The Profession of Faith
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.”
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.”
“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
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.”
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.
6:4; cf. 4:25.
I, 11, 3.
I, 11, 4.
525 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1672; cf. St. Gregory of Nazianzus,
PG 36, 356.