The second commandment prescribes respect for the Lord's name. Like the first commandment, it belongs to the virtue of religion and more particularly it governs our use of speech in sacred matters. We will study oaths, the Holy Name of Jesus, and reparations made for bad language.
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Is Inappropriate Language Sinful?
Yes. Using inappropriate language is sinful. However, let's look at each segment of the-all-encompassing term of "inappropriate language". This term includes using God's name in vain, cursing, blaspheming, and profanity.
The second Commandment specifically forbids using God’s name in vain: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Ex 20:7; Dt 5:11). Therefore, one of the three criteria for a mortal sin is clearly in place — it is a serious sin. If the other two conditions are in place — deliberately doing the action and knowledge that it is wrong — then taking God’s name in vain is a mortal sin, which deprives the soul of sanctifying grace. Saying “O my [God’s name]” without reason and in a vain manner is using God’s name in vain. And, if a person dies in mortal sin, he/she will indeed go to Hell.
Names are greatly important as Sacred Scripture reveals in Revelations 2:17, 3:5, 3:12, and 22:4. The name given to the Lord, however, is above every other name (Ph. 2:10-11). In the Old Testament, “Out of respect for the holiness of God, the people of Israel [did] not pronounce His name [Yahweh]. In the reading of Sacred Scripture, the revealed name is replaced by the divine title “Lord”. It is under this title that the divinity of Jesus will be acclaimed: ‘Jesus is Lord’” (CCC 209). In the Gospels, Jesus’ divine name is mentioned numerous times including Matthew 1:21, 7:22, 18:20; Luke 1:31; Mark 9:38, 16:17; and John 14:13. Thus, Jesus’ name is deserving of all praise, and taking God’s name in vain is a mortal sin.
Cursing is likewise a mortal sin. Cursing is defined as calling down evil from God usually by invoking God’s holy name. Using such horrible expressions, the person calls on God to send a soul to Hell and/or inflict punishment on a person. How can we actually do such a horrendous thing — ask God to send a soul to Hell? Cursing is quite clearly also a mortal sin.
Blasphemy is defined as “a contempt for God, expressed in thought, word or action.” As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The second commandment forbids the abuse of God’s name, i.e., every improper use of the names of God, Jesus, but also of the Virgin Mary and all the saints…It consists in uttering against God — inwardly or outwardly — words of hatred, repro... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
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