the Sacrament of Penance
Prior to Confession
Reflect that this confession may be the last of your life. Therefore, prepare yourself for it as if you were lying sick upon your deathbed, and already at the brink of the grave. Ask God to give you the grace to make a good examination of conscience, the light to see your sins clearly, and the strength to make a sincere confession and to amend your life.
O Holy Ghost, come in Thy mercy, enlighten my mind and strengthen my will, that I may know my sins, be sincerely sorry for them, humbly confess them, and sincerely amend my life. Mary, my mother, refuge of sinners, assist me in Thy intercession, Holy Angels and Saints of God, pray for me.
My Last Confession
- When did I make my last confession?
- Did I take sufficient pains to awaken contrition?
- Did I omit to confess a mortal sin either intentionally or through forgetfulness?
- Did I intentionally neglect to say the penance which was imposed on me, or was I so careless as to forget it?
- Have I carried out the resolutions I made at my last confession or have I paid no heed at all to them?
1. I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
Examination of Conscience
- My Faith – Have I denied it? doubted it? endangered it by reading anti-Catholic literature?
- Murmured against God at your adversity or at the prosperity of others?
- Despaired of His mercy and/or been presumptuous of his mercy?
- Taken part in or visited places of false worship?
- Spoken disrespectfully of holy persons or things?
- Neglected daily prayers?
- Been given to superstition or consulted fortune tellers?
- Omited religious duties or practices through motives of human respect?
- Spoken with levity or irreverence of priests, religious, or sacred objects?
- Taken the Name of God in vain?
- Taken oaths unnecessarily or lied under oath, or made oaths in slight and trivial matters?
- Profaned anything relating to religion?
- Cursed yourself or others, or any creature?
- Angered others so as to make them swear, or blaspheme God?
- Missed Sunday Mass deliberately or kept others from Mass? Late? Inattentive? Disrespectful in Church?
- Did or commanded unnecessary servile work on Sundays or Holydays of Obligation?
- With no priest available, did I follow a devotional plan, such as reading the Sunday Mass from a Missal? Did I do spiritual readings, offer Spiritual Communion, say the rosary, etc.?
- Did I honor my parents and superiors according to my just duty?
- Disobeyed parents?
- Angered, insulted or distressed them?
- Refused to help them when in need?
- Neglected them?
- Stirred up others against them?
- Angered distressed or insulted wife (or husband)? - Unjustly accused her(him)?
- Neglected to support family? - to correct children, to instruct them in their faith?
- Gave bad example?
- Disobeyed any lawful authority?
- Failed in due reverence to aged persons?
- Deliberately and unjustly caused another’s death?
- Wished harm to another? or effected harm to another?
- Angered, quarreled, fought, hatred or held a grudge?
- Refused to speak with others?
- Desired revenge?
- Caused others to commit sin? Caused enmity between others?
- Guilty of abortion by act, advice, or consent?
- Did I give scandal by sinful speech or immodest dress?
- Not forgiven injuries?
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
(The 6th and 9th commandments are considered together. The 6th commandment addresses acts of impurity, and the 9th addresses
impurity in thought and desire).
- It is necessary to mention whether you are single or married and whether any thoughts, words or acts against these commandments concerned a single or married person or a relative.
- Willingly took pleasure in impure thoughts or desires?
- Went to immodest places of amusement?
- Kept or looked at immodest pictures? Showed them to others?
- Sang or enjoyed immodest songs, words or actions? Dances?
- Read immodest literature?
- Been in lewd company?
- Immodest in my looks? Guilty of lascivious dressing?
- Committed impure acts? What kind? Alone? With others?Fornication? Adultery? Self Abuse? Sodomy?
- Guilty of contraception?
- Any other type of impurity must be mentioned.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
(The 7th and 10th commandments are considered together.
The 7th commandment addresses acts of dishonesty, and the 10th addresses the
desire to unjustly possess another’s property).
- Stole or desired to possess unjustly the goods of another?
- Destroyed property of others?
- Defrauded insurance companies?
- Took employer’s goods?
- Wasted time for which I was paid?
- Deceit in buying or selling? Gave incorrect weight or measure?
- Neglected or delayed to pay bills or just debts?
- Deferred payment of wages?
- Defrauded employees?
- Injured others’ rights to goods or employment?
- Willfully damaged another's goods? or negligently spoiled them?
- Borne false witness?
- Guilty of lying, tale-bearing, trouble making, malicious gossip?
- Listened to gossip?
- Judged rashly?
- Injured others by lies? or by injurious names?
- Revealed hidden faults of others?
- Neglected reparation for these sins.
Commandments of the Church
1. To hear Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation.
2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed.
- Ate Meat on Friday or days of complete abstinence?
- Ate meat more than once on day of Partial Abstinence?
- Deliberately ate more than one full meal on fast day (if over 21)?
- Neglected annual confession (if a priest is available)?
4. To receive Holy Eucharist during the Easter time.
- Neglected my Easter Duty to receive Holy Communion during the Eastertime?
5. To contribute to the support of our pastors.
- Failed to support the Church when able?
6. Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, nor who are related to us within the third degree of kindred, nor privately without witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.
Seven Capital Sins & the Opposite Virtues
- Was I proud, vain?
- Unduly desirous of money or worldly possessions?
- Lazy or idle?
- Guilty of gluttony or drunkenness?
- Slothful about religious obligations?
The Fours Sins which Cry to Heaven for Vengence
- Willful murder (includes abortion)
- The sin of Sodom
- Oppression of the poor
- Defrauding the laborer of his wages
The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
- To admonish sinners
- To instruct the ignorant
- To councel the doubtful
- To comfort the sorrowful
- To bear wrongs patiently
- To forgive all injuries
- To pray for the living and the dead
The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy
- To feed the hungry
- To give drink to the thirsty
- To clothe the naked
- To visit and ransom the captives
- To harbor the harborless
- To visit the sick
- To bury the dead
One can contribute to the sins of another by:
Responsible for Sins of Another
- By Example
- By Command
- By Counsel
- By Approval
- By Praise or Flattery
- By Silence
- By Taking part in sin of another
- By Hiding or Defending the ill done
- By Provocation
Going to Confession
Approach the confessional with the same recollectedness and reverence as would fill your heart if Our Lord Jesus Christ were seated there in person ready to hear your confession. The priest is really the representative of Christ. The priest has received the power to forgive sin by virtue of his Holy Orders, and from the words of Christ to His priests: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them. And whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”
When you kneel down in the confessional, make the sign of the cross and say:
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been (specify what period of time) since my last confession.
Then begin the avowal of your sins. Confess all your sins with a contrite and humble heart, and conclude thus:
For these and all the sins of my past life, especially my sins of (naming some previously confessed and forgiven grievous sin), I am heartily sorry, beg pardon of God, and absolution of you, Father.
Listen then with humility and docility to the instruction of your confessor, and during this time avoid all recurrence as to the confession itself, remembering that sins forgotten after a serious examination of conscience are really comprised in the absolution. Accept with submission the penance imposed, and if any obstacle that you foresee will prevent your accomplishing it, state this respectfully. While the priest pronounces the words of absolution, make an Act of Perfect Contrition. Should your spiritual Father deem it proper to defer absolution, acknowledge your unworthiness, and do not murmur. Leave the confessional resolved to use every effort, by an amendment of life and sincere repentance, to obtain God's pardon. which His priest will ratify.
Oh my God, I am heartily
sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the
loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend
Thee my God Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help
of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.
Act of Contrition