11 March 2008

Sin, Rebranded

In what can be seen as an effort to look fresh and socially relevant, the Catholic Church has come up with a new list of deadly sins. Timesonline reports that Bishop Gianfranco Girotti came up with these “new sins which have appeared on the horizon of humanity as a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalisation”. Taken from Neal Boortz’s site on Monday, the new list is:

- Genetic experimentation
- Tampering with the order of nature
- Pollution
- Social injustice
- Causing poverty
- Accumulating excessive wealth
- Drug abuse

It seems to me that the old list was just fine, though I must admit that I’m not Catholic. But pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth cover a whole range of human faults and pitfalls. Moreover, the new sins can, I think, be covered adequately in the original seven. How is “genetic experimentation” something other than a combination of pride and lust (for power)? How is “drug abuse” something other than a combination of anger (at the self) and gluttony?

But what I find most suspect about the new list is how squishy terms like “social injustice” and “excessive wealth” have found their way on the rolls. If globalization is an “unstoppable process” and the acts of individuals is felt more widely than in previous centuries, then perhaps the Vatican should be more particular with their terms of sin. I defy anyone to give me a concrete, demonstrable definition of “social justice” that reaches the clarity of any of the old seven deadly sins.

What the Vatican may have accomplished in the end, while attempting to come to terms (or appease) secular forces in the world is to confuse believers and watchers alike by defining sin in malleable, PC terms.


Anonymous said...

Then in a sense wouldnt the church be sinning you see these multimillion dollar buildings whena do of course are our luxuries counted in this accumulation of excessive wealth....lets ask peter singer...

Bob M. said...

As someone once said, moderation in all things (or some facsimile thereof). Another informative point of view (especially regarding "luxuries") might be not to grossly exceed what is necessary to accomplish goal(s). Mr. Singer might have a very different point of view, however.