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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

357

C

hapter

T

wo

T

he

S

acraments of

H

ealing

1420

Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man re-

ceives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life “in earthen

vessels,” and it remains “hidden with Christ in God.”

1

We are still

in our “earthly tent,” subject to suffering, illness, and death.

2

This

new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin.

1421

The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies,

who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily

health,

3

has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the

Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own

members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the

sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

A

rticle

4

THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE

AND RECONCILIATION

1422

“Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain

pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him,

and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they

have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and

by prayer labors for their conversion.”

4

I. W

hat

I

s

T

his

S

acrament

C

alled

?

1423

It is called the

sacrament of conversion

because it makes

sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in

returning to the Father

5

from whom one has strayed by sin.

It is called the

sacrament of Penance,

since it consecrates the

Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, pen-

ance, and satisfaction.

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”—

1

2 Cor

4:7;

Col

3:3.

2

2 Cor

5:1.

3 Cf.

Mk

2:1-12.

4

LG

11 § 2.

5 Cf.

Mk

1:15;

Lk

15:18.

980

1989

1440

1456