“To those who have been far away from the Sacrament of Reconciliation and forgiving love I make this appeal: come back to this source of grace; do not be afraid! Christ is waiting for you. He will heal you and you will be at peace with God!” Saint John Paul II
“Because I kept silent, my bones wasted away;
I groaned all day long… Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, ‘I confess my transgression to the LORD,’ and you took away the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32: 1, 3-5
“Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: ‘All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret…’ those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, ‘for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know.'” CCC, 1456
“If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.” 1 John 1: 8,9
Steps to a Make Good Confession
- Carefully examine your conscience.
- Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
- Make a firm resolution not to sin again and to avoid the near occasions of sin.
- Tell your sins to the priest. All unconfessed mortal sins, of which you are aware, must be confessed by kind and number as best you can.
- Say an Act of Contrition when asked to do so.
- Receive absolution.
- Do the penance the priest gives you.
The priest greets the penitent.
Priest: May the Lord who enlightens every heart, help you to know your sins, and to trust in his mercy.
Penitent: Bless me Father, for I have sinned.
It has been ________ since my last confession.
Here state your sins. Priest gives counsel and penance.
Penitent says Act of Contrition when asked to:
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong, and failing to do good, I have sinned against You, whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
Priest: Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.
Penitent: His mercy endures forever.
Examination of Conscience
1. You shall not have other gods before Me.
___ Have I failed to place God first in my life?
___ Have I neglected to pray every day?
___ Have I received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin or neglected to prepare myself properly to receive Holy Communion?
___ Have I withheld the confession of a mortal sin in a previous confession that I was aware of at the time?
___ Have I practiced superstition or engaged in occult practices, such as consulting horoscopes, tarot cards, Ouija boards, séances or satanic rituals?
___ Do I seek to nourish and protect my Catholic faith?
___ Have I refused to accept any teaching of the Church?
___ Have I gone against God’s will by reading, watching, or listening to material that goes against the beliefs of the Catholic Church?
___ Have I participated in a non-Catholic worship service in a manner contrary to Catholic faith (for example: receiving communion or professing different beliefs)?
___ Have I presumed on God’s mercy, acting as if it is not necessary for me to turn away from serious sin in order to be saved?
___ Have I given in to the sin of despair, abandoning my hope in God’s love and the promise of salvation for all those who turn to God with a sincere heart?
- You shall not take the Name of the Lord Your God in vain.
___ Have I taken God’s Name in vain, or in anger?
___ Have I been irreverent or disrespectful toward God?
___ Have I spoken about or treated any sacred person, place or thing, with irreverence or disrespect?
___ Have I been a baptismal or confirmation sponsor in a non-Catholic ceremony?
___ Have I broken any promise or oath in which I had invoked God’s Name?
- Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
___ Have I failed to attend Mass on Sundays or holy days of obligation without a good reason?
___ Have I arrived at Mass after the Liturgy of the Word or left Mass early, without good reason?
___ Have I deliberately failed to pay attention at Mass?
___ Have I distracted others from paying attention at Mass, or worn improper attire to Mass?
___ Am I generous in helping the Church, contributing some of my allowance or earnings at collection time to help the Church and the poor?
___ Do I fast (age 18 to 59) and abstain from meat (age 14+) on the days appointed by the Church?
___ Have I fulfilled my yearly Easter duty of receiving Holy Communion (going to Confession, if needed)?
___ Have I worked (or made others work) on Sunday when I didn’t need to?
- Honor your father and your mother.
___ Have I disobeyed my parents, or been disrespectful?
___ Have I failed to express my love for my parents?
___ Have I failed to help my parents when they needed my help?
___ Do I perform without complaining, the chores my parents give me to do?
___ Do I nurse angry feelings or show resentment when I am corrected by my parents?
___ Am I content with the blessings I have received from God in my parents and family, or do I nurture a selfish or an unwholesome desire to leave my parents’ home when I am too young to do so?
___ Do I perform my civic duties (voting, if age 18)?
- You shall not kill.
___ Have I harmed anyone by my speech or actions?
___ Have I wished harm or revenge on anyone?
___ Have I lost my temper or become unjustly angry?
___ Have I gotten drunk or intoxicated on alcohol or other substances?
___ Have I intentionally overindulged in food (gluttony)?
___ Have I failed to take proper care of my health or caused harm to myself?
___ Have I attempted or entertained thoughts of suicide?
___ Have I recommended, consented to, advised, or actively taken part in an abortion? (Abortion is a mortal sin which incurs automatic excommunication for those who actively take part. Confession and sacramental absolution is required to lift this excommunication.)
___ Have I used contraception or encouraged others to?
___ Have I encouraged others to sin by my own sinful behaviors or conversation?
___ Have I endangered lives by reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, or while texting?
___ Have I picked fights with or quarreled with anyone, including my brothers and sisters?
___ Have I bullied, maliciously teased, or insulted others?
___ Have I participated in illegal gangs or violence?
___ Have I tried to make up for any harm I have caused others, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual?
___ Have I sought forgiveness of those I have offended?
___ Have I hated, nursed resentment, or refused to forgive anyone?
- You shall not commit adultery, and
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
___ Have I deliberately entertained impure thoughts?
___ Have I been involved in acts which arouse lustful desires (such as passionate kissing or touching)?
___ Have I had sexual relations with another person?
___ Have I engaged in impure conversations?
___ Have I placed myself in position where I might be tempted to sin, such as sensual dancing; sexually suggestive movies, plays, or reading material; immoral establishments; sharing a room with a member of the opposite sex; being alone with a person with whom I have continually sinned with?
___ Have I neglected to dress modestly?
___ Have I willfully looked at immodest pictures?
___ Have I displayed immodest looks or glances at others?
___ Have I sought to understand the Church’s teaching on sexual morality? Have I made fun of this teaching?
___ Have I led others to commit sins of immodesty or impurity?
___ Have I committed impure acts with myself (masturbation)?
___ Have I committed impure acts with someone else, either of the opposite sex or the same sex (homosexual acts)?
___ Do I have bad or immoral friendships? Have I taken steps to break these friendships?
___ Have I used anyone as an object for my pleasure, rather than a person created in God’s image and likeness whom God has placed in my life to respect?
- You shall not steal, and
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
___ Have I seriously considered stealing?
___ Have I stolen anything? What was it worth? Have I returned the stolen item or intend to return it?
___ Have I tried to seek the rightful owner of property that I have found?
___ Have I damaged or been responsible for the damage of another person’s property? What would be the cost of repairing or replacing it?
___ Have I caused harm to anyone’s job or business by fraud or deception?
___ Have I been irresponsible with the money or possessions which God has entrusted to me?
___ Have I been envious of the wealth or material goods of another person?
___ Have I honored my debts?
___ Have I been lazy with respect to my employment, household chores, work, or studies?
___ Have I been greedy?
___ Have I placed too high a value on material goods?
___ Have I failed to do my part to help those whom I know are truly needy?
___ Have I set my heart primarily on earthly pleasures and possessions, and not on the true treasures of Heaven?
- You shall not lie.
___ Have I lied?
___ Have I tried to repair any damage caused by my lies?
___ Have I accused or hastily judged others of wrongdoing without sufficient evidence?
___ Have I unnecessarily talked about others’ faults?
___ Have I falsely accused someone of wrongdoing (calumny)?
___ Have I gossiped about another person?
___ Have I been excessively critical, negative, and uncharitable in my speech?
___ Have I failed to honor the confidences or secrets entrusted to me by another? Have I revealed them to someone else without permission or without due or serious cause?
___ Have I failed to defend the good name or honor of others?