Here follows the flyer we may use to prepare a good confession. In all cases you can ask the priest to guide you if you prefer.
Six Steps For A Good Confession
1. Examine your conscience - what sins have you committed since your last good confession.
2. Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
3. Confess your sins to the priest.
4. Make certain that you confess all your mortal sins and the number of them.
5. After your confession, do the penance the priest gives to you.
6. Pray daily for the strength to avoid the occasion of sin, especially for those sins you were just absolved from.
After the customary greetings, the penitent crosses himself:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The priest urges the penitent to have confidence in God. The priest may say:
May the Lord be in your heart and help you to confess your sins with true sorrow.
Either the priest or the penitent may read or say by heart some words taken from the holy Scripture about the mercy of God and repentance, e.g.:
Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. (John 21:17)
The penitent accuses himself of his sins. The priest gives opportune advice, imposes the penance on him, and invites the penitent to manifest his contrition. The penitent may say:
Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
The priest gives him the absolution:
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.
The penitent answers:
The priest dismisses the penitent with this or any of the alternative formula:
May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, whatever good you do and suffering you endure heal your sins, help you to grow in holiness, and reward you with eternal life. Go in peace.
The penitent should fulfil the penance imposed.
Examination of Conscience.
1. “I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before Me.” (Ex 20:2,3)
Did I doubt or deny that God exists?
Did I refuse to believe what God has revealed to us?
Did I believe in fortune telling, horoscopes, dreams, the occult, good-luck charms, tarot cards, palmistry, Ouija boards, séances, reincarnation?
Did I deny that I was Catholic?
Did I leave the Catholic Faith?
Did I give time to God each day in prayer?
Did I love God with my whole heart?
Did I despair of or presume on God’s mercy?
Did I have false gods in my life that I gave greater attention to than God, like money, profession, drugs, TV, fame, pleasure, property, etc.?
2. “You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.” (Ex 20:7)
Did I blaspheme or insult God?
Did I take God’s name carelessly or uselessly?
Did I curse, or break an oath or vow?
Did I get angry with God?
3. “Remember that you keep holy the Sabbath Day.” (Ex 20:8)
Did I miss Mass Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation through my own fault?
Did I come to Mass on time? Leave early?
Did I do work on Sunday that was not necessary?
Did I set aside Sunday as a day of rest and a family day?
Did I show reverence in the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament?
4. “Honour your father and your mother.” (Ex 20:12)
Did I disobey or disrespect my parents or legitimate superiors?
Did I neglect my duties to my husband, wife, children or parents?
Did I neglect to give good religious example to my family?
Did I fail to actively take an interest in the religious education and formation of my children?
Did I fail to educate myself on the true teachings of the Church?
Did I give scandal by what I said or did, especially to the young?
Did I cause anyone to leave the faith?
Did I cause tension and fights in my family?
Did I care for my aged and infirm relatives?
Did I give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay?
Did I give a fair wage to my employees?
5. “You shall not kill.” (Ex 20:13)
Did I kill or physically injure anyone?
Did I have an abortion, or advise someone else to have an abortion? (One who procures an abortion is automatically excommunicated, as is anyone who is involved in an abortion, Canon 1398. The excommunication will be lifted in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.)
Did I use or cause my spouse to use birth control pills (whether or not realizing that birth control pills do abort the foetus if and when conceived)?
Did I attempt suicide?
Did I take part in or approve of “mercy killing” (euthanasia)?
Did I get angry, impatient, envious, unkind, proud, revengeful, jealous, hateful toward another, lazy?
Did I give bad example by drug abuse, drinking alcohol to excess, fighting, quarrelling?
Did I abuse my children?
6 + 9. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Ex 20:14) “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife.” (Ex 20:17)
Did I wilfully entertain impure thoughts or desires?
Did I use impure or suggestive words? Tell impure stories? Listen to them?
Did I deliberately look at impure TV, videos, plays, pictures or movies? Or deliberately read impure materials?
Did I commit impure acts by myself (masturbation)?
Did I commit impure acts with another - fornication (premarital sex), adultery (sex with a married person)?
Did I practice artificial birth control (by pills, device, withdrawal)?
Did I marry or advise anyone to marry outside the Church?
Did I avoid the occasions of impurity?
Did I try to control my thoughts?
Did I engage in homosexual activity?
Did I respect all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?
Did I or my spouse have sterilization done?
Did I abuse my marriage rights?
7 + 10. “You shall not steal.” (Ex 20:15) “You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods.” (Ex 20:17)
Did I steal, cheat, help or encourage others to steal or keep stolen goods? Have I made restitution for stolen goods?
Did I fulfil my contracts; give or accept bribes; pay my bills; rashly gamble or speculate; deprive my family of the necessities of life?
Did I waste time at work, school or at home?
Did I envy other people’s families or possessions?
Did I make material possessions the purpose of my life?
8. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” (Ex 20:16)
Did I lie?
Did I deliberately deceive others, or injure others by lies?
Did I commit perjury?
Did I gossip or reveal others’ faults or sins?
Did I fail to keep secret what should be confidential?