ISO good examination of conscience for scrupulous


Hi everyone! As the title says, I am looking for an examination of conscience that would be good for a scrupulous person preparing for confession. As I have said in some of my other posts in these forums, I have struggled with scrupulosity for years and preparing for confession can be very difficult.

For a long while, I used the examination by Fr. Altier. To make a long story short, this was one of the worst things to ever happen to me spiritually as I was already scrupulous when I found it and my scruples were fed and magnified a thousand fold. A couple of months ago, I finally wised up to the dangers it was posing to my scrupulous self, tore the thing up and threw it away.

That, admittedly along with other things, has advanced me a great deal on the road to recovery, but I have been phobic about using examinations ever since and just generally think over the ten commandments and confess the things that have been bothering me most. I am never sure about mortal sins (nature of the disease, I’m afraid) so I just do my best, but I could really use a little more structure and direction than my own scaredy-cat meandering (but not as much as Fr. Altier was inclined to give!) I just need something that is* common sense *and applies to most people’s ordinary, workaday, lives. If there is anything that specifically addresses mothers, that would also be excellent, though obviously it is not a requirement.

Any ideas?


Since you suffer from scrupulosity, you should be going to ONE priest for confession, one who knows your situation and can monitor and advise you.

Ask HIM to give you guidance for examining your conscience. Any suggestions the rest of us make might undermine what your priest-confessor is trying to do for you.


I think Fr. Larry Richards is not scrupulous, but balanced. His CD, Confession, is one or two dollars (because of postage).

But the absolutely best thing to do before any confession is to pray for guidance. I don’t have a problem with scrupulosity; I have a problem with not recognizing motive or extent (sometimes), of dismissing certain habitual actions. So additionally (I don’t have a regular confessor, for a variety of reasons, but wish I did), I pray for the optimum confessor for what I need right now. So for me, I might need someone more “scrupulous” (rigorous) than myself. :blush:

A good piece of advice I read recently, which does affect those who are scrupulous: do not confess “tendencies.” While you should confess realized motives which underlie your sins (that is very healing and very helpful to your confessor), if you refrain from confessing “tendencies,” it will eliminate some of the scrupulous statements in confession. You either did or didn’t do something in a particular time frame since your last confession. If you know you did it, but aren’t sure of the depth of its seriousness, ask the confessor. Having a fault, or “feeling like” doing something, is not a sinful act until willed interiorly (such as indulging, relishing vengeful thoughts) or acted upon (such as actual revenge).


A pilgrim asked the Abbot, how should I examine my conscience before Confessing? The monk answered, use the two great commandments Jesus gave us, " You shall love the Lord your God, with your whole heart, your whole strength and your whole soul, and love your neighbor as yourself."

Examine yourself against these two commandments, and you’ll have a good picture of what you need to confess.



There are guidelines here



I, too, bear the cross of scruples - and I pray I bear it patiently - and the way I deal with it is this:

  • Trust in God, not trusting in yourself
  • If you find yourself trusting in yourself, ask God to give you His Strength and give Him your strength in return
  • Asking for forgiveness for even the smallests faults
  • Singing hymns or thinking of Jesus helps ward off unwanted thoughts
  • Making a list of your sins, asking God to help you remember them all (remember, if you don’t remember a sin in Confession, God in His Mercy will let you confess it at the next Confession, so don’t be afraid, just trust in Him)


Great list, poster. I hope the OP reads, prints it out, posts it prominently somewhere in his or her abode.

The 11th commandment I would add is to pray for peaceful abandonment to God’s love. Prayer promotes inner peace, replacing as it does our over-active internal “chatter” with the nonverbal presence of God. The more we are attached to God’s presence, the less we are attached to our own “presence” (our self-conscious psyche). We are creatures of active cognition – some of us more than others :blush:. God is beyond cognition; He is a different kind of “knowing.” More intimate, more direct, less analytical. To really be at one with God is to go beyond analyzing him or ourselves in some self-conscious way.

Perhaps the OP needs less confession, more Eucharist. :slight_smile:

Peace Be Wtih You!


Fr Larry Richards has one at his site
this has helped me numerous times and i would also recommend going to the one confessor i do this myself


Thank you all for the good advice :slight_smile: I do only have one confessor, that has never been an issue for me. I only have to worry about examining my conscience once a month, and I don’t do it until the day before at the very soonest! But with your suggestions, I think I have tomorrow’s confession covered. God bless!

ETA: I just looked at that pdf, melinda. That is just the kind of thing I was looking for! Thank you!


i’m so glad i was able to help


An old thread about scuples may interest some.

Hi all
We had a long debate about scrupulosity on here nearly 3 years ago. it was not about OCD. If any have scruples then check this link I copied a lot of material from a very good book on scruples and others made great contributions and we debated the whole question in great length.
If you have scruples you need all the help you can get.


The classic method of self-examen by St. Ignatius of Loyola is a more positive approach than most. One picks ONE part oneself that needs improvement and focuses on improving our behavior in that area. The focus is on improvement rather than beating ourselves up, although it has a healthy element of identifying parts of ourselves that need some work. You can find this described in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

Contemporary Jesuit spiritual directors favor a “consciousness examen.” One looks back over our day or week and asks, “Where did I experience God’s presence and activity in my life? Was God seeking any response from me? How did I respond?” Again, the focus is on the presence and activity of God, not on beating ourselves up. We might find that we were less than perfect in responding to God’s invitations to us, but we will grow in our ability to see God’s presence in our lives, leading to greater gratitude as well.

Ignatian self-examen is well-described in the book “Examen Prayer” by Timothy Gallagher, OMV.


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