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Sacraments of PENANCE (Revised 2008)

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  • *SACRAMENTS OF HEALINGSome TRUTHS TO PONDER:The primary focus is GODS HEALING AND FORGIVENESS OF SIN not human suffering and sin.ONLY GOD FORGIVE SINS.The Healing Physician is JESUS CHRIST. Christ entrusted his ministry of healing and reconciliation to his Church in the Apostles.

  • *SACRAMENT OF PENANCE OR RECONCILIATIONBASIC DESCRIPTIONPenance or Reconciliation is the sacrament through which we obtain pardon from God for sins committed after Baptism and for which we are truly repentant; and reconciled us with the Christian community, the Church.

    Effects of the SacramentForgiveness for our SinsThe whole power of the sacrament of penance consist in restoring us to God's grace, and joining us with Him in an intimate friendship.

  • *SACRAMENT OF PENANCE OR RECONCILIATIONReconciliation with OthersReconciliation with God leads to reconciliation with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with the Church. He is reconciled with all creation.

    Therefore, the ultimate purpose of the sacrament is that we should love God deeply and commit ourselves completely to Him:

    To the Father who first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19)To Christ who gave himself up for us (Gal. 2:20)To the Holy Spirit who has been poured out on us abundantly(Tim. 3:6)

  • *SACRAMENT OF PENANCE OR RECONCILIATIONAnd there were some of the scribes sitting there, and thinking in their hearts: Why do this man speak thus? He blasphemed. Who can forgive sins but God alone? But Jesus seeing their thoughts said to them: Which is easier to say: Your sins are forgiven or arise, take up your mat and walk? That you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins. (Mark 2:5-11) Only God can forgive sin. Since Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins, and exercise this divine power, "your sins are forgiven.


    Sin is described as

    As breaking of Gods law or our love relationship with Him and others

    As going against ones conscience and the likes.

    As an action or failure to act. (commission and omission)

    As a power or force that leads us into evil.

  • *Sin as a moral reality is made up of objective nature, intention, circumstances.As an attitude, an action or failure to act, or a power or force, Sin

    - leads us to into evil

    - separates us from, i.e. makes us strangers from our true selves, our neighbors, the larger community, and God.

    - hurts us and our loved ones

    - no joke; not glamorous at all contrary to how it is often portrayed in movies. It really destroys, injures, dishonors, perverts, poisons, corrupts.

  • *Structure of Sin (Personal, Social & Structural)Personal sin is never just private, with no effect on anyone else rather always affecting others and the community in everything they do and likewise be affected by what others do. So personal sin is neither committed nor overcome in private.

    Social sinrefers to negative moral attitudes and acts or failure to act that are common to a community or particular society. Its remedy is to change what is negative or lacking in the communitys moral acts or attitudes into what is positive and graced.

  • *Structure of Sin (Personal, Social & Structural)Structural sin refers to existing structures that condition society in a harmful and unjust way, such as: long-standing racial sexist prejudicial structures unjust economic taxation systems established military and political customs unfair immigration legalities.

    These need to be reformed by along tedious process of concerted social moral effort.

    THUS, Sin should not be confessed as some kind of superficial slip. Rather, we must go after the root causes of sin in our lives like selfishness and pride.

  • *DEGREES OF SIN (Venial and Mortal)Venial Sin - harms our relationship with God and others by undermining the fervor of our life of charity.

    - reparable from a source of healing within the person

    - simply apart from the law and not against the Law since one who sins venially does not do what the law forbids or fail to do what it requires by a precept, but such a sinner behaves apart from the law by not keeping to the reasonable mode which the law points out.

  • *DEGREES OF SIN (Venial and Mortal)Venial Sin - if due to insufficient reason, or insufficient consent.

    So even if the matter is grave yet if they proceed from a person who is confused or ignorant about what he is doing or whose choice is not adequately free.

    - If object or subject matter is not destructive of love of God or neighbor.

    Ex. Aimlessly chatting, Telling a lie that does not harm anyone are moral disorder

  • *DEGREES OF SIN (Venial and Mortal) Mortal sin Kills the over all LOVE pattern of our relation to God, our fundamental core freedom as related to God.

    - irreparable by human power, only God can save us from this spiritual death.

    - in sinning mortally, a person fully turns away from God toward a creature;

  • *DEGREES OF SIN (Venial and Mortal)Some kinds of human acts are known to be incompatible with the love that should exist between humans and God within human society.

    Ex. Blasphemy Idolatry are simply irreconcilable with love for God.MurderAdultery and the like are completely opposed to love for our neighbor.

    Such acts when freely chosen with adequate knowledge about what one is doing, are mortally sinful.

  • *WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS SACRAMENT TO BE CONCRETELY EFFECTIVE?Over the centuries of the Churchs teaching, Christ requires three duties of those who receive the sacrament of Penance.

    They must be truly sorry for their sins, at least out of fear of Gods punishments. (CONTRITION)

    They must confess their grave sins, or (if there are no mortal sins) at least some venial sin from their past life. (CONFESSION)

    They must perform the penance called satisfaction, which the confessor gives them. (PENANCE OR SATISFACTION)

  • *WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS SACRAMENT TO BE CONCRETELY EFFECTIVE?CONTRITE HEART A return, a conversion to God with all hearts, an end of sin, a turning away of evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed.

    It entails the desire and resolution to change's ones life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of his grace. (CONVERSION)

    Without this, such going to confession as well as doing penance remain sterile and false.

  • *WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS SACRAMENT TO BE CONCRETELY EFFECTIVE?Conversion means the whole life-long process of moving toward closer union with Christ our savior, in his community, the Church, away from sinful ways and habits.

    - It does not refer to a single act of moving from atheism to belief in God nor from one religion to another.

    - It does not aim at outward works, sackcloth and ashes, fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion.

  • *WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS SACRAMENT TO BE CONCRETELY EFFECTIVE?4 Step in Conversion ProcessConflictEncounterSelf-discoveryPersonal transformation

    Types of ConversionMoral : moving from sin to genuine love

    Affective : ordering our imagination, feelings and emotions toward the goodIntellectual : redirecting our understanding and judgmentReligious: falling in love with God.

  • *WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS SACRAMENT TO BE CONCRETELY EFFECTIVE?Conversion can be expressed in many various ways:

    Non-sacramental meansPrayerFastingAlmsgiving - an expression of conversion in relation to oneself, to God and to others.

    Sacramental meansBaptismEucharistPenance and Reconciliation

  • *WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS SACRAMENT TO BE CONCRETELY EFFECTIVE?CONFESSIONSince the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament.- A sign of acceptance or admission- A sign of asking forgiveness.

    Is Confession based on the Bible?

    Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful (John 5:16).

  • *WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS SACRAMENT TO BE CONCRETELY EFFECTIVE?Why is Confession necessary?Confessing ones sins to someone designated by the Church reaffirms our belief that God can act through created things and through people.

    Open confession may sound good, but would it be the personal encounter which the present practice offers?

    We need to know that our sins are forgiven. There is something in our human nature that calls out for the assurance that our sins are actually forgiven. Confession is the visible manifestation of God's mercy that provides us, in human terms as well, the clear awareness that God has forgiven us.


    The law of the Church says every member is obliged to go to confession at least once a year.

    A Catholic who has committed mortal (grave) sin is obliged to seek God's forgiveness in this sacrament as soon as possible.

    In ordinary circumstances, a Catholic who has committed mortal sin should not receive Holy Communion before receiving sacramental absolution.

    Frequent celebration of this sacrament is also very useful as a remedy for venial sins to receive the power of God's grace against sin and to be strengthened in our commitment to God and the Church.

  • *SACRAMENT OF PENANCE OR RECONCILIATIONI will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever you shall bind on earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed in heaven. (Matt 16:19)ENTRUSTED TO THE CHURCH

    By virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.

    This power to forgive sins is often referred to as the power of the keys, the power entrusted to the Church when Jesus told St. Peter,


    Refers not to physical but to spiritual or moral among which sin is certainly included.The power here granted is unlimited whatsoever you shall bind, whatsoever you shall loose.The power is judicial, i.e. the Apostles are authorized to bind and to loose. Whether they bind or loose, their action is ratified in heaven.

  • *SACRAMENT OF PENANCE OR RECONCILIATIONWhose sins you shall forgive. Christ not only declared that sins were forgiven, but really and actually forgave them; hence, the Apostles are empowered not merely to announce to the sinner that his sins are forgiven but to grant him forgiveness.The power is twofold to forgive or to retainthe Apostles are not told to grant or withhold forgiveness indiscriminately; they must act judicially, forgiving or retaining according as the sinner deserves.

  • *SACRAMENT OF PENANCE OR RECONCILIATIONThe exercise of this power in either form (forgiving or retaining) is not restricted: no distinction is made or even suggested between one kind of sin and another, or between one class of sinners and all the rest: Christ simply says whose sins.they are forgiven they are retained.The statement pronounced by the Apostles (remission or retention) is also Gods statement.

  • *SACRAMENT OF PENANCE OR RECONCILIATIONAs the Father has sent me, I also send you. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. John 20:22-23How is the Church able to forgive sins?

    It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his Apostles that the risen Christ conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins.

  • *SACRAMENT OF PENANCE OR RECONCILIATIONWhat is the role of the priest in forgiving sins?The priest who by ordination is configured to Christ absolves sinners, not in his own name and power but in the name and person of Jesus, and determines the manner of satisfaction, also prays for the sinner and does penance with him. Just as the Church makes visible in our world the presence of Christ, so the priest makes visible the forgiveness and mercy of Jesus in the sacrament of confession.


    God, the Father of merciesThrough the death and resurrection of His SonHas reconciled the world to HimselfAnd sent the Holy Spirit among usFor the forgiveness of Sins.Through the ministry of the ChurchMay God give you pardon and peaceAnd I absolve you from your sinsIn the name of the Father, and of the Son,And of the Holy Spirit. Amen.