So, let’s talk about the pope.
As Minaret readers know, His Holiness and I are pen pals. However, I was confused by the Vatican’s latest announcement, which I learned of during a play-by-mail game of backgammon with the Holy Father.
Apparently, there are now seven new deadly sins, bringing the total to a whopping fourteen. The new sins, though related to the older ones, leave millions of Catholics in even more danger of eternal torment; much to their chagrin, I am sure.
The original deadly sins included (in no particular order) envy, gluttony, wrath, pride, sloth, greed, and everyone’s favorite, lust. In theory, one can easily experience all seven of these during a night on the town with dinner and a movie.
Part of the reason the early sins have been so effective is because they are vague: does it qualify as sloth when I sleep past my alarm or only if I don’t wake up until noon? What if my alarm is set for noon?
What about gluttony: are we talking about an extra Krispy Kreme or a KFC bowl here? If there were such a thing as a KFC trough, could I get away with having a little bit, if I used a napkin?
No one knows for sure, so people tend to err on the side of caution.
The new sins try to be “hip” and “with it,” but overall, they’re just as hard to interpret.
Take for example the new prohibition against “obscene wealth.” I think it’s safe to say that if you’ve acquired obscene wealth without greed, you’re doing something seriously wrong.
But just how bad is obscene? Are we talking “college undergrad with a stock portfolio” obscene or “I just had dinner with L. Paul Bremer” obscene?
The previous set of sins has stood since the time of Gregory the Great, who reigned around 600 C.E. In theory, if each pope since him had added one sin, we would have over 200 by now.
Almost certainly, some of them would be “wacky” – no tying your camel up to a flagpole on a Wednesday, for example (I’m pretty sure this was the cause of the Fourth Crusade).
If each pope had added seven sins, there would be over 1,400.Even though the pope is infallible, I have to say this is setting a bad precedent.
Popes tend to ascend to office only once they are old enough to pass Jesus in the coat room every morning. It would only take one, shall we say, whimsical Holy Father to turn the spiritual world upside down for centuries to come.
Imagine the “rejected” sins:
1)Thou shalt not cut bread against the grain
2) Attractive women shalt not eat bananas in public.
3) Thou shalt not wear white after Labor Day.
4) Thou shalt not own more ringtones than underwear.
5) Thou shalt not use condoms to make balloon animals or for any other purpose.
6) Thou shalt not depict the pope as a ninja, evil wizard, or Emperor Palpatine.
7) Thou shalt not light a fart.
Besides which, think of all the trouble it’ll take to adapt to the idea of an ever-increasing number of sins.
Dante’s Inferno, Paradise Lost, and Paradise Regained will have to be completely rewritten, as will the movie Seven, and practically all Japanese anime.
Of course, while salvation gets more and more complicated, many of us down here on Earth won’t notice a difference: there are already far too many other things we’re not supposed to do aside from these fourteen.
I’m sure that by sitting here in front of a computer with broadband, drinking a Sprite, and writing jokes, I’m doing at least three of them.