Loyola University, Chicago IL:
In an effort to improve efficiency and reduce overhead in the Rite of Absolution, engineers and technicians at the Advanced Theo-Technology Studies Group at this prominent Jesuit university have been quietly working on “new milleniuum” approaches to this long-standing sacramental rite.
Father James “Circuit-Board Jimmie” Smythe leads the group, and gave our Flying Car News Team an overview and tour of the new initiative, formally titled the Automated Absolution Protocol (AAP).
“A number of challenges in today’s changing world led to development of this new protocol, and the infrastructure to support it.” said Father Smythe. “Every year, we have fewer and fewer traditional liturgical assets to deploy across the country and the world to provide basic sacramental rites. Additionally, in this age of identity theft issues and whatnot, our congregations have become more reticent about sharing compromising personal data with their local priests. Thanks to breakthrough efforts here at the Study Group, we’ve developed several tools to address these concerns. The centerpiece being a very secure new encryption algorithm which will maintain total privacy of all confessional data.”
While praising the new technology aspects of the Protocol, Father Smythe stressed that the human element is still central and will not be lost. “The Holy Church is and will always be made up of people. Individuals. We have no intention of losing track of that, and to that extent there will always be a human component in the new automated absolution protocol. To meet that requirement, we’ve started fast-tracking the solemn profession process at Saint Vincent Archabbey in Pennsylvania, and hope to have over 5,000 fully qualified Benedictine monks on-line and ready to chant intercessions in time for the full system roll-out in 2018.”
“This also removes any possibility, however remote, of the recurrence of any … challenges … that have occasionally plagued the Church in the past,” Father Smythe concluded, with some hesitancy. “But I really can’t talk about that. Father Michael over in Legal can talk more about that.”