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  • Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Lent - Examination of Conscience and a Good Confession

Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Confession by John Opie

Traditional parish rubric for examination of conscience and confession.

O loving and merciful God, help me to make a good confession. Let me know my sins, so that I may tell them to the priest honestly and clearly. Help me to resolve sincerely not to commit these sins again. Amen.

***When confessing, be sure to specify each kind (species) of sin, the number of times committed, and any circumstances that change its nature.***


  1. Have I been making bad confessions? - By purposely holding back any mortal sin, trying to deceive the confessor? - By not avoiding the proximate occasion of mortal sin: any person, place or thing that I know leads me into sin?

  2. If so, how long has this been going on? - How many bad confessions? - How many sacrilegious Communions in this state? - Other sacraments received in mortal sin: confirmation, marriage, extreme unction?

  3. Have I ever neglected to perform the penance given me in confession?

  4. When was my last good confession?

First Commandment

  1. Does God have first place in my life? - Do I try to conform my will to His, or His will to mine?

  2. Have I denied, refused to accept any teaching of the Catholic Church? - Talked against the Catholic Church? - Made any effort to clear up doubts about the Catholic Church or its teachings?

  3. Taken active part in non-Catholic services? - Believed all religions are equal? - Associated with persons dangerous to my faith? - Exposed my faith to danger by reading dangerous non-Catholic books? - Listened to non-Catholic preachers? - Been ashamed of my faith?

  4. Practiced superstition, believed in fortunetellers, horoscope, spiritism?

  5. Neglected prayer for a long time? Presumed on God's mercy? Despaired?

  6. Desecrated church or cemetery?

Second Commandment

  1. Blasphemy: spoken angrily or insulting about, or toward God?

  2. Cursed another: called down evil on a person?

  3. Perjury: knowingly taken an oath to a lie?

  4. Profanity: used God's name irreverently?

  5. Broken any lawful vow or oath? Broken promises?

Third Commandment

  1. Missed Mass on Sunday or Holyday without serious reason? - Caused others to miss Mass (for example, the children)? Come late to Mass, left early?

  2. Neglected to fast before receiving Holy Communion?

  3. Done unnecessary servile work on Sunday or Holyday? Shopped on Sunday?

Fourth Commandment

Children toward Parents:

  1. Disobedient or disrespectful to parents? Rejected or despised authority of parents? Caused them grief, distress? Neglected them? Ingratitude?

  2. Secretly gone on dates? Done anything in a sneaking way?

  3. Ashamed of parents, family? Talked against them? Make fun of them, or of anyone else in authority?

Parents toward Children:

  1. Given children bad example, e.g., by staying away from sacraments for a long time, missing Mass?

  2. Neglected children's baptism, confirmation? - Neglected their Catholic education or Catholic way of life (prayer, sacraments)?

  3. Failed to explain facts of life fitting to their age?

  4. Failed to correct faults: lying, stealing, disobedience, dangerous reading, videos...? Neglected to install internet blocker on children's computers or devices?

  5. Failed to watch companionship...allowed dating while still in school? Failed to know who they were going with, where they were going?

  6. Observed double moral standard: one for self, one for children?

  7. Failed to support family? Misused family funds?


  1. Refused to pray for Pope?

  2. Joined seditious or communist association, or secret society? Disturbed public peace?

  3. Deliberately broken the civil law?

Fifth Commandment

  1. Suggested or deliberately caused abortion (Excommunication if procured.) - Suggested, allowed, co-operated in sterilization?

  2. In-vitro fertilization?

  3. Supported euthanasia?

  4. Drunkenness? - Used narcotics or drugs?

  5. Led another person into any sin, or tried to?

  6. Not avoided occasions of sin? - Neglected to put internet blocker on computer or device?

  7. Become angry to the point of serious harm, hurt, or causing miserable home conditions?

  8. Done bodily harm to anyone? Attempted suicide? Neglected health?

  9. Really hated anyone (wishing evil)?

  10. Planned revenge.

Sixth and Ninth Commandments

  1. Deliberately brought impure thoughts or desires to mind? Purposely kept those that came spontaneously?

  2. Taken part in dirty talk? - Told dirty jokes? - Boasted of sins?

  3. Endangered chastity by reading, pictures, movies, internet, immoral companions, immodest dancing or music?

  4. Passionate kissing, petting (outside marriage)?

  5. Impure act alone? - Impure touches with others? - Cohabitation?

  6. Immodest dress?

  7. Used contraceptive technique (onanism) or device?

  8. Unnatural acts? - Incest?

  9. Unjustly refused marriage debt? - Used rhythm method (NFP) without sufficient reason?

  10. Adultery (single/double)?

  11. Caused others to do any of these things?

  12. In doubt about God's law, did I ask confessor about it?

  13. As a divorced or separated person, do I date?

Seventh and Tenth Commandments

(Estimate value of stolen goods, or amount of damage caused:)

  1. Have I stolen or accepted stolen goods? - Stolen from a church?

  2. Cheated or defrauded anyone? - Stolen from work? Wasted time at work or on internet?

  3. Damaged or destroyed others' property? Failed to pay just debts?

  4. Not made restitution for any of these sins (that is, paid back rightful owner)? When do I intend to do so?

  5. Am I envious or jealous of what other have? Rejoicing in evil happening to others?

Eighth Commandment

  1. Have I told lies?

  2. Forged documents?

  3. Damaged or destroyed another's reputation by gossip, slander, calumny, rash judgement and loose talk, or by revealing secret faults or sins (detraction)?

  4. Retained false suspicions? - Insinuated these suspicions?

  5. Did I try to repair damage done in this way?

  6. Revealed secrets?

Laws of the Church

  1. Eaten meat on Friday knowingly? - Failed to fast on days appointed? (One full meal; two smaller meals; nothing between meals, except liquids.)

  2. Let a whole year go by without confession?

  3. Failed to receive Communion during Easter season?

  4. Neglected financial and moral support of the Catholic Church?

  5. Criticized or violated laws of the Catholic Church protecting sanctity of marriage? - Shown approval to or cooperated with a Catholic marrying outside of the Catholic Church? - Have I divorced and remarried?

How to line up for Confession

  1. "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I am married...single...divorced...widowed."

  2. "My last good confession was..." (tell when)

  3. Tell all mortal sins: kind, number (as best as you can), any circumstances that add to or take away from guilt; but no unnecessary details, please!

  4. Then: "I am sorry for all these sins, and for all the sins of my past life, especially..." (mention some serious sin of the past)

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins be-cause 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.

In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.


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