Tag Archives: fiction

Vatican To Reboot Entire Catholic Faith

We’ve been hearing rumors for months now, but it’s finally been confirmed. Last Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI announced that the Roman Catholic Church would be undergoing “a complete and total overhaul” to make it more easily accessible to new converts. From the official press release

“While the Catholic Church is very proud of its accomplishments over the past two millennia, it is becoming increasingly clear in this fast-paced age of technology and social media that the current One True Faith leaves a lot to be desired, and can leave many newcomers cold. It is understandable, of course, that those who are newer to the Church may be confused upon initial entry. After all, our current canon consists not only of the Holy Bible, broken into the Old and New Testaments, but Sacred Tradition and countless Creeds. . . In the new Faith, all of this will be streamlined and made available in a much more organized and digestible fashion.”

On the one hand, this news is very exciting. It’s well known that the Church could use an overhaul. Coming into the Faith new, a convert has a lot to take in. There’s the Scriptures, the Sacraments, and the trinity; not to mention the nearly two-thousand year history. Who can really be expected to learn about the Crusades and the Great Schism just for a chance to get into Heaven?

Of course, with the new reorganization, Heaven may not even exist, at least not exactly as modern Catholics see it. When questioned about the afterlife, the Pope said “We have big plans for. . . Heaven and Hell. For the new direction, we are going to be trying very hard to distance ourselves from Dante and the like.” This comes as quite the shock. We don’t yet know what direction they’re planning on taking this, but there’s a very good chance they’re going towards something more akin to Hindu’s philosophy of constant reincarnation. That would definitely shake things up a bit!

While the Pope has made it clear that the fundamental tenets will still be pretty much the same, there seem to be no sacred cows when it comes to the reboot. Trinity? The Virgin Mary? Excommunication? All seem to be in a state of limbo at the moment.

The biggest change that has been definitively revealed so far is in the nature of the Church’s flagship property, God. Traditionally, God, and therefore the Church, is seen as infallible. This will not necessarily be the case in the future. According to the Pope, “Infallibility was a huge draw back when the disciples were writing. It was a much different time, when people felt they needed something very reliable to hold onto.”

“Not so much anymore,” continues the Pope, “The attitude these days seems to be to question everything. Question your teachers, question your parents, question your government, even question God. Rather than fighting this and driving away potential converts, we are adopting a policy of semifallibility. This way people, young people especially, can question all they want and still remain in good standing with the Church.” When questioned as to exactly how fallible God would become, the Pope answered with a wink and a nudge. “I think we’ll end up being right most of the time.”

To many, these changes may seem like a lot. To some, though, they are not enough. Detractors say that the Church has been tracing over its steps, retconning important developments since the First Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Others point out that the foundation of the church itself was in a way a reorganization of the earlier Jewish religion, which shares much of the same continuity. One anonymous blogger wrote

“This is just yet another desperate attempt at siphoning converts off from the competition. The Holy See sees all these potential Catholics going off to Protestantism or Islam or countless until recently obscure Eastern faiths and thinks ‘We have to make ourselves more accessible.’ What they don’t realize is that those religions have just as much bloat as Roman Catholicism. The draw isn’t accessibility, those religions are simply better. Adding a shiny new paint job to a rotten core and calling it a reboot is not going to save their dying followerbase.”

Whether the reboot will be the breath of fresh air this religion needs, or just another flash in the pan is yet to be seen. You can go to their website to see a complete list of new Scriptures. Personally, I can’t wait to see the streamlined Pentateuch. Jesus Christ isn’t really my thing, but they’re keeping the Big Four gospels (though I don’t think there’s a single Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John on the writing team), so they seem to still think he’s pretty important. The Neil Gaiman-penned Revelation also looks extremely promising.

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On Hiatus…

…until I get back from my ten-day Roman Empire cruise on July 18th.  I have been in Michigan for the past week, and today is my only full day back home, hence the lack of updates.  I don’t know what my internet situation will be, and even if I have it I will likely be too busy relaxing away from the grind of farting around to write anything substantial.  Until I come back, here’s a story for you to mull over:

Martin was a boy once.  Now he’s a man, as most little boys become one way or another, but this story is not about that part of Martin.  This story is about the eleven-year-old Martin who went to see his father for the very first time.

You see, Martin’s legal last name was Schumaker, a name which none of his blood relatives shared.  His mother, a Paterson (such a well-respected Christian family), was nineteen when Martin ceased to be a fetus, and would be thirty had she lived past that moment.  His father, a retired Mormon minister of the family Henderick, went on a drinking binge one night shortly after his first wife died in a car crash and he lost his faith and his will to live.  Hence Martin.

Mr. Henderick (that was what Martin called him) insisted that they meet.  He paid for Martin’s flight and everything.  An impressive feat, considering he was trying very hard to hold two unsteady jobs at the time, a situation he had grown used to over the past eleven years.

Martin arrived at the Toronto airport at 10:51 that Friday night.  Of course, he proceeded directly to the baggage claim.  He waited for the luggage to travel over the conveyor belt once.  Then again.  Then one more time.  At this point, there were only three bags left, none of them Martin’s.  Being young and inexperienced, he didn’t know what to do.

Really, this is something that the airlines should have figured out by now, right?  I mean, the first manned fixed-wing flight was over one-hundred years ago.  Rail companies never lose luggage, now do they?  Sure, fatalaties are higher, but to go somewhere by train you’re paying significantly less for a more predictable ride, with no tacked on “checked baggage” fees or whatever, and nobody ever walks away from a train without a bag unless they leave it there in their own stupidity!  It doesn’t matter how many airlines I transfer between, when all the flights are one time, when the airport at which my suitcase was supposedly left had a layover of two hours, the airlines should be able to figure out a system of, oh, I don’t know, reading the tags and then putting the bag onto another plane like every other bag?

But no, two airlines is too much work.  Switch from United to Northwestern and no amount of procedure is going to help them geta suitcase onto another plane.  It’s not even as if there are a bunch of planes all packed in one space, there’s one gigantic plane, and it’s the only one going to Detroit, and this is Indianapolis for God’s sake!  How screwed up does the system have to be to lose a bag in Indianapolis!

And now we have to pay to check bags.  This particular bag cost twenty dollars to load underneath the plane, as opposed to the zero dollars it would cost had a brought the same weight in a slightly smaller package onto the plane and put it above my head.  Before, losing bags was somewhat acceptable, as checked bags were more of a convenience tacked on at no extra charge.  No guarantees, right?  But now, it’s crossed the line into a service.  And, this is how services work: you tell me what you are offering, I give you the amount of money agreed upon prior to the transaction, and then you perform the service as advertised.  If that transaction is not carried out to the extent of the previously-agreed-upon deal, one of the parties has a right to file a lawsuit against the other for unlawful business practices.  If I give an airline twenty dollars to take my luggage from one place to another in eight hours, and it’s not there, I should get a refund, and they should figure out how to get the thing out of Indianapolis on, say, one of the planes to Detroit!  There were three today, it was on none of them!  How much time do they need?

I’m just glad I had enough books in my backpack to get through the cruise.  Cryptonomicon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Illustrated Man, A Pebble In The Sky, I think these will be enough.  Hopefully.

Anyway, what was I talking about before?

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