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,