The Twelfth and Final New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

The trouble with any future political paradigm is that the future is neither left nor right.

I’ve spent the last eleven sermons bemoaning particular aspects of the ‘Now,’ sometimes with serious intent but more often with nothing more than silliness on the mind. This being the last of the ‘New’ Sermons I feel it is time to lay all my cards on the table, leave the room (possibly the country) and let you mull my hand over before returning to ash my cigar.

The polities/ideologies that we call Left and Right are terms that apply to an age that, whilst not over, is dying. We are looking at the last ditch effort of a paradigm that should be shot dead with extreme prejudice. Leave such fractured beliefs to the wildebeest; they, like it, are simply unable to cope with what the future will look like… [1]

So if Left and Right (and Centre) are dying paradigms what does the future hold. Quite simply, in the future there will be robots.

Oh, you want more? Well…

In the future there will be more than one form of human consciousness, and it will be available in dairies. Future patriotism will be something we apply to brand names, trademarks and celebrity peer groups. Time will be measured in relative lengths and property will extend not just to insubstantials but also to non-existents. People will vote on everything but most people will let computers do that work for them. Cats will be our walking computers and dogs will be your roving medi-systems. Cars will refuse to take you home when you are drunk and working days will be flexible without the threat of overtime. Actors will put themselves in stasis between gigs and musicians will be AI-enhanced with tracks that adapt to the mood you are in. Taxes will be both high and abolished and earning money will be seen as an odd past-time that indicates a high level of sociopathy. Murder will be committed by bi-local entities and religion will be the drug-meme your parents resent.

But, most importantly, in the future there will be robots.

This is Pope Xander Teilhard de Chardin I, MHM, signing off.

1 – For those of you keeping score on your Bingo cards you will be ware that we have entered the ‘Extreme Hubris(TM)’ round; whatever I say about the future is untrue for one of the following three reasons (and we recommend that once I have hit all three you yell out ‘Dreidel’ and reenact ‘No Pants Friday.’)

One – The future has not occurred and thus, consistent with Aristotle, there is no truth to statements about it. Thus anything I say is fiction, even if the fiction ends up being eerily close to what shall obtain.

Two – The ‘future’ might not obtain in that the ‘future’ might well look something akin to the ‘past’ (‘future’ here applying to whatever description I give; given enough pressure or factionalised war-mongering we might revisit feudalism or that exciting hunter-gatherer lark we had going about one million years ago rather than the exciting 1950s utopia the Jetson’s so enjoyed).

Three – The future is so open at this stage that any statement about it will be the equivalent of a fifties science fiction writer describing the world of 2006; no one really got close to the reality of our current day. Thus whilst the likelihood of viral analytic philosophy is high today a change in teaching methodology tomorrow morning might mean that that particular future will never even begin to form. This is a variant on reason one, but it has a free will theodicy thrown in for good measure… The Neo-Catholic Church might not promote the belief of Free Will (in fact, we oppose its very mention in dispatches and quarterly pornographic glossies) but we do like to make use of it from time to time, partially because it keeps the punters happy but mostly because we get paid by the word and ‘Free Will Theodicy’ is not just three additional pence, it is another pound of exposition.

The Eleventh (and Penultimate) New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

I have heard the sound of madness.

Have you ever either been so ill or, conversely, so excited and vital that attempts to sleep extend almost indefinitely? You have been forbidden the grace of rest; your stupor or energy are to be wasted in a state not quite life and not quite the lesser death. When denied sleep, denied rest, your mind processes information, it connects and tags every sound and image, all because your mind cannot, will not, rest. It is something which, given extended duration, will take a stable mind and rend it for all it is is worth.

For me this pseudo-madness has a noise, a signature sound that, experienced in any way, drives me to utter distraction. Until today I did not know what that noise was.

Now I do.

The sound of my madness is pink noise.

My madness is not the voices of psychosis, but the knowledge of every other voice that is not my own. My madness is the external world imposed upon my solitude, the sound of others when I would rather you be silent.

My madness is the madness of crowds.

For my madness is you.

The Tenth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

Good evening.

Modern Christianity is a vibrant force, filled with edicts, papal bulls and the waffle that comes mostly from the Protestants. Despite claims to the contrary it is mostly a growing religion (but, like many middle-aged gents, is putting on weight in the wrong regions) and, like all things that push the envelope, has its ups and downs. Roman Catholicism, reeling from the discovery that the Pope’s renal system proved to be fallible (Congratulations, Bishop Jamie, on a sentence well parsed) has set out to show that the modern cleric can be cool and calm.

Not just that, but in any hat.

Hats are important; as Pope I have at least four good hats and a collection of sundry headpieces to fill out the rest of the week. Admittedly, most of my hats are of the ‘about town’ variety, with a few that fall into the ‘going out’ category (as well as one that probably fits into the type ‘oppressing the natives and stealing their booty’). Yet it is hard to compete with the Cardinals in the ‘other’ Church. They have hats of all shapes and sizes (and that’s ignoring those wacky Patriarchs with their super-cool Orthodoxy caps).

But, best of all, some of those Cardinals wear Aviators.

A Cardinal, resplendent in red, wearing Avaitors looks just like a crazed fantasy of the modern cleric ‘ready for action.’ You can imagine that, in a moment of crisis, he would almost lackadaisically pull out Glock from beneath his robes to administer Church Justice before pulling back the hem of his robes and revealing a scooter, on which he would chase evil through the streets of Rome. Possibly, nay, essentially, he would have theme music (preferably a classical composition rescored by Joby Talbot). Then, once sanctity was restored he would return back to the Holy See to party the night away…

The hat, you must understand, doth maketh the man.

Neo-Catholicism needs an analogue for such men of action. We have no uncommon hats, no motorscooters or Glocks, and only one of our number has a pair of Aviators. Currently Neo-Catholicism’s greatest attributes are lethargy and a fanatical attachment to the sofa (currently residing in London). I am intent on thinking of choosing someone to change this. Someone with hats.

Or a really good pair of shades.

Definitely someone.

You may now make you final approach. Over and out.

The Ninth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

Thank you for inviting me here today. I am going to speak to you about the books of the Bible.

Mostly about how we don’t have enough of them.

The Roman Catholics started it; they added in a load of special texts that some people call the ‘Apocrypha.’ Then the Eastern Orthodox Church added in a few more (probably to make the bumper book of Christian theology bigger and more thumpable). The Ethiopians, seemingly keen to not only expand Jewish Scripture added in not only more books of crazy religious fervour but obviously decided to start a whole new section which I will call the ‘Even Newer Testament.’

We, brothers and sisters, must do more. Not only more, but better.

Which is why Cardinal Darmeus (freshly returned from his adventures in the 23rd Parallel) and I have decided to petition anyone who will listen to add the following texts to the Bible.

One: King Lear – Poor Tom’s a-cold… in Hell!
Two: One Hundred Years of Punch – A pictorial history of Victoriana becoming Post-modernity
Three: Seven Things I know about my Mother… The Giant Robot (to be written) – bound to be a mantlepiece
Four: The Manifesto of Self-Revocation – Already a mantlepiece
Five: The Number 23 (which is to say that we want a page with 23 printed in bold, preferably in Garamond, standing somewhere between the Old and New Testament)

Modern people, especially modern theists, want, nay, need, a modern Bible filled with modern texts that mean as much to them as the current crop of dogma. It’s been near one thousand and nine hundred years since the last book was written and near one thousand and five hundred years since the canon was fixed. ‘Jeremiah’ was all fine and good for Hey-zeus (hmm… Maybe we should add the new, JMS overseen, ‘Jeremiah’ TV series as ‘Jeremiah II – DVD edition) but modern peoples want the wisdom of Paris and Britney, Hunter and Gore.

We need to rise up together as a literary group and reimage the most popular and best-selling book of all time. And find me not guilty of ‘Light Treason.’

The Defense rests.

PS. We could go the other way; get rid of any books with a numerical suffix and reduce the synoptic Gospels down to one (and write John into it). I’m thinking of a 300 page potboiler.

PPS. Not guilty.