Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Celebration of the Christian Mystery 367 1460 The penance the confessor imposes must take into account the penitent’s personal situation and must seek his spiritual good. It must correspond as far as possible with the gravity and nature of the sins committed. It can consist of prayer, an offering, works of mercy, service of neighbor, voluntary self-denial, sacrifices, and above all the patient acceptance of the cross we must bear. Such penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins once for all. They allow us to become co-heirs with the risen Christ, “provided we suffer with him.” 63 The satisfaction that we make for our sins, however, is not so much ours as though it were not done through Jesus Christ. We who can do nothing ourselves, as if just by ourselves, can do all things with the cooperation of “him who strengthens” us. Thus man has nothing of which to boast, but all our boasting is in Christ . . . in whomwe make satisfaction by bringing forth “fruits that befit repentance.” These fruits have their efficacy from him, by him they are offered to the Father, and through him they are accepted by the Father. 64 VIII. T he M inister of T his S acrament 1461 Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of rec- onciliation, 65 bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops’ collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” 1462 Forgiveness of sins brings reconciliation with God, but also with the Church. Since ancient times the bishop, visible head of a particular Church, has thus rightfully been considered to be the one who principally has the power and ministry of reconcili­ ation: he is the moderator of the penitential discipline. 66 Priests, his collaborators, exercise it to the extent that they have received the commission either from their bishop (or religious superior) or the Pope, according to the law of the Church. 67 63 Rom 8:17; Rom 3:25; 1 Jn 2:1-2; cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1690. 64 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1691; cf. Phil 4:13; 1 C or 1:31; 2 Cor 10:17; Gal 6:14; Lk 3:8. 65 Cf. Jn 20:23; 2 Cor 5:18. 66 Cf. LG 26 § 3. 67 Cf. CIC, cann. 844; 967-969; 972; CCEO, can. 722 §§ 3-4. 2447 618 2011 981 886 1567