Penance (Confession)

“Confession opens the door to Christ, for then the chamber of conscience is cleansed.”  (St. Vincent Ferrer)

Although Baptism removes the stain of original sin and, in the case of adults being baptized, forgives all personal sins, it can only be received once and does not remove our inclination to sin.  Because of our fallen nature, we need a way to find God’s forgiveness throughout our lives, beyond the moment of our Baptism.  The Sacrament of Confession (also known as Reconciliation or Penance) is how the work of conversion and forgiveness is continued in the life of a Christian.

Jesus gave the Apostles, and continues to give all bishops and priests in the Catholic Church, the power to forgive sins.  Through the priest, who has been given the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18), Christ pours out His mercy and healing to us and our sins are truly forgiven.  Through the ministry of His priests, God extends His mercy and forgiveness to the entire world in a beautiful and concrete way.

We can always confess our sins directly to God and should do so frequently throughout our lives, but this does not bring about the actual forgiveness of our sins as the Sacrament of Confession does.  Such forgiveness is only available through a priest, whose ordination gives him the power to act in the very Person of Christ in this way as he does in all the other sacraments.  When we go to confession, we are confessing our sins to Jesus Christ who is present in the person of the priest.  He must hear our sins spoken aloud in order to know whether they are to be forgiven or retained (Jn 20:21-23).

The healing, mercy, forgiveness and love we all seek is as close as the nearest confessional.  If you have been away from the Catholic Church, the Light is On For You!  We encourage you to contact your local parish and arrange to make a good confession as soon as possible.  If you are not Catholic, we invite you to learn more about the Catholic faith by inquiring at your local parish.