Weekly Shocks' Blog

I wonder if he has Facebook access in his PopeMobile.

The Holy Father, Keeper of Men's Souls! Wonder if I can poke him on Facebook - he is rather like a Troll Doll....

The Holy Father, Keeper of Men's Souls! Wonder if I can poke him on Facebook....

Every once in a while I remember that, as a Catholic, I’m occasionally supposed to pay attention to what the Pope says and adjust my behavior accordingly. Lucky for me, the miracles of modern technology have reached deep into the heart of St Peter’s, allowing for good old Benedict to beam his troll-like visage and complicated, often contradictory eschatology into the homes of millions! Yes, ignoring his edicts has never been easier now that the Vatican has its own YouTube Channel!

Taking pot shots at the Catholic Church has become so easy it’s not even fun anymore, and I’m still devoted enough to my Irish Catholic roots to feel the need to defend the Church. This isn’t easy, especially because I grew up in Boston, and when people find that out, they inevitably ask if I, or any of my friends, was handled inappropriately by a priest. It’s quite sad, because I loved growing up Catholic and had a pretty hard time adjusting my perpetually confused, but very affectionate opinion of the church with this worldwide scandal that pretty much tanked the already fairly limited ‘cool factor’ associated with being a Catholic. It was hard enough having to explain to my Protestant friends, that, yes indeed, we believed in transubstantiation, and, yeah, I guess that sort of did make us ritualistic cannibals, but hey: there are worse things out there than indulging in a little, old-fashioned human flesh, right? Right?! It’s not as if we were molesting small boys!


Anyway, the Pope has gone thoroughly modern now, which I think is awfully cool, though it also means that I seem to be sinning in ways I had never considered possible before. Take the pontiff’s latest proclamation on the subject of social networking sites:

“The concept of friendship has enjoyed a renewed prominence in the vocabulary of the new digital social networks that have emerged in the last few years. The concept is one of the noblest achievements of human culture. … We should be careful, therefore, never to trivialise the concept or the experience of friendship. It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbours and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development.”

Now, I fully admit to being a Facebook whore, mostly because it means I don’t have to interact with real people in real time and the steady hum of my laptop drowns out the voice of the Devil in my head. But now Pope Benedict is telling me that such obsessive desire is in fact isolating. Well, bugger, since when has isolationism been a problem for Catholics?! Have I been imagining all those monasteries and convents in both my anecdotal religious experience as well as my shoddy historical training? Apparently. Still, it’s always nice to chalk up yet another previously innocuous habit into the category of sin, because, let’s face it, we Catholics are nothing without our sin. And I cling to that, because sin is also inherently funny. So I guess I am taking pot shots at the Church, like every other stooge in the world, and what’s worse, I’m taking really cheap pot shots, too. Oh well: you do what you can with what you’ve got and then you repent later when the burden of your guilt starts sitting on your head and crushing it.

I wonder if you can receive Penance online? ‘Scuse me, I have a date with Google.


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