A long while back, I met a young urban professional here in Puerto Rico and he shared with me a bit of his back ground. He had been raised in a strict Catholic family. He confessed to me that he felt that it had made him overly anxious as he was moving into the later stages of his life. He told me that the guilt that he felt from the oppression of Catholic church dogma was a strong influence on his life. I'd say that was an understatement. With an estimated 87% of Puerto Ricans claiming to be Catholic, that adds up to a lot of anxiety, guilt and oppression. It's no wonder that we have so much drinking, vanity, and over-consumption (we got to compensate for all that guilt somehow...). I myself wouldn't know, I wasn't raised here in Puerto Rico and wasn't raised Catholic, although I am now and my children go to Catholic school.
It's obvious that the specter of the seven deadly sins (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride), the ten commandments, and the practice of confession would be a large influence on anyone, but as they say "anything worth doing is worth overdoing", so the Catholic Church recently announced the addition of seven new deadly sins.
According to Father James Martin, acting publisher of the Jesuit magazine America, the reason for updating the 1,500-year-old sin list is as follows:
"I think it's to remind people that sins are not just individual," he says referring to the Catholic church's old seven deadly sins — lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. "There's also social sins .. .sins that affect the community at large and sins that an institution can engage in."
So just what are these social sins? The new mortal sins are (and remember these are in no particular order):
- Environmental pollution
- Genetic manipulation
- Accumulating excessive wealth
- Inflicting poverty
- Drug trafficking and consumption
- Morally debatable experiments
- Violation of fundamental rights of human nature.
So if most Puerto Ricans don't have enough to feel guilty about, we now have these new sins to worry about. But you know, it might be kind of interesting to imagine what things are going to be like in the confessional from now on ...
...A life long smoker of two packs a day walks into the confessional for the 300th day straight and says, bless me Father for I have si[and the Father interrupts him and says "how many times are you going to do this?" "I keep telling you that smoking cigarettes is not a sin"] ... [the somker interrupts] ... but Father, Nicotine is a drug according to the Surgeon General of the United States and that, therefore, makes being addicted to these coffin nails just as bad as heroin...
...Bill Gates walks into a confessional and says bless me Father for I have sinned...my sin, you say? Well I can tell you that it wasn't using unfair monopolistic business practices to lock people into an inferior product, no I'd like to confess that I cheated on the environmental impact statement when I built my 10,00 bazillion square feet house, I'm afraid that we might have used up too much land and not built environmentally unsafe drainoff...
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