"Why did the Roman Catholic Church change the word of God"

I have come across another troubling situation, and I would desire your comments. Why did the Roman Catholic Church change the word of God in the Ten Commandments. They put the Second Commandment in with the First, and then split the Tenth to make both the Ninth and Tenth. Why did they do this? Did they think God might have made a mistake when He gave us the original?



Dear Len,

Thanks for the question. If you look in the Catechism, you will notice it lists the Ten Commandments as found in Exodus and Deuteronomy (and then gives a detailed explanation of each one). It was not the Catholic Church which changed the numbering. Up till the sixteenth century, they were always shown with Moses holding two tablets: one with the three pertaining to love of God and the other with the seven pertaining to love of neighbor. It was the Protestant reformers who split the first into two - probably because of their misunderstanding regarding images.

In fairness to Protestants, it must be admitted that both Exodus and Deuteronomy list fourteen different commands, so some have to be joined together in order to make a list with the traditional number Ten. Still, since Our Lord put so much emphasis on not looking at a woman with lust, it makes sense to maintain keep separate the two dealing with covetousness (neighbor's wife & neighbor's goods).

Finally, I would not want to make a huge issue out of any of this because the last thing we need is one more issue to fight about. Rather we should emphasize what we have in common: the moral law received from God, that we have all strayed from it and have no hope except Christ's mercy.

God bless,

Fr. Bloom

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