Tuesday, April 15, 2008
image copyright Lee Harvey
In the 4/14/08 issue of the Weekly Standard, writer P.J. O'Rourke comments on seven more deadly sins as released by the Apostolic Penitentiary (the Vatican body that oversees confessions and plenary indulgences). In an article in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Bishop Gianfranco Girotti detailed the seven new ways we can go to hell or, at the minimum, be sentenced to afterlife in purgatory at the Apostle Pen. The bishop's supersizing of the mortal transgression catalog is thoroughly up-to-date (as translated by the Times of London):
1. Drug abuse
2. Morally debatable experimentation
3. Environmental pollution
4. Causing poverty
5. Social inequality and injustice
6. Genetic manipulation
7. Accumulating excessive wealth
However, O'Rourke has his own take on seven contemporary sins:
1. Celebrity. This is far and away the besetting sin of the 21st century. Note that the root of the word is "celebrate." What evil, pentagram-enclosed, goat-heinie-kissing ceremony are we celebrating with Kevin Federline?
2. Communication. In former days just Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and only one time at that. Now everybody's a know-it-all 24/7 thanks to Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, email, cell phones, text messages, and so on. A cherubim with a flaming sword is expelling us from the office cubicle of Eden, or would be if he could tear us away from the Internet. (And you, young man in the reading audience, take those ear buds out when your elders are addressing you!)
3. Youth. Talk about worshiping false gods; why would anyone pray--or pay!--for youthfulness? The young are spotty, sweaty, chowder-headed, and woefully lacking in wisdom, experience, or control over anything, especially themselves. Yet we bear witness to the eternally babyish baby boom. Men in their sixties are on Harleys and snowboards and basketball courts, from which they will proceed to damnation by way of the emergency room. The women go to and fro in the earth, mutton dressed as lamb, with liposuction well-applied to tummy, butt, and brain. And they all come to Mass, when at all, in shorts, T-shirts, and shower flip-flops.
4. Authenticity. Please do your best to be someone better than who you truly are. Deep down inside we're ravening beasts. This is the meaning of original sin. Everyone's authentic self is horrid. God's message to man has always been, "You can't really be good, but you can fake it. Really."
5. Caring. This takes so much time and effort that it necessarily results in the opposite of doing something. And notice that when someone says, "I care about the war in Iraq," he almost always means, "I want to lose it." Also there's a bullying logic among those who care. I care more about diddledydum than you do. Therefore I'm a better person than you are. Because I'm a better person than you are, I have the right to order you around. And vote for Hillary on November 4th.
6. Opinion. It's the reverse of fact. Listen to NPR or AM Talk Radio if you don't believe me, or, better yet, read the opinion page of the New York Times. (I'm talking about you, Paul Krugman.) Some people have facts, these can be proven. Some people have theories, these can be disproven. But people with opinions are mindless and have their minds made up about it. The 11th Commandment is, "Thou shalt not blog."
7. To Spend More Time With the Family. Alas, I couldn't get this into a single descriptive term, but it might as well be all one word. And when people say it we know that they've been doing something at least as bad as the former governor of New Jersey, his wife, their chauffeur, and Eliot Spitzer in a hot tub together. "We need to move on," is a similar phrase but with the implication of, "And I won't quit doing it until I'm actually behind bars."
Though this post isn't immediately, obviously about art, I thought (well, first I thought it was pretty funny) then I thought about how much of art has been influenced by the Church, and various bodies engaged in deity-seeking and it seemed apropos.
*click on the title link to go to the entire article.