Meme: Seven New Sins

Undoubtedly everyone's heard about the new sins decreed by the Vatican this week. As always, there are those who are either ignorant or patronizing of anything related to the Catholic Church. As such you get comments such as: "Who does the Pope think he is to make up new sins?" or: "Why is the Church meddling in social issues instead of concerning itself with the souls of men?"

As a "left-leaning" Catholic myself, I feel that the social injustice sins have been a long time coming. We're connected like never before in the history of the world, able to affect so many people at once. As far as I can tell, they've simply expanded on the idea of the Seven Deadly Sins to include those acts which affect others on a much broader scale.

What is a good Catholic with a sense of humor to do when everyone around him is taking these new sins either too seriously or no serious enough? Come up with a list of my own.

While I don't foresee becoming an Archbishop or Pope anytime soon, this is the list of sins I would add. They aren't really "deadly," let's call them something else:

The Seven Vexatious Sins

1. Sending Email Spam - I can't stand weeding through endless amounts of junk sent to my email address. If you're spreading fallacious emails like "Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim," you're bearing false witness. If you're trying to convince me I won the lottery in Nigeria, you're stealing. For those of you spamming porn emails, I think you know where you fit in.

2. Not Merging In A Construction Zone - You've been there. You see the "Lane Closed Ahead" sign, you merge into traffic like a good Catholic driver, and while you sit patiently in your vehicle, you watch others speed by and try to sneak into the lane at the last possible moment. If you are one of these drivers, you better go get absolution right away...but you can only drive 20 mph.

3. The "English Only" Movement - Just a bit of history, when scared Americans try to "push" undesirables out of this country, language is one of the tools of the trade. We did it after World War 2 on the West Coast with the many people speaking Japanese, we did it with the French after the Louisiana Purchase, we even did it to the Germans in colonial Pennsylvania. Oh, and those pesky natives that were around, we kinda alienated their language as well.

The "English Only" movement stems from fear of the unknown. When we turn that fear into oppression, we're not being open to all of God's people. That and I have a hard time dealing with pretentious folk who think that language makes them "more American" than someone else.

4. 24" Rims - While on the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus was blinded by a brilliant light. While Jesus chose this time to reveal Himself to Paul, the blinding light came from an '87 Cadillac Fleetwood rollin' on 24" wire-wheel Daytons.

Perhaps there's no Biblical foundation for the sin, but cars with oversized chromed-out rims look ridiculous. It lowers the gas mileage (if such a thing is possible for a Caddy), it's a stiff ride, and it's a waste of money. If Moses were around today, he would've given us the commandment: "Thou shalt not throw D's on it!"

5. Half-Eating Snacks From the Lunchroom - It's someone's birthday; they brought in doughnuts. But you don't want a whole doughnut, just a small bit to satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether you pull off a piece or use a knife to cut off a small part, you feed your craving. Meanwhile, the next person who comes in sees a half-eaten treat which looks completely gross.

Please, if you're gonna take something from a community food basket, don't leave half of things behind. I know you didn't take a bite out of it and put it back, but we all work with someone that could. Either share, eat it all, or have a Mentos instead.

6. Watching South Park - While I not only find this show devoid of any comedic value or original ideas, I think the viewing public has become less intelligent after watching too much of this show. Since this abomination could last even longer than The Simpsons, we must protect mankind from turning into a society of bumbling idiots.

Keep in mind this sin is soley in regards to South Park. Family Guy, American Dad, and Futurama (yes, new episodes of Futurama are coming!) are perfectly acceptable.

7. Wearing a Blue Tooth Mic - I get the fact that you're trying to be "hands-free" and that it just looks cool to just talk without holding a phone to your ear, but I'm sick of feeling stupid cause I think someone is talking to me, and they turn their head and I see the big electronic piece in their ear. Instead of talking with a Bluetooth, get a big sign on a string and hang it around your neck that says "I am cool." It's the same thing.

Consider thineselves tagged, and feel free to let loose.

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4 Response to Meme: Seven New Sins

March 16, 2008 at 10:41 AM

I'm not part of the English only movement but it does make me wonder why on earth I have to press one to hear a recorded message in English. Things have gotten so ridiculous that an immigrant can actually live in America for years without learning to speak the language. That just creates a permanent underclass.

March 17, 2008 at 12:41 AM

LOL! I'm a right-leaning Catholic, but I agree with most of what you said.

Regarding the English-only..well, having spent time in Mexico, which is a Spanish-only country, well...let me give you my opinion: While much of the world speaks English, they have no obligation to do so, other than economic. And we in America have only an economic reason to learn Spanish. That said, I have ALWAYS wanted to learn Spanish because I have always loved the language, and it became more beautiful to me the more I learned.

But I have to be honest...I believe we SHOULD require that English be learned. I'm not saying we should not make allowances. In reality, we go to France, to Italy, to Russia, to China...we must learn their language. They should not be shocked if we TRY to speak in their tongue. (In Mexico, people were literally shocked if we tried, amazed and loved us if we could fully communnicate). We're in their country...I see it as perfectly logical and RESPECTFUL to speak their language.

Granted, this does not apply to tourists who would gain a great deal by TRYING...that's a different conversation.

I have worked professionally with people who are newly in this country, and those who have been here for years. I find it acceptable for a young person who has arrived only recently to be struggling with English. I find it insulting if the same young person (as opposed to elderly) has been here for 15 years and STILL cannot master even the most basic of our English vocabulary.

Enabling ignorance is contratry to the dignity of the individual. As Chistians, we are to help to raise people up ....not keep them where they are. I would not expect to go to a foreign country and be catered to in my ignorance. Even my host family in Mexico did not cater to me. I'd had 6 years of Spanish...and if in our conversation took me into a corner, they made me find my way out and they assisted me in my vocabulary. Even if it meant that I made embarassing mistakes to do so. (And I did! lol!)

We owe people to educate them, not to drop them to the lowest common denominator.

God bless our immigrants...they have expereinced things most of us never hope to see or even imagine. But that does not mean we should excuse them from being fully human in what they are able to accomplish.

My grandparents were first generation Swedes...please do not take my opinion as being that of superiority. Remember...I know what it's like to be lost and to not understand. (6 years of Spanish does not help one become unlost in a city of 2 million...human compassion does.)

March 17, 2008 at 1:28 AM

Thank you both for the comments, but this idea that people should learn English is a fallacy.

There were over 150 languages in this country before it was colonized by Europe. After that, immigrants lived in their own sections of town: Germans lived here, the Polish lived here, the Italians, the Irish, the Dutch, the French...the list goes on.

I agree that people who deny themselves knowledge are hurting themselves, but that goes both ways. For every immigrant that does not want to learn English, I can quickly name an American who feels they shouldn't have to learn another language. The ignorance goes both ways. Unfortunately I see much more of the latter than of the former.

But that's just my opinion. Although if I ever decided that religious life wasn't for me and I had a child, I'd make sure they spoke English, Spanish, and Chinese. It never hurts to be prepared.

March 19, 2008 at 8:32 PM

Vito, I agree it goes both ways. Just as I struggled at times (esp. in the beginning) to speak Spanish, those people who had patience with me and even used their own broken English made all the difference.

I have often used my Spanish through my last job, and last summer I broke into Spanish at a restaurant. The waiter could speak English, although his accent was very strong. I can't say why, exactly, I broke into Spanish; maybe it was the way he said something, maybe he used a Spanish word...but in any case I asked him a question in Spanish with regard to a couple menu items. He answered my question, and then expressed surprise. From that point on when he came to our table, he spoke Spanish to me, and I responded. Same thing when we paid the cashier when we left.

No one asked me to speak their language, and they would have been fine if I hadn't. I was actually surprised that it flowed right out!

I really wish I coudl do the same thing in other languages (and I'm not giving up on that dream!)

I think Americans are so completely ethno-centric, even the ones that style themselves as "globally oriented". Europeans, some Asians, are in such close proximity to each other that they really NEED to learn other languages. Their countries have official languages...but they also have a lot of neighbors passing through. If we transplanted America into the center of Europe, our economy would completely collapse; we do not have enough people here who are even willing to see the necessity of learning another language.

But that does not change the fact that we all have to deal with the cards in our hands, whether we like them or not.

In America, the predominant language is English, and we all need to have some comprehension of it. Seriously learning other languages and being willing to USE them should be a greater focus in our schools (as opposed to the current pet focus of indoctrination of the LGBT lifestyle and other nonessential and outright immoral things.)

The fact is that education in this country is DISMAL in comparison to other countries of the world. Some of that is the idea that we can't hold people to an objective standard in any area. The reigning ideal is that to have an objective standard makes someone "feel" bad because they can't or refuse to meet that objective standard.

There are some immigrants who may be literally incapable of learning Enlgish...and I accept that. But there are people who don't care to learn the language because they don't have to. Because everywhere they go caters to them. It does not call them out of themselves.

And I do think that if more people spoke those languages and were willing to have that personal interaction, it might draw some of those people out...but where does one go to learn Aramaic, Mandarin, Vietnamese, etc.?

Most schools don't offer it, and there is little incentive unless one happens ot have a job involving specific populations.

Through my last job, our interpreters were all native to the languages they translated. And that was often important as they had cultural understanding and were able to step in to deal with cultural misunderstandings.

This really is a complicated topic. Sorry to go on for so long and bring in tangents!