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