US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Boy sin versus girl sin

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Women are prideful and men are lustful, generalizes a report on sin and gender.

The report's conclusions are based on a survey of Confessions heard by Father Robert Busa, a 95-year-old Jesuit scholar. As reported in L'Osservatore Romano, the order of sins that men face are lust, gluttony, sloth, anger, pride, envy, and greed. For women it's pride, envy, anger, lust, and sloth.

I think it's smart to avoid such generalization, and it creeps me out that a priest could be sitting on the other side of the confessional booth, making a note, "woman, pride." I'm sure there are complicating factors such as culture and the personal perceptions of the priest. Do women confess to pride because they are supposed to be submissive whereas men don't see their own pride as pride?

That said, a 95-year-old priest has plenty of experience with hearing Confessions. Perhaps the report should have concluded that men most often confess to lust and that women most often confess to pride, rather than men are lustful and women are prideful. Much more extensive research, conducted by a psychologist, would need to be done to draw any other conclusions.

But it raises an interesting question: Are sins based in human nature or gender?

Ekklesia reports that a psychologist and a former bishop both agree that lust is more of a problem for men, but they aren't ready to condemn women for being prideful, which they take to mean vanity. "Pride is the root sin, it's about treating yourself with absolute self-regard to the detriment of all others, and female physical vanity is light years away from that," said Richard Holloway, a Scottish Episcopalian bishop, adding that the pride of "buccaneering bankers" (men?) is greater.

The Ekklesia article quoted only men besides this one line: "Women have suggested that the assumptions behind the study are sexist and patronising." Perhaps women ought to have a bit of pride in themselves, considering they frequently do not have a voice in society (even in an article from a liberal think tank), let alone in the church.