Help with Catholic friend who freely abuses the word "God."

My best friend is very Catholic, very spiritual, and all that. But he constantly uses the word “God” in vain. His defense is that it’s technically not God’s actual name, and I don’t really know how to reply to that. He uses a lot of strong language anyway, but this is the only thing that bothers me. I really don’t want to see this go on.

Could I have some advice?

If an Englishman was blasting out someone called “the Queen”, it is obvious that he is referring Elizabeth II. Similarly, if you use the word Christ, we all know that you are referring to Jesus. There is only one God. Using the title, God, is referring to the Holy Trinity. The only cussing directly forbidden by the Ten Commandments is using God’s name in vain.

  1. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

I knew a guy (a seminarian) who would always do the sign of the cross whenever he heard someone take the Lord’s name in vain. That would certainly draw your friend’s attention to it on each occassion and perhaps give him pause. :stuck_out_tongue:

Good idea, and I would also say out loud, May God forgive you.

You may need to speak up, tactfully. If this is truly a good friend, your sensitivity ought to matter to him, so that he refrains from upsetting you. However, if you say nothing at all, he may misconstrue it as approval on your part. :wink:

I remember St. Teresa of Avila having written that it upset her so much to see sins committed by others – but added that it must have cost Our Lord Jesus a great deal **more **with sins committed in His very presence as He lived on earth. Some things we just have no control over when it comes to others. A silent prayer would be in order, if your friend does not heed your wishes and continues this practice.

I had a coworker once who I was trying to mentor and I used to give him a little rap on the noggin for taking the Lord’s name in vain, and he would say “I’m f-word sorry.” You can’t win with some people.

That’s a good idea. I think I am going to start doing this with my wife. She tends to be quite liberal with her use of certain terms. Thanks for the idea!

Sure thing. :thumbsup: It’s always stuck with me. I still remember going bowling with him when a guy in the other lane (one of my other friends :o) kept using the Lord’s name in vain every time he messed up. I thought it was a great witness. A lot of people are so accustomed to using the word in that way that they don’t even stop to think about it anymore.

Of course, one also has to be careful about using it as a passive-agressive sort of thing. :stuck_out_tongue:

If, as you say this is someone who truly IS “very Catholic” then it appears this is an area that he has struggled with and developed something of a “justification” (aka loophole) for his behavior. You may need to take this into account as you try to approach the matter.

I’m going to make an assumption here about what his common expression is…and how you might approach the matter.

Has your friend ever said “God bless you” (like if someone sneezes)?
If so you might ask him if he is actually calling on God to bless this person…
His answer would surely be yes - even though he is not using God’s “formal” name.
Then ask him…If it is acceptable and good to use the general “God” to call down a blessing…is it not equally bad and unacceptable to use the general “God” to call down damnation on someone or something?

Just a thought.


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