Vatican lists 'new sins'
Vatican City - Thou shall not
pollute the Earth. Thou shall beware genetic manipulation.
Modern times bring with them modern sins. So the Vatican has
told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such
as causing environmental blight.
The guidance came at the weekend when Archbishop Gianfranco
Girotti, the Vatican's number two man in the sometimes murky
area of sins and penance, spoke of modern evils.
Asked what he believed were today's "new sins", he told the
Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the greatest danger
zone for the modern soul was the largely uncharted world of
"(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must
denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human
nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose
outcome is difficult to predict and control," he said.
Stem cell research
The Vatican opposes stem cell research that involves
destruction of embryos and has warned against the prospect of
Girotti, in an interview headlined New Forms of Social
Sin, also listed "ecological" offences as modern evils.
In recent months, Pope Benedict has made several strong
appeals for the protection of the environment, saying issues
such as climate change had become gravely important for the
entire human race.
Under Benedict and his predecessor John Paul, the Vatican
has become progressively "green".
It has installed photovoltaic cells on buildings to produce
electricity and hosted a scientific conference to discuss the
ramifications of global warming and climate change, widely
blamed on human use of fossil fuels.
Girotti, who is number two in the Vatican "Apostolic
Penitentiary," which deals with matter of conscience, also
listed drug trafficking and social and economic injustices as
But Girotti also bemoaned that fewer and fewer Catholics go
to confession at all.
He pointed to a study by Milan's Catholic University that
showed that up to 60% of Catholic faithful in Italy
stopped going to confession.
In the sacrament of Penance, Catholics confess their sins to
a priest who absolves them in God's name.
But the same study by the Catholic University showed
that 30% of Italian Catholics believed that there was no need for
a priest to be God's intermediary and 20% felt
uncomfortable talking about their sins to another person.