the bishop and his priests forgives sins in the name of Jesus Christ
and determines the manner of satisfaction, also prays for the sinner
and does penance with him. Thus the sinner is healed and re-es
tablished in ecclesial communion.
The formula of absolution used in the Latin Church ex-
presses the essential elements of this sacrament: the Father of
mercies is the source of all forgiveness. He effects the reconciliation
of sinners through the Passover of his Son and the gift of his Spirit,
through the prayer and ministry of the Church:
God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and the resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
“Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things
willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice
complete humility and fruitful satisfaction.”
Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place.
Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin com-
mitted, together with the resolution not to sin again.”
When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all
else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such
contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal
sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramen-
tal confession as soon as possible.
The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a
gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the
consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and
the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such
46: formula of absolution.
II, V, 21; cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1673.
50 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1676.
51 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1677.