does raise some good points. Are these presented as the 10 Commandments, or as a sort of explanation of them for the children? I was thinking that I wouldn’t really mind these for gr. 1 (gr. 2 is worse, but whatever), as long as they have the real commandments and this is ‘how it applies to you right now’ type of thing. The Faith First books do the 6th commandment (at least earlier on) as being faithful to our word, and not betraying our friends. And I think that’s a pretty decent way of telling the kids how they can live (or prepare to live) that commandment. Of course, a lot of it depends on the way the catechist teaches it.
And I agree with jp. I’ve often done that sort of thing. The children usually feel that otherwise they already know it all. But then they also have trouble saying what they’ve learnt, so this coming year, having a small class, I’m going to pick out easy lessons, give one to each of the kids and tell them they’re going to teach it — then they will have to actively acquire the knowledge and find a way to verbally communicate it. But yeah, by far my most interesting lessons were the ones where we departed from the book, either because I was (maybe) using it to build my own lesson, or because the children brought something up and we ended up having a discussion about it.
But going back to those ten statements, I think that they could be fine; it would depend on the context the catechist gave them. Leaving those statements again, last year I was teaching gr. 3, and when we were doing the 10 Commandments, I had a poster paper with the outlines of tablets and space for the commandments, and asked the children for each commandment, and the one who found it first (back of the book or in the lesson) got to write it down, then we looked at them all and the way the book explained them and discussed anything else we thought they might mean/imply. With my opinions predominating, of course. *grin*
Have you ever tried to teach a pig to sing?
I’m with Rich. I’ve heard this version referred to as “The Ten Suggestions.” Sad.
Whoops….I should have read the comments first: sorry Tammy.
The quote was popular with teachers of college students:
“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time, and it annoys the pig.”
“This is why it is so hard talking with you when you make such an outlandish statement tht the ordination of women is a matter of dicipline.”
Not to mention that it has absolutely nothing to do with the thread topic. But you’re the blog host, and if you want to indulge in ADHD behavior, more power to you.
Can’t stick to a single topic.
Back home it was “…It’s a waste of time and you just get covered in pig (excrement).”
My point is, taking seriously those who can’t be bothered to be serious is a waste of time. If such comments must be addressed to aid others who might be confused, better to silence such comments than to dignify them with a response.
“If such comments must be addressed to aid others who might be confused, better to silence such comments than to dignify them with a response.”
Why bother with silencing? Just ask any offending person to leave and not come back.
Not every dispute means there is confusion. Sometimes there are simple differences of opinion on prudential matters (whether this quote from an RE text is “dumbed down” or taken out of context). So long as we don’t let our tongues, pens, and imaginations lead us to expressions against charity, we can keep the prudential matters under discussion, can’t we?
Even back in the seventies and eighties, we learned the Ten Commandments by heart, as written. (With “thou shalt not” intact, even.) We were told what “covet” meant. We were told that “Honor thy father and mother” included all people in authority over us, but that we didn’t have to obey sinful commands.
Clearly, the moral of the story is — Read your kids’ textbooks, and be prepared to teach them yourself when need be.
Yeah we use Faith and Life. Raising children is hard enough without baffling them with a Ten Commandments that neither their parents nor grandparents would recognize.
Why I home-taught religious ed
Back when I was struggling to teach religious education to my kids, I became so appalled by the catechetical materials chosen by my parish that I decided to pull them out of the program and teach them myself. I was very fortunate to find the Faith an…
Thanks, Todd. I know what ADHD means, but I don’t see it illustrated here.
Lynn, it’s not here, actually. I think Jeff got his threads mixed up. It’s in the other one.
By the way, I posted on Ten Reasons what and where I found this “version,” and what the context of it was.
My 2 cents here.
I would never DREAM of raising a child (I have only 1 — started late) without “Honor thy Father and thy Mother” behind me. What else can a parent use when a kid wants to know WHY they have to do what you say?
Jeff, Please correct the title of the offensive text in the main body of your post. It was from “Coming to Jesus, Grade 2,” not “Our Catholic Faith.” I flipped out when I read this at home b/c we use “Our Catholic Faith” for kids who took some time off from Religious Ed to catch up. “Our Catholic Faith” doen’t have the cuddly commandments, but they do translate “bear false witness” and “covet.” Both books are published by Sadlier.
Texts vary greatly in terms of orthodoxy even within publishing houses. Please read yuour child’s books carefully!!!
If there is anyone from a publishing house out there, can we get some decent materials to help us adapt the RCIA for children????? Maybe someone reading this can give a suggestion by email?
Todd, there is nothing about the “context” that mitigates the error as you suggest. The textbook in question presents these teachings as the ten commandments. They are not presented as a mere outline or something. The textbook pictures the words on two stone tablets. The first three are preceded by the statement, “The first three commandments tell us how to love God.” The remaining seven are preceded by the statement, “The other commandments show us how to love ourselves and others.”
I don’t see any escaping the conclusion that the “cuddly” commandments are being presented as the ten commandments. There was no nuance about it.
By the way, I tried to e-mail you scanned copies of the pages themselves from my son’s book, but the e-message came back with a message that it was undeliverable.
Ron, if you read Rich’s blog, you’ll know I already found the pages. The Ten Commandments were clearly adapted to be used as an examination of conscience word for word later in the year. To the extent the author somewhat streamlined a scripture passage for a good reason: a direct connection with one part of the sacrament of reconciliation, I can see the point. I gave my opinion on Ten Reasons of the whole matter; I see no need to repeat it here.
Todd, your comments on Rich’s blog make reference to a book called “With You Always: First Reconciliation.” That book is not the same as “Coming to Jesus,” from which the “commandments” that we are discussing were quoted. You can view the pages themselves (which are obviously different from what you described) by following the link in the update on the main post upon which we are commenting. (I make no comment on the “With You Always” book, having never seen it.)
Ron, without a publisher and source, I could not verify the context of your “commandments.” I found the same wording in another book, it seems, and I’ve already posted my opinion on those. It helps to have source material. Knowing the publisher can often be illuminating enough.
One last word, and then I promise to shut up and go away:
I googled the language of the tenth “cuddly” commandment and found that this version of the commandments is featured on a “holistic” website and on the website of a Catholic school in Florida.
The holistic website is:
The Florida school’s website is:
As a Catholic mother of 3 living on the west coast, the material in this book does not surprise me, but it does sadden me.
I have encountered this fluff for years. Were it presented as a suplement to the 10 Commandments, it might be of some aid in helping 9 year-olds apply the 10 Commandements to their station in life (although I can think of many far more concrete examples to help them). Based on my experience, however, the students are NEVER taught the basics. They get only the fluff. Unsuspecting parents pay their tuition to Catholic schools or Religious Ed programs never guessing that their children are learning to be great moral relativits: the teachers think the faith is too hard and so make things easier for them. Children can’t learn the sacrificial nature of love, because no one wants them to have to make any sacrifices.
Further, there are more modifications in these suggestions than those that help to clarify the Commandments for children. They are intentionally vague and ambiguous to allow the acceptance of “alternative lifestyles” and other modern “human rights.” They show the effects of the adult disease of placing human approval, accomodating the feelings of the group, or “not rocking the boat,” ahead of the truth.
Todd has it wrong. This is not nitpicking nor is it a near occassion of sin. Faith matters, Truth matters, Heaven matters, the Church matters, only because Jesus is Lord.
A parent must somehow convey the seriousness of the consequences of life: where the child will spend eternity. This lesson demands conviction and clarity, not fluff. It is not the publisher’s 10 suggestions that matter, but God’s own words.
Ah, the Foolable Todd once again comes preaching the Good News of Reasonable accomodation. BTW, nice dodge of the Jester’s question on your ridiculous position that woman’s ordination is a “discipline”, not a “faith”, issue. Why don’t you site Magisterial sources that explicitly permit the Church to consider ordination of women. Oh, yeah. That’s right. You can’t.
Bringing that same mentality to bear on the matter of these ludicrous facsimilies of the ten commandments, you make the usual and Reasonable observations that have so discredited the Foolable Catholics. Did you learn the ten commandments this way? I didn’t think so. Do you truly believe that these represent an appropriate way for second graders to learn the cornerstone of Judeo-Christian morality? Please! Give me a chance to stop laughing and try to make a point with a little more clarity and a little less loopiness. The Catholic equivelent of political correctness can’t substitute for the Faith.