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"Lastly, there is the [priest's] power of forgiveness. The Sacrament of Penance is one of the Church's precious treasures, since authentic world renewal is accomplished only through forgiveness. Nothing can improve the world if evil is not overcome. Evil can be overcome only by forgiveness. Certainly, it must be an effective forgiveness; but only the Lord can give us this forgiveness, a forgiveness that drives away evil not only with words but truly destroys it. Only suffering can bring this about and it has truly taken place with the suffering love of Christ, from whom we draw the power to forgive." — Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at Pentecost Mass for Priestly Ordination, May 15, 2005.

From A Year with Pope Benedict, XVI, © Libreria Editrice Vaticana.  Used with permission. May not be reproduced in any form for commercial purposes.

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Penance is an experience of the gift of God's boundless mercy.Not only does it [the Sacrament of Penance] free us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us.  We are liberated to be forgivers.  We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned."

Jesus entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to the Church.  The Sacrament of Penance is God's gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven.  In confession we have the opportunity to repent and recover the grace of friendship with God. It is a holy moment in which we place ourselves in his presence and honestly acknowledge our sins, especially mortal sins.  With absolution, we are reconciled to God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God. "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). 

~from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults | en español





For diocesan and parish leaders:
Promoting Participation in the Sacrament of Penance: Diocesan and Parish Resources

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