Moral Obligation?

If one is engaging in conversation with someone he/she just met, and the person makes a joke using our Lord’s Name in vain, should one correct the other person? Or is silence an appropriate response to show one’s disapproval at the joke?

I don’t know if one would be morally obligated, I suspect not, but it would be a spiritual act of mercy toward the other person to admonish and/or instruct him/her, with charity of course.

“Correct” the other person, I don’t know. You don’t have authority or influence with them to correct them.

But you can certainly voice your displeasure with the Lord’s name being misused. Or you can use the opportunity to ask if they believe in God, and if not, why they use His name.

Try to respond in a way which does not alienate, but actually gives them an opportunity to learn.

A genteel l reminder/nudge wouldn’t hurt if you can insert it into the conversation. Like the 4 letter word that people use so liberally and without thinking of the real foundation of the word, it will be very difficult to eradicate. You can try, but generally I think the best ‘educator’ is you and how you-we-speak and conduct ourselves. This is a question you could ask your confessor or priest and please share the insight with us. Peace.

I either bow my head at His name or make the sign of the cross.


That’s beautiful.As my mother taught me I tell Jesus I love him when I hear His name used the wrong way.

I looked at this thread as it’s been on my mind many times and has worried me how a priest that I know uses Our Lord’s name when recounting a story , using it as emphasis pretty much.I’m so confused because in all other ways he’s a wonderful priest.

People use the Lord’s name in vain all the time to emphasize, wow that’s awesome or man, that’s terrible!!
I have heard priests do this in normal conversation too.
It always surprises me because it seems like a violation of one of the “10 Commandments 101” I am grateful that none of our priests do this. :slight_smile:

As for correcting someone, I only do so if I know them well. I would correct my son’s little 6 yr old friends in a heartbeat or my daughter’s teenage friends.

I know I’m going to hear it probably, daily. This doesn’t mean I like it! I cringe as soon as I hear, “Oh my…” And I am pleasantly surprised when I don’t hear His name! :thumbsup:
The rule in our home has always been, “Do Not Use God’s Name Unless You Are Praying To Him Or Talking about Him.”

I would say, “Bless His Holy Name”, if I heard someone take It in vain. The Golden Arrow prayer is good to say daily in reparation.

I would not do anything, especially if they are a stranger. Correcting them may do far more harm. My friend used to correct me when I used the Lord’s name in vain. I slowly stopped. Honestly, things like that are done without thinking. Not that it makes it right.

Silence and your most disapproving look should be enough. :nunchuk:

I just silently say “Blessed be the Holy Name” as an act of reparation on their behalf. There is no way to correct a near-stranger in a situation like that without coming off like a sanctimonious jerk and that can do more harm than good in the long run.

St. Thomas says that,

… when it is deemed probable that the sinner will not take the warning, and will become worse, such fraternal correction should be foregone, because the means should be regulated according to the requirements of the end.

And again,

… whenever fraternal correction hinders the end, namely the amendment of our brother, it is no longer good, so that when such a correction is omitted, good is not omitted lest evil should befall.

It is a prudential judgment whether admonishing someone about this will: (a) be listened to and (b) will not make them sin more gravely, now that you absolutely know they have knowledge that they are blaspheming Christ.

I suggest a short Latin prayer especially if His name is taken in vain like: sit nomen domíni benedíctorum (blessed be the name of the Lord) which is quick, traditional, and purpose-fitting.

Thank you everyone for the responses! Very illuminating and helpful

Also, I should have made the distinction between “correcting” said person or offering a comment such as, “I’d appreciate it if we leave God out of this.”

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