Mother Teresa expressed grave doubts about God's existence and pain over her lack of faith...
Defiling the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body and blood of Christ, is also considered a and one which is on the increase, the high-ranking members of the tribunal said.
Such sins, which can only be dealt with by the Pope, acting through the tribunal, bring automatic excommunication from the Church. If the Pope decides to grant absolution, the excommunication is lifted.
~ Vatican reveals secrets of worst sins - Telegraph
This illustrates why religious values are a poor guide for human morality. Desecration of a symbol (though Catholic believe the Eucharist IS the body of Christ) is ranked as a worse sin than, say, a priest molesting a child or a man murdering his wife.
Busty Virgin Mary Outrages Catholics - For his fashion show in Chile, designer Ricardo Oyarzun plans to dress models according to his vision of the Virgin Mary. True to his industry, that vision features women with ample, near-naked breasts. True to their mission, the Roman Catholic Church has condemned Ricardo Oyarzun and his show, and a conservative group has tried and failed to block the show's production in court.
Pope Benedict said on Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behavior was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction...."(The Church) should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed...The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."
The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound."
The pope said humanity needed to "listen to the language of creation" to understand the intended roles of man and woman. He compared behavior beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God's work."
He also defended the Church's right to "speak of human nature as man and woman, and ask that this order of creation be respected."
~ Pope likens saving gays to saving the rainforest - Reuters
U.S. Adults Shifting Religions - Catholics are leaving the church in record numbers (with recent scandals, no surprise). But an "influx of Catholic immigrants" balances out the losses. Nondenominational Protestants are up, and the number of adults unaffiliated with an organized religion are way up. Buddhist, Muslims, and Pentecostals are the only growing populations, with Pentecostals leading that race.
Forgiveness - As a former Catholic, I have experienced the sacrament of reconciliation. It begins with confessing your sins to a priest. After hearing your confession, the priest will usually offer some advice and penance. After that, the priest will declare you absolved or forgiven by God.
During my junior high and high school years, I was a fairly devout Catholic, and I found this reconciliation experience incredibly powerful. After confession, I had a clean slate and felt pure. What a marvelous feeling, especially for a guilty Catholic boy.
I remember a particularly powerful experience. During a high school retreat, we had the opportunity to ask forgiveness from any classmates we had sinned against. In essence, we asked forgiveness directly from those we'd wronged. WOW! I took this very seriously, and went up to a guy I had really hated...He was a big, strong, jock, and I really didn't like him...I can't remember why now...
Document posted by Vatican is difficult to read with the fancy background. Here's Pope Benedict's encyclical Spe Salvi in a more readable format.
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
TO THE BISHOPS
PRIESTS AND DEACONS
MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS
AND ALL THE LAY FAITHFUL
ON CHRISTIAN HOPE