Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Friday, November 15, 2013

Paddy Tells His Barber Why He Can't Kill Rosie

by Donal Mahoney

Barney, I'm pro-life so I can't kill Rosie, no matter that I caught her in bed with Wilbur. I'm a Catholic so if I were to kill her, I'd go straight to Hell if I were to die before going to confession. 

And even if I go to confession, and Jesus Christ forgives my sin, imagine how long I'd be in Purgatory. It would take years to strip away the stain--not the guilt--of that sin from my soul. Christ's death on the cross took care of the guilt but I'd still have the stain. 

I know you Baptists don't believe in Purgatory but I'm reserving seats for both us in advance. 

You see, killing Rosie would be a little like setting my neighbor's house on fire and it burns to the ground. My neighbor might forgive me in time but I'd still have to pay for the damages. Worse, I'd spend years in jail. Sins can be forgiven but they leave a stain. And no stained soul is suitable for heaven. Purgatory purifies a stained soul. That's how us mackerel snappers see it.

Some folks think Catholics think they can commit any sin at all, go to confession, receive absolution, die and go straight to Heaven. Even the dumbest Catholics don't believe that--and let me tell you we're not all Rhodes Scholars.

You and I argue about this stuff every time I get a haircut. For 30 odd years, you've been telling me I'm one of the few Catholics you know who's saved--that I'll go straight to heaven because I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Rumors to the contrary, Barney, every Catholic accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior. There is no one else. We just say it in a different way. 

At the same time, Catholics don't believe they're going straight to heaven simply because they believe in Jesus. They believe Jesus expects us to behave as though we believe. We're not talking about good works here. We're talking about the Ten Commandments--not the ten suggestions. 

So, Barney, it boils down to this: Even if I'm saved as you maintain, I can't kill Rosie because that would make Jesus unhappy. And you and I agree, we don't want to make Jesus unhappy. Besides, He'd probably tell me to find a decent girl, marry her, settle down and raise a nice family. 

What's almost as bad, Barney, is my faith says I have to forgive Rosie. That's almost as tough as not killing her since I know she'll do it again. She'll cheat on some other guy who has yet to catch on to her.  

Barney, ol' buddy, take it from me. It's inconvenient at times being a pro-life Catholic, saved or otherwise.

I'll see you in three weeks when I need another haircut. And stop eating those stuffed pork chops. Too much cholesterol. Purgatory will be there soon enough when we need it.  

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