Sunday, January 4, 2015



St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila): "Poisonous creatures turn everything they eat into poison."

Recently, I updated our community's status on Facebook and sifted through some of the posts from "friends." I am more and more disheartened by the language used and items posted by not only those "in the world," but by yes, religious persons.

It seems vulgar speech, attitude, and lifestyle is present everywhere. I feel we are in the midst of the Culture of Vulgarity, which leads to nothing less than spiritual death.

Our Lord told us that it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean but what comes out of his mouth that makes him impure.

It is not what goes into a man's mouth that makes him impure; it is what comes out of his mouth. (Matthew 15:11)

And more about the sins of speech from the Letter of James:

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? [James 3:8-11]

Sometimes, it's hard to distinguish when vulgarity crosses the line and becomes a sin of blasphemy or profanity. Here are definitions of abusive language from Catholic Straight Answers. Visit their


Blasphemy is contempt for God, expressed in thought, word, or action.  To use words either vocally or mentally against God which show hatred, reproach, disrespect, or defiance is sinful.  This prohibition also applies to the Blessed Mother and the saints as well as sacred things or Church related practices.  Moreover, blasphemy includes invoking God’s name to legitimize crimes or harmful actions against others.  The Catechism notes that blasphemy is a grave sin.


Cursing is to call down evil from God, and usually involves specifically invoking God’s name, not just His power.  For instance, all of us have heard someone say, “God damn it,” or even “God damn you”.  Here a person is commanding God, who is all powerful, all good, and all just, to damn someone (or something) in Hell for all eternity.  Who are we to ask God to damn anyone or to bestow some evil upon anyone?  Objectively, this act is a mortal sin.


Profanity itself is wrong, even though such words may not specifically involve the name of God.  God gave mankind the gift of language which should be used positively.  Language should build good relationships with other individuals, and enable people to share their lives intimately with each other.  Sadly, more and more, we hear in normal conversation profanity– especially those four letter words, like s*** and f***.  We also hear people speak profanely about good and holy topics; for example, they profane human sexuality or the act of marital love. Such language is not only negative, vulgar, impolite, and offensive, but also debases the dignity of each human being.  Moreover, this language reveals not only a person’s bad attitude and lack of respect for others, but also his own immaturity and insecurity in dealing with others.  In using these words, the person builds barriers rather than bridges with another person.


As Secular Carmelites, we should be on guard as to what we let enter our heart and what we express with our lips.  Let us rise above the culture of vulgarity so that we are not like those today who spew evil and filth with every sentence that comes out of their mouth. St. Teresa describes these persons aptly:"Poisonous creatures turn everything they eat into poison..."

St. John of the Cross describes the soul as the "most beautiful of all creatures," let us not mar the beauty of our soul by vulgar, lewd, and profane speech.

Let us pray for each other!

Peace be with you!

Rosemarie of the Heart of Jesus and Mary, ocds

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