Moral Exhortation

I am sure you have been pondering the Vatican’s  new ‘take’ on the Seven Deadly Sins.  It’s a fascinating list which includes ‘genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs’

Clearly one could debate these endlessly.  The original list included envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath, pride and sloth.  But what is interesting, it seems to me, is how individualistic the old list was.  And now, in an individualistic age, they recast the Seven Deadlies in communal and global mode.


  1. As far as I can see, any aspect of the new list that I would consider a sin (for example, I wouldn’t necessarily say that genetic modification was sinful per se) is covered by some aspect of one or more of the old mortal sins. For example, causing poverty or social injustice is a mix of avarice, sloth, and possibly envy (or even lust in its original meaning of luxuriousness); while polluting the environment is due to pride, sloth (again) and gluttony. Taking drugs is clearly an example of gluttony, while becoming obscenely wealthy is the canonical view of avarice. So I’m not sure what use the new list is. Yes the old list is seen as individualistic, but surely that’s a matter of interpretation.

  2. I thought they were adding to the list, so that there would be a total of 14 deadly sins. And I’ve never understood how one sin could be worse than another. I’ve always heard that a sin is a sin is a sin (but then I did grow up Baptist).

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