When I was twelve, a priest assigned me 300 Hail Marys and 300 Our Fathers for reciting the new Act of Contrition. He didn’t like it. My mother reduced the sentence to 3, reasoning that I must have misheard, and in any case God knew that I had made a proper Act.
I remain, many years later, a wary and ambivalent penitent. I don’t find dredging up sin, or even the speed of old-style confession, particularly humiliating. Rather, what daunts...
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Daria Donnelly (1959-2004) was an associate editor of Commonweal from 2000 to 2004. In 2002, after having been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, she became associate editor (at large) and co-editor of the poetry section.