How Many Precepts?

Q. I teach 11th-grade religious education. My question: How many precepts of the Church are there, and what are they?

I've found lists ranging between three and eight precepts. The Catechism doesn't mention marriage laws among them, and some lists include confirmation as a requirement. Why are there so many different versions?

L.P., via e-mail

A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:

Many catechisms and summations of doctrine drawn up by individuals do vary in their listing of the Church's precepts. The Church's official teaching is set forth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (see Nos. 2042-2043). Each precept reflects provisions in the Code of Canon Law.

1. Attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, plus resting from labor and sanctifying the day commemorating Our Lord's resurrection (see Canons 1246-1248).

2. Going to confession at least once a year (Canon 989).

3. Receiving the Eucharist at least during the Easter season (Canon 920).

4. Observing the Church's laws of fasting and abstinence (Canons 1249-1251).

5. Contributing to the material needs of the Church (Canon 222).