Autistic Confession: Tips for Both Sides of the Screen

Autistic Confession: Tips for Both Sides of the Screen October 23, 2019

A priest confessing with the autistic infinity symbol
A priest confessing with the autistic infinity symbol (Photo: CC0 Josh Applegate, Unsplash; infinity and composed image, own work)

I recently wrote a piece on confession for autistics. I want to help both the individual autistic confess well and the priest to hear the confession well. My piece on the topic was recently published on Aleteia:

[Autistics] make up 1.5% to 2% of the population. I’m one of that group.

As awareness of autism grows, more pastoral sensitivity to our particular needs also is developing … even if slowly.

It is too rare we see information on how we [autistics] should go about preparing and making our Confession, or how priests should hear our Confessions. We are not too radically different, but a few accommodations or adaptations can help us immensely in this sacrament.

Since I’ve gone public about being autistic, I’ve gotten a number of questions from both [autistics] and priests, about dealing with certain autism-specific situations in the confessional. I hope to provide a few quick pointers below for both sides of the screen.

The basic issue with autism is that our brains are wired differently from 98% of the population. In some things, this is advantageous: We often are great at long-term memory, detail oriented work, or logic. However, it creates some difficulties. Much of the wiring issue is a lack of certain connections.

You can read the rest there. The original includes puzzle-pieces in the cover image and “people with autism,” which I know some autistic readers may not appreciate. Both are the editors’ choice, not mine. When I got their first edits, I even asked them to return to fully identity-first language, rather than mix it with person-first as the final version has. Others, if you are reading this, please realize that a significant majority of autistics prefer to be called “autistics,” and the charitable thing to do is to respect such language.

Note: I get paid little and we need Catholic ministry to autistics so please consider sponsoring me on Patreon.

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