Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Vatican and God

Here we go again. This week, the Vatican released a list of “new sins” for us to worry about. OK sure, being greedy and not caring about the harm you do to the environment is something I think should be criticized, but the schtick falls flat when you try to sell it as a “new” kind of sin. For one thing, it implies that it was – what – alright I guess to be greedy and dirty in the past? I don’t think so. Greed has always been out of bounds, remember Jesus’ admonition about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter Heaven? And He also covered pollution in that ‘what you do to the least of these, you also do to Me’ warning. What’s wrong now, has always been wrong.

But it also runs into a question of just why the Vatican thinks it has the mojo to be telling us what is and is not a sin. The Bible already lays it out pretty well, and I am one of those people who believes the Bible is how God laid down the Law. So the Vatican seems to be saying that God “missed” some sins? Or worse, that the Pope and his Posse are in a position to, what “correct” God? That kind of arrogance makes me even more of a Protestant. Sure, there are a bunch of Protestant ‘ministers’ whose egos are swollen bigger than counties, and there are a whole lot of people in all faiths and denominations who wrongly believe they have the right to order folks around like they own them, but even the worst Protestant minister stops short of presuming that he outranks God. I have to say that hearing the Vatican tossing out new standards of morality makes me wonder if the Roman Catholic Church is still just a bit tiffed by its loss of Temporal power a while back?

Well, to be fair the whole world of Religion seems to be pushing to grab power and influence. We had the whole Moral Majority thing back in the Reagan years, which lost of lot of its appeal when it began to look less like an appeal to reform government and more a ploy to pass laws which gave that group an advantage. The Muslims and the Mormons have done a lot over the years to gain political advantage as well, seeing no conflict of interest in using faith resources for material gain. Countless politicians make it a point to be seen on TV going into church, making nice with ministers and occasionally standing behind a pulpit. And even the quasi-religious types play that game, as Buddhists and Scientologists work hard to spin public opinion to their gain. It’s not as if the Catholics are the only group who have become rather obsessed with earthly power and influence.

But the Roman Catholic Church, fair or not, has the burden of a higher standard. The RCC has enjoyed power and influence for so long, that in most minds the Vatican speaks as the representative of Christ, and as such it should be, hmm, immaculate in its contemplation. This week’s bluster falls well short.

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