Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Seven Deadly Sins (New International Version)

In a move designed to encourage the Roman Catholic faithful in the lost art of priestly confession (for which Cranmer has not a lot of time), and also to reinvigorate the ‘Sacrament of Penance’ (for which he has even less time), the most orthodox pope of the modern era - the Pope who has rolled back the regress of Vatican II and re-authorised the eternally-authorised Tridentine Rite - has decided to enter the trendy age of postmodernity and unorthodoxly (post-)modernise the Seven Deadly Sins.

So out go pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth - for the language is far too Shakespearean to be comprehensible to modern man - and in come such pasteurised sins as might lead to such new commandments as:

Thou shalt not carry out morally dubious scientific experiments
Thou shalt not push drugs
Thou shalt not pollute the earth
Thou shalt not be obscenely wealthy
Thou shalt not be pro-abortion
Thou shalt not molest young boys (unless they be of the altar variety)

The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church states that ‘immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into Hell’, and now the faithful shall be in no excuse as they stand before the Almighty. The previous plea of the incomprehensibility of Elizabethan verbiage shall no longer be an adequate defence on the Great Day of His Wrath, for the Lord shall point out that His Holiness gave it in the vernacular.

Yes, the His Holiness who is sufficiently retro to revive Latin has now modernised the English definition of sin, and it will make uncomfortable reading for Professor Lord Winston, the nice poppy-growers of Afghanistan, those industrious Chinese men busy building power stations, Bill Gates, Tony Blair, and quite a few Roman Catholic priests and the odd Anglican one.

Whilst having some sympathy for what Pope Benedict is attempting to accomplish with this innovation, Cranmer thinks that it a little like a GCSE approach to Shakespeare where the text is eradicated and pupils are left with comic-book pictures and the story told in rap. The original Seven Deadly Sins have a lyrical beauty and a moral gravity which have haunted the conscience of man for centuries. They have inspired Chaucer, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Webster, Ford, Tourneur; not to mention Bunyan, Milton, Dante and Bosch, whose visions of hell have endured throughout the ages. Yet the Vatican has performed a miracle of turning meat into milk, and semi-skimmed at that.

His Holiness may be right to point out that ‘we are losing the notion of sin’, but by insisting on the need for frequent priestly confession, talking of a ‘spiritual rhythm’ (method?), and boasting that His Holiness ‘confesses his sins regularly once a week’, the Vatican shows that it has no grasp of the vernacular at all.

When one looks at this new list of sins, the heathen, separated brethren, and those who belong to mere ‘ecclesial communities’ might be forgiven for thinking that the Vatican itself might be more than a little guilty of the odd mortal sin… obscenely wealthy… paedophilia… And precisely who defines the level at which wealth becomes ‘obscene’, or which science is ‘morally dubious?

And the Vatican does itself no favours by brushing off paedophile priests as ‘exaggerations by the mass media aimed at discrediting the Church’. It has about as much credibility as Lee Jasper’s tirade against the media for the ‘racist’ manner in which it has sought to expose his misdemeanours. It is a proud and arrogant declaration when a tone of sorrow and repentance would be more in keeping with Christian humility and empathetic respect for the victims.

Cranmer happens to believe that sin is defined by God, not man, and that this is quite an unnecessary reform, especially from a Pope who tends to eschew the Tabletesque approach to matters Catholic. And Cranmer can hardly wait to read how The Catholic Herald will reconcile the trendy development with its adulation of the belovedly orthodox Papa Benedict.

And Cranmer wonders why His Holiness has omitted ‘Thou shalt not watch The Sound of Music’…

21 Comments:

Blogger Skin One Up said...

So out go pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth - for the language is far too Shakespearean

It is also a list of survival characteristics, as might be identified by evolutionary psychology. These sins can be interpreted as traits which promote the survival of your children and grandchildren.

Pride: Self-esteem is attractive to the opposite sex. Arrogance leads to over-achievement and power. Power is a noteable aphrodisiac, or so I'm told. More babies result.

Envy: Your neighbour has a cow and you have none? When food is short you will have to sell your daughter to him. Better get a cow somehow.

Gluttony: Opportunistic feeding is a hedge against famine.

Anger: Anger makes things happen, breaks the log jam, busts out of impossible situations, clears the air. Anger is "in" these days.

Greed: You never know when things will go bad. The more you have, the better shape you're likely to be in after a disaster.

Sloth: As every good soldier knows, you don't stand when you can sit and you don't sit when you can lie. Sloth conserves energy when otherwise it might be wasted.

Lust: Oh bother, not on the list. I have a really good explanation why lust is a survival characteristic.

Assuming correct reporting, one suspects that the church may not wish to be wrong-footed by science again.

11 March 2008 at 08:41  
Blogger Bob said...

In a move designed to encourage the Roman Catholic faithful in the lost art of priestly confession (for which Cranmer has not a lot of time), and also to reinvigorate the ‘Sacrament of Penance’ (for which he has even less time)

You seem not to realise that confession and the Sacrament of Penance are one and the same.

His Holiness who is sufficiently retro to revive Latin

Latin was never dropped as a simple perusal of several Vatican Documents, including Sacrosanctum Concilium from the Second Vatican Council, would inform you.

Yet the Vatican has performed a miracle of turning meat into milk, and semi-skimmed at that.

Could you please inform me where anyone within the Vatican stated that the Seven Deadly Sins are any less deadly?

boasting that His Holiness ‘confesses his sins regularly once a week’, the Vatican shows that it has no grasp of the vernacular at all.

Or Pope Benedict might have been hoping to set a good example, rather than boasting, as you see it.

Vatican itself might be more than a little guilty of the odd mortal sin… obscenely wealthy… paedophilia…

The Vatican is a place - it cannot therefore be guilty of sin - the people within it can be - but if you're accusing personages within the Vatican it's really something you should take up with the police, or at least the Daily Mail.

And the Vatican does itself no favours by brushing off paedophile priests as ‘exaggerations by the mass media aimed at discrediting the Church’.

A rather more high ranking Vatican prelate spoke of the horror of paedophilia in these quite strong terms - "How much filth there is in the church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him."

One might also argue that Archbishop Girotti's remarks were directed at those who quite gladly assume that any and every priest is predisposed towards paedophilia (which your post hints at) and guilty by virtue of ordination, which would rightly be concluded to be an exaggeration aimed at discrediting the Church - although it has to be said in this regard the Church was quite capable of discrediting itself.

Cranmer happens to believe that sin is defined by God, not man

I'm quite sure that Archbishop Girotti's list of sins fit within the existing moral theology of the Church's teaching on sin and are in line with the mind of God, if not the mind of Cranmer.

11 March 2008 at 09:15  
Blogger mongoose said...

"Separated brethren"? Cool! I knew I was in one of those boxes somewhere.

As for the seven new deadlies - silly nonsense of the top flight. Were not the old seven matched in pairs with seven praiseworthies? You know humility v pride, charity v avarice etc. How are we to match this lot? (And btw is it still alright to molest young girls? I'm a bit out of practice but I'll give it a go if HH says I must. Would it be a defence in Court, do you think?)

Silliness, YG.

11 March 2008 at 10:29  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Bob,

A masterful rebuttal. His Grace commends you.

But the distinction he drew between 'confession' and 'penance' was more to distinguish between saying words and the wearing of a garter of thorns around the thigh, to which, apparently, Mrs Ruth Kelly is disposed.

11 March 2008 at 10:53  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Sorry, His Grace meant to say 'Father Bob'.

11 March 2008 at 10:54  
Blogger mongoose said...

My apologies, YG, for the lightness of tone of my previous note. I had thought that you were exagerating for effect. Alas not. Beyond parody.

11 March 2008 at 11:32  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

As Your Grace kindly reminds the faithful of the scandal of preistly abuse in the Church, which His Holiness condemned in no uncertain terms, it may come as no surprise to learn the RCC Clergy are not the only or indeed the worst offenders.

According to a survey by the Washington Post, over the last four decades, less than 1.5 percent of the estimated 60,000 or more men who have served in the Catholic clergy have been accused of child sexual abuse.

In the authoritative work by Penn State professor Philip Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests, it was determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of priests [Catholic] are pedophiles. The figure among the Protestant clergy ranges between 2 and 3 percent.[xxii]

The Americans do this sort of data collection and analysys far better than we, so it is difficult to present the case for the UK but this is not simply a disgrace for the RCC alone but also for all Wetern Christianity, and as the last sentence of the above paragraph shows, Let him without sin...

11 March 2008 at 12:45  
Anonymous najistani said...

His Holiness has omitted ISLAMOPHOBIA !!!!

11 March 2008 at 13:22  
Anonymous DocBud said...

"I'm quite sure that Archbishop Girotti's list of sins fit within the existing moral theology of the Church's teaching on sin and are in line with the mind of God, if not the mind of Cranmer."

Well, there we have it, God's name is Bob.

Well, your highness, Bob. I beg to differ. I actually think the pope is talking out of his ignorant, papist, ungodly posterior. Just another weak attempt by an irrelevant church to find purpose in a world that has the full measure of the value of the Catholic church, i.e. diddly squat.

11 March 2008 at 13:50  
Anonymous the recusant said...

DocBud,

Which bit of intelligent and erudite are you having difficulty with, now shush the grown-ups are talking, there's a good lad.

11 March 2008 at 14:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad luck Adrian. Looks like Damian Thompson's just "outed" you on the Torygraph web-site.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/ukcorrespondents/holysmoke/mar08/owngoalondeadlysins.htm

All's fair in love and war so they say.

"Rupert Napier"

11 March 2008 at 15:23  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Napier,

Outed His Grace?

His Grace thinks not, for he has never been 'in', unlike Mr Thompson.

In fact, one wonders if his post is not libelous to Mr Hilton.

Yet one must also wonder at the source of of Mr Thompson's venomous invective, for His Grace has affirmed a very great deal of what Pope Benedict has accomplished (even very recently), and has also been most generous towards Mr Thompson himself.

He seems not to manifest much of the agape love to which the Lord exhorts all believers.

Is he perchance anti-Protestant? That might indeed be surprising since he is evidently Roman Catholic. And yet a member of the Church of England is deemed to be 'anti-Catholic' as though this amounted to some unacceptble declaration of faith.

Is it polite to call him 'anti-Tablet', or 'anti-Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor'? 'Anti-seminaries' or 'anti-Vatican II'?

Perhaps he simply defines and recognises all people by the extent to which they are 'anti' whatever he personally believes, because he is a 'glass-half-empty' kind of person.

11 March 2008 at 16:02  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace

his holiness is right to point out that we are "losing the notion of sin"

this is very dangerous indeed , the notion of sin acts like a map , it serves to differentiate between the road full danger and the road to life.

mr skin one up
you appear to be taking a modernist herbal smoke view to the problem. you wish to explain that a sin is merely a darwinian action dressed up and denied by an ignorant church , whoes conspiracy is to hold us all back in order not to lose power!!.

Darwin was excellent on showing the method , but it was wrong to assume that he fully grasped the reason. Things die because they have no water , reproduction lessens when there is starvation, bullits kill because the cause cause damage and bleeding.

the severn deadly sins lead you to understanding of what mvoing away from god is like.

pope benedict may be causing much discussion about a his percieved dumbing down , but it does seem to suggest he is keener than ever to help humanity with its search for God. Given how much "double speak" is now on every media channel perhaps he offering a light broadside to the enemy.

11 March 2008 at 16:54  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Hear O Israel,

His Grace has stated that he agrees with His Holiness on this matter, and has sympathy for his intentions in this communication innovation.

The notion of 'sin' is indeed being lost because there is no longer a perceived need to repent when 'sin' is relativised and all actions may be considered somehow valid or excusable.

Yet it is in talking of 'sin' or 'repentance' and using terms like 'penance' that the language itself becomes a stumbling block.

If anyone has ever tried explaining the gospel to a polytheist, one soon comes unstuck in a world bound by the laws of karma. Just as the Early Church was faced with the problem of communicating a Hebrew salvation to the Greeks, so today the concepts must be accessible to be comprehended.

11 March 2008 at 17:32  
Anonymous The recusant said...

His Grace will know that irrespective of Mr Thompson’s impolite and rude behaviour (I shall not buy the Catholic Herald for one week in protest) he has the support and agape of this particular papists and I dare say a couple of bob too. How can one out a pile of ashes surely they would blow away?

11 March 2008 at 21:12  
Blogger Bob said...

I like Damian Thompson's writing - I enjoy his blog immensely, but to be quite honest I don't really care as to +Cranmer's true identity - I am happy to believe that, in the blogging world at least, that he is a 16th Century Archbishop of Canterbury with a quite remarkable grasp of all thing computer related for a man of his age - the very dictionary definition of a silver surfer!

11 March 2008 at 22:08  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Oh dear!
When I first heard about the Vatican's new deadly sins, I thought that His Holiness had been listening to the BBC and reading too much of the Grauniad. I wondered whether 'Denial of Global warming' would be classed as a sin crying crying out to Heaven for vengeance. (If so, I am lost)

But I find that it's only a Monsignore trying to be streetwise - a bad move as trendy 'modern smiling vicars' have ruefully found to their cost when they tried to be 'with it'.

However, it has allowed His Grace and his Colleagues to roll in their pews, kicking their gaiters in the air, and provide a welcome diversion from the travails the dear old CofE.

so it can't be all bad...

11 March 2008 at 22:44  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
i had not considered that repentance was also under threat !

if that is the case then the world has been portrayed to us "Karmic" take the American programm my name is earl. In that we have a man going through his lost of wrongs putting things right to restore karma.

he does not seek forgiveness but seeks by his own efforts to re balance a deficiet.

There are of course plenty examples of the christian understanding , but each time the person is transformed by communion with god. he/she earnestly seeks forgiveness.

I cannot imagine if the person who pursues Karma , seems anything different to the athiest.

a world with out sin a world without re pentance , sounds like a marxists intellectual snap shot.

this begs the question is the media responsible for the ignorance of sin ,the dumbing down that has been broadcast. if so i am little surprised we see the problems in society that we see today .

i shall have to think some more on the consequences of this as it adds to the picture forming on why reletivism is so dangerous.

11 March 2008 at 23:29  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

some of the ancients , divining the truth , yet from far away reckond that the soul knows things because it is composed of them.

st thomas aquinas

would mr anon 23:41 like to illumiante his C S lewis further

12 March 2008 at 00:12  
Anonymous DocBud said...

Recusant,

Since when were the words erudite and intelligent recently associated with the Catholic church?

One thing is for sure, if the Catholic church is talking, the grown-ups are not talking. The people who are talking are those desperate to try and pretend that they have relevance in an enlightened age. The market for these new deadly sins is quite clearly the ignorant who worship at the alters of environmentalism, anti-westernism and anti-Capitalism. The Catholic church will soon discover that in the eyes of such people, the best they can hope for is to be regarded as useful idiots, which, I guess, is a step up from useless idiots.

13 March 2008 at 12:47  
OpenID lunartalks said...

And Cranmer wonders why His Holiness has omitted ‘Thou shalt not watch The Sound of Music’…

Because, your Grace, it is very, very popular with cardinals in curia with certain inclinations.

15 March 2008 at 19:40  

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