Pope introduces eighth deadly sin
Vatican City - In an effort to increase revenues by selling indulgences, the Pope added an eighth offense to the Roman Catholic Church’s official list of deadly sins.
Joining the traditional seven deadly sins of anger, avarice (greed), envy, gluttony, lust, pride, and sloth (laziness) (formerly sadness) is “conduct unbecoming to a Christian.” His Holiness, it is rumored, was inspired by neither Holy Writ, tradition, nor revelation, but by the United States Army.
Cardinal Wee, a spokesman for the Pope, announced the additional sin last week, stating that it is modeled on the U. S. military's “conduct unbecoming to an officer,” a broad and vague category of criminal offense that covers everything imaginable, from scowling or spitting in public to spilling sauce on one’s shirtfront. “It’s a stroke of genius,” Wee opined, “because it lets anyone in authority, from the lowliest monk or nun to His Holiness himself, to condemn any member of the laity for virtually anything imaginable, including acts that have not been performed, but, in the view of the offended authority, should have been performed.”
Since conduct unbecoming to a Christian is now one of the deadly sins, one who commits this sin is in danger of damnation. “In Catholicism,” Wee explained, “there are two types of sin: venial and mortal, or deadly. A venial sin, unconfessed, does not automatically condemn its perpetrator to an eternity of torment and suffering; a venial, or mortal--a deadly--sin does.”
The only way to avoid damnation if one commits a deadly sin is to be forgiven, and, to be forgiven, a clergyman can require the penitent individual to perform an act of contrition, or penance, including paying for an indulgence. An indulgence, Wee said, “is like the get-out-of-jail-free card in Monopoly, except that its bearer can turn it in to avoid eternal damnation.”
The selling of indulgences was suspended after Martin Luther took issue with their sale in the late Middle Ages. However, the Church has mounting bills to pay as a result of fines, lawsuit settlements, and legal fees associated with the clergy’s molestation of its youthful parishioners, so the Pope has decided to lift the suspension and allow the selling of indulgences again. To ensure a steady market for the sale of the indulgences, His Holiness agreed to introduce the eighth deadly sin.
“I just gave out a handful last week,” Father Christopher, of Newark’s Church of the Holy Roman Emperor, declared, “one to a lad who showed up at services wearing shoes he hadn’t shined; another to a girl who, praise God, showed a bit too much décolletage; a third to a woman who fell asleep during Mass; and another to a man whose shirt bore a suspicious stain.”
The U. S. Army, inspired by the example of the Roman Catholic Church, is reportedly looking into the use of its similar “conduct unbecoming to an officer” regulation as a means of increasing its own monetary reserves. “It’s a case,” remarked Army chaplain Ben Steers of “a cooperative interaction of church and state.”