In this 8th Grade lesson, we study the 5th Commandment. We will review the basic tenets of the Fifth Commandment and discuss the Catholic positions on war and the death penalty in light of the Fifth Commandment.
All CatechismClass Lessons follow our time-tested 7 Step format: Introduction, Opening Prayers, Scripture and Commentary, Catechism Passages, Integration of the Lesson Topic, an activity, and a closing prayer. Quizzes end each of the lessons.Preview This Lesson
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After Original Sin, the first sin was murder. The story of Cain and Abel teaches us why we have the fifth Commandment: thou shall not kill. Human life is good and holy because God created us in His image. If we take human life, we are taking from God. There are two ways we can take life from someone. We can take life from their body, and from their soul. The fifth Commandment forbids us to do this. God commands us to protect life.
Protect the body
Most of us know that killing a person is very bad. We have laws against this. Those that break the law are incarcerated or sentenced to the death penalty. But this Commandment teaches us to protect our bodies from all hurt.
We should never hurt someone’s body. That means no hitting. No punching or kicking. No shoving. No throwing things at people. We should never do anything that will cause an injury or make someone cry in pain.
Accidents happen, especially in sports. If you accidentally hurt someone during sports, you aren’t breaking the fifth Commandment. It’s still very important that you say you are sorry and do what you can to help the person you hurt.
Protect the soul
Hurting someone’s soul is easy to do. When we make fun of someone or call him or her names, we hurt their soul. When we yell or ignore someone, we hurt his or her soul. Imagine a person’s soul. Every time you make fun of the soul, it shrinks a little. The more you hurt the soul, the smaller it gets. At some point the soul will be so small that it has no room for God. Without God, the soul will die.
The more we hurt the souls of other people the more it becomes a habit. It becomes a part of who we are. This makes our hearts hard, because we don’t care that we are hurting others. If we continue this habit, our hearts become a stone. God can’t enter a stone heart. We know what happens to a soul without God. That means that this habit kills twice: us, and those we hurt.
Questions about War and the Death Penalty
People will often ask how we are supposed to understand war and legal recourse to the death penalty in light of the Fifth Commandment.
The Church recognizes that there are times when war is necessary to prevent a grave evil. If undertaken for just reasons, a war is called a Just War. Many wars are not considered just, which compounds the difficulty soldiers face when they are in a situation that requires them to kill. In these cases, it is important to seek the counsel of your priest to help... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
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