Through penance, the faithful receive pardon through God’s mercy for the sins they have committed. At the same time, they are reconciled with the Church community. The confession, or disclosure, of sins frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others.


Prayer before confession by St. Jerome

“Show me, O Lord, Your mercy, and delight my heart with it. Let me find You whom I so longingly seek. Behold, here is the man whom the robbers seized, manhandled, and left half dead on the road to Jericho. Kind-hearted Samaritan, come to my aid! I am the sheep who wandered into the wilderness. Seek after me and bring me home again to Your fold.  Do with me according to Your Will, that I may abide with You all the days of my life, and praise You with all those who are with You in heaven for all eternity. Amen.” 

Here are 99 questions to prayerfully consider before going to confession

99 Questions Examination of Conscience

“I am the Lord, your God.  You shall have no other gods besides me.”

1. Have I doubted or denied God’s existence?

2. Have I been ungrateful to God for His benefits?

3. Am I open to God’s will?

4. Do I rely solely on myself and not on God?

5. Have I abandoned the Catholic Faith?

6. Have I joined a non-Catholic church or anti-Catholic group?

7. Have I refused to believe any truths of the Faith or any teachings of the Church?

8. Did I fail to profess or defend the Catholic Faith?

9. Have I failed to go to confession at least once a year?

10. Have I been faithful to my daily prayers?

11. Have I practiced any superstitions?

12. Am I unwilling to turn away from everything that is opposed to God’s work in my soul?

“You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.”

13. Have I taken the Lord’s name in vain, for example, carelessly, in anger, or surprise?

14. Do I speak irreverently of holy persons, places or things?

15. Have I cursed myself or others?

16. Did I use profanity?

17. Have I called down evil upon anyone or anything?

18. Did I get angry with God?

19. Have I angered others so as to make them curse?

20. Have I broken a vow made to God?

21. Have I murmured or complained about God?

“Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.”

22. Did I miss Mass on a Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation?

23. Did I arrive to Mass late or leave early?

24. Did I receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin?

25. Have I been irreverent while receiving the Most Blessed Sacrament?

26. Have I been willfully distracted during Mass?

27. Do I distract others during Mass?

28. Have I done unnecessary work on Sunday?

“Honor your father and your mother.”

29. Have I disobeyed, insulted, or shown disrespect to my parents or legitimate superiors?

30. Did I neglect my duties to my husband, wife, children or parents?

31. Did I neglect to give a good religious example to my family?

32. Am I disrespectful, impolite, or discourteous toward my family?

33. Have I failed to meet my children’s physical, spiritual, emotional, and educational needs?

34. Have I disobeyed the lawful demands of my superiors, teachers, or employer?

35. Did I fail to actively take an interest in the religious education and formation of my children?

36. Did I cause anyone to leave the Catholic Church?

37. Did I cause tension and fights in my family?

38. Did I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

“You shall not kill.”

39. Did I kill or physically injure anyone?

40. Did I have an abortion, or advise someone else to have an abortion?

41. Do I use artificial contraception or birth control?

42. Have I entertained thoughts of suicide, desired to commit suicide, or attempted suicide?

43. Have I participated in euthanasia or assisted suicide?

44. Have I placed others in harms way, by driving or texting inappropriately?

45. Have I failed to help someone in danger or in need?

46. Do I drink or smoke excessively or abuse prescribed drugs?

47. Have I wished evil on anyone?

48. Do I deliberately harbor unkind and revengeful thoughts about others?

49. Have I taken revenge?

50. Have I used harsh or abusive language toward others?

51. Have I spread gloom through my words and actions?

52. Is there anyone with whom I refuse to speak, or against whom I bear a grudge?

53. Have I taken pleasure in anyone’s misfortunes?

54. Have I led others into sin?

“You shall not commit adultery” and “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife”

55. Did I commit impure acts with another – fornication (premarital sex) or adultery (sex with a married person)?

56. Did I commit impure acts by myself (masturbation)?

57. Do I engage in homosexual acts?

58. Have I refused my spouse the marriage right without good reason?

59. Am I dating someone who is civilly divorced but still bound by a valid marriage?

60. Did I marry or advise anyone to marry outside the Catholic Church?

61. Have I willfully entertained impure thoughts or desires?

62. Did I respect all members of the opposite sex, or have I objectified them?

63. Have I read, listened to, viewed, or spoken of impure things?

64. Have I worn revealing or immodest clothing?

65. Have I succumbed occasions of impurity?

“You shall not steal.”

66. Have I stolen money or property?

67. Have I cheated?

68. Have I failed to make restitution for what I stole?

69. Have I intentionally damaged property?

70. Have I accepted or bought stolen property?

71. Have I helped someone steal?

72. Am I dishonest in my business dealings?

73. Have I failed to make restitution for my stealing, cheating and frauds?

74. Do I gamble excessively?

75. Have I borrowed without permission?

76. Have I failed to return things borrowed?

77. Did I waste time at work, school or at home?

78. Have I cheated my employer of an honest day’s work?

79. Have I cheated my employees of their wages?

80. Have I refused or neglected to help anyone in urgent need?

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

81. Have I lied deliberately?

82. Have I deliberately misled or deceived anyone?

83. Did I gossip or reveal others’ faults or sins?

84. Have I failed to keep promises or oaths?

85. Have I signed false documents?

86. Have I failed to prevent the defamation of another’s character?

87. Have I revealed secrets and betrayed trust?

88. Do I make false judgments and harbor false suspicions?

89. Have a failed to forgive someone or held a grudge?

90. Have I failed to apologize or make amends?

91. Did I fail to keep secret what should be confidential?

92. Have I disclosed another’s sins without serious reason?

“You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

93. Am I greedy or selfish?

94. Am I envious of someone’s possessions, talents, or blessings?

95. Do I indulge in self-pity?

96. Am I proud, vain, or desire to be praised?

97. Have I exaggerated my success?

98. Have I minimized or made excuses for my failures?

99. Have I measured my charity by what others have given, rather than my ability to give?

Going to confession can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. This list of questions is extensive and can be daunting. It can be hard to say out loud the things in our lives that we have done wrong. Rather than looking down upon your failings, let the sorrow for sin help you overcome them. Look upon this sacrament as an opportunity to make full reparation for your sins, and restore your soul’s relationship with God. If you are reluctant to go to confession remember God’s mercy and compassion. 

“Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall become white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall become white as wool.” (Isiah 1:18) 

Remember, Christ came into the world to save sinners!

More on confession here