The swearwords have persisted even though church attendance has plummeted in the past 40 years. Because of that drop, "when the young kids on the street are swearing, they don’t even know what they are swearing about," mused Monsignor Francis Coyle, pastor of St. Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal. "They’re baptized in church, and that’s about it."
Last spring, the Montreal Archdiocese commissioned an advertising campaign that erected large billboards in the city intended to shock and educate. Each billboard featured a word like tabernacle or chalice -- startling swearwords on the street -- and offered the correct dictionary definition for the religious term. Such as: "Tabernacle -- small cupboard locked by key in the middle of the altar" containing the sacred goblet.
A municipal court judge has ruled that a man who repeatedly tossed the expletive at two police officers during a confrontation was not swearing, because he wasn't taking God's name in vain. "While generally recognized as wrong, impolite and coarse, the words 'fuck you' do not at all constitute a blasphemy, since a blasphemy by definition invokes God or sacred things," Judge Pierre Bouchard said.
The recent decision led to the acquittal of the man, 37-year-old Charles-Yves Dupuy, who had been charged with obstructing justice. ... "It's not a curse word, it's an insult," the lawyer, Hélène Rouillard, said in an interview yesterday. "Cursing is saying things like tabernacle, calice, ciboire - everything that comes from the church. If I said calice de tabernacle to a police officer, he could give me a ticket."
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