News flash! The Vatican has updated its list of sins!
Well, wait a minute. Yours truly, cantankerous blogger that I am, have some issues with all of this.
First of all: The Vatican hasn't invented any new sins. Contributing to the degredation of the environment is a good double-barrelled example of failing to love God and failing to love our neighbor. Abusing drugs is another example of disrespecting God's good gifts of life and health, and of engaging in behavior that hurts one's family, friends and society in general far beyond the damage one does to oneself. Ditto the other examples of supposedly "new" sins. They're not new. They're the same ol' same ol' we confess every time we do confess.
But -- having said that -- I find exceedingly irksome the Church's tendency toward ham-handed treatment of discussions involving sin. Where is the moral deliberation that helps laypeople understand what sin is? Where is the observation that sinful acts are simply symptoms of our sinful human condition? Instead, the faithful tend to be treated like learning-disabled cocker spaniels chewing on the sofa: "Stop doing that! No! Bad! Bad people! No! No!"
But -- having said that -- I find equally irksome laypeople's incuriosity regarding big questions like this. Their attitude seems to be, "What's the least I have to do to get my 'Get Out of Jail' card?"
Talk about codependent relationships.
The other day I heard an NPR news feature on raising ethical children, that spotlighted a religiously diverse class, organized by parents, to teach their kids values -- to teach them how to be decent, responsible, conscientious adults living in community. I honestly detected more real moral discernment going on in this group of little kids, guided by their parents -- Christians, Jews, Muslims, Bahai -- than in the world of Christian adults in general.