Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sins And The Sexes

Eve grabs at some pride, while Adam goes right to lust.

Two sexes 'sin in different ways'
From the BBC

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.

Catholics are supposed to confess their sins to a priest at least once a year. The priest absolves them in God's name.

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

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."


This difference between the sexes is kind of fascinating. Is this nature, gender conditioning, or a product of both. The lists are almost reversed with neither side claiming too much greed--probably why the Vatican's new list seems to concentrate on various consequences of greed.

They conjure up images of beer bellied, lusty, male slobs, and shrew jealous Stepford wives. I've often wondered if priests hear in confession the same stuff I've heard in therapy sessions. My experience with men and women is quite a bit different than this. In therapy a lot of men work on esteem issues, communication difficulties, and relationship problems. Women will work on esteem issues, communication difficulties, and relationship problems. It's also true that these difficulties will lead to engaging in lust, gluttony, envy, sloth, and a bogus pride which covers a lot of humiliation and some defense strategies do tend to be favored on the basis of gender.

There were plenty of times in sessions when I wished I could have given absolution because I knew it would make a real difference. Suggesting clients go to confession too frequently fell on deaf ears. Clients wanted a real relationship with a real person rather than a rote form confession to a mostly complete stranger. When your self esteem is in a hole, I guess this makes some sense.

I had a Catholic psychiatrist in grad school who maintained confession is for the stronger in self esteem and counseling is for those without much self esteem. Both could achieve the same ends but the starting points were different. Needless to say he also felt childhood confession was an exercise in abuse. Children didn't have enough of a concept of self to be put through that particular exercise. I can remember sitting in class and having flash backs about my own first confession. It was not one of my better Catholic experiences. I have a sneaking suspicion the lack of confessions from adults has a lot to do with that early formation.

I disagree with Benedict about the usefulness of confession. If he's talking about maintaining a spiritual rhythm that's one thing, but if the issue is maturing in a relationship with God and understanding the motivations behind the sin, that's another issue entirely. Frequent confession does not always lead to legitimate insight. As a priest friend of mine once said, frequent confession too frequently leads to repeating the same confession. I'm sure he's not the only priest who would say that same thing.

Sin, hell, and confession are areas in which left and right do not meet. The right sees things in terms of sinful acts to be confessed and the left tends to see things in attitudes which need to be adjusted. What we need is a theology of sin which relates the acts to the underlying more global attitudes. I doubt we'll see that under this Pope. In the meantime I'm off to work on pride or whatever it was I used to confess before I tuned up my attitudes.


  1. It would seem, upon initial glance at the sins men commit that Avarice is not on the list of sins confessed.

  2. It must be because they are trying to trim my pride that most priests treat me like I am insignificant, unworthy of notice, and without anything of value to add to a discussion, yet see themselves as above any need to even check the list once they have taken their vow of celibacy. As a seminarian once said to me, "I can't wait to be ordained so I will no longer be attracted to women." I wonder how he is doing?

  3. I find this entire idea of labeling and dividing women's and men's sins in ascending order the way they have done here as a sin in itself. Why? Because it is decided by a man or men who deliberate and form their decisions based on the false and prideful premise that the male intellect and reasoning and physical maleness are more superior than the feminine. If this is not male Pride, then what is Pride?

    In truth what I see from the men in the Vatican is that the most dangerous sin and predominant sin at the moment is Pride. Not just pride of their maleness, but pride of religion, political pride, pride of the priesthood, etc. They seem to be projecting their view and sin of pride upon women and the feminine.

    Going to confession does not solve or address how to resolve any human weakness. Hell is not a place that one goes to when they die. Hell is a place that one can live in, in the here and now. Many men and women sin to escape from hell, only to find themselves getting deeper into hell. From Wikipedia/Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes/ "All strong souls first go to hell before they do the healing of the world they came here for. If we are lucky, we return to help those still trapped below." from the poem Abre La Puerta in 'Theatre of the Imagination'.

    Hell can be defined as a loss of one's soul which is the loss of life in one's soul or finding one's soul in a place we call hell in which there is no relief from interior suffering.

    I agree with Dr. Clarissa about hell. Otherwise, Jesus had nothing to save us from, which is hell.

  4. I can certainly agree with Dr. Estes and I appreciate you finding that quote butterfly.

    Jesus descended into hell before He rose and I've always found that intrigueing. I can't think of a single mystic who also didn't receive some vision of hell.

    In my book, hell is not a place, it's a choice which leads to a state of existential emptiness.

  5. The distinction between hell as a place or a state are worthy of contemplation Colleen.

    The soul has dimensions which are spiritual and spirit is not about a place that occupies limited space.

  6. Isnt it interesting, that in all of the 7, not one of them was lying and deceit? That in itself is enough evidence to question the validity of the results.

    Who did they survey? How big was their sample? What were the demographics of the sampling? For that matter, were there any?

    What was the "study" of confessions?

    The article contradicts itself as well. Was the information based on a survey, or based on personal observations of one priest in a confessional? Interesting visual, step into the confessional and hear "Hello, this is Fr. ... we are conducting a survey today, ...!!! Also, in my book a violation of the confidentiality of the confessional.

    The one consistent theme that we see in the Vatican is deception and lies. (No wonder it was not included in the results.) Is there any reason to think that this report is any different. Is there any reason to think that this is nothing more than falsified evidence to support someones personal viewpoint?

    The real sin that I see in this topic is seperation. In this particular case, it is seperation based on gender instead of ethnicity. Seperation as in "because you are female, I am better than you". That is what is being communicated in the Vatican report. That is the real message of the report, a subtle subliminal message to women that they are lesser because they are different. A subtle and submliminal putting them in their "proper" place.

    Regarding hell, the only evidence we have for the existence of such a place or state is the word of a catholic prelate (historically). That prelates opinion has been passed down as the truth for far too long. Given the deceptions that are the hallmark of the vatican, I personally give that concept the same credence that I give alien abductions and bigfoot.

    Prove that there is a hell. It cant be done.

    What purpose does that concept serve?

    If one is living in alignment with the Holy Spirit, or at least sincerely attempting to, is there really any need for such a concept?

    Perhaps hell is nothing more than simple reincarnation ... if you mess it up this time, you get to come back and do it over again. And again. And again.

    Are the genders different? Absolutely. Is one superior to the other? Absolutely not! Are we being lied to again? Highly probable.

    Enough for tonight. I'm going to miss the NCR Cafe

  7. Me too Carl, I'm really going to miss the NCR cafe. The writing was on the wall the minute they switched formats on the main site. Unfortunately most of the commenting on the main site is toxic.

    I saw the same thing you did in this article. It's a subliminal message directed at women. Only those who are in subordinate positions are usually suffering from pride and envy.

    As to hell, there is a state, which I have experienced in Shamanic journey which could be described as hell. A lot of us from a lot of traditions who do Shamanic journey have experienced it. It's a state of conciousness which is so completely turned in on itself that it sees nothing except it's own emptiness. In that sense it's truly frightening because one senses that compassion and love are almost meaningless to these "souls". They are incapable of experiencing it and freeing themselves.

    Some of us think that experiencing this state is almost a sort of initiation and none of us like talking about it. Until I experienced it I thought hell was a metaphor, but free choice almost mandates it's existence.

    The rest of us choose recycling.

  8. I saw no announcement of NCR Cafe ending. Yesterday I noticed that there were no longer Most Recent Comments.

    I think it is a shame. However, Colleen, your blog may just end up being the new Cafe.... a place where people can express their views and get feedback.

    I also saw the subliminal message that was directed against women and for them to continue to be subservient to males, otherwise we are full of Pride. Poppycock bs nonsense.

    That is why I wrote about Pride being the number one sin of the male hierarchy.

    Regarding Hell - If you have ever experienced depression, that is a type of hell. If you have ever experienced true despair, that is a type of hell. If you have ever experienced rejection, that is a type of hell. If you have experienced all of the above and do not have the gift of faith, that is a type of hell.

  9. Are they going to stop NCR? Where can i read about that? I looked but did not find a notice? Sad!

  10. The announcement was buried. I found it by accident at:

  11. And I found it very sad that such an announcement was buried. I thought it was very cold towards all of us. It really said that NCR did not really give a hoot about any of us. That's the feeling I got from it.