charltonWhen he wrote the Ten Commandments on a few chunks of rock held by a young Charlton Heston, God’s omniscience let him down and he neglected to mention a bunch of stuff that was sinful. Thankfully we have the Roman Catholic Church to help us out. As if 10 Commandments and 66 books of the Bible wasn’t enough to get the message out as to just what we should be doing to earn divine favour and avoid the wrath of Big G, the Roman Catholic church takes it upon itself to make a few additions. Which is odd since I always thought that in Christianity it was God who called the shots about sin rather than old men in capes and pointy hats.

The most recent additions come in the shape of a proposal for seven new deadly sins. You might think that you can’t make this shit up, but seemingly the Roman Catholic Church does just that. Seven new sins for the age of globalisation: genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs. Which along with the classical seven deadly sins pretty much fucks the entire population of the planet. I really do hope Hell is big enough for us all. Bring your factor 10,000 sun block and anti-perspirants.

There are things I don’t like about the world, but I’d never make a big list and say “anyone who pisses me off by doing any of this shit is going to roast for all eternity unless you stop and repent.” That seems a tad excessive. But the Church seems to want to do just that, and try as I may I can’t find any basis for it. I can understand the whole “do not murder” idea, that makes sense. But condemning the “obscenely wealthy”? Who is that anyway? I reckon the Pope’s got a fair bit of money about him. Perhaps Catholics should stop giving money to their church just in case it tips their leaders over the edge into “obscenely wealthy.” And what about the “environmental polluters?” Technically farting adds to pollution so are the flatulent at risk of Hell? There’ll be problems in Hell for the flatulent too: Flames + methane = singed eyebrows. Should we really make strenuous efforts to hold it in in an effort to save our mortal soul? And what about all those flights his Holiness takes and that little car he gets driven around in? Are we to see him on a bicycle in the future? And while we’re on a roll I wonder what counts as causing poverty. Does this count: the RCC opposes contraception, many poor Catholics in impoverished over-populated countries pay attention to the teaching (because quite understandably they want to avoid hellfire), they have loads more kids and thus exacerbate the problem of poverty. Isn’t the RCC guilty of causing poverty in excelis? It seems to me that the church is in no position to moralise.

So, why would the church do such a thing? Well, it’s been 1,500 years since it made the original 7 deadly sins (lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, anger, envy and pride), and recently Vatican officials have reported that the Pope deplored “the decreasing sense of sin [in todays] secular world,” and the falling numbers of Catholics attending confessions. In other words too few of us feel guilty enough about our lives so the church is trying to remedy that in an effort to boost the numbers as it dies on its ass. And it’s not just guilt that the Church is trying to instil; it’s also trying to scare the living piss out of us with such lines as “immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into Hell”. The Catholic faith isn’t the only one obsessed by the concepts of guilt, sin, punishment, and penitence. Most religions dwell on these depressing notions. Perhaps the reason why the Catholic church is being abandoned has nothing to do with having enough sins to repent for. Might it not be because of the lack of focus on things that are life affirming? Many people are fed up hearing the same old tired scare stories, and few of us have time, or the credulity, these busy days to worry about such matters. Perhaps if the church bothered to attract people with a positive message. Products in any market sell best when they’re given a positive image and capture the imagination of the target audience. Negative images simply don’t bring in the punters these days.

Drawing up new lists of sins for which we should feel guilty is futile. But since the church insists on doing just that I feel obliged to make a few suggestions to them. If I was to draw up a list of seven deadly sins I might include:

1. Sex with underage choir boys

2. Pretending to be infallible

3. Condemning the use of condoms in AIDS ravished countries

4. Moral hypocrisy

5. Wearing silly pointy hats and prancing around in robes

6. Pontificating about issues you know shit all about

7. Making stuff up and telling everyone God said it.

The list of sins drawn up by the Vatican is no more valid or God inspired than the above. Like me the church just made it up. People already criticise religion as man-made and when the church pulls stunts in which it just decides to re-write the rules it simply affirms that idea.

Who do they think they’re kidding?