New sins include bioethics, the environment, social inequities

VATICAN, March 11, 2008 (CISA) -The Holy See says polluting the environment, drug pushing, and genetic manipulation are some of the new grievous, or mortal sins.

The head of the Apostolic Penitentiary - the Vatican body which oversees confessions and plenary indulgence - Bishop Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the greatest "danger zone" for the soul in modern times was 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," Archbishop Girotti said. "Priests must take account of new sins which have appeared on the horizon of humanity as a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalisation.

"You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbour's wife, but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos," he said.

In the interview with the Vatican based newspaper, the Archbishop also listed "ecological" offences as modern evils. He also listed drug trafficking and taking, social and economic injustices and excessive wealth as modern sins.

He added that two mortal sins which continued to preoccupy the Vatican were abortion and pedophilia. The archbishop also said it was disappointing that fewer and fewer Catholics attend confession. A study by Milan's Catholic University showed that up to 60 percent of the faithful in Italy stopped going to confession.

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