Irish News

Catholics urged to follow Muslim lead, reject religious cursing
'we shall honour each other if we learn to honour God, for we are made in his image and likeness'

Bishop Philip Boyce

Bishop Philip Boyce has urged Catholics to follow the lead of Muslims and Jews and object when people use the name of God in an offensive way.

Dr Boyce said: 'It is sad to hear the name of Jesus being used carelessly and unheedingly, at times as a curse instead of a blessing, in uncultured and rough language.

'It is offensive in public, and if used over the airwaves in a reckless manner, a person would have to apologise,' Dr Boyce said in a new pastoral letter 'Holy Is His Name' due to be released this week.

'Just as Muslims do not allow Mohammed's name to be profaned, and the Jews regarded God's name as revealed to Moses as too holy to be pronounced, so Christians should keep holy the name of Jesus,' Bishop Boyce insists.

He warns too against using the Lord's name in a habitual, offhand fashion, such that people no longer even notice that they are flouting the commandments. 

Arguing that language matters and that names and words are important, he maintains that it is untrue that 'bad language is only words, and that they mean nothingî. On the contrary, he says, the disrespectful use of a person's name dishonours that person, whereas people are honoured if their names are used with respect.

'Furthermore,' he says, 'we shall honour each other if we learn to honour God, for we are made in his image and likeness.'

Dr Boyce encourages Catholics to repeat ìthe holy name of Jesus with devotion and love is a simple but powerful prayer.

'Many people, for one reason or another, manage no more,' he said.