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Prayers For Confession


An Examination of Conscience in Light of the Ten Commandments


* * * * *


     If you realize that you are not doing the right thing, then repent.  Come to the Lord with a humble and contrite heart.


     Jesus instituted the Priesthood on Holy Thursday at the last Supper, He also instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance on the evening of His Resurrection when He appeared to the Apostles and gave them power to forgive sins. (Also to priests)


Jn 20:21-23

21 He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.

22 When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

23 Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are



Act of Contrition

O my God, I repent with my whole heart of all my sins, and I detest them, because I have fear the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because I have offended you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve with the help of your grace, which I pray you to grant me now and always, to confess my sins, to do penance, to amend my life rather to die than offend you again. I purpose also to receive the holy Sacraments during my life and at my death. AMEN


Prayer Before An Examination of Conscience

I am perfectly sensible, O my God, that I have in many ways offended Thy divine majesty, and provoked Thy wrath by my  sins; and that if I obtain not pardon I shall be cast out of thy sight forever. I desire, therefore, at present to call myself to an account, and look into all the sins whereby I have displeased Thee; but O my God, how miserably shall I deceive myself if Thou assist me not in this work by Thy heavenly light. Grant me, therefore, at present, Thy grace, whereby I may discover all my imperfections, see all my failings, and duly call to mind all my sins: for I know that nothing is hidden from Thy sight. But I confess myself in the dark as to my own failings: my passions blind me, self-love flatters me, presumption deludes me, and though I have many sins which stare me in the face, and cannot be hidden, yet how many, too, are there quite concealed from me! But discover even those to me, O Lord! enlighten my darkness, cure my blindness, and remove every veil that hides my sins from me, that I may be no longer a secret to myself, nor a stranger to my own failings, not ever flatter myself with the thoughts of having repented, an at the same time nourish folly and vice within my breast. Come, Holy Spirit and by a beam of Thy divine light illumine my understanding, that I may have a perfect view of all my sins and iniquities, and that, sincerely repenting of them, I may know Thee, and be again received into Thy favor.



Prayer to St. Gerard for a Good Confession


O St Gerard, Patron of a Good Confession, thou who have courage to souls whom fear and shame had overcome; though who have sorrow to their hearts; resolutions to their wills, truth to their faltering lips; help me to know my sins, to be truly sorry for them, to be firmly resolved,  with Gods grace, never to sin again. Help me to confess my sins humbly and sincerely, to confess them in the spirit of faith,  as confessing them to Our Lord Himself. Assist me in this confession,  O Gently Saint, Angel of God, sent to free me from sin. AMEN.



A Prayer for Obtaining Contrition


I have now here before me, O Lord, a sad prospect of the manifold offenses whereby I have displeased thy divine Majesty,  and which I am assured will appear in judgment against me if, by repentance and a hearty sorrow, my soul be not prepared to receive thy pardon. But this sorrow and this repentance, O Lord, must be the free gift of thy mercy, without which all my endeavors will be in vain, and I shall be forever miserable. Have pity, therefore, on me, O merciful Father, and pour forth into my heart thy grace, whereby I may sincerely repent of all my sins; grant me true contrition, that I may bewail my base  ingratitude, and grieve from my heart for having offended so good a God. Permit me not to be deluded by a false sorrow, as I fear I have been too often, through my own weakness and neglect; but let it now be thy gift, descending from thee, the Father of Lights, that so my repentance may be accompanied by an amendment and a change of life, that being thus acquitted from the guilt of my sins, I may once more be received into the number of thy servants. Amen.




Examination of Conscience

Based on the 10 Commandments



I am the Lord, you God; you shall not have strange gods before me.


         Have I received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin?

         Have I neglected to confess a mortal sin in a previous confession to a priest, when I was aware of having committed one?

         Have I practice superstition?

         Have I been engaged in occult practices such as consulting horoscopes, tarot cards and ouija boards?

         Have I participated in sances, or in satanic or demonic services and/or prayers?

         Do I seek to surrender myself to God's Word as taught by the Church? Have I refused to accept any teaching of the Church?

         Have I put my soul in danger by reading, viewing, or listening to material that attacks the teaching of the Catholic Church in matters of faith or morals?

         Do I belong to any anti-Catholic organizations?

         Have I attended the meetings or gatherings of any anti-Catholic organizations?

         Have I profaned (desecrated) or spoken sinfully against a sacred person, place or thing?

         Have I been slow or reluctant to perform my duties towards God?

         Have I neglected to pray?     Do I give God time every day in prayer?

         Have I neglected to prepare myself properly for Holy Communion?

         Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?





First, by Sins against Faith.


  1. To be ignorant of the principal mysteries of Christianity; of the Creed, of the Commandments of God and his Church, or of the Sacraments.
  2. To give God's honor to any created being or thing whatsoever; to pay divine worship, or to ascribe God's exclusive powers  or attributes, to any being except God himself.
  3. Willfully to doubt, or obstinately to err, in any point of faith, our of human respect, interest, fear etc.
  4. To favor heretics or wicked men, in supporting or approving their opinions or actions.
  5. To endanger our faith by reading their books with pleasure.
  6. To examine divine mysteries with curiosity, and secrets of Providence by pure human reason.
  7. To contemn or deride holy things.
  8. To abuse the words of the holy scripture, by perverting them to a wicked or profane sense, making them subservient to jests,or other ill purposes.
  9. To desire to know things to come, which belong to God alone, or things past or present, which are hid from us, and for this end to employ unlawful means, as fortune tellers, or other superstitious inventions.
  10. To give credit to dreams, or make superstitious observations; to employ prayers or sacred names to ill uses; to use charms etc.


Secondly, by Sins against Hope.


  1. By distrusting the mercies of God, and despairing of the pardon of our sins.
  2. By presuming on God's goodness, without the least concern of amendment.
  3. By deferring our conversion or repentance till the end of life.
  4. By exposing ourselves to the danger of offending God either by company, reading, or otherwise, which  is called tempting God.
  5. By exposing ourselves, without necessity, to some corporal danger; as sickness, wounds or death.
  6. By neglecting the remedies which God has appointed in these dangers, as physic for the body, or prayer and the sacraments for the soul.


Thirdly, by Sins against Charity.


  1. By not loving God above all things, but rather choosing willfully to offend him, than suffer any loss of honor, riches, etc.
  2. By preferring the love of man before the love of God; or offending him through fear of being jeered or slighted.
  3. By omitting our duty through shame, or human respect.
  4. By thinking seldom of God, or being ashamed to speak of him; or by not hearkening to his inspirations, by forgetting his benefits, or neglecting to give him thanks.


Fourthly, by Sin against Religion.


  1. By not adoring God, or praying to him but seldom.
  2. By praying without attention, and with willful distractions.
  3. By a want of respect to God in time of prayer; or by talking or being present in holy places without a becoming modesty and gravity in our looks, words and actions.


Fifthly, by Sins against the Care we ought to have of our Salvation.


  1. By a love of idleness.
  2. By being too solicitous in temporal concerns, and neglecting the means of salvation.
  3. By deferring amendment of life, or immediately desisting, after having begun it.
  4. By neglecting the means of salvation; as the sacraments, prayer, good works, or performing them without devotion.





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


         Have I taken the Holy Name of God in vain; lightly or carelessly?

         Have I spoken His name in anger? Have I been angry with God?

         Have I jokingly or irreverently spoken about God?

         Have I been a baptismal or confirmation sponsor in a non-Catholic ceremony?

         Have I broken any promises (oaths) in which I invoked Gods name?

         Have I wished evil upon another person? 





  1. By taking the name of God in vain.
  2. By swearing to what one knows or doubts to be false.
  3. By swearing to what is unjust, or prejudicial to others.
  4. By swearing without necessity, though the thing itself be true and just.
  5. By blaspheming God or holy things.
  6. By cursing one's self or others, or taking pleasure in hearing others swear or curse; or by provoking them to it.
  7. By not reprehending them when one could and ought.
  8. By making a vow to do what is impossible to fulfill; or to do what is evil and displeasing to God; or to do what one never intends to perform.
  9. By breaking lawful vows, or deferring to fulfill them without just cause.





Remember to keep holy the Lords Day.


         Have I failed to attend Mass on Sundays or holy days of obligation without just cause (for example, serious illness or impassible roads or pathways)

         Have I arrived at Mass on Sundays or holy days of obligation after the Liturgy of the Word without just cause?

         Have I worn improper attire to Mass, or have otherwise distracted others from paying attention at Mass?

         Do I fast and practice abstinence on the days or at times which are appointed by the Church?

         Have I fulfilled my yearly Easter duty of receiving Holy Communion ( and Confession, if necessary) ?

         Have I fulfilled the Churchs precept to confess my sins at least once a year?

         Have I performed (or required others to perform) servile or manual labor on Sundays (not including work to save souls or work  required by your employer, enjoyable gardening or acts of mercy such as helping a neighbor in need or milking cows and feeding livestock)?

         Have I deliberately failed to pay attention at Mass?

         Am I generous in helping the Church in her necessities as much as I can?





  1. By doing servile works on Sunday, or causing others to do the like without necessity.
  2. By employing a considerable part of Sundays or holidays in temporal affairs, as is often the case with merchants, advocates,solicitors, etc.
  3. By omitting to hear Mass, or not hearing it with due attention and reverence.
  4. By spending Sundays and holidays in idleness, gaming, dancing, feasting, and other recreations.
  5. By not dedicating a considerable part of those days to reading and praying, and by not taking care that those under your charge to the like.




Honor your father and mother.



For Parents

         Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?

         Do I try to bring peace into my home life?

         Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

         Have I set a bad example for my children?

         When I do correct my childrens faults, is it done with charity?

         Have I made sure that my children make their First Confession and First Communion at about the age of seven?

         Have I given my family good religious example?

         Have I failed to take my children to Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation; or neglected to provide them with an orthodox Catholic education; or neglected to tech them how to pray; or failed to lead them to the sacraments?

         Have I failed to supervise my children with respect to the friends they choose and the entertainment they pursue?

         Do I monitor my children in their choice of reading material, in the shows they watch on television, or in the movies they attend?

         Have I separated from or divorced my spouse civilly without consultation of a priest who follows the mind of the Church?

         Do I seek Gods help everyday to fulfill my duties as a parent?



For Children

         Have I disobeyed my parents, or been disrespectful to them in other ways?

         Do I nurse angry feelings or show resentment when I am corrected by my parents?

         Have I been moody, sour, or bad-tempered towards other people?

         Do I desire to leave my parents household when I am too young or for other improper reasons?

         Am I a financial burden to my parents when I can take care of my own financial needs and am old enough to support the household?

         Do I fight and/or quarrel with my brothers and sisters?

         Have I failed to express my love for my parents?

         Have I failed to help my parents when they were unable to meet their basic needs?

         Do I faithfully perform- without complaining- the household and outdoor chores my parents give me to do?





I. By children:


  1. Not paying due respect to their parents, or by despising them either in their hearts or actions.
  2. By not loving them, but wishing their death, or some misfortune; or by forsaking them in their necessities.
  3. By not cheerfully obeying them; or by obeying them in things unlawful.
  4. By slighting their representations, and resisting their corrections.
  5. By putting them into a passion, and not taking care to pacify them.
  6. By not executing their last will and testament, or by delaying to do so.


II. By parents not discharging their duty towards their children.


  1. In not loving them, and supplying their corporal necessities.
  2. In not being careful of their salvation.
  3. In not correcting them when it is necessary; in flattering their passions, or indulging their evil inclinations.
  4. In treating them with too much severity.
  5. In not setting them good example.
  6. In forcing them in the choice of their state in life.



You shall not kill.



         Have I lost my temper or become unjustly angry at others?

         Have I physically harmed anyone?

         Have I murdered or otherwise unjustly injured (no matter how slight) anyone?

         Have I been a reckless driver?

         Have I tempted others to sin by my bad example or sinful conversation?

         Have I encouraged others to read or watch sinful materials or programs or to do otherwise sinful things?

         Have I tried to make up for, or repair for, the bad example I may have given others?

         Have I been jealous of others? Have I been envious of the possessions of others?

         How many people have I led into sin? What type of sins were they?

         Have I tried to commit suicide?

         Have I failed to take proper care of my health?

         Have I mutilated myself or someone else?

         Have I been drunk or intoxicated on alcohol or other substances? Have I abused the use of alcohol?

         Have I abused the use of drugs?

         Have I intentionally overindulged in food or drink (gluttony)?

         Have I have participated  in gang fights or other illegal gang activities?

         Have I picked fights with others?

         Have I been a bully ?

         Have I consented to  a sterilization or encouraged others to do so, or actively taken part in someone elses sterilization?

         Have I practiced contraception or encouraged others to do so ?

         Have I recommended, consented to, advised or actively taken part in an abortion?

         Am I aware of the Churchs teaching that abortion is a mortal sin, and that those who actively take part (for example, doctorm nurse and mother) in  an abortion are automatically excommunicated? (However, most priests have the authority to lift that excommunication)

         Have I harmed anyones reputation by my speech or actions?

         Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?

         Have I desired to take revenge of anyone who offended me?

         Have I hated or nursed bad feelings towards any person? Have I been angry or resentful?

         Have I maliciously teased or insulted others?

         Have I harbored hatred in my heart?

         Have I refused to forgive anyone who may have offended me?

         Have I sought pardon of those whom I have offended?





  1. By anger, quarreling, or threatening, or by injurious or reproachful words, or actions against our neighbors.
  2. By revenge, or deliberate thoughts or desires of revenge.
  3. By provoking, striking, challenging, wounding, or being the cause of another's death.
  4. By bearing malice, refusing to salute or speak to any neighbor out of hatred or aversion, or refusing to    be reconciled to him.





You shall not commit adultery.(6th)   

You  shall not covet your neighbors wife. (9th)



         Have I entertained impure thoughts? Have I deliberately recalled or consented to impure thoughts or images? Do I watch soap operas or other impure programs?

         Have I had sexual relations with a member of the opposite sex when we werent married to each other (fornication)?

         Although I may never have fully carried them out, have I consented to impure desires?

         Were any circumstances present to make the sin of impurity even more serious, for example, having impure relations with someone who is consecrated to God by vows (sacrilege), or who is married to someone other than myself (adultery), or who is a member of my family (other than my spouse if I am married) (incest)?

         Have I engaged in impure conversation? Did I begin them?

         Have I sought to have a good time by engaging in entertainment  which placed me in proximate (close) occasions of sin, such as sensual dances; sexually suggestive movies, play and reading materials; evil company; houses of prostitution; and massage parlors?

         Am I aware of the fact that I might already be sinning by merely placing myself in a proximate occasion of sin ? Such circumstances can include sharing of a room with a member of the opposite sec, being alone with a member of the opposite sex with whom I have continually sinned with, or deliberately taking such a person to a secluded place?

         Have I neglected to dress modestly or to otherwise safeguard purity?

         Have I willfully looked at immodest pictures?

         Have I displayed immodest looks or glances at others?

         Did I do any of the above things, knowing they involved gravely sinful matter?

         Have I led others to commit the sins of immodestly or impurity? Specifically speaking, what are they?

         Have I committed impure acts by myself (masturbation)? Did I do so deliberately and freely, knowing that serious matter was involved? Did I know that masturbation freely and willfully performed is a mortal sin?  Have I sought to control my thoughts?

         Have I committed impure acts with someone else of the opposite or the same sex (homosexual  acts)? How many times did I do so? Were there any circumstances (such as impure acts with members of my family other than my spouse, or with persons consecrated to God by vows or promises) which could have made the sin especially serious?

         Did these sinful acts have any consequences?

         Did I do anything to prevent possible consequences (artificial contraception) or to eliminate actual consequences after the conception of new life (abortion)?

         Do I have evil or immoral friendships? Have I taken steps to break these friendships?

         Have I been engaged in immodest conduct or conversation with someone I am seriously thinking of marrying?

         Have I tended to use this person as an object for my pleasure, rather than a person created in Gods image and likeness whom God has placed in my life to respect and reverence?

         Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?

         Have I been involved in acts which arouse lustful desires (such as prolonged embraces, petting and passionate kissing)?

         Have I failed to protect my spouse, fianc or friend from sinning?

         Have I failed to investigate beforehand the sinful potentials of watching a particular show or reading a particular book or magazine?

         Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words and actions? Do I seek to control my imagination?

         Am I careful to dress modestly?

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


For married people:

         Have I made improper use of marriage?

         Have I denied my spouse of her or his marital right?

         Have I engaged in adulterous acts or desires?

         Have I used or consented to the use of artificial contraceptives?

         Have I suggested that others do so? (on sterilization, abortions, etc. Refer to the 5th Commandment)

         Do I practice natural means of conception control without justifiable reasons before God for doing so? Have I used any method of contraception or artificial birth control in my marriage?

         Has each sexual act in my marriage been open to the transmission of new life?

         Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought and action?

         Have I engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage?






I.  By the hearing.

  1. In willingly giving ear to immodest words, discourses, songs, etc.


II. By the sight.

  1. In looking on immodest objects,
  2. In reading or keeping immodest books; lending them to others; or neglecting to suppress them when we may.


III. By the tongue.

  1. In speaking immodest words.
  2. In relating improper stories or wicked actions of ourselves or others.


IV. By the touch.

  1. In using indecent actions.


V. By thoughts.

  1. By entertaining impure thoughts willfully and with delight.


VI. By immodest actions.

  1. In committing the sin of impurity; and whether effected by soliciting, seducing with promises, or forcing; whether it be fornication, adultery, or incest.
  2. In sins against nature.





By all unlawful and willful desires of impurity and theft; which have been already mentioned in the sixth and seventh commandment.





You shall not steal. (7th)

You shall not covet your neighbors goods. (10th)


         Have I stolen anything? What was it worth?

         Have I returned or made restitution for the stolen item, or do I intend to return it?

         Have I damaged or been responsible for the damage of another persons property? What would be the cost of repairing or replacing it?

         Have I caused harm to anyone in business dealing by means of fraud, deception or coercion?

         Have I spent beyond my means?

         Have I deprived others of their needs by spending too little?

         Have I supported the Church and charitable organization according to my means?

         Have I honored my debts?

         Have I taken stolen property or refused to seek the owner of the property that I have found?

         Have I seriously entertained temptations to steal?

         Have I been lazy with respect to my employment, household chores, work or studies? Do I waste time at work, school or at home?

         Have I been greedy or selfish?

         Have I placed too high a value on material goods? Do I make material possessions the purpose of my life?

         Have I failed to help those whom I know are truly needy?

         Have I been irresponsible with money or other means of wealth which God has entrusted to me?

         Have I been envious of the wealth or material goods of another person?

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

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

         Do I envy the families or possessions of others?

         Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and spiritual needs?





  1. By taking another's goods, and to what value.
  2. By retaining what we know belongs to another.
  3. By denying our debts, or willfully delaying payment, to the prejudice of our neighbors.
  4. By making unjust bargains or contracts, into which every trade or profession ought to make a strict inquiry.
  5. By causing any damage to our neighbors.
  6. By putting off false and counterfeit money.
  7. By desiring another's property.
  8. By not giving alms when necessity requires.
  9. By not paying dues to our pastors, or by not contributing to the decent support of religious worship.
  10. By simony.





By all unlawful and willful desires of impurity and theft; which have been already mentioned in the sixth and seventh commandment.



You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.



Have I lied?

Have I sought to make up for the damage caused by my lies?

Have I accuses others of wrongdoing without sufficient evidence?

Have I been guilty of detraction (that is, speaking about the fault of others without having a good reason to do so)?

Have I been guilty of calumny (that is, to falsely accuse someone of sinful conduct)?

Have I spoken behind someones back?

Have I gossiped about another person?

Have I too hastily judged someone of improper conduct? 

Have I, without sufficient case, suspected someone to be guilty of misconduct?

Have I been excessively critical, negative or uncharitable in my speech?

Have I failed to honor the confidences or secrets entrusted to me by another?

Have I revealed them to someone else without permission or without due or serious cause?

Have I used the technique of binding others to secrecy about something that should be revealed to lawful authority? Do I realize that this practice is very divisive  if it is outside of Confession?

Have I failed to defend the good name or honor of others?

Am I sincere in my dealings with others?





  1. By witnessing what is false, or defending a false accusation, as in lawyers and solicitors; or condemning the innocent, or discharging the guilty, as judges and arbitrators.
  2. By detraction, either in laying something false to another's charge, or reporting for truth what is merely doubtful; or in revealing something as yet secret and unknown, though true, to the prejudice of some third person; with a declaration, whether it be done out of levity and indiscretion, or out of malice or ill-will; whether in the presence of many, or in a matter of importance.
  3. By lying, or speaking what we judge to be otherwise than we say; whether out of custom, or to the considerable prejudice of  others.
  4. By hypocrisy, which is a lie in action.


Three Fold Examination of Conscience

A Method of Examination of Conscience

according to the threefold Duty we owe:


(I) To God.       (II) To our Neighbor.       (III) To ourselves.



  1. Have you omitted morning or evening prayer, or neglected to make your daily examination of conscience? Have you prayed negligently, and with willful distraction?
  2. Have you spent your time, especially on Sundays and holidays, not in sluggishly lying abed, or in any sort of idle entertainment, but in reading, praying, or other pious exercises; and taken care that those under your charge have done the like, and not wanted the instructions necessary for their condition, nor time for prayer, or to prepare for the sacraments?
  3. Have you spoken irreverently of God and holy things? Have you taken his name in vain, or told untruths?
  4. Have you omitted your duty through human respect, interest, compliance, etc.?
  5. Have you been zealous for God's honor, for justice, virtue and truth, and reproved such as act otherwise?
  6. Have you resigned your will to God in troubles necessities, sickness, etc.?
  7. Have you faithfully resisted thoughts of infidelity, distrust, presumption, impurity, etc.?



  1. Have you disobeyed your superiors, murmured against their commands, or spoken of them contemptuously?
  2. Have you been troubled, peevish, or impatient, when told of your faults, and not corrected them? Have you scorned the good advice of others, or censured their proceedings?
  3. Have you offended any one by injurious threatening words or actions?
  4. Or lessened their reputation by any sort of detractions; or in any matter of importance?
  5. Or spread any report, true or false, that exposed your neighbor to contempt, or made him undervalued?
  6. Have you been carrying stories backward and forward, created discord and misunderstanding between neighbors?
  7. Have you been froward( not easily controlled; stubbornly willful; contrary,  adverse; unfavorable.) or peevish towards any one in your carriage, speech, or conversation?
  8. Or taken pleasure to vex, mortify, or provoke them to swear, curse, or any ways offend God?
  9. Have you mocked or reproached them for their corporal or spiritual imperfections?
  10. Have you been excessive in reprehending those under your care, or been wanting in giving them just reproof?
  11. Have you borne with their oversights and imperfections, and given them good counsel?
  12. Have you been solicitous for such as are under your charge, and provided for their souls and bodies?



  1. Have you been obstinate in following your own will, or in defending your own opinion, in things either indifferent, dangerous or scandalous?
  2. Have you taken pleasure in hearing yourself praised, or yielded to thoughts of vanity?
  3. Have you indulged yourself in overmuch ease, or any ways yielded to sensuality?
  4. Has your conversation been edifying and moderate; or have you been froward, proud, or troublesome to others?
  5. Have you spent overmuch time in play, or useless employments, and thereby omitted, or put off your devotions to unreasonable times?



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