First, let me remind you I don't dislike Catholics.
I think all religions are a crutch for the weak, and the only reason I pick on
Catholics is because they were the ones who held me prisoner for 12 years.

I've heard from a lot of Caths with similar experiences.
Most everyone has a bemused recollection about the absurdities.

Check this one out from Steve in Georgia:

> I had exactly  the same experience with the Catholic church as you.
> I may have carried it on a little longer into early high school, doing the
> altar boy thing, scarfing sacristy wine, even keeping sin scores.

 (Sin scores? Koresh!
  I'd hate to do the math on my Sin Scores)

> Mom doesn't attend anymore but she used to do mass cards
> (Hallmark apparently hasn't figured this scam out yet) for "special occasions"
> like when her old parrish offers a twofer mass for my grandparents.
> After all they've only been dead for 25 years.
> Apparently their final destination is still in doubt.

ha ha

Check it out: a special offer for a TWOFER Mass?
Instead of 5,000 points for a High Mass, you get $10,000?

It's a whole lot like Double Coupon Tuesdays at friggin Kroger!
Or is it more like getting a "z" on the double-score square in Scrabble?

This wacky TWOFER offer reminded me of something.
Those of you who remember the old George Carlin albums on Catholic
nightmares might remember the phrase "Special Dispensation."

Back in gradeschool, eating meat on Friday was a mortal sin.
Remember, mortal sin = mortal sin, so eating a cheeseburger on Friday was as
serious as rape and murder, except when you got, "Special Dispensation."

For some reason, when I was a kid, the parish held "paper drives."
They made it competitive: They pitted the grades against each other,
and whichever class accumulated the most phone books, newspaper
and magazines won a very special prize.

This is so damn stupid, but it's 100 percent real,
like everything I've written about the wacky Catholics.

Whichever grade brought in the most tons of paper
was granted permission to eat meat on the following Friday.

Isn't that wild?

Last Friday, you'd get eternity on a meat rap, but, THIS WEEK,
I can scarfe down a hamburger and I cannot be punished by God
because my class accumulated more paper than the other class.

I assume I could subpoena the local priest should I need verification
at the Pearly Gates after that "goddamn truck" hits and kills me.

So, the Catholics have the occasional "TWOFER," double-your-points
fund-raising opportunities now and then, and if you're the paper king,
they wave the completely-insane death-penalty rule for hamburgers.

Let me close with one more blow-your-mind example:

Remember in the previous rant I explained that for Catholics,
it's all a matter of luck and timing. If you die on your way to confession,
you get an eternity in Hell because you had the stain of sin on you.
If you're dirty when God calls you - it's your eternal ass.

But if you get hit by that truck after confession, and don't blaspheme
Him as you're being mowed down, your eternity in Heaven is a certainty.
The whole trick is to die "clean."

Now, let me ask you:

Do you know the definition of the word "guarantee?"

Follow me, this'll just take a second.
Jesus died on a Friday, probably a "First Friday" of the month.
Catholics are BIG on "First Fridays."

They're so high on "First Fridays" they offered this guarantee.

If you attend nine First Friday's in a row, and receive Holy Communion,
the Catholic Church will guarantee you a priest at your death bed.

So, all you need after that is a sincere regret for your sins and you're in!

This is like McDonald's selling Beanie Babies or Star Wars figurines.
You can't just walk in and buy the set, no.
You have to go back nine weeks in a row to get the complete set.
The whole trick is to get you in the habit of dropping by with your cash.

The very idea that they would guarantee a priest at your bedside is
so completely and totally-impossibly absurd, it may have been the
straw that broke Ol' BartCop's fourth-grade religious back.

The Catholic Church doesn't care if you're in a foxhole in Bosnia,
or stranded in Antartica like that doctor with a lump in her breast,
or, for that matter, orbitting Earth on the shuttle, they will
guarantee you a priest at your bedside when you die.

They can't do that.
It's a trick to get your money.

This is one of those questions they asked fourth-grade BartCop
to refrain from asking about in the future. I was always asking,
"But what if you're lost in the woods in Alaska?"

The nuns would always say, "They have priests in Alaska," as tho
that fact would make a priest appear, no matter where you were in Alaska.

Are they still making this wild guarantee?

Let me hear from you.

E-Mail BartCop

...and remember, I don't dislike Catholics.
Everyone in my family is extremely Catholic.

I just think churches should be held to the same standards as
McDonald's or Burger King when they're trying to make money.

Tell me,

What would you think of McDonald's if they made you this offer?

"Buy a Big Mac every Friday for nine Friday's in a row
 and we'll guarantee you an eternity in Heaven."

Please, please,
Get up off your knees.

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