As the debate on Ireland’s blasphemy laws intensify in the wake of last week’s Paris shootings, the Bishop of Raphoe Dr Philip Boyce has issued a pastoral letter urging Christians not to use the name of Jesus Christ in the context of uncultured and rough language.
The seven page document, titled “Holy is his Name”, says the name of Jesus should only be spoken with in a respectful and prayerful way.
In the letter, Bishop Philip Boyce says it is sad to hear the Name of Jesus being used carelessly and unheedingly, at times as a curse instead of a blessing. It is offensive in public, he says, and if used over the airwaves in a reckless manner, a person would have to apologise.
Bishop Boyce does not reference last weeks events in Paris, nor does he mention the renewed debate on ireland’s blasphemy laws.
However, he notes in the letter that all religions honour the sacred name of their God and hold it in veneration. The Jews regarded the name of God as a name so exalted that it was not to be pronounced, and Muslims do not allow the name of their great prophet, Mohammed, to be profaned in any way.
Christians, too, he says, should keep holy the Name of Jesus, and not use it in a heedless or offensive manner or as an expression of anger or hatred, or simply to emphasise a point.