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BOSTON (CAP) - Officials for the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston have announced plans to switch a number of area parishes from the centuries-old bland wheat flour-based communion wafers to a more contemporary wafer containing polyunsaturated fats and one of a handful of flavoring agents.
"Don't let it be said that the Catholic Church isn't a forward-thinking ecclesiastical entity," said Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley. "Whether we're the first internationally-renowned religion to openly cover-up clergy sex abuse scandals or the first to make Mass taste better, we always have our congregations' best interests in mind."
According to O'Malley, the first batch of new wafers will be made available in three flavors: chocolate, cinnamon, and Ritz. The plan is to taste test the varieties at some of the more tolerable parishes in the region, like throughout South Boston, and then expand the more successful kinds into other dioceses.
"Wow, Jesus never tasted so good," said 47-year-old Darren St. Clair, one of a dozen to participate in a focus group that helped to select the initial flavor offerings. "The only problem I see is that this could extend Mass when everybody starts going back for a second helping of the Lord."
The new wafer is the first part of a multi-year branding effort by the Catholic Church to try to inject some life into what many consider to be a stale, outdated religion. The endeavor, dubbed transsubflavorization by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, aims to double the membership in two-thirds of congregations within three years, and put the Church back on the path to profitability.
"We have been hurting in that coveted 24-39 demographic for a long time," said New York Archbishop Edward Michael Egan. "Our goal is to take that holier-than-thou Christmas crowd and get them to show up in the dead of summer when we've got no particular focus and nothing new to say.
"We think programs like Sin-Free Sundays, Double Points Redemption Confessional, and the new Wii Mass will return Catholicism to the glory days of the Crusades," added Egan.
Egan said Catholic leaders have a littany of other plans they hope to put in place over the course of time to both modernize and energize the religious experience. One forward-thinking concept, the often hotly-debated idea of anointing women as priests, would likely be implemented "only over my crucified body," said Egan.
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