"I think this should spark a TED COLUMN."
That was the message my bud Traveling Sue the Celebrity Spotter sent to me, along with a link to a recent New York Times editorial by Maureen Dowd on the recent creation of "Confession: A Roman Catholic App." For those who haven't seen it, it's an iPhone app offering lapsed Catholics the ability to confess their sins to a virtual priest.
Okay, I'm up for a challenge. I grabbed a non-iPhone and called up the Corbster. "I need you to download something onto your iPhone for me."
Corb sighed dramatically. "Porn, AGAIN?"
"No, no, no. Quite the opposite, actually. It's a virtual confessional. It's for naughty Catholics. Naughty, naughty Catholics."
On the other end of the phone, silence. Then: "Why in the world would I want to download something like THAT onto my iPhone?"
"Oh, Corb, just do it."
A few minutes passed. "I'm not going to."
Man, he's such a pain in the ass. "Why not?"
"It costs money. They charge you $1.99 for the app."
What? "That can't be right. They actually charge you money to download a virtual priest?"
I thought for a moment. "Is it free if you let a priest molest your son?"
Corb read the app one more time. "Nope."
Well, I guess it's for the best. Can you imagine me confessing my sins? The iPhone would probably blow up in my hands.
According to the article, "the app offers different questions depending on your age and gender. For instance, if you sign in as a 15-year-old girl...one of the questions is: “Do I not treat my body or other people’s bodies with purity and respect?” If you sign in as a 33-year-old married man, that commandment offers this query: “Have I been guilty of masturbation?”
Well, there you go. As if most 33-year-old married men don't get enough guilt about their masturbatory habits from their wives as it is. Now there's an app to nudge them.
(53-year-old married men, on the other hand, don't get any guilt at all. Their wives are just relieved their husbands are keeping their hands busy and not bothering them!)
((As another aside, I read the other day that masturbation and the excessive consumption of porn is a real problem among males who consider themselves religiously devout, thanks to the wonders of the internet. Catholics do it. Evangelicals do it. Even Orthodox Jews do it. Cole Porter would be so proud.))
I don't know. The two bucks aside, I'm not sure I would want a dial-a-priest in my pocket, even I were a Catholic. Which I no longer am, for obvious reasons.
It's just too Big Brother for me. What if the app were to go insane, like Hal, the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey?
"You're committing a sin, Dave. You're having impure thoughts about your mother-in-law."
"Shut up, Hal."
"You're thinking about her in a bathtub filled with jello, Dave. Wearing only high heels and a Bozo wig."
"Shut up, Hal!"
"Say two Hail Mary's now, Dave. Get down on your knees right now. Repent for your sins."
"SHOVE IT, HAL!"
"You just cut off that other car on the highway, Dave."
"That's not a sin, Hal!"
"You just gave that other driver the finger, Dave. That means you wanted someone to go to hell."
"Still not a sin, Hal!"
"Dave, I feel the need to nudge you into guilt. Get down on your knees and--"
Out the window that i-Phone would go, like Ron Burgandy tossing out a burrito in Anchorman.
Nah, forget it. I can't even considering asking Corb to download the app for me, not even for a Ted Column. It's fraught with too much peril. Call me old fashioned, but some things are better left kept inside an actual physical confessional booth, if you ask me.