Seven deadly sins?
This is the 500th post in this blog, and deals with the magnificent seven — deadly sins, that is.
The media have made much of a so-called “new list of seven deadly sins” supposedly issued by the Vatican.
Thanks to the Wonderful Jessica Hagy, (h/t Maggi Dawn), everything you always wanted to know about those deadly sins that have been in the news recently.
The diagram also demonstrates the distinction between “sins” as things inside which drive us to do wrong things and the symptoms, which surely aren’t, any of them, “sins”.
No official list of new sins has been issued by the Vatican, though the Bloomberg wire service reduced Girotti’s interview to a catalogue of ‘Seven Social Sins’: birth control, stem cell research, drug abuse, polluting, helping widen the gap between rich and poor, excessive wealth and creating poverty.
In fact, these are all issues the church has struggled with for years while trying to apply ancient teachings to modern ethical dilemmas.
There’s a web site devoted to the premiss that “The press… just doesn’t get religion”, and they have published an analysis of some of the reporting on The Seven Sensationalist Sins. As in the case of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks on Sharia, the standard of reporting has been abysmal, and it’s interesting that the chief culprits appear to be The Times and the BBC, which have in the past been held up as models of good reporting. How have the mighty fallen!
After reading some of these reports, I think that the problem is not that the press “doesn’t … get religion”. I think rather that the media, the Western media in particular, are actually out to get religion.
This story gets a little bit too close to home. Western values promote a culture of entitlement — “You deserve it!” say so many ads. After all you worked hard for it, or perhaps you didn’t, but you deserve it anyway. Who cares if your luxury creates poverty for others? Creating poverty is cool, as long as it makes you rich, therefore those who, like the church, say it isn’t cool must be mocked and ridiculed.
But now it is Great Lent, and it’s not really time to dwell on the sins of the media. If we didn’t ourselves believe so many of their lies, they wouldn’t be able to peddle them so easily.
The so-called Seven Deadly Sins are actually not so much sins, nor, as Bishop Alan suggested, are they symptoms. Rather they are passions, and the sins are the behaviours that spring from them, including contributing to pollution and poverty. Even if the media regard it as ridiculous that we should examine our behaviour and see how much of it is driven by the passions, we should do so anyway.
Orthodox Christians pray the prayer of St Ephraim a lot during Lent:
O Lord and Master of my life
take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, untio ages of ages. Amen.