About 1,400 years ago, Pope Gregory the Great (image below) enumerated the Seven Deadly Sins — sins that cut the sinner off from God. Now, Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti has drawn up a new list of Seven Deadly Sins for modern times.
“To sin is to violate the relationship of man with God”, stated Archbishop Girotti. So, his new list has paid special attention to what one could call “social sins” that are linked to “the phenomenon of globalization”. This is how the ”http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7287071.stm">BBC listed the new deadly sins:
Accumulating excessive wealth
Drug trafficking and consumption
Morally debatable experiments
Violation of fundamental rights of human nature
Wait a minute, though. Genetic manipulation? Surely not! So, does this mean that, if someone successfully cures a congenital disease using gene therapy, this person will go to Hell? I hope not. Otherwise, the Italian authors of a paper we published over a year ago may be a bit too close to the Vatican for comfort.
And morally debatable experiments? Aren’t all experiments morally debatable? I admit that I don’t know all the details of what the ‘Osservatore Romano’, the official newspaper of the Vatican, published, but hopefully there is some clarification for the benefit of those of us Catholics who had to learn to live by the law of the original deadly sins. Do morally debatable experiments refer only to experiments in embryonic stem cells, or are there other experiments one needs to be worried about?
Sure, one can see where the Catholic church is coming from with their proclamations of the new sins. But to place a good number of fine scientists twice in such an eclectic list and in the company of drug traffickers strikes me as somewhat disturbing. Good thing I’m no longer a practicing scientist. Otherwise, I would need to do a lot of explaining next time I visit my mom.