In Catholic religious teaching this Commandment means that one should not use the name of God except in a respectful manner and always avoid blasphemy. But in its most authentic wording, this biblical directive forbids the use of the Lord's name in order to defend any form of injustice: swearing to falsehoods, justifying oppression, engaging in so-called "just" wars. In a not too distant past modern states defined their warfare as just by establishing their legitimacy through religious symbols; even today, in the global age, the connection between God and violence remains a constant concern. The name of God continues to be pronounced in many ambiguity-laden ways, whereas its sanctification - as invoked in the Lord's Prayer - should be a haven for liberty and manifest itself in the construction of peaceful human relationships.
Carlo Galli teaches History of Political Doctrines at the University of Bologna.
Piero Stefani, a scholar of the Bible and Hebraism, teaches at the Theological Faculty in Milan.