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The Profession of Faith

255

I.

O

ne

B

aptism

for

the

F

orgiveness of

S

ins

977

Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism:

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.

He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”

521

Baptism is the

first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us

with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so

that “we too might walk in newness of life.”

522

978

“When we made our first profession of faith while receiv-

ing the holy Baptism that cleansed us, the forgiveness we received

then was so full and complete that there remained in us absolutely

nothing left to efface, neither original sin nor offenses committed

by our own will, nor was there left any penalty to suffer in order

to expiate them. . . . Yet the grace of Baptism delivers no one from

all the weakness of nature. On the contrary, we must still combat

the movements of concupiscence that never cease leading us into

evil.”

523

979

In this battle against our inclination towards evil, who

could be brave and watchful enough to escape every wound of sin?

“If the Church has the power to forgive sins, then Baptism cannot

be her only means of using the keys of the Kingdom of heaven

received from Jesus Christ. The Church must be able to forgive all

penitents their offenses, even if they should sin until the last

moment of their lives.”

524

980

It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized

can be reconciled with God and with the Church:

Penance has rightly been called by the holy Fathers “a labo-

rious kind of baptism.” This sacrament of Penance is neces-

sary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism,

just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have

not yet been reborn.

525

521

Mk

16:15-16.

522

Rom

6:4; cf. 4:25.

523

Roman Catechism

I, 11, 3.

524

Roman Catechism

I, 11, 4.

525 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1672; cf. St. Gregory of Nazianzus,

Oratio

39, 17:

PG 36, 356.

1263

1264

1446

1422-1484