Andrew Brown defends Papal indulgences involving Twitter

UPDATE: Reader Pliny the In Between called my attention to yet another cartoon making fun of the Twitter Indulgences, this one from Pictorial Theology. It’s called “Face-the-Music Book”:

Untitled3.001

__________________

Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I know Andrew Brown is an atheist. Or rather, “faitheist,” since, for someone who doesn’t believe in God, he spends an extraordinary amount of time defending religion. In fact, his defense of faith, and his attacks on his fellow atheists, go to such ludicrous lengths that I’m convinced that the Guardian keeps him on staff to provoke the torrents of blog traffic following each of his stupid pronouncements.

Brown’s latest is truly funny: a defense of the Vatican’s new indulgences involving social media. As you probably know, the branch of the Vatican involved in the remission of sin (“the sacred apostolic penitentiary”) has just declared that you can win yourself less time in Purgatory by following Pope Francis’s activities as he visits Brazil for Catholic World Youth Day (July 22-28; obviously more than a day). As the Guardian (not Brown) reports:

Mindful of the faithful who cannot afford to fly to Brazil, the Vatican’s sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which handles the forgiveness of sins, has also extended the privilege to those following the “rites and pious exercises” of the event on television, radio and through social media.

“That includes following Twitter,” said a source at the penitentiary, referring to Pope Francis’ Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers. “But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the internet.”

In its decree, the penitentiary said that getting an indulgence would hinge on the beneficiary having previously confessed and being “truly penitent and contrite”.

Praying while following events in Rio online would need to be carried out with “requisite devotion”, it suggested.

. . . “What really counts is that the tweets the Pope sends from Brazil or the photos of the Catholic World Youth Day that go up on Pinterest produce authentic spiritual fruit in the hearts of everyone,” said Celli [Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the Vatican's council for social communication].

I didn’t even know indulgences like this were still a going concern, since in the old days, when you had to grease a palm, the ludicrous nature of buying respite from Purgatory helped bring on the Reformation. But, yes, indulgences still around (see a list here), involving things like listening to scripture for half an hour. (I guess it doesn’t work if you devote only 15 minutes.)

To atheists, the whole business seems as ridiculous as it did to Luther in 1517, but for different reasons. There is no hell, no Purgatory, and the idea that you can buy yourself an accelerated ticket to Paradise by performing specific acts—with the acceleration specified in days, weeks or months—borders on lunacy.

Enter Andrew Brown, who defends the whole business in his new Guardian piece, “So the Pope’s Twitter followers get time off Purgatory. What’s the problem?” Brown, while granting that the ideas of hell and Purgatory may seem “absurd” to atheists, says that once you’ve accepted these ideas, it’s no weirder to get remission from following Twitter than from walking to Santiago. He poses a hypothetical:

But let’s suppose, just for the sake of argument, that the pope does have an informed opinion on what behaviour pleases God and benefits the soul. Does it then matter at all what technology he uses to spread his opinions? Is there anything intrinsically more ridiculous in following a devotion on Twitter than in the flesh, or on television?

The answer has to be no. The whole point of electronic communication is that it has effects in the physical world. That makes it real so far as I am concerned. If a love affair can be nourished in letters, it can be nourished, too, in email, or even, for very time-pressed lovers, in tweets.

When evangelical churches put their prayers up on PowerPoint displays, they don’t lose their spiritual effects through not being printed in books, or on service sheets. What matters is that the congregations say them and mean them. What might make them pointless is the sentiment, not the means of transmission.

And it is quite clear from the Vatican’s remarks that merely reading the Twitter feed won’t have any effect. What it is claiming is that following along with the feed and allowing it to stimulate your thoughts and behaviour as it is supposed to do will have a beneficial spiritual effect. Again, I can’t see that the means of transmission should make any difference at all here.

Well, he has a point. Once you buy into the whole corrupt and delusional system, does it matter whether you win less time in Purgatory by reciting the rosary or by reading the Pope’s tweets with a pious heart? Probably not.  The problem is that Brown has no problem with this. He’s an atheist, and yet assumes “for the sake of argument” that the Pope knows exactly what God considers appropriate for a respite from Purgatory.

And what is characteristically Brownian is the fact that he spends a whole column attacking those who laugh at the idea of electronic indulgences, and defending the Church’s stand, while barely noticing that the whole idea is not only rotten, but false.

As Brown said, the remission of sin by following social media isn’t qualitatively different from that obtained by reading scripture or adoring Jesus in the Eucharist.  What he doesn’t see is that the new indulgences simply underline the rapidly eroding credibility of the Church and the desperate (and humorous) measures it takes to hold its position.

As usual, Jesus and Mo say this in far fewer words:

2013-07-17

h/t: Kevin, Grania, and a few other reader whose names I’ve unfortunately lost.

72 Comments

  1. Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Great cartoon

  2. Rob
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    the idea that you can buy yourself an accelerated ticket to Paradise by performing specific acts—with the acceleration specified in days, weeks or months—borders on lunacy.

    It is based on an idea that is lunacy, so how does it only border on lunacy?

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Not enough moon?

  3. Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    You know, if you buy into the notion that you shit gold bricks, it’s only logical to attempt to make some very smelly deposits at Fort Knox.

    Internal logical consistency isn’t the question — though, to be sure, religions aren’t that big on logic, either, what with the whole omni-everything schtick and all. The question is how gullible and / or stupid and / or insane you have to be to think that great wisdom is to be found in a millennia-old anthology of third-rate faery tales. Because, of course you’re only going to multiply the stupid insanity if you take that bullshit seriously and to its logical conclusions.

    Cheers,

    b&

  4. Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t Brown the one who once wrote that Christians don’t really believe in the Virgin birth, Jesus resurrection and walking on water miracles stuff, and said Dawkins was a twit for saying Christians did.

    Then he actually went and spoke to some “Real Christians” to discover they really did believe this rubbish?

    • Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      No, that was Julian Baggini, who claimed that nobody accepted those kinds of beliefs and then, after doing a survey of churchgoing Christians, was shocked to find that most people really believed the stuff.

      • Dave
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        Just goes to show that Philosophers and Sophisticated Theologians really need to get out more.

        • Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          They ain’t called “ivory towers” for nothin’….

          b&

  5. Lianne Byram
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    I find the whole idea of Twitter indulgences quite amusing. So ludicrous that it’s hard to believe that even the most devout believer could take them seriously. I’m surprised that indulgences of any kind are still around – so medieval :)

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      I pointed some articles about this indulgence to a very devout Catholic friend of mine and she was so shocked. She’s going to ask her priest about it. I told her to let me know what he says because I’m really curious about this one.

      Yes, I’m trying to shake my Catholic friend’s faith. Yes, I’m a little evil for it.

      • Lianne Byram
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Not evil, helpful:) I’ll have to ask my Catholic boyfriend about it.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          My Catholic friend asked her priest and he gave her an easy answer that it’s just the Pope trying to use the latest technology and allow people to have a “spiritual journey” if they can’t be there in person.

          So, not letting her get off that easy, I pointed out that regardless of the ludicrous Twitter part, what about the idea of indulgences as it’s quid pro quo (and really the same as paying to be sin free) – do some task, get time off of purgatory. She admitted she didn’t believe in that. So, I asked her how she could be a Catholic then if she didn’t buy to what the Vatican was selling. She said that she felt the Vatican was just trying to get some people who aren’t very knowledgable to do good things in a way to train them to actually want to do the good things. So (skipping the paternalism of the church and the cherry picking) I proposed that by giving indulgences in this way the Church could be leading people into sin as the task doers really would not believe in what they were doing. She had no answer on this other then it was a way to get people to be good (because they do good things through Christ).

          This of course made me ask about me not going to heaven and being tortured in the Lake of Fire for eternity simply because I don’t believe in God or Jesus. I could tell this bothered her (seed planted).

          After much discussion that included me asking (but what about the Buddhists and the Jews) she said that what counts is the death bed conversion when Jesus reaches out to you. Somehow she felt that Jesus would show up to people who never even heard of him. So I asked her if she thought Hitler was in heaven. To which she said to say she didn’t know. So then I asked her what she thought about me being tortured in the Lake of Fire and Hitler being in heaven. She couldn’t answer that (seed watered). The only thing she could say is that nobody knows about what the Lake of Fire is and all that (cherry picking).

          I finally asked her if she was more a liberal Christian instead of a Catholic and she said she wanted to be Catholic because there are churches all around the world (she is from a developing country and has lived in Europe and Canada). It’s kind of like taking a warranty that has world wide coverage.

          Well, I hope I at least planted some doubt. Who knows. And muhahaha!!

          • Lianne Byram
            Posted July 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            :) Good job! My boyfriend has told me that he doesn’t think I’m going to hell, but he hasn’t said how he came to that conclusion. He hasn’t responded yet to my question about indulgences ( I made it via Facebook).

  6. NewEnglandBob
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    As far as I am concerned, twitter IS purgatory. That us why I don’t have an account.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      +1

  7. Dave
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    What’s the new Pope’s stance on mortification of the flesh? I’m more than happy to give myself a good scourging with a barbed flail if it’ll save me from stewing in molten sulphur for a few years.

    Come to think of it, I might just do it anyway…

    • darrelle
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      In an attempt to keep up with the younger crowd virtual mortification of the flesh is now offered. Available for Xbox and Nintendo.

      • horrabin
        Posted July 18, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Flagellism would be perfect for Wii or Kinect.

  8. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Brown, while granting that the ideas of hell and Purgatory may seem “absurd” to atheists, says that once you’ve accepted these ideas,…

    While it may seem “absurd” that [fill in the blank], once you’ve accepted the idea that

    The “blanks”:

    __a man so long dead that his corpse is stinking can be reanimated___

    __a whale could swallow a man whole and carry him around for while only to have him emerge later none the worse for wear___

    __it could rain for forty days and forty nights, drown everyone on earth save for one highly incestuous family___
    .
    [repeat, ad nauseum...]
    .
    __a newspaper that would like to be considered “respectable” would keep a moron like Andrew Brown on just to troll its readers___

    Oh, wait that last one could happen, so are the others really ruled out? Hmmm…

    • darrelle
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      You must be a genius, ’cause I can’t understand your comment at all. Except for the comical condescension. That came through clearly.

      • Timothy Hughbanks
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        Except for the last part, my comment is basically the same as that made by jbgames (#9). The last part is related to the best defense of the idea of “miracles” I can think of:

        Sure, miracles are wildly improbable. You’d have to be crazy to believe them. But, if you think about it, isn’t is a kind of ‘miracle’ that billions of people say they believe in miracles – including hundreds of millionswho claim to be “educated”? Ergo, miracles can happen!

        • darrelle
          Posted July 18, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          I was mostly joking, but I suck at it. Don’t know why I keep trying. Thanks for clarifying though.

  9. gbjames
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    “once you’ve accepted these ideas, it’s no weirder to get remission from following Twitter than from walking to Santiago”

    Once you accept the idea that pigs live in trees, there is nothing at all weird about harvesting bacon using nothing but a ladder and a basket.

    You can’t make this shit up.

    • gbjames
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      I told my wife (a former Catholic) about this indulgence story yesterday afternoon. She was convinced that I had fallen for a spoof of some kind. She had trouble believing it even after I showed her the Guardian story.

      Catholicism is a parody of itself.

      • Marella
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        All religion is.

  10. Pliny the in Between
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    We should take this as an opportunity. Who knows what technology leap might occur. The last time the Church was this deep in granting indulgences it lead to the invention of the printing press…

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      I bet the Vatican won’t withdraw this one in the same way as they booted atheists all back into the lake of fire either.

  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Ha! Absurdity is surely lost on this man. It isnt even as bad as medieval monks selling fake saint parts because that was a form of charlatanism that couldn’t be easily disproven back then but following on Twitter to get favors with god is ridiculous even for believers. Isn’t Twitter too worldly anyway?

    It would make more sense if the Pope said if catholics didn’t follow him, God would smite them! Still funny but more consistent which Jesus and Mo allude to (and which @TheTweetofGod threatens regularly).

  12. Barry Lyons
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Who IS this Andrew Brown clown, and how can he call himself an atheist? I don’t get this guy, and I only found about him recently through an earlier post by Jerry. I’ll have to investigate (if there is, in fact, more to read about him outside of The Guardian). But it does appear that this guy falls into the “respect all religions” camp. This is just nuts — and I’m not speaking only of the Catholic Church.

  13. Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Gives a new meaning to the phrase “Brownian Motion”.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted July 18, 2013 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      +1

  14. MKray
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Newpapers _should_ provide space for a variety of views. If they only publish stuff comfortable for a narrow tribe, then only a narrow tribe will read it. What’s wrong with providing same bait that will lure a range of readers? Even the Torygraph has been known to provide a voice for sensible article… not often, but it has been known.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Nothing if the author is honest but I wonder if this his really his views and we will still mock them because they are misguided and incongruent with his identification as an atheist.

    • Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Agreed but those opposing views should make one think. Brown’s views make one retch.

      • Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        …and is it too much to ask for a bit of honesty? I find it quite insulting whenever these faithiests go off on their nonsense about how they’re too smart to fall for religion, but they’re more than happy to give religious advice for those not as smart as them.

        b&

    • gbjames
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      And readers _should_ respond to drivel in newspapers loudly. If there are important issues that require “both sides”, then a paper is doing a service publishing a variety of views. If it repeatedly publishes the kind of nonsense that flows from the pen of Andrew Brown, then they should be called to account for wasting time, money, and the world’s supply of paper and ink.

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      This is a variant on the statement that we shouldn’t be upset when members of Congress are morons because, after all, morons deserve representation as much as anyone else.

      • Reginald Selkirk
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        They seem to have achieved dramatic over-representation.

  15. Pliny the in Between
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    It’s all moot anyway – Satan owns all the social media IP.

  16. darrelle
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    “. . . “What really counts is that the tweets the Pope sends from Brazil or the photos of the Catholic World Youth Day that go up on Pinterest produce authentic spiritual fruit in the hearts of everyone,” . . .”

    That kind of treacly piousness, typical of religious speak, makes me feel ever so slightly nauseous. It always disappoints me that so many people, even many self professed atheists and skeptics, believe that such sickly sweet sanctimonious spoutings from the clergy are largely genuine.

    My initial reflex upon hearing or reading such crap is a sneer of disgust.

    • Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      What also gets me is that such a pronouncement purports to set up criteria for categorization: this goes in the “counts” column; this other thing goes in the “doesn’t count” column”.

      Is this criterion: “produces authentic spiritual fruit in the heart” actually useful at all? Of course not. Please, padre, explain to me with unambiguous clarity what constitutes “producing authentic spiritual fruits in the heart”.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        “authentic spiritual fruit”

        That would be a banana, right?

  17. Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Maybe Brown is a Catholic atheist, like Ken Miller.

  18. Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    It’s worth reading the comments which follow the article in the Guardian. This is my favourite:
    ‘Leader of movement based on fantasy deity offers electronic path to fantasy ghost jail sentence reduction, you couldn’t make it up. Oh, they did.’

  19. Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    If the Catholics were right, and there were a god, and Jesus said all those things in the New Testament, then indulgence would be for selling all your possessions and giving it to the poor, or inviting an immigrant or homeless to live in your house with you. Indulgences for using social media; it’s like religion has caught on to the slacktivist trend. Slackligion?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 18, 2013 at 12:18 am | Permalink

      Hey, it’s nice to see the Catholic Church has caught up with the 20th century.

      Now, how much indulgence do I earn for browsing porn on the Internet? ;)

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted July 18, 2013 at 1:21 am | Permalink

        As long as it “produces authentic spiritual fruit in the heart”…

  20. Christopher
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    The whole article is garbage, and I am shocked the Guardian are paying for this tripe.

    • kevinj
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Not only paying him for that article but he is the belief section editor on top.
      The only good thing about his articles is the comment section where his dribble routinely get shredded.
      His previous article about types of atheists is a classic of this kind.

  21. John K.
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I thought they got rid of purgatory back in 2007. I must have missed the memo bringing it back.

    Should I wait for discount indulgences on Black Friday, or is that too similar to Good Friday and puts Jesus in a bad mood? What can I get for “like”-ing on Facebook? Are there coupons?

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      There is a subtle difference between Limbo and Purgatory.

      One is an imaginary realm that doesn’t exist that the Catholic church says is really real, and the other is an imaginary realm that doesn’t exist that the Catholic church says it has decided isn’t really real.

      • cornbread_r2
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Also, there isn’t any way to get out of the imaginary realm the doesn’t exist that the church hasn’t decided is really real yet.

  22. cornbread_r2
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    IIRC, indulgences aren’t given in increments of days, weeks and months any longer. I presume that’s because that practice implys that Purgatory exists in a temporal realm. And hat, in turn, removes the most effective dodge theologians employ — the assertion that spiritual things exist outside time ans space and are, therefore, immune from scientific investigation.

    • Brad
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Frankly, if purgatory really *did* last for days for me, then as long as is less than infinite, does it really matter how big X is? I mean, really?

      After all, it’s a vanishingly small % of how long an afterlife I’m supposed to have.

      Even if I were expected to live for thousands and thousands of years in purgatory, that’s pretty small beans compared to an eternity…

      It’s as if I promised to make your next Friday at work before holidays a femtosecond shorter if you did something for me. Seriously, who would care?

  23. Bric
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Tibetan Buddhists were well ahead with this shtick – write your prayers on a piece of paper, stick it in a windmill to turn it and voila, automated redemption.

  24. Bric
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    As a footnote, in the (sadly late) Ian M Banks’ novel ‘Surface Detail’ civilizations can consign digital downloads of individuals’ consciousnesses to virtual hells, where they are tortured ( http://ruthludlam.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/iain-m-banks-surface-detail.html NB major plot spoilers)
    Interesting moral question whether the Catholic Church (for example) would do this if they could

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted July 18, 2013 at 1:28 am | Permalink

      An excellent book, and a good review, thanks. I’ll have to go and read it again now. Iain (M) Banks is a great loss.

  25. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    On an even larger scale of eroding credibility, the longer that religion goes without defining their new magical agency it is laughable.

    They _must_ replace the magic agency that didn’t have to make our universe (which we now know inflation made) but absolutely had to make “a first human breeder pair”. Such already unbelievable looking-exact-like-contingency “agency” nevertheless was debunked 2011, with the genetic sequencing showing a human bottleneck of likely 4000, absolutely minimum 1200, breeder pairs.

    Outsiders demand a moral action of “put up or shut up”. =D

    [& I love the cartoon!]

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      “looking exactly”.

  26. moarscienceplz
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    “Carrots and sticks are for asses.”

    ROFLMAO!!!

    Although personally, I find a leather flogger has a much more satisfying effect. Plus, the carrot keeps slipping out. ;-)

  27. Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I wonder how many figure out that not only indulgences, but the whole “confess your sins and get forgiven” thing can be a cover for more sinning? Enjoy your sins – you can always obtain forgiveness . . . and then enjoy some more sinning!

    • Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Dunno about a cover, but there are more Catholics in prison than any other denomination. In the city I grew up in the prison was said to hold an annual rugby game, St Bedes Old Boys vs The Rest.

      The cycle of

      sin -> confession -> absolution -> sin

      leaves out the salutory effect of remorse and guilt in preventing future sin – especially when the sins are not just theological, like doubting the Assumption of the BVM, but real ones that actually hurt other people.

      • Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

        Judaism actually gets that one right. Forgiveness is granted not by YHWH but by those harmed by your transgressions, and it must be earned by means including reparations (where possible) and steps to prevent further occurrence. And even when all has been set right it’s still up to the victim to decide if forgiveness is warranted.

        There’s lots else that Judaism fucks up royally, but atonement and forgiveness isn’t on the royally-fucked-up list.

        At least, in theory. In practice? It’ll depend on the Jews in question, of course….

        b&

  28. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I didn’t even know indulgences like this were still a going concern, since in the old days, when you had to grease a palm, the ludicrous nature of buying respite from Purgatory helped bring on the Reformation.

    The previous two popes helped bring about a return of indulgences. Pope (soon to be Saint) John Paul II had a special offer on indulgences at the turn of the century for some kinf of ‘Jubilee.’

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Then Pope Benedict brought back pleneary indulgences ca. 2009. It would be sad to return to the corrupt medieval system of selling indulgences for cash, so instead they are now granted for such things as pilgirimages to religious shrines.

      • Reginald Selkirk
        Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Coincidentally(?) and about the same time, under Pope Benedict the Vatican started up its own airline to fly believer on pilgrimages to religious shrines.

  29. Posted July 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh that Douglas Adams were still alive! In “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” –

    “The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving your what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.

    “Unfortunately this Electric Monk had developed a fault, and had started to believe all kinds of things, more or less at random. It was even beginning to believe things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City.”

  30. Marella
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    If you look at it from the right perspective, Brown is saying that this is no more ridiculous than all the other things Catholics believe. This is a very back-handed compliment. Possibly, some of the Catholics reading this article may be lead to realise just what a crock of shit they’ve been sold all these years. Maybe he’s just deep undercover as a “fatheist”.

    • Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      I think what makes this remarkable is how demeaningly obvious it is as a ploy for publicity, traffic, and ultimately, dollars. How blatant and brazen do they have to get before people will wake up and smell the BS?!

  31. Diane G.
    Posted July 18, 2013 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    sub

  32. Bric
    Posted July 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Latest indulgences scandal hits St Custard’s!

    nigel molesworth ‏@reelmolesworth

    pace ye olde POPE i am now ofering 1x free pass to xcape deten. for every retwete #Indulgences

  33. marcusa1971
    Posted July 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Fraudulent “indulgences” were granted by the previous paedophile-in-chief at the last taxpayer funded Catholic love-in (World Youth Day), held here is Australia. See:

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/sydney08/new.php?not_id=13147

    And given what we know about the RCC, doesn’t the idea of a “World Youth Day” held by these people have some rather terrifying connotations?


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  1. […] indulgence for following Pope Francis’s Twitter feed. This has generated snark from the usual suspects.  And I can’t really disagree with the snark.  Shouldn’t indulgences have disappeared […]

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