GM is a sin - the Vatican (11/3/2008)

1.GM and the real seven (even more deadly) sins

2.Genetic modification joins lust on mortal sins list

COMMENT from Dr Brian John: The most interesting news today is the decision of the Vatican to include GM in the list of new 'sins.' Much discussion in the blogosphere and some newspaper coverage. It's not entirely clear, but this seems to be more than just a criticism of GM in medical research/therapy etc - GM is linked with poverty and injustice - so the Vatican does seem to be referring to crops and food, and to the GM feudalism and exploitation associated with Monsanto, Syngenta and assorted other demons. There has been much debate on this in the past, with some cardinals pushing GM crops and foods and others vehemently opposed.


1.21st century temptations: The real seven (even more deadly) sins
The Mail on Sunday, 10 March 2008 (extracts only)

Did you pop down to your nearest GM crop site with a spray gun full of weedkiller this morning?

Have you made absolutely sure that those funny new neighbours of yours aren't conducting secret experiments on humans? And if not, why not?

Because according to the latest ruling from the Vatican you have been committing at least two mortal sins.

'Genetic modification' and 'carrying out experiments on humans' really are on a new list of seven modern deadly sins announced this week by one of the Pope's close allies, Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti.

The other sins on the list are: polluting the environment; causing social injustice; causing poverty; becoming obscenely wealth; and taking drugs. The reason we need a new list, Monsignor Girotti explained, is that the old list (sloth, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride) - has a 'rather individualistic dimension'.


2.Genetic modification joins lust on mortal sins list
Daniel Cressey
Great Beyond (Nature science news blog), March 10 2008

A senior member of the Vatican has drawn up a new list of mortal sins, and science features prominently. Not all of science of course, but Catholic researchers might face some tough choices.

In an interview with the Vatican’s newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, senior cleric Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary which is in charge of confession, was asked 'What are the new sins in your opinion?' Along with drug use and social injustice he listed genetic manipulation and experiments on humans.

Girotti also gave a speech on the subject and is quoted in the Times as saying, 'You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbour’s wife, but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations which alter DNA or compromise embryos.'

Here is what the Google translator made of part of Girotti’s statement to L'Osservatore:

'There are several areas in which today feel sinful attitudes towards individual rights and social issues. First, the area of bioethics within which we can not fail to denounce violations of certain fundamental rights of human nature through experiments, genetic manipulation, whose outcome is difficult to discern and control.'

Some newspapers appear to have done some creative accounting on this article, making it into 'seven new deadly sins'. These are 'genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs were all mortal sins' in the Daily Telegraph. Down in Australia they are 'polluting, genetic engineering, obscene riches, taking drugs, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice' in the Sydney Morning Herald.

While the Vatican has previously been hostile towards certain aspects of research – such work involving human embryos – Girotti's statement appears to widen the net and up the stakes. Making these mortal sins, rather than just lesser, 'venial sins' which don't necessarily condemn you to Hell, could make things rather more difficult for Catholics working in these areas, or even working with people who are.

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