Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The sins of the sexes

It seems the Vatican has been looking at the different sins committed by men and women - or, rather, not so much the different sins as the priorities each sex gives to given sins.

Women are prouder than men, but men are more lustful, according to a Vatican report which states that the two sexes sin differently.

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.

There's more at the link. Based on my counseling experience, I'd have to say this is pretty accurate, across any and all cultures. Sure, there will be individuals who differ, but as an overall guideline, I've no argument with Mgr. Giertych.

I'm reminded of the old, wise pastor who was one of my instructors before ordination. I asked him once what he considered to be the worst sin an average person was likely to commit. He snorted. "The sins of the flesh, which most people put in headlines, are so common as to be almost petty. The worst sin?" He paused thoughtfully. "To my mind, that has to be to take away someone else's good name. If you gossip, or spread falsehoods, or slander somebody, the damage you do can never be undone. You can stand in the middle of the public square, and cry aloud that you'd lied, and what you'd said wasn't true: but there will always be those who'll assume you don't mean it, or were made to recant under pressure. They'll continue to believe the worst of the person you initially defamed, and continue to spread your initial falsehoods about them. Since such damage can never be undone, I think that's about the worst sin of which I can conceive for ordinary people. In fact, I rate it right up there with murder or rape."

Again, in my experience, I think he was right. So many of the situations where I've tried to assist as a counselor have been either sparked, or made much worse, by gossip. Why people can't learn to shut their mouths about what's false, instead of taking delight in spreading untruths, is completely beyond me.

Anyway, I'm not here to preach to you. I can only hope that we all take a good, hard look at ourselves and our consciences; ask forgiveness of God and each other, whenever and wherever necessary; and go on doing our best, according to the light we've been given.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Politicians and their supporters seem to have raised slander to an art form.