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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

If the Bible says we are only to follow God’s Commandments, how can the Church require its members to follow man-made precepts?

Question:

If the Bible says we are to follow the Commandments of God and not the traditions of men, how can the Catholic Church require, under penalty of sin, that its members follow the Church’s man-made commandments called precepts?

Answer:

The precepts of the Church are not opposed to, nor are they outside of, the Commandments of God. They are within those Commandments and are intended to help keep the faithful within the Commandments.

There are basically six, listed in different ways in different books: (1) to attend Mass and to refrain from unnecessary work on Sundays and holy days; (2) to fast and abstain on appointed days; (3) to go to confession at least once a year; (4) to receive the Holy Eucharist at least once a year; (5) to contribute material support to the Church; and (6) not to marry within certain degrees of kindred. These precepts are intended to bind the faithful close to the Church and to God.

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