Lesson 32 – Sin and Penance

Sin and Penance

(The Moment of Truth)


Peace be to you.

In the last lesson, we spoke about sin in general and we said that from the natural point of view it was a violation of the law of God.


Every sin has a triple effect.

  • First of all, it divides a person from himself;
  • Two, from his neighbor; and
  • Three, from God.


1st of all, from himself:

First of all, from himself, because it makes the soul a kind of a battlefield.  After a sin, one always feels like a menagerie full of wild beasts.

 2nd , from his neighbor:

Then sin also alienates a man from his neighbor.  A man who cannot live with himself cannot live with his neighbor.  That is why Cain after his sin asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

 3rd , from God:

Finally, it estranges us from God.  It gives us a sense of loneliness.  In some way we dam up and block up the mind, which ought to have communion with God, and the result is that all the scum and flotsam and jetsam of life are crowded back upon us.


Now sin is of two kinds.  It can be mortal or venial. 

Here we speak of personal or actual sins.  The difference between the two is very easy to understand.  We speak of someone receiving a mortal wound, in the physical ordernamely one that kills him. If, however, he is not seriously wounded, that would be equivalent to a venial sin.



Mortal Sin:

Now in a mortal sin, and for those who are in the supernatural order, Grace is killed.

Divine Life is extinguished.  That is why, in the supernatural order, a mortal sin is not just a violation of the law of God.  It is a crucifixion.  As we read in the Epistle of Hebrews,

“Would they crucify the Son of God a second time?” 


  • Sin is the second death because it is the death of Divine Life.

It is much like a tree being blasted with lightning and when we fall into mortal sin, we lose all of the merits that we gained before, though we can regain them after a sacramental confession, just like a tree can revive in the springtime after a very hard winter.


Venial Sin:

A venial sin we said is one that does not kill the Divine Life but it just simply wounds it slightly.  It is something like the tensions between friends that endangers the friendship but never completely breaks it.  But really, when one loves, one does not make so much a distinction between mortal sin and venial sin.  It is quite wrong to say, “Oh, is it a mortal sin?  If it is, I will not do it.  If it is a venial sin, I will.”


 Really, when you love someone, you never make any distinction between a mortal and a venial sin.

A husband, for example, does not make any distinction, if he loves his wife, of slapping her face, giving her a bloody nose or biting her ear or slitting her throat.  All of them are quite inconceivable to him simply because he loves her.

Definition of Mortal Sin

Coming more precisely to the definition of original sin, in order that there be  – I mean mortal sin, not original sin — In order that there be a mortal sin, three conditions must be fulfilled. 

  1. There must be grievous or serious matter,
  2. There must be serious and sufficient reflections.
  3. There must be full consent of the will.


Grievous/Serious Matter

First, there must be grievous apple – (humph – grievous apple) – grievous matter.   The reason I said apple was that I was going to use the word “apple” as an illustration, for example, if you stole an apple from a neighbor’s orchard, and he had dozens and dozens of trees that would not be grievous matter.  But the grievous matter you must not think must always be a sin of commission.  It can be a sin of omission like not going to Mass on Sunday.

Serious/Sufficient Reflections

Second, there must always be sufficient reflection or full advertence to what one is doing.  If, for example, you are visiting a neighbor or friend and you do sleepwalk and during the sleepwalking you break a Ming vas.  (I say vas because it’s very expensive.  If it were cheap, we would call it a vase.)  There is no advertence to that.  Therefore, it cannot be a mortal sin.  If you eat meat on Friday thinking it’s Thursday, there is no mortal sin.  I remember once going into the lunchroom at Grand Central Station and I said to the waiter that I wanted a hamburger.  He said, “The hamburger isn’t good today.”  So I said then, “Well, give me a lamb chop.”   “Oh,” he said, “I wouldn’t order a lamb chop, either; we’re not very proud of these lamb chops.”  Then it suddenly dawned on me that he was trying to advise me that it was Friday.  I had forgotten that it was.  If I had been served the meat by someone who was not so kind to me, it would not have been a grievous sin.  Then, too, persons who are suffering from manias and phobias and the like lack full advertence.

Full Consent of the Will

Finally, there must be full consent of the willFear and passion and force can diminish consent.  I said diminish, but they do not destroy it.


  • Now it is not always easy to see, to know whether or not one has fulfilled these three conditions, and the best way to do it in confession is to confess them as dubious and then ask the priest for his judgment.


In mortal sin, therefore, there is the double element, a turning to creatures and also a turning from God.


Sacrament of Penance

In order to remedy all of the sins and to atone for all of the sins that have been committed since baptism, our Blessed Lord has instituted the Sacrament of PenanceThe matter that we submit in that sacrament constitutes our sins when we submit to the judgment of the Church.  Then there is the other side of the sacrament, which is the words of the priest when he absolves us.  He says “Dei indo Dei in Deo te absolvo peccatus tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritui Sancto. Amen.” “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.”


Our Lord and not the Church instituted the sacrament

It did not exist in the Old Testament, though in the Old Testament there was an acknowledgment of sins before God.

  • When Adam had eaten the forbidden fruit, God said to him, “Hast thou eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?” God knew that he had. Why did He ask?  In order to elicit a confession.
  • God said to Cain, “Where is thy brother?” He tried again to elicit a confession from Cain, and by the way Cain refused to go to confession because he answered, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
  • Through the Old Testament, too, every sinner had to bring a sin offering, which was burned in public as to publicly admit his guilt. John the Baptist heard the confession of sin.


Now all of these were merely types of the sacrament to come because forgiveness is possible only through the Passion and Merits of the death of our Blessed Lord.  Our Blessed Lord certainly had the Power to Forgive sin, and He did.

    Remember the man who was let down from the roof, the man who was sick of palsy and our Blessed Lord said to him, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.”  And the Pharisees that were standing about said, “Who can this be that He talks so blasphemously?  Who can forgive sins but God only?”


They were right.  Only God can forgive sins.  But how did He do it?  He did it through a human nature.  Now God can communicate that power to other human natures if He communicates that power of forgiveness to His Church.

  • He conferred it on Peter when he gave him the Power of Keys and He said to Peter, Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth is bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth is loosed in heaven.”
  • That Power that was given to Peter alone is ratified in heaven. But our Blessed Lord also gave to Peter and the apostles an extension of that power. Only to Peter were those words said, but to Peter and the apostles after the resurrection, our Blessed Lord said, as He breathed on them with the symbol of the Holy Spirit, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  When you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven.  When you hold them bound, they are bound.”


  • It’s very clear here that our Blessed Lord was saying that all power was given to Him He now passes on to them and the very words that he used to Peter and the eleven of His church implied hearing confessions,
  • because if they did not hear confessions, how would they know which sins to forgive and which to retain? This is possible only because they could make a judgment on the material that was given.


  You may ask, “Well, why did our Lord institute a confession in the telling of sins?

Why shouldn’t we bury our head in our handkerchief and tell God we are sorry?”  Try it with a traffic cop sometime.  There’s no test of sorrow if you are the judge.  Just suppose we did that for every other court in the world.  What would happen to justice in our country if all judges and courts and so forth, when they had murderers and thieves and dope addicts before them, handed out Kleenex?


Sin is pride and the telling of it is a humiliation and therefore a reparation for the sin.


  • Furthermore, in the natural order, does not a hurtful thing hurt more if it is shut up, a boil, a tooth that aches? We lance boils.  Why?  In order to release the pus.

So our Lord said He would lance souls in order to release the evil that was in.


  • And does not nature also suggest that as soon as the stomach takes into itself any foreign substance, something it cannot assimilate for the general good of the body, it throws it off?


 The soul too has that instinct. It wants to throw off everything that is harmful to it and its destiny.  From another point of view, when a sin is avowed it loses its tenacity.  It is seen as it is in all of its horror.

  • If we suppress a sin – and how many are doing that today – it comes out in complexes.


There is a normal way for sin to come out,

Just as there is a very normal way for toothpaste to come out of a tube of toothpaste.  Now suppose you keep the cap off and you squeeze and squeeze the tube.  Where is the toothpaste going to come out?  You do not know.  In any case, it’s going to be messy.

  • Now when we keep the cap on our souls and do not allow what is in us to come out as it normally should, when we suppress guilt, then it begins to come out in a thousand curious ways and they are all abnormal.




Reasons for Confessing to a Priest:

   God was very merciful in instituting the sacrament.  But you may ask, “Very well, but why should I confess my sins to a priest?  Maybe he’s not as holy as I am.”  That could be very true because we hear the confession of many saints.

  • But though you are holier than the priest, you have not more powers than the priest. You may be a far better citizen than the mayor but he has powers that you do not have.


Our Blessed Lord gave the power to His Church

Our Blessed Lord gave the power to His Church.  He did not give it to peopleThat is why a priest is the authorized minister of the sacrament, and furthermore, it is not the priest who absolves.  A man cannot forgive sins.

The priest in the sacrament is only the instrument of Christ.  He gives and loans our Lord his voice.  It is Christ who forgives and the words of absolution mean, “I, Christ, absolve you from your sins.”


Then, furthermore, why be ashamed to confess the sins? 

He is bound by what is called the sigillum, or the seal of confession.

  • Because he is only the instrument of our Lord, the sins he hears are not his own. They are not a part of his knowledge. He merely, in this instance, was the ear of Christ and he may not divulge any sin that you confess even under pain of death.
  • Suppose I kept money in a drawer here in my desk, and every day somebody came in and stole some money out of the drawer. And then that person came to confession. I could tell that person to return the money because there must always be a validation of that which was wrong.  But because I learned something in the confessional, namely that that person stole out of my desk, I would never again be allowed to lock the drawer of records.
  • None of your sins will ever be told, nor can we even speak to you about them outside of confession. If you, for example, come in and say that you stole money, I could not go up to you afterwards and say, “Oh, say, remember you told me about the money you stole from that pickle factory? Did you ever return it?”  That information is not public.


Then another reason for confessing sins to a priest is this:

  • No sin is individual.

It hurts the neighbor and if you belong to the Mystical Body of Christ, it in some way diminishes the charity of the Mystical Body of Christ.

  • Every sin hurts the Church and because, therefore, every sin in some way involves the Mystical Body of Christ, it is fitting and becoming that a representative of the Mystical Body of Christ restores it again to its unity and to its fellowship.


In the early Church even the penances were public, in order to indicate there was in some way, and in a very serious way, an injury done to the Kahal, the Mystical Body of Christ- the Church.






Now let us come into the actual practice of confession.

  • Before you go into the box, you examine your conscience.
  • When you examine your conscience, you begin with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to enlighten you.
  • Remember that it is only in the face of God and, in particular, before the Crucifix that we discover our true condition.

We judge ourselves not by our own standards nor by public opinion but simply by the standards of God Himself.


Examine your Conscience:

** You may examine your conscience according to the commandments, which is not always the best way because it reduces our Christian life to cold duties and we’re apt to become legalistic and very calculating.


**We could examine our conscience in the light of virtues and also in light of the seven capital sins.


**In any case, we have to examine our sins according to their number, their kind


and the circumstances.


Story :– as example

This is a story and is only, only a story.  One day a group of lumberjacks in Canada came to confession.  They had not been to confession in about ten years or more.  They all lined up outside of the box one after the other.  The first one went in.  He had not examined his conscience.  So he said to the priest, “Father, I have committed every sin a man can commit.”  The priest asked, “Did you ever commit murder?”  “No,” he said, “I did not.  That is one sin I never committed.”  “Well,” said the priest, “Now you go outside of the box and examine your conscience again, the number, kind and circumstance of sins.”  As he went out of the box, he saw the long line of lumberjacks outside and he said to them, “No use tonight, boys, just hearing murder cases.”


  • Then, too, when you confess sins, you never involve any other person.

You cannot, for example, say, “I was angry, but you ought to know my wife.  What a lazy old gossip!”  At the least, such a confession would not be sincere.



Now we go into the box and begin the confession.  As soon as we go in, we kneel down,

  • We bless ourselves and say, “Bless me, father, for I have sinned.”
  • Then we state how long it has been since our last confession, if it has been three weeks, if it has been two weeks, if it has been a month, a year, or any definite period of time.


Sample Confession:

Suppose now we will have someone who has not been to confession in fifty years.  Suppose he is eighty years old.  Now what kind of a confession can he make?  He cannot remember all the number of sins, the like.  Well, his confession might be something like this.  Notice how brief it is.


“Father, it has been fifty years since I last went to confession.  During twenty years of my life I never went to Mass, I never frequented the sacraments, I never made my Easter duty, I did not tithe.  Many times a day I took the name of God, I used it falsely. I also took false oaths in court about five times.  I was disobedient in a very serious way to civil authorities.  I assisted in abortion twice, I murdered once. I was an alcoholic for ten years.  I had immodest thoughts, certainly every day for about thirty years, immodest actions with myself many times for about ten years.  While living with my first wife, I was guilty of adultery many, many times, certainly over a period of over three years.  While my first wife was living I married again, so I lived in adultery for about five years.  She is now dead.  During this time in business I cut corners, I underpaid my employees, I thought only about making money.  I never gave to any charity except when I was forced to by public shame.  I particularly regret once refusing to send $100 to the Holy Father for completion of his work and I had plenty of money.  I gave myself over to an excessive spirit of amusement, theatres, dinners, parties.  I can never recall once in my life ever having helped anyone in distress.  I never gave up my evening once to help the church.  I completely neglected my wife as regards esteem and affection.  I never sent my children to a religious school.  I let them do as they please and I became angry at them for their impiety, and now I am suffering from that. For these and all the sins of my past life, those which I do not remember but as God sees them, I ask the pardon of God and you, Father.”  


That is the confession of a man away about fifty years.

God love you. 

1. In today’s lesson on – Sin and Penance – what stood out the most to you?

2. Why do you think Bishop Sheen gave the subtitle “The Moment of Truth” to this lesson?

3. How would you explain to someone seeking a deeper understanding of Sacrament of Confession?

4. Now that you have learned more about – Sin and Penance
– what changes do you think this will have in your daily life?

1420. “Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life ‘in earthen vessels,’ and it remains ‘hidden with Christ in God.'[2 Cor 4:7 ; Col 3:3 .] We are still in our ‘earthly tent,’ subject to suffering, illness, and death.[2 Cor 5:1 .] 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,[Cf. Mk 2:1-12 .] 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. ”
1008. “Death is a consequence of SIN. The Church’s Magisterium, as authentic interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition, teaches that death entered the world on account of man’s SIN.[Cf. Gen 2:17 ; Gen 3:3 ; Gen 3:19 ; Wis 1:13 ; Rom 5:12 ; Rom 6:23 ; DS 1511.] Even though man’s nature is MORTAL God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of SIN.[Cf. Wis 2:23-24 .] ‘Bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned’ is thus ‘the last enemy’ of man left to be conquered.[GS 18 # 2; cf. 1 Cor 15:26 .]”
1014. “The Church encourages us to prepare ourselves for the hour of our death. In the litany of the saints, for instance, she has us pray: ‘From a sudden and unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord’;[Roman Missal, Litany of the saints.] to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us ‘at the hour of our death’ in the Hail Mary; and to entrust ourselves to St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death.
Every action of yours, every thought, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience …. Then why not keep clear of SIN instead of running away from death? If you aren’t fit to face death today, it’s very unlikely you will be tomorrow ….[The Imitation of Christ, 1, 23, 1.]
Praised are you, my Lord, for our sister bodily Death, from whom no living man can escape. Woe on those who will die in MORTAL SIN! Blessed are they who will be found in your most holy will, for the second death will not harm them.[St. Francis of Assisi Canticle of the Creatures.]”
1033. “We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we SIN gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: ‘He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.'[1Jn 3:14-15 .] Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.[Cf. Mt 25:31-46 .] To die in MORTAL SIN without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self- exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell.'”
1035. “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of MORTAL SIN descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.'[Cf. DS 76; 409; 411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; Paul VI, CPG # 12.] The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.”
1037. “God predestines no one to go to hell;[Cf. Council of Orange II (529): DS 397; Council of Trent (1547):1567.] for this, a willful turning away from God (a MORTAL SIN) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want ‘any to perish, but all to come to repentance’:[2 Pet 3:9 .] Father, accept this offering from your whole family. Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen.[Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 88.]”
1395. “By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future MORTAL sins. The more we share the life of Christ and progress in his friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from him by MORTAL SIN. The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of MORTAL sins – that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church. ”
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.'[Cf. CIC, Can. 989; Council of Trent (1551): DS 1683; DS 1708.] 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 absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession.[Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1647; 1661; CIC, can. 916; CCEO, can.] Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.[Cf. CIC, can. 914.]”
1496. “The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:
– reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
– reconciliation with the Church;
– remission of the eternal punishment incurred by MORTAL sins;
– remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from SIN;
– peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
– an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle. ”
1854. “Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between MORTAL and venial SIN, already evident in Scripture,[Cf. 1Jn 16-17 .] became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.”

1855. “MORTAL SIN destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.
Venial SIN allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it. ”
1856. “MORTAL SIN, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:
When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the SIN is MORTAL by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery…. But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.[St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 88, 2, corp. art.] ”
1857. “For a SIN to be MORTAL, three conditions must together be met: ‘MORTAL SIN is SIN whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.'[RP 17 # 12.]”
1859. “MORTAL SIN requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart[Cf. Mk 3:5-6 ; Lk 16:19-31 .] do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a SIN. ”
1861. “MORTAL SIN is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God. ”
1863. “Venial SIN weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial SIN disposes us little by little to commit MORTAL SIN. However venial SIN does not set us in direct opposition to the will and friendship of God; it does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. ‘Venial SIN does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.'[John Paul II, RP 17 # 9.]
While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins, which we call ‘light’: if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.[St. Augustine, In ep. Jo. 1, 6: PL 35, 1982.]”
1874. “To choose deliberately – that is, both knowing it and willing it – something gravely contrary to the divine law and to the ultimate end of man is to commit a MORTAL SIN. This destroys in us the charity without which eternal beatitude is impossible. Unrepented, it brings eternal death. ”
2302. “By recalling the commandment, ‘You shall not kill,'[Mt 5:21 .] our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.
Anger is a desire for revenge. ‘To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,’ but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution ‘to correct vices and maintain justice.'[St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 158, 1 ad 3.] If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a MORTAL SIN. The Lord says, ‘Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.'[Mt 5:22 .]”
2313. “Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.
Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a MORTAL SIN. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide. ”
2484. “The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial SIN, it becomes MORTAL when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity. ”
2539. “Envy is a capital SIN. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor it is a MORTAL SIN:
St. Augustine saw envy as ‘the diabolical SIN.'[Cf. St. Augustine, De catechizandis rudibus 4, 8 PL 40, 315-316.] ‘From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity.'[St. Gregory the Great Moralia in Job 31, 45: PL 76, 621 .]”
2819. “‘The kingdom of God (is) righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.'[Rom 14:17 .] The end-time in which we live is the age of the outpouring of the Spirit. Ever since Pentecost, a decisive battle has been joined between ‘the flesh’ and the Spirit.[Cf. Gal 5:16-25 .]
Only a pure soul can boldly say: ‘Thy kingdom come.’ One who has heard Paul say, ‘Let not SIN therefore reign in your MORTAL bodies,’ and has purified himself in action, thought and word will say to God: ‘Thy kingdom come!'[St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 5, 13: PG 33, 1120A; cf. Rom 6:12 .]”
General confession.
1483. “In case of grave necessity recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with GENERAL CONFESSION and GENERAL absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent’s CONFESSION. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their sins in the time required.[Cf. CIC, can. 962 #1.] The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for GENERAL absolution exist.[Cf. CIC, can. 961 # 2.] A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity.[Cf. CIC, can. 961 # 1.] ”
1485. “‘On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,’ Jesus showed himself to his apostles. ‘He breathed on them, and said to them: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” [Jn 20:19, 22-23 .].”
1486. “The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation. ”
1487. “The sinner wounds God’s honor and love, his own human dignity as a man called to be a son of God, and the spiritual well-being of the Church, of which each Christian ought to be a living stone. ”
1488. “To the eyes of faith no evil is graver than sin and nothing has worse consequences for sinners themselves, for the Church, and for the whole world. ”
1489. “To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men. One must ask for this precious gift for oneself and for others. ”
1490. “The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God’s mercy. ”
1491. “The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation. ”
1492. “Repentance (also called contrition) must be inspired by motives that arise from faith. If repentance arises from love of charity for God, it is called ‘perfect’ contrition; if it is founded on other motives, it is called ‘imperfect.'”
1493. “One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. The confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. ”
1494. “The confessor proposes the performance of certain acts of ‘satisfaction’ or ‘penance’ to be performed by the penitent in order to repair the harm caused by sin and to re-establish habits befitting a disciple of Christ.”
1495. “Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ. ”
1496. “The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:
– reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
– reconciliation with the Church;
– remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
– remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
– peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
– an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle. ”
1497. “Individual and integral confession of grave sins followed by absolution remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church. ”
1498. “Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory. ”
1485. “‘On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,’ Jesus showed himself to his apostles. ‘He breathed on them, and said to them: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” [Jn 20:19, 22-23 .].”
1486. “The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation. ”
1487. “The sinner wounds God’s honor and love, his own human dignity as a man called to be a son of God, and the spiritual well-being of the Church, of which each Christian ought to be a living stone. ”
1488. “To the eyes of faith no evil is graver than sin and nothing has worse consequences for sinners themselves, for the Church, and for the whole world. ”
1489. “To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men. One must ask for this precious gift for oneself and for others. ”
1490. “The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God’s mercy. “

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