RP 25-26: Homily and Examination of Conscience


A homily based on Scripture is the expectation for Form II.

25. The homily, taking as its source the scriptural text, should lead the penitents to examine their conscience and to turn away from sin and toward God. It should remind the faithful that sin works against God, against the community and one’s neighbors, and against the person of the sinner. Therefore it would be good to recall:

a. the infinite mercy of God, greater than all our sins, by which again and again he calls us back to himself;

b. the need for inner repentance, by which we are genuinely prepared to make reparation for sin;

c. the social dimension of grace and sin whose effect is that in some way the actions of individuals affect the whole Body of the Church;

d. the duty of expiation for sin, which is effective because of Christ’s expiation and requires especially, in addition to works of penance, the exercise of true charity toward God and neighbor.

We’re talking the encouragement of the faithful to move beyond the matter of the sacrament: not only recognizing the social dimension of even private sin, but also a life lived on the bedrock of caritas directed to God and other human beings.

26. After the homily a suitable period of silence should be allowed for an examination of conscience and the awakening of true contrition for sin. The priest or a deacon or other minister may help the faithful with brief considerations or a litany, adapted to their background, age, etc.

This is interesting, isn’t it? A silent examination of conscience is the first choice. A verbal reflection would be second choice.

If it should seem suitable, the community’s examination of conscience and awakening of contrition may take the place of the homily. But in this case the text of Scripture that has just been read should serve as the starting point.

A typically Roman concession to common sense.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Liturgy, Rite of Penance, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to RP 25-26: Homily and Examination of Conscience

  1. FrMichael says:

    As lame as many of the oral examinations of consciences are at these services, I may recommend to my confreres the time for a silent examen.

    Unfortunately, then we get into the area of Catholics who are so poorly catechized that they don’t have the ability to make more than a rudimentary examination on their own.

    Difficulties with preaching I addressed in the previous post.

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