Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Celebration of the Christian Mystery 357 C hapter T wo T he S acraments of H ealing 1420 Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man re- ceives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life “in earthen vessels,” and it remains “hidden with Christ in God.” 1 We are still in our “earthly tent,” subject to suffering, illness, and death. 2 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, 3 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. A rticle 4 THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION 1422 “Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.” 4 I. W hat I s T his S acrament C alled ? 1423 It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father 5 from whom one has strayed by sin. It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, pen- ance, and satisfaction. 1424 It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a “confession”— 1 2 Cor 4:7; Col 3:3. 2 2 Cor 5:1. 3 Cf. Mk 2:1-12. 4 LG 11 § 2. 5 Cf. Mk 1:15; Lk 15:18. 980 1989 1440 1456