This still needs clarification.

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No, the Vatican did not issue a list of new sins. I just saw a segment on one of the cable news network’s financial shows asking if having too much money is one of those new sins, and they showed pictures of the Pope and St. Peters, etc. etc…

Let’s get this straight, and clear.

When he finished his interview with L’Osservatore Romano, Archishop Gianfranco Girotti probably thought that his main message had been an appeal to Catholics to use the sacrament of Confession. Little did he know that the English-language news media would play the interview as a newly revised list of sins.

Archbishop Girotti, the regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, spoke to the Vatican newspaper about “new forms of social sin” in our era. He mentioned such transgressions as destructive research on human embryos, degradation of the environment, and drug trafficking. Within hours, dozens of media sources were suggesting that the Vatican had radically revised the Ten Commandments, issuing a list of “new sins.”

And once a distortion or fabrication is out there, all the press pick it up and run with it.

As usual, a British newspaper leapt to the forefront with the most sensational and misleading coverage. The Daily Telegraph made the preposterous claim that Archbishop Girotti’s list replaced the traditional Catholic understanding of the seven deadly sins…An ordinary reader, basing his opinion only on the inane Telegraph coverage, might conclude that a “sin,” in the Catholic understanding, is nothing more than a violation of rules set down by a group of men in Rome. If these rules are entirely arbitrary, then Vatican officials can change them at will; some sins will cease to exist and other “new sins” will replace them. But that notion of sin is ludicrous.

Sin is an objective wrong: a violation of God’s law. What is sinful today will be sinful tomorrow, and a deadly sin will remain deadly, whether or not Telegraph editors recognize the moral danger. The traditional list of deadly sins remains intact; nothing has replaced it.

So straighten this out with anybody still passing along this nonsense. Be informed.

The fundamental point of the L’Osservatore Romano interview was that Catholics need to recover a sense of sin, make use of the sacrament of Confession, and receive absolution for their offenses. Sin, the archbishop insisted, is a reality that man cannot escape.

Archbishop Girotti said that the modern world does not understand the nature of sin. With their coverage of the interview, the mass media unintentionally underlined the prelate’s point.

Thanks to the ever sharpened pen (or fired up keyboard) of Phil Lawler at CWNews for the clarity. Pass it on.

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