Dear Hollywood Folks,
First, I know you don't think that anyone in their right mind actually practices a religious faith (unless wearing a red string about one's wrist a la' Madonna can be construed as "practicing"), but many of us do. We take our faith seriously, just as seriously as you taking your job of creating a TV show or movie.
Here's the thing. I was watching "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" last night. I really enjoy this show, so if you're involved in it, kudos to you! However, last night's plot revolved around a seemingly-serious Catholic woman who appeared to have committed suicide. (I will overlook the sexual abuse stuff and the unscrupulous priest who admitted to sleeping around....old canards and shame on you for being a one-note writer on that topic.) However, what I won't overlook is this: one suspect admitted she tried to cover up the suicide and stage the scene to look like a murder so that the dead woman "could be buried in consecrated ground and have a funeral Mass said for her". This because, as EVERYONE knows, a Catholic who commits suicide has committed that same sin as murder (one of the characters stated this) and all of the above applies.
Except.....: you're wrong.
None of this applies. Oh, it used to be true...like 45+ years ago. Since then, the Church, like the rest of the world, knows that a person who commits suicide is not in a healthy state of mind and cannot be held completely responsible for his/her actions. While the Church acknowledges that suicide does take a human life, it is not equivalent to murder, morally speaking.
At while we're chatting, can you please stop showing characters going to Catholic churches and finding a priest just puttering around inside, straightening hymnals and lighting candles? They don't do that. They don't have time. They are too busy visiting hospitals and nursing homes, answering emails, counseling folks, filling out paperwork for the endless things that parish life requires, and generally: working.
Also, we Catholics don't tend to go to confession in little dark booths with sliding screens anymore. For the most part, we have clean, well-lit reconciliation rooms with chairs that are quite welcoming for the ordinary sinner.
I realize some of you must have been raised Catholic and therefore believe you know. However, if you have not darkened the doorstep of a Church since 1965, if you are not aware of the looming changes to the Roman Missal (if you don't even know what the Roman Missal IS), if you've never had dinner with a priest who isn't wearing a collar, if you don't realize that Catholic schools are not densely populated by nuns waiving rulers....then stop writing as an authority!!!! Ask someone who is!!! Do what good writers are supposed to do and do research!!!!
That is all.
A disgruntled Catholic TV viewer
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