Catholic Minority Report



A friend commented: You know how practicing Roman Catholics can get into all kinds of scruples over committing sins and going to hell? Or, purgatory; depending on the gravity of the offense. 

Well, how about a Get Out of Hell Free Pass? It would be simple. Just go and confess to a sin you haven't committed yet!

You know that movie with Tom Cruise, set in a future where there is a cadre of crime fighters dispatched to prevent an occurrence before it even happens? Or that more recent confection in which a guy gets a free one night stand with someone other than his wife? Hall Pass.

Anyway.

A certain fellow, er, of my acquaintance attended Catholic Parochial School in his youth. Mass every day, confession once a week. Those starchy nuns daily, and all day. 

Being a very scrupulous lad, he once confessed to having impure thoughts. The priest confessor misunderstood the boy and assumed he was confessing to having sexual relations with a woman. Any boy age 10 or so has some inkling of what's what between the men and women. Down there. A lot of curiosity, to be sure. But, actual making the love of the two armed kind. Come on. At so innocent an age. Even now in this guilted age. Never. Let's hope. 

Our young friend was woefully chagrined over the priest absolving him of a sin he didn't commit, or even didn't know how to commit. But he didn't let on, and sheepishly snuck out of the confessional to do his handful of Our Father's and Hail Mary's. And, hoping the priest didn't get a glimpse of him from behind the curtain.

Time has passed.

And, I hear our pseudo-fornicating young miscreant has gathered some experience under his belt. Let us not elaborate. He related the foregoing story to me and then speculated on a work around inspired by the Tom Cruise movie; his early embarrassment in Confession; and that other movie, Hall Pass. 

What if you went and confessed to a sin you didn't commit (but would certainly like to). Wouldn't you have a pass to do the deed later, with impunity? A sort of get out of jail free ticket? 

Makes sense, right? If you are a scrupulous Catholic, you must have dealt with the quandary of the risky interim period between when you commit a Mortal Sin (straight to Hell, eternal damnation category offenses) and making it to confession. If you die in the meantime, you belong to the Devil, forever. 

All right, there's a bit of silliness in here. I'm sure the doctrine is that if you have contrition in your heart, and you die before confession, then it counts to the good. I'm telling you folks, this is stuff Catholics worry about. I remember in high school us boys peppering the priest in religion class with questions from all angles about all the what-if exceptions and just-how-far-you-can-go scenarios with the girls. That's Catholic for you. You have all these urges, and you have the chance of hell for satisfying them. 

So, here's the proposition. Why not get a chit for forgiveness before the act itself? Hey, why not collect a bunch?

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