Questions to Help Complete Your Examination of Conscience – (2022)

O God, be merciful to me, a sinner. —Luke 18:13

Many of us may be tempted to begin our examination of conscience when we get in line at the confessional. However, you don’t want to get caught in the middle of your examination when it is your turn to go in to the confessional. If you don’t regularly examine your conscience, it may take awhile before you are fully prepared. Next time you go to confession, consider preparing before you go; for one should not simply just go to confession, but rather make the best confession possible.

One of the essential pieces in the Rite of Penance is the examination of conscience. We take an internal self-examination of our spiritual life and bring to light those sins that keep us from a more intimate relationship with Christ. Here, we recall our sins and faults committed since our last confession, or any other sins from our past which we have not yet confessed.

There are several ways to make a good examination of conscience. One of the easiest and most common ways to examine your conscience is by turning to the Ten Commandments for guidance. In this way you will prepare your heart and mind for confession by contemplating on the Word of God. You should pray the Hail Mary to ask the Blessed Mother’s help. Ask the Holy Ghost to enlighten your mind on what you need to confess, and ask your guardian angel to help you remember also the things you need to confess, because he has been the sad witness of all your sins that have offended Almighty God. Hail Mary…

Each of the Ten Commandments can be broken down into questions. For example, if you ask yourself if you have killed someone – for most of us it is an obvious “no.” But, we may fail to grasp the entirety of the commandment. We may not have physically killed an individual, but have we emotionally, physically, or spiritually hurt ourselves and others? This brings the fifth commandment into a whole new light. The examination of conscience below is based on the Ten Commandments. Begin by praying. This will put you in the best frame of mind for recalling your sins.

PRAYER BEFORE CONFESSION BY ST. JEROME: “Show me, O Lord, Your mercy, and delight my heart with it. Let me find You whom I so longingly seek. Behold, here is the man whom the robbers seized, manhandled, and left half dead on the road to Jericho. Kind-hearted Samaritan, come to my aid! I am the sheep who wandered into the wilderness. Seek after me and bring me home again to Your fold. Do with me according to Your Will, that I may abide with You all the days of my life, and praise You with all those who are with You in heaven for all eternity. Amen.”

Here are 99 questions to prayerfully consider before going to confession

99 Questions Examination of Conscience

“I am the Lord, your God. You shall have no other gods besides me.”

1. Have I doubted or denied God’s existence?

2. Have I been ungrateful to God for His benefits?

3. Am I open to God’s will?

4. Do I rely solely on myself and not on God?

5. Have I abandoned the Catholic Faith? “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.’’ Eph. 4:5.

6. Have I joined a non-Catholic church or anti-Catholic group? Protestant, Jewish, etc. “He who preaches a different gospel is anathema, Gal. 1:8. Which means, he is cursed to hell if he doesn’t amend.

7. Have I refused to believe any truths of the Faith or any teachings of the Church? “Charity…believeth all things,” 1 Cor. Chapter 13.

8. Did I fail to profess or defend the Catholic Faith?

9. Have I failed to go to confession at least once a year?

10. Have I been faithful to my daily prayers?

11. Have I practiced any superstitions?

12. Am I unwilling to turn away from everything that is opposed to God’s work in my soul?

“You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.”

13. Have I taken the Lord’s name in vain, for example, carelessly, in anger, or surprise?

14. Do I speak irreverently of holy persons, places or things?

15. Have I cursed myself or others? Cursing brings curses; blessing brings blessings. “As a man shall sow, so shall he reap.”

16. Did I use profanity? “He that hath no guard over his speech, shall meet with evils.” Proverbs 13:3.

17. Have I called down evil upon anyone or anything?

18. Did I get angry with God?

19. Have I angered others so as to make them curse? Instigated them to sin?

20. Have I broken a vow made to God? “I shall pay my vows to the Lord for my salvation.” Jonah 2:10. “Having damnation, because they have made void their first faith.” Footnote, That is, their first vow.

[1 Timothy 5:12]

21. Have I murmured or complained about God?

“Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.”

22. Did I miss Mass on a Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation?

23. Did I arrive to Mass late or leave early?

24. Did I receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? A horrible sacrilege. Jesus told St. Bridget: “There does not exist on earth a punishment severe enough to punish a sacrilegious Communion.”

25. Have I been irreverent while receiving the Most Blessed Sacrament?

26. Have I been willfully distracted during Mass?

27. Do I distract others during Mass?

28. Have I done unnecessary work on Sunday? Have I shopped on Sunday without real necessity? Commercializing on Sunday is a sin.

“Honor your father and your mother.”

29. Have I disobeyed, insulted, or shown disrespect to my parents or legitimate superiors?

30. Did I neglect my duties to my husband, wife, children or parents?

31. Did I neglect to give a good religious example to my family?

32. Am I disrespectful, impolite, or discourteous toward my family?

33. Have I failed to meet my children’s physical, spiritual, emotional, and educational needs?

34. Have I disobeyed the lawful demands of my superiors, teachers, or employer?

35. Did I fail to actively take an interest in the religious education and formation of my children?

36. Did I cause anyone to leave the Catholic Church? Apostasy. Jesus said we must hear his church, and threatened damnation to those who did not. “If he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen, and the tax collector.” St. Matthew 18:17. Most Catholics are not aware of this threat of damnation if we leave his Church.

37. Did I cause tension and fights in my family?

38. Did I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

“You shall not kill.”

39. Did I kill or physically injure anyone?

40. Did I have an abortion, or advise someone else to have an abortion?

41. Do I use artificial contraception or birth control? “Be fruitful and multiply,” God said. God killed Onan for birth control, and wasting his seed, Genesis 38:10. Also, the seven husbands of Sara were all killed by a devil, because they married her from lust, and not prosperity of children. “Then Tobias answered, and said: I hear that she hath been given to seven husbands, and they all died: moreover I have heard, that a devil killed them.” And the angel Raphael said to him: Hear me, and I will shew thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power.” Tobias 6:14, 16-17. That is, the devil hath power over those who practice birth control.

42. Have I entertained thoughts of suicide, desired to commit suicide, or attempted suicide?

43. Have I participated in euthanasia or assisted suicide?

44. Have I placed others in harms way, by driving or texting inappropriately? Too fast, careless, not paying attention, etc.

45. Have I failed to help someone in danger or in need?

46. Do I drink or smoke excessively or abuse prescribed drugs?

47. Have I wished evil on anyone?

48. Do I deliberately harbor unkind and revengeful thoughts about others?

49. Have I taken revenge?

50. Have I used harsh or abusive language toward others?

51. Have I spread gloom through my words and actions?

52. Is there anyone with whom I refuse to speak, or against whom I bear a grudge?

53. Have I taken pleasure in anyone’s misfortunes?

54. Have I led others into sin? Bad example, cursing, immodest dress, etc

“You shall not commit adultery” and “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife”

55. Did I commit impure acts with another – fornication (premarital sex) or adultery (sex with a married person)?

56. Did I commit impure acts by myself (masturbation)?

57. Do I engage in homosexual acts?

58. Have I refused my spouse the marriage right without good reason?

59. Am I dating someone who is civilly divorced but still bound by a valid marriage?

60. Did I marry or advise anyone to marry outside the Catholic Church?

61. Have I willfully entertained impure thoughts or desires?

62. Did I respect all members of the opposite sex, or have I objectified them?

63. Have I read, listened to, viewed, or spoken of impure things?

64. Have I worn revealing or immodest clothing? The sin most displeasing to God in women. There is a story in the book HELL AND HOW TOO AVOID HELL, page 81, of a woman who went to hell mainly for the sin of immodesty. For how to dress properly, go to for a thorough instruction on what is proper, not only for women but also for men. Also, how we are to dress in church, God’s house. And remember, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost. Should always be adorned properly.

“The immodest…shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.” Galatians 5”19-21.

65. Have I succumbed occasions of impurity?

“You shall not steal.”

66. Have I stolen money or property?

67. Have I cheated?

68. Have I failed to make restitution for what I stole?

69. Have I intentionally damaged property?

70. Have I accepted or bought stolen property?

71. Have I helped someone steal?

72. Am I dishonest in my business dealings?

73. Have I failed to make restitution for my stealing, cheating and frauds?

74. Do I gamble excessively? “And they threw lots for his garments.”

75. Have I borrowed without permission?

76. Have I failed to return things borrowed?

77. Did I waste time at work, school or at home? Looking at my phone unnecessarily, killing time talking excessively, etc.

78. Have I cheated my employer of an honest day’s work?

79. Have I cheated my employees of their wages? Have I been spurious in my spending, while paying my employees as cheap as I can get by with?

80. Have I refused or neglected to help anyone in urgent need?

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

81. Have I lied deliberately? “Liars shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

82. Have I deliberately misled or deceived anyone?

83. Did I gossip or reveal others’ faults or sins? Detraction: revealing things about others unnecessarily that should be kept secret. Calumny: Lying on my neighbor.

84. Have I failed to keep promises or oaths?

85. Have I signed false documents?

86. Have I failed to prevent the defamation of another’s character?

87. Have I revealed secrets and betrayed trust?

88. Do I make false judgments and harbor false suspicions? Speculating. “Judge just judgement,: St. John 7:24; THAT IS, ACCORDING TO THE FACTS. *

89. Have a failed to forgive someone or held a grudge?

90. Have I failed to apologize or make amends?

91. Did I fail to keep secret what should be confidential?

92. Have I disclosed another’s sins without serious reason?

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

93. Am I greedy or selfish? Love of money, “the deceitfulness of riches,” Matthew 13:22

94. Am I envious of someone’s possessions, talents, or blessings?

95. Do I indulge in self-pity?

96. Am I proud, vain, or desire to be praised?

97. Have I exaggerated my success?

98. Have I minimized or made excuses for my failures?

99. Have I measured my charity by what others have given, rather than my ability to give?

Going to confession can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. This list of questions is extensive and can be daunting. It can be hard to say out loud the things in our lives that we have done wrong. Rather than looking down upon your failings, let the sorrow for sin help you overcome them. Look upon this sacrament as an opportunity to make full reparation for your sins, and restore your soul’s relationship with God. If you are reluctant to go to confession remember God’s mercy and compassion.

“Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall become white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall become white as wool.” (Isiah 1:18) Remember, Christ came into the world to save sinners!

  • Most people think when Jesus told us not to judge, he was forbidding all judgement. No, he was forbidding rash judgement, and uncharitable judgement, not usually based on facts, but speculation.
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What are good confession questions? ›

Do I speak about the Faith, the Church, the saints, or sacred things with irreverence, hatred or defiance? Do I watch television or movies, or listen to music that treats God, the Church, the saints, or sacred things irreverently? Have I used vulgar, suggestive, or obscene speech? Do I behave disrespectfully in Church?

How do you make a good examination of conscience Catholic? ›

An Examination of Conscience | How to Make a Good Confession

What is an examination of conscience and why is it important? ›

Examination of conscience is a review of one's past thoughts, words, actions, and omissions for the purpose of ascertaining their conformity with, or deviation from, the moral law.

What are 5 steps to a good confession? ›

Terms in this set (5)
  1. Examine your conscience.
  2. Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
  3. Confess your sins.
  4. Resolve to amend your life.
  5. After your confession do the penance that your priest assigns.

What do you say before confession? ›

This prayer is short and simple: My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.

What do you pray before confession? ›

"Father as I come before you in this sacrament of confession I ask that you give me the gift of the Holy Spirit. Help me to see and to know my sins so that I may confess them and be free from them. Jesus, help me to trust that any sin I confess will be forgiven and that you came to save me from my sins.

What are the 4 parts of a good confession? ›

The four major parts of the sacrament of Reconciliation are: 1) contrition, 2) confession, 3) penance, 4) absolution.

What are considered sins in the Catholic Church? ›

Sin in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is a failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods.... It has been defined [by St Augustine] as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law."

How detailed do I need to be in confession? ›

How Detailed Do You Need to Be in Confession? - YouTube

Why is it important for a person to undertake an examination of conscience before a person receives the sacrament of reconciliation? ›

We use an examination of conscience to help call to mind our sins and failings during a period of quiet reflection before approaching the priest in Confession. It's important for a good Catholic examination of conscience to be thorough. This will help you learn about things that you may not be aware of.

What are considered mortal sins? ›

A mortal sin is defined as a grave action that is committed in full knowledge of its gravity and with the full consent of the sinner's will. Such a sin cuts the sinner off from God's sanctifying grace until it is repented, usually in confession with a priest.

How do I confess my first time? ›

Tell all your sins openly and honestly, including the number of times each sin was committed. Then, listen to the priest and follow his instructions. You may also ask any questions about the faith or how to grow in holiness. Pray the Act of Contrition when the priest tells you.

Do I have to confess venial sins? ›

Do We Need to Go to Confession for Venial Sins? - YouTube

How do you confess an impure act? ›


You may begin by saying: “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been (state length of time) since my last confession. These are my sins.” Then tell your sins, especially any serious sins. The priest will give the necessary advice and assign penance.

What are the three unforgivable sins? ›

Here's my list of unforgivable sins: ÇMurder, torture and abuse of any human being, but particularly the murder, torture and abuse of children and animals.

What is the one sin God will not forgive? ›

Matthew 12:30: "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

What sins does God not forgive? ›

Rev. Graham: Only one sin that can't be forgiven is on God's list — and that is the sin of rejecting Him and refusing His offer of forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ. This alone is the unforgivable sin, because it means we are saying that the Holy Spirit's witness about Jesus is a lie (see Luke 12:10).

How do you know if you committed a mortal sin? ›

Three conditions must together be met for a sin to be mortal: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent." This type of sin is distinguished from a venial sin that simply leads to a weakening of a person's relationship with God.

How do you end a confession? ›

Make the sign of the cross upon his prompt, saying, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been (blank) since my last confession." This is your standard, traditional phrasing. However, if you just sit down and say hello, that's fine, too. The priest knows what he's doing.

How do you confess without a priest? ›

' Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, 'Afterward I will go to confession. ' You will return to God's grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God's forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.”

Do you say the Act of Contrition during confession? ›

Catholic Church. The Act of Contrition is part of the Sacrament of Penance and is prayed by the penitent after the priest assigns a penance and before he gives the penitent absolution. It is also customarily said especially before one goes to bed at night.

How do you say act of contrition? ›

How to Say the "Act Of Contrition" - YouTube

What is a venial sin examples? ›

For instance, if one were to steal small amounts of property from a particular person, over time one would have stolen enough that it would develop into a serious theft from that person. In all this, one ought not to take venial sin lightly, especially when committed deliberately.

What makes a good Catholic confession? ›

That starts with an act of praise and confidence in God's grace. Acknowledging that you are in the strong and loving arms of God, trusting that God will care for you and provide for you, thanking God for the blessings of His grace — all of this is a fitting start to prepare for a good confession.

What are the 3 essential elements of penance? ›

The Catholic sacrament of reconciliation (also known as penance ) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration.

What are the worst sins in the Catholic Church? ›

According to Roman Catholic theology, the seven deadly sins are the seven behaviours or feelings that inspire further sin. They are typically ordered as: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

What are the three types of sin in the Catholic Church? ›

Original, mortal and venial are the three classes of sin.

Can I take communion without confession? ›

Because the Eucharist is a sign, symbol, and expression of communion with God, the Church has always taught that a person who is conscious of grave sin should not ordinarily receive the Eucharist without first making a sacramental confession.

How often should we confess our sins? ›

A recommended frequency, based on the teachings of past popes and canon law, is between once a month and once a week. This practice "was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit", according to Pius XII.

What are examples of sins? ›

An education law expert explained what they are and how to avoid them.
The seven 'deadly sins'
  • Sloth. One example of sloth is plagiarism. ...
  • Gluttony. ...
  • Lust. ...
  • Greed. ...
  • Pride. ...
  • Envy. ...
  • Wrath.

What are some confessions to make? ›

15 Confessions For My Best Friends
  • You are all beautiful. ...
  • I am so thankful for all of the minutes you've dedicated to me. ...
  • Each year that goes by where we remain friends, I love you even more. ...
  • I wouldn't have made it through the first year of my career without you. ...
  • Your honesty once saved my life.
Mar 25, 2014

When we examine our conscience we must think about? ›

When we examine our conscience, we determine whether the choices we have made showed love for God, ourselves, and others. 4. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us judge the goodness of our thoughts, words, and actions.

What is an examination of conscience and why is it important quizlet? ›

An examination of conscience reviews our own lives with an eye toward avoiding sin and growing in virtue. It must go beyond a dry analysis of our conduct. It must lead to sincere repentance, which includes contrition for our sins and purpose of amendment (i.e. the intention to avoid sin in the future).

How do I confess my first time? ›

Tell all your sins openly and honestly, including the number of times each sin was committed. Then, listen to the priest and follow his instructions. You may also ask any questions about the faith or how to grow in holiness. Pray the Act of Contrition when the priest tells you.

What is an examination of conscience quizlet? ›

Prayerful reflection on, and assessment of, one's words, attitudes, and actions in light of the Gospel of, ones word, attitudes, and actions in light of the Gospel of Jesus, more specifically, the conscious moral evaluation of one's life in preparation for reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

What do you pray before confession? ›

"Father as I come before you in this sacrament of confession I ask that you give me the gift of the Holy Spirit. Help me to see and to know my sins so that I may confess them and be free from them. Jesus, help me to trust that any sin I confess will be forgiven and that you came to save me from my sins.

Is the Holy Spirit the same as conscience? ›

The conscience is an inner human faculty corrupted by sin and the Fall. And the Holy Spirit is the divine agent God uses to begin His redemptive work in a believer. The Spirit takes someone who is dead in sin and darkened in their understanding (Eph.

What are considered mortal sins? ›

A mortal sin is defined as a grave action that is committed in full knowledge of its gravity and with the full consent of the sinner's will. Such a sin cuts the sinner off from God's sanctifying grace until it is repented, usually in confession with a priest.

What factors influence whether a conscience is well formed or not? ›

Conscience formation is influenced by many factors: education, family background, faith traditions, what we read and hear, political preferences, experiences in life, people whose voices we have come to trust.

Why must conscience be formed? ›

In other words, we must follow the dictates of our conscience. Conscience helps determine the loves and loyalties that influence the everyday decisions we face in pursuit of the true and good.

What should take priority in the examination of conscience? ›

Comments Off on What Should Take Priority in the Examination of Conscience? In the Sacrament of Penance, Catholics are obliged to confess serious (mortal) sins in kind and number since their last confession. If one is uncertain of the number, then an estimate is acceptable.

Can I confess my sins to God instead of a priest? ›

1. You can confess your sins directly to God. You do not need to confess to a pastor, priest, or spiritual leader to be forgiven.

How do you know if you committed a mortal sin? ›

Three conditions must together be met for a sin to be mortal: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent." This type of sin is distinguished from a venial sin that simply leads to a weakening of a person's relationship with God.

What age is first confession? ›

Typically children make their first confession and first communion in 2nd grade. If your child is enrolled in a Catholic school or in a home school program, this is sufficient for sacramental preparation for first confession and first communion.

Which term refers to the discernment of right and wrong or good and evil? ›

prudence helps our conscience make correct judgement about right and wrong. This moral virtue governs other virtues by setting rule and measure. Explain what is involved in a process of discernment. a keen and insightful judgement about an important choice.

How does the conscience make its Judgements? ›

“A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator” (CCC 1783).

How do we form a certain and a righteous conscience? ›

Stand up for your beliefs.

Trust your own beliefs and decisions of what is right. Do not let yourself be swayed by what others think, say or do. Speak up when you see an injustice being done. Many people have a strong conscience but are afraid to act.

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