I must confess, the main reason that I never converted to Catholicism is the same reason my t-shirt business folded: bookkeeping. I hated keeping track of every single purchase, sale, sales tax, transaction and never really knew what the hell I was supposed to report to Uncle Sam on my quarterly reports.
Given that the default mode on my moral compass points to “sin” (key word “default,” mom…) I cannot imagine trying to keep track of all my sins and accurately reporting them to the Catholic God’s taxmen, priests. Whereas a mistake on my business ledger might merit an audit from the IRS, a slip-up on my quarterly sin count may lead to being smote down in front of all my friends, eternal damnation, or God forbid, hand washing jock straps for the Notre Dame football team for the rest of my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Catholicism or any other religion for that matter. All of my best friends, other than Jesus, have joined an organized religion. My problem with ascribing to any particular religion is all the damned rules (like using damn as a damn adjective). Nearly everything I’ve joined in my life, I’ve ended up quitting before too long — the one exception being the human race. But I’m telling you, some members in the latter group have been pushing all the wrong buttons and pulling all the wrong levers. I’m so close to falling over the edge. However, I would never kill myself; that would be suicide.
Converting (can you actually convert if you are not already in a religion?) to Catholicism presents the added burden of keeping track of all your sins, so when you climb into an outhouse-shaped confessional booth (see image below), you’ll spill ALL of your sins to the priest in the adjacent stall, receive a check list of Penance that needs to be checked off before you come back and drop your next load of burdens. Then, like Superman donning a cape and dipped in synthetic red and blue polyester, you emerge from the booth, conditionally absolved and feeling lighter, as if you can fly – or in the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear: “fall gracefully”.
Although, thoughts of converting to Catholicism just became more tempting with the new Roman Catholic App for your iPhone or iPad or iSin. The new app is designed to help penitents examine their Conscience based upon pre-programmed factors such as age, sex and vocation. Better yet, the app helps keep a running count and organize sins based on contrition. Moreover, you can add sins not listed in the standard examination of conscience such as “Third-Degree Blog Blasphemy.” The long-awaited app replaces the archaic Sin Abacus, which, with a couple of sharp turns en route to confession could shift your beaded sin count to absolution — something coined by some deceitful sinners, usually teenagers or closeted televangelists, as “The Absolution Sin Solution (ASS).”
Thank God for technology, eh? It’s only a matter of time before the Man upstairs, Steve Jobs, comes out with an ankle tracking device, the Sinulator, that monitors your sins as you commit them and simultaneously stores your history of sins in a nearby Catholic church’s mainframe and the Library of Congress. The only way you can get your Sinulator cleared is by going to confession and completely purging yourself, at which point the priest assigns Penance before entering the daily calibrated, secret code that wipes your slate free of sin. Should you keep procrastinating confession, your sins will merely accumulate until it reaches the Smite Point, explodes and smotes you down on the spot.
I imagine God already has a Smite app on his IPad, which He plays with in between Facebooking, tweeting and playing Grand Theft Auto IV on His Xbox-360.
However irrational it may seem at this point in time, the prospect of having a Sinulator permanently strapped around my ankle is enough to deter me from signing on to the Catholic Church. I often have visions of returning home from a weekend in Vegas, still coming down from the roofies slipped in the Molotov cocktail I drank Saturday night, and walking blindly into a sin intervention, or Sinnervention. I am not one for surprise parties or being the center of attention, so the thought of being surrounded by family, friends, Therapist Bob and the neighborhood Exorcist scares the hell out of me.
“The reason we’ve gathered here, T.M., is to help you confront your conscience,” Therapist Bob would say, taking the lead. “But first you need to take the first step and tell us about this,” he continues, pulling the remains of my charred Sinulator from a cardboard box. “Your neighbor heard a loud explosion coming from your house early Sunday morning and the fire department found this among the remains.”
That said, I must confess that I won’t be converting to Catholicism or purchasing the confession app any time soon. And the only piece of advice I have for any of you contemplating either of these is the following:
During confession, if you ever feel a priest’s foot tapping against your foot underneath the adjacent stall, I suggest you take a peek and make sure he doesn’t have a Sinulator strapped around either one of his ankles…
THE END Kaboom!