So good old Popey has decided that it’s time to update the seven deadly sins – seven of the most powerful words in recent history for the religiously minded. Back in the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great came up with the original seven mortal sins of envy, pride, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. Supposedly these were sins that, if you died guilty of them, you went straight to Hell, did not pass go and did not collect two hundred virgins. Naturally, as with everything in the Catholic faith, even these things are completely forgivable for a once only special offer donation of your soul. Just remember to recant before you cark.

How come Pope Gregory was “the Great”, by the way? Why haven’t we had any other popes with cool nicknames recently? Pope John Paul the Awesome would have been better than Pope John Paul the Second. Anyway, I digress.

The entertaining thing is that the new sins developed by the Vatican under Pope Benedict the Ratzinger are all more global sins, with the church trying to move away from the individual sins. The new sins are polluting, genetic engineering, obscene riches, taking drugs, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.

Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, which is the Department of Catholic Sin Absolution, named the new mortal sins in an interview with the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, on Monday. He said the new seven sins had a social resonance and showed worshippers that their vices affected other people. “New sins have appeared on the horizon of humanity as a corollary of the unstoppable process of globalisation,” he said.

I would imagine that several of those sins have actually appeared from directly within the Catholic church. Causing social injustice? Would the active misinformation spread about condom use in AIDS infested Africa not suggest a social injustice? Even to the point where some Catholics have been claiming that it is condoms that cause AIDS. Not to mention the numerous other injustices done by missionaries over the years and the many still being perpetrated.

But that’s nothing compared to obscene wealth. Best guesses about the Vatican’s wealth put it at US$10 billion to US$15 billion. Of this wealth, Italian stockholdings alone run to $1.6 billion, 15% of the value of listed shares on the Italian market.

Still, I would imagine that they would have a lot more cash than that if they hadn’t had to settle all those pedophilia lawsuits recently. I could go on, but it’s shooting fish in a barrel really.