A Good Confession

Author: California Youth

CALIFORNIA YOUTH GRATEFUL TO THE POPE 350 7th Avenue, Suite 116 San Francisco, CA 94118

California Youth Grateful to the Pope has given permission to reprint the following pamphlet. Copies can be obtained by writing to the address above.


A Gift to the Holy Father on His Visit to California September 1987


It was with great joy that I received the news that the Irish Bishops had asked all the faithful to go to Confession as part of a great spiritual preparation for my visit to Ireland. You could not have given me a greater gift. And if today there is someone who is still hesitating, for one reason or another, please remember this: the person who knows how to acknowledge the truth of guilt, and asks Christ for forgiveness, enhances his own human dignity and manifests spiritual greatness.

Because of Christ's love and mercy, there is no sin that is too great to be forgiven; there is no sinner who will be rejected. Every person who repents will be received by Jesus Christ with forgiveness and immense love.

Pope John Paul II Ireland, September 29, 1979



1. Examine Our Conscience 2. Be Sorry For Our Sins 3. Make A Firm Purpose Of Amendment 4. Confess Our Sins To A Priest 5. Perform Our Penance

For an examination of conscience, go to main menu, select "F" and download the file "CONFESS.1".


(The following questions are adapted from "The Rites of the Catholic Church, Rite of Penance, Appendix III")

(Begin by praying to God for his light and grace)

Some preliminary questions

* Am I determined to courageously call good and evil by their proper name? Do I sincerely want to be set free from sin, to turn again to God, to begin a new life, and to enter into a deeper friendship with God through this confession?

* In past confessions, did I forget to mention, or deliberately conceal, any grave sins?

* Have I received Holy Communion while conscious of having committed a mortal sin but not having gone to confession?

* Did I perform the penance I was given in my last confession? Did I make reparation for any injury to others? Have I been sincere in my efforts to lead a better life in keeping with the Gospel?

Questions related to the greatest commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart."

* Is my heart set on God, so that I really love him above all things and am faithful to his commandments, as a child loves and obeys its father? Or am I more concerned about the things of this world? Have I a right intention in what I do, seeking above all to fulfill the will of God?

* God spoke to us in his Son. Is my faith in God firm and secure? Am I wholehearted in accepting the Church's teaching? Have I been careful to grow in my understanding of the faith, to hear God's word, to study the doctrine of the Church, to avoid dangers to faith? Have I been strong and fearless in professing my faith in God and the Church? Am I consistent with the faith in public and private life?

* Have I prayed morning and evening? When I pray, do I really raise my mind and heart to God or is it a matter of words only? Do I offer God my difficulties, my joys, and my sorrows? Do I turn to God in time of temptation? Do I thank him often for his many favors?

* Do I have love and reverence for God's name? Have I offended him by blasphemy, swearing falsely, or taking his name in vain? Have I shown disrespect for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints?

* Have I missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days--or caused others to do so-- through my own fault? Have I participated in Mass with attention and devotion? Have I fulfilled the precept of annual confession and of communion during the Easter season?

* Are there "false gods" in my life: superstition, spiritism or other occult practices; money or other things, human ambitions or even persons that mean more to me than God does?

Questions related to the commandment of a right love of self and the love of neighbor: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself"

* Where is my life leading me? Is the hope of eternal life my inspiration? Am I really trying to grow in a spiritual life through prayer, reading the word of God and meditating on it, receiving the sacraments, self-denial and acceptance of the sorrows and disappointments of life for the love of Christ? Have I kept the precept of fasting and abstinence? Have I strived to control my vices, my bad inclinations and passions, e.g. envy, love of food and drink? Have I fought especially against self-love or have I been proud and boastful, thinking myself better in the sight of God and despising others as less important than myself? Have I imposed my own will on others, without respecting their freedom and rights?

* What use have I made of time, of health and strength, of the gifts God has given me, like the talents of the Gospel? Do I use them for the glory of God and the good of others and my true good? Do I use them fully, or have I been lazy and too much given to leisure?

* Do I have a genuine love for my neighbors? Or do I use others for my own ends, or do to them what I would not want done to myself? Have I given grave scandal by my words or actions?

* In my family life, have I contributed to the well-being and happiness of the others by patience and genuine love? Have I been obedient to parents, showing them proper respect and giving them help in their spiritual and material needs? Have I been careful to give a Christian upbringing to my children, and to help them by good example and by exercising authority as a parent? Have I been faithful to my husband (wife) in my heart and in my relations with others?

* Do I share my possessions with the less fortunate? Do I do my best to help the victims of oppression, misfortune, and poverty? Or do I look down on my neighbor, especially the poor, the sick, the elderly, strangers, and people of other races?

* Does my life reflect the mission I received in confirmation? Do I share in the apostolic and charitable works of the Church and in the life of my parish? Have I helped to meet the needs of the Church and of the world and prayed for them: for unity in the Church, for the spread of the Gospel among nations, for peace and justice, etc.?

* Am I concerned for the good and prosperity of the human community in which I live, or do I spend my life caring only for myself? Do I share to the best of my ability in the work of promoting justice, morality, harmony, and love in human relations? Have I done my duty as a citizen? Have I paid my taxes?

* In my work or profession am I just, hardworking, honest, serving society out of love of others? Have I paid a fair wage to my employees? Have I been faithful to my promises and contracts?

* Have I obeyed legitimate authority and given it due respect?

* If I am in a position of responsibility or authority, do I use this for my own advantage or for the good of others, in a spirit of service?

* Have I done violence to others by damage to life or limb, reputation, honor or material possessions? Have I been responsible for advising an abortion or procuring one? Have I been involved in permitting or encouraging the breakdown of matrimony and its integrity through artificial fertilization? Have I kept up hatred for others? Am I estranged from others through quarrels, enmity, insults, anger? Have I been guilty of refusing to testify to the innocence of another because of selfishness?

* Have I kept my senses and my whole body pure and chaste as a temple of the Holy Spirit, consecrated for resurrection and glory, and in order to have the self-mastery and selfless love required to live out my vocation in life? Have I dishonored my body by fornication, impurity, unworthy conversation or thoughts, evil desires, or actions? Have I given in to sensuality? Have I indulged in reading, conversation, shows, and entertainments that offend against Christian and human decency? Have I encouraged others to sin by my own failure to maintain these standards? Have I been faithful to the moral law in my married life? Am I guilty of the sin of contraception?

* Have I been truthful and fair, or have I injured others by deceit, calumny, detraction, rash judgment, or violation of a secret?

* Have I stolen the property of others? Have I desired it unjustly and inordinately? Have I damaged it? Have I made restitution of other people's property and made good their loss?

* If I have been injured, have I been ready to make peace for the love of Christ and to forgive, or do I harbor hatred and the desire for revenge?


True sorrow for sins includes the firm resolve not to sin again and to avoid the near occasions of sin. The Christian vocation, however, is essentially a call to growth, in fact, to holiness itself. Our purpose of amendment should include a resolve to advance, not only to avoid sin. It is very appropriate to make resolutions to pray more, to study or work better, to do more for others, God and the Church.

Some typical resolutions of spiritual growth:

- Make a daily examination of conscience. - Read and reflect on Scripture for 5 minutes each day. - Study a book of Christian Doctrine for one-half hour each week. - Strive to have more order in the way I work or study. - Smile more around the home. - Get to know better the people I study, work and socialize with. - Perform one act of self-denial each day for the love of God. - Spend some time each week doing some act of service to those most in need. - Attend Mass one extra day during the week. - Go to confession once a month.


O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because of Your just punishments, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.

CALIFORNIA YOUTH GRATEFUL TO THE POPE 350 7th Avenue, Suite 116 San Francisco, CA 94118

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