Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thou shalt not...

Hieronymus Bosch: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things (1485, oil on panel) from Wikipedia

...modify genetically, engage in human experimentations, pollute the environment, cause social injustice, cause poverty, be financially glutton, and take drugs (recreational/illegal) - these are the new seven deadly sins announced by the Vatican, 1,500 years after these sins were identified to cause damnation to the way we - Catholics or not - live.

Acknowledging way too late
The news is definitely causing stir now, as observed in various posts I got just by googling about it. Those who are critical of the Catholic Church say, to sum up and paraphrase, the list is the institution's way to strengthen further its weakening hold to its seemingly confused, lost, and scattered flock.

The Vatican explains the revised list came 1,500 years after (adding to the original seven deadly sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, which said to have a more individualistic dimension) to address globalization concerns, emphasizing about the decreasing sense of sin in this modern time. "The sins of today have a social resonance as well as an individual one," said Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary. "In effect, it is more important than ever to pay attention to your sins."

Being a Catholic myself (not devout, but practicing to some extent, though I believe most of the values I uphold are revolving around my religious upbringing) the news struck me vaguely.

Reflecting as a not-so devout Catholic
Trying not to sound a critic of my own church, but the list to come up only after 1,500 years is already incredulous to believe. But who am I to argue on the workings of the institution I belong with? I'm not a devout Catholic as I said.

I'm just wondering now where exactly "my" church was in that span of 1,500 years the world was succumbing to damnation.

I don't exactly know how this news would come across to the scrutinizing public. For one, we can all argue how vague these new deadly sins are -

Most of what we produce and consume are genetically modified, and it's done not without basis, but again there are cons to it;

What about stem cell research? Definitely there's benefit to it but again the cons it's gaining;

Catastrophic floods, adverse weather conditions, global warming - before the Catholic church came up with polluting the environment as a deadly sin, there were already concerned citizens, who up to now, are doing their best to advocate to save the environment;

Social injustice - you'll gain justice if the court or whoever authority favors to your side - but not necessarily what's injustice to me is injustice to you;

Majority of the world is living in poverty - way, way below poverty. Capitalism could be blamed - the poor are becoming poorer while the rich are becoming richer - but personally, I don't exactly know if the opportunities I'm getting to earn more, that I'm being picked for a particular job, is causing poverty to others who were not chosen because I was picked for such;

Those who are grilled now in Senate trials for anomalous deals can be best classified as financial gluttons - but then, count in social injustice and the capitalistic nature of most societies, that those people responsible for such onerous deals would not be receiving punishment soonest - well, maybe until I'm here in this country - maybe when I'm already elsewhere, I'll just read on online newspapers that such people are already hanged to death (oh, I forgot, we abolished death penalty, as our president's gift to the Pope);

Taking illegal drugs is of course illegal - in a country or territory that says such substance is illegal - but some countries have marijuana for example, as, to some extent, part of medication - there goes the debate again;

Limiting, avoiding sins
The church has its flaws, and this move is perceived as another flaw of it. It maybe rigid to some extent, but as part of the church, I trust there are people in it that trying to do good and live within God's laws.

Again, I don't exactly know how this news will make majority of Catholics more repentant, or this news will just be another another news and just be forgotten when another news comes out.

I think though that as long as you do your best, climb to success fairly and not at the expense of others, live within your means, be conscientious about the environment you're in, and take things - food, drugs, recreation, whatever - into moderation, you're at least, living a decent life.

And though my church is severely attacked from time to time, I still have faith in my church. I don't necessarily do everything it prescribes, but I always seek solace in a quiet church (not during Masses and with priests preaching about politics or bragging about their individual glories for their parishes or dioceses). I always find time in a quiet church where I try to speak with God, reflect on things I'm feeling bad about because I know I did wrong, and always thank God for the blessings I'm receiving - my family, my friends, my country, and loved one.

In my own little way, I try to live a decent life and always try to be considerate of others' feelings and welfare. And even if I haven't gone to confession for years, I know what and where I did wrong, and I'm sorry for those, because I know in my heart God, or somebody God assigned to me, is constantly watching over me so I should be behaving well. And that's my way of limiting, if not, avoiding grievous actions or committing sins.
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