Leaning over the kitchen counter and my bowl of lucky charms, I asked my mother's back the question that haunts me to this day.
"Can you be blessed by a robot?"
Her reply was quicker than I expected, but she was a woman of great faith, "Yes, but it doesn't count."
My mother's long gone now, her final rites done by a genuine flesh-and-blood priest. I wonder sometimes what she would think of my job. Would she be proud that I chose a life working for the church?
After mom died, the catholic church was shaken by scandals. The clergy were not as holy as people needed them to be, that much was clear. We lost a lot of members. The church needed a reformation, and my friend Ama seemed willing enough to start one.
She had always been the tech wizard, at home among the wires and glass. Her happiness seemed real to me, I figured that was holy enough. Bouncing around names for her creation was half the fun. RoboPriest? BlessBot? iPray? We were convinced that we were doing the right thing, helping the church to advance, just like the rest of the world.
"'I tell you,' he replied, 'if they keep quiet, the very stones will cry out.' Luke 19:40," Ama sighed, "This is what he meant, we're fulfilling a prophecy." Her smile was infectious and that was the moment I knew what love meant.
We started local, giving out free prototypes to state churches that didn't have anything to lose. Pretty soon, attendance rates skyrocketed, people were there for the novelty of taking communion from a machine, the insanity of an android praying. We even got press coverage, Ama was so cute when she was nervous for an interview.
A few churches asked to buy from us during this time, even ones from different religions, we worked on custom settings for a more personal digitized faith.
Protesters raved in front of our houses at all hours. In the screaming crowds, I sometimes thought I saw my mother's face. Ama always tried to avoid anyone who opposed our work, it tore her down too easily. I was the figurehead, the one who attended the debates.
Why should a blessing from a machine count any less than one from a human with equal knowledge of scripture? At least we knew the robot had never sinned. There was nothing wrong with making the technology available, was there?
It was fast, a blur of screaming and praying and falling in love and within two years, almost every Catholic church in the country had at least one of our robots actively employed in the clergy. Ama and I were married, and our firstborn son baptized by our creation. I came in to confess to Father2209 that I sometimes felt that I had let down my mother, that maybe the anti-tech Catholics were right, but I was in too deep now. Father2209's response involved something about always being able to find grace in God. The effect was slightly lost on me, I had helped program confessional responses myself.
I can never tell Ama this, but I was almost relieved when, after five years, our androids began to lose traction. It started with the Hammond vs. State case. Mr. Hammond, accused of child abuse, had confessed his actions to a robotic priest, his audio file was pulled up without hesitation and used against him in court.
The legalities were simple enough, the peoples' reactions were not.
Once the seed of suspicion had been planted, I knew it would take root. I tried my best to keep it away from Ama, but there was no point in trying to hide the huge piles of Catholic robots taking over landfills across the country.
This isn't for the competition, I just wanted to try the prompt out. Reviews and comments are always appreciated though!