Virtual Virtuosity

The Catholic Church has approved an iPhone app that helps guide worshippers through confession.

Yes, next please. Welcome to heaven.


Name please?

Fred Urban.

Urban, Urban…Urban…hmm… U-R-B-A-N?


I’m sorry. I don’t have you on my list Mr. Urban. If you’ll see the attendant for the other line to the right he’ll—

Excuse me?

Yes, I’m sorry, you’re not on the list. Usually we catch it before you get here. Honestly, most people have a pretty good idea when they arrive, but—

What do you mean not on the list? That’s impossible. Check again.

Sir, you’re not on the list. I can’t let you in.

This can’t be. There’s been a mistake here somewhere.

Please calm down. I know it can be hard, but making a scene is only going to make it worse.

Calm down? I paid good money to be here. I demand my place!

Excuse me?

You heard me. Let me see your supervisor.

It doesn’t work that way here. He doesn’t get involved with this. And what do you mean you paid? We haven’t allowed that in a long time. Very messy business anyway. I told them it was a bad idea in the—

Look, I went to church, gave to charity, went to confession, even got last rites. There’s got to be some sort of mistake.

Fine—let me look a little further. No, there’s no record of you doing any of those things. I have your local congregation’s records right here. You’re not on them anywhere.

No, no, I didn’t go for real. Come on, man. What century do you think this is?

Beg your pardon? You just said—

SimChristian, man.

Slim what?

No, no—SimChristian. You know—virtual Christianity?

Virtual Christianity?

Yeah—everything you’re supposed to do right there. I sent my sim to church every week. Confession once a month even though I set him for minor sins only. You know, no adultery or anything like that.

Your sim?

Yes—character on the computer—well iPhone mostly. You know? Virtual me? It’s even on the iPad now—amazingly convenient. Have a few minutes when you’re on the subway, donate to some charity or work in a soup kitchen. I sponsor three children in Bangladesh, you know. Even bought them goats.

In the game?

Of course. Who has time to buy goats? Where would you even look for a goat? And it’s more of an app than a game. It is religion after all.

All simulated.

Hello—aren’t you following anything that I’ve been saying? It’s not like it’s free. You have to pay for all of this stuff in the game. Goats cost me 99 cents each. Plus tax!

That’s all very interesting, but—

Look, I’m not the only person here with an iPhone. You gonna tell all those people behind me virtual doesn’t count?


Didn’t think so. I’ll just go on in.


Thanks. Have a nice day.