Bob and Steve, here.
Have you ever noticed two things progatheists1 love most is scope-creep2 and complexity (rules). Probably because both of these give them more power. Take the Amazon synod3. It should be a simple local matter about evangelizing the peoples of the Amazon. But noooo. It’s become about everything but that. It’s become about refashioning the entire Church into something that looks like the Department of Motor Vehicles. Get ready for a raft of rules, policies, programs, mission statements, you name it.
It gets one wondering where it will ever end. What if the progatheists remade the sacraments in the government’s image? What if reconciliation were run like the DMV? Hmmmm – let’s chew on that, shall we? Let’s step into that world.
First we must control the language. Reconciliation is out. Instead it is called the morality tax, or “mor-tax” for short (you can guess how that’s pronounced). Penitent is out. Customer is in. Sacrament is out. Service is in. Minister is out. Manager is in. Sin is out. Grievance against the Cosmos is in.
Reconciliation used to be voluntary. That kind of reckless reliance on personal conscience and responsibility is out under progatheist rule. Current policy requires reconciliation twice-monthly for all months ending in “y” and three-times monthly for all others, unless the month also has less than 30 days in which case the “customer” alternates between 2x and 3x per trailing month. That applies for customers with last names starting with A-E. For customers with last names starting with F – M …..
Efficiency and throughput are the hallmark of the Mor-tax service. Mor-tax is automated. Mor-tax is friendly and fun. Mor-tax is the way of the future. Let’s see Mor-tax it in action.
Mor-tax is provided through your local MorTax office (picture your DMV but not as much fun). They are only open on Saturday afternoons from 3:45-4:25 pm – more on that later. You start with an Automated Virtual Manager, who assesses your grievances against the cosmos and directs you to the appropriate window for further processing.
Customer: audit me manager for I have sinned, I mean grieved against the cosmos.
AVM: how long has it been since your last Mor-tax audit?
Customer: 2 weeks.
AVM: you are out of compliance. If you agree, press #1 to accept your penalty fee and continue. If you disagree, press #2 to accept your penalty fee and continue.
Customer: But my last name starts with “C” and it is was the 2-per-month sequence of the alternating non-y month according to chapter 3, paragraph A, subparagraph ii of the amended Mor-tax rules?!
AVM: I see you’ve selected option “2”. Please continue with your grievances against the cosmos.
Customer: I actually don’t have any grievances this period. But I knew I had to come in, so here I am.
AVM: according to our revenue policy, you are required to have grievances. You must state a grievance.
Customer: OK. I shoplifted.
AVM: Please report to Window 5.
(Customer goes to Window #5)
Account Processor: Please state your grievance.
Customer: I supposedly shoplifted.
Account Processor: Please speak up so I can hear you through the window.
Customer (shouting): I supposedly shoplifted.
Account Processor: OK – so you shoplifted.
Customer: No I didn’t. I just said that because the AVM made me.
Account Processor: OK, so your grievance is that you lied.
Customer: No, I didn’t lie. I was coerced.
Account Processor: Lie or shoplift. Take your pick.
Customer: But I never shoplifted.
Account Processor: that’s not a problem. We’ll credit your account for shoplifting and give you a voucher.
Account Processor: since you’ve confessed shoplifting you now have a credit to go out and commit that grievance. How else can we balance our books?
Account Processor: I’m ready to process your act of contrition. Please swipe your credit card.
Customer: Don’t I get to know how much you’re charging me first?
Account Processor: It will be $10.
Customer: That’s not so bad.
Account Process: It just went up to $100. Does it feel bad now?
Customer: You can’t do that.
Account Processor: We can do whatever we want. And we want you to feel very bad. We’re ready to process your contrition, please swipe.
(Customer swipes his card)
Account Processor: Please go and grieve some more. We encourage you to join our grievance incentive program. With every 4th grievance the 5th is free.
Let’s look at the effects of inflation on this new paradigm. [Those of you playing “NEW-SPEAK BS BINGO” may find that word on your BINGO cards.] You are probably aware of how the government adjusts salaries, benefits, and tax-related dollar amounts annually to offset the effects of inflation. It does a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). If you’re guessing that sins will increase in price every year, well that’s where you’d be wrong. The CPI in this case is The Confessional Penance Index and COLA is cost-of-lawlessness adjustment. In its all-knowing and pure wisdom, the government has paired this new CPI and COLA with a constant-yield equation so that no faith group contributes more than 10% of the cost of running the government. Needless to say, our dear readers need not concern themselves with the details of this– your careful and astute authors certainly didn’t. But the bottom line is that sins will get cheaper as time goes on. Soon, sins will be as cheap as “a dime a dozen” so, why not cuss at other drivers in traffic? What great progress we’ll have made on the prog-atheists watch!
Now, back to those hours of operation– why is the MorTax office only open on Saturday afternoons from 3:45-4:25 pm? Well, in short, that’s the schedule the MorTax bureaucracy inherited from the Catholic church. Despite the increased demand for reconciliation under the new MorTax compliance regulations, they take great joy in driving a wedge between your convenience and your desire to remain a practicing Catholic. Besides, the rest of the week, they’re busy updating everyone’s blackmail files (or as they happily call it, updating your customer profile).
But divisions are no laughing matter. Let us pray that the Lord delivers us from the divisions becoming ever more present even in the midst of His Church!
1 Progatheist /prəgˈāTHēəst/
noun: a person who both lacks belief in the existence of God and works on advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas. A person who elevates government, editors of the New York Times and most movie stars to the level above all other entities, especially God.
2 See also: “mission-creep” – the gradual expansion of a project or mission. See also: “Federal Government: Core Values”.