Monday, March 10, 2008

You Must Remember This....

....A sin is still a sin.

For an elderly pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI is quite the modernist. The infamous "Seven Deadly Sins" are getting some spiritual Botox and being translated into 21st century jargon.

Even in our decadent era, it's tough to improve upon the 6th century originals: lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, anger, envy, and pride. But far be it from a nice Catholic girl to argue with the Pope. Although in the olden days of my recalcitrant youth, that was the worst and final accusation my exasperated mother would hurl at me: "You'd argue with the Pope!"

Which, no doubt, qualifies as a deadly sin. Oops.

But back to our new and improved deadly sins. They are, in all their stylish ignominy: genetic engineering, polluting the environment, social injustice, obscene riches, abortion, pedophilia, and taking drugs.

Now, call me unimaginative (if you dare), but I think this is just putting some flashy new UGGs over the worn old work boots. Think about it. In genetic engineering, you've got your old-fashioned pride--we humans figured out how to do it, so let's show off how smart we are by turning manipulated DNA into a party game.

Polluting the environment? Well, that could be a combo of sloth and greed...or sloth and avarice...or sloth and gluttony. That one word insists on popping up, so face it--you're just plain lazy if you're not separating your recyclables from the trash.

Social injustice is kind of vague. Does it include the CEO of my company, who let the stock crash 75% and left all of my shares underwater? I certainly hope so--sorry, the deadly sin of anger flared up on me (does that still count?) The CEO example ties right in with obscene riches, which should make a lot of oil corporations and Hollywood stars nervous. But it won't, as they are still busy with most of the outdated deadly sins such as avarice, gluttony, lust and pride and will take no notice of the revised pitfalls along humanity's path.

Abortion. Now, we're getting somewhere. Here's a deadly sin for our modern age. But as far as I'm concerned, it's been covered since the Old Testament, Book of Exodus, under the "Thou shalt not kill" commandment--which is #5, as I learned them in Catholic school. The order of the "no killling" commandment may vary in different faith traditions, but the message doesn't.

Pedophilia. Well, it's about time that was mentioned, considering the clergymen that have dragged the Church through the muck--and inflicted lifelong tragedy upon their victims. In the New Testament, Our Lord has strong words for people who hurt children. Pedophiles should indeed be worried, in this or any century.

Taking drugs. It's hard for me to know how to categorize this one. Is it lust, gluttony, anger, pride, or any combination of all the original deadly sins that leads a poor soul to such misery? But, it is indeed a sin of our time, one that unfortunately is spreading among ever-younger age groups, so it is timely that this is included in the "new" sins.

Yet, a sin is still a sin. What was once intrinsically wrong is still and ever will be, regardless of our times and personal interpretations. In fighting against the deadly sins, old or new, practice of the seven holy virtues of chastity, abstinence, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness and humility will go a long way towards keeping us spiritually safe.

On that point, not even the Pope could argue with me. Although, wait a minute, that might just be pride talking...