Examination of Conscience Based on Catholic Social Teaching

Life and Dignity of the Human Person

  • Do I care about and pray for an end to oppression, violence, terrorism and war?
  • Do I pray for the conversion of those persons and systems that cause this suffering?
  • Do I pray that those in positions of power may have the will and the courage to change the systems that oppress others?
  • Do I promote the life and dignity of all persons, especially the unborn?
  • Am I willing to listen and dialog with those who support legalized abortion?
  • Do I treat all persons, such as service workers, manual laborers, and those on welfare, with courtesy and kindness, recognizing their dignity?
  • Have I hated or discriminated against anyone?
  • Am I trying to be┬ámore merciful?

Call to Family, Community, Participation

  • Do I set a good example in my own family, respecting the dignity of all people, especially those unlike myself?
  • Do I vote, not in self-interest, but as I believe will be best for the common good?
  • Do I support development and debt relief for the poorest countries, as much as I support a strong military?
  • Do I believe that both victims and offenders are children of God?
  • Am I supportive of efforts to include training in nonviolence in schools?
  • Do I work to end poverty in ways that are possible to me?

Rights and Responsibilities

  • Have I allowed advertising and peer pressure to encourage me to over-consume?
  • If I do not oppose the death penalty, am I open to understanding why the Holy Father is calling for its abolition?
  • Do I carefully use my money, not only for myself and my family, but for the common good?

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable

  • Do I care about and pray for the impoverished, the oppressed and marginalized?
  • Do I contribute not only to charity, but to organizations working to end oppression and poverty?
  • Are my physical appearance, health and comfort such preoccupations that they leave little thought or time for the poor?

Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers

  • Do I pay a just wage to those who work for me?
  • Do I support basic rights for all workers?
  • Do I do what I can to create jobs that pay a living wage?

Global Solidarity

  • Do I really believe that we are one human family?
  • Do I think and act as if “loving our neighbor” has global dimensions in our interdependent world?
  • Am I more loyal to my country than to my entire human family?
  • Do I let patriotism override concern for the sisters and brothers overseas?
  • Am I open to members of my family marrying someone of a different race?
  • Do I engage in racist jokes, hate speech and verbal putdowns, or listen to them without objecting?

Care of God’s Creation

  • Do I walk gently on the earth and use goods sparingly?
  • Am I open to learning about the current economic crises that farmers and small town folks are facing?
  • Is my interest in plant and animal life, and the outdoors weak or non-existent?
  • Do I consider all God’s creation holy and in need of care for future generations?
  • Do I use water, electricity and paper conservatively out of respect for God’s creation?
  • Am I interested or active in solving the environmental problems of this age?

By Sr. Barbara McCracken, OSB (Benedictine Sisters)
Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, KS 66002
“Celebration” April 2002, published by the National Catholic Reporter.