Cussing, is it a sin?


#1

I have been wondering this, some people say it is just being rude but not sinful, I have my doubts about it, since well, they are just words, and they can even have no intention to harm someone, for example when you say, “wow, you are F*** amazing” you are not trying to insult someone at the contrary you are praising someone, or when in anger shout the f word, it is not to someone that you are saying it, or when used to describe something.

also would you consider “damn” or “hell” to be a profanity or cussing?

and well, this is more to those who know the language, would you consider cussing in french to be blasphemies since as far as i know they use some religious themes when cussing.


#2

I would be a liar if I said I have not committed this sin. In my mind it is almost a capital sin in that when used enough in front of others, especially kids, they in turn feel it is ok and do the same thing. I feel that one pure in spirit and not in a state of mortal sin would find even listening to foul language hurtful and disgusting. It seems the only time now I make this error is when I experience sudden sharp pain. Even then, it is time for the confessional.
Good topic.

catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0302.html

Four letter words:
“Sadly, more and more, we hear in normal conversation profanity — especially those four letter words, like s*** and f***. We also hear people speak profanely about good and holy topics; for example, they profane human sexuality or the act of marital love. Such language is not only negative, vulgar, impolite and offensive, but also debases the dignity of each human being. Moreover, this language reveals not only a person’s bad attitude and lack of respect for others, but also his own immaturity and insecurity in dealing with others. In using these words, the person builds barriers rather than bridges with another person.”

Hell:
“Not only are these various usages demonstrative of poor English, they show a lack of respect for what Hell is. Perhaps if a person really believed he could end up in Hell, he would not be so casual in using the term.”

Finally:
St. James wisely admonished, “Every form of life, four-footed or winged, crawling or swimming, can be tamed, and has been tamed, by mankind; the tongue no man can tame. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. We use it to say, ‘Praised be the Lord and Father’; then we use it to curse men, though they are made in the likeness of God. Blessing and curse come out of the same mouth. This ought not to be, my brothers!” (Jas 3:7-10).

:knight1::signofcross::knight1:


#3

True, they are just words, but words have meaning. If your words cause any harm to others, it is a sin. You might not say a word directly at another person, but some people are sensitive to hearing bad language. They have grown up their whole life not hearing it much. It is shocking and uncomfortable to them. I personally only think bad words in my head. I believe this is also a sin, though with less gravity than saying it out loud. One of my daily prayers asks God to help me not to think any bad words. I also pray not to have the anger that usually causes me to think of such words. Using God’s name in vain is certainly a mortal sin, but the other words? I think you have to ask your confessor. Most likely venial sins unless you are using such words against God.


#4

I think often it is a bad habit. I would think the intention behind the words is more a sin than the actual words. However, profanity is certainly not a positive speech pattern.

My husband is a truck driver and so he has a very “colorful” vocabulary. I have to admit that I have picked up the bad habit of a few words over the years. We have both been trying to curb the habit. When I am frustrated or angry I tend to do it still. I want to get rid of the habit as I am uncomfortable with it. I do confess it when I go to confession and ask the Lord to please give me the grace to overcome this.

Being human is sometimes very challenging :blush:


#5

As I see it, a lot of things are categorized as sins because of the effects it has on the one committing the sin and on others as a result of that action.

For me, cussing or cursing is often problematic both because of the meaning of the words being used and their emotional and psychological (and spiritual) effects. Many curse words refer to an act as disgusting or demeaning, such as the sexual act or normal biological acts or parts of the body. Would Christ have us view these things as demeaning?

Why are some parts of the body declared disgusting or bad? They are just as good as any other part of the body. Then why should we profess them not to be? It is only their improper use which can be disordered and sinful. But “cuss” words seem to imply that they are somehow bad, or maybe its just that they emphasize their disordered or sinful uses.

For example, “Love you!” or even “Make love to you!” or even “I’ll have sex with you!” could never qualify as curses, only as statements of affection or attraction (the latter does not necessarily imply love, but neither does it deny the possibility). They simply do not not convey disgust or hatred.

And yet “F*** you!” certainly does qualify as a curse, even though it technically can mean the same thing. The truth is that the dominant quality in the term “F*** you!” is one of hatred or at least spitefulness. This is why its problematic.

Now, cuss words are used as normal adjectives or other parts of speech without their original intent by many these days. I don’t think this has the same degree of intensity, but it is a distortion of those terms and still carries its original meaning for the speaker, even if it is not intended, and makes true cussing all the more easier.

And its not just cuss words either- just inappropriate, even disgusting statements. How many times have I not heard otherwise well-spoken adults talk about someone being “anal” or “anal-retentive”? By the time they’ve said it many times, they may not even realize the meaning of their words. But its still there, even to the speaker. It’s not an unknown foreign language. How often don’t these terms and words pollute our speech and create a negative verbal environment without us even realizing it. Could you imagine a truly holy person saying that being a certain way is “anal-retentive” in everyday speech?

Just analyze the emotions such terms and words bring up in ourselves, or how others would perceive them from the outside.

On the other hand, I think “bad language” has its place. Something that is truly disgusting can be referred to by a cuss word, in my opinion. And sometimes this is the best way to truly distinguish something pure from something truly bad or evil. But such use would confine cussing to very limited use, not everywhere everyday, as is the case so often these days.

Also, if we are using “cuss” words from another language not as cuss words, but simply as exclamations and are not aware that they are “cuss words” there is no such meaning present to us and thus no sin. Such was the case of a friend of mine who used the word “shmuck” in this way without understanding of its original meaning.

To me, words like “damn” are strong words, but not quite “cuss” words.

This is all from my humble perspective. Hope it is useful!


#6

I’m not quite sure what the word “cuss” means, but people seldom discriminate between the different ways we can sin in the way we use words.

“Cursing” means wishing someone eternal damnation: God d***you. I was taught this was serious sin.

“Profanity” is irreverence–taking God’s name in vain. It’s serious enough to get its own Commandment.

“Vulgarities” probably covers most of the rest of "colorful language. PPs have done a good job of explaining how these can vary in seriousness, but there’s a wide range of how offensive they are.


#7

I picked up the nasty habit of cussing in the military. That was in the 1960s nearly a half century ago. As another poster said, I do it still when angry or frustrated and I also am very uncomfortable with it. It is something that I am attempting to deal with when I go to confession and I need God’s grace to get rid of this habit. I have a volunteer position at a radio reading service to the blind. I remember reading into a tape recorder once and something on the tape machine malfunctioned. When I noticed the malfunction the first thing out of my mouth was “Oh S***!” Those words found their way onto the tape. Fortunately, I was able to delete them but it was still embarrassing!:blush: Pray For Me!


#8

If G D you is not taking God’s name in vain, then what is? “I swear”?


#9

:shrug:


#10

Sorry to bring this up again, but what about calling something hell, like for example the hellcat (plane) or something like that?


#11

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