CONFESSION: RECONCILIATION AND PENANCE


 

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is also known as the Sacrament of Forgiveness, or Penance or Confession of Sins


 

About the sacrament

 

References from the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church

1424.     It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a 'confession' - acknowledgment and praise - of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.   It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent 'pardon and peace.  It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: 'Be reconciled to God.'[2 Cor 5:20] He who lives by God's merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord's call: 'Go; first be reconciled to your brother.'[MT 5:24.]

980     It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptised can be reconciled with God and with the Church:

Penance has rightly been called by the holy Fathers "a laborious kind of Baptism." This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn.

1448     Beneath the changes in discipline and celebration that this sacrament has undergone over the centuries, the same fundamental structure is to be discerned. It comprises two equally essential elements: on the one hand, the acts of the man who undergoes conversion through the action of the Holy Spirit: namely, contrition, confession, and satisfaction; on the other, God's action through the intervention of the Church. The Church, who through the bishop and his priests forgives sins in the name of Jesus Christ and determines the manner of satisfaction, also prays for the sinner and does penance with him. Thus the sinner is healed and re-established in ecclesial communion.

According to the Church's command, 'after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.'[Cf. CIC, Can. 989; Council of Trent (1551): DS 1683; DS 1708.] Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. [Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1647; 1661; CIC, can. 916; CCEO, can.] Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.[Cf. CIC, can. 914.]

1458     Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.[Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1680; CIC, can. 988 # 2.] Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful:[Cf. Lk 6:36 .] Whoever confesses his sins . . . is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear 'man' - this is what God has made; when you hear 'sinner' - this is what man himself has made. Destroy what you have made, so that God may save what he has made .... When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light.[St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 12, 13: PL 35, 1491.]

1467    Given the delicacy and greatness of this ministry and the respect due to persons, the Church declares that every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him. He can make no use of knowledge that confession gives him about penitents' lives.[Cf. CIC, can. 1388 # 1; CCEO, can. 1456.] This secret, which admits of no exceptions, is called the 'sacramental seal,' because what the penitent has made known to the priest remains 'sealed' by the sacrament.

1486    The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation.


Arrangements at St Raphael

 

A priest is available to hear confessions at the following times:

 

Text Box: Confessions: 
Sunday 9.00am  9.20am; 4.30pm  4.50pm
Saturday 10.30am  11.00am 
Come to me all who are overburdened
 

 

Also look out for times of Confession on Thursdays in the Newsletter