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358 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

3. Why is it correct to say that blasphemous talk and similar types

of language corrupt the user? What are some new ways to elevate

public taste and the moral quality of public entertainment?


• The Second Commandment requires

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

(cf. CCC, no. 2142).

• The Second Commandment forbids the wrong use of God’s name.

There are a number of ways in which it happens. Blasphemy uses the

name of God and of Jesus Christ and the names of the Blessed Virgin

and the saints in an offensive manner.

• In Baptism, the Christian receives a name in the Church. Parents,

godparents, and the pastor are to see that he or she be given a

Christian name. The patron saint provides a model of charity and

the assurance of prayer (cf. CCC, no. 2165).

• We are forbidden to use God’s name to witness a perjury or false

oath, thereby using him to approve our lie.


The Letter of James in the New Testament contains a reminder of the

power of human speech:

If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able

to bridle his whole body also. If we put bits into the mouths of

horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies.

It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven

by fierce winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wher-

ever the pilot’s inclination wishes. In the same way the tongue

is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how

small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a

fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling

the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire,