Using their examination criteria, here's my confession, the first one I've made in 43 years:
1st Commandment: I am the LORD your God. Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.
Do I not give God time every day in prayer? I do not.
Do I not seek to love Him with my whole heart?
I do not. I am an atheist, a lapsed Irish Roman Catholic brought up in the American church of the 1960s when we protested the war and the nuns took their habits off and the priests ran away to become gay liberationists. I named my life story Big Sex Little Death, which is definitely for Catholic tastes.
Have I been involved in superstitious practices? No.
Do I not seek to surrender myself to God's Word? No.
Have I ever received Communion in a state of Mortal sin?
The last time I went to confession I was nine years old and the most tearful sin I had on my conscience was my silent anger at my mother and her rules. I also loved the Beatles and I knew our parish didn't approve.
Have I ever deliberately told a lie in confession or withheld a mortal sin?
No. I won't start here, either.
2nd Commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in Vain
Have I used God's name in vain? Yes.
Have I been angry with God?
Is that like being angry with your imaginary friend?
Have I wished evil upon another person?
Towards unholy dictators and figureheads, I guess so. I would call this wish, "hostility on public figures who are bad actors."
Have I wished evil upon another person? Evil is imaginary, like God.
Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?
Does a giant rosary hanging amusingly from my bedroom wall count?
3rd Commandment: Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day
Have I deliberatly missed Mass on Sunday? Yes!
Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and day of rest?
I sure try.
Do I do needless work on Sunday? Lamentably, I do.
4th Commandment: Honor thy father and mother
Have I neglected my duteis to my husband and children? No.
Have I not given my family good religious example?
I think my religious education efforts have been exemplary.
Do I try not to bring peace to my family life?
On the contrary, I try a lot. I like peace.
Do I not care for my aged and infirm relatives?
I care, and am there, and it is heartbreaking.
5th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill
Have I had an abortion or encouraged anyone to have an abortion?
I can't believe this is the FIRST question on a 5th Commandment list!
Have I physically harmed anyone? No.
Have I abused alcohol or drugs?
As in "killing" someone? Jesus, what is this doing in the 5th? A hangover question? However, my Polly Purebred answer is still no. Drugs aren't my weakness.
Did I give scandal to anyone, leading them into sin?
By your insinuation, I hope so.
Have I been angry or resentful?
Yes. You got me. I'm taking years off my life with it, too.
Have I harbored hatred in my heart?
I hate to admit this. Yes. Finally, the one question in this entire examination that causes me guilt and pain.
Have I mutilated myself through sterilzation?
What's with the language here? I have made it impossible for my uterus to get pregnant, yes. I don't regard that as mutilation.
Have I encouraged sterilization or condoned it? Of course.
6th Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery
Have I been fiathful to my marriage in thought and action?
I'm loyal, but monogamy is not our litmus test.
Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity? Yes.
Have I used any method of contraception? All of them!
Have the sexual acts in my mariage always been open to the transmission of new life?
Have I been guilty of masturbation? As charged.
Have I not sought to control my thoughts? Not the sexual ones, no.
Have I not respected all members of the opposite sex— or have I thought of other people as objects?
I have respected everyone's dignity and humanity, regardless of gender. I don't think we're so "opposite."
What's with the Dworkinite postcript on this? The notion of "people as objects" is inane; it isn't biblical. I would be a lunatic to confuse you with a chair, for example.
I guess this phrase means, "Have I ever gazed upon an image of someone and had a sexual fantasy about them?" Yes, and it is the most human thing in the world.
Do I seek to be chaste? Certainly not.
Am I not careful to dress modestly?
I take care to dress with great impact.
7th Commandment: Thou shalt not steal
Have I stolen what is not mine?
No. Okay, so I still have your cute earrings. But you know that.
Have I not returned or avoided making restitituion for what I have stolen? N/A
Do I waste time at work, school, or home? Yes. Time Bandit!
Do I gamble excessively?
Not at all. I didn't realize it was okay to gamble "a little"! But it's not my thing.
Do I avoid paying my debts promptly?
I wish I could avoid them entirely, but I am intimidated.
Do I not seek to share what I have with the poor?
I'm a big sharer. It's the most "Roman Catholic" part of me. I'm impressed that the app-priests remembered to put this at the very END of their list. It should be at the top.
8th Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor
Have I lied? It's unavoidable. But I'm telling the truth here.
Have I gossiped? Playfully.
Have I spoken behind someone's back? To my confidants, yes.
Am I insincere in my dealings with others? No. Terrible at faking that.
Am I critical, negative, or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?
In a bratty way, yes. But in serious terms, I more the empathetic type.
Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential? Yes.
9th Commandment: Thou shalt not covet your neighbor's wife
Have I consented to impure thoughts? The very best kind!
Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, conversations, or curiousity?
What is this, my job description?
Do I allow myself to lose control of my imagination?
WOW. I *live* to lose control of my imagination.
Do I avoid prayer to banish impure thoughts and tempataions?
I relish poetry to improve them.
(But what about "my neighbor's wife"? The priests forgot to ask! I do covet her. Her name is Lindsay. She is awesome).
10th Commandment: Thou shalt not covet your neighbor's goods
Am I jealous of what other people have?
Well, darn it, yes. But it passes quickly.
Do I envy the families or possessions of others?
When I am feeling sorry for myself, yes.
Am I greedy or selfish? Greedy, no. Selfish, yes.
Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
No. But that was never a source of esteem in my family.
Do I not trust in God will care for all my material and spiritual needs?
I didn't know this was an option! Please forward His address so I can mail the bills and my grocery list!
"Spiritually," I'm ready for my fork.
Photo: This is the actual day of my First Confession, in 1965. My mother took the snap.
I was very excited, in queue for my First Communion here. I was so psyched to have Jesus placed in my mouth and have a big private talk with him. I was let down and worried when "nothing" happened except the wafer stuck to the roof of my mouth.
I was frighened by the priest in the confession booth, who gave me five Hail Mary's, one Apostles' Creed, ten Our Fathers... this was for the sin of "thinking bad thoughts about my mother's discipline and not truly wanting to do all the dishes."
You see that nun in the background with the aviator shades? She used to hit us across the face. Time for confession, maybe?
When I think about what the Church does to young children, it makes me sick.