Sins of emission?

posted at 10:25 am on March 10, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

As a practicing Catholic, I try to keep up with the latest from the Home Office in the Vatican, but more often than not, I find myself wondering if they know not what they do. For instance, today we hear from officials that they have added to the list of sins Catholics must consider, including “ecological sins”. In the same breath but without a hint of irony, the same officials bemoan the decreasing participation in the rite of reconciliation, or what used to be called confession:

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. …

Girotti, in an interview headlined “New Forms of Social Sin,” also listed “ecological” offences as modern evils. …

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 modern sins.

But Girotti also bemoaned that fewer and fewer Catholics go to confession at all.

During Mass, Catholics will ask for forgiveness for their sins, for “what I have done, and what I have failed to do.” We call these sins of commission and sins of omission. Until today, I had never heard of sins of emission.

Unlike many Catholics, I still participate in the rite of reconciliation. I find it remarkably focusing, a way to zero in on the notion of accountability. Many argue that Christians need no intermediary to find forgiveness from God, and I’d say I agree with that — but truthfully, do most people think about accounting for their sins at all without some kind of structure that demands it? In preparing for the confessional, which I do find uncomfortable and off-putting, I have to consciously consider my sins of commission and omission and decide on the level of honesty I’m willing to provide — not to the priest, but to myself.

It’s an exercise I find challenging, unpleasant, but necessary on at least an occasional basis. A hazy and private “My bad!” to God every once in a while doesn’t force me into that level of introspection. With a priest, I know that the actual verbalization of these issues will go no farther, and he acts as a mechanism between penitent and God to ensure that process occurs at all.

However, the addition of sins based on political correctness demeans the process. If pollution is a sin, do I have to give up driving a car? Lighting my house? Burning wood in the fireplace? Or is there a level at which sin arises; if so, will the Vatican provide the formulas? It’s silly, because excessive consumption is already covered by gluttony. This looks like a desperate attempt at temporal relevancy when the Church should be concerned about eternal truths. It’s like watching your parents try to rap.

If the Vatican wonders why Catholics feel that reconciliation has become less relevant, perhaps it’s because the Church tries to impose faddish notions of sin on its members. If the Vatican doesn’t take sin and repentance seriously, why should Catholics?

UPDATE: Several commenters point out that the Church also names “excessive wealth” as a sin. I can think of few institutions with less standing to make this point than the Catholic Church, but this isn’t really new, anyway. It misses the same point as tailpipe sin does. Wealth in and of itself isn’t sinful, because it’s inanimate. What matters is what’s done with the wealth. If one hoards it for one’s self and refuses to assist others in need, then that’s the sin, not the wealth. Wealth is just a tool for other ends, and it is the human pursuit of those ends which can be virtuous, sinful, or both.

UPDATE II: Inside Catholic has a nice article on confession by Elizabeth Scalia, with a more personal perspective.


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Trading one hell for another?

Tony737 on March 10, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Maybe the church ought to start selling those carbon indulgences credits. Why should Gore have all the fun?

JiangxiDad on March 10, 2008 at 10:32 AM

This looks like a desperate attempt at temporal relevancy when the Church should be concerned about eternal truths. It’s like watching your parents try to rap.

Yep. That about hits it. Progressive religion makes all religion look like a ploy…or more of a ploy depending on your views. Odd that the Vatican would talk about this even as the Global Warming nonsense is being exposed in the mainstream.

blankminde on March 10, 2008 at 10:32 AM

So the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of “new” sins such as causing environmental blight. …

It won’t be long before people like Al Gore are advocating we off ourselves to relieve the earth of our carbon emissions. … Oh, wait, didn’t he already imply that in his movie??

4shoes on March 10, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Odd that the Vatican would talk about this even as the Global Warming nonsense is being exposed in the mainstream.

blankminde on March 10, 2008 at 10:32 AM

They are usually way behind the curve. Any curve.

Al Gore are advocating we off ourselves to relieve the earth of our carbon emissions. … Oh, wait, didn’t he already imply that in his movie??

4shoes on March 10, 2008 at 10:32 AM

I’ve been advocating that for any of the moonbats that will listen! Only problem with that, is demographically, they are already losing out big time to those of the Muslim faith, and you probably won’t see many Muslim’s signing up for Carbon offsets.

kirkill on March 10, 2008 at 10:37 AM

You know what? It’s time for the Pope to STFU. What an a**hole. I want this do-gooder jackass to define “excessive wealth”. This coming from a guy who takes a vow of poverty and lives in a palace. Live in squalor and THEN make this pronouncement. Otherwise, shut up, phony.
Yet priests banging little boys is not mentioned. Weird, eh?

RWLA on March 10, 2008 at 10:38 AM

Great line, Ed. “SIns of emission.” But you didn’t address the fact that they also created the new mortal sin of “excessive wealth.” I was raised Catholic and, though not practicing, still call myself one. But this kind of new age garbage is really disturbing.

Longhorn Six on March 10, 2008 at 10:38 AM

Also, the Vatican has declared “excessive wealth” a mortal sin!

So will the pope no longer glide around in gilded clothes and bejeweled hat? Will the church sell off its vast collection of art and treasure, and give the money to the poor? What about the churches huge land holdings?

Talk about excessive wealth!

glockman on March 10, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Anyone know if the popemobile is gas or diesel or electric or what? Does it have to pass an inspection?

JiangxiDad on March 10, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Great post Ed. I just saw this moring that the Baptist Church in California has decided to get into the global warming game as well. I find it funny that some of us christians believe in a God powerful enough to create the heavens and the earth but he built an earth so fragile that man could destroy it, give me a break. I used to get upset when I would see a Seperation of Church and State bumper sticker as that is not in the constitution but in the communist manifesto but now I am apt to agree. It is the church that needs to be protected from the political fads not the other way around.

Kahuna on March 10, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Anyone know if the popemobile is gas or diesel or electric or what?

And I’m quite sure it could be more fuel efficient without all of the heavy bulletproof glass.

RWLA on March 10, 2008 at 10:42 AM

and you probably won’t see many Muslim’s signing up for Carbon offsets.

kirkill on March 10, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Very true!

4shoes on March 10, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Oh, I’ve had to tolerate all sorts of Lib infestation in a number of Churches here in the SF bay area, I figured it was only a matter of time before it reached “the top” if you will. Makes me sick quite frankly.

bbz123 on March 10, 2008 at 10:43 AM

Kind of hard to equate stringent opposition to birth control with decreasing the carbon burden a population places on the world, or am I missing something?

a capella on March 10, 2008 at 10:47 AM

The national organizations of many denominations have positions on global warming, gun control, and other hot topics that may make you shake your head. I remember when the Presbyterian church divested its interests in Israel to protest for the Palestinians. Ugh. At least for Protestants, the national body doesn’t have the same authority that a Catholic position does, but it’s still disappointing when a Church goes beyond traditional teachings to be PC.

brak on March 10, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Come now people, the cutting back on our carbon footprint is only for us serfs. The nobility needs to expend more because they are more important.

rbj on March 10, 2008 at 10:50 AM

Kind of hard to equate stringent opposition to birth control with decreasing the carbon burden a population places on the world, or am I missing something?

a capella on March 10, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Picky picky. Imagine being a reportedly brilliant elderly man with only a few years remaining to live, and given arguably the world’s most powerful bully pulpit. Hasn’t he used it wonderfully so far to fight evil?

JiangxiDad on March 10, 2008 at 10:53 AM

Man can destroy the earth… but it won’t be easy and we’re all going to have to be prepared to make some sacrifices in support of that goal.

Immolate on March 10, 2008 at 10:53 AM

You forgot the mortal sin of “excessive wealth.” The new mortal sins of non-greenness and “excessive wealth” go hand-in-hand with the Vatican’s informal policy of supporting democratic socialism and belief that capitalism is evil. It’s unfortunate, because capitalism brings out the best in people (and the worst), whereas democratic socialism or real socialism (i.e. communism) just bring out the worst.

Stuff like this really drives me away from the Catholic Church.

Outlander on March 10, 2008 at 10:54 AM

The Church hasn’t had a clue since 1964 when it basically outlawed the Latin mass. Priests, nuns, and parishioners have disappeared accordingly.

How it has handled its on going sex scandal tells you everything you need to know about the current Catholic church nobility.

Thankfully the church will survive despite the pathetic cadre of Bishops and Cardinals posing as Christ’s shepherds. I had never thought I would get to live through a modern version of Canterbury’s tales.

patrick neid on March 10, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Doesn’t the EPA list CO2 as a pollutant?

Tomorrows Headlines:

Church Endorses Abortion to Combat Global Warming


Church Urges Catholics to Cut Back on Breathing

Saltysam on March 10, 2008 at 10:58 AM

a capella on March 10, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Ooops. Sorry, I guess you beat me to the irony.

Saltysam on March 10, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Seems strangely consistent that the very same people who brought us the buying of indulgences endorse the buying of carbon credits. It’s the same scam. Maybe they could just cut back on the candles a bit.

trubble on March 10, 2008 at 11:00 AM

As a reader since day one of Hot Air, I am thrilled to have another catholic on board – would love for you to mix in some more religious posts every now and then, Ed. God Bless you.

Villanova on March 10, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Oh crap…another religion post. “Drive-by theologians”, start your engines!

Dirthead on March 10, 2008 at 11:02 AM

I try very hard not to be gluttonous and with my salary, that’s easy to do. It doesn’t look like I will have to confess that sin any time soon. Now when it comes to envy….

Ellen on March 10, 2008 at 11:08 AM

“Man can destroy the earth.”

No, only Chuck Norris can do that.

Tony737 on March 10, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Odd that the Vatican would talk about this even as the Global Warming nonsense is being exposed in the mainstream.

blankminde on March 10, 2008 at 10:32 AM

It’s not just the vatican.

samuelrylander on March 10, 2008 at 11:24 AM

I think it’s dangerous to base morality on whether the latest scientific model is accurate. Let’s say this year’s cold and lowered solar activity heralds a period of extended cold. Then, wouldn’t driving a Prius be a sin of omission?

Clark1 on March 10, 2008 at 11:29 AM

Ed,

I wrote this some time back about Gore and global warming, but considering your post, it’s relevant here, too.

““““““““““`
The Gore’s Prayer

Al Father, who art in transit,
Phony be thy game.
Thy Lear-Jet hums.
Those lies you’ve spun,
About Earth, and your huge mansion.

Give us a break, your daily dread.
And forgive us with bus passes,
As we curse those flying first-class above us.
And lead us not into stagflation,
But humor us more, Sir Carbon-Knievel.

Amen!
““““““““““““

ps. Is the wafer we eat in church organic?

bucktowndusty on March 10, 2008 at 11:34 AM

So will the pope no longer glide around in gilded clothes and bejeweled hat? Will the church sell off its vast collection of art and treasure, and give the money to the poor? What about the churches huge land holdings?

Martin Luther addressed those exact issues… about five hundred years ago.

Ouch!

Come now people, the cutting back on our carbon footprint is only for us serfs. The nobility needs to expend more because they are more important.

With the same results as back then.

Funny that no religionists in the Islamic world are issuing fatwas against “global warming” or “excessive wealth”…

newton on March 10, 2008 at 11:35 AM

The $615 million that the Catholic Church has paid out to the victims of sex abuse scandals could have bought a lot of carbon offsets.

Mike Honcho on March 10, 2008 at 11:36 AM

All the time I thought all of the nuns were for the priests, but no, they like the alter boys.

cjs1943 on March 10, 2008 at 11:39 AM

One more thing: if the Vatican means, by “sins of emission”, the act of polluting men with the things that come out of our mouths, then we can agree a little.

newton on March 10, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Captain: “but truthfully, do most people think about accounting for their sins at all without some kind of structure that demands it?”

MOST people? Most people won’t account for their faults whether there is a structure demanding it or not, and no matter what type of structure there is or is not. Bill Clinton’s line explains contemporary humanity‘s answer to why’d you do it, “because I could.” I satirize humanity because regular church-goers also rationalize their right to their own faults rather than repenting, regardless of sect.

Those folks who are going to repent don’t need a priest or therapist or anyone else to wave the magic wand or sprinkle the magic water or prescribe the Rx to make something happen. It always boils down to faith. If you need the priest and “public” confession, fine. But do not pretend that your way is more perfect when the atonement occurs between the individual and the Christ, with or without others. Priests crucified Jesus. Then as now, as often as not, becoming a priest is as much a sanctimonious way of playing better than thou and garnering power over others as a way to better the world through diligent obedience and leadership. If the priest actually confines your faith, having spiritually savaged you, then go with God on your own. That’s where it all ends up, anyway, a matter of faith within working miracles within. Those who repent of their sins leave them behind without the baggage of man-made customs, as ornate or fine as those may be for some. Martin Luther already tackled this one.

As per sins of emission, that is clever. Since God’s first “commandment” to Adam and Eve was to be proper stewards of the earth, the responsibility isn’t new.

maverick muse on March 10, 2008 at 11:46 AM

It’s like watching your parents try to rap.

Hmmmm… new gameshow?

Quatre on March 10, 2008 at 11:46 AM

Funny that no religionists in the Islamic world are issuing fatwas against “global warming” or “excessive wealth”…

newton on March 10, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Well, they got something right. Of course, it could just be because they’re too busy issuing fatwas against the US and Israel, and getting the UN to do the same…

Math_Mage on March 10, 2008 at 11:48 AM

newton, that sounds about right.

maverick muse on March 10, 2008 at 11:51 AM

tailpipe sin

Oh, don’t get me started…

mikeyboss on March 10, 2008 at 11:54 AM

BRING BACK LIMBO!!

D2Boston on March 10, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Rule 1: Never trust MSM reports concerning theology, they are almost never on target.

The source document here is an interview in L’Osservatore Romano, which also happens to be dead last in the order in which the online Italian edition is produced – it’s not intended as front page news, only as editorial, and it has almost certainly been mistranslated and hyped to fit an MSM-favoring agenda. It also appears to be only part 1 of 2, and it is much larger in scope.

There is no official “list” of new sins or anything else of the sort. Shame on anyone taking this kind of sham reporting seriously.

Cyrus on March 10, 2008 at 12:01 PM

In a world that denies the existence of sin, going to public confession is a powerful, public protest.

That’s part of the reason I love going to confession.

St. Thomas Aquinas actually defined sacraments as protests, though in the Latin meaning of the term which is a little less expansive but still retain the idea of telling the world what you believe.

jeff_from_mpls on March 10, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Come on people! This is a Reuters story for goodness sake! You trust them to get the facts straight on this?

mtcicero74 on March 10, 2008 at 12:08 PM

I don’t like how the article uses the statement “Thou shall beware genetic manipulation” in the first paragraph, but only later says that they are talking about stem cell research and human cloning. The first statement seems to pander towards Europeans who opposed GM crops.

BohicaTwentyTwo on March 10, 2008 at 12:10 PM

I have noticed a slow progression of the church from a catholic (reads: universal) to a euro-centric one, starting near the last few years of John Pauls’ reign. Does anyone really think that a Vatican centered in the African continent would ever consider these latest “stylish” transgressions as part of the Seven Deadly?

The church is no longer serious, imo.

Sailfish on March 10, 2008 at 12:14 PM

maverick muse on March 10, 2008 at 11:46 AM

Yep, we are called to be good stewards of the earth, not Gaia’s servants.

Mr. Bingley on March 10, 2008 at 12:33 PM

For years pundits on the opposite view on global warming have said it was not a movement but a religion. Well this sure adds credence to that theory. I just got a new vehicle. It weighs a gazillion pounds, sits way up high, has big tires, and only gets 17 MPG in the city. Boy, I guess I’m going to HELL!!!

pueblo1032 on March 10, 2008 at 12:34 PM

I propose inflating a huge condom over Vatican City.

SouthernGent on March 10, 2008 at 12:40 PM

From the UK Telegraph link @ LGF:

Mgr Girotti said genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs were all mortal sins.

I can just see the Lefties screaming Yea, Baby!…Tell it, man!until the last one. Then, like the old Southern joke, they’d be “Hey, Monsignor, you done stopped preachin’ and gone to meddlin’ !”

eeyore on March 10, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Don’t EVEN get me started on the Roman Catholic Church, No Sir, I don’t wanna get banned outta here. My screen name (and title of my Blog) should explain it all.

WayWard Fundamentalist Christian on March 10, 2008 at 12:57 PM

The result of mankind defining what is good and what is bad. Does the Catholic Church feel that the Bible wasn’t good enough the first time around that they need to add what God deems as damning?

But, who needs God when you have priests, right?

Grafted on March 10, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Does the Catholic Church feel that the Bible wasn’t good enough the first time around that they need to add what God deems as damning?

They’ve been doing it for years.

WayWard Fundamentalist Christian on March 10, 2008 at 1:00 PM

I had hopes when our new Pope was first elected that he would be a strict ‘constructionist’; instead he has already delved into trendy Euro-Socialist thinking on several issues–and now this one. There is of course absolutely no Bibilical or even traditional church precedent for ruling that littering is a ‘sin’–the closest we can come to any global ecological pronouncement on the subject would be to ‘be fruitful and multiply’. The Church has the power to do a lot of social good–helping to lower neighbor envy and chlorestrol is a good basis for the ‘fish on Friday’ rule, for example–but making meat-eating a sin is a whole other kettle of, well, you know. What next? Will smoking become a sin? How about contributing to global warming? When a Church stops believing in itself and merely retails the cant of the day, it ceases to be a real religion at all–we have already witnessed this process underway in Canterbury; what a shame that it has begun in Rome.

Hope P. Muntz on March 10, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Glad to see there is so much pure hate for Catholics on here – you guys are nut jobs. Must be jealous of our papal succession or the fact that Peter founded OUR church on the rock.

Villanova on March 10, 2008 at 1:29 PM

What do you expect? this is the same Church that just got done puckering up and kissing Fidel Raul Castro’s posterior.

I R A Darth Aggie on March 10, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Does the Catholic Church feel that the Bible wasn’t good enough the first time around that they need to add what God deems as damning?
They’ve been doing it for years.

Right – lets just go ask Barack’s protestant “minister” about adding stuff to the bible.

Villanova on March 10, 2008 at 1:39 PM

WayWard Fundamentalist Christian on March 10, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Just one point I need to make, it’s hard for the Bible to say anything about pollution or genetic manipulation. The writers never had to deal with these issues, and so God never had to tell them how. So it’s a matter of interpretation, guided by the Holy Spirit, as to what God would command us regarding these issues. I see no problem with the Catholic Church pronouncing their decisions, as any other church body does.

I had hopes when our new Pope was first elected that he would be a strict ‘constructionist’; instead he has already delved into trendy Euro-Socialist thinking on several issues–and now this one.

The Pope didn’t say this, it’s an interview from the official Vatican newspaper.

There is of course absolutely no Bibilical or even traditional church precedent for ruling that littering is a ’sin’–the closest we can come to any global ecological pronouncement on the subject would be to ‘be fruitful and multiply’.

I disagree. In Genesis we are told that the LORD has given us dominion over the Earth. This means we have control, and I’d suppose we would do good to take care of it. Seeing as it is God’s creation, I suppose it would be a matter of sin to defile it seeing as “sin” is defined as that which gets in the way of our relationship with God.

Not that I’m saying pollution is sinful in the sense that individuals should repent, or agreeing with St. Gore of Tennessee, but to say that it’s not Biblical, or that there is no Tradition regarding taking care of the Earth, is wrong. We should do our best to protect the Earth. Now, the debate becomes whether human caused Global Warming is real, and what can we do to help without hurting ourselves.

Glad to see there is so much pure hate for Catholics on here – you guys are nut jobs. Must be jealous of our papal succession or the fact that Peter founded OUR church on the rock.

Yeah, I don’t like the hate either, but your second sentence is debatable. :)

Keljeck on March 10, 2008 at 1:46 PM

Keljeck on March 10, 2008 at 1:46 PM

Do we not have papal succession from Peter (the first pope) who god said was his vicar on earth and gave him the responsibility of starting his church?

Villanova on March 10, 2008 at 2:10 PM

As a practicing recovering Catholic

Kini on March 10, 2008 at 2:16 PM

A few points here:

(1) Girotti said “ruining the environment“. I haven’t seen anything in his words about carbon emissions or manmade global warming. So unless you have a quote to that effect, stop putting words in his mouth. And also take note of the fact that Girotti is not the Pope.
We are supposed to be stewards of this earth. Does anyone not believe that “ruining the environment” is therefore seriously wrong?

(2) He did not say that being rich is wrong. What he referred to is “the excessive accumulation of wealth by a few.” In the past this has been condemned as “avarice” (not ‘gluttony’, as Morissey fluffs his theology again). It is still wrong today.
Accusations that the Church should sell all its wealth to give to the poor need to re-read the story about Christ and the woman anointing His feet with expensive ointment, and note His words to Judas when the traitor protested on exactly this point. The Church’s wealth was donated by people over the centuries as a way to honor God by beautifying the Church; should we now violate their wishes? The Pope, incidentally, lives in a simple cell in the Vatican. His lifestyle is hardly opulent.

(4) Morissey claims to be a practicing Catholic, but anyone who enthusiastically urges his readers to buy a copy of Playboy (which Morissey has done – he was so thrilled to be listed in their top-ten bloggers’ list) is not a practicing Catholic in any common understanding of that term. Lots of people (Kennedy, Pelosi…) claim to be practicing Catholics. Doesn’t mean they are. People like this should pick up the Catholic catechism and inform themselves concerning the Faith to which they supposedly adhere before trying to act as spokesmen.

Gaunilon on March 10, 2008 at 2:19 PM

Do we not have papal succession from Peter (the first pope) who god said was his vicar on earth and gave him the responsibility of starting his church?

Villanova on March 10, 2008 at 2:10 PM

I hesitate to continue, because I think I’m about to make a fool of myself. But the early Church did not recognize the primacy of the Pope, the interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is disputed, and God never said “the Pope is my Vicar.” The notion of the Pope as “Vicar of Christ” did not develop until much later and such language is not to be found in Holy Writ.

In Acts 8 the Council of Jerusalem was decided by James the Just, not Peter. Seeing as it took place in Jerusalem. Peter didn’t deliver any verdict. The Bishop of Rome was not thought to have the powers now granted to him.

The Church’s wealth was donated by people over the centuries as a way to honor God by beautifying the Church; should we now violate their wishes? The Pope, incidentally, lives in a simple cell in the Vatican. His lifestyle is hardly opulent.

It was also stolen, and the result of the purchase of Indulgences. Also, you speak of John 12 when Jesus rebukes Judas for objecting to Mary’s anointing of his feet. I think you are misunderstanding the point of that story. It is not saying we should give our riches to an opulent church which will horde them until the end of days. The reason Judas objected is not because he genuinely cared for the Poor, but so that he could have the money to himself. The reason Jesus rebuked him is because she was using her money to serve God, mainly him.

The Church isn’t doing that, or not nearly enough in my opinion. Purchasing expensive shoes, funny hats, and popemobiles is not akin to anointing the master’s feet and showing our utmost devotion.

The Church professes to care for the poor, and I do believe them, but they have the means to do so much more, they have the means to anoint the master’s feet, but they do not. Instead, they buy golden goblets, but the first Eucharist was with a wooden cup. Though given Catholic Theology, I completely understand why, in light of this verse, such a thing would be done. I simply reject that aspect of Catholic Theology.

I don’t believe serving the Church is the same as serving the LORD.

Keljeck on March 10, 2008 at 2:47 PM

On wealth…

The comments on weatlh are largely missing the point, as if caring for the poor was primarily an issue of money – money cannot solve the problem but we like to think it can because giving money is easy, but giving of oneself is not.

The early church was aware that weatlh isn’t the problem per se, but people who have stingy hearts and cannot be bothered to put aside their own interests or make a genuine sacrifice with their lifestyle, even if they are making large contributions out of abundance.

The woman with the ointment intended to glorify God, and for such a case, no expense is really out of place, so long as that intent remains. Judas was mainly looking out for his own interests, hence the rebuke, no matter how much good the poor might have gained from whatever Judas wasn’t intending to steal.

On the issue of sin…

Religion is concerned with telling people how they ought to live. Any religion worth its salt will be advising people on what is right and what isn’t. With apologies to the Bible-only crowd on the boards, I don’t think the essence of that kind of advice is giving people the holy book and thinking the job is done or that God will do the rest. Rabbis/priests/pastors/preachers are concerned with telling people what the words mean, and giving them lessons on Christian living. Otherwise, there really is no point to sermons if meaning is self-evident.

Cyrus on March 10, 2008 at 3:57 PM

15 When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. 17 He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep… Our Lord had promised the spiritual supremacy to St. Peter; St. Matt. 16. 19; and here he fulfils that promise, by charging him with the superintendency of all his sheep, without exception; and consequently of his whole flock, that is, of his own church. 18 Amen, amen, I say to thee, When thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and lead thee whither thou wouldst not. 19 And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me.

18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Thou art Peter, etc… As St. Peter, by divine revelation, here made a solemn profession of his faith of the divinity of Christ; so in recompense of this faith and profession, our Lord here declares to him the dignity to which he is pleased to raise him: viz., that he to whom he had already given the name of Peter, signifying a rock, John 1:42, should be a rock indeed, of invincible strength, for the support of the building of the church; in which building he should be, next to Christ himself, the chief foundation stone, in quality of chief pastor, ruler, and governor; and should have accordingly all fulness of ecclesiastical power, signified by the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Upon this rock, etc… The words of Christ to Peter, spoken in the vulgar language of the Jews which our Lord made use of, were the same as if he had said in English, Thou art a Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church. So that, by the plain course of the words, Peter is here declared to be the rock, upon which the church was to be built: Christ himself being both the principal foundation and founder of the same. Where also note, that Christ, by building his house, that is, his church, upon a rock, has thereby secured it against all storms and floods, like the wise builder, Matthew 7:24-25. The gates of hell, etc… That is, the powers of darkness, and whatever Satan can do, either by himself, or his agents. For as the church is here likened to a house, or fortress, built on a rock; so the adverse powers are likened to a contrary house or fortress, the gates of which, that is, the whole strength, and all the efforts it can make, will never be able to prevail over the city or church of Christ. By this promise we are fully assured, that neither idolatry, heresy, nor any pernicious error whatsoever shall at any time prevail over the church of Christ. 19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. Loose on earth… The loosing the bands of temporal punishments due to sins, is called an indulgence; the power of which is here granted. 20 Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.

Seems pretty clear to me. You are correct that the church didn’t proclaim the pope as a vicar right away. They did soo in the early 400′s. So what if he doesn’t use the word “vicar” the bible is filled with vailed references to things. It is pretty clear to me that he is telling Peter that HE is the rock that he is building his church upon and that HE is responsible for “holding down” the fort while Jesus is in heaven (feeding the lambs)

Villanova on March 10, 2008 at 4:28 PM

Glad to see there is so much pure hate for Catholics on here – you guys are nut jobs. Must be jealous of our papal succession or the fact that Peter founded OUR church on the rock.

Villanova on March 10, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Jealousy?!? I don’t think so.

My freedom in Jesus Christ makes me not even try it.

And if pointing out the contradictions is the work of “nutjobs”, then I have a bridge to sell you.

newton on March 10, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Maybe this is a misunderstanding of Catholicism, but doesn’t the church leadership say that if you disagree with the official position of the Vatican that you’re not a Christian? If so, when are you and Hannity going to renounce and convert to some form of Protestantism?

OneGyT on March 10, 2008 at 5:33 PM

Seems pretty clear to me. You are correct that the church didn’t proclaim the pope as a vicar right away. They did soo in the early 400’s.

Actually, that language wasn’t used until the 5th or 6th century. The early church used that term to refer to the Holy Spirit, not to the Pope.

15 When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. 17 He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep…

Peter had denied Jesus three times, which is why he does this. It isn’t to say that Peter is any greater than the other disciples, rather it is only because of Peter’s denial that Jesus does this. All of the other disciples are called to feed Jesus’ sheep too. This scripture says nothing about the supremacy of the Pope.

The words of Christ to Peter, spoken in the vulgar language of the Jews which our Lord made use of, were the same as if he had said in English, Thou art a Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church. So that, by the plain course of the words, Peter is here declared to be the rock, upon which the church was to be built:

If you look at the greek there are two words being used as rock. There is Petros, from which we get Peter, and Petra, which signifies a much larger rock. What Jesus is saying then is “Thou art Little Rock, and on this Big Rock I shall build my Church. He’s not saying that rock is Peter necessarily, but he’s saying that it shall be built on the statement Peter had just made.

19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. Loose on earth… The loosing the bands of temporal punishments due to sins, is called an indulgence; the power of which is here granted.

No, not at all. Jesus is giving his disciples authority regarding halakha or how to live the faith. It has nothing to do with Indulgences. That’s Catholics reading their own beliefs into scripture.

Which is really what you are doing, reading your beliefs in verses that if you weren’t Catholic would not see as proof texts.

Keljeck on March 10, 2008 at 5:37 PM

Maybe this is a misunderstanding of Catholicism, but doesn’t the church leadership say that if you disagree with the official position of the Vatican that you’re not a Christian? If so, when are you and Hannity going to renounce and convert to some form of Protestantism?

OneGyT on March 10, 2008 at 5:33 PM

Not at all, the Catholic Church even opens to the possibility that Muslims will be saved. What we protestants will have to deal with is more time in Purgatory I’d assume.

Keljeck on March 10, 2008 at 5:38 PM

Firstly, this article carries no weight until Pope Benedict clarifies Church teachings on said issues.
Secondly, the hatred expressed in the numerous comments posted here against the Catholic Church, the Pope and generalizing all priests as child molesters is not only pure ignorance but diabolical in nature.

Tobias2012 on March 10, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Did you know if you’re going down the highway in a Prius, if you stick your hand out the window the vehicle will turn?

Capitana on March 10, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Ed:
Actually, the sin is “accumulating excessive wealth.”

You [Ed] wrote, “If one hoards it for one’s self and refuses to assist others in need, then that’s the sin, not the wealth”; and that’s basically what the Church is talking about.

And, personally, I don’t think it would be fair to say that the modern Church violates this. But that’s my opinion …

DPierre on March 10, 2008 at 7:23 PM

Am I the only one who sees a whole new market for the newest breed of carbon offset sales?

Just think, the church can raise countless millions to help the poor if they would just sell offsets for all the evil in the world – like a soap that allows you to wash your sins away!

Donate to our charity, and we will absolve you of the weight of your petty, selfish and venial sin!

RustMouse on March 10, 2008 at 8:53 PM

Not at all, the Catholic Church even opens to the possibility that Muslims will be saved. What we protestants will have to deal with is more time in Purgatory I’d assume.

Keljeck on March 10, 2008 at 5:38 PM

Ah, yes, I do recall that now. Still, my invitation remains open. ;-)

OneGyT on March 10, 2008 at 9:00 PM

18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
…..
Seems pretty clear to me. You are correct that the church didn’t proclaim the pope as a vicar right away. They did soo in the early 400’s. So what if he doesn’t use the word “vicar” the bible is filled with vailed references to things. It is pretty clear to me that he is telling Peter that HE is the rock that he is building his church upon and that HE is responsible for “holding down” the fort while Jesus is in heaven (feeding the lambs)

Villanova on March 10, 2008 at 4:28 PM

It may seem clear to you, but it’s still mistaken. Jesus is the builder of the church, and the rock on which it is built. Rather than hang your hat on a debatable interpretation of a single verse, look to the rather clear statements of Peter himself in the Scripture.

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

Note:
Verse 4: Jesus is a living stone
Verse 5: Ye are “lively stones”, which are built up as a spiritual house
Verse 6: Jesus is the chief corner stone

So Jesus gave Peter his name because he was a “lively stone” that would be part of the spiritual house, the church. But the idea that the church was built on Jesus is dead wrong: the church is built on Jesus.

Furthermore, “Rock” has been a metaphor or title applied to God for many years. It’s all throughout the Psalms, and David said near the end of his life, “the Rock of Israel spake to me.”

Another scripture using this same metaphor is Eph 2:19-21

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Note that in this metaphor, Peter is in the foundation of the building, but so are all the apostles and prophets.

When Jesus said, “On this Rock will I build my church,” he was referring to himself. In an almost exact mirror of his speech to Peter, Jesus said at another time, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:18-21)

18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

In fact, if you’ll read the gospels, you’ll see that Jesus often referred to himself with a metaphor. In the book of John, he refers to himself variously as: light, bread of life, the way, the truth, the life, living water, the door, and so on.

The main reason the Catholic church clings to the interpretation that Peter is the foundation of the church, is because this is the basis of their claim for apostolic succession. But the New Testament is actually consistently clear that the foundation of the church is Jesus Christ, not Peter

theregoestheneighborhood on March 10, 2008 at 11:02 PM

But the idea that the church was built on Jesus Peter is dead wrong: the church is built on Jesus.

Oops. Guess I should stick to shorter posts….

theregoestheneighborhood on March 10, 2008 at 11:05 PM

Nobody denies that Jesus is the foundation of the Church, but there is a significant digression over the form it’s supposed to take. Catholic and Orthodox belief both reflect the model found in Judaism, as one would expect, since Jesus was a Jew in the first place, and the split did not come immediately, as should happen if a radically different system of worship was intended. There are priests, a hierarchy, and a council, they pass determination on lawful practice for the faithful, they have a liturgical service, and most important, they have a leader.

Christ is King, but since we are waiting for his coming, in the meantime, a regent exercises authority on behalf of the king in the meantime. Presuming that the church of Christ is intended to be global, there needs to be a global leader carrying the banner, not endless splinterings of groups all claiming unity under Christ but opposed to each other in belief and practice.

At any rate, the Italian original has been found on some other blogs and at first glance, not only does it seem the Monsignor did not list seven new deadly sins, he also did not mention the original seven deadly sins, or suggest that newer sins were replacing older ones. About all he is saying is that there are newer ways of committing old sins in modern culture, and listed some of them. The media simply ran with its prejudices and won a bunch of dupes among people only too ready to believe the Vatican would suddenly up and decree something arbitrary like this.

Cyrus on March 11, 2008 at 2:38 AM

‘Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.’
‘Yes, my son.’
‘I … I was on the stool today, and I used two squares of toilet paper.’

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this.

clark smith on March 11, 2008 at 3:22 AM