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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

367

1460

The

penance

the confessor imposes must take into account

the penitent’s personal situation and must seek his spiritual good.

It must correspond as far as possible with the gravity and nature

of the sins committed. It can consist of prayer, an offering, works

of mercy, service of neighbor, voluntary self-denial, sacrifices, and

above all the patient acceptance of the cross we must bear. Such

penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins

once for all. They allow us to become co-heirs with the risen Christ,

“provided we suffer with him.”

63

The satisfaction that we make for our sins, however, is not

so much ours as though it were not done through Jesus

Christ. We who can do nothing ourselves, as if just by

ourselves, can do all things with the cooperation of “him

who strengthens” us. Thus man has nothing of which to

boast, but all our boasting is in Christ . . . in whomwe make

satisfaction by bringing forth “fruits that befit repentance.”

These fruits have their efficacy from him, by him they are

offered to the Father, and through him they are accepted by

the Father.

64

VIII. T

he

M

inister of

T

his

S

acrament

1461

Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of rec-

onciliation,

65

bishops who are their successors, and priests, the

bishops’ collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed

bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders,

have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and

of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

1462

Forgiveness of sins brings reconciliation with God, but

also with the Church. Since ancient times the bishop, visible head

of a particular Church, has thus rightfully been considered to be

the one who principally has the power and ministry of reconcili­

ation: he is the moderator of the penitential discipline.

66

Priests, his

collaborators, exercise it to the extent that they have received the

commission either from their bishop (or religious superior) or the

Pope, according to the law of the Church.

67

63

Rom

8:17;

Rom

3:25;

1 Jn

2:1-2; cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1690.

64 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1691; cf.

Phil

4:13;

1 C

or 1:31;

2 Cor

10:17;

Gal

6:14;

Lk

3:8.

65 Cf.

Jn

20:23;

2 Cor

5:18.

66 Cf.

LG

26 § 3.

67 Cf. CIC, cann. 844; 967-969; 972; CCEO, can. 722 §§ 3-4.

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