Guidelines for the Sacrament of Confession.

Prayer before Confession:

O most merciful God! Prostrate at your feet, I implore your forgiveness. I sincerely desire to leave all my faults and to confess my sins with all sincerity to you and to your priest. I am a sinner, have mercy on me, O Lord. Give me a lively faith and a firm hope in the Passion of my Redeemer. Give me, for your mercy’s sake a sorrow for having offended so good a God. Mary, my mother, refuge of sinners, pray for me that I may make a good confession. Amen.

How to Go to Confession:

  1. When in the confessional, the Priest will begin with the Sign of the Cross. 
  2. The Penitent begins by saying, Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been (number of days, weeks, months, etc.) since my last confession. These are my sins…
  3. Confess all mortal sins committed since your last confession by kind and number. You may also confess any venial sins. 
  4. At the end of your confession say these or similar words: For these and all the sins of my life I am sorry.
  5. The Priest may ask questions for clarification or give you some counsel on a point from your confession. 
  6. The Priest will give you a penance. 
  7. The Penitent makes an Act of Contrition: O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all of 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 occasions of sin. Amen. 
  8. The Priest will give you absolution.


Examination of Conscience:

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

  • Involvement in occult practices, e.g., witchcraft, ouija boards, seances, palm reading, tarot cards, hypnotism, divination, astrology, black magic, sorcery, etc.
  • Involvement in or adherence to New Age or Eastern philosophies, atheism or agnosticism
  • Apostasy (leaving the Church) 
  • Adherence to a schismatic group
  • Putting faith in superstition, e.g., horoscopes, good luck charms, etc. 
  • Joining the Masons or other secret society
  • Receiving Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin
  • Receiving the Sacraments of Confirmation or Matrimony while in the state of mortal sin
  • Willful participation in illicit (non-emergency) “General Absolution” services
  • Being married by a Justice of the Peace or by a minister of another denomination (without dispensation) 
  • Involvement in false or pagan worship
  • Willfully denying the Faith of the Catholic Church
  • Despair of God’s grace or mercy
  • Presumption (committing a mortal sin with the idea that you can just go to confession) 
  • Hatred of God
  • Simony (buying or selling spiritual things) 
  • Failure to receive Holy Communion at least once per year ( if possible, during the Easter Season) 
  • Desecration of the Holy Eucharist 

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

  • Using God’s name intentionally as a curse
  • Seriously wishing evil upon another
  • Serious slander or insult of a sacred person or object
  • Making an oath in a secret society
  • Telling a lie or withholding a serious sin in confession
  • Blasphemy (words of hatred, reproach or defiance toward God; speaking ill of God) 
  • Perjury (lying under oath) 
  • Swearing false oaths 

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

  • Missing Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation without a serious reason
  • Doing unnecessary work on Sunday for a long period of time, i.e., more than several hours
  • Intentional failure to fast or abstain on appointed days
  • Requiring employees to work on Sunday in non-essential occupations 

4. Honor your father and mother.

  • Serious failure to care for aged parents
  • Serious neglect of the duties of one’s state in life
  • Serious disrespect or disobedience of parents, superiors or authorities
  • Wishing death or evil on parents
  • Abuse or serious neglect of children
  • Failure to baptize children in a reasonable time (within a few months) after birth
  • Serious neglect of the religious education or upbringing of children
  • Failure to carry out the last will of deceased parents 

5. You shall not kill.

  • Murder, homicide or manslaughter
  • Procurement of an abortion
  • Promoting, counseling or paying for an abortion
  • Knowingly voting for someone who is pro-abortion
  • Willfully injuring or trying to hurt another person
  • Willfully leading another into sin
  • Driving dangerously or recklessly
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Willfully harboring hatred
  • Taking or selling illegal drugs
  • Willful drunkenness
  • Self mutilation 
  • Excessive tattoos
  • Excessive body piercing
  • Piercing of nipples or sex organs
  • Sterilization
  • Promotion of or involvement in euthanasia
  • Serious entertainment of suicidal thoughts
  • Attempting or intending suicide
  • Willful failure to bury the body or ashes of the dead
  • Willful engagement in unjust lawsuits
  • Bigotry (hatred for persons of other races) 
  • Intentionally placing temptation before the weak 

6. You shall not commit adultery.

  • Adultery
  • Fornication (intercourse prior to marriage) 
  • Masturbation or other impure acts
  • Homosexual acts
  • Using a contraceptive
  • Dressing or acting in a manner intended to cause arousal in another (spouses excepted) 
  • Kissing or touching another passionately for the purpose of arousal (spouses excepted) 
  • Allowing another to kiss or touch you in a sexual manner (spouses excepted) 
  • Intentionally causing a sexual climax outside of intercourse 
  • Onanism, i.e. intentional withdrawal and non-vaginal ejaculation
  • Flagrant immodesty in dress
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • In-vitro fertilization or artificial insemination
  • Surrogate motherhood
  • “Selective reduction” of babies in the womb
  • Types of fertility testing that involve immoral acts
  • Involvement in or support of human cloning
  • Willful divorce or desertion
  • Incest
  • Polygamy or polyandry (many wives/husbands) 
  • Cohabitation prior to marriage
  • Destroying the innocence of another by seducing or introducing them to immorality
  • Lust in the heart (“if I could I would”) 
  • Transvestitism or cross dressing 

7. You shall not steal.

  • Stealing a large amount of money or a valuable item
  • Willfully destroying or defacing another’s property
  • Stealing something consecrated to God or from a holy place
  • Buying, selling, receiving or concealing items known to be stolen
  • Willful failure to make restitution
  • Excessive gambling 
  • Defrauding workers of their wages
  • Serious failure to fulfill work requirements 
  • Padding expense or per diem accounts
  • Taking advantage of the poor, simple, inexperienced or less fortunate
  • Denying help to the poor, needy or destitute when able to help them easily
  • Defrauding creditors
  • Bribery or taking bribes
  • Blackmail
  • Fraud or embezzlement 
  • Price fixing
  • Tax evasion
  • Forgery
  • Excessive waste or expense
  • Violating copyrights
  • Pirating computer software
  • Slavery
  • Serious cruelty to animals 

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

  • False witness (not under oath) or perjury (under oath) 
  • Telling large or premeditated lies
  • Serious gossip, detraction (revealing the faults of another without serious reason), or calumny (harming the reputation of another by falsities) 
  • Violation of a confidence without good reason
  • Being an accomplice to another’s grave sin 

9. You shall not desire your neighbor’s wife.

  • Viewing pornography in books, magazines, movies, the internet, etc. 
  • Reading sexually explicit materials
  • Dwelling on impure thoughts or fantasies for the purpose of arousal
  • Willfully lusting after another 

10.You shall not desire your neighbor’s goods.

  • Serious and willful greed or avarice
  • Intention to steal or destroy the goods of another
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