God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. In one of these commandments, the Lord commanded:
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11, KJV). Whose name is God commanding us to take not in vain? Answer: God’s own name. Every Christian will understand that this commandment is speaking of God’s name, not a human being’s name.
Shockingly, the Roman Catholic Church distorts this commandment. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter, CCC), the Roman Catholic Church teaches, “The second commandment [what some Christians regard as the third commandment] forbids the abuse of God’s name, i.e., every improper use of the names of God, Jesus Christ, but also of the Virgin Mary and all the saints” (CCC, paragraph 2146, http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P7I.HTM, emphasis added).
As you can clearly see from the quoted text, the Roman Catholic Church is contradicting God’s Word. It teaches that, the commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain,” does not refer to God’s name only; it refers also to the names of the Virgin Mary and all the saints. What the Roman Catholic Church does here amounts to blasphemy against God. If you believe what the Roman Catholic Church is teaching here, it will lead you into idolatry.
Jesus is Lord and God. And His name is far above all names. God’s Word testifies to the exalted name of Jesus. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him [Jesus], and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10, emphasis added; cf. Acts 4:12 and Ephesians 1:21).
After an evil spirit overpowered the seven sons of Sceva for attempting to cast it out in the name of Jesus, the Word of God says, “And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (Acts 19:17, emphasis added).
God wants us to honor all people, including our parents, the elderly, our church leaders, civil authorities, etc. (cf. Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 19:32; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-17). But it is blasphemous to render unto human beings what belongs to God alone, which is what the Roman Catholic Church has done by applying Exodus 20:7 to Mary and the saints. And, this is not the only time it does that. On several matters of doctrine or dogma, the Roman Catholic Church has a sinful and dangerous habit of elevating Mary to the status of God; and, in the process, they mangle the Holy Spirit-inspired Scriptures.
Let’s test the truth (or falsity) of what the Roman Catholic Church teaches in CCC, paragraph 2146, by inserting the name of Mary and some saints in God’s commandment:
- “Thou shalt not take the name of MARY thy God in vain.” True or False?
- “Thou shalt not take the name of JOHN thy God in vain.” True or False?
- “Thou shalt not take the name of MARY MAGDALENE thy God in vain.” True or False?
- “Thou shalt not take the name of PETER thy God in vain.” True or False.
If you are a Christian, you cannot answer “True” to any of the above questions. Yet, sadly, according to the Roman Catholic Church, the commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain,” “forbids the abuse of God’s name, i.e., every improper use of the names of God, Jesus Christ, but also of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.”
No one knows if the Roman Catholic Church as an institution will ever repent of all her teachings and practices which contradict God’s Word. But if you are a Catholic reading this, my appeal to you is this: Your eternal salvation is at stake. What you believe can make a difference between going to heaven or going to hell. Pray to God for light. Study the Scriptures for yourself. And may the Lord open your eyes and grant you the courage to depart from deception when you see truth. Amen.
Click here to read about what St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori says about the name of Mary (starting from Chapter X).