Sacrament of Reconciliation

An Inspiring Trailer

Teaching and Law concerning the Sacrament

Fulton Sheen on the Sacrament



Prayer of Sorrow

Dear God, I seek Your mercy. Be not angry with me because of my sins, my transgressions of virtue, my faults. I know I have failed Your graces; accept my sorrow for these offenses.  Renew my response to You, my bond with You. Let me be cleansed by the penances of my life. Give me the strength to be firm in my resolve no more to offend You. Give me Your assurance of grace in my life that I may respond to Your will and goodness. Let the mantle of Your justice protect and encourage me all life. 

Prayer for Knowledge of Sins

O Holy Spirit. Source of all light, Spirit of wisdom, of understanding, and of knowledge, come to my assistance and enable me to make a good confession. Enlighten me, and help me now to know my sins as one day I shall be forced to recognize them before Thy judgment seat. Bring to my mind the evil which I have done and the good which I have neglected. Permit me not to be blinded by self-love. Grant me, moreover, heartfelt sorrow for my transgressions, and the grace of a sincere and contrite confession, so that I may be forgiven, reunited to Thee, and admitted once again into Thy friendship. Holy Mother of God, intercede for me that I may obtain pardon for my sins and desire true conversion. Holy Guardian Angel pray for me that I may mend my ways.

Examination of Conscience

DISCLAIMER: An Examination of Conscience is not a checklist of things to confess, but asks questions to help remind you of the ways in which you may have failed to obey “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” [Mark 12:30-31] or refused to participate in good works. Additionally, due to lack of time available in producing this the may be repetition but it is as thorough as I could get it given the amount of time I had. This Examination of Conscience is based on the Ten Commandments, the precepts of the church may also be consulted. "The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works” (St. Augustine)

1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.

-Do I give God time every day in prayer?

-Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?

-Have I been involved with superstitious practices or have I been involved with the occult?

-Do I seek to surrender myself to God´s word as taught by the Church?

-Have I ever received communion in the state of mortal sin?

-Are there other "gods" in my life? Money, Security, Power, People, etc.?

-Reserved or harbored hatred for God?

-Disobeyed the commandments of God or the Church?

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

-Denied the existence of God?

-Neglected to nourish and protect my faith?

-Neglected to reject 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 practiced another religion?

-Joined a group forbidden to Catholics (Masons, communists, etc.)?

-Despaired about my salvation or the forgiveness of my sins?

-Presumed God's mercy? (Committing a sin in expectation of forgiveness, or asking for forgiveness without interior conversion and practicing 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? (Incl. horoscopes, fortune tellers, etc.)

-Been involved in the occult or occult practices? (Séances, Ouija board, worship of Satan, etc.)

-Formally attempted to leave the Catholic Church?

-Hidden a serious sin or told a lie in Confession?

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

-Have I used God´s name in vain: lightly or carelessly?

-Have I been angry with God?

-Have I wished evil upon any other person?

-Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?

-Used the name of God in cursing or blasphemy?

-Failed to keep vows, promises, or resolutions that I have made to God? [specify in the confessional which one; the Priest has authority to remove the obligations of promises and resolutions if they are too rash or unjust]

-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?

-Behaved disrespectfully in the church building (e.g., talking immoderately in church before, during, after holy Mass)?

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

-Committed perjury? (Breaking an oath or lying under oath.)

-Blamed God for my failings?

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3. Remember to keep holy the Lord´s Day.

-Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?

-Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?

-Do I do needless work on Sunday?

-Missed Mass on Sunday or Holy Days (through own fault w/o sufficient


-Neglected to set time aside each day for personal prayer to God?

-Committed a sacrilege against the Blessed Sacrament (thrown Him away; brought Him home; treated Him carelessly, etc.)?

-Received any sacrament while in the state of mortal sin?

-Habitually come late to and/or leave early from Mass?

-Shop, labor, practice sports or do business unnecessarily on Sunday or other Holy Days of Obligation?

-Not attended to taking my children to Mass?

-Not provided proper instruction in the Faith to my children?

-Knowingly eaten meat on a forbidden day (or not fasted on a fast day)?

-Eaten or drunken within one hour of receiving Communion (other than medical need)?

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4. Honor your father and your mother.

-Do I honor and obey my parents?

-Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?

-Have I given my family good religious example?

-Do I try to bring peace into my home life?

-Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

-Harbored hatred for my parents?

-Brought shame on them?

-(If still in school) Obeyed the reasonable demands of my teachers?

-Disrespected my teachers?

-(If I have children) Neglected to give my children proper food,

clothing, shelter, education, discipline and care (even after


-Provided for the religious education and formation of my children for as long as they are under my care?

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

-Educated my children in a way that corresponds to Catholic religious


-Provided my children with a positive, prudent and personalized education in the Catholic teaching on human sexuality?

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

-Prayed with and for my children?

-(for everyone) Lived in humble obedience to those who legitimately exercise authority over me?

-Broken any just law?

-Supported or voted for a politician whose positions are opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church?

-Failed to pray for the deceased members of my family . . . the Poor Souls of Purgatory included?

-(If still under my parents' care) Obeyed all that my parents reasonably asked of me?

-Shown disregard for my parents’ wishes, displayed contempt of their demands, and/or disdained their very being?

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

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5. You shall not kill.

-Have I had an abortion or encouraged or helped anyone to have an abortion?

-Have I physically harmed anyone?

-Have I abused alcohol or drugs?

-Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading him or her into sin?

-Have I been angry or resentful?

-Have I harbored hatred in my heart?

-Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization?

-Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?

-Have I engaged, in any way, in sins against human life such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization?

-Unjustly and intentionally killed a human being (murder)?

-Have I been guilty, through negligence and/or lacking of intention, of the death of another (killing)?

-Been involved in an abortion, directly or indirectly (through advice, encouragement, providing money, or facilitating it in any other way)?

-Seriously considered or attempted suicide?

-Supported, promoted, or encouraged the practice of assisted suicide or mercy killing(euthanasia)?

-Deliberately desired to kill an innocent human being?

-Unjustly inflicted bodily harm on another person?

-Unjustly threatened another person with bodily harm?

-Verbally or emotionally abused another person?

-Gossiped, slandered, detracted, calumniated?

-Hated another person, or wished him/her evil?

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

-Joined a hate group?

-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?


-Encouraged others to sin by giving scandal?

-Helped another to commit a mortal sin (through advice, driving them somewhere, dressing and/or acting immodestly, etc.)?

-Caused serious injury of another by criminal neglect?

-Indulged in unjust anger?

-Refused to control my temper?

-Been fateful to, quarreled with, or willfully hurt someone?

-Been unforgiving of others, especially when mercy or pardon was requested?

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

-Delighted to see someone else get hurt or suffer?

-Treated animals cruelly, causing them to suffer or die needlessly?

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6./9. You shall not commit adultery./ You shall not desire your neighbor´s wife.

-Have I consented to impure thoughts?

-Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, television, conversation or curiosity?

-Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?

-Have I behaved in an inappropriate way with members of the opposite sex: flirting, being superficial, etc.?

-Neglected to practice and grow in the virtue of chastity?

-Given in to lust? (The desire for sexual pleasure unrelated to spousal love in marriage.)

-Used an artificial means of birth control (including withdrawal)?

-Refused to be open to conception, without just cause? (Catechism, 2368)

-Participated in immoral techniques such as in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination?

-Sterilized my sex organs for contraceptive purposes?

-Deprived my spouse of the marital right, without just cause? 7

-Claimed my own marital right without concern for my spouse?

-Deliberately caused male climax outside of normal sexual intercourse?

-Masturbated? (Deliberate stimulation of one's own sexual organs for sexual pleasure outside of the conjugal act.) (Catechism, 2366)

-Willfully entertained impure thoughts?

-Purchased, viewed, or made use of pornography?

-Watched or promoted movies and television that involve sex and nudity?

-Listened to music or jokes that are harmful to purity? Read books that are immoral?

-Committed adultery? (Sexual relations with someone who is married, or with someone other than my spouse.)

-Committed incest? (Sexual relations with a relative closer than the third degree or an in-law.)

-Committed fornication? (Sexual relations with someone of the opposite sex when the two are not married to one another or any others.)

-Engaged in homosexual activity? (Sexual activity with someone of the

same sex)

-Committed rape?

-Engaged in sexual foreplay (e.g., “petting”, or excessive touching) reserved for marriage?

-Preyed upon children or youth for my sexual pleasure (pedophilia)?

-Engaged in unnatural sexual activities (anything that is not inherently natural to the sexual act; e.g., sex toys, even in the context of marriage)?

-Engaged in prostitution, or paid for the services of a prostitute?

-Seduced someone, or allowed myself to be seduced?

-Made uninvited and unwelcome sexual advances toward another?

-Purposely dressed immodestly?

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7./10. You shall not steal./You shall not desire your neighbor´s goods.

-Am I jealous of what other people have?

-Do I envy the families or possessions of others?

-Am I greedy or selfish?

-Are material possessions the purpose of my life?

-Have I stolen what is not mine?

-Have I returned or made restitution for what I have stolen?

-Do I waste time at work, school, and home?

-Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of their needs?

-Do I pay my debts promptly?

-Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?

-Have I cheated anyone out of what is justly theirs, for example creditors, insurance companies, big corporations?

-Not considered that God has provided me with money so that I might use it to benefit others, as well as for my own legitimate needs?

-Allowed myself to be conformed to a consumer mentality (buy, buy buy, throw away, waste, spend, spend, spend?

-Neglected to practice the corporal 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 honor 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?

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8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.


-Knowingly and willfully deceived another?

-Perjured myself under oath?


-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. Libel is in substance different from slander because the written word has a longer "life" of damage)

-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 defense of the Catholic Faith, the Church, or of another person?

-Betrayed another's confidence through speech, deed, or in writing?


If Catholic:

Enter the Confessional

You (making the sign of the cross): Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been [approximate time] since my last confession. My sins are...

Priest gives you a penance to complete to show God you are truly sorry (usually a couple prayers for common and non-grave sins), he will give some advice if he can, and then he will ask for an Act of Contrition.

Act of Contrition

The pentient must at least include sorrow for the consequences/fuits of sin. For both this sorrow and sorrow of having offended God, you may use the following formulas:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishments, 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 sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

(A traditional version)


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. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.

(from the Rite of Penance)


Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

(from the Rite of Penance)


The priest often will pray over you saying "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. Amen."

However, he must at least say "I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, (+) and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Make the Sign of the Cross and Thank Father.

If non-Catholic:

You: Hey Father, I am not Catholic but I would like to make a formal confession with a minister in addition to God. Would you be willing to pray with me and give me counsel like you would for a Catholic, and give me a penance? I would like the closure.


Prayer After Confession

My dearest Jesus, I have told all my sins to the best of my ability. I have sincerely tried to make a good confession and I know that you have forgiven me. Thank you, dear Jesus! Your divine heart is full of love and mercy for poor sinners. I love You dear Jesus; you are so good to me. My loving Savior, I shall try to keep from sin and to love You more each day. Dearest Mother Mary, pray for me and help me to keep all my promises. Protect me and do not let me fall back into sin. Dear God, help me to lead a good life. Without Your grace, I can do nothing. 

Prayer to Saint Mary Magdalene

Saint Mary Magdalene, woman of many sins, who by conversion became the beloved of Jesus, thank you for your witness that Jesus forgives through the miracle of love. You, who already possess eternal happiness in His glorious presence, please intercede for me, so that someday I may share in the same everlasting joy. Amen.

O Deus Ego Amo Te

O God, I love thee, I love thee, not out of hope of heaven for me nor fearing not to love and be in the everlasting burning. Thou, thou, my Jesus, after me

Didst reach thine arms out dying, for my sake suffered nails, and lance, Mocked and marred countenance, Sorrows passing number, Sweat and care and cumber, Yea and death, and this for me,

And thou could see me sinning:

Then I, why should not I love thee,

Jesus, so much in love with me,

Not for heaven's sake;

Not to be out of hell by loving thee;

Not for any gains I see;

But just the way that thou didst me

I do love and I will love thee:

What must I love thee, Lord, for then?

For being my king and God.


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