Thursday, February 19, 2009

deadly sins


Women tend to be more proud
than men, who are lot more lusty;
the things both sexes aren’t allowed
both do. My memory is rusty
as to the deadly sins that I
prefer to do. Sometimes I flit
around just like a moth and fly
towards them all, and do not quit
until there’s not one I have not
committed. Anger, sloth and pride
are fine: lust always makes me hot,
and gladly acts for me as guide
when I am looking for a sin
to fill the gaps of time I play
just like a precious violin,
like that of envy, in a way,
as well as gluttony and greed,
all deadly sins I can’t resist.
Sometimes I feel that there’s a need
to supplement the classic list
and find new deadly sins for me,
but till I do, in death I trust,
but while from taxmen I may flee
I never ever flee from lust.
To count above the number seven
I’d have to give my math a lick.
Besides, I may not go heaven,
because I’m not a Catholic,
a deadly sin, I am supposing.
My ancestors in droves were killed
for it. I’ll stick to it, proposing
my other appetites be filled.
Let this poem act as my
confession, since I have no priest:
if God’s a Catholic I’ll rely
on it as soon as I’m deceased.

The BBC reports today:

A Catholic survey found that the most common sin for women was pride, while for men, the urge for food was only surpassed by the urge for sex. The report was based on a study of confessions carried out by Fr Roberto Busa, a 95-year-old Jesuit scholar. The Pope's personal theologian backed up the report in the Vatican newspaper. "Men and women sin in different ways," Msgr Wojciech Giertych, theologian to the papal household, wrote in L'Osservatore Romano. "When you look at vices from the point of view of the difficulties they create you find that men experiment in a different way from women." Msgr Giertych said the most difficult sin for men to face was lust, followed by gluttony, sloth, anger, pride, envy and greed. For women, the most dangerous sins were pride, envy, anger, lust, and sloth, he added.

Catholics are supposed to confess their sins to a priest at least once a year. The priest absolves them in God's name. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into Hell". Traditionally, the seven deadly sins were considered: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. The Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the Vatican's most secretive departments, which fixes the punishments and indulgences handed down to sinners, last year updated its list of deadly sins to include more modern ones. 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. The report came amid Vatican concerns about the declining rate of confessions. A recent survey of Catholics found nearly a third no longer considered confession necessary, while one in 10 considered the process an obstacle to their dialogue with God. Pope Benedict, who reportedly confesses his sins once a week, last year issued his own voice of disquiet on the subject. "We are losing the notion of sin," he said. "If people do not confess regularly, they risk slowing their spiritual rhythm."

Jeremy Rosen pointed out to me an analogy to the seven deady sins in the Babylonian Talmud:
R. Samuel b. Nachmani said in the name of R. Yohanan: Seven things result in leprosy: slander, shedding of blood, vain oath, incest, arrogance, robbery and envy (bArakhin 16a).

Shelley, my cosmic twin, commented on this poem with the following story:

I used to have a Catholic roommate in Boston who was very frum. She went to confession every Saturday night so that she could take communion on Sunday morning. Her boyfriend, a Protestant orthopedic surgeon, used to rant and rave like a madman on Saturday night because she would not him touch her so that she could continue in her purified state until Sunday morning. Those Saturday night fights got very loud and he was heard on many occasions to leave our apartment screaming "Piss on the Pope". They eventually married and have been quite happy.

© 2009 Gershon Hepner 2/18/09

1 comment:

  1. The poem inspired by this interpretes it so much better...