Monday, January 12, 2009

Holy Cow! No wait, it's a moose!

When I read this story about a moose falling through a window into a bedroom, I thought for sure a typical response would be, "Holy cow!" Which begs the question - is it all right to use such a phrase? That led me to a little search of the Ask an Apologist forum of Catholic Answers, where I did indeed ask such a question a few years ago. Here is the response I got from apologist Michelle Arnold:

Re: Is it all right to say "Holy cow!"

It has long been customary in Christian culture to invoke the holy as an exclamation of surprise or awe. For example, the French often use "Sacre bleu!" which means "Sacred blue!" and is an invocation of the Blessed Mother, who is usually depicted in art wearing blue. In older English-speaking societies, people would say "By the saints!" or "God's bones!" Even today, English speakers will say "By God!" or "Oh my God!" "Holy smokes!" and "Holy cow!" are more modern forms of such exclamations.While not intrinsically sacrilegious or blasphemous -- particularly when used without deliberate intent -- such expressions ordinarily should be avoided, especially by children. ...such expressions are not "bad" but they demonstrate thoughtlessness and we should try hard to make sure that we think before we speak and choose our words more carefully.

What do you think? Is this an expression you use? Have you ever thought if saying it is offensive to God? I'd be interested in your opinions. Speak up!

5 comments:

Christina said...

I thought "holy cow" referred to how Indians see cows as holy and not to be eaten...so I've always considered it in the "not polite to others" as opposed to the "not polite to God" category.

Smiley said...

yeah me too coming form India Cows are holy hence holy cow.

Marilena said...

mom would frown if she caught us saying holy cow, or holy anything:) mom would rather hear, oh rats, or darn it! but not holy cow,or moose:) doesn't matter how old we are, mom doesn't like hearing it! i said, holy crow, and mom corrected me:) (nicely)

Angela M. said...

I do say holy cow or holy doodle. I won't say "oh my g**" anymore. Like the post says - saying holy anything is thoughtless.

Cygnus said...

When we were kids, my mom would often exclaim, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!"