Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I realize this might be a controversial post but I'm typing it up anyways. There was a post on Facebook and Twitter a week or so ago by popular author Patrick Madrid:

 "hate to mention it, but what's with this recent disconcerting trend of Catholic women bloggers who think it's cool & somehow "smart" to use 4-letter swear words in their blog posts? #ugh #inane"

Put aside any initial thoughts you may have about the "sexism" in his statement. I wanna talk about his point: cursing. I have my own personal opinions on cursing and that's the thing... they are my opinions. I am twenty-something and using cursing in day to day language is fairly common among my age group. I don't think it is inherently evil to use said "4-letter swear words" but though I occasionally use them it will agree is far less classy. I really think it is all about context though. 

For example (and pardon my language):

"Damn it, I lost my car keys" and "Damn you for hiding my car keys" give off two very different vibes. As do "What the hell happened?" and "Go to hell." See what I mean? Some are harmless. Really they are just words. Not very creative, sure, but harmless nonetheless. The others are cursing AT someone. Big difference.

Really this post by Patrick Madrid made me think about the way I use these four letter words and I realized that I curse more casually than out of anger. I honestly can't tell you the last time I cursed because I was angry. Then I thought... people say horrible things all the time that may not be considered curse words! Think of the British! Bloody rubbish? I think you can translate that one on your own. They might as well use a 4-letter word  but it just sounds a little classier. 

I am by no means encouraging cursing here. I think the goal as Christians is to be charitable to everyone. If you are a little hot headed like me maybe we need to be praying for patience. If we are truly trying to better ourselves and get closer to heaven these are the kinds of things we should be thinking about. If you use cursing on a regular basis without even thinking about it (guilty over here!) then maybe we need to train ourselves to be more polite and I don't know... broaden our vocabulary a little! Goodness!

I had discussions over this with my "go-to people,"one of which is my husband, Patrick. He really agreed with Patrick Madrid's statement not because he is a fan of his books (though he is!) but because Madrid was right. My husband and I even agreed somewhat with a later statement about how it seems to be even more shocking to hear cursing come out of a woman's mouth. This doesn't mean we think it's more acceptable for men to curse than women but look... women like Mary the Mother of God are fair and beautiful and gentle. I would bet a lot of money Mary never cursed. Guys have holy people to look up to also but Holy Men have a tendency to be less fair and beautiful. It doesn't make one better than the other. God made us differently and He said that was a good thing, remember!? 

Patrick (my husband, not the famous one) also mentioned that there is a reason we teach children not to cuss and/or try not to cuss in front of them. I am by no means any kind of Church authority but I'm thinking that if we are teaching the most innocent among us that it is wrong than maybe it is wrong for everyone. I started thinking about one day when we have kids... I don't want my children talking the way I often do. Even if it is not a mortal sin I think that in some contexts it is probably a venial sin. And I think that even if you are only cursing in your regular day-to-day conversations and not cursing AT someone... even if that is not a sin... I think it is safe to say that it is not virtuous. Again, I am no authority but this just makes sense!

With Lent coming up rather quickly I think we ought to take an honest look at ourselves. Is it enough to just say "oh, it's not a sin" and move on? Do we honestly believe that we are virtuous people? Are our lives pleasing to God? These are tough questions but now is the time to be asking them. I want to be clear here that I am not pointing fingers at people. I curse REGULARLY, remember!? I obviously have some things to work on!

I am so ready for Lent.


  1. Hilary, you've articulated so well what I've never been able to say about cursing--props to you! I can agree that when not directed at a particular person, as in literally cursing them, four letter words are a less serious matter, yet it isn't particularly feminine, and there are absolutely so many better words out there. I've always thought of cuss words as kind of a lazy way out--it's easy to let one slip rather than to think of a more accurate way to express yourself, you know? Thanks for the reminder and motivation to watch my speech =)

  2. Hilary - I agree with everything you've said. And I agree that cursing as a woman is somehow less attractive than hearing a man curse. Just like seeing a woman spit on the ground or burp loudly would be more shocking than if a man did it. I am not sexist by any means (I have degrees, a career, and a wonderful husband and kids) but I don't know why so many females are getting so angry at Patrick Madrid for saying what he said. Personally, I try not to ever curse out loud because my parents never did and I don't want my kids to do it.

  3. I am with you. Sometimes I think women want to curse just because men do it so freely and - DARN IT - we women can do anything a man can do and better! Obviously not everyone is in that camp, but sometimes it sounds like a hissy fit the way people are complaining.

    I mean...seriously, my daughters belch and I reprimand them and I do say, "it's unlady-like". But I also demand an "excuse me" from my sons and say, "it's impolite".

    I cursed in front of my oldest recently while listening to my beloved Jayhawks on the radio and they messed up and I said the F word. I apologized to her almost immediately because she shouldn't have to listen to me say an offensive word just because I want to and want to express my displeasure at a sporting event.

    oh well, I mean, I don't think less of people who curse because I think we all do it in some measure. And most of us know we shouldn't use that language in public. I once had a new-hire in my training class who kept saying "holy crap!" all the time. Unfortunately for her, that preceded her reputation and people viewed her differently because she so brazenly used the word "crap" all the time in a professional environment. I'm going to go out on a limb here: Most companies view cursing as unprofessional. :)

  4. I would only add one point and suggest the same thing goes for men. There are rare, and I do mean rare, moments when I have used mild profanity on my page, but generally it is to prove or exemplify a particular point, and not as an every day kind of thing at all. And never to use God's name or otherwise irreverent use of the holy things of our Lord, such as sacramentals, or certainly the Sacraments themselves. Or the Cross. And I have seen jokes about all or most of these things on supposed "Christian" websites. I find it very off-putting. Guys or gals. Men or women. We represent God and should sound like we do so.

    1. I totally agree. I feel the same way and realize maybe I should have made that a little more clear. Thank you for your input! It is always welcome here!