Cussing

Is cussing a mortal sin? Since my last confession I have felt very strongly against it. Is it mortal or venial? I don’t mean taking the lord’s name in vain just those 4 letter words.

Just an idea: I think Jesus did say that it is not what goes “into the mouth” that’s sinful, but what “comes
out that defiles the soul.” There’s this anger management therapy of screaming into a pillow,
punching at it also (poor pillow), people thinking that helps relieve anger problems, when in
fact what is happening is that you’re not getting anger out, but you’re letting anger in.

Using strong language can often come from Rage/Wrath, a deadly sin I believe, when we let
it swallow our tongue so to speak. Is cussing ALWAYS a sin? I myself can’t say, but there’s
my two cents.

We should not cuss or use profane words, it is a sin, but hit your thumb with a hammer and say what you think right then is in my mind not a sin.

I don’t think it’s a mortal sin, but I believe foul language can be sinful. I found myself slipping into the habit of using it more and more during a period of increased stress a while back. I started mentioning it every time I went to Confession. A couple of the priests rolled their eyes at me. I explained to one of them that, while it may not sound like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, in my personal situation, especially with young children, it was at the very least problematic and if confessing it helped me get it under control, all the better. The good news is that after a few months of confessing it regularly, I got to the point where I almost never swear. Well, except for the other day, but that was an exceptional circumstance.

Exceptional circumstance Gordon? The hammer? Or did your mother-in-law drop by and told she will stay for a whole month?

Several weeks worth of being lied to, undermined and being blamed for virtually everything that didn’t go exactly right for several other people, regardless of the fact that I was in no way involved in what they were doing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It culminated in me ranting to my wife about the whole situation, which was a bit cathartic.

  1. While using the Lord’s name in vain is a sin, using the a**, s***, and f*** is not necessarily a sin. Those three words were once in common use and are now considered vulgar. For example, St Thomas More used the word s*** in his writings (as did Martin Luther).

  2. You must not scandalize or cause others to stumble by your using vulgar words. St Paul speaks of never eating meat again, if it would cause another to stumble:

1 Corinthians 8:10-13 If someone sees you, with your knowledge, reclining at table in the temple of an idol, may not his conscience too, weak as it is, be “built up” to eat the meat sacrificed to idols? Thus through your knowledge, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother for whom Christ died. When you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their consciences, weak as they are, you are sinning against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin.

  1. You must not use vulgar words to demean another person, as an exclamation, or as a description for something negative. Christ makes it clear that we are not to demean others:

Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna [aka hell fire].

  1. St James speaks against pronouncing curses on others:
    James 3:9-12 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers. Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can salt water yield fresh.

I believe that the use of vulgar words are not sinful as long as it:
a. does not use the Lord’s name in vain
b. does not scandalize or cause others to stumble
c. is not used to demean someone
d. is not used as a curse

I know what you mean. And I am sorry for the sarcastic remark. I will remember you in my prayers. And even if it looks a bit somber right now it will get better.

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