Examination of Conscience


  • Does God hold first place in my life, or have I allowed myself to become the servant of money, popularity, success, or anything else?

  • Have I given priority to God on Sundays and holy days by attending Mass and making a special effort to seek him?

  • Have I nourished my love and knowledge of God through regular prayer and Scripture readings?

  • Are there any areas of myself that I am holding back from God – secret parts that I don’t want to expose to his light and his love?

  • How am I doing in my relationships:  family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, parishioners?  Am I treating them with dignity and respect?

  • Do I allow myself to be controlled by moods?  Do I give in to thoughts of anger, bitterness or resentment?

  • Do I give appropriate honor and respect to parents, teachers, employers, and all legitimate authority?

  • Is there anyone I need to forgive?  Is there anyone whose forgiveness I need to ask?

  • Have I been a good steward of the material things God has given me?  Do I use them for his glory?

  • Am I an active supporter and contributor to the work of the church and of organizations that serve the needy?

  • Do I show compassion and concern for people who are poor, under privileged sick, and suffering?

  • Am I vigilant about what I allow into my mind?  Have I indulged in pornography, lustful thoughts, indecent movies or conversations?

  • Have I abused my body through the misuse of drugs, alcohol or food?

  • Have I engaged in sexual activity outside of my marriage?

  • Have I used my gift of speech to build up and not to tear down?  Have I lied or gossiped about other people in a way that damaged their reputation?

  • Do my words reveal a love for the Lord?  Have I misused his name?

  • Have my words lead anyone to sin?  What about my nonverbal communication?

  • Have I been truthful in my words as well as my actions?  Am I honest in my business dealings?

 Before celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, one should prepare themselves with an examination of conscience.  An examination of conscience is a “prayerful self-reflection on our words and deeds in the light of the Gospel to determine how we may have sinned against God” (— Glossary, The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

There are various types of examinations of conscience but regardless of which one you use to prepare yourself for the Sacrament it should be rooted in Scripture; particularly, the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes.  Below are a few examples of Examinations of Conscience that can help you prepare for the Sacrament.

Examination of Conscience based on the Ten Commandments

Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching I En Espanol

Examination of Conscience for Children

Examination of Conscience for Young Adults

Examination of Conscience for Single People

Examination of Conscience for Married Persons