The Minimum Requirements to be a Practicing Catholic*
Did you know that there are five precepts of the Catholic Church? They are outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2041-2043. These precepts are a “very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor” (CC 2041). In other words, if you want to be considered a practicing Catholic, these minimum requirements must be met.
First Precept – “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.”
Second Precept – “You shall confess your sins at least once a year.” This helps you to be prepared for the reception of the Holy Eucharist and keep your soul in a state of grace.
Third Precept – “You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.” While you must attend Mass every Sunday and on holy days of obligation, you are not required to receive the Eucharist. The Church places as a minimum that the faithful receive Our Lord’s Body and Blood (while in a state of grace) during the Easter season, which the Catechism calls “the origin and center of the Christian liturgy” (CC 2042).
Fourth Precept – “You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.” This penance prepares us for liturgical feasts and “helps acquire self-mastery over our instincts” (CC 2043).
Fifth Precept – “You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.” The faithful are required to support the Church with financial and material contributions according to their own ability.
Of course, God desires not our minimum, but our whole self. When the end goal is heaven, who wants to prepare with simply the bare minimum?