Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
Popularly used to describe a variety of expletives made in anger or in emphasis of one's feelings. Literally, to curse is to call down evil on someone or something. In the Bible a curse is often a prayer of imprecation. Israelites knew that they could not constrain the Almighty but only move him by prayer. Unlike the magical incantations of their neighbors, the ancient Jews believed that Yahweh could remove a curse by his blessing, preserve the pious person from an undeserved curse, change the blessing of an unworthy priest into a curse, and turn aside a curse from a humble person because of meekness. In general, the intended evil of a curse takes effect only when the just God wills it.