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244 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated


Every sin has consequences. It disrupts our communion with God and

the Church, weakens our ability to resist temptation, and hurts others.

The necessity of healing these consequences, once the sin itself has been

forgiven, is called temporal punishment. Prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and

other works of charity can take away entirely or diminish this temporal

punishment. Because of the fullness of redemption obtained for us by

Christ, the Church attaches to certain prayers and actions an


or pardon, that is, the full or partial remission of temporal punishment

due to sin. Christ, acting through the Church, brings about the healing

of the consequences of sin when an individual uses such a prayer or

engages in such an action.


1. What is your attitude to confession today? How would you explain

the Sacrament of Reconciliation to people of other faiths?

2. How can Scripture help you discern the reality of sin in the world?

Why do we confess our sins to a priest? Why is it necessary to be

reconciled to the Church as well as to God?

3. Why do you think that people need to have the burden of sin and

guilt lifted from their hearts? Why is it essential to understand the

mission of Jesus Christ as the Savior? How can you commit yourself

to a lifelong process of moral and spiritual conversion?


• On Easter night Jesus appeared to the Apostles, greeted them with

peace, and breathed on them, saying, “Receive the holy Spirit.

Whose sins you forgive are forgiven, and whose sins you retain are

retained” (Jn 20:22-23).

• “The Creed links ‘the forgiveness of sins’ with its profession of faith

in the Holy Spirit, for the risen Christ entrusted to the apostles the