Catechism of the Catholic Church #1446


Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as "the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace."


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Penance and Reconciliation

age for confessing sins, 1457

Anointing of the Sick and the forgiveness of sins, 1532

and Baptism, 1425-26

Baptism and the forgiveness of sins, 535, 977-78

commandment to receive the sacrament of, 1457, 2042

eschatological significance of the sacrament of, 1470

the Eucharist and forgiveness of sins, 1393, 1395, 1436, 1846

indulgence, 1471

power to confer the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation to non-Catholic Christians, 1401

purposes of the sacrament of, 1421, 1468

receiving absolution in the sacrament before receiving Eucharistic Communion, 1415

receiving the sacrament before the celebration of Matrimony, 1622

as a sacrament, 1210

sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation in particularly grave cases, 1463

instituted by Christ, 1446

instituted for all men, 827, 1446

sacramental seal of Confession, 1467, 2490

sacrifice of Christ as the source of forgiveness of man's sins, 1851

See also Sacrament(s)


absolution, 1480-84

        Byzantine liturgy and formulas of, 1481

        communal celebration and individual, 1482

        excommunication and, 1463

        formulas of, 1449, 1481

        general, 1483

        grave sins and, 1415, 1457, 1497

        over the dying Christian, 1020

        power to forgive sins, 553, 976, 1441-42, 1444-45, 1461

acts of the penitent, 1491

        confession, 1455-58

        of grave sins necessary for obtaining reconciliation, 1493

        individual confession and a communal celebration, 1482

        necessity of confessing sins, 1448

        personal confession the most expressive form of reconciliation, 1484

        of sins and conversion, 1435

        of venial sins, 1493, 1863

        contrition, 1451-54

        Holy Spirit gives the grace of, 1433

        as necessary to obtain forgiveness, 982, 1259, 1861, 1864

        no penance after death, 393

        perfect and imperfect, 1492

        and sacramental Confession, 1452

        as sorrow of the soul, 1451

        examination of conscience, 1454, 1456


                as an act of the penitent, 1491

                forms of penance and their purposes, 1460

                purposes of, 1494

                through the penance imposed by the confessor, 1460

effects of the sacrament

        anticipating the Last Judgment, 1470

        brings about a "spiritual resurrection," 1468

        gives pardon for offense committed against God, 1422

        reconciling with God, 980, 1468

        reconciling with the Church, 980, 1422, 1469

        recovering grace, 1446, 1468

forgiveness and Penance and Reconciliation

        the Church as a place of reconciliation, 755

        God reconciles the world to Himself in Christ, 433

        pardon as the fundamental condition of Reconciliation, 2844

        reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of Christ's Church, 822

        reconciliation with the Church, 1443-45

        ways of reconciliation, 981, 1449, 1455

        See also Forgiveness: forgiveness of sins

liturgical celebration or rite of the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

        actions of the penitent (see Penance and Reconciliation: acts of the penitent)

        actions of the priest, 1491

        changes in liturgical celebration of the sacrament of Penance over the centuries, 1447-48

        communal, 1482-83

        fundamental structure, 1448, 1480

        minister of, 1461-62, 1466

necessity of the sacrament

        for receiving the other sacraments, 1385

        for Reconciliation with God and with the Church, 1484

        for recovering the grace of justification, 1446

        for obtaining forgiveness of mortal sins, 1395

titles for the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

        sacrament of Confession, 1424, 1455-58

        conversion, 1423

        forgiveness, 1395, 1424, 1446

        pardon, 1422

        Penance, 1423

        Reconciliation, 1385, 1424, 1440

        remission, 1496