Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Catholicism Reboot: The Forty-Five Theses

Now that the pope is retiring, it's time to bring in some changes to the papacy and the Catholic Church in general to make it more up to date for the 21st Century. Here are my Forty-Five Theses. (Martin Luther had just under a hundred. I'll go just under fifty, since I know we have less time on our hands than they did in 1517, what with all the screen-based activities we have to do.)

1. The dogma of papal infallibility should be abandoned.

2. Bishops should be allowed to move in other directions besides diagonally.

3. In order to improve upon the other-worldly quality that Latin provides, the Mass should be performed in Klingon or Elvish.

4. Baptisms should be optional. Also optional in baptisms: the use of water. Green slime preferred, especially to attract the youth.

5. Popes should not be considered important political figures or otherwise have any political power.

6. Popes should be chosen at random: slips of paper with the names of all Catholics will be placed in the hat of the previous pope and pulled out by whoever is the current host of Let's Make a Deal.

7. Rather than believing in the trinity, the new doctrine should allow for a fourth person of God -- a female -- because that actually makes more sense. (If the word "Trinity" is something that wants to be kept, then simply remove the Holy Spirit from the lineup.)

8. Rather than white smoke announcing the election of a new pope, a firework that forms the shape of the robot from the 80s television show Small Wonder should be shot into the sky--because why the fuck not?

9. Any social works -- such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etc. -- should be recognized as something anyone can do without getting it all tangled up with the supernatural.

10. Anyone who finds the baby in a king cake no longer has to bring the cake the next year. Instead, they have to bring the condoms to the new Catholic swinger parties.

11. Priests should not be allowed to rape children. Any church authority who finds out about a child molesting priest should not consider themselves above the law and should turn over the criminal to the police, rather than moving them to another diocese where they can rape more children. This practice should, within a reasonable time, be thought of as "common sense."

12. On Ash Wednesday, instead of ashes, maybe some garlic shavings--which will have the added bonus of warding off vampires.

13. Transubstantiation -- the belief that crackers and wine served in communion are literally the body and blood of Jesus Christ -- should be replaced by a belief of things that happen in the real goddamned world.

14. Catholics should stop forbidding birth control and realize that allowing women control over whether or not they have babies is a sure-fire way to help solve the poverty problem. (Poverty should also be considered a problem, not a fetish object.)

15. Priests should be allowed to marry and otherwise engage in healthy adult sexual activities.

16. Catholics should be much more clear that the "immaculate conception" actually refers to the Virgin Mary being born without sin and filled with the "grace" given during baptism, that it does not refer to the virgin birth of Jesus. Once this clarification truly sinks in, this and similar doctrines should be abandoned, for fear of sounding like one is arguing over who would win in a fight between two comic book characters.

17. Women should be allowed to be priests. Men should be allowed to be nuns.

18. Nunsense should no longer be thought of as a musical that hilariously breaks the fourth wall.

19. Priests, bishops, etc. should begin dressing like artistic depictions of Jesus, not like Liberace.

20. Anointing the sick should be replaced with visits to a qualified physician.

21. Any pope who accepts the title, after chosen, should be immediately martyred. Any pope who refuses his title, after chosen, should decide a new, non-religious career path.

22. Lent should no longer be a creativity contest for what to give up.

23. The "Final Judgment" -- in which God decides who goes to Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell -- should be a game show in which Catholics can live out this fantasy doctrine, since it likely won't happen when they die.

24. The church should pay taxes, and at a higher rate than billionaires to make up for lost time.

25. Instead of Lent, Catholics should just think about spiritual things each time they clean the lint screen in their dryers.

26. Rather than wishing to go to Heaven, all Catholics should just go ahead and take that long, expensive vacation to another country they've been talking about for years.

27. Confession booths should become masturbation stalls for repressed priests.

28. The practice of confessing to a priest to be absolved of sin should be replaced with individuals taking responsibility for their lives and facing the consequences of their actions. In most cases, however, there should be no need to confess anything, since the concept of "sin" will be recognized as a human invention and a tool of oppression.

29. Marriage should be allowed only for same-sex Catholics. Men and women who want to marry will have to undergo what is known as a "genital-interlocking ceremony" and keep their union hidden from the public until they reach age 85, by which point it will be viewed as adorable.

30. Boys should no longer have to kneel in front of priests.

31. All sacred images, candles, crucifixions, stained-glass, and other beautiful objects should be given to museums, where Indiana Jones would prefer they be.

32. Rome should admit that it stole and worsened Christianity just as it stole and worsened Greek culture.

33. Prayers for the dead should only be allowed when the dead person specifically requests it. (Requests made while still living do not count.)

34. The church should admit that (for reasons that should be obvious) it has no business deciding matters of morality.

35. Catholic Schools should have a "Whack a Nun Day" during which schoolchildren hit nuns with rulers in memory of the days when nuns used to do that to children (which, if they still do, should be abandoned).

36. All Catholic dogma should be replaced by Lars Von Trier's Dogme 95 philosophy of filmmaking.

37. The Vatican should be sold off brick by brick and the money should be donated to charities aiding victims of childhood sexual molestation.

38. Catholics should, each time they want to say "God" or "Jesus" or the equivalent, replace it with a god they don't believe in, just to see how it sounds to the ear.

39. The pope should no longer be considered the successor of St. Peter.

40. St. Peter should no longer be considered "the first pope" or a saint or anything else special, since he seemed like one of the stupider disciples among many stupid disciples.

41. The Virgin Mary should heretofore be referred to as "The Sexually-Active Mary."

42. The priesthood should be dismantled, and Jesus should no longer be recognized as the son of God.

43. The Catholic Church should admit that it is not the "one true church" and should help elect a new "one true church" every four years (coinciding with the Olympics), starting with the Mormons.

44. The church should apologize one more time for that Galileo thing.

45. All Catholics should become Protestants, try that out for a year, dabble in Buddhism (preferably during a year off after college), and then realize it's just as well to become secular and live a real life.