Faced with ever decreasing numbers of parishes and increasing numbers of traveling parishioners, the Catholic Church has instituted a virtual "online confessional" where sinners can confess their sins and receive penance by email.
"It can be tough for a married man traveling through Europe having an overnight dalliance with some heathenish concubine or engaging in a hit-and-run accident to confess his sins", said Pastor Guimo Morales of St. Sebastian's Church in Boston, MA. "This will enable the sinner to confess his or her sins quickly and easily so they can be forgiven by God".
"I slept with a prostitute last week when I was in Jersey", said New York businessman Ralph McCaffrey. "I was consumed with guilt and couldn't find a church to save my life. Then I remembered I had my laptop. A response came back in ten minutes, I did a few Hail Mary's and I was totally absolved. I'm going to recommend it to all my Catholic friends".
A spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI said that as many Catholic churches have been brought down by clergy sexual abuse scandals it has become more difficult for parishioners to confess sins. The modern online confessional will eliminate the need to find a church that is still open or has not been sold for condos.
Not everyone was enthusiastic about the new technology. Mary Somers of New Canaan, CT said, "I prefer to speak with a real person. I don't want my compulsive sexual habits to be read by just any old priest".
Many of the steamier confessions will be sent directly to the Vatican where they will be addressed anonymously. On certain occasions the online clergy may request photographs.