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Chapter 18. Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation • 245

power to forgive sins when he gave them the Holy Spirit” (CCC, no.


• Sins committed before Baptism are forgiven by Baptism. Sins com-

mitted after Baptism are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance and

Reconciliation, also called the Sacrament of Forgiveness, Confession,

and Conversion.

• Sin wounds our relationship with God and others and our human

dignity. Faith reveals to us the destructive force of sin in our lives

and the world.

• The path back to God after sin is a process of conversion initiated by

his grace. The return to God includes sorrow for sin and the resolve

to sin no more.

• In the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, the acts of the peni-

tent are contrition, confession, and satisfaction. The act of the priest

is absolution for the sins of the penitent.

• Perfect contrition arises from love for God; imperfect contrition

results from other motives.

• The penitent, after an examination of conscience, needs to confess

all mortal sins. While it is not necessary to confess venial sins, the

Church strongly recommends this practice.

• The priest proposes a penance to the penitent to repair the harm

due to sin and to restore the penitent’s commitment to be a disciple

of Christ.

• Individual confession of grave sins according to kind and number

is the only ordinary way of receiving absolution and reconciliation

with God and the Church.

• The effects of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation include

reconciliation with God and the Church, peace of conscience and

spiritual consolation, the remission of eternal punishment due to

mortal sin as well as some degree of temporal punishments, and a

greater power to face spiritual challenges (cf. CCC, no. 1496).

• “Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of tem-

poral punishment resulting from sin, for themselves and also for the

souls in Purgatory” (CCC, no. 1498).