Amazing Discovery by our RCC Friends

Written by Father Bill 10 Comments

changing-timesThe BBC is breathlessly reporting something that I’ll be NO ONE EVER knew before:

Women are prouder than men, but men are more lustful, according to a Vatican report which states that the two sexes sin differently.

A Catholic survey found that the most common sin for women was pride, while for men, the urge for food was only surpassed by the urge for sex.

I can just Homestar Runner now:  “Seeweeouswy, Strong Bad!  Can you buh-weave it?” 

The BBC has shown us how late in the Empire we are, that this would be news.  Actually, it’s more than news.  It’s subversive, which is why it’s coming out of the Roman Catholic Church, that paragon of Western Patriarchal Purgatory, in which all men are gods and all women are bare-foot and prego.

Not that the Romans have any monopoly on this sort of thing, of course.  It used to be that American Protestantism was rife with sexist oppression — women covering their heads in worship, wearing dresses instead of short-shorts to Church.  Do you realize that not many generations ago there were no female worship leaders?  No generous swathes of female belly-flesh undulating from what old cranks pompously called “the sanctuary?”  No navels winking merrily at the congregation? 

It’s taken a long hard fight, but Broadly American Evangelical Protestantism has finally reached the gender heights of what George Bernard Shaw proclaimed as the proper gender division within humanity:  male, female, and clergy.  Except if you’re female clergy, you’re still permitted to flaunt your femininity.  If you’re male clergy, however, you’d better not speak or act in any way that a woman wouldn’t be comfortable speaking or acting.

Still, those Catholics think there’s a gender component to sin. 

The Pope’s personal theologian backed up the report in the Vatican newspaper.

“Men and women sin in different ways,” Msgr Wojciech Giertych, theologian to the papal household, wrote in L’Osservatore Romano.

“When you look at vices from the point of view of the difficulties they create you find that men experiment in a different way from women.”

Msgr Giertych said the most difficult sin for men to face was lust, followed by gluttony, sloth, anger, pride, envy and greed.

For women, the most dangerous sins were pride, envy, anger, lust, and sloth, he added.

Oh yeah??  Who says??

Actually, it was the Catholic sinners (or, at least, those who still go to confession) who provide the shocking evidence.

The report was based on a study of confessions carried out by Fr Roberto Busa, a 95-year-old Jesuit scholar.

Protestant ecumenists with their gender priorities straight (or, should that be straight/gay/lesbian/transexual?) need to redouble their efforts to liberate Catholic clergy and laity from the deplorable sexism of the past.


  1. Laurie   |  Sunday, 22 February 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Yeah, what a shocker that devout Catholic women who go to confession perceive themselves as overly prideful and that devout Catholic men who go to confesion perceive themselves as overly lustful. Those perceptions wouldn’t have anything to do with their Catholic upbringing, would it?

    See, this study doesn’t tell us much about what sins these people are ACTUALLY committing. It only tells us what they are saying in the confessional. What they are saying in the confessional is influenced by their perceptions and/or by what the priest expects to hear.

    It is pretty funny to hear that Catholic women are supposed to be more prideful than Catholic men. After all, it is Catholic men who created an elaborate world-wide hierarchy by which male-only members of the clergy are rewarded with riches, status, power and the adulation of all below them. But no, no, it is the women who are prideful.

  2. Fr. Bill   |  Sunday, 22 February 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Hi, Laurie,

    I see you’ve parsed this story in several ways I hadn’t thought of. It was enough for me that ANYONE today would think that men and women are different in the way they sin, since the never-ending mantra is “men and women are basically the same.”

    I know I run into egals who are constantly chanting that the fruits of the spirit are “gender neutral” (whatever that’s supposed to mean). Evidently, it means that for any of those fruits, it will look/act/work the same no matter who’s producing it — a man or a woman. And that is manifestly wacko.

    What this kind of twisted thinking leads to are notions like Jesus being somehow feminine, since otherwise he couldn’t die for the sins of women.

  3. Laurie   |  Monday, 23 February 2009 at 9:29 am

    I am about as radical an egalitarian as they come, but I would have no doubt that men and women are generally inclined to different vices. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that we are differently situated in society and the fact that what is socially acceptable for one person may depend on that person’s sex.

    It is easier in our culture for women to get away with sloth and cowardice. It is easier for men to get away with pride and greed. (I have a feeling that until recently a lot of people were telling those overly paid CEOs that they were great guys; a similarly situated woman would be more likely to be criticized for being selfish and cold.)

    As a woman, my temptations are to not push myself hard enough or not rush in when someone needs to DO something (like physically taking steps to stop two dogs on my street from killing each other last week or saying something when people in my former office propose something borderline unethical). Since childhood, I have been given the message that I should just sit back and let the men do the hard stuff. Therefore, I am more easily tempted than a man might be to let things pass and not take responsibility.

    In contrast, I am LESS likely to be tempted by pride and greed because I have had it drummed into me from day one that ambition is a bad thing for girls. At the same time, I am more likely than a man to IDENTIFY my conduct as greedy or prideful, because I have been trained to identify any hint of those things as unfeminine.

  4. Laurie   |  Monday, 23 February 2009 at 10:26 am

    Sorry didn’t mean to ignore some of your other comments. It’s not that I didn’t read them, but I am not sure I have anything meaningful to add! At the risk of adding something meaningless, however:

    My understanding is that the term “fruits of the spirit” refers to certain qualities like gentleness and self-control. I bet we agree that people of both sexes can exemplify these qualities. However, the way in which those qualities are expressed will vary with different contexts. The social role of the individual (a wife who submits versus a husband who leads, for example) will affect the way in which the wife’s self-control manifests itself versus that of the husband. Is this what you are talking about?

    As for the issue of whether Jesus is “masculine” or “feminine,” I am curious as to why it matters? It has never occurred to me to give it much thought – perhaps because I have concluded that most people are a mix of so-called “masculine” and “feminine” traits.

  5. Kamilla   |  Tuesday, 24 February 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Hmm, whoda thunk it, eh?


    I hate to break it to you, but no truly radical egalitarian would admit men and women are inclined to different sins. It’s not in the nature of the beast.


  6. David Gray   |  Thursday, 26 February 2009 at 5:04 pm


    She gives with the right and takes away with the left. They are inclined to different sins but it is all due to societal structuring and social pressures, not something inherent to our being.

  7. Michael McMillan   |  Wednesday, 25 March 2009 at 3:12 pm

    [Laurie:] Since childhood, I have been given the message that I should just sit back and let the men do the hard stuff. Therefore, I am more easily tempted than a man might be to let things pass and not take responsibility.

    Okay, I get it now — any strong male tendancy I have for lust is only a figment of my imagination and due to me being conditioned to think this way by family, society, whoever.


    Too bad it isn’t true, so I’d have someone/something to blame.

    More crazy egal reasoning…


  8. Michael McMillan   |  Wednesday, 25 March 2009 at 3:23 pm

    [David:] “They are inclined to different sins but it is all due to societal structuring and social pressures, not something inherent to our being.”

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    And where do the societal structuring and social pressures come from, if not people who happen to be male and female?

    Are women immodest because of society, or because the society consists of women who tend to be immodest by nature?

    Interesting, the Bible warns men about lust, but women about immodesty. According to your and Laurie’s reasoning, GOd’s Word is fabricating something out of nothing, and putting pressure on people to sin in certain ways based upon their genders.



  9. Michael McMillan   |  Wednesday, 25 March 2009 at 3:28 pm

    > “A Catholic survey found that the most common sin for women was pride…”

    Where egalitarianism comes from in the first place! They think know better. “If only women ran the world…,” I’ve heard from many quarters.


  10. Sally Thomas   |  Tuesday, 15 December 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Uh, wouldn’t declaring yourself to be less tempted towards pride be itself a form of pride? I’d sure think so.

    Now, I’m one of those devout Catholic women who go to Confession frequently, which I can’t blame on my Catholic upbringing, because I wasn’t raised Catholic. No lifelong ingrained guilt for me, thanks. I was a Methodist.

    Like all the devout Catholic people I know, however, I go to Confession because I believe that sin exists — it’s not some human construct — and that it exists in me, nice and intelligent person that I am, because I am a human being. It is an enslavement from which I need help in being set free; the sacrament of Confession is an ‘outward sign,’ as the ecclesial language puts it, of the invisible reality of God’s grace enacting my freedom.

    As you probably know, Catholics consider all actual sin (as opposed to original sin) to be broadly defined under seven distinct headings, ie the Cardinal Sins, which have their corresponding Cardinal Virtues.
    For example, Laurie, the sins which you list for yourself would fall under the rubric of Sloth, which as it happens is easily the sin I confess most. The corresponding Virtue, which I see myself needing to cultivate, is Diligence.

    I do often confess to sins of Pride as well, because if I’m remotely honest with myself, I can see that I’m distinctly lacking in the cardinal virtue of Humility. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think I’m enough of a doormat in the human scheme of things. It does mean that I tend to proceed, in various concrete ways, as if I were sufficient unto myself and not in need of God’s grace — neglecting my prayers, for example, or considering that the whole world will fall apart if I don’t do X, Y, or Z, because of course the fate of the world depends on my doing X, Y, or Z. I could be just as prideful, of course, in being a doormat — if I thought that my letting people walk all over me made me more virtuous somehow than another person who was more assertive, or if in being a passive person I was withholding something of myself, rather than making myself vulnerable by speaking or acting, and trusting God to take care of the consequences.

    At any rate, the “pride” thing really isn’t about Catholic women’s having submissiveness beaten into us by the patriarchy, or confessing not being submissive enough. A lot of things fall under that umbrella — presumption, impenitence, lack of trust in God, etc — which don’t, at first glance, seem to have much to do with being a know-it-all or wanting to run the world. And the only reason, I would imagine, that men don’t also manifest “pride” as their top sin is that lust trumps it.

    Do please tell my parish priest about all the riches, status, power and adulation he’s supposed to be experiencing. I’m sure he’d be totally fascinated by this evidence of life on other planets, if he wasn’t so busy singlehandedly serving the rest of us.

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