Why and when exactly is profanity wrong?


People say that saying curse words is wrong because the culture finds them to be offensive, but certain words may or may not be offensive to certain people depending on the context. Like when I was in elementary school, even saying **** or idiot was taboo, but its not really taboo when you get older. So where do you draw the line and how can you tell if saying a certain potentially offensive word is sinful or not?


Try searching Ask the Apologist forum for this issue. Here is one answer: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=14494


To start with, first go to a good dictionary and find out what profanity is.
Profanity is defined in the dictionary as blasphemous or obscene language.
Therefore it is always and everywhere wrong.


What do you think makes certain words proper and improper to say that mean the same thing?


Misuse of holy names or things is always wrong.
Other “bad words” may or may not be sinful. I use profanity when need be. Words are just words. It is not sinful to describe a piece of dog feces with the s word.
It may be crude or inappropriate, but sinful? No.


I would use rather a theological dictionary (Catholic one).

One can actually* distinguish *between blasphemy – and profanity or obscene language.

Blasphemy is yes always wrong but some use of “bad” words may not be sinful (except say a circumstance makes them so…).


Yup, I agree. I think people sometimes think that everything that’s “bad” is by definition sinful. Obviously, taking the Lord’s name in vain is sinful, but if I whack my thumb with a hammer and say, “Oh ***** that hurt!” that’s not sinful. It might be “bad” in the sense that it’s impolite or obnoxious, but it’s not sinful.


Words are not just words. They all have meanings. When I see discussions like this, I see a desire to find a way to make profanity OK or something to not care about. Language can be used to influence people.



The pope, the presidents and others use profanity.
Can you explain the moral problem and sinfulness of say using the s word?


do you agree with this article?


Cursing is a broad term for two basic kinds of profanity: (1) Taking the name of the Lord God in vain, and (2) Making vulgar, guttural references to human sexuality, anatomical parts and biological functions.

. God says cursing and filthy language is wrong because it lowers the beautiful relationship between a husband and wife to the level of animals. Animals do not properly love; they physically reproduce. It is impossible for humans outside the marriage bond to love one another in physical sex. God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). Perfect love is reflected when a man loves another human being – his wife – as Christ Himself loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). For human beings, sexual relationships are beautiful and holy – in marriage. Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” To use vile words for the sexual relationship is a sin against God.


Calling someone an idiot is much, much worse, IMHO, than, uttering an expletive to express your disgust at a situation.

So, directing vulgarity at a person = bad
vulgarity at a situation = acceptable


Taking something holy and profaning it is wrong. That is why misuse of His name is extremely wrong.
Using profane words is something saints did, the pope does, our founders did, great writers have done etc.

So I agree with parts of it.


No it’s not acceptable to use vulgarity ever. Do you think the angels and saints in Heaven ever curse? Would you curse in church? Well we are called to be holy and pure all the time, because we are God’s temple. If we’re not holy and pure when we die, then purgatory will cleanse us, so that Heaven isn’t filled with people who utter vulgarity.


“Finally, profanity itself is wrong, even though such words may not specifically involve the name of God. God gave mankind the gift of language which should be used positively. Language should build good relationships with other individuals, and enable people to share their lives intimately with each other. Sadly, more and more, we hear in normal conversation profanity especially those four letter words, like s*** and f***. We also hear people speak profanely about good and holy topics; for example, they profane human sexuality or the act of marital love. Such language is not only negative, vulgar, impolite and offensive, but also debases the dignity of each human being. Moreover, this language reveals not only a person’s bad attitude and lack of respect for others, but also his own immaturity and insecurity in dealing with others. In using these words, the person builds barriers rather than bridges with another person.”

Full article: catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/why-is-bad-language-a-sin.html

We should be good examples to all, exhibiting self-control and politeness. As a boy, I was taught certain words were bad, and as an adult, they’re still bad. No one is perfect but we were told to be perfect. That is worth striving for.



I don’t think the argument “do you think the angels and saints in Heaven ever curse” is a good one.

Angels and saints in heaven also do not wear makeup.

They do not eat chocolate.

They do not dance hip hop.

Using your paradigm, we should also not be doing these things.


All in all I’d ask a priest. I remeber reading some threads here on this topic making me wonder whether swearing was sinful, asking a priest, and getting a different answer than most people here seem to propose. So for me, I listen to what a priest said and that’s why I encourage people that aren’t sure on this topic to ask their priest. He’ll have more authority on the subject.


What is profaning about certain words-fricatives and plosives?


Once in awhile I will say “Oh My God” almost by reflex and I generally apologize to God.

Sometimes I will say “Oh My God” as a spontaneous and well meant prayer from my heart.

It is wrong because it is treating what is Holy with careless thoughtlessness.

Basically it is rude to our creator.

Words like damn and hell (which I often say from a bad habit that I am trying to over come) because it calls forth Satan. This is especially serious when directed toward a person.

Sht and FK are words that are demeaning to oneself. It describes who we are and what we think of ourselves. These words come from within. Often just becoming a habit and said again with careless thoughtlessness.

I do not know or have any idea the degree of sin such words imply for other people than myself because God does take in culture, knowledge and ingrained habits of His Children.

For me though, I am working on leaving this out of my language. So far as I know, none of my family nor friends have even noticed. I have never commented on these efforts to anyone before now. It is amazing to me that no one seems to realize the change. We don’t need these words to clutter our lives. They have become so common that no one even notices them or notices their absence.


Not only your opinion but Christ’s as well.
“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:22.


When I was told certain words were bad when I was young, they did not stop being bad when I became an adult. If a person cannot control his or her tongue, that is a problem.

James 3:9

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.”

New Living Translation
“Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.”

English Standard Version
“With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.”


New International Version
“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

New Living Translation
“And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”

English Standard Version
“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

There are people who say F almost every other sentence. That should not be.


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