March 20, 2008
Is the New Sin List for Everyone?
Why feel guilty about gluttony when you can feel righteous about recycling?
Too much press coverage misunderstood what the Vatican was doing in issuing its recent list of serious sins. (See the excellent media criticism piece by Mollie Hemingway at Get Religion.)
But as you engage in serious self-examination this Holy Week, you might want to read a light-hearted op/ed posted today at the Indianapolis Star website (the piece originated with sister newspaper Noblesville Ledger).
Ledger columnist Jane Younce reflects on the new list of sins and finds them, well, not as personally challenging as the old Seven Deadlies: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Those were sins that everyone had to avoid. Whereas the new list seems to be dominated by sins of the rich and powerful: embryo-destroying stem cell research, environmental pollution, poverty, excessive wealth, etc.
It's not that we can do nothing about embryonic stem-cell research or environmental pollution. I recycle and use compact fluorescents, but I don't really think the Vatican is counting the occasional unrecycled paper cup among the mortal sins. That warning about environmental pollution is surely for the captains of industry.
The danger that Jane Younce's delightful column hints at is this: It is easy to feel righteous about recycling that urethane foam milkshake cup and to forget about the gluttony that I abetted by buying that milkshake.
But don't let me blather on. Just read Younce's op/ed.