Who says that gifts are only given at Christmas time? Just when I was tiring of the dizzying permutations of race and gender, ticket tops and bottoms, and those double warheads McCain and Bush, along comes Eliot Spitzer violating the Mann Act AND a Vatican update of the seven deadly sins. All in one day! It's better than a double row of purple Easter Peeps.
I will let my secular brethren wax high-larious with their inevitable Client 9, Room 871, Emperor's Club jokes. Let The Hooker Joke Fest begin! Okay, continue. Ho ho! Let me turn your attention to the Vatican's recently released, upgraded list of the seven deadly sins. Turn your head from those secular hooker jokes, sinner, this is divine!
A recent Lenten Apostolic Penitentiary Seminar was a major bummer at the Vatican. Some of the low-lights: Powerpoint presentations showed that 60% of Catholics in Italy no longer go to confession; a graph showed today's secularized world has a decreasing sense of sin; increasing numbers of people in the secularized West are making do-do without God.
Pope Benedict, sporting those devilish Prada pumps, addressed the Vatican body. Employing impeccable ex-cathedra logic, the Papal plan is to get people back to confession with a whole new class of upgraded sins. There are now even more ways to offend God! And sinning isn't just for individuals anymore. Sins now have "social resonance." Think social networking but with hell time. I know I do. It was not clear if confessionals would be renovated for higher occupancy.
To review, those seven single-words sins are: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and my personal favorite, sloth. They are now joined by multi-word sins: carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, allowing genetic manipulation which alter DNA or compromise embryos, taking or dealing in drugs, excessive accumulation of wealth by a few, abortion and pedophilia. They're shorter and yet scarier in the Latin.
If you don't confess these mortal sins before death, you go to hell. You do not pass Limbo, because they got rid of that about five years ago. The Pope had laid out the plans to deal with the more venial sins of road rage, drunkenness and rudeness in an earlier address. It is unclear if he had anything to do with the new Italian law that men cannot fondle their own genitals through their clothes in public. The pope wears layers.
I confess to reading the list, looking for the sin of homosexuality. It wasn't there! Maybe it's understood. Is it just me, or does any other LGBT feel left out? It's like being dropped from the big annual Papal Magazine "Sinniest Sins Alive!" double issue. For a while there, homosexuality was like coverboy Matthew McConaughey doing his beach workout. Nunc nihil.
The punishments for the single-word sins were simply noted in a New York Times online article:
- Pride: broken on the wheel.
- Envy: put in freezing water. Catholics have done waterboarding for years. We call it baptism.
- Gluttony: forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes.
- Lust: smothered in fire and brimstone. Poor Eliot.
- Anger: dismembered alive.
- Greed: put in cauldrons of boiling oil.
- Sloth: thrown in snake pits. Simple and strict.
Nowhere have I read about the sin of making wicked fun of the Pope and all his works. Yet. So I offer new socially resonant punishment suggestions:
- Drug Pushers: forced to attend a daily DA meeting. Rush Limbaughâ€™s in your home group and he won't stop cross-talking.
- Obscenely Rich: you and your geeky cohorts must ring the opening and closing bell on Wall Street for the rest of your born days.
- Polluters: run the Crocs Kiosk at the Atlanta airport. The one next to a loud Rosetta Stone tower of Babel kiosk.
- Morally Debatable Scientific Experimenters: forced to judge all middle school science fairs.
- Abortionists: forced to move to Binghamton, NY, home of Randall Terry.
- Pedophiliacs: all of the above, including single-word sin punishments.