Environmental Destruction - One Of the Seven New Mortal Sins

Air pollution (public domain)
Air pollution (public domain)

Newly Named Sins

In the 21st Century, the Catholic Church has added additional recognized Mortal Sins to match the lifestyle of the global economy.

Plastic Continent

Trash Patch Effect

The "TrashPatch" phenomenon approaches a continent in size. This vid speaks of a project to raise the awareness of plastic debris, especially in the North Pacific Gyre:www.urbandesignlab.columbia.edu/.

The Proverb that To Waste is to Sin Comes True

The number 7 is a magic number in many societies, including Western Society. This magic translates into a mystical representation of good and evil in sets of seven.

The Seven Mortal Sins that have been recognized by the Catholic Church up to the 21st century are those of Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Wrath, and Sloth.

Many books, films, essays, and poems have been written about each as a topic and about all seven together.

Larger Than Seven

The venal sins, on the other hand, are larger in number than the mortal sins, but supposedly lesser in magnitude. Are they really?

Some individuals, some religious denominations and even entire faith communities globally believe that sin is sin -- that any and all sin is equal in its immorality, whether it be lying, impure thoughts, or murder. This is for each individual to decide independently, but us waste as bad as murder? Many think that it is exactly as evil, because waste murders the environment.

In the 21st Century, the Catholic Church has added additional recognized Mortal Sins to match the lifestyle of the global economy. Interestingly, one or two have to do with Nature and the respect shown to the earth and the universe by indigenous peoples around our planet and across the seven seas, including the new plastic continent of discarded bags and other plastic refuse that has collected in the Pacific Ocean.

For the 21st century, the Catholic Church is has adopted Seven New Mortal Sins for a total of 14, or two times the original seven.

In many minds, to waste is to sin.

Nonpoint Source Pollution - from daily living.
Nonpoint Source Pollution - from daily living.

Waste and Destruction

Translation of the New Sins

Msgr. Gianfranco Girotti is the leader of the Vatican group known as the Apostolic Penitentiary, which is a watchdog group concerned with such aspects of the faith as sin, rules, and doctrine.

Reverend Girotti named seven new Mortal Sins, for a total of 14, the first three being:

  • Ruining the environment,
  • Carrying out morally questionable science, especially with human subjects
  • Making genetic manipulations to DNA or embryos (human, but perhaps also animal).

In terms of large events and daily life, the Three Mortal Sins of the 21st Century are

  • Wastefulness and creating too much trash; failure to recycle
  • Pollution
  • Weather manipulation, especially that which could increase chemicals in the atmosphere
  • Space Trash - debris dumped by space vehicles and space stations into the atmosphere (add particulates to the atmposhere, even if they burn up on re-entry)
  • Leading animals and plants to extinction
  • Stem cell research on embryos
  • Any stem cell research except that where the genetic matter comes itself from the patient being treated.
  • Gene splicing
  • Genetically modified foods
  • Genetic warfare within chemical warfare methods
  • Planning a "Super Race" (probably sperm banks as well)
  • Cloning (we eat cloned corn already, since the late 1980s)
  • Discovering genetic manipulation possible in outer space that is not possible under gravitational forces, as is possible with certain chemicals that create useful medications
  • Other

It is uncertain what impact the classification as a mortal sin will have on enivronmental pollution and waste, as well as on the rest of the issues covered by the Seven New Sins. It is, however, also uncertain how waste and pollution could ever be morally correct.

A Grime Belt

Could waste and pollution ever be morally correct?

Tom Leher's "Pollution"

The Final Four Sins

In addition, the recreational or therapeutic use of illegal substances, along with drug trafficking comprise a new Mortal Sin. We can see that this harms the human body at times and can lead to the harm of or death of self and others. Under the influence of these substances, some individuals may also harm the environment.

Social and Economic Injustices and creating poverty make up three additional new Mortal Sins that include amassing Excessive Wealth that may also cause others to become poor. Such wealth can also lead to corrupt power, genetic manipulation, environmental harm (especially waste), and all of the other Mortal Sins, old and new.

Transforming to Biomass Energy


© 2008 Patty Inglish

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Comments 21 comments

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Wow, Patty. Those pictures truly are worth 1000 words. Each of them.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks stephanie.

I have been so angry about waste and pollution recently! The pictures say it all.

Peter M. Lopez profile image

Peter M. Lopez 8 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

Great stuff, Patty. I agree with you. As long as there are social and economic injustices, there will always be poverty, drug use, and everything else necessary to numb oneself to the social and economic conditions.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks Peter. Unfotunately, money does not seek its own level like water; it seeks to skew and leave a lower caste of poor workers or slaves. That seems to be natural, and I don't know how to fix it except for each of us a do a little to help day by day. I am incensed by waste and resulting high prices.

Several of us have discussed this on Zsuzsy's Hub about prices 75 years ago. I think I should link to it. Aha -


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Very interesting and disturbing information! I'm always for Environmental friendly stuff and always try to do what i can and within my power which is not a lot but every little helps..

Another great hub Patty.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thank you compu-smart and you are right - little bits help. It feels good to me to recyle.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

There are now some semi-official looking Blog posts on the 'net stating that the church created no new list of sins. Do you like controversy? I guess we have it. :) I sense backpeddling...

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Oh my! - The New York Times reports that in 2007, 'The Vatican issued a kind of Ten Commandments for drivers against the offences of road rage, alcohol abuse and rudeness."

Raven King profile image

Raven King 8 years ago from Cabin Fever

Hi Patty. These are powerful images. Pollution and waste is truly ugly. I am a catholic and I didn't know about these new sins. Scientist are hoping to find ways to help people with cerebral palsey and autism through genetic manipulation. The media reported that drinking water is contaminated with prescription drugs and that has lead to mutations in fish. What if humans have to resort to genetic manipulation in order to fix the mutations that already have occurred? Sounds like a sticky situation.

A very interesting hub, thanks. :)

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Dear Raven King - Thanks for your post!

My Catholic friend in Michigan was instructed about the new sins, but their church likes a lot of rules.

Msgr. Gianfranco Girotti stated these sins and I read only one article against the 1000 about him doing so in the name fo the Vatican, only one as of late last night that stated the Church had not confirmed the Msgr. in his decree.

Meanwhile, some Catholics have strongly objected, while some Catholic schools have assured students they do not need to learn 7 new sins. The Google News lnks above lead to the cache of articles.

I believe that genetic use of one's own DNA material can indeed heal illnesses and conditions. Cord blood can be used. Emryos should not be destroyed, imo.

What if humans have to resort to genetic manipulation? -- Then it is truly the Last Days and I'm ready to go! Hallelujah!

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Abhinaya 8 years ago

The first picture about the smoke emitted by industries could be the the worst of all.Non bio-degradable things are not completely recyled and these pose a real threat.The videos are a perfect match.GREAT HUB.I don't know how I missed this one.Can I give more than one thumbs up for this HP?

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for the comments! It's hard to read all the new Hubs, there are so many, but I'm glad you found this!


adventure profile image

adventure 8 years ago from U.S.A.

I am very upset about what has happened to our planet. We have all but destroyed our air, water, and land. We have been gluttons of the Earth, rather than stewards. We are completely removed from the natural life and food cycle of nature. Instead, we stand by the side of nature and pelt it with poison. Is anyone depressed yet? Well, you should be. If we keep this up, we'll all be gone. We desperately need great thinkers, not merely usurpers.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

This is correct and it's really even worse.

We have a population segment that is only a giant Consumer and purposeful Waster - buying groceries to throw out without eating any; ordering big meals in restaurants (when someone else is paying) so they can be seen taking one bite and discarding the food; throwing trash in others' yards, in parks, and in the streets and demanding that someone else (the city) clean it up. It's a sickness. They say they are fine with using up the planet during their own lifetime and future generations should just suffer.

They also max out as many credit cards as they can accumulate and plan to incur a lot of creditors that will seek money from their estates after death. However, they have arranged for there to be no estate left upon death. They say they are '"sticking it" to the liberals that are trying to deny them the best of everything that they deserve.' It's a sickness.

Thanks for posting, adventure.

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Carolsue 8 years ago

Very nice hub. More people need to be responsible when it comes to the environment. Earth Day is April 22! Hope you can visit my hubs.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks CaarolSue. There should be a lot goiong on this Earth Day.

Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

Hi Patty. I only just found this hub, but I see it's been around a while. I'm in estate agency in the UK, and believe me, there's plenty of time to sit around and read hubs while I'm at work these days!

You've really covered all the angles on pollution and our sick society. I won't say that nobody cares these days, because it's obvious that a lot of people do care. The trouble is that we're outnumbered by at least ten to one!

I've been doing a lot of reading and research of my own lately, and I've come agross a movement called Transition Towns (See my hubs). these guys are trying to start a groundswell of activity from the bottom up rather than waiting for governments to act (We could be waiting a long time for that to happen!)

Anyway, great hub! Cheers for now Mandy

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for the direction to Transition Towns! One neighborhood in one of the New York burroughs went all green and there is a movement to build retirement clusters (smaller communities) all green as well.

The Greening of America and other books warned us about waste in the late 1960s - 1970s and here is the result of not attending to it fully. Waste must stop.

midnightbliss profile image

midnightbliss 8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

great lens. I agree that genetic manipulation should be considered a mortal sin. animal or human genetic stuctures should not be changed nor mixed.

Captain Obvious 7 years ago

Although some groups of people are aware to some extent of human impact on environment, the majority is ignorant and wants nothing to do with it. People contrary to what they often believe act on very basic and simple impulses, the biggest of them being hunger, procreation and social status, Thus any issues not directly related to those will not be addressed as worthy or even valid. Given that humans as a species (I am basing this on the majority and not the few enlightened individuals) are only concerning themselves with the immediate basic needs at hand while exerting a tremendous toll on the planet as a system it is only logical to conclude that homo sapiens is a parasite, a virus which unless is cured or altered will effectively kill this world and either die itself or move on to another host(s).

Kill a person - help save the planet!

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

There have been times that I, frustrated, thought a 75% reduction in human populations globally would do the trick. That's pretty cold toward one's own species. But I think any life will spread until it's stopped and disasters and disease kill many each year. However, overpopulation itself may be the ultimate killer.

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