National Catholic Register


Am I Allowed To Say "Good Luck"?

BY Matthew Warner

| Posted 4/15/11 at 1:03 PM


As a Catholic, am I allowed to say “good luck” to somebody? Do we believe in “luck”? And if we don’t, should we be going around wishing such an imaginary thing upon people?

I’ve had a few experiences where people have either corrected me when using the phrase or have generally frowned upon the use of it. So now I have a bit of a complex as I habitually use it socially. But I’m at a loss for words on something better to say without sounding like a weirdo.

As far as Catholic teaching, I believe certain understandings of the word “luck” are totally fine. Others can probably be problematic.

But scripture even uses it in some translations: “Do not reveal your thoughts to every one, lest you drive away your good luck.” - Sirach 8:19 (RSV)

So it can’t be all bad. But still it seems to upset some people. And I suppose it could present to the world a misunderstanding of Christianity and how much we believe “luck” plays a role in our lives.

But then again, who can deny the luck of the Irish? Am I right?

But let’s see, instead I could say things like, “Good fortune to you!” or “Cheers” or “Fare thee well” or “godspeed” - or maybe “I wish all of God’s blessings for you in the future.”

Wait, can I say wish? I think wish is ok. I suppose I could say, “I hope God, through his divine providence, blesses you in this endeavor and that you avoid damnation in the future. I am praying for the souls of you and your family - the triumphant, the suffering and the militant. Go in peace.”

Or, I could just say “goodbye.”  After all, the word “goodbye” comes from the phrase “God be with you.” But it doesn’t quite carry with it the same sentiment anymore. I could also just simply say “take care,” or “God bless.” But to be honest, there are still times when it just feels like “good luck” is the most appropriate and useful thing to say. So I say it. And I think people know what I mean by it.

What about you?  Do you have any hesitations using the word “luck”? What do you say instead?