Slurs and mortal sin


Is it a sin to say any word that’s associated with degrading a group of people? I hate the n-word and the f-word (the one than rhymes with “maggot”) and would never say either them but I do wanna know is it a sin? Mortal? Venial? How about saying “gay” or “retarded” (in a negative fashion?) which I also don’t do. How about kids nowadays who use “the n word” as a compliment?


If you degrade a person or group you are “killing their character”. With the research I have done it seems like it would be a mortal sin. I have inappropriate thoughts based on stereotypes and even know they are just thoughts I have gone to confession right away regarding them


It depends on intent. People who use the n-word as a term of endearment is, while vulgar, not a sin, because they aren’t using it as an insult. Likewise, using ‘retarded’ when you are actually describing the medical condition of a retarded child isn’t sinful, and neither is ‘gay’ if you are referring to someone who is actually gay. If you use the word in a hurtful way (i.e. ‘That’s so gay!’) but without thinking, then it’s venial, the same as with regular swearing. If you purposely say any of those words meaning to degrade a group of people, knowing it’s offensive, then it would be mortal. Besides hardcore racists and all-around mean people, it’s venial in most cases with people who use one of those words. I try my hardest to avoid those words at all costs, especially because I have gay friends and mentally handicapped relatives.


The use of offensive speech is objectively sinful. St Paul confirms this in his epistles.

As stated however the use of any specific word may or may not constitute offensive speech depending on context.
The “f-word” (rhymes South book) the “c word” and some others have no real other meanings. Their use would be difficult to justify.

Other words are very dependant on context. For example the word faggott can mean a bundle of sticks for lighting a fire with. It is also a food eaten in the South West of England which looks like a falafel but is made with meat pays and offal. It’s considered to be a delicasy.

The word gay means carefree and happy. It only came to refer to a specific steriotype of homosexual person in the mid 19th century. Many such people here in the UK consider that to be their preferred title for themselves. In the UK the main associations spring such people use the acronym LGBT for Lesbian Gay Bisexuality and Trans as a catch all please for people
Who dentify with any of those descriptions.

The Catholic teaching is that it is inappropriate for a person soho is tempted by same see attraction to permit that temptation to define their identity.

It is also gravely sinful. The sin of detection to reveal to another person knowledge you have about the sons or weaknesses of another. Therefore to discuss the fact that another person may be “gay” meaning homosexual is often gravely sinful unless certain mitigating criteria apply.

Using language with the intention of hurting or offending a person is always gravely sinful not just because of the word but because of the intent to offend or he calumny or detracting involved.

Another variation may be the term"black" to refer to a person’s skin colour.
In the USA is politically incorrect. And “African american” is the term used on TV news or in courts.

My wife here in the UK and most people I’ve met Would find such political “correctness” to be offensive. She identifies as black or as “mixed race” (black - Asian mixed)



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