Examination for Sacramental Confession

Examination for Confession

Requirements for Confession  

A. Examination of conscience: remember all sins since the last confession. 

B. Repentance: or sincere sorrow for having offended God; detesting the sin.   

C. Purpose of amendment: or to firmly resolve not to sin again and to avoid sin, 

D. Confession: to tell the Priest all the sins that we have discovered in the examination of conscience, without wanting to deceive the Priest, without keeping silent about any mortal sin because it would invalidate the Confession. 

E. Fulfilling Penance

Examination of Conscience according to the Commandments 

1-Have I practiced superstition or occultism?  Do I believe without doubting the teachings of the Church without criticizing its pastors? Have I received Communion in mortal sin?  Have I received Confirmation or Marriage in mortal sin? Have I sworn unnecessarily or falsely? Have I lied or omitted a mortal sin to the priest in Confession? Have I profaned the Temple, objects or persons consecrated to God? Have I gone too long without praying?

2-Have I used the name of the Lord in vain?  Have I been angry with God?  I have insulted a consecrated person or abused a sacred object/place? I have said irreverent words? I have failed to fulfill a serious vow or promise when I could? I have cursed or cursed? I have been ashamed to show that I am a Catholic?

3- Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or holy days?  Do I observe Sunday as a family day and as a day of rest? Do I do unnecessary work on Sunday?

4- Do I fulfill my duties to my wife/children/parents? Have I set a good religious example for them? Do I disobey or treat my parents harshly? Do I help them financially or in their sickness? Do I take care that the spiritual life of my children is not endangered by trips, companies, movies, fashions?

5- Have I had an abortion voluntarily or have I advised/paid someone to have one?  Have I taken the morning-after abortion pill?  Have I physically hurt someone? I have abused alcohol or drugs?  I have scandalized someone, thereby leading them into sin?  Have I been angry or resentful? Have I hated?  Have I sterilized myself?  Have I favored sterilization?

6- Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action? Have I sinned adultery, fornication, masturbation, homosexuality?  Have I used any method of contraception or artificial control of fertilization inside or outside of my marriage? Has every conjugal act of my marriage been open to procreation without voluntarily interrupting it? Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words and actions? Do I dress modestly or am I an occasion of sin to the opposite sex? Have I looked at pornography or read impure things?

7- Have I stolen or have I cheated to benefit myself? Have I made restitution for what I have stolen?  Do I waste time at work etc... or am I unpunctual? Do I gamble by denying my family their needs? Do I pay my debts promptly? Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?

8- Have I lied, whispered, slandered, libeled, defamed, or testified falsely? Have I made rash judgments or mockery? Have I been sincere in my dealings with others? Have I been uncharitable in my thoughts of others? Have I kept secret what should be confidential?

9- Have I indulged in impure thoughts? Have I caused them by reading, movies, internet, conversations? Do I seek to control my imagination? Do I pray to Our Lady against temptations?

10- Am I envious, ambitious or selfish? Are material possessions the purpose of my life? Do I trust God to take care of all my material and spiritual needs?


1.  TRUST IN GOD'S INFINITE MERCY. Jesus told St. Faustina that what hurts Him most is the lack of trust in His infinite mercy and that if the sinner had as many sins as grains of sand, but trusted in His mercy, they would all disappear in the abyss of His mercy.

2.  PREPARATION. Theology says: one receives graces in proportion to the disposition of the heart and the previous preparation.  It takes a good examination of conscience and time to prepare well for this encounter with your loving and merciful Savior.   Find a quiet place, write down your sins on a piece of paper so that when you enter the confessional, you will not forget the things you are going to confess. The better you prepare, the better the result will be, as is the case in any practice!

3.  PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST. Our religion is fundamentally a personal relationship of friendship with Jesus. Jesus is in fact the friend who never fails.  If we understand that the essence of sin is to hurt the person who loves us and died on the cross for us, then it will be much easier to avoid sin.  Sin is not so much breaking a rule, but breaking the loving Heart of Jesus.

4.  TO VALUE THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, GRACES AND OPPORTUNITIES. We are so accustomed to the Holy Mass that we run the risk of not valuing what is so easily given to us by pure grace. Just as in a marriage, we always run the risk of not valuing our spouse.  In the same way, we can take Jesus and the Sacraments banally. Every time we receive the Eucharist, (or go to confession), we should receive it as if it were our last Communion, and the Communion on which we will be judged.  In many sacristies there is a sign that says, "Celebrate Mass as if it were your first, your last and your only Mass."  Likewise, we should strive to receive the Sacrament of Mercy as if it were our first, last and only confession! Let us remember that to receive communion in mortal sin is sacrilege.

5.  FIRM PURPOSE OF AMENDMENT. There are five steps to make a good confession: 

a) Examination of conscience; b) Sorrow for our sins; c) Firm purpose of amendment; d) Confession of sins to the priest; e) Carrying out the penance imposed by the priest.  

To make a good confession, there must be a firm commitment on our part to avoid any person, place, thing or circumstance that could lead us into the traps of sin.  This demands self-examination, self-knowledge, humility and fortitude.  This also demands that we analyze the movie of our life to see where, why, when, how, with whom and what led us to fall into sin.  

6.  PRAY FOR THE CONFESSOR. On one occasion, St. Faustina came out of the confessional and felt uneasiness, lack of peace, something she usually experienced after making her sacramental confession. Jesus appeared to her and told her that the reason for her lack of peace was because she had not prayed for the priest confessor before entering the confessional.  A short prayer for the priest - a Hail Mary, a prayer to the Holy Spirit or to your guardian angel - can drastically improve our confession. Give it a try!

7.  QUALITIES OF A GOOD CONFESSION. 1) Transparency; 2) Humility and 3) Obedience. When we confess our guilt to the priest, who represents Christ, we should be as clear as possible.  We should not try to justify our actions. Finally, we should obey the indications or advice that the priest gives us, since he represents Christ!

8.  FREQUENT CONFESSION. The Church encourages us to go to confession regularly in order to grow in holiness. One is obliged to confess mortal sins according to the species and the exact number or if not known, the approximate number and encourages us to confess venial sins. One can confess the mortal sins of the past life and renew the penalty for having committed them. Frequent confession serves to erase and remove the stain left by them little by little and sanctifies us by increasing grace in our soul and diminishing evil inclinations. Avoid making mechanical, routine or superficial confessions without a firm purpose to mend your ways.

9.  CLEAR UP DOUBTS. If you have any moral confusion, doubt or uncertainty about any matter or action, ask your confessor to clarify it for you.  Moral theology teaches us that we should never act on a doubtful conscience.  On the contrary, we should clarify the moral question with our confessor before acting. 

10.  THANKSGIVING. After confession, let us give infinite thanks to God for his mercy, his goodness, his compassion and for the gift of this sacrament.