by Fr. Justin Swanton
What exactly is wrong with swearing, and with faith healers especially if they are kind enough to offer to heal you? Next month we look at interdenominational prayer and its efficacity. Any other questions?
Q. Which Commandment does swearing violate, and why?
A. In the past swearing was generally limited to the irreverent use of God's name of the name of some holy thing or person, and so went against the Second Commandment:
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain".
This remains true today, but the subject matter of swearing now extends into other areas, notably impurity and bodily functions (to put it politely). In the first case, a great gift of God designed to bring new human beings into the world as well as being a means of affection and union between spouses, is viewed as something low and crude, fitting for expletives designed to shock and debase.
In the second case there is a kind of glorification of the unpleasant aspect of a perfectly natural bodily function. Swearing in these ways drags into the mud a man's concept of God's nature and His natural gifts. When done before others it goes against the Fifth Commandment "Thou shalt not kill" since this Commandment includes not giving bad example and scandal, and swearing constantly before others lowers their own respect for the things used as ammunition for expletives.
Even if one swears
in the absence of company it is a fault since one must respect the natural
gifts of God as well as God Himself., however if it is something habitual
and thoughtless, it is not a sin. But one must have a serious intention
of overcoming the bad habit, and make an effort to do so.
Q. If someone who claims to be a faith-healer offers to pray over you when you are sick what should your response be?
A. To decline politely. There are of course innumerable cases of miraculous cures in the Church in the past, but these were by Saints who clearly stood by and upheld the Faith. Cures at places of apparitions, eg Lourdes. underscored the message of these apparitions, which always fostered the practice and spread of the true Faith. I do not know of any modern faith healer who in an unambiguous and uncompromising way promotes Catholicism, and God does not endorse by signs and wonders a false set of beliefs or a false religion. To do so would be to add to the confusion of Creeds modern society is cursed with, and increase the religious bewilderment-and ultimately indifference-of people today.