The Catholic Church Moves Into the Information Age: A 21st Century Confession.
[Originally published December 14, 2007.]
PARISHIONER: Bless me, Father, for I have spammed. It’s been 124 Google searches since I last purged my sin folder.
PRIEST: Upload to me what you have done wrong, my son.
PARISHIONER: I have violated all the commandments. I’ve helped make false idols—I always spam the American Idol text-messaging center trying to keep the worst singers on the show for one more week. Then, when they perform the next week, I always yell, “Goddamn it, they’re bad!”
PRIEST: You have violated the first two commandments, my son, but that’s not so bad.
PARISHIONER: I only wish it stopped there. I don’t rest on Sundays—that’s when I update my blog on all the things I hate about my mom and dad. That’s two commandments in one stroke!
PRIEST: Perhaps, but surely you haven’t killed anyone?
PARISHIONER: All the time! I play World of Warcraft at least three nights a week online, and I’m always killing people. Last Tuesday, I killed half the players from the Federated States of Micronesia. They were playing in a band with two goblins and … You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you, Father?
PRIEST: Not really. But go on, my son, you said you’ve violated all of them, but that’s only half. Adultery? I don’t see how you could have, um, had the time to do that with your busy gaming schedule.
PARISHIONER: But I have! I met a married woman on Second Life last week and we had a virtual affair in the island amusement park that I created there. Although, to be honest, I think it might have been the clerk at the post office—he was making creepy contact with me the next day and said something about an “island of amusement” when I bought stamps.
PRIEST: Let’s just assume it’s a wash—either way, you’ve sinned in the eyes of the church. And the last four commandments? I suppose you’ve violated those as well?
PARISHIONER: Yes! I stole music by pirating a Death Cab for Cutie album off a friend’s iPod. I lied by making a fake username on MySpace to create a profile for my favorite spice, thyme. I coveted my neighbor’s wife after I watched the sex tape they made on the Internet. And while I was watching it I thought, “Wow, their kitchen is huge!”—meaning I coveted his house, too. Father, what can I do?
PRIEST: My son, say one “Our Father,” then press the Ctrl+Alt+Delete buttons of your soul.
PARISHIONER: Excuse me?
PRIEST: Say an “Our Father,” then reboot your soul. The Lord forgives you.
PARISHIONER: Seriously? That’s it?
PRIEST: Recently, the pope has emphasized an “easy user interface” in Catholicism. Now go—the Lord forgives you but expects you to upgrade to Confession 2.0 by next spring.
PARISHIONER: What’s that?
PRIEST: It’s basically the same confession, but we’ll charge you more money and it’ll be a lot slower.
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