Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Celebration of the Christian Mystery 373 1484 “Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession.” 95 There are profound reasons for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally addresses every sinner: “My son, your sins are forgiven.” 96 He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them. 97 He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church. IN BRIEF 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 con- ferred 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 them- selves, 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 inmercy 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. 95 OP 31. 96 Mk 2:5. 97 Cf. Mk 2:17. 878