Confession Guide

  • Before confession, make a good examination of conscience (see below).
  • In the confessional, tell the priest how long it has been since your last confession.
  • Confess your sins aloud to the priest; be sure to mention each serious sin by type and number. (Don't be afraid to ask for help, especially if it has been a while since you last went to confession! The priest will be happy to help and answer questions.)
  • Receive (and remember) your penance, the prayers or good deeds the priest gives you to begin healing the relationships hurt by your sins. (You must fulfill the penance prescribed; it is best to do so immediately afterwards, if possible.)
  • Pray an Act of Contrition (see below) out loud.
  • Receive Absolution.
  • Be sure to thank the priest!

Examination of Conscience

  • Do I pray to God every day? Have I thanked God for His gifts to me?
  • Did I put my faith in danger through readings contrary to Catholic teachings or involvement in non-Catholic sects? Did I engage in superstitious practices: palm-reading or fortune-telling?
  • Did I take the name of God in vain? Did I curse or take a false oath?
  • Did I miss Mass on Sundays or holy days of obligation through my own fault? Am I attentive at Mass? Did I keep fast and abstinence on the prescribed days?
  • Did I disobey my parents and lawful superiors in important matters?
  • Did I hate or quarrel with anyone, or desire revenge? Did I refuse to forgive? Was I disrespectful?
  • Did I get drunk? Did I take illicit drugs?
  • Did I consent to, recommend, advise or actively take part in an abortion?
  • Did I willfully look at pornography, entertain impure thoughts or engage in impure conversations or actions? Did I use artificial means to prevent conception?
  • Was I unfaithful to my spouse? Did I engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?
  • Did I steal or damage another's property? Have I been honest and just in my business relations?
  • Have I been responsive to the needs of the poor and respected the dignity of others?
  • Did I tell lies? Did I sin by calumny, or detraction, of others? Did I judge others rashly in serious matters?
  • Have I envied other people?

An Act of Contrition

O, my God, I am heartily sorry
for having offended You.
And I detest all of my sins
because I dread the loss of Heaven
and the pains of Hell,
but mostly because they
offend You, my God,
Who are all good
and deserving of all my love.
I therefore resolve,
with the help of Your grace,
to confess my sins,
to do penance,
and to amend my life.