An examination of conscience to help make a better confession by a really sound priest

Last year I posted about some sheets developed by my friend the great Fr. Finigan, His Hermeneuticalness, to help people with an examination of conscience before going to confession.  He made them available at the blog of his parish, Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen.

Parish websites could have something like this available for their parishioners.

Of course the priests would also have to hear confessions, wouldn’t they?

Check it out HERE.

Confession Leaflets

I put a supply of these leaflets outside the confessional so that people can use them and take them home with them. I usually print them on coloured pre-printed leaflet blanks.
I use the children’s leaflet for confessions in the Junior School and for children making their first confession. I use the “teenagers” leaflet for my Faith Youth Group and for the Confirmation Class.

Confession leaflet for children
– A5 leaflet suitable for children aged 7-10.

Confession leaflet for teenagers
– A4 tri-fold leaflet suitable for young people 11-16.

Confession leaflet for adults – A4 tri-fold
leaflet for adults.

Those are on the paper format A4, common to Europe.  But you can adapt.

I will add that we must confess all our mortal sins… not “the thing that is bothering me today”… in both kind (what the sin is) and number (how many times or frequency).  No, really.  I am not making this up.  Kind and number. Kind and number. Kind and number.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. An American Mother says:

    Thank you Father!
    My husband is a scientist and a “cut to the chase” kinda guy. He isn’t going to read a 5-6 page Examination of Conscience.
    This leaflet is PERFECT for him (and for that matter for me too).

  2. Margaret says:

    Fr. Finigan shows a very good understanding of teenagers & what they are pre-disposed towards. Bravo!

  3. benedetta says:

    These are great leaflets that Fr. Finigan makes available on his parish’s website. Excellent resources. We have used them and referred others to them as well. Great help.

  4. gracie says:

    Is there a reason that children are no longer taught the adult Act of Contrition? Up until the Second Vatican Council, that’s what kids had to learn at the age of 7/8 before they made their First Confession. It’s much harder to teach them one A of C and then later on teach them another one. In fact, I’ve never heard of anyone going back and teaching the adult A of C to anyone.

  5. Gustave Dedronez says:

    Any recommendations for a really long and in depth Examination available for one who hasn’t been to confession for a long time and needs some serious memory-jogging?

  6. marthawrites says:

    Our parish is in the process of a four day renewal. The first night consisted of a communal penance service; the communal penance was to pray for the cardinals to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as they meet to choose a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. I thought that was wonderful, especially when the host priest reiterated we all have that penance and we all have to remember to do it. But the highlight for me was the renewal priest’s very brief talk in which he retold the story of Adam and Eve, saying that their sin was not disobedience–that was their behavior–their sin was the motivation which was jealousy and pride. He urged us to examine our consciences and confess our motivations, i.e. go more deeply into our behavior. What a superb tool for examination and for true contrition and–as he said–for real change.

  7. acardnal says:

    Excellent choice wmeyer for those who have been away from the sacrament for a long time. I have purchased some from Leaflet Missal to make available near confessionals.

  8. APX says:

    The one Wmeyer posted is the one I used when I hadn’t been to confession for at least a decade. I really liked that it separated mortal sins from venial sins and that it was thorough. I walked in to the confessional on the verge of an anxiety attack and exceptionally scared of the priest after I was warned that the priest was “a very holy priest”, but I went in confident I had examined my conscience thoroughly, had everything written down in number, kind, and relevant circumstances. I was in and out in 15 minutes or less (you really don’t need a big long drawn out meaningful conversation in order for an effective confession, even if it was a long time since one’s last confession. Mine was more effective than I ever planned on it being), and no second guessing if I had missed something.

  9. Maynardus says:

    Overall I thought Fr. Finegan’s pamplets excellent resources and I will recommend them to a couple of local parishes that have no such aids for the perplexed/reluctant/scatterbrained penitent. At the risk of earning myself one of our host’s dreaded “Sour Grapes” awards I must confess that I was a bit surprised to find the rather simplified Act of Contrition in the adult version. Perhaps the estimable Fr. F. would consider including one of the more traditional formulas as well; surely there are plenty who learned such an Act of Contrition in their youth and with whom it would strike a familiar chord…

  10. midwestmom says:

    Thank you, dear Fathers, for gifting us with these. I love that you ‘push’ confession on a regular basis; we all need to hear it.

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