Dexter - "Sin of Omission" episode

Anyone happen to catch Dexter on Sunday? In one particular scene, Dexter visits a priest, who suffers from dementia and lives in a retirement home, and ends up “confessing” to murder. The priest thereby absolves Dexter of all his sins.

It’s this kind of “mischaracterization” of Catholic dogma that perpetuates myths and misunderstanding by non-Catholics. Of course, I don’t expect Hollywood to get it right 100% of the time, but do they always have to be so far off-base when they characterize the Church’s teachings?

I watched Casualty where a priest was dying and another took his confession at the hospital and was not taking the confession properly, he was judging him and kept stopping the confession.

After the confession he told the medical staff what he confessed.

Oh, and as usual from the BBC it was about abuse.

I’m a little under the weather, so I’m probably missing something here. What part of that is incorrect?

Didn’t see the episode, but it doesn’t seem too off-base to me. It doesn’t seem any more offensive than an example which a theologian used on the efficacy of the sacraments, that the intent or the mental state of the priest does not affect the power of the sacrament, if the right form and the right matter were involved: that analogy involved a drunken priest reciting the words of consecration over otherwise ordinary unleavened bread and table wine at a cafe.

Dexter is garbage and glorifies murder. Stay away from that Satanic show. In South Africa just today a couple who murdered someone for occultish purposes in court said that Dexter inspired her and helped her to live out her fantasies. Evil.

VLM - it would help me answer your question if I knew which part you believe is correct? Or rather, what is your understanding of the Sacrament of Penance?

For context:

*]Dexter, under false pretenses, enters the retirement home; he’s looking for someone named “Galway” and it happens to be Father Galway.
*]After a brief and cordial exchange, Father Galway reminds Dexter to confess his sins.
*]Cognizant of the fact that Galway thinks Dexter is someone else, and seeing that Galway has dementia, Dexter confesses that he is a murderer.

In hindsight, my post seemed to focus too much on the priest when I was highlighting the “legalistic” nature of the exchange between Dexter and the priest. But regarding the doctrine you raise, I agree with you - “the intent or the mental state of the priest does not affect the power of the sacrament.” Having said that, the Church reserves the right to authorize the priest’s power to absolve sin. In the case of a (laicized?) priest suffering from dementia, I would assume that the Church would dispense him from his priestly duties, no?

That’s terrible, and I agree with you - pure evil. The couple was more likely influenced by their (satanic) cult, and not so much by a television show.

I don’t watch the show, so, I didn’t know the precise context. Well, I do know what the show is about and I just find it too repugnant to even stomach.

But, I’m not sure which aspect you were objecting to here, the fact that Priest had dementia prevents him from offering absolution?

I saw the show. They were actually putting the sacrament and the priest into a positive light because this season Dexter is seeing that Christianity is giving him some answers and showing him some light. Dexter thinks that there is only darkness in him, but since he’s come into contact with a preacher and this priest and the bible and prayer, he’s starting to see that there is some light in him. So, I don’t see how it was a bad representation. It wasn’t saying that Dexter was automatically forgiven or anything, it was just saying how this gives Dexter hope that maybe he could be forgiven someday.

Dexter is no more satanic than any other show on TV.

Ah, well, then we can watch it. :rolleyes: Is the above meant to be a joke?

Dexter is vile. It glorifies murder and psychopathic love of killing as something to be revered. People support Dexter, despite his craziness, evil and the injustice of what he does. It is a sick, sick show.

No, it’s not a joke. I’ve watched every episode and there isn’t anything wrong with it anymore than any other tv show. I don’t see how it glorifies murder or anything you say. The show never says what Dexter does is right. But, just because he’s a serial killer, it doesn’t dehumanize him…that’s what we’re supposed to do to as Christians. Even if someone does evil things, we’re still supposed to love them. That’s what it makes me think when I watch it anyway.

Hehe. This is a funny thread. It reminds me of when people watch things like Star Trek and enjoy it right up until the point when the bridge crew is standing around looking dazed that somebody is shooting at their ship instead of reacting the way military people would and the viewers go “That’s just not believable!”

As opposed to every other aspect of Star Trek??? :stuck_out_tongue:

To the OP, you’re watching a show in which a serial killer is portrayed as the “good guy” and what you get worked up about is legalism in a confessional scene? Huh?? :wink:

“Worked up” is a bit of an overstatement.

I agree with you, to an extent; that scene was generally a positive portrayal of Christianity (aside from the fact that the “Doomsday Killer” played by Edward James Olmos is also a Christian). I started the thread because I happened to be watching the show with an evangelical Protestant, who shuddered when the priest absolved Dexter of all his sins - despite the fact that Dexter did not make a *sincere *confession.

I haven’t seen the show, but what makes you sure he’s not sincere?

I guess “firm purpose of amendment” would be the part missing, right?


If the character was in fact sincere, the series would end rather quickly (and abruptly).

I haven’t seen this episode because we don’t get the channel so I only watch on Netflix downloads which are all about a season behind. But I watch the show and love it.

I love the struggle with good and evil.

I love that Dexter delivers “justice” in an unjust system. Okay, he doesn’t do it correctly but he carries out that little bit of our human nature that seeks to right all the minor wrongs that are done against us. It is no different from wishing there was a cop around when someone runs a red light and almost hits us broadside when we’re just “innocently trying to go to the grocery store”.

I love that the show (and the books) deals with the issues of guilt and innocence on so many levels.

The show is far less satanic that some of those real-life Snookie-type programs or those horrid “bad girls” vampire shows. Those shows have no redeeming value that I can discern. At least Dexter tries to be a family man.

As for answering the Protestant’s questions, I would think that would be easy enough. The confession on TV doesn’t represent the sacrament in the Catholic Church any more than “Miracle on 34th Street” represents how the court system actually works.

“Dexter” fan. Enjoying this season. It’s also been fodder for an actual discussion of religion/God with my husband, a lapsed Catholic who’s “church is football.” :slight_smile:

I understand some people’s concerns that the main character glorifies murder. Really though, many crime shows have law enforcement taking out bad guys as well. Most shows have premarital sex, etc. And, Edward James Almos’ character, a “Christian,” is balanced by Mos Def’s. I love the introspection Dexter has this season. He also struggles with ethics and morals, just like many of us! It’s pretty rare for a television show to make me pause and think. It’s unbelievable to have a religious discussion with my husband. So, I’m enjoying it. :thumbsup:

(Personally, I find this show way less offensive than most reality shows, including “American Idol,” which, every time I’ve seen parts of it, the judges are rude to the contestants. :wink: )

I know nothing of the show or this scene to which you are referring, but priests do not have any sort of supernatural ability to sniff out insincerity in the confessional. I would think a priest suffering from dementia would be even less capable of doing so.

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