Is cursing a sin?



So, this morning…I’m driving to school (college, btw I am an adult) and this guy cuts me off- totally almost sideswipes me, and I yell out- well…it was an obscenity to say the least. I know were supposed to love eachother, be kind, compassionate, etc…but the window was up, no one else was in the car, and darn it he ALMOST ENDED MY LIFE man I swear! I have a 5 year old depending on me…

But, at the same time, I was listening to my beloved radio station, 1260AM Catholic radio…and afterwards my heart stopped for a minute, like I had cursed openly and out loud at mass or something…

Is cursing a sin? I know were not supposed to take the Lords name in vain, but, what about other general curses- if not said, you know, directly to anybody? Like if you drop something on your toe and yell out a curse in pain?? Nevertheless, I admit cursing is tacky and un-ladylike, and its a habit I’ve been trying to rid myself of as I progress along my spiritual journey, but man…sometimes those little ‘F’ bombs come right out…

Which, brings me to another question, my kid RARELY swears. Shes really good about it. Saying please, thank you, god definitely blessed me with a sweet and courteous kid. But, there was this one time the ‘s’ word slipped out, and I freaked…it was the second time, actually, I think I had heard her say it, so I dragged her to the bathroom and told her I was going to wash her mouth out with soap. Hey my grandma used to do it to me :shrug:… And yes, now as an adult I swear, but growing up there was NO way I’d talk like that around my grandma man…NO WAY…

so my friend thinks that washing a kids mouth out with soap is some kind of sick, torturous way to discipline your kid, kinda like a ‘flowers in the attic/no more hangers’ kinda thing, and that if I wash her mouth, I should equally begin washing mine again as well…I disagree…your opinion???


And what about replacement curses? am I just as bad for saying ‘heck’ or ‘frekkn’??


If you used the “f” word you were using vulgarity not cursing. A curse is calling on God to damn another and that sort of thing. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is using his name in place of a vulgarity. Name calling isn’t nice, but it’s not a mortal sin. Most vulgarity falls under venial sin since you were highly provoked, scared and really didn’t want what the word means to happen to the other person. I sometimes use a euphemism for vulgar words, too. It allows me to let off the steam without saying something I might regret having said.


Cursing is a sin as far as I am concerned .I am trying to stop it all together for myself and not saying the words . Kids should not be saying the foul words at all if I had said any word my mouth would have been washed out with soup and would have done it too if I had said something .


I would have found it extremely hypocritical if my father (who started adulthood as a sailor and ended his career as a 25 year veteran cop, so I’ll leave you to imagine the mouth on him) had washed out my mouth with soap. I heard it from him, so how could he punish me?! He taught it to me, so how’s he going to tell me that it’s wrong to say it?

I think you’re being hypocritical if you wash out your daughter’s mouth with soap for saying a word she learned from you. Plus, it’s unhealthy. Soap is very alkaline. Use too much and you could burn the inside of her mouth or throat. If she swallows it, she will very likely vomit. Seems over the top, doesn’t it?

While vulgarity is not the most eloquent way of expressing oneself, I don’t think it’s objectively sinful in and of itself. I’ve met a few pretty salty priests in my time… and while they aren’t perfect, they’re usually more aware than the rest of us about what is sinful and what is not. Though, they are also humans with their own failings and bad habits… that’s how I classify it. A bad habit.

P.S. Della’s post is excellent!


You know, I recently read somewhere that the biggest reason that teens have problems with their parents is because they see their parents as hypocrites. This is also the biggest reason that college aged children/adults gave for not practicing their faith. :frowning:


That is a very good point. I really admire people who display good morals, values, and strong character through leading by example rather than ‘telling’ others what they should do. Granted it is important to verbally convey the message, but it is exceptionally important for young people to see adults living by the these standards/values, otherwise they will never do it themselves.


For the record…I dont have a sailors mouth!! lol…I just dont want you guys to get the idea that I’m cursing every other word, and then trying to discipline my daughter for using profanity…totally not the case…

I’m well aware that my daughter see’s, and then does everything do, trust me. And I’m very conservative in my dress, actions, etc. But yeah, every now and then, one will slip out, more often when I’m driving, and if you read back, in the situation I was referring to, I was alone in the car.

And shes only sworn a couple times, I could probably count them on my hand. Just the swearing thing kinda reminded me of the ‘washing mouths out with soap’ conversation me and a girlfriend had so I kind of threw it in there…

Secondly, I’m not sure if the ‘hypocrite’ arguemnt holds. I hate it when people use that. It just reminds me of a kid saying ‘well they’re alll doing it’…?? And?? I used to do drugs. Am I then to allow my daughter to do it, for fear of being a hypocrite? Again, I’m not openly and freely cursing like a sailor so…no, even if on occasion its slipped out in front of her it doesnt excuse her from watching her mouth.


I don’t think there’s a problem with expletives when someone nearly kills you! Those words exist in our language for a reason, and I don’t think it was out of context in that situation.

Also, vulgar language isn’t really ‘swearing’ or ‘cursing’ in the sense of breaking the commandments. To swear is to take an oath - basically to take the Lord’s name in vain. To curse is to call down evil upon another or to call on God’s name as witness to the evil you want to do to someone. Both don’t really exist in our language and culture anymore, not the way they did in the time of Shakespeare or Chaucer anyway. The occasional ‘F’ word is not exactly becoming, but it’s more of a cultural idea.

I’m reminded of something Chesterton said about America during prohibition - I could only find it online on the fisheaters website:


Charlotte, having made mistakes in your past and warning your child against those same mistakes makes you a TEACHER, not a hypocrite.

However, punishing your daughter for doing something that you yourself are doing currently, even if it is rare… that is hypocrisy.

I get where you’re coming from. Just because I was dumb enough to have sex with my husband only three months after I met him doesn’t mean I won’t be telling my kids to wait for marriage!

to Jay82, while less desirable than doing everything right, parents can also avoid hypocrisy by not holding their children to impossible standards when the parents themselves are anything but perfect.


I am not certain whether using obscenities as expletives is sinful or not. However I do not think is leads people to believe the speaking is also trying to seek personal holiness.

I will add this. Many on this forum know that conversion from atheism to the Catholic faith was sudden, supernatural and miraculous. One of the signs I was given was to be instantly healed from the habit of using profanity. Before my conversion, I was one of those people who managed to slip in some profanity in nearly every sentence. I have not used any since the instant of my conversion. Now it is painful for me to even hear it. Finally, it was my suddenly ceasing to use profanity that lead co-workers and others I knew to ask what happened. In fact, until they asked, I had not realized I had ceased swearing.

To this day, I am almost unable to even articulate the words.


What a great conversion experience for you rpp! It’s amazing the things God will do for us.

I know what you mean about profanity being painful to hear. I might use the softer versions, but I can’t bring myself to say hardcore vulgarities.

I do wish I could be as eager to call down God’s blessings on the person who cuts us off on the highway as I am inclined to call him an idiot (which he can’t hear but it still bothers me that that’s my first reaction).

I’ve been making it a subject for my prayers and I’ve gotten better, but there are still times when someone does some incredibly selfish or boneheaded thing and I find myself jumping all over them–once again not within their hearing. I guess I need to pray–not just for patience but for tolerance for the faults of others.


from a friend:

In Theology 101 my professor made a distinction between swearing, vulgarities, and cursing.

Cursing (“damn it to hell” for example) is always considered a sin.

Swearing is taking an oath, like in court, swearing to tell the truth.

Vulgarities are not a sin in and of themselves but could be a sin if they cause scandal. At best they are crude but not sinful.


Keep your eyes on the crucifix,
for Jesus without the cross
is a man without a mission,
and the cross without Jesus
is a burden without a reliever.
~Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

…That is SO BEAUTIFUL…:love:


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