Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  365 / 904 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 365 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

365

a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under

the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacra-

mental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot

obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain

forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.

52

1454

The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an

examination of conscience

made in the light of the Word of God. The

passages best suited to this can be found in the Ten Commandments, the

moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the

Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings.

53

The confession of sins

1455

The confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply

human point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with

others. Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins

he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens

himself again to God and to the communion of the Church in order

to make a new future possible.

1456

Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament

of Penance: “All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent

self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in

confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed

against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins

sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more danger­

ous than those which are committed openly.”

54

When Christ’s faithful strive to confess all the sins that they

can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before

the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and

knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine

goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest,

“for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to

the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not

know.”

55

1457

According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the

age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully

to confess serious sins at least once a year.”

56

Anyone who is aware of

having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even

if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental

52 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1678; 1705.

53 Cf.

Mt

5-7;

Rom

12-15;

1 Cor

12-13;

Gal

5;

Eph

4-6; etc.

54 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1680 (ND 1626); cf.

Ex

20:17;

Mt

5:28.

55 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1680 (ND 1626); cf. St. Jerome,

In Eccl.

10, 11: PL

23:1096.

56 Cf. CIC, can. 989; Council of Trent (1551): DS 1683; DS 1708.

1424

1734

1855

1505

2042

1385