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Good Curses & Bad Curses
In our Catholic ambiences saturated with Progressivism, it is very common to hear that Catholics can never curse anyone. According to this general rule we should always bless and pray for our enemies.

This view is not objective. Catholics can curse – and they did it often in the past – as long as they are not seeking personal vengeance, but for the sake of justice. This is what Pope St. Gregory the Great teaches us. Below, the analysis of his words by a serious scholar.

Pope St. Gregory the Great

Gregory distinguishes two sorts of curses that occur in the Bible, one that it approves and one that it condemns. “For a curse is uttered one way when based upon the judgment of justice, and in quite another way when based on the malice of vengeance.”

He then demonstrates that Scripture shows, on the one hand, God and holy men cursing and, on the other hand, the Apostle teaching men no to curse. “Thus,” continues Gregory, “God is said to curse and yet man is forbidden to curse, because what man does from the malice of revenge, God does only in the exactness and perfection of justice.”

When holy men curse a person, they do so not out of a desire for revenge, notwithstanding that in some cases they employ the optative mood (e.g., “May he suffer deprivation and loss”). The governing factor is their understanding of the demands of Divine Justice.

Gregory’s analysis allows him to conclude that the curse Job made came not from the malice of one guilty of sin, but from the integrity of a judge; it proceeded not from a man agitated by passion, but from one sober in instruction.1
  1. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, ch. 6 (PL 75:638-639); tr. Morals on the Book of Job, (Oxford, 1844) pp. 185-186. Cf. Cassiodorus on Psalm 82 (PL 70:596) where, when the pslamist curses enemies by asking the Lord to treat them as he has treated certain malefactors in the past, he is seeking vindication out of a desire for correction and not out of an instinct for cursing (vindicari, correctionis voto, non maledictionis instinctu)

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Lester K. Little, Benedictine Maledictions Liturgical Cursing in Romancesque France
Cornell University Press, 1998, p. 98.

Posted on May 4, 2024

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