Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Unique Examination of Conscience

Last fall I was given a different kind of Examination of Conscience: it is an Examination of Attitudes. It was written by one of our Sisters. I love it, and I have been given permission to reprint it on this blog! I hope that this becomes a useful tool for you as you prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Examples of Brief Confessions of Sinfulness

Note: the following examples are made up to show one aspect of confession- that is, the confessing of sinfulness as an attitude. The examples also show characteristic attitudes, different in each person. Any one of the following could be a complete confession supposing there is no (other) mortal sinfulness.

  1. I have been angry at all my troubles and I let myself be very sarcastic to people I work with and live with...
  2. I am so concerned with getting material things and keeping up my status in the eyes of those I associate with that I have too little time for noticing the needs of others.
  3. I take delight in and I take pleasure in learning of and broadcasting the faults of those whose ideas...I do not like.
  4. I cause great inconvenience to others by a sloppy and unplanned way of doing things, making them wait, spoiling their plans, ignoring their needs.
  5. I realize I am taking a roundabout revenge on others by my remarks about them, even in joking...
  6. I let my depression and my temper, and my moods affect others by giving into my feelings and...
  7. I am causing trouble in my group by trying to dominate, by making all the decisions, by not listening to anyone, thinking I am always right...
  8. I refuse to take responsibility for my mistakes; I always find someone to blame other than myself.
  9. I allow a spirit of bitterness, complaining, self-pity to possess me and thus I don't do others any good...
  10. I am very stubborn and domineering. If I am blocked by anyone for any reason, I immediately lose my temper and retaliate.
  11. I continually make myself the hero and center of every conversation.
  12. I am present at Mass physically, but my participation is half-hearted and spiritless...
  13. I almost never pray...
  14. I cause unnecessary pain to those in authority by being closed, secretive, and underhanded...
  15. I show little forgiveness or compassion toward others when they have need for sympathy.
  16. I show little consideration for others by being late for meals, prayers, meetings, etc.
  17. I demand perfection from everyone and tolerate weakness from nobody.

This is the statue of St. Francis
that I look at as I am waiting
in line to receive the Sacrament
of Reconciliation at the

"Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves by healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1458).


As Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least every two weeks. I noticed a change in myself for the better when I began this practice as a postulant.


  1. These are very meaningful questions to ask myself. They strike at the core of my relationships with my Sisters. I, too, appreciate the Sacrament of Reconciliation very much. God is so good!

    1. Yes, He is! Just the fact that He has provided us with this Sacrament! :)

  2. Oh, my, oh, my. The wording is very much to the point. Thank you so much for this. I try to keep my confession (which isn't often enough) brief and try not to be my own defense lawyer, but these are starkly self-accusatory and need no other explanation.

    1. You're welcome, Therese. Yes, I too find that this particular examination of conscience helps me to be honest with myself as I approach the Sacrament.

  3. I am so glad I found this. I was searching for an examination of conscience in regards to the depression I suffer and the imperfections that stem from it. I am guilty of several of these attitudes and you put then into words so that I can better express myself to the priest. I printed it out. Thank you.

  4. The written work workshop will assist the understudies with initiating with apparent prospects which they should expected to gain and check it here to get useful data about topic to manage all type of projects.