Why did Christ give us the sacrament of Reconciliation?
Christ’s love is shown in the fact that he seeks the lost and heals the sick. That is why he gave us the Sacraments of healing and restoration, in which we are freed from sin and strengthened in our physical and spiritual weakness.
Who instituted the sacrament of Penance?
Jesus himself instituted the sacrament of Penance when he showed himself to his apostles on Easter day and commanded 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 20:22a-23).
Who can forgive sins?
God alone can forgive sins. Jesus could say “Your sins are forgiven” (Mk 2:5) only because he is the Son of God. And Priests can forgive sins in Jesus’ place only because Jesus has given them that authority.
Many people say, “I can go directly to God; why do I need a priest?” God, though, wants it otherwise. We rationalise our sins away and like to sweep things under the rug. That is why God wants us to tell our sins and to acknowledge them in a personal encounter. Therefore, the following words from the Gospel are true of priests: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20:23).
Can I make a confession even if I have not committed any serious sins?
Confession is a great gift of healing that brings about closer union with the Lord, even if, strictly speaking, you do not have to go to confession.
May a priest later repeat something he has learned in confession?
No, under no circumstances. The secrecy of the confessional is absolute. Any Priest who would tell another person something he had learned in the confessional would be excommunicated. Even to the police, the priest cannot say or suggest anything.
How to get confession?
What is required for the forgiveness of sins is the person who undergoes conversion and the Priest who in God’s name gives him absolution from his sins.
So if you need confession, please talk to any parish priest at any time. If you can wait, you can attend confession every Saturday between 10am and 10.30an and between 5.15pm and 5.45pm.
For children preparing for Holy Communion, the first Reconciliation will be part of their preparation.