Saturday, 10 March 2012

Frankie's First Church of Obnoxious

originally published at, 10.06.2011

Dear Mr. Obnoxious,

You’re such a hot-shot computer software type, I thought I’d make you a proposal. You know, like in that Pet Shop Boys song, “I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks, let’s make lots of money.” Knowing that you’re a man who’s always trying to earn a living with his skills in the virtual world, I figure this is an offer you can’t refuse.

I want to start an on-line church. I thought we could call it Frankie’s First Church of Obnoxious (Digital), though I’m open to other suggestions if you think they might be SEO-friendlier. I mean, I don’t want to be dogmatic about all this; it’s strictly a business thing. But I have lots of ideas of what FFCOD could offer which I’m convinced would make us all so filthy rich, we’d all have to move our residencies to the Cayman Islands (though, if we could get our religious status confirmed, we might even be able to live in the USA; hell, if the Scientologists can get away with it, so can we!).

When I started thinking about all this, it quickly became clear to me that the best model to follow is definitely the Catholic one. I mean, let’s face it, they’ve been around for nearly two thousand years now, which means that their product and business model must have a lot going for them. And they’ve got a couple of features which are just begging for on-line development.

My suggestion is that we launch the whole thing around one of the most successful concepts the Catholics have been pushing since God was a boy – the idea of Absolution. You know, the whole Confession thing. In my model, we’d basically take over the whole Catholic idea here one for one. You confess your sins on-line, there’s a priest somewhere who issues an absolution and, bingo, all your sins are forgiven.

I see great possibilities for this as a mobile app. It’s not even a scam, you can really certify this as being the genuine Catholic article. All you have to do is find some Catholic ex-priest who needs the money. You see, the Catholic Church teaches once a priest, always a priest. Even if a priest quits, even if the Church formally defrocks him (that’s a lovely expression, isn’t it, something really kinky about it J?), he’s still formally a priest and the actual god-given power to do the old whammy can’t be taken away from him. Honest to God, that is the genuine Catholic teaching on the subject – it’s about the sacrament of ordination making an indelible mark of his soul, or something like that.

So, all you have to do is download the absolution app onto your iphone or android device and you’re basically ready to go. This is where we start to earn money. For the simple app, the user pays $ 4.99. For this you get the basic packet: A list of sins you just click on to confess (you can also enter the number of times you sinned and there’s a graded scale of severity you input), press the Send button and you’re done. The basic packet includes three free absolutions but you may have to wait a while for it and the individual penance necessary for it to become effective, because the server collects and collates the sins and sends them to the priest three or four times a day, who then formally gives the absolution. The severity of the penance can be automatically programmed into the software so that the priest doesn’t have to work this out individually – minor transgressions like little lies or shoplifting get one Hail Mary, for more major things like murder, marital infidelity, or sexual abuse of minors a couple of Rosaries would be imposed.

But this is only the beginning. We could offer all sorts of premium services (with extra costs, of course). Like the Instant Absolution extra – a secure contact is installed immediately to the priest, who gives the penance and absolution straight away. For those whose time is limited you can also buy the extra Indulgence option, which frees you of the obligation to do the penance before the absolution becomes effective. I see great possibilities for this option in airport departure lounges – we might need to think about doing some kind of advertising in such areas. Or we could also offer various comfort options; the worry-free monthly flat rate ($19.95) with unlimited absolutions or the comfort-option plus, which includes five (!) instant absolutions – world-wide, any time – for just $39.95 per month extra.

This is all only the first step, of course. When the thing is up and running and generating enough income, we move on to the next stage. Automatic Holy Communion. We get our pet priest to consecrate thousands of hosts and then do some kind of deal with Coca Cola or Pepsi so that they can be made available in soft-drinks dispensing machines. When you see a machine with the Holy Communion option, you just whip out your mobile phone, choose the Communion option on your app and you get a one-time code which you then enter into the machine. The costs (we can call them “Contributions”) are deducted directly from the user’s credit card. For an extra charge, you can also get a thimble-full of consecrated wine (one thimble per user per day, so that we can’t be accused of impiety by opening up possibilities of abuse).

The more I think about it, the more I’m sure it can’t fail. Given the shortage of Catholic priests, once the thing is up and running we might even be able to an official deal with the Church; after all, this concept would go a long way towards easing their manpower problems. I can also see possibilities for offering different apps for other religions. You could do diet checks for Jews and Muslims (hell, their dietary restrictions are so similar, you’d only have to write the software once). You use your smartphone to read the bar code on a product in a supermarket and the app tells you whether it’s kosher or halal or not. The Muslim Comfort option finds your location automatically per GPS, calculates sunrise and sunset for your position, reminds you when it’s time to pray and even shows you the precise direction of Mecca. For males who want to convert to Judaism or Islam, I also see possibilities for instant circumcision extensions – they’re based on potato peelers, you just plug them into your phone, stick your dick in, the software measures circumference, thickness of foreskin, etc. and zing, whirr, you’re done (package includes local anaesthetic, disinfection solution, compresses and bandages).

The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain apps would offer karma risk calculation tables, for the Hindus there could be all kinds of extras like God of the Day, the Buddhists can call up appropriate sayings of the Dalai Lama … the possibilities are endless!

Get in touch with me, Mr. Obnoxious, we’ve got to start working on this idea straight away. Otherwise Steve Jobs will pick up on it and Apple will tie the whole market up …

Yours sincerely,


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