How to Make a Good Confession


Examination of Conscience, Manner & Prayers
for a Good Confession

Good Confession

BLESS me Father, for I have sinned.
I confess to Almighty God, and to you, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, deed and omission, through my fault.

It has been X. week(s) since my last worthy confession. I accuse myself of having committed, during that time, the following sins:

For these, and for all the sins which I have at any time been guilty, I humbly ask pardon of God, and absolution of you, Father, if you think me worthy.

From Blessed be God: A Complete Catholic Prayer Book:
Having entered the confessional, place yourself in the presence of God, Who sees all things, and then address His minister with the above prayer.

Without exaggerating or extenuating the offences of which you may be conscious, tell them, as if to God Himself, with a humble, sorrowful and contrite heart. Afterwards, it will be well, though it is never obligatory, to specify some one sin of the past which is especially calculated to dispose the soul to deeper contrition. This being briefly done, say:


FOR these, and for all the sins of which I have at any time been guilty, I humbly ask pardon of God, and absolution of you, Father, if you think me worthy.

“Then listen attentively to anything the confessor may choose to say; humbly accept the penance he imposes; and, when he raises his hand in absolution, recite the Act of Contrition.

After confession we should return thanks to God for His mercies in forgiving our sins, beg that He supply whatever has been wanting to us and bless our good resolutions, and immediately thereafter say our penance.”

N.B. The confessional is for the soul’s humble reconciliation with God – it is not the place to argue with Father, challenge his words, waffle or give witness to one’s knowledge of moral theology; It is the place for the Sacrament of Penance.


An Act of Contrition

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




Prayer of Thanksgiving

I RETURN unto Thee, O Lord Jesus, and give Thee thanks that Thou hast been pleased to cleanse me from the foul leprosy of my sins. Blessed be Thy Name, O Lord, forever and ever. Truly Thou art a Saviour Who rejectest none that come unto Thee seriously desiring to repent, but receivest them into Thy favour, and numberest them with Thy children.

I acknowledge and adore Thy mercy, and dedicate myself wholly to Thy service hereafter. Assist my weakness, and suffer me not again to fall into my past sins and to be separated from Thee; but so bind my heart and soul to Thee with the cords of Thy love, that I may say with the Apostle: “Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?”


Prayer of Petition

MAY this, my confession, O Lord, by the merits of the Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin, Thy Mother, and all the saints, be pleasing and acceptable in Thy sight. Let Thy goodness and mercy supply for whatever hath been wanting in my contrition, and in the purity and integrity of my confession. Deign Thou mercifully to regard me perfectly and entirely absolved in heaven: Who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.


Prayer for Perseverance

O ALMIGHTY and merciful God, Who, according the multitude of Thy tender mercies, hast vouchsafed once more to receive Thy prodigal child, after so many times going astray from Thee, and to admit me to this Sacrament of reconciliation; I give Thee thanks with all the powers of my soul for this and all other mercies, graces and blessings, bestowed on me; and prostrating myself at Thy tender feet, I offer myself to be henceforth forever Thine. Oh! let nothing in life or death ever separate me from Thee. I renounce with my whole soul all my treasons against Thee, and all the abominations and sins of my past life. I renew my promises made in Baptism, and from this moment I dedicate myself eternally to Thy love and service.

Oh! grant that for the time to come I may abhor sin more than death itself, and avoid all such occasions and companies as have unhappily brought me to it. This I resolve to do, by the aid of Thy divine grace, without which I can do nothing. I beg Thy blessing upon these my resolutions, that they may not be ineffectual, like so many others I have formerly made; for, O Lord, without Thee I am nothing but misery and sin. Give me grace to be now and always a true penitent, through the same Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.



Post-Confession: Psalm of Praise

Psalm 102

Benedic, anima.
Thanksgiving to God for His mercies.

[1] FOR DAVID himself.

BLESS the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless his holy name. [2] Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all he hath done for thee. [3] Who forgiveth all thy iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases. [4] Who redeemeth thy life from destruction: who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion. [5] Who satisfieth thy desire with good things: thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s.

.[6] The Lord doth mercies, and judgment for all that suffer wrong. [7] He hath made his ways known to Moses: his wills to the children of Israel. [8] The Lord is compassionate and merciful: longsuffering and plenteous in mercy. [9] He will not always be angry: nor will he threaten for ever. [10] He hath not dealt with us according to our sins: nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

.[11] For according to the height of the heaven above the earth: he hath strengthened his mercy towards them that fear him. [12] As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our iniquities from us. [13] As a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that fear him: [14] For he knoweth our frame. He remembereth that we are dust: [15] Man’s days are as grass, as the flower of the field so shall he flourish.

.[16] For the spirit shall pass in him, and he shall not be: and he shall know his place no more. [17] But the mercy of the Lord is from eternity and unto eternity upon them that fear him: And his justice unto children’s children, [18] To such as keep his covenant, And are mindful of his commandments to do them. [19] The Lord hath prepared his throne in heaven: and his kingdom shall rule over all. [20] Bless the Lord, all ye his angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders.

.[21] Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts: you ministers of his that do his will. [22] Bless the Lord, all his works: in every place of his dominion, O my soul, bless thou the Lord.

Gloria Patri …  


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Examination of Conscience

O my Lord Jesus Christ, Judge of the living and the dead, before Whom I must appear one day to give an exact account of my whole life; enlighten me, I beseech Thee, and give me a humble and contrite heart, that I may see wherein I have offended Thine infinite Majesty, and judge myself now with such a just severity, that then Thou mayest judge me with mercy and clemency.

Call to mind the sins committed against God, your neighbour, or yourself; and reflect whether you have fulfilled the duties of your state of life.

Offences against God: Omission or negligence in religions duties; irreverence and wilful distractions in prayer; lack of confidence and resignation; cursing, swearing, etc.
Against neighbour: Want of obedience or respect; scandal, hatred, quarrelling; stealing, injuries; lies, false reports; jealousy, desire of revenge, etc.
Against self: Vanity, human respect; thoughts, desires or language against purity; intemperance in eating or drinking; laziness and neglect of one’s duties.

(See Fr. John Trigilio’s formula for an Examination of Conscience at


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King David

Pre-Confession: Penitential Psalm for Forgiveness

Psalm 50

The repentance and confession of David after his sin. The fourth penitential psalm.

[1] Unto the end, a psalm of David,
[2] When Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bethsabee. [3]

HAVE mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy. And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity. [4] Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. [5] For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
[6] To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words and mayst overcome when thou art judged. [7] For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me. [8] For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me. [9] Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. [10] To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
[11] Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. [12] Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels. [13] Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me. [14] Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit. [15] I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee.
[16] Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol thy justice. [17] O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise. [18] For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted. [19] A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. [20] Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
[21] Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.

Gloria Patri … 


Confessional: Sacrament of Penance

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