Those newly risking eternal punishment include drug pushers, the obscenely wealthy, and scientists who manipulate human genes. So "thou shalt not carry out morally dubious scientific experiments" or "thou shalt not pollute the earth" might one day be added to the Ten Commandments.
- Environmental pollution
- Genetic manipulation
- Accumulating excessive wealth
- Inflicting poverty
- Drug trafficking and consumption
- Morally debatable experiments
- Violation of fundamental rights of human nature
The new mortal sins were listed by Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti at the end of a week-long training seminar in Rome for priests, aimed at encouraging a revival of the practice of confession - or the Sacrament of Penance in Church jargon.
According to a survey carried out here 10 years ago by the Catholic University, 60% of Italians have stopped going to confession altogether. The situation has certainly not improved during the past decade.
Catholics are supposed to confess their sins to a priest at least once a year. The priest absolves them in God's name.
Talking to course members at the end of the seminar organised by the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican department in charge of fixing the punishments and indulgences handed down to sinners, Pope Benedict added his own personal voice of disquiet.
"We are losing the notion of sin," he said. "If people do not confess regularly, they risk slowing their spiritual rhythm," he added. The Pope confesses his sins regularly once a week.