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Article 9

THE NINTH COMMANDMENT

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.298

Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.299

2514 St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.300 In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another's goods.

2515 Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. the apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit."301 Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins.302

2516 Because man is a composite being, spirit and body, there already exists a certain tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between "spirit" and "flesh" develops. But in fact this struggle belongs to the heritage of sin. It is a consequence of sin and at the same time a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience of the spiritual battle:

For the Apostle it is not a matter of despising and condemning the body which with the spiritual soul constitutes man's nature and personal subjectivity. Rather, he is concerned with the morally good or bad works, or better, the permanent dispositions - virtues and vices - which are the fruit of submission (in the first case) or of resistance (in the second case) to the saving action of the Holy Spirit. For this reason the Apostle writes: "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."303




298 Ex 20:17.


299 Mt 5:28.


300 Cf. 1 Jn 2:16.


301 Cf. Gal 5:16, 17, 24; Eph 2:3.


302 Cf. Gen 3:11; Council of Trent: DS 1515.


303 John Paul II, DeV 55; cf. Gal 5:25.





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