11 March 2008

New sins for our times

Today's Australian prints ( p3) an abridged version of a piece by Richard Owen in The Times about the Vatican's revised list of deadly sins.

The Oz, as it often does with items from The Thunderer, has cut some of the more interesting parts, including a list of "seven holy virtues" (chastity, abstinence, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness and humility) and the punishments for the original seven deadly sins:

Pride: Broken on the wheel
Envy : Put in freezing water
Gluttony: Forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes
Lust : Smothered in fire and brimstone
Anger: Dismembered alive
Greed : Put in cauldrons of boiling oil
Sloth : Thrown in snake pits

Source: The Picture Book of Devils, Demons and Witchcraft; Ernst and Johanna Lehner.

Do these "punishments", I wonder, not count as torture because they have, or may have had, ecclesiastical imprimatur? I'm surprised we've not heard this argument, casuistical though it is, advanced by the US authorities.

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