Tarry for the Nonce

March 14, 2008

Both Liberals and Conservatives Get It Wrong

Filed under: Religion — lmwalker @ 10:51 am

Over the last week, I’ve received links regarding online confessions (from Arvind Natarajan) and “new” deadly sins (from Dave Rumoro.)

Despite CNN’s vague comments about “priests” and “absolution,” the Roman Catholic Church in no way accepts these online confessions as sacramental. I have no idea who the “LifeChurch” and “XXX Church” are, but they are not Catholic.

CNN does its best to confuse the issue though, with comments like Although the Roman Catholic Church officially opposes online confessions, the Archdiocese of Washington used radio advertisements last year to encourage sinners to return to the sacrament. And in Chicago, Illinois, five parishes hosted “24 Hours of Grace” with rotating priests.

The use of modern technology to encourage participation, you will note, is apparently a tacit endorsement of online sacramental delivery. Ditto, for the offering of valid, in-person sacramental confession. If lots of priests are involved, then the “official opposition” must be null-and-void? Who writes this stuff? How uneducated – not to mention illogical – does one have to be in order to work for CNN?

I could express similar frustration with Fox News, who excitedly published the “new” list of seven deadly sins.

First, the Catholic Church defines seven vices in direct opposition to the seven virtues, which is where the concept of “Seven Deadly Sins” arises. The vices are broad, general and lead to a multitude of sins. In contrast, the “new sins” reported by the L’Osservatore Romano reported such things as “polluting, genetic engineering, being obscenely rich, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.” These are all sinful things to be sure, but they are also specific activities, not generalized vices.

I strenuously object to the way the information was presented . . . trying to ram home some vapid media insistence that the Church is “updating” itself or “modernizing” its theology, which is utter nonsense. The Church is giving further instruction to any confused faithful who might be of the opinion that there really is nothing wrong with the activities listed . . . but that doesn’t place them in the position of “expanding” the list of seven deadly sins.

Zenit affirms.



  1. Is the “genetic engineering” mentioned only applicable to human genetics? I also wonder if the church is adverse to using gene therapy to address disease.

    Comment by Howard The Social Liberal — March 16, 2008 @ 7:06 am

  2. Actually, Laura, this was from an interview with a priest an official of the Apostolic Penitentiary, an office that deals with questions relating to penance and indulgences, and not an official Vatican statement. They made a statement to clarify the statement.

    Realize too that I couldn’t find the source article initially, and none of the major news agencies that carried this story linked back to the original article.

    There was major clarification within a day or so of the article.

    Of course, the mainstream media blew the “sins” out of proportion, as they re-interpreted them the best way to sell it.

    Comment by Andrew — March 17, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

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