THE CHURCH TEACHING ON THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE
The sacrament of penance is the only sacrament with anointing of the sick called the sacrament of healing.
What is sacrament itself?
Sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace ordained by Jesus by which grace is given to our soul. The grace that comes from us attaining to the sacrament is a special gift of God to the Church.
What is Penance?
Penance is a sacrament whereby the sins whether mortal or venial sins which we have committed after baptism are forgiven.
Why do we need the sacrament of penance sins we have been baptized?
Baptism as a sacrament, washes us from original sin but does not free us from our human weakness, therefore, we need to be reconciled to God anytime we sin against Him and this is only possible through the sacrament of penance.
What types of sins are forgiven through penance?
Mortal and Venial sins.
What are Mortal Sins?
Mortal sins also called cardinal sins. Is gravest of sins, representing a deliberate turning from God and destroying charity (love) in the heart of the sinner.
A mortal sin is defined as a grave action that is committed in full knowledge of its gravity and with the full consent of the sinners will, thus such sin cut the sinner away from God’s sanctifying graces until it is confessed in confession e.g., Rapes, breaking the ten commandment, suicide, masturbation, abortion and divorce.
What are Venial Sins?
A venial sin is a sin which usually involves a less serious action and are committed with less self-awareness of wrongdoing.
While a venial sin weakens the sinner’s union with God, it is not a deliberate turning away from him and so does not wholly/fully/completely block the inflow of God sanctifying grace.
Who is a penitent?
A penitent is one who committed mortal or venial sin and is in need of God’s grace.
What conditions are needed from a penitent?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1491 states that the sacrament of penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution.
The penitent’s acts are repentance/contrition, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest and the intention to make reparation (satisfaction) and do works of reparation for our sins.
By Repentance / contrition we mean?
This is to feel sad or sorry from our inner self because we have sin against God and decide to make amend of our lives.
By confession we mean?
This is to disclose or accuse our selves to a priest ordained by a bishop the sins we have committed.
Which sin should we confess to the priest at confession?
All mortal sins including those that have all been confessed in our last confession should be confessed including our venial sin although we are not obliged to confess venial sins during confession.
Two elements are needed for forgiveness of sin.
The person who undergoes conversion & the priest.
Why can the Church forgive sins?
Only God can forgive sin, Jesus Christ also forgives sins while on earth. In John 20:22-23 Jesus gave the apostles the power to forgive sins He also gave peter the first Bishop and Pope of the Church the key to the kingdom of heaven and the authority to lose and to bind every one on earth and this authority was passed on to the bishops and then to the priest who are ordained in the Catholic Church because the bishop cannot be everywhere. Only priests with the faculty (sacred power) can forgive sins.
Positive effect of confession.
It reconciles the sinner to God and the Church.
How does a priest forgive sin?
Through the powers of the Church and the words of absolution/formula for absolution the priest forgives sins.
What is satisfaction?
This is an act of prayer or deed of mercy done by a penitent after confession and are given by the priest.
The temporary punishment of sin is also removed through indulgence.
May God bless us and help this teaching to bear fruits in our lives, Amen.