By Flavia Krause-Jackson
The Vatican has put together a list of seven "social" sins that includes excessive wealth, drug abuse, littering, genetic tampering and creating poverty.
Echoing the concept of the seven cardinal vices -- set to paper by Pope Gregory I in the sixth century -- the new list adds a social dimension, Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, said in an interview yesterday with the Vatican's official newspaper l'Osservatore Romano.
"You offend God not only by stealing, taking the Lord's name in vain or coveting your neighbor's wife, but also by wrecking the environment, carrying out morally debatable experiments that manipulate DNA or harm embryos,'' said Girotti, who is responsible for the body that oversees confessions.
Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out on social issues throughout his three-year papacy. He backs a current political initiative to outlaw abortions after 90 days and encouraged Catholics to abstain from a 2005 referendum on easing restrictive laws on fertility treatments, which failed to achieve the 50 percent participation level to make the vote to change the law binding.
The seven social sins are:
1. "Bioethical" violations such as birth control
2. "Morally dubious" experiments such as stem cell research
3. Drug abuse
4. Polluting the environment
5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
6. Excessive wealth
7. Creating poverty
The original deadly sins: