Golfing Sin

A man goes to the confessional. “Forgive me father, for I have sinned.”

“What is your sin, my son?” the priest asks back.

“Well,” the man starts, “I used some horrible language this week and I feel absolutely terrible.”

“When did you use this awful language?” asks the priest.

“I was golfing and hit an incredible drive that looked like it was going to go over 250 yards, but it struck a phone line that was hanging over the fairway and fell straight down to the ground after going only about 100.

“Is that when you swore?”

“No, then a squirrel came out of the bushes and grabbed my ball in his mouth and began to run away.”

“Is that when you swore?”

“Well, no.” says the man. “You see, as the squirrel was running, an eagle came down out of the sky, grabbed the squirrel in his talons and began to fly away!”

“Is THAT when you swore?” asks the amazed Priest.

“No, not yet,” the man replies. “As the eagle carried the squirrel away in his claws, it flew toward the green. And as it passed over a bit of forest near the green, the squirrel dropped my ball.”

“Did you swear THEN?” asks the now impatient Priest.

“No, because as the ball fell it struck a tree, bounced through some bushes, careened off a big rock, and rolled through a sand trap onto the green and stopped within six inches of the hole.”

The Priest sighs, “You missed the #*@^~##**!# putt, didn’t you?”

MICROSOFT Bids to Acquire Catholic Church

VATICAN CITY (AP) — In a joint press conference in St. Peter’s Square this morning, MICROSOFT Corp. and the Vatican announced that the Redmond software giant will acquire the Roman Catholic Church in exchange for an unspecified number of shares of MICROSOFT common stock. If the deal goes through, it will be the first time a computer software company has acquired a major world religion.

With the acquisition, Pope John Paul II will become the senior vice-president of the combined company’s new Religious Software
Division, while MICROSOFT senior vice-presidents Michael Maples and Steven Ballmer will be invested in the College of Cardinals, said MICROSOFT Chairman Bill Gates.

“We expect a lot of growth in the religious market in the next five to ten years,” said Gates. “The combined resources of MICROSOFT and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people.”

Through the MICROSOFT Network, the company’s new on-line service, “we will make the sacraments available on-line for the first time” and revive the popular pre-Counter-Reformation practice of selling indulgences, said Gates. “You can get Communion, confess your sins, receive absolution — even reduce your time in Purgatory — all without leaving your home.”

A new software application, MICROSOFT Church, will include a macro language which you can program to download heavenly graces automatically while you are away from your computer.

An estimated 17,000 people attended the announcement in St Peter’s Square, watching on a 60-foot screen as comedian Don Novello — in character as Father Guido Sarducci — hosted the event, which was broadcast by satellite to 700 sites worldwide.

Pope John Paul II said little during the announcement. When Novello chided Gates, “Now I guess you get to wear one of these pointy hats,” the crowd roared, but the pontiff’s smile seemed strained.

The deal grants MICROSOFT exclusive electronic rights to the Bible and the Vatican’s prized art collection, which includes works by such masters as Michelangelo and Da Vinci. But critics say MICROSOFT will face stiff challenges if it attempts to limit competitors’ access to these key intellectual properties.

“The Jewish people invented the look and feel of the holy scriptures,” said Rabbi David Gottschalk of Philadelphia. “You take the parting of the Red Sea — we had that thousands of years before the Catholics came on the scene.”

But others argue that the Catholic and Jewish faiths both draw on a common Abrahamic heritage. “The Catholic Church has just been more successful in marketing it to a larger audience,” notes Notre Dame theologian Father Kenneth Madigan. Over the last 2,000 years, the Catholic Church’s market share has increased dramatically, while Judaism, which was the first to offer many of the concepts now touted by Christianity, lags behind.

Historically, the Church has a reputation as an aggressive competitor, leading crusades to pressure people to upgrade to Catholicism, and entering into exclusive licensing arrangements in various kingdoms whereby all subjects were instilled with Catholicism, whether or not they planned to use it. Today Christianity is available from several denominations, but the Catholic version is still the most widely used. The Church’s mission is to reach “the four corners of the earth,” echoing MICROSOFT’s vision of “a computer on every desktop and in every home”.

Gates described MICROSOFT’s long-term strategy to develop a scalable religious architecture that will support all religions through emulation. A single core religion will be offered with a choice of interfaces according to the religion desired — “One religion, a couple of different implementations,” said Gates.

The MICROSOFT move could spark a wave of mergers and acquisitions, according to Herb Peters, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Baptist Conference, as other churches scramble to strengthen their position in the increasingly competitive religious market.

The Tax Man

A Tax Official has come to a rural synagogue for an inspection. The rabbi is accompanying him.

“So rabbi tell me, please, after you have distributed all your unleavened bread, what do you do with the crumbs?”

“Why, we gather them carefully and send them to the city and then they make bread of them again and send it back to us.”

“Ah. So what about candles after they are burnt? What do you do with the drippings?”

“We send them to the city as well, and they make new candles from them and send them to us.”

“And what about circumcision? What do you do with those leftover pieces?”

Wearily, the rabbi replies, “We send them to the city as well.”

“To the city!? And what do they send to you?”

“Today they have sent you to us.”

Generous Barber

A barber gave a haircut to a priest one day. The priest tried to pay for the haircut but the barber refused saying “I cannot accept money from you, for you are a good man – you do God’s work.” The next morning the barber found a dozen bibles at the door to his shop.

A policeman came to the barber for a haircut, and again the barber refused payment saying “I cannot accept money from you, for you are a good man – you protect the public.” The next morning the barber found a dozen doughnuts at the door to his shop.

A lawyer came to the barber for a haircut, and again the barber refused payment saying “I cannot accept money from you, for you are a good man – you serve the justice system.” The next morning the barber found a dozen more lawyers waiting for a haircut.

The Catholic Service

A farmer named Muldoon lived alone in the countryside with a pet dog which he loved and doted on. After many long years of companionship, the dog finally died so Muldoon went to the parish priest:

“Father, my dear old dog is dead. Could you be saying a mass for the creature?”

Father Patrick replied, “I am so very sorry to hear about your dog’s death. But, unfortunately we cannot have services for an animal in the church. However, there’s a new denomination down the road, no telling what they believe, but maybe they’ll do something for the animal.”

Muldoon said, “I’ll go right now. Do you think $500 is enough to donate for the service?”

Father Patrick: “Why didn’t you tell me the dog was Catholic?!”