Penance: Sample examination of conscience

Based of the Ten Commandments


I am the Lord your God: You shall not have strange gods before me.

Have I treated people, events or things as more important than God?


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

Have my words, actively or passively, put down God, the church or people?


Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

Do I go to Mass every Sunday (or Saturday vigil) and on holy days of obligation? On  Sunday, the Lord’s Day, do I avoid, when possible, work that impedes worship of God, joy in his day and proper relaxation of mind and body? Do I look for ways to spend time with family or in service to others?


Honor your father and your mother.

Do I show my parents due respect? Do I seek to maintain or restore good communication with them when possible? Do I criticize them for lacking skills I think they should have?


You shall not kill.

Have I harmed another through physical, verbal or emotional means, including gossip or manipulation of any kind?


You shall not commit adultery.

Have I respected the physical and sexual dignity of others and of myself?


You shall not steal.

Have I taken or wasted time or resources that belonged to another?


You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Have I gossiped, told lies or embellished stories at the expense of another?


You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse.

Have I honored my spouse with my full affection and exclusive love?


You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

Am I content with my own means and needs, or do I compare myself to others  unnecessarily



This is the Sacrament in which sins committed after Baptism are forgiven. It results in reconciliation with God and the Church. (US Catholic Catechism for Adults, Glossary)



Guide to Confession

What is the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation

Preparing for the Sacrament

Examination of Conscience

The Rite of Penance & Reconciliation

An Act of Contrition