Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Vatican updates list of mortal sins for globalization era

If you are a drug addict, an oligarch, a scientist doing a stem cell research, if you pollute the environment, then it means that you will spend your life after death burning in hell. The Roman Catholic Church decided to expand the list of mortal sins against the background of the era of globalization.

The new list of mortal sins appeared on pages of the Vatican’s official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano . Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, responsible for absolving Catholics from their sins, named the new mortal sins in an interview with the newspaper.

The list runs as follows: pollution, genetic engineering, obscene riches, addiction to drugs, abortion, pedophilia and social injustice. All these sins join the original seven deadly sins defined by Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century: pride, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and sloth.

Gianfranco Girotti said that the original seven deadly sins had an individualistic dimension, while the new seven had a social resonance and showed worshippers that their vices affected other people.

"New sins have appeared on the horizon of humanity as a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalization," he said.

In Roman Catholic moral theology, a mortal sin, as distinct from a venial sin, must meet all of the following conditions:

- its subject must be a grave (or serious) matter;
- it must be committed with full knowledge, both of the sin and of the gravity of the offense;
- it must be committed with deliberate and complete consent.

Sins considered by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church to be grave matter can usually be considered serious violations of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, whether directly such as perjury, adultery, lust, murder, contraceptive use, and abortion; or indirectly in the cases of heresy or despair, which contravene the first commandment, or the use of contraceptives or abortion, which violates the 5th and 6th commandments. All of these, however, are subject both to the conditions above and to mitigating circumstances (like mental illness, emotional or behavioral disturbance, insanity, retardation, young age, affective immaturity, or developmental disorders) of the individual situation.

The Church itself does not provide a precise list of sins, subdivided into the mortal and venial categories. Rather, it is generally considered a matter for a well-formed conscience to decide after a comprehensive, prayer-filled, deliberate examination of conscience. These sins must be specifically confessed and named, giving details about the context of each sin: what sin, why, against what or whom, the number and type of occurrences, and any other factors that may exacerbate or lessen one's responsibility and culpability. It also should not be said that certain of these mortal sins, like purposely missing Mass on Sunday is considered equal in gravity to more grave ones, like first-degree murder: Roman Catholic belief holds that mortal sins can vary somewhat in their seriousness, and thus canon law only criminalizes some of the more serious mortal sins. However, for any sins that lack the above mitigating factors and meet the three criteria listed, the "mortal" effect remains present. For all sins in this category, a person's link within their life to God's saving grace necessary for as a member of God's Church is cut off — "dead", not merely lessened.

“Many of those sins touch upon personal and public rights. In this situation we can only deny any interference in human nature, the consequences of which are hard to predict and keep under control. You offend God not only when you steal, blaspheme, or desire someone else’s wife, but also when you destroy nature, run scientific experiments which raise doubts from the moral point of view, when you practice genetic manipulations to alter human DNA or embryos,” the clergyman said.

Gianfranco Girotti also said that about 60 percent of Italian Catholics do not go to the church to make their confessions. “More and more people in the West do without God,” he added. “Those who believe in themselves and their achievements are blinded with their own selves,” Girotti said.

Prepared by Dmitry Sudakov