VATICAN CITY – 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.
The guidance came at the weekend when Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, the
Vatican’s number two man in the sometimes murky area of sins and
penance, spoke of modern evils.
Asked what he believed were today’s “new sins,” he told the Vatican
newspaper L’Osservatore Romano that the greatest danger zone for the
modern soul was the largely uncharted world of bioethics.
“(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce
some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through
experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to
predict and control,” he said.
The Vatican opposes stem cell research that involves destruction of
embryos and has warned against the prospect of human cloning. Girotti,
in an interview headlined “New Forms of Social Sin,” also listed
“ecological” offences as modern evils.
In recent months, Pope Benedict has made several strong appeals for the
protection of the environment, saying issues such as climate change had
become gravely important for the entire human race.
Under Benedict and his predecessor John Paul, the Vatican has become
It has installed photovoltaic cells on buildings to produce electricity
and hosted a scientific conference to discuss the ramifications of
global warming and climate change, widely blamed on human use of fossil
Also listed drug trafficking and social and economic injustices as modern sins.
THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS
Carrying out experiments on humans
Polluting the environment
Causing social injustice
Becoming obscenely wealthy
– By Philip Pullella