Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Temperance and the Commandments – Part II of III

Marital Fidelity

In our last reflection on the virtue of Temperance, we covered Temperance’s association with the Fourth Commandment to Honor one’s Father and Mother. Today we cover how Temperance is associated with the Sixth Commandment “Do not commit adultery.”

When God created the sacrament of marriage between Adam and Eve, He deemed marriage to be monogamous and life-long. “In citing Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24, Jesus proclaims permanence to be the divine intent from the beginning concerning human marriage.” 1 Jesus reaffirmed the meaning of the sixth Commandment when He said, “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mark 10:9).

As humans, we have a choice of one of three vocations in life: to remain single, to marry, or to enter the religious life. If we choose to marry, then we are expected to remain faithful, through monogamy, to our spouses until one of the two dies. If one was to break the vow of faithfulness to one’s spouse by engaging in sexual activity with someone outside of the marital union, then that person commits adultery.  Within the context of the marital union, we exercise the “muscles” of Temperance: self-control, self-discipline and self-restraint to live a chaste life. These “muscles” are all intertwined to assist us in living a life that steers us toward the true good, God, and away from evil.

How is Temperance associated with the ninth commandment? We’ll answer that question in our next reflection on the virtue of Temperance. Don’t miss it!


1 New American Bible, 2000-2001 Edition, Wichita: Fireside Bible Publishers, notation on pp. 1078-1079

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