What do you consider taking the Lord's name in vain?


If you say “Oh my God” or “Good Lord”, is that a mortal sin?? I’m really worried about this…I’m doing good trying to stop but sometimes it slips. It’s just a bad old habit from the days I’d like to forget. Thanks for the help guys!!!


It’s a venial sin, not a mortal one. If you do it intentionally forsaking your love of God completely, then it’s mortal.

I say “Oh my Golly!” and “My word” and “Goodness!” instead. I get some giggles out of folks when I use “golly”… “Holy Moly!” and “Holy Smokes!” are others that I use. :highprayer:

Practice makes perfect. Whenever you slip up, say a prayer. Actually whenever I hear anyone take the Lord’s name in vain, I silently say to myself, “Blessed be His Holy Name.” Soon, you will only use the Lords name in prayer. It won’t take long, have patience with yourself.


This answer from Ask an Apologist might help, too.


If someone says, “Jesus Christ!” or worse yet, inserts an obscene “middle name,” that’s what I consider to be taking the Lord’s name in vain. Also, if they say “godd@^^^ it.” On the rare occasions that I slip up and say something like that, I say out loud “Blessed be the Name of Jesus” as a penance. “Oh my God” depends upon the context. If one is calling upon God’s help, such as if they just got some terrible news or something, that is one thing, but to just say, “OMG, I saw the cutest sweater at the mall,” that’s to be discouraged. I usually say “Oh my gosh,” “my goodness,” or “my word” instead.


I asked this very question in confession and was told that when we say or even think of God, we invoke His presence and we should never do so lightly and that “yes”, it was breaking the second commandment and a mortal sin. Your confessor may have a different opinion on the matter.


I recently curb myself by saying “Holy cow!!!” instead of OMG
but then I was reminded of the golden calf :frowning:

Is it a sin?



You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.**

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

**2146 **
The second commandment forbids the abuse of God’s name, i.e., every improper use of the names of God, Jesus Christ, but also of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.

Dictionary.com Unabridged
vain –adjective, -er, -est.

  1. excessively proud of or concerned about one’s own appearance, qualities, achievements, etc.; conceited: a vain dandy.

  2. proceeding from or showing personal vanity: vain remarks.

  3. ineffectual or unsuccessful; futile: a vain effort.

4. without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless: vain pageantry; vain display.

  1. Archaic. senseless or foolish.


  1. in vain, a. without effect or avail; to no purpose: to apologize in vain.
    **b. in an improper or irreverent manner: to take God’s name in vain.

Thanks for the great question:thumbsup:


You know when I read scripture I see the word “profane” here and there. So look up the word “profane” it means to “misuse” to “profane” anything is to “misuse” it. To misuse ( profane) words, things, and people is frowned upon. To misuse (profane) the name of God is wrong. That is also where we get “profanity” from. Basically words that mean one thing and we misuse them is wrong. I’m researching “bad” words.:blush:


Since I’m in Italy, I say “holy cannolli”…usually gets smiles/laughs too.:slight_smile:


I think thay saying came from the Hindu faith, since they consider cows to be sacred. It’s not a sin.


If I recall correctly, the proper translation of the original language is actually “to carry”, not “to take” the Lord’s name in vain. While profaning the Lord’s name is most certainly a sin, I would imagine that it’s a venial sin (please correct me if I’m wrong). But to carry the Lord’s name in vain, that is, to do bad things in the name of God, is definitely a mortal sin.


Then I have committed a mortal sin and need to get to confession quickly, it appears. What is most upsetting to me is that I just confessed to this same sin the last two times in confession and am mortified that I must confess the same sin. I need to ask Father, then, how do I never do this again, because it just popped out of my mouth in a heated moment.


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