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- For what reason did the Roman Catholic Church remove the commandment about the creation of graven images and divide the 10th command to compensate?
Some Protestants like to think that there is some nefarious intent involved in numbering the Commandments the way we do, as if the Catholic Church were trying to hide her idolatry from the ignorant masses by absorbing “You shall not make for yourself an idol” within the commandment to worship God and Him alone. But this is merely one more conspiracy theory.
The Catholic Church does not believe in or practice idol worship. We have nothing to hide. Our teachings are plain and easy to find for anyone who is curious. In no way has the Church every endorsed such a thing. So, there’s nothing for us to hide. Had we such intent, it would surely be a clumsy way to go about it, considering that the Commandments of God are right there in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy for anyone to read.
The actual reasoning for the difference in enumeration is quite simple: When God commands us to worship Him alone, that obviously means that we can’t make any idols. Thus, there’s no logical reason to separate the two Commandments.
What Protestants should answer for is the end of their list, where not coveting a person’s wife is lumped in with not coveting his goods. Catholics separate these two commandments because we believe that coveting a person’s wife and coveting his goods are two entirely different sins. Coveting a man’s wife is lust and adultery. Coveting his goods is envy and greed. The implication with the Protestant enumeration is that a man’s wife is just another piece of property! The Catholic enumeration, in my mind, makes much more sense.
From here you may proceed to Part Two.