Vatican Adds Seven New Deadly Sins Including Abortion, Contraception and Drug-Dealing
After 1,500 years the Vatican has brought the seven deadly sins up to date by adding seven new ones for the age of globalization. The list, published yesterday in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, came as the Pope deplored the “decreasing sense of sin” in today’s “secularized world” and the falling numbers of Roman Catholics going to confession.
The Catholic Church divides sins into venial, or less serious, sins and mortal sins, which threaten the soul with eternal damnation unless absolved before death through confession and penitence.
It holds mortal sins to be “grave violations of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes,” including murder, contraception, abortion, perjury, adultery and lust.
UPDATE: Get Religion has provided a fog cutter post on this sensationalist story.
But all kidding aside, I wonder if the Vatican would even include NFP, when used for a reason not approved by the papacy. Many, even Roman Catholics themselves, don't realize that they are not even supposed to use NFP except in extreme circumstances.
I have made the argument here on L&C that from a Lutheran perspective, NFP is potentially a more dangerous sin than some other "spur of the moment" contraceptive methods. NFP requires one to be very active in the process every day of the month. There's a difference between stumbling into sins we struggle with (even if we stumble into the same sin often) and the kind of sin that is "lived in" - i.e. the sinful activity that you constantly accept and are active in. NFP is not something you can just "stumble" into. It takes a great deal of premeditative effort and active discipline.
But of everything I read in this story, this statement from the Pope really caught my attention:
Those who trust in themselves and in their own merits are, as it were, blinded by their own "I", and their hearts harden in sin. Those who recognize themselves as weak and sinful entrust themselves to God, and from Him obtain grace and forgiveness.
WOW! The undiscerning might actually hear the pure Gospel in that statement. But this story left out the rest of what the Pope said. Here is the context. It doesn't sound quite as Lutheran once you understand what else is involved. As Lutherans, we are blessed to know that it isn't "confession" that brings us the joy of God's forgiveness, but rather the unconditional absolution which follows it! The Pope speaks out of both sides of his mouth when he continues what he said above with this:
"...What is most important is to make it clear that in the Sacrament of Penance - whatever the sin committed - if sinners recognize it humbly and entrust themselves to the priest confessor, they will always experience the soothing joy of God's forgiveness"
Penance (specifically, that part called "satisfactions") is one of the serious abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. In a RC sacramental understanding of the term, "penance" applies to the whole activity from confession to absolution, much of which we do not differ on in practice. Generally speaking, however, the word "penance" is used to characterize the works of satisfaction imposed or recommended by the priest on or to the penitent. It ultimately directs one to make his own satisfactions for his sins rather than trusting in Christ's perfect and complete atonement. For more on the disagreement regarding this matter between Lutherans and Roman Catholics, read here.