New Sins Make Easter Atonement Harder for Catholics

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 19, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Personal Story" segment tonight, it is Holy Week, and millions of American Christians are attending services in anticipation of Easter Sunday, but for Catholics, atoning just became a lot harder because the pope has announced a few more sins are in play. One of them is excessive wealth.

With us now, Christine O'Donnell, a Catholic who works at the Faith and Flag Alliance.

You know, I mean, I got so much atoning to do this week. Now, there's seven more sins. Obsessive wealth. What is that? Why is that sinful?

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, FAITH AND FLAG ALLIANCE: OK. Well, first if I can clarify the context in which these remarks were made. They were made by the bishop who is in charge of determining what's sin and making these social judgments. Now, he was being interviewed by a magazine, so that would be like you reporting on the Supreme Court ruling, as opposed to everybody's interpretation.

O'REILLY: But the Vatican didn't say this is crazy. I mean, they concur with his announcement.

O'DONNELL: Right. But he's not — what he's doing is, in this interview, he is not saying these were new sins, but he was clarifying that there's a modern manifestation of the original sins.

O'REILLY: Fine. Obsessive wealth. I mean, what does that mean?

O'DONNELL: All right. Again, that was taken out of context. What he was saying is a sin are the social injustices that cause the chasm between excessive wealth and great poverty. You know, such as the greed or...

O'REILLY: So if you hurt somebody to amass a fortune, you're going to hell?

O'DONNELL: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: So part of her rich man pass through a needle's eye which was a gate in Jerusalem.


O'REILLY: And — OK. So all rich people aren't going to be damned?

O'DONNELL: No, no, no. It's the spirit in which you obtain that wealth. I mean, the church and ministries need wealthy people to make contributions.

O'REILLY: I have to — I have to run this down. I have to run this down, all right? OK. Pollution, that's a sin, pollution.

O'DONNELL: Right, again, for something like that — now, first let me say some actions are purely, you know, intrinsically evil. But with pollution and littering, I mean, a lot of people said, "Oh, you're littering. You're going to hell now. It's the spirit again behind it. The root sin of the littering is the slothfulness, the greed, you know, what is behind it.

O'REILLY: But if you hurt somebody by pollution, if you're a big corporation, you're dumping chemicals in the water, you're going to hell.

O'DONNELL: Again, that's greed.

O'REILLY: You're going to hell.

O'DONNELL: Absolutely. Again, that's greed. So what he was doing was identifying the modern manifestations of the original root sins.

O'REILLY: OK. You're way too smart for me, Christine.

This one, genetic engineering. Genetic engineering, what does this mean?

O'DONNELL: That means the cloning and the...

O'REILLY: Messing around with Mother Nature?

O'DONNELL: Absolutely. Doing what only God should do: create human life. The power of life belongs only in the hands of God.

And let me just say, what the bishop was doing was not, you know, putting this out there to be judgmental. What he was doing was reminding us all of our desperate need for forgiveness. Many people say, "Oh, I'm a good person. I'll be fine. I'm going to heaven." It's like, oh, yes? Well, take a look at this. How greedy are you? How — how...

O'REILLY: Sure, everybody has got to examine their conscience and like that.

But then there are drug dealing. You know, drug dealing has always been a sin. You can't sell drugs to somebody and not think you're not going to get held to account.

O'DONNELL: Right. Right. And in this article, he also talked about drug use being a sin...

O'REILLY: Sure it is.

O'DONNELL: ... because it weakens our intelligence, it weakens our conscience, and it separates us.

O'REILLY: You're abusing your body. Any kind of — it would be like cutting off your finger or self-mutilation, you know.


O'REILLY: All of this stuff. But this has always been that way. I was taught in Catholic school, you know, if you get drunk and you get out of your mind and you're abusing yourself, that is not good.

O'DONNELL: What he's trying to do is exhort people to do a regular examination of your conscience so that you can create a healthy soul.

O'REILLY: Right.

O'DONNELL: Because in today's modern society, people, you know, turn a blind eye to a lot of people using drugs.

O'REILLY: Some do and some, like me, are keeping track of every sin. OK.

I don't want to get too far behind there, Christine. You know what I'm talking about? Never going to catch up. So I've got seven more to worry about now. I'm not littering. I'm absolutely not littering. And we give a lot of money to charity, so I'm trying to buy my way to heaven doing that.

Christine, thanks very much. Good to see you.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

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