Give a Hoot, Thou
Shalt Not Pollute
by Mad Dog
Bishop Gianfranco Girotti added some new sins to the already
long list of life’s don’ts. He announced that pollution,
mind-damaging drugs, genetic experiments, and accumulating excess wealth
are all now sins.
|There’s nothing like
Easter to resurrect religious news. First the Vatican launched a PR
campaign to convince people the Inquisition wasn’t really as bad as it
appeared to be by opening an exhibit of artifacts they say will
"expose some myths" about the Church’s glory days during the
Middle Ages. “Hey, it was a bunch of guys kidding around and having a
good time. So it went a little too far. Haven’t you ever been to a
frat party?” Maybe they have a point. I mean, it's not like they were
waterboarding, you know.
Then comes word that the tablets
Moses carried down from Mount Sinai might have been the hallucinogenic
kind. That’s right, an Israeli psychology professor thinks the
thunder, lightning, and trumpet playing Moses is said to have witnessed
could have been the result of his getting high from a plant on the
mountain that has some of the same psychoactive chemicals as one in the
Amazon. Does this mean that after all these years of being good for
goodness sake the Ten Commandments might have been a harmless,
drug-induced prank? And more importantly, if it was all a hallucination,
how are we supposed to know how to behave?
Luckily, we have the Catholic Church
to help us out. In an interview in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore
Romano (motto: “All the news God thinks is fit to print”) Bishop
Gianfranco Girotti, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary —where
people serve sentences of 10 years to eternity — added some new sins
to the already long list of life’s don’ts. He announced that
pollution, mind-damaging drugs, genetic experiments, and accumulating
excess wealth are all now sins. Luckily filling a cathedral with
incense, drinking sacramental wine, and raking in bucks from
parishioners are exempt.
The question is, Why do they need to add new sins? After
all, we have plenty of old ones to choose from as it is. I’d be hard
pressed to think many of us have even begun to tap the depths of a list
that includes greed, envy, sloth, murder, astrology, and eating blood.
This isn’t the first time in recent history the Vatican has
issued rules to live by. About a year ago they released the Ten
Commandments for Drivers, which warned us away from road rage, drunk
driving, rude gestures, cursing, and having sex in the car. Luckily it
didn’t say anything about not sending a text message while driving,
reading the newspaper, combing your hair, and retrieving a burrito that
rolled under the seat, so at least we don’t have to change all our
The question is, Why do they need to
add new sins? After all, we have plenty of old ones to choose from as it
is. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to think many of us have even begun
to tap the depths of a list that includes greed, envy, sloth, murder,
astrology, and eating blood. Heck, even Hannibal Lechter probably
wasn’t into astrology.
They might be adding the new sins to
make sure we’re aware of all the things we’re not supposed do,
though I’d be surprised to learn that anyone who didn’t already
realize pollution was bad would be swayed by a Bishop’s labeling it as
a sin. On the other hand, if the threat of eternity in hell will make
someone stop dumping chemicals in the water supply, quit spewing
carcinogenic smoke in the air, or go out and buy a Prius, then I’m all
the new green sins turn out to be popular, the Church will have to come
up with something to do as a follow-up. If they really want to be hip
they’ll unveil Catholic Church 2.0
| I suspect the
real reason the church is doing this is to attempt to stay hip and
up-to-date. They do that from time to time. One year they dump Latin so
people can actually understand what’s going on, the next they set Jesu,
Joy of Man’s Desiring to Green Day’s music and play it on an
autoharp during Mass. Think Michael Rowed the Basket Case Ashore.
Since a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
(motto: “God will get you if you don’t answer truthfully”) found
that the Roman Catholic Church has lost more members than any faith in
the United States, they obviously need to start doing something to keep
people on board. And what better way than to add green sins to the list
of cardinal, mortal, and venial ones?
"Bless me, Father, for I have
sinned. It has been since the second quarter of the last fiscal year
that I gave my last confession. These are my sins. I talked back to my
mother, used Google to look up the answers so I could help my kids with
their homework and make them think I’m still smarter than they are,
and checked out the neighbor’s teenage daughter and wondered what her
mother looks like. Oh yeah, I also smoked pot, didn’t recycle three
bottles and one can, and made a killing by buying all the neighbor’s
houses at foreclosure and flipping them.”
Three Our Fathers, two Hail Marys,
and one Forgive Me Sierra Club and all will be well with our karma
If the new green sins turn out to be popular, the Church will have to
come up with something to do as a follow-up. If they really want to be
hip they’ll unveil Catholic Church 2.0, complete with social
networking sites like MyPew and FaithBook, and a virtual online world
called AfterLife (motto: “When your Second Life is over”). When they
do, be careful about spending too much time in front of the computer.
You might be accused of worshipping a false idol.
©2008 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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