Something Interesting From the Vatican

The Vatican has released a list of Seven Social Sins, along the line of the Seven Deadly Sins. They are:

1. “Bioethical” violations such as birth control

2. “Morally dubious” experiments such as stem cell research

3. Drug abuse

4. Polluting the environment

5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor

6. Excessive wealth

7. Creating poverty

Now, I clearly have problems with a few of those, namely the first two. Those are just a restatement of the current party line for the Roman Catholic Church, and further indication that the Church just can’t get out of it’s own way sometimes. In particular, the first is a sin only by way of being included on the list. That the RCC continues to reject the incredible good that is contraception, in particular the pill, is an example of the worst sort of blindness to the ills of modern life. If they could only have restrained themselves. Number two is some sort of kneejerk reaction to the boogie-man threat of cloning and a sop to the raging anti-abortion forces.

But aside form those two, I wholeheartedly and vehemently agree with the Church! Sins 5-7 should have been universally acknowledged by all religions a long time ago as great blemishments on the moral welfare of society. If we could get people to follow those three rules, imagine the billions of dollars that would immediately be available for everything from AIDS research to infrastructure to clean water projects to preventative healthcare to education. Imagine the welfare of workers the world over as CEOs forgo multimillion dollar salaries and enfore a livable wage for every worker.

I really have to give credit to the Church for those last five rules. They didn’t wimp out. They could have used weasel words to suggest that excessive wealth and the promotion of poverty for selfish gains is wrong, but they came right out and said it in no uncertain terms. Bravo.

I am still a bit divided. The heinousness of including the first sin, added to the lazy malignant stupidity of including the second sin balances out the good of the last five.

Now lets see if any priests refuse to give communion to their millionaires.

via BoingBoing


6 Responses

  1. I think that the whole idea of making these lists is one of the major problems with ‘christianity’. I am strongly, vehemently ‘christian’, but I have major problems with ‘christianity’. Why do we feel the need to add to the work that was already done? Why can’t we simply let the Bible stand alone? I have no stomach for the additional doctrine.

    The problem, I think, is that in a lot of ways, the church isn’t willing to tell people that they are responsible for themselves. I read my Bible daily, and I live as closely to it as I can, though I fail quite often. I don’t need anyone making lists, or rule books, or whatever, in addition to it. I don’t think that the church is willing to tell people to read their Bibles and maintain a personal relationship with God on their own. They would rather do it for you, and give you lists and rituals.

    I think that it all boils down to a basic misunderstanding of what Christianity is supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be a ‘religion’. It’s supposed to be a relationship. That statement is horribly complicated in it’s simplicity, and part of an entirely different conversation.

    All that said, I agree with everything that you said. I personally have had ‘the snip’, and before that Teresa was on the pill. The RCC has always been scared of science (when, in fact, they should embrace it.) But seriously, was there any reason to make a list? Does it really change anything?

    Christianity gives God a bad name.

  2. In a word: Yeah.

    I’m areligious. But my real beef is with organized religion, not the teachings they grow from.

    I’ve never made an in depth study of religious teachings, but I’ve read a bit. They are seem fairly decent to me. The basic idea is the same: be nice to people. I’m all for it.

    But when humans start intermediating the message, it becomes a problem. But then, humans seem to like having other humans tell them what to think and do and believe.

  3. (I just looked this back over and thought about deleting the first two paragraphs so not to upset. But no, this is me, so there we are.)
    Why do we feel the need to add to the work that was already done? Are you serious? A book that was written 2000 years ago is supposed to stand up to any changes whatsoever? That doesn’t sound like you Wallace, that sounds like Christianity speaking. It’s usually the most far left or right groups that say don’t touch the Bible, it’s perfect.

    History is filled with changes to their doctrine, all based on thinking during those periods. This is the change for our period I guess.

    Also, I think this intended to reach beyond just normal practicing Christians. Even people, like myself, who practice nothing, can get behind these kinds of list items. It gives voice to something we all probably know, but many just don’t really consider day-to-day. And it’s lent extra weight by coming from the Vatican. A lot of extra weight.

    In fact, I’ve already seen in bits of the news about Churches around the U.S. saying that they are now taking on global warming as a premier part of their teachings. Something that should have been happening all along, but darn it if we aren’t all just a bit daft.

  4. Don’t confuse Christianity the belief with Christianity the organized religion.

    And, as much animosity as I have for religion, I’m with Wallace on this. The bible really isn’t in need of revising (though I suppose there’s the fact that we can’t ever know what was really The Bible, given that there is proof of entire gospels being eliminated based on political reasons).

    But I’m all for the new list of sins, with the afore mentioned caveats on No. 1 and 2.

  5. I have no problem with literature that helps explain the teachings of christianity. I have no problem with literature that helps you apply the principles of christianity to our modern times. As a matter of fact, I have 2 such books that I read once a year, and have for nearly 5 years. The lists that the RCC puts out are not the same.

    The original list of the ‘Seven deadly sins’ were born out of an attempt to classify sins into categories. Some sins are worse then others. Some require different actions than others to ‘be forgiven’, blah, blah, blah.

    “What classification of sin was that? Oh, thats only a minor. Put your hand here, spin in 3 circles, and say this saying, and all is forgiven.”

    That’s ‘religion’, and has nothing to do with ‘christianity’.

    We are constantly trying as a christian body to ‘define’ things, to simplify them, to categorize them. It allows people to walk the christian walk without it ever being a relationship, instead it’s simply a set of rules to follow. A set of steps to complete.

    Nothing in their lists ‘change’ or contradict anything in the Bible. I never said anything about them changing anything. I said that I have a problem with doctrine. I have a problem with our uncontrollable desire to contain everything in little boxes because, invariably, the boxes are never big enough, and far to limiting.

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