Is cussing a sin?


This is bad...I cuss all the time. Is it a non serious sin as long as I'm not directing it at someone?


**II. Venial Sins **

1 Have I used the name of “God” or “Christ” or “Jesus” or “Lord” as a byword, or as an expression of impatience, or in jest?
2. Have I spoken, not maliciously, but profanely and irreverently, of any holy thing?
3. Have I sworn, i.e., called upon God to witness the truth of what I was saying, when there was no serious reason for so doing, when the matter was trivial or foolish, even though I told no lie?
4. Have I used the language of cursing against inanimate things, or against animals, or against human beings even though I did not really wish the damnation of these last?
5. Have I permitted myself to acquire the habit of using God’s name profanely, or of swearing or cursing almost without realization of what I was saying?
6. Have I laughed at others’ profane use of God’s name or other irreverent speech, as if I thought it amusing and wanted them to continue?
7. Have I neglected to correct a child subject to me, when the child used irreverent or profane language?
8. Have I permitted my children to go about with companions who made frequent use of profanity?
9. Have I repeated the profanity of others as something amusing and clever?

Examinations of Conscience

The above is from the April series, there is one for each month of the year, so as to focus on different areas. I will note that these were written in 1959, and not up to date – it assumes better catechized, adhering to Catholic customs, and stronger Catholics in general than exist today, as well as different monetary values, etc. But they are very good references for thorough polishing, except perhaps for the scrupulous who should likely use a different series. Do not be overwhelmed. Do be enlightened and edified. :slight_smile:


Thank you all for your opinions and the truth is that I have found my answer elsewhere. One of my good friends asked me if I talked to God like that and I replied no. Then he asked if I saw Jesus in every person and I said I try. Then he got me. He said, "So why you keep cussin' at Jesus in everyone around you! That ain't too nice!" :D Problem solved! (and he has a valid point)


I'm mostly reading that cussing may be a bad habit, but is not necessarily a sin unless it's God's name being used in vain, or directed against God or something holy, or another person. With another person, what about using it in a joke? I'm also from a military background, not to mention the guys. (Catholic and not) who I hang out with all the time. We joke around with each other to no end, and a big part of that is ragging on each other. Someone makes a comment about me, and I jokingly respond "f**k you very much..." or something like this. Everyone knows we're joking, so no feelings are hurt. Is a phrase such as this sinful, even though I'm not saying to break down my fellow man?

Also, with regard to the Lord's name in vain... I heard one priest give a talk/homily that seemed to agree with some of the previous posters. You shouldn't say "God" as an expression or whatever because when you say the name of God you invoke his presence without needing to... it's like calling him on the phone and hanging up. Another priest, on this website in fact, responded to the question of saying "Oh my God" as NOT being a sin, but rather a way to remind ourselves of our need for God, and invite him into our day, or a specific situation. He stated that often the name of Jesus is used irreverently, and certainly this is wrong, but phrases like "God help us," "God love you," or simply "God," when not used maliciously can be very appropriate. From personal experience, I even remember riding in a van with a very holy woman I'm friends with. The car in front of us on the highway stopped short, and we almost crashed. She cried "Jesus, Mary and Joseph" and thankfully we ended up okay. I asked her about it later and she said it was definitely a Prayer, not an expression. It seems in this context, even using the name Jesus is okay. It is a prayer after all. I mean, we say Jesus all the time... What about saying, "Jesus, please help me win this game..." or even "please help the Yankees win this game." Do we really need that? Isn't that using the name of Jesus "in vain?" Still, I don't think that's a sin. Jesus wants us to come to him with everything, praying constantly, even about the little things.

One final thought... God has many names, but actually, I'm not sure "God" is one of them. I guess we do use it as His name, I mean, I just did in the previous sentence. But the word god is really just the English word for a deity. The muslims worship a "god" whose name is "allah" (unless allah is merely the arabic word for god, I'm not sure).

I'm not being purposefully argumentative, I'm just raising questions that come up sometimes. I'm not claiming to be right on much of this either... call it playing devil's advocate, but if someone asked me why I DON'T make a habit of saying "My God..." I'm not sure I'd have the facts to tell them why I don't feel it's right. I was just raised that way.


I would have to argue against the idea that cussing is unimaginative. Sometimes, it’s just the right word to use in a certain scenario, few other words have as much emphasis as a cuss word. Stringing together nonsense words just makes you look, well, silly. Cussing only becomes unimaginative if you start using it in every single sentence.

I’m not sure if it is a sin or not, honestly. I mean, in certain circumstances, it absolutely is. Taking God’s name in vain is unacceptable no matter what context. Also saying it to purposefully try and hurt somebody’s feelings is a sin.

But what if just used in a sentence, not to hurt anybody? Or as somebody else said, just using it in a joke? Or if one is just really angry (it is a great way to blow off steam, and is a lot better than alternatives, such as violence).


I think we can all agree that using the Lord's name in vain is certainly a sin. But what about the bad words that have nothing to do with God?

I struggled with this myself, but I think this article very well shows how using bad words are sins in most cases:


When I left Church back in late November, I slipped on the icy ground and shouted "Oh, s**t!" :blush:

If it's a sin, it's definitely a bad habit for me


[quote="stringbeanduck, post:16, topic:126674"]
No. There's no difference in saying darnit or da*nit(with a "m" where the star is at) It is society that establishes some sort "gravity" to the latter. And society is surely no moral authority. Cursing at someone or using the name of the Lord in vain is a sin. Better you use that word you listed than the Lords name in vain. Just understand that cussing isn't very prudent and can most certainly be a bad habit of language and can set somebody up for a bitter lifestyle. As pointed out above, it is best to keep the words that come out of our mouth clean.


Agreed. For those that think otherwise please explain this to me...

If you think saying sh*t after bumping your funny bone is a sin, would poop be ok? If so, why? I'm currently reading through the bible and I've not seen the list of "bad" words.

I completely agree that in general it's a bad habit but can't see how it's a sin unless you're directing it with ill intent at another person. They are simply words and I'm sorry but it is the weak willed that will allow words to have such power over them.


Here's what the Catholic Answers Apologists have to say:

About saying "Oh my God"

About profanity


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