Sacrament of Reconciliation

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"On the evening of that day, the first day after the sabbath, the doors were locked where the disciples were, because of their fear of the Jews, but Jesus came and stood among them.  He said to them, "Peace be with you", then he showed them his hands and his side.  The disciples kept looking at the Lord and were full of joy.  Again Jesus said to them "Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you".  After saying this he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit, for those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained".  (John 21:19-23)

Why did God the Father send His Son into the world?  To save man from his sins.

Does Jesus Christ have the power to forgive sins?  Yes, Jesus has the power to forgive sin because He is God.

Did Jesus Christ forgive sins while on earth?  Yes, He forgave the sins of the paralyzed man (Luke 5:18-26), the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11), the sinful woman (Luke 7:39-50) and the good thief (Luke 23:39-43).

Did Jesus Christ give anyone the power to forgive?  Yes, to His Apostles on Easter Sunday night.

Did Jesus want His Apostles to hand down this power to others?  Yes, because He died to save all men from their sins.

How did the Apostles hand down this power to others?  By making other men bishops and priests.

Who has the power to forgive sin today?  All bishops and priests of the Catholic Church can forgive sin.

What is the Sacrament of Penance?  Penance is the Sacrament by which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.

What do you have to do to have your sins forgiven?  You have to be truly sorry for them and confess them to a Catholic priest.

Why do you have to confess your sins to a priest?  This is the way Jesus wants sin to be forgiven.  Otherwise, Jesus would not have given His priests the power to forgive sin.

Why does the priests have to know that sins you have committed?  He has to know whether he is to forgive your sins or retain them.  If you are truly sorry, he will grant you forgiveness (called absolution).  If not, he must retain them (that is, refuse to give you absolution).

Does the priest only pray that your sins will be forgiven?  No, the priest, by the power given to him, actually takes the sins off your soul.

Can you be sure that your sins are forgiven in Confession?  Yes, if you have properly confessed them and are sorry for them.

What does Confession do for your soul?  Besides taking sin off your soul, it also puts Sanctifying Grace back into your soul if you were in mortal sin. It makes the Grace grow if you had only venial sins and gives you extra strength to stay away from sin in the future.

Can all sins be forgiven in Confession?  Yes if you are truly sorry for them.

What is meant by "being sorry for your sins"?  Being sorry means that you wish you had not committed the sins and that you sincerely promise not to commit those sins again.  You must also promise to stay away from any person, place or thing that easily leads you into sin.

What kind of sorrow do you have to have to be forgiven?  Religious sorrow, that is, you must be sorry because you dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell (imperfect sorrow), and or because you have offended the infinitely good God (perfect sorrow).

Why do you not have to be afraid of Confession?  Because you may go to any priest you want and in the confessional, a screen hides you from the priest and the priest is never allowed to tell anyone any sin he has ever heard in Confession.   This secrecy is called the Seal of Confession.

What sins do you have to confess?  All your mortal sins.

What kind of sin is it deliberately to omit telling a mortal sin in Confession?   A mortal sin of sacrilege.  This is called making a bad Confession.   To undo a bad Confession, you have to confess that you made a bad Confession, confess the omitted mortal sin(s) and confess any other mortal sins you have committed since then including Communions received in the state of mortal sin.

What should you do if you forget to confess a mortal sin?  You must tell it in your next Confession and tell the priest that you forgot it.  But the sin is forgiven and you may receive Communion in the meantime.

What do you do if you have no mortal sins to confess?  Tell your venial sins and or mention some sin already told in previous Confession.

How often do you have to go to Confession?  At least once a year if you have committed a mortal sin.  If you ever commit a mortal sin, say the Act of Contrition right away and go to Confession as soon as possible.  If you have perfect contrition for the mortal sin and intend to confess it in Confession, God forgives you and takes away the sin right away.  But you may not receive Holy Communion until you confess it in Confession.

How often does a good Catholic go to Confession?  Once a week, if possible, but at least once a month.  Remember that in Confession you receive grace from the Sacrament of Penance.  Besides, in Confession you receive special helps to overcome the temptations that bother you most.

In Confession the eternal punishment (Hell) is taken away but all of the temporal punishment due to your sins is not always taken away.  Temporal punishment means that even though all your sins are forgiven through the Sacrament of Penance, God still requires that you be punished for your sins, either in this life or in Purgatory.  So Confession does not make sinning easier.  One of the chief ways you can make up for your sins is by gaining indulgences.  (Examples of indulgences such as saying the Rosary, making the Way of the Cross, reading the Bible, using holy water, reciting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, etc.)

 
Baptism    Confirmation    Holy Eucharist    Reconciliation    Last Rites    Holy Orders    Matrimony

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