by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
1) ...examine our consciences regularly and
2) ...wait our turn in line patiently;
3) ...come at the time confessions are scheduled, not a few minutes before they are to end;
4) ...speak distinctly but never so loudly that we might be overheard;
5) ...state our sins clearly and briefly without rambling;
6) ...confess all mortal sins in number and kind;
7) ...listen carefully to the advice the priest gives;
8) ...confess our own sins and not someone else’s;
9) ...carefully listen to and remember the penance and be sure to understand it;
10) ...use a regular formula for confession so that it is familiar and comfortable;
11) ...never be afraid to say something "embarrassing"... just say it;
12) ...never worry that the priest thinks we are jerks…. he is usually impressed by our courage;
13) ...never fear that the priest will not keep our confession secret… he is bound by the Seal;
14) ...never confess "tendencies" or "struggles"... just sins;
15) ...never leave the confessional before the priest has finished giving absolution;
16) ...memorize an Act of Contrition;
17) ...answer the priest’s questions briefly if he asks for a clarification;
18) ...ask questions if we can’t understand what he means when he tells us something;
19) ...keep in mind that sometimes priests can have bad days just like we do;
20) ...remember that priests must go to confession too … they know what we are going through.
Examination of Conscience
Here is a helpful examination of conscience, based on the Ten Commandments.
Preparing for Confession - Guide for Adults
Here is a document prepared by a Catholic Lay member about preparing for the Confession. It is an excellent article to prepare for a Lifetime Confession and as a guide for the Examination of Conscience.
Preparing for Confession - Orthodox Church
In Orthodox Church, the confession guides are typically centered around the 10 Commandments and The Beatitudes. Here is an excerpt from the Greek Orthodox Church Guide to Preparing for Confession. Similar confessionals are used in other Orthodox Churches.
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