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H*ck: The Issue of Swearing at Rockhurst

You’re sitting in heavy traffic, listening to the radio to pass the time. Your favorite song, “Broccoli” comes on, but some of the words have been censored, leaving it muffled and incomplete, unlike the buttery flows you’re used to. You’re outraged, but helpless.

Some of these “so-called” curse words are generally not allowed to be said in a school. However, out of the 50 people who answered the survey sent out by the Prep News, 92% of the people said that they use foul language in general and 70% said that it was not bad to use curse words.

On the other hand, the school takes a very different approach to this. For instance the student handbook states that all aspects of a student’s conduct- his speech, manners, personal grooming –should reflect a Christian respect for himself and for the rights and sensibilities of others.

“A Christian heart and mind are conscious and aware of that fact that words and deeds carry meaning, or symbolic messages and that person chooses his words and actions very carefully in order to be charitable to others,” Father Vincent Giacabazi, SJ, chair of the theology department, said.

The handbook goes on to state a harassment policy. One of the first methods of harassment that they talk about is verbal. Verbal harassment includes derogatory comments and jokes as well as threatening words spoken to another person.

Specifically, any expression or action that mocks, diminishes or imputes the dignity of any person or group, or any expression or action that is racist, sexist, homophobic, will be subject to disciplinary action by Rockhurst. However, any serious violation of the dignity of the other or any repetition or flagrant expression can result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Sometimes the context of  certain words is the difference between being offensive and being harmless.

“I feel like saying curse words are okay to use, if used in the right context. However, it can go immediately bad if you say curse words out loud in an environment in which it would not be appropriate to do so,” Dylan Lawrence, sophomore, said.

The Church will  argue that sometimes it is fine to use those words in reference to things stated in the Bible.

“It is okay the use the words used in the Bible will the same meaning and context staying the same. You may use the word “ass” when referring to a mule. You may use the word “hell” when referring to the state of being or place. However using these curse words in reference to anything sacred, especially God, including words like Goddammit would approach a breach of the Second Commandment and perhaps blasphemy,” Father Giacabazi, SJ, said.

The Church will also make an argument that when utilizing those words, it can be effective to get the attention of all of your audience.

“I have heard of a priest who have said things in their homilies like: These kids don’t give a BLANK about people who are poor. And most, if not all of you care about the fact that

I just said BLANK rather than focusing on the real message which is that none of you care about the poor,” Father Giacabazi, SJ, said. “Now is that inherently good? No. Is the meaning that he is trying to convey effective? Yes. It can be perhaps helpful to convey a deeper more important message.” Father Giacabazi, SJ, said.

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