“Recycle or Go to Hell, warns Vatican,” reports Malcolm Moore in the UK Telegraph. Is this a spoof? Is Moore playing fast and loose with the text? Was something lost in translation?
According to Moore, Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, “a close ally of the Pope and the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the Roman Curia’s main court,” told Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, that the “sins of yesteryear” – sloth, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride – have a “rather individualistic dimension,” and now must be updated to include sins that adversely “affect others as well.”
Moore writes: “Mgr Girotti said genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs were all mortal sins,” i.e., sins that bring about “eternal death” if unrepented by the act of confession.
Now, I am not a Catholic, so maybe this is none of my business. However, if Moore’s column is accurate, it raises some obvious questions.
How wealthy is “obscenely wealthy”? Is the Vatican’s wealth clearly less than that amount?
If genetic modification cures or eliminates inherited diseases (e.g., cystic fibrosis), how is that a mortal sin?
Are all experiments on human beings mortal sins, or only those conducted under coercion, and without regard for the welfare of the subject? For example, if I am terminally ill, and I volunteer to be a subject in the trial of an unproven clinical drug, does that make me a sinner?
What is “social injustice” and how does it differ from plain old injustice? Robbing Peter to pay Paul is how socialists claim to combat “social injustice.” Is the greed that impels socialist government’s to steal people’s property no longer injustice? Is “Thou Shalt Not Steal!” no longer valid in these modern times?
The Mgr says that “causing poverty” is a mortal sin. Then what about Kyoto-style energy policies that suppress economic growth by denying people the benefits of affordable energy? Kyoto proponents claim they must restrict fossil energy use to curb “pollution.” Is this one of those damned if you do, damed if you don’t situations?
I do hope the Mgr was misquoted or was just expressing his own views. Maybe someone versed in ecclesiastical matters will comment.