Can a Catholic use euphemisms of profanity?


Can a Catholic use euphemisms of profanity, or is the intention of cursing (not the curse word and its euphemisms) a sin and thus is bad, and if used against the Holy Spirit, unforgiveable?

One popular type of English swearing is “God damn it!” which may be short for “May God damn it!” which may be invoking God to damn something or someone. Now, the softer euphemism may be “Gosh darn it” or just “Darn it” or just “Darn”. In that case, is it okay to use euphemisms of profanity, or is that a sin too because sinning is about the intention to do something bad and finding loopholes to do bad things is just asking for trouble?

Examples include:
*]God damn it!
*]Go to Hell!
*]Jesus Christ!
*]Oh, my God!
*]Hell of a __________!
*]Mother of God!
*]Sacré Bleu!
*]For the love of God and everything holy!
*]For Christ’s sake!
*]For God’s sake!
*]God knows!
*]Holy __________!
*]For Pete’s sake!
*]Ancient damnation!

You get the idea.

Is it ever safe to use curse words?


No, they are not permissible. I have a deeply ingrained problem with profanity and in recent years it utterly pains me to listen to it, because the words begin to dance through my head and create evil thoughts once more, as if I had never banished them.

It is particularly rude to use profanity around other people, especially strangers. I ride the bus and this is a routine problem; thankfully the drivers will sometimes call them out.

It especially pains me to hear Catholics using minced oaths. It is one of those things we have been conditioned to believe just isn’t a sin in the modern world anymore, because everyone’s doing it. Well, wake up and smell the coffee. Take a closer look at those things you habitually say, will you keep saying them when you realize how intimately tied they are to evil?


Do you agree, then, with the OP that using substitutes for profanities, such as “gosh”, “darn”, or “shoot” is also sinful?


I think it comes down to two factors:

  1. Intention - do you intend to “curse” or offend someone by your words?
  2. Audience - will the use of certain words or phrases offend those around you?

I was raised that even saying “Oh my gosh” was sinful. I don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with those words, but if I deliberately said that phrase around those who consider it sinful that would be wrong as I would be offending their sensibilities and thus sinning against charity.


Those are called minced oaths.


I say “God help me.” Which I THINK of as I am saying it as a prayer. This works great for me!
Saying the real thing or something close is bad mojo.


Sirach 23:7-15
Good News Translation (GNT)

Taking Oaths
7 My children, listen to what I have to say about proper speech; do as I teach you and you will never get trapped. 8 Sinners are caught by their own arrogant, insulting words.

9 Don’t fall into the habit of taking oaths, and don’t use God’s holy name too freely. 10 A slave who is constantly beaten will never be free of bruises; someone who is always taking an oath by the Holy Name will never be free of sin. 11 Anyone who takes oaths all the time is sinful to the core, and punishment is never far away from his household. If he fails to fulfill his oath, he is guilty. If he ignores his oath, he is twice as guilty. If his oath was insincere in the first place, he cannot be pardoned and will have a house full of trouble.

Filthy Talk
12 There is one way of speaking that is like death itself—may no Israelite ever be guilty of it! Devout people do not wallow in such sin, and they will keep away from such behavior. 13 Don’t fall into the habit of coarse, profane talk; it is sinful. 14 You might forget yourself while in the company of important people and make a fool of yourself with some foul word that comes to you naturally. Think how your parents would feel! You would curse the day you were born and wish you were dead! 15 If you fall into the habit of using offensive language, you will never break yourself of it as long as you live.

Cross references:Sirach 23:9 : Matt 5:34; Jas 5:12


I always consider it a sin. Use the actual words I consider to be mortal sin, even if only in thoughts. Using substitute words I consider venial sin, unless there is evil intent. Using substitute words in thoughts I would still consider venial sin but of a lesser degree.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit