What We Believe: Part 30 – The Sacrament of Reconciiliation

 Although Baptism takes away all sin, Jesus knew that we could fall again.He gave us this sacrament to restore to union with the Church. He continues to heal sinners in His resurrected life.

It is really Jesus who forgives when we go to confession just as He is at work In each of the sacraments. So while the priest confessor is pronouncing the words of absolution from sin, the Church assures us that Jesus personally addresses each sinner “My son (My daughter) , your sins are forgiven,”. (1484)

We note that in this sacrament the recipient has to engage in a dialogue with the confessor who has the obligation of judging that the sinner has fulfilled the conditions required for absolution as well as the penance to be imposed. He has to know the time since your last confession; what sins you are confessing, esprecially any mortal sins, the sincerity of your contrition and your sincere purpose of amendment.. 

Before giving you absolution , he gives you a penance that takes away some of tne punishment due to venial sin. The eternal punishment due to mortal sin will be taken away by the absolution. After the confession it is recommended that the penance imposed be fulfilled without delay. The Church requires at least once a year if a mortal is to be confessed.

  “God , the Father of mercies, through the  death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins, through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Priest’s formula of absolution)

Father Benign, S.J. is the pen name of a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in Canada.

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