Chapter 18. Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation • 245
power to forgive sins when he gave them the Holy Spirit” (CCC, no.
• Sins committed before Baptism are forgiven by Baptism. Sins com-
mitted after Baptism are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance and
Reconciliation, also called the Sacrament of Forgiveness, Confession,
• Sin wounds our relationship with God and others and our human
dignity. Faith reveals to us the destructive force of sin in our lives
and the world.
• The path back to God after sin is a process of conversion initiated by
his grace. The return to God includes sorrow for sin and the resolve
to sin no more.
• In the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, the acts of the peni-
tent are contrition, confession, and satisfaction. The act of the priest
is absolution for the sins of the penitent.
• Perfect contrition arises from love for God; imperfect contrition
results from other motives.
• The penitent, after an examination of conscience, needs to confess
all mortal sins. While it is not necessary to confess venial sins, the
Church strongly recommends this practice.
• The priest proposes a penance to the penitent to repair the harm
due to sin and to restore the penitent’s commitment to be a disciple
• Individual confession of grave sins according to kind and number
is the only ordinary way of receiving absolution and reconciliation
with God and the Church.
• The effects of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation include
reconciliation with God and the Church, peace of conscience and
spiritual consolation, the remission of eternal punishment due to
mortal sin as well as some degree of temporal punishments, and a
greater power to face spiritual challenges (cf. CCC, no. 1496).
• “Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of tem-
poral punishment resulting from sin, for themselves and also for the
souls in Purgatory” (CCC, no. 1498).