Examination of Conscience

Examination Of Conscience

For A General Confession

Note: this is compiled from a Redemptorist Mission Book and updated to deal with modern inventions. We added some quotes from Sacred Scripture and the Saints.

Previous Questions. How long ago did you make your last confession? Did you receive absolution? Have you performed your penance? Did you willfully conceal a mortal sin, or confess without true sorrow, without firm purpose of amendment, or without intending to perform your penance? Did you, after this bad confession, go to Holy Communion? How many such sacrilegious confessions and Communions have you made? Have you also during that time received Confirmation, Extreme Unction, or the Sacrament of Matrimony?

Commandments of God And the Precepts of the Church

The Holy Cure of Ars states: “The commandments of God are the guides which God gives us to show us the road to heaven; like the names written up at the corners of the streets and on guideposts, to point out the way.”

FIRST COMMANDMENT “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.” Luke 11:28: “Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.”

First Commandment. Have you denied the Catholic faith, openly rejected or spoken against any doctrine of the Catholic Church? — Have you disbelieved or willfully indulged in doubts against any article of faith, or suggested or encouraged such doubts in others? Have you betrayed the Catholic faith by saying that all religions are good, that a man may be saved in one as well as in another? How many times have you been guilty of these sins?

Have you read the Protestant Bible, heretical tracts or books, or sold, or lent them? Have you attended, or joined in false worship? Have you watched or listened to radio preachers on TV, radio or the Internet? Have you played or sung in places of false worship? Have you listened to heretical or infidel preachers or lecturers? How many times

Have you exposed your faith to danger by evil associations? Have you joined any secret society forbidden by the Church? Do you still belong to it? Have you, through your own fault, remained ignorant of the doctrines and duties of your religion? Have you remained a long time, a whole month, or longer, without reciting any prayer, or performing any act of devotion towards God? Have you sinned in a holy place, the church, the graveyard? Have you been guilty of great irreverence in church, by immodest conversation; by an unbecoming way of dressing, or by other gross misconduct? How many times?

Have you consulted fortune-tellers, whether in person, by phone or on the internet, or made use of superstitious practices, love potions, charms, etc.; read, kept, given, lent or sold dream-books, fortune-telling books, and the like? Have you attended or taken part in spiritualist meetings, and the like? How many times have you been guilty of these sins?

SECOND COMMANDMENT: “Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.” If we mean what we say in the “Our Father, “Hallowed be Thy Name”, it would be impossible to be careless with the Name of God. In 1846 when the Blessed Virgin appeared at LaSalette She said in part, “Those who drive carts cannot speak without putting the Name of My Son in the middle”

Second Commandment. Have you been guilty of blasphemy by angry, injurious, or insulting words against God or any of His perfections? Have you murmured against God; — said He was unjust, cruel, etc.? Did you even hate God? Did you sin and remain in sin because God is good? Have you given way to despair? To presumption? — Have you pronounced in a blasphemous or irreverent manner, or in anger, the holy name of God, the name of Jesus Christ, or that of any of the saints? Spoken in a blasphemous manner of sacred things, or abused the words of Holy Scripture by any indecent or grossly irreverent application? How many times!  Have you watched movies or television where blasphemy was used?

Have you sworn falsely? — Done so to the prejudice of your neighbor? — Taken rash, foolish or sinful oaths? — Joined an oath-bound secret society? How many oaths did you take in that society? Did you take an oath to be revenged or to commit some other crime? Have you broken a lawful oath? Induced others to swear falsely or unnecessarily, or to break a lawful oath? How often? Have you cursed yourself or your neighbor? Did you mean it? Is this sin habitual? How often do you curse in the day? Have you made any rash vows? Have you broken or neglected a lawful vow, or changed it without permission? How often? Have you broken a promise of marriage without sufficient cause?

THIRD COMMANDMENT: Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath Day. In 1846 when the Blessed Virgin appeared at LaSalette She said in part, “I gave you six days for work, I kept the seventh for Myself and no one wishes to give it to Me.

Third Commandment of God and the Precepts of the Church. Have you been habitually absent from the sermons and instructions? Have you kept the Lord’s Day holy? How often have you performed unnecessary servile work on Sundays and other Holydays of Obligation, or caused others to do so? (Do you know what the Holydays of Obligation are?) How often have you desecrated these days by frequenting ungodly company, by sinful amusements, gambling, immodest dancing, immoral movies or television, or drinking to excess?

How often have you without necessity eaten meat or caused others to eat meat on days of abstinence? How often have you broken the laws of fasting? Have you been married before a civil magistrate, or even before a heretical preacher? Have you, without dispensation, married a relative or an unbaptized person? Have you contracted marriage in any way forbidden by the Church?

FOURTH COMMANDMENT: “Honor thy father and thy mother”

If anyone has not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he is worse than an infidel. ITimothy5:8

Character in parents is terribly important because of the influence it exerts.” Sins of the Parents, page 172

Saint John Vianney: “A father and mother can serve God by bringing up their children as good Christians.”

Praise not any man before death, for a man is known by his children.” Ecclesiasticus 11:30

Fourth Commandment. Have you despised or even hated your parents, wished their death, or that some other misfortune should befall them? Have you insulted, mocked, ridiculed or cursed them? Have you threatened them, or even lifted your hand to strike them? How often have you been guilty of such sins?

Have you disobeyed them in serious matters; kept bad company, read bad books and papers, and so on? Have you sorely grieved your parents by your ingratitude, or misconduct? Have you, still a minor, promised or even contracted marriage without their knowledge? Have you neglected or refused to aid them in their wants? Have you been ashamed of them on account of their poverty? Have you faithfully accomplished their last will? Have you neglected to pray for them? Have you neglected to pray for the repose of their souls?

Have you been disrespectful and disobedient to your spiritual superiors, the bishops and priests of the Church? Have you behaved towards them in a haughty and insulting manner? Have you taken part with the disaffected and seditious? Have you neglected to contribute, according to your means, to the support of your pastor and church? Have you resisted the lawful authorities of the country, or taken part in any mob, or association to commit deeds of violence, or disturb the public peace? How many times?

FIFTH COMMANDMENT: “Thou shalt not kill.” “It is also a sin willfully to produce any serious illness, by eating to excess, or by eating food injurious to health; for we are bound to preserve our life, and to avoid all danger of death.” Saint Alphonsus in his Catechism.

Fifth Commandment. Have you by act, participation, instigation, counsel, or consent, been guilty of anyone’s death or bodily injury? Have you intended or attempted to take another’s life? How often have you committed these sins? How often have you intended or attempted to take your own life? Have you injured your health by excess in eating or drinking? Have you been drunk or been the cause of drunkenness in others? Have you taken harmful drugs, whether prescribed by a physician or acquired illegally? Have you taken these drugs to become intoxicated? Have you induced a doctor to prescribe addictive drugs for you? How many times have you been guilty of these sins?

Have you by act, advice or consent, done anything to hinder, or to destroy life? How often? Have you wished the death of your neighbor, or that some other misfortune should befall him? Have you intended or attempted to injure, or ill-treat others? How often? Have you been at enmity with your neighbor? Have you refused to speak to him or salute him? How often? Are you now reconciled with him? How often have you excited others to anger or revenge? Have you through avarice, passion or revenge, engaged in vexatious or unjust lawsuits?

Have you harmed the soul of anyone by giving scandal? Have you, by wicked words, deeds or bad example, ruined innocent persons, taught them bad habits or things they should not know? Have you thrown temptation in the way of the weak? Have you tried to dissuade or discourage those who were willing to repent and reform? How often have you been guilty of these sins? Have you neglected to give alms according to your means, or to relieve those in distress?

SIXTH AND NINTH COMMANDMENTS “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife.” “0 my children, if there were not some pure souls here and there, to make amends to the good God, and disarm His justice, you would see how we would be punished! For now, this crime is so common in the world, that it is enough to make one tremble. One may say, my children, that hell vomits forth its abominations upon the earth, as the chimneys of the steam-engine vomit forth smoke.” The Cure of Ars

Sixth and Ninth Commandments. These commandments forbid everything that is contrary to purity. Every sin of this nature, whether in deed, word, or even thought, when willful and deliberate, is a mortal sin and must be confessed.

How often have you dwelt with willful pleasure on impure thoughts or imaginations, or consented to them in your heart? Have you willfully desired to see or do anything impure? Have you watched immoral movies or television? Have you visited immoral websites?

How often have you made use of impure language, allusions, or words of double meaning? How many were listening to you? Have you listened with willful pleasure to immodest language? How often have you sung immodest songs or listened to them? How often have you boasted of your sins? How often have you read immoral books or papers, or lent or sold them to others? How often have you written, sent or received improper letters or messages? How often have you gazed with willful pleasure on improper objects, images or cards, or shown them to others?

How often have you voluntarily exposed yourself to the occasion of sin by sinful curiosity; by frequenting dangerous company, places, or dangerous or sinful amusements; by immodest dances and indecent plays; by remaining alone in company with those of the other sex, or by undue familiarities? Do you keep sinful company now? Did you ruin an innocent person? How long have you been addicted to secret sins? How often did you commit them? How often have you been guilty of improper liberties with others? How far have you carried your sinful conduct? How often have you by your freedom of manners, your immodest dress, and so on, been the cause of temptation to others?

Have you been guilty of seduction, or even rape?  Did you accomplish your designs by a false promise of marriage? Have you refused to repair the injury done? Have you committed crimes against nature? Have you taken part in the sins of others? You must mention those circumstances that change the nature of your sin — the sex, the relationship and the condition — whether married, single or bound by vow. Were you married or single at the time?

SEVENTH AND TENTH COMMANDMENTS: “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods.”

St. Ambrose: “He who spends too much is a robber.”

Seventh and Tenth Commandments. Have you stolen money or anything of value? Is it still in your possession? ‘What was its value? How much did you take each time? How often? Throughout this whole examination you must not merely tell the number of sins, you must also tell, as nearly as possible, the value of what you took, or the amount of damage caused by your injustice, that the confessor may know whether your sins are mortal or not, and what restitution you have to make.

Have you stolen anything consecrated to God, or from a holy place? This is a sacrilege.

Have you charged exorbitant prices, or made out false bills, or cheated in the weight, measure, quantity or quality of your goods? Have you cheated in games? Have you been in the habit of gambling, and to what extent? Have you engaged in deceitful speculations or enterprises to the injury of the simple and unwary? Have you defrauded your creditors? Have you entered into debts you knew you could not repay? Have you been guilty of forgery or swindling? Have you charged interest? Have you robbed the poor? Have you passed counterfeit or mutilated money? Have you been guilty of bribery, of taking bribes?

Have you kept things you found without inquiring for the owner? Have you retained any of the money intrusted to you? Have you failed to return things borrowed? Have you neglected to pay your debts? Have you contracted debts without any reasonable hope of paying?

Have you bought, received, or concealed things you knew to be stolen? Have you been the cause of ruin or damage to the property of another? Allowed your cattle to injure the neighbor’s crop, etc.? Have you squandered the money of your husband, wife, parents, etc. in buying costly dresses, jewelry, in drinking, etc?

Have you been careless of goods intrusted to your charge? Have you received pay for work or service you never did, or done it so poorly that it had to be done over again?

Have you sought to gain your cause by bribery, threats, or other unjust means? Have you set fire to your property and pocketed the insurance money? Have you, in your dealings, taken advantage of the simple, the young and inexperienced? Have you made hard bargains with the poor, or those in distress? Have you been guilty of fraud or embezzlement in any public office or private trust? Have you caused any injury, or loss by your negligence or culpable ignorance in the discharge of your profession or employment? Have you in any way taken part in another’s theft, fraud, usury, or injustice? Have you concealed the injustice of others, when it was your duty to report?

Have you attempted, or intended, or willfully desired to rob, steal, defraud, or commit any kind of injustice? Have you, by calumny or other unjust means, caused anyone to lose his situation? Did you vote for anyone you knew to be unfit for office? Examine whether you have repaired all the injustice you have done. Your sins will not be pardoned so long as you refuse or willfully neglect to make restitution. If what you have unjustly acquired is no longer in your possession, return the value of it. If you cannot restore the whole, restore at least a part, and that without delay. If you are unable to restore at once, you must have the firm and sincere resolution to do so as soon as possible. You must also strive earnestly to acquire the means of doing so. The obligation of restitution is binding until it is fully discharged. Restitution must be made to the owner. If the owner cannot be found, you must give the money to God, that is, to the poor, the Church, or some charitable purpose.

Have you been envious of the goods of others? Of their luxuries? Have your gone into debt to obtain similar luxuries for yourself?

EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: “Thou shalt not bear false witness” especially against thyself.

Eighth Commandment. Have you taken a false oath or advised others to do so? Have you signed false papers or documents or forged any writings? What injury have you done thereby? How often have you committed these sins? Have you been guilty of malicious lying? Have you put in circulation, or repeated any scandalous report, you knew or believed to be false? Have you been guilty of detraction in serious matters, by making known your neighbor’s secret sins or defects? Have you watched TV, listened to radio or visited internet sites where detraction is indulged in? Have you done anything to blacken his character or injure his interests? Have you caused ill feeling between others by tale bearing? Have you revealed an important secret? Did you without authority read another’s letters? How often, and in presence of how many persons, have you committed these Sins?

Have you endeavored to repair the harm you have done, by contradicting your false reports? Have you tried honestly to restore the good name that you have injured? Have you spoken against the priest, bishop or anyone consecrated to God? This is a sacrilege.

How often have you been guilty of unjust suspicions and rash judgments?

The Particular Duties of Your State of Life

Parents. Have you always taken proper care of the life and health of your children! Have you exposed them to great danger before their birth? Have you placed them in your own bed where they were in danger of being suffocated? Have you failed to provide for their needs? Have you given them proper food, clothing, etc.? Have you even deserted them! Have you endeavored to procure them a good and Christian education according to your means? Did you teach them a trade or profession, so that they could gain an honest livelihood? Have you manifested an unjust preference for one to the prejudice of the others? Have you been neglectful, unkind and even cruel to your children, stepchildren or wards? Have you placed television or other unimportant activities in front of the needs of your children and spouse?

Have you forced your children into a state of life, for which they had no vocation? Have you hindered them from following their vocation to the religious or ecclesiastical state? Have you, without reasonable cause, opposed their inclinations with regard to marriage?

Have you neglected the care of their salvation? Have you failed to teach them their prayers? Have you neglected to inspire them, in their tender years, with the love of God and a horror of Sin? Have you delayed their baptism too long? Have you neglected to have them prepared and brought at the proper age to Confession, holy Communion and Confirmation? Have you neglected their religious instruction, or sent them to heretical or godless schools? Have you failed to obtain the dispensation necessary for using non-Catholic courses and the precautions prescribed by the Church? Have you failed to take them to Mass on Sundays and Holydays? Have you failed to keep the Lord’s Day holy with your children? Have you caused them to observe abstinence on the days prescribed? Have you placed them in a situation where they could not practice their religion, or where their faith or their virtue was in danger? Have you exposed their innocence to danger by letting the different sexes sleep together, or by keeping them at night in your own bedroom? Have you allowed your children to watch improper movies or television? Did you watch with them or encourage them to watch?

Have you watched over their conduct carefully? Have you seen where they spend their time, with what companions they associate, and if they are addicted to any secret vice? Have you allowed them to wander where they would? Have you intrusted them to the care of servants that were irreligious or of loose morals? Have you allowed them to read love stories, trashy novels and other dangerous books? Have you allowed them to take part in sinful or dangerous amusements? Have you allowed them free intercourse with persons of the other sex; to receive visits alone, at improper hours, or to stay out late at night? Have you allowed immodest dances in your house?

Have you failed to correct and punish them when they deserved it? Have you allowed them to curse or use improper language without chastising them? Have you, through indifference or misguided affection, left them without restraint? Or have you, on the contrary, cursed them in anger; treated them brutally, or exasperated or scandalized them by violent language, abusive names, etc.? Have you scandalized them by bad example, by neglecting your religion?

The Married. Did you enter the marriage state from base and unchristian motives? Have you by your giddy conduct been the cause of jealousy and grief to your companion? Have you profaned the sanctity of matrimony by misuse, by overstepping the bounds of Christian modesty, or by trying to hinder its lawful end? Have you sinned against each other by angry words, opprobrious names, or even by quarrels and blows? How often have you been guilty of these sins?

Have you, without just cause and lawful permission, abandoned your companion in life, lived separate or remained long absent?

Husbands. Have you been faithless to your marriage vows? Have you treated your wife in a gross, cruel or tyrannical manner, beat her, or abused her in your anger? Have you made her unhappy by your coldness, stinginess, neglect and unfeeling conduct, or by spending your leisure time away from home or in front of the TV or computer? Have you treated her with attention and forbearance, when she was in a delicate condition? Have you compelled her to act against her conscience, to sin against the laws of nature? Have you neglected to support your wife and children? Have you squandered your earnings or the property of your wife?

Wives. Have you, unknown to your husband, made useless and extravagant expenses for yourself or relatives? How much? Have you caused discord by your selfishness and jealousy and by your unfriendly conduct towards his relatives? Have you broken your marriage vows? Have you given rise to jealousy by your levity; by trying to win the admiration and affection of others? Have you been respectful and obedient to him in all things reasonable and lawful? Have you made home disagreeable by your ill temper, scolding and faultfinding, or by pretended or imaginary ailments? Have you without just cause refused him his marriage rights? Have you induced him to offend God and act contrary to the laws of nature? How often have you been guilty of these sins? Have you done your part towards the support of the family, or have you, on the contrary, been idle and neglectful of your household duties?

Employees and Servants. Have you served your employers diligently and faithfully? Have they suffered any harm or loss through your fault, neglect or wastefulness? Have you retained part of what they gave you to make purchases, or taken anything under pretence that your wages were too low? How much? How often? Have you concealed from them the theft or misconduct of your fellow-employee in matters pertaining to your charge? Have you revealed unnecessarily the faults of your employers, sowed discord in their families, or been the cause, by false or malicious complaints, of other employees being discharged? Are you in a situation where your faith or morals are endangered, or where you have not the opportunity of fulfilling your religious duties? Have you connived at or aided your employers in their crimes? Did you print, bind, or sell books or papers against faith or morals? Did you sell immoral or irreligious movies, TV programs, computer programs, etc.?

Act of Contrition: I grieve from the bottom of my heart, O my God, for all the sins of my whole life, because by them I have offended Thee, my greatest Benefactor, and strict Judge, and have deserved to be punished by Thee. I am sorry for all the sins of my whole life, above all because by them I have offended God, the highest and only perfect Good, whom I have lost by my sins, I hope for forgiveness through the merits of Jesus, my Saviour, and would rather die than again offend Him.