A matter of mass

[ Lees dit in het Engels ]

kort SF-verhaal

Pater Zio wordt vervangen. Zijn Bisschop is naar Voorpost Psi gekomen, in de rafelrandjes van de Melkweg, met zijn vervanging: een pseudogeschapen herder in de terminologie van de Kerk. Maar Pater Zio zal zichzelf eerder… ja, verdoemen, dan dat hij zijn congregatie overlaat aan de voorgeprogrammeerde zorg van een robot. 


A Matter of Mass


“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been…” Father Zio sighed. “It’s been thirteen years since my last IRL confession.”

Behind the lattice, Bishop Otis shifted in his seat.

“But—” the Bishop said. He paused before continuing: “And how long has it been since your last online confession?”

“A week, Father. But it’s not the same. It’s not.”

“Go on, my son.”

“I have harbored unkind thoughts at times, about members of my flock. I have had lustful thoughts at times.” Father Zio smiled quietly to himself. Mr. Dooley’s dramatic antics of feigned ecstasy at every Mass were enough to bring unkind thoughts to the holiest of minds, never mind his own flawed, rehabilitated soul. As for Mrs. Ocura’s cleavage… Let’s just say some things were worth a couple of Hail-Mary’s.

“Go on, my son.”

The Bishop’s prompt made him realize he was marking time with these minor sins, postponing the inevitable, while he knew exactly what he should be confessing instead. Father Zio believed in confession, needed the cleansing of his soul. But it was unfortunate, to say the least, that Bishop Otis was the one taking it. No matter. No sense delaying any longer.

“I have been prideful. I have defied the wishes of the Holy Church.” There. That would put an end to any doubt Bishop Otis might still have had. “I have defied… you, Father.”

From behind the lattice came the sound of indrawn breath, followed by a long silence. Then:

“How so, my son?”