Friday, March 13, 2009

Feminists have long lectured us that all of the differences between men and women are “socially constructed,” except of course for anatomical plumbing. Now comes the Vatican with more evidence that men and women are fundamentally different - they sin in divergent ways.

Drawing on data from what sins were confessed during the Roman Catholic sacrament of confession, Monsignor Wojciech Giertych, the personal theologian to Pope Benedict XVI, and Jesuit scholar Roberto Busa found that men and women sin in starkly different ways. Their work recently appeared in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

While the names of sinners and confessors were kept from the two researchers, each priest did categorize each sin confessed as one of the seven deadly sins - lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, anger (or wrath), envy, and pride. The researchers found that the most common sin for women is pride, followed by envy. After that the most dangerous sins for women were, in order, anger, lust, gluttony, avarice, and sloth.

For men the leading sins were lust and gluttony. After those, the most difficult sins for men to face, according to Monsignor Giertych, were sloth, anger, pride, envy and greed in that order.

One of the building blocks of the family is a recognition of (even a celebration of) the differences between men and women. This is the central fact that feminists, all too often at war with the traditional family, would like us to forget. In that sense, this Vatican report is helpful.

But the report worries us as well. Anti-social behavior, which is mostly coterminous with the concept of sin, is on the rise. One reason that it is climbing is that we Americans, as Pope Benedict observed, “are losing the notion of sin.” We are forgetting that certain behaviors have always been banned by all peoples in all times and in all places - and for good reasons. If more Americans committed to keeping their lives inside the guardrails, we would see fewer wrecked lives.

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