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The Sacrament of Confession, which precedes first Holy Communion and may be received as often as necessary throughout one's life, answers Christ's call to individual conversion. Only God can forgive sins, and by His divine authority He entrusted this Sacrament to be exercised in His name by His ministers (see John 20:21-23). This is so beautifully apparent in the formula of absolution used by the Latin Church: 

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Examination of Conscience


To begin, set aside some quiet time for reflection. Start by praying to the Holy Spirit, asking for help in making a good examination to prepare for Confession. Read through the items on the following pages to help reflect honestly on ways you may be sinning in your life. If necessary, take this list or some brief notes (keep them private!) with you to Confession to help you remember what you need to confess. This examination is based on the 10 Commandments and the 5 Precepts of the Church. It is meant to be merely a starting point for your reflection and to help identify patterns of sin in order to repent of them.



Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2052-2557

I. I am the Lord your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.

Have I . . .

  • Disobeyed the commandments of God or the Church?

  • Refused to accept what God has revealed as true, or what the Catholic Church proposes for belief?

  • Denied the existence of God?

  • Failed to nourish and protect my faith?

  • Rejected everything opposed to a sound faith?

  • Deliberately misled others about doctrine or the faith?

  • Rejected the Catholic faith, joined another Christian denomination, or joined or practised another religion?

  • Joined an anti-Catholic group (Masons, communists, etc.)?

  • Despaired about my salvation or forgiveness of my sins?

  • Presumed on God’s mercy (committing a sin in expectation of forgiveness, or asking for forgiveness without conversion and practising virtue)?

  • Loved someone or something more than God (money, power, sex, ambition, etc.)?

  • Let someone or something influence my choices more than God?

  • Engaged in superstitious practices (horoscopes, fortune tellers, etc.)?

  • Been involved in the occult (séance, Ouija board, etc.)?

  • Formally left the Catholic Church?

  • Hidden a serious sin or told a lie in confession?

II. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Have I . . .

  • Used the name of God in cursing or blasphemy?

  • Failed to keep promises that I have made to God?

  • Spoken about the Faith, the Church, the saints, or sacred things with irreverence, hatred or defiance?

  • Watched television or movies, or listened to music that treated God, the Church, the saints, or sacred things irreverently?

  • Used vulgar, suggestive or obscene speech?

  • Belittled others in my speech?

  • Have I behaved disrespectfully in Church?

  • Misused places or things set apart for the worship of God?

  • Committed perjury (lying while under oath)?

  • Blamed God for my failings?

III. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

Have I . . .

  • Failed to set time aside each day for personal prayer?

  • Missed Mass on Sunday or Holy Days (through own fault and without sufficient reason)?

  • Committed a sacrilege against the Eucharist?

  • Received a sacrament while in the state of mortal sin?

  • Violated the Communion Fast by having food or beverage within one hour before receiving Communion (other than medical need)?

  • Habitually come late and/or left early from Mass?

  • Shopped, laboured, or done business unnecessarily on Sunday or other Holy Days of Obligation?

  • Failed to take my children to Mass?

IV. Honor your father and your mother.

Have I . . .

  • Neglected the needs of my parents in their old age or in their time of need?

  • Lived in humble obedience to those who legitimately exercise authority over me?

  • Have I broken the law?

  • Have I supported or voted for a politician whose positions are opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Church?

  •  Neglected to give my children proper food, clothing, shelter, education, discipline and care (even after Confirmation)?

  • Provided for the religious education and formation of my children?

  • Ensured that my children still under my care regularly frequent the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion?

  • Educated my children in a way that corresponds to Catholic values?

  • Provided my children with a positive, prudent and personalized education on the Catholic understanding of human sexuality?

  • Been to my children a good example of how to live the Catholic Faith?

  • Prayed with and for my children?

 V. You shall not kill.

Have I . . .

  • Unjustly and intentionally killed a human being?

  • Been involved in an abortion, directly or indirectly (through advice, etc.)?

  • Seriously considered or attempted suicide?

  • Supported, promoted or encouraged the practice of assisted suicide, euthanasia, or “mercy” killing?

  • Fostered a desire to kill an innocent human being?

  • Unjustly inflicted bodily harm to another person?

  • Unjustly threatened another person?

  • Verbally or emotionally abused another person?

  • Hated another person, or wished him evil?

  • Been prejudiced or unjustly discriminated towards others because of their race, color, nationality, sex, or religion?

  • Purposely provoked another by teasing or nagging?

  • Recklessly endangered my life or health, or that of another, by my actions?

  • Driven recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs?

  • Abused alcohol or other drugs?

  • Sold or given drugs to others to use for non-therapeutic purposes?

  • Used tobacco immoderately?

  • Over-eaten?

  • Encouraged others to sin by giving scandal?

  • Helped another to commit a mortal sin (through advice, driving them somewhere, etc.)?

  • Caused serious injury or death by criminal neglect?

  • Indulged in serious anger?

  • Refused to control my temper?

  • Been mean to or willfully hurt some-one?

  • Bullied someone on Facebook or on other online sites?

  • Been unforgiving to others?

  • Sought revenge or hoped something bad would happen to someone?

  • Delighted to see someone else get hurt or suffer?

  • Caused animals to suffer or die needlessly?

VI. You shall not commit adultery.


IX. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife.

Have I . . .

  • Practised the virtue of chastity?

  • Willfully entertained impure thoughts or given-in to lust?

  • Masturbated (deliberate stimulation of one’s own sexual organs for sexual pleasure)?

  • Purchased, viewed, or made use of pornography?

  • Watched movies and television that involve sex and nudity?

  • Listened to music or jokes that are harmful to purity?

  • Seduced someone, or allowed myself to be seduced?

  • Made uninvited and unwelcome sexual advances toward another?

  • Purposely dressed immodestly?

  • Engaged in sexual foreplay when not married?

  • Engaged in sexting?

  • Engaged in prostitution or hired a prostitute?

  • Given or received a hand job?

  • Used an artificial means of birth control?

  • Refused to be open to conception, without just cause?

  • Used in-vitro fertilization or artificial insemination?

  • Sterilized my sex organs for contraceptive purposes?

  • Deprived my spouse of sexual intimacy without just cause?

  • Engaged in sexual intimacy without concern for my spouse?

  • Committed adultery (sexual relations with someone who is married, or with someone other than my spouse)?

  • Committed fornication (sexual relations with someone of the opposite sex when neither of us is married)?

  • Engaged in sexual activity with someone of the same sex?

  • Been living in a valid and licit marriage according to the laws of the Catholic Church?

  • Willfully abandoned my spouse and family after separation or divorce?

  • Given scandal by living with someone of the opposite sex before getting married?

  • Committed a sexual act with an animal?

  • Committed incest (sexual relations with a relative)?

  • Committed rape?

  • Preyed upon children or youth for my sexual pleasure?

VII. You shall not steal.


X. You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods.

Have I . . .

  • Take something that doesn’t belong to me?

  • Envied others on account of their possessions?

  • Tried to live in a spirit of Gospel poverty and simplicity?

  • Given generously to others in need?

  • Given-in to a consumer mentality?

  • Downloaded music or videos illegally?

  • Practised the works of mercy?

  • Deliberately defaced, destroyed or lost another’s property?

  • Cheated on a test, taxes, sports, games, or in business?

  • Squandered money in compulsive gambling?

  • Make a false claim to an insurance company?

  • Paid my employees a living wage, or failed to give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay?

  • Failed to honour my part of a contract?

  • Failed to make good on a debt?

  • Overcharge someone, especially to take advantage of another’s hardship or ignorance?

  • Misused natural resources?

VIII. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

Have I . . .

  • Lied or knowingly and willfully deceived another?

  • Gossiped?

  • Committed detraction (destroying a person’s reputation by telling others about his faults for no good reason)?

  • Committed slander or calumny (telling lies about another person in order to destroy his reputation)?

  • Committed libel (writing lies about another person in order to destroy his reputation)?

  • Been guilty of rash judgment (assuming the worst of another person based on circumstantial evidence)?

  • Failed to make reparation for a lie I told, or for harm done to a person’s reputation?

  • Failed to speak out in defence of the Catholic Faith, the Church, or of another person?

  • Betrayed another’s confidence through speech?



Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2042-2043

I. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.

(see examination under the Third Commandment)

 II. You shall confess your sins at least once a year.

Have I . . .

  • Made a good Confession of my mortal sins least once a year?

  • Purposely omitted telling my mortal sins in my last Confession?

  • Performed the penance I was given?

  • Made reparation for any harm I have done to others?

 III. You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.

Have I . . .

  • Fulfilled my Easter duty to receive Holy Communion at least once during Lent or Easter?

 IV. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.

Have I . . .

  • Done penance every Friday (if not abstaining from meat, then some other form of penance)?

  • Abstained from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent (if I am 14 years of age or older)?

  • Fasted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (if I am between the ages of 18 and 59)?

  • Spent time in prayer, doing spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and practicing self-denial?

 V. You shall contribute to the support of the Church.

Have I . . .

  • Tithed regularly?

  • Contributed a just amount of my time and talents to support my parish and the work of the Church?


Next, go to confession:

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