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By J. Kevin Appleby

Nov 4 2022

One of my biggest grievances is when someone uses the name of Jesus to swear. This can happen when someone says, or even yells, the name in a fit of anger. Some expand the swear to the full “Jesus Christ,” or add a curse word between “Jesus” and “Christ.” Some say it under their breath, when the impact can still be unsettling.

It is clear that most people think using Christ’s name this way is acceptable, but it is not. Catholics should say so—and refrain from the practice themselves.

I have often thought about how Christ’s name came to be used as a common profanity. Maybe the invocation “Jesus, give me strength,” often used in a moment of trial, has been bastardized over time. When I was a child, my grandmother and great-aunt used to say “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph” occasionally, but in context I never saw it as offensive. I just wondered why they did not complete their prayer.

No matter its origins, Jesus’ name as a profanity is here now, and it must be challenged.

 

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