The All New and Improved Seven Deadly Sins

Timothy Kincaid

March 12th, 2008

Catholic theology differentiates between venal sins and deadly sins. Venal Sins, your regular old every-day sins may slow up your progress to Heaven, but Deadly Sins will doom you to eternal damnation unless absolved through confession.

As laid out by Pope Gregory some 1,400 years ago, the Seven Deadly Sins were determined to be:


Well now the Catholic Church has decided that greed and wrath were maybe not so deadly after all. The new list of Seven Deadly Sins is:

genetic modification
carrying out experiments on humans
polluting the environment
causing social injustice
causing poverty
becoming obscenely wealthy
taking drugs

Wow, now that is interesting. They didn’t include voting for pro-gay politicians as a deadly sin; I’m surprised.

And I’m especially impressed with “taking drugs”. We know that at the time of Christ and the Disciples that stimulants were a part of the culture. But I guess Christ just forgot to mention it.

But, of course, everything is left to interpretation.

I’m sure the Holy Father doesn’t think that anti-gay policies cause social injustice. And I’m certain that the sin of becoming obscenely wealthy does not include the Church or her officers.

I miss the days when “sin” was something that stood between one’s own personal soul and one’s relationship with the divine. Now “sin” seems to be the failing that one finds in others, especially if it involves social policy.

UPDATE: Or is it a hoax?

So far, I can’t tell. Some newspapers are carrying the story at face value, but it really does seem to be too nutty to be true.

Jason D

March 12th, 2008

Hey, I noticed in the comments section of the website in the link above that someone said the whole “new deadly sins” thing is actually a big hoax.

Jim Burroway

March 12th, 2008

I’m convinced it’s a hoax, although I haven’t looked into it. Just on the surface it seems fishy. The Catholic church generally takes centuries to change anything, and they’d never touch anything that is so well-known and sacred as to be listed in just about every chatechism the world over.

It just doesn’t pass the smell test to me.

Emily K

March 12th, 2008

Plus, being “obscenely wealthy” would put the Church itself gravely into sin. I’ve been inside the Vatican. Talk about obscenely wealthy.

Ben in Oakland

March 12th, 2008

Techncally speaking, the pope does not own the golden plate he eats his dinner off of, the golden fork he uses to eat it, the ermine cape he wears despite all sound fashion sense, the artwork he peruses while dining, or the castle that encloses the whole thing.

He just gets unlimited usage during his tenure, same as every othr obscenely rich person in the owrld.

Timothy Kincaid

March 12th, 2008

So far, the media is treating this as at face value. Some Hawai’i congressman sent the Vatican a letter asking why torture wasn’t on the new list. It’s getting coverage in all the big papers.

I think we’re inclined to think it’s a hoax because, well, it seems like one. It is just bizzarro that the Vatican thinks that polluting will send your immortal soul to hell while subjegation of other or slavery (which is still going on) gets a free pass.

Erica B.

March 12th, 2008

Personally, it’s the “taking drugs” that pushes it over the edge from plausible to preposterous. Are they going to have grape juice instead of wine at Communion from now on? (Or does that not count since it apparently transforms into blood?) And “genetic modification” just seems too specific. And “obscenely wealthy” just isn’t elegant enough phrasing…

Keep an eye on Snopes to see what the verdict is, I guess!


March 12th, 2008

It’s not a hoax but it’s not a replacement of the 7 Deadly Sins. These are mainly the Vatican trying to do something to appear relevant and fun – like last year when the Pope wrote the 10 Commandments of traffic behavior.


March 12th, 2008

The list from the Bible:

Proverbs 6:16-19 (The Holy Bible, King James Version)
“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

1. A proud look
2. A lying tongue
3. Hands that shed innocent blood
4. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations
5. Feet that be swift in running to mischief
6. A false witness that speaketh lies
7. He that soweth discord among brethren


March 12th, 2008

“I’m sure the Holy Father doesn’t think that anti-gay policies cause social injustice. And I’m certain that the sin of becoming obscenely wealthy does not include the Church or her officers”

I’m sure the Church will change its mind on homosexual unions as soon as they realize they can’t prevent it and they are losing members of the Chuch. Also, I’m sure in the new future a thealogian will post a nice paper concerning many of the ancient rites of the church that included queer individuals.

Also, as far as I know the Church is no where near obscenely wealthy. True, the church may have money but an article says the 2006 budget is as follows:

“The July 3 statement said the Vatican budget – technically the budget of the Holy See, including the offices of the Roman Curia and the nunciatures around the world – showed expenses of almost $307 million and income of just over $310 million.

The statement said 2,704 people, including 773 bishops and priests, 331 members of religious orders and 1,600 laypeople, are employed in the Holy See offices”

300 million dollars is a pitiful budget for an organization that serves over a billion people. It’s not like the Pope gets paid for his services. His family (or more likely his nearest relatives) may receive a small amount when he dies, but I’m sure CEOs of all but the smallest corperations would leave more assets.

I think you would be highly mistaken to believe that people go into the priesthood to be rich.

Most the objects in the vatican are priceless art and artifacts. It would be a major injustice for the pope to sell anything in all but the gravest of financial crisises. Not to remember that most things in the vatican are CENTURIES old. I think your statements are influenced by centuries of bashing that Catholics have recieved in America.


March 13th, 2008

I would also remind you that the sin about drugs was “Drug trafficking and consumption” not just taking drugs.

It seems that you forgot to put the part in about trafficking? Out of all the conservative churches, the Church seems to be the one of the few that has had the long held believe that God actually made you homosexual and you don’t have to change, you should just refrain from having pre-marital sex. (Somehow?)

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2008


1. A proud look
2. A lying tongue
3. Hands that shed innocent blood
4. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations
5. Feet that be swift in running to mischief
6. A false witness that speaketh lies
7. He that soweth discord among brethren

In other words, your average anti-gay activist.

Timothy Kincaid

March 13th, 2008


I think the budget you are quoting is for the Vatican City, not for the Church. And let’s not pretend that the holdings of the Church in land, buildings, and other financial investments are not monstrously large.

The Church does a tremendous amount of good. And much of the continuance of Western Civilization can be credited to her name.

And I am not faulting the church for accumulating wealth. Nor am I suggesting that priests fulfill their vocation out of avarice. But let’s not pretend that the Roman Catholic Church as a whole is not one of the wealthiest institutions on the planet – and I’m not including art.

For the Church to say that the accumulation of obscene wealth is a mortal sin is indeed ironic. I’m sure they mean by individuals, not by God’s Church… which is what makes it funny.

As for “Drug trafficking and consumption”, please provide a link. The source I linked to just said “drug use”. Maybe it was lost in the interpretation. But in either case, including drug consumption as a mortal sin seems again to be missing the point.

These “mortal sins” seem more the declarations of an arrogant Pope than they do the carefully crafted result of a long process of introspection and the cumulation of the Church’s wisdom.

And taking such a cavalier attitude towards the faith of a billion people, such as randomly declaring polluting to be a mortal sin, does great disservice to all Catholics and to the greater body of Christians.

Or so I think.


March 13th, 2008

There’s a more detailed story here:

Re: drugs, this article says, “Bishop Girotti said that mortal sins also included taking or dealing in drugs…”

Suricou Raven

March 14th, 2008

Wrong, wrong, WRONG!

These are *additional* mortal sins, but they in no way replace the seven deadly sins – which are themselves no more than mortal sins of particually significence.


March 14th, 2008

Check out a level-headed and humorous take from Sister Mary Martha.


April 12th, 2008

Not new mortal sins. The bishop in question was taken out of context. Thos are seven social sins (which have been around for a while). He was just saying that the church is goign to start focusing more on these sins because of the changes in the world AKA increased population density and globalization.

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