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|How to Make a Good Confession|
|·||How to Prepare|
|·||What do I say?|
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How to Prepare for Confession
Ask God for the Holy Spirit’s help to examine your conscience well by prayerfully reviewing your conduct in light of the commandments and the example of Christ. The questions below should assist you in making a thorough review.
Tell the priest the specific kind of sins you have committed and, to the best of your ability, how many times you have committed them since your last good confession. Avoid generalizations and inform the priest of any relevant circumstances in which your sins were committed.
You are obliged to confess only mortal sins, since you can obtain forgiveness for your venial sins by sacrifices, acts of charity, prayer and other pious actions. Confession of venial sins, however, is very helpful for avoiding sin and advancing in holiness toward Heaven.
If you are in doubt about whether a sin is mortal or venial, mention your doubt to the priest. For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” (CCC 1857)
Always tell the priest your state of life: married or single, priest or religious, under religious vows or promises.
Examining Your Consience
To make an examination of conscience:
- Begin with a prayer asking for God’s help.
- Review your life with the help of some questions, which are based on the 10 Commandments (see below).
- Tell God how truly sorry you are for your sins.
- Make a firm resolution not to sin again.
Examination of Conscience
Recall your sins. Prayerfully ask yourself what you have done with full knowledge and full consent against God’s and the Church’s commandments.
- 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 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?
Sample Examinations of Conscience:
- According to the 10 Commandments (Download as PDF)
- For Married Couples
- For Children
- For Single People
- In Light of Catholic Social Teaching