Following a request from the exececutive officers of giant
American corporation,Halliburton,a Synod of Bishops recently
held a forum at the Vatican to discuss the Seven Deadly Sins.
Flushed with success since their manufacture of a gargantuan
needle,the eye of which a Camel could easily pass through,
the executives sought means by which the apparent impediment
of their paths to eternal salvation might be removed.
The Synod was convened and presided over by Bishop John
Paul McNamara of Chicago who scoured the World for
suitable Bishops before announcing the names of the other
fourteen American Theologians. They discussed the Church's
teachings on the Sins,their opposite Virtues and the punishment
for said Sins.
The Roman Catholic church recognises the seven virtues as opposites to the seven sins.
Lust (undesired love) Chastity (Purity )
Gluttony (overindulgence) Moderation (self-restraint )
Greed (avarice) Generosity (vigilance )
Sloth (laziness) Zeal (integrity )
Wrath (anger) Meekness (composure )
Envy (jealousy) Charity (giving )
Pride (vanity) Humility (humbleness )
Lust: Smothered in brimstone and fire
Gluttony: Force-fed rats, toads, and snakes
Greed: Boiled in oil
Sloth: Thrown into a snake pit
Wrath: Dismembered alive
Envy: Put in freezing water
Pride: Broken on the wheel
Similar punishments are imagined in Dante's Inferno
Lust (Latin, luxuria) (fornication, perversion) —Obsessive, unlawful, or unnatural sexual desire, such as desiring sex with a person outside marriage or engaging in unnatural sexual appetites, or depraved thought and unwholesome morality. (Dante's criterion was "excessive love of others," thereby detracting from the love due to God). Associated with the cow and the color blue.
The Synod decided that man's nature inclines him towards
Lustful deeds and he cannot therefore be held responsible
for Lustful thoughts or actions.These deeds are also held to
be compatable with love for one's spouse and love for God.
Gluttony (Latin, gula) (waste, overindulgence) —Thoughtlessness and waste of everything, especially food, drink, or intoxicants. Marked by overindulgence, misplaced sensuality, and depriving of others ("excessive love of pleasure" was Dante's rendering). Associated with pigs and the color orange.
The Synod felt that the rule of "I you've got it,flaunt it."
should supercede Church law here as truly successful
men should flaunt their wealth to encourage others to
attain the same,the better to improve their own donations
to Mother Church.
Greed (Latin, avaritia) (covetousness, avarice) —A desire to gain more than one has need or use for, in money or power. Associated with the frog and the color yellow.
Greed is not good,neither is it bad,declared the Bishops who
jointly pleaded the Fifth Amendment here for fear of
incriminating themselves and the Church.
Sloth (Latin, acedia) (laziness, indifference) —Laziness; idleness and wastefulness of time allotted. Laziness is condemned because others must work harder to make up and you are abandoning the will of God. It, like gluttony, is a sin of waste, for it wastes time.
When a person works hard all week he is entitled to
relax in any manner he sees fit,is the stance taken by
the Bishops,be it fishing ,shooting,golf or whatever.The
fact that these relaxations may seem wasteful or idle
to some spouses is beside the point and do not make
Wrath (Latin, ira) (anger, hatred) —Inappropriate (unrighteous) feelings of hatred, revenge, or even denial, as well as punitive desires outside of justice (Dante's description was "love of justice perverted to revenge and spite")]. Associated with the bear and the color red.
The Bishops felt that Wrath only became a problem if
used for selfish purposes.If,on the other hand,the Wrath-
giver genuinely believed himself to be doing the will of
God,i.e. inflicting retribution on Heathens and other non-
Christians,the Synod would have no problem with this.
Envy (Latin, invidia) (jealousy, malice) —Resentment of material or spiritual possessions of others. (Dante: "Love of one's own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs"). Associated with the dog, and the color green.
A good dose of Envy was felt to be harmless enough by
the Bishops,even mild doses of Jealousy was all right.If
another Country happened to have,say,more oil than
they could ever use,it would be perfectly acceptable to
say,"Gosh,I wish we had control of that oil."If the side-
effect of some action you took left you in control of
said oil ?Then Envy would not have effected the outcome,
would it ?
Pride (Latin, superbia) (vanity, narcissism) —A desire to be important or attractive to others or excessive love of self (holding self out of proper position toward God or fellow man; Dante's definition was "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor"). In Jacob Bidermann's mediaeval miracle play Cenodoxus, superbia is the deadliest of all the sins, and leads directly to the damnation of the famed Doctor of Paris, Cenodoxus. Associated with the horse, and the color violet.
This, being the worst of the seven Sins,presented the Synod
with the greatest problem.In the end they reasoned that as
they themselves felt joyous pride at their position in the
one true Religion and knowing without any doubt
whatsoever that the God they worshipped was the One
TRUE God,they could not in all honesty,condemn others
to eternal damnation for being proud of running the
biggest Corporation in the World.It is also no longer a sin to
be proud of being the leader of or of being a Congressman in
what you know to be the greatest Country in the World.
Bishop McNamara issued the following Edict;
As and from 1/1/06 the Sins previously known as the
Seven Deadly Sins are to be downgraded to Venial Sins
and under no circumstances are Priests to be bothered with
them during Confession.
On 9/1/06 John Paul McNamara and thirteen of the
Bishops left the Priesthood and took up directorships in
the Halliburton Corporation.The other Bishop,Luis Garcia
Quinn is widely touted as the next Pope when the present
incumbent dies suddenly,his death to be announced next June.