How many catholics devoutly confessing their sins would be happy to think that the priest is actually taking a sin survey?
I am struck by the image (mainly based on old Hollywood films) of a remorse-filled catholic sobbing out guilty secrets while the chap behind the filigree screen (look, I already credited Hollywood) slyly ticks boxes on a survey sheet.
That’s the inescapable conclusion from this piece on the BBC website which claims that men and women sin differently.
The report was based on a study of confessions carried out by Fr Roberto Busa, a 95-year-old Jesuit scholar.
This is not even a pseudo-scientific survey (but, hey, Theos produce those all the time and they get called a “think-tank” so why can’t a priest get in on the act?)
Here’s the male/female top seven in the Deadly Sins league table.
Men: 1. Lust 2. Gluttony 3. Sloth 4. Anger 5. Pride 6. Envy 7. Greed
Women: 1. Pride 2. Envy 3. Anger 4. Lust 5. Gluttony 6. Avarice 7. Sloth (from the BBC)
Is “greed” the same as “avarice”? Because otherwise men and women seem to be picking their chosen misdemeanors from different sin books, not just sinning in a different order. In fact, don’t loads of these sins mean the same thing? I guess a priestly training allows you to distinguish between “envy”, “gluttony”, “greed” and “avarice” but I am a bit confused how you can tell the difference.
I love the sound of Sloth. Other sins may sound like more fun, admittedly, but no others are called after a tree-dwelling edentate mammal.
Anyway, that list comes from less sin-filled times. There are now new official modern sins:
The revised list included seven modern sins it said were becoming prevalent during an era of “unstoppable globalisation”.
These included: genetic modification, experiments on the person, environmental pollution, taking or selling illegal drugs, social injustice, causing poverty and financial greed.
(It was something of a relief to see “genetic modification” there, because I was beginning to suspect that I might have blithely committed all 14, whether deliberately or otherwise.)
I can’t see the new sins getting their own Magnum ice-cream Special Editions, though.