Vulgarities and Language


#1

I was just wondering what the general consensus was on being a good Catholic and using words that some people consider offensive (of course, I’m only Catholic-at-heart right now; I’m a practicing Anglican). Words like, a**, s***, bulls***, hell, damn, and other such words I sometimes use, and I didn’t really know that some people consider these offensive 'til recently. I would never say words like f*** or G**damn, or anything sexually-vulgar or blasphemous like that. I was wondering, where are we supposed to draw the line?

Also, although I never use such words as described above… I do sometimes listen to music with such words :blush: . Don’t get me wrong, I always look for the clean version of the song, but several CD’s I own are not clean, and I don’t know where to get clean versions. I never play them when anyone else is in the car with me, because I don’t want to cause scandal or occasion of sin…

I hope this isn’t the wrong forum.

What are your thoughts?


#2

I posted a poll HERE about this a while back. The responses were pretty evenly divided. Half felt that any sort of vulgar language was prohibited in the Bible, the other half felt that as long as the Lord’s name wasn’t taken in vain it wasn’t a sin.


#3

From the way I see it, there are three crowds:

One says, “no profanity whatsoever, even ‘lesser cusswords’!”
(By lesser cusswords I mean, a**, s***, damn, hell, p***, etc.)

One says, “no sexually-vulgar words, such as the f-bomb or anatomical vulgarities, or blasphemy such as involves God’s Name or the saints’. But the ‘lesser cusswords’ are okay.”

One says, “Anything goes.”

The last one I can’t agree with.


#4

Personally, I feel that it depends on the word, the context, and the audience. I feel it is sinful to use words at someone in anger. I feel it is a bad choice to use words inappropriate or offensive to the company you’re with. If you identify yourself as a Catholic and then use language considered offensive by society in front of others, it’s likely that they’ll form negative opinions about the faith from it (regardless of how incorrect they may be). I feel it always wrong and sinful to use the Lord’s name(s) disrespectfully.

What’s considered a bad word is arbitrary, depending upon where you live and what century we’re in so it would be really difficult for the Church to have completely defined which words are sinful. Because of this, NO, uttering most of those you listed is technically not a sin. What most people quote from the Bible is something along the lines of “be pure in your speech” … well, that’s pretty vague and (like most things) subject to interpretation.

I think part of the problem is that in today’s society we’re fairly limited in our vocabularies and repetitive use of the same words (foul or not) causes them to lose their intensity and impact. Personally I find that I can express myself far better using words most people only hear in high school English on vocab tests. My mother was quite amused the other day when I shared my unhappiness by saying “oh, a litany of expletives are coming to mind about what just happened. I am completely livid !”


#5

I totally agree! :thumbsup:

Most people think I my speech is overly eloquent, even to the point of my peers constantly asking me what I mean. Perhaps I’m just schizotypical… :stuck_out_tongue:


#6

We know this language is not good because we would not like to hear a priest use it during a sermon. I believe that Jesus never used any such equivalent language in His culture.


#7

Good one Coder.
Jesus tells us to be “with them but NOT as them” so it takes discernment here on the occasion place and person reason.
It is better to use plain language in all reasons though.

Godbless


#8

I’ve been having this debate with myself, because I am writing a novel (just to get the story out of my head, pro’ly will not be submitted for publication). The first-person narrator is a good Catholic boy, so his speech will be clean, but not every character is such a nice guy. Some of them are going to be very secular, and rough language is almost required to make them realistic. The rough language is not there to be imitated; it is there to indicate that the character speaking it is not to be imitated (in the same way that Archie Bunker was a negative role model in the '70s).

I realized today that there are some characters in the Bible who are described as doing some abominable things. If the Bible can describe Amnon’s rape of his sister, then my bad guys can say a bad word here and there

Those aren’t really “cuss-words;” they are Anglo-Saxon vulgarities. People who have a limited vocabulary use them in the mistaken belief that they are thus spicing up their conversation.

One says, “no sexually-vulgar words, such as the f-bomb or anatomical vulgarities, or blasphemy such as involves God’s Name or the saints’. But the ‘lesser cusswords’ are okay.”

One says, “Anything goes.”

The last one I can’t agree with.

Agree that “anything goes” doesn’t fly. Also agree with non-use of the f-bomb, etc. People that use those are showing an even more limited vocabulary than the first group I mentioned.

There is a proper use, sometimes, for words like those in the first group. I can think of the rare occasion when the only proper response is a heart-felt “Bulls***!!!” But those times are rare, and the shock value of the word(s) is reduced when they occur at every other space in the sentence.

DaveBj


#9

Sirach 23:13-15, “Let not your mouth become used to coarse talk, for in it lies sinful matter.”
“A man who has the habit of abusive language will never mature in character as long as he lives.”

Having lived in a family that used gross expletives, the habit infilters our minds unconsciously. I found that whenever I became suddenly agitated, the profanity blurted out of my mouth as a response to ease the anger. Oh sh–! and sometimes s.o.b., etc. It took a long time with regular confessions to overcome this, but I finally did it. :thumbsup: In the process, I gained patience as well, so that these sudden agitations are accepted with much more calm.

If you diligently apply yourself to abhoring the habit, God will help you overcome in due time.


#10

Definately agree. I write novelettes too, and the bad guys almost always use such language, to be realistic.

Those aren’t really “cuss-words;” they are Anglo-Saxon vulgarities. People who have a limited vocabulary use them in the mistaken belief that they are thus spicing up their conversation.

I hardly ever do, and certainly do not use them profusely like every other sentence.

I also have the most annoying, childish habit of bursting out into laughter whenever someone uses the word “dumba**”. The word, just by the way it sounds, is hilarious to me, and not vulgar at all, seeing your referring to a dumb donkey.

Agree that “anything goes” doesn’t fly. Also agree with non-use of the f-bomb, etc. People that use those are showing an even more limited vocabulary than the first group I mentioned.

I cringe when I hear the f-bomb used in public, and I openly confront anyone who uses it in from of children. :mad:

There is a proper use, sometimes, for words like those in the first group. I can think of the rare occasion when the only proper response is a heart-felt “Bulls***!!!” But those times are rare, and the shock value of the word(s) is reduced when they occur at every other space in the sentence.

Totally agree. Sonetimes on these forums, there are times that that word would fit perfectly, but… it’s against the forum rules. :smiley:


#11

I say, use words that mean what you mean to say. You may think I’m crazy, but it’s amazing how much clearer your thought process becomes, when you clean up your language and stop using not only swear words, but any kind of trivial or meaningless expressions.

This doesn’t mean that you can never use swear words, but (as my English teacher used to say) you just have to use them in a sentence. :wink:

For example, if you are, in fact, speaking about the stuff that comes out of a male bovine’s rectum, go ahead and use the term “bull s**t” - but don’t use it in a trivial way.

If you think someone is lying to you, instead of saying “I think you’re bull-s**tting me,” say, “Your statements don’t seem to align with the facts as I understand them.” (You’ll get the same reaction to both - more lies - but the second person will think twice before ever lying to you again. The first person will just think you’re “one of the boys.”)


#12

i agree with you I work with a person who swears so often and others don’t like it. I tell him but he wont listen and he is my boss, swearing at other bosses as well. I think, “What kind of leadership is he showing”? See what I mean, others ask why I sit with him, but little by little he seems to be changing so I take the irregular habits of his and offer them up to Jesus.

Godbless


#13

Frederica Mathewes-Green, the wife of an Orthodox priest, wrote on this.

She said that a farmer whose livelihood depends on the digestive and reproductive abilities of his livestock can hardly afford to be coy about these functions.

What makes a word dirty (“How can sounds and syllables be dirty?”) is the anger with which they are said.

One might use a non-clinical anatomical term, and mean no more than asking or conveying information.

(BTW, I recently saw a sitcom about a female doctor who had trouble using clinical language for reproductive organs.)


#14

This makes a lot of sense.

But some words should never be used.


#15

I’m with ya, Matariel. I know that when Ms Bonnie and I was living as small-p pagans, we both had mouths like sailors. The Boss cleaned mine up actually before I had my big conversion in '76, and only on very rare occasions has something of the old vocabulary come out of my mouth, and then only under great stress or surprise.

DaveBj


#16

But some words should never be used.

**Standards of propriety–that is what subjects can be referred to, and with what words–change.

C. S. Lewis remarked that perfectly proper Elizabethan women used language that today would be used only by a woman totally debauched.

And now, especially on cable TV, certain words that used to cause a shock now only cause irritation (with me, anyway)–to say nothing about losing their punch.

BTW-- “dirty” words are some of the oldest in any language.**


#17

Hi, it’s not that simple. As a society we have associated certain words themselves with a negative attitude and/or disrespect both for others and oneself. Regardless of the context these words still have this effect.


#18

I kind of agree; if words are said in anger they are nastier. But also words that are, by definition, sexually crude or describe sexual functions in a graphic way (desecrating and treating flippanty the marriage act) are horrific! :eek:

And of course, blasphemy against the saints, or, worse, God Himself. :eek:

Especially using His Name within a graphic sexual word! :eek:
That’s horrible! I hate it when people do that!


#19

Originally Posted by bpbasilphx View Post
What makes a word dirty (“How can sounds and syllables be dirty?”) is the anger with which they are said…

Another person: Hi, it’s not that simple. As a society we have associated certain words themselves with a negative attitude and/or disrespect both for others and oneself.

**You’re proving my point. It’s the anger and desire for dominance associated with certain words–not their actual phonemes.

There was a famous Renaissance compose named Fux, and there’s only one way of pronouncing it.

And the liturgical Latin word for “he knows” (scit) sounds like a synonym for excrement in English.

So, as you see, it’s not the sounds themselves.**


#20

Actually, Johann Fux was Austrian, so if you’re pronouncing his last name to rhyme with “lucks,” you’re mis-pronouncing it. It should be pronounced to rhyme with “Luke’s.”

DaveBj


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