A Personal Examination of Conscience

This Examination was created by our US Bishops as part of a prayer service for racial healing in our nation.

“Conscience is the ‘core and sanctuary’ within us where we are alone with God and hear his call to ‘love good and avoid evil’ and ‘do this, shun that.’ Let us examine our conscience in light of the sin of racism, asking ourselves:

  1. Have I fully loved God and fully loved my neighbor as myself?
  2. Have I caused pain to others by my actions or my words that offended my brother or my sister?
  3. Have I done enough to inform myself about the sin of racism, its roots, and its historical and contemporary manifestations? Have I opened my heart to see how unequal access to economic opportunity, jobs, housing, and education on the basis of skin color, race, or ethnicity, has denied and continues to deny the equal dignity of others?
  4. Is there a root of racism within me that blurs my vision of who my neighbor is?
  5. Have I ever witnessed an occasion when someone ‘fell victim’ to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism and I did or said nothing, leaving the victim to address their pain alone?
  6. Have I ever witnessed an occasion when someone ‘fell victim’ to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism with me inflicting the pain, acting opposite of love of God and love of neighbor?
  7. Have I ever lifted up and aided a person who ‘fell victim’ to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism and paid a price for extending mercy to the other? How did I react? Did my faith grow?  Am I willing to grow even more in faith through my actions?

I recognize that racism manifests in my own individual thoughts, attitudes, actions, and inactions. It also manifests in social structures and unjust systems that perpetuate centuries of racial injustice. For my individual actions and my participation in unjust structures, I seek forgiveness and move towards reconciliation. I look into my heart and ask for the will and the strength to help contribute to the healing of racism in my time.”

“I will not pretend to speak with any authority about the challenges people of color experience in our society. I do not share the fear they put on when they and their children leave their homes every day. I do not know what it means to be ‘other.’ But I know there is a way to fix it. And the fix begins when we stop talking about the proportionality of ‘their’ response and start talking about the proportionality of ‘ours.’”

Cardinal Blase Cupich
Statement on the Murder of George Floyd” (2020)

“Every upright conscience cannot but decisively condemn any racism, no matter in what heart or place it is found…Racism is a sin that constitutes a serious offense against God.”

Saint Pope John Paul II
Angeles” (2001)

San Diego Diocese
Listening Series

Diocese of San Diego