Penitence or repentance, a virtue disposing a sinner to hatred of
his own sin because it is an offence against God and prompting him
to a firm purpose of amendment.
Sacrament of Penance
- A sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ in which the
absolution of a priest, acting as judge, sins committed after Baptism
are forgiven to a person who confesses them with sorrow and a purpose of
(Definitions from A Catholic
in Scripture to Penance:
- "No, I say
to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all
likewise perish." Luke 13:3
- "And God
indeed having winked at the times of this ignorance, now
declareth unto men, that all should every where do penance.
Because he hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the
world in equity, by the man whom he hath appointed; giving
faith to all, by raising him up from the dead" Acts 17:30-31
- "But Peter
said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins:
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38
in Scripture on the Sacrament of Penance:
- "If we say
that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is
not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just,
to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
iniquity." 1 John 1:8-9
- "He said
therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath
sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed
on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and
whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." John
- "But all
things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by
Christ; and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to
himself, not imputing to them their sins; and he hath placed
in us the word of reconciliation" 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Teaching on the Sacrament of Penance:
- "Hence the
Council of Trent declares: For those who fall into sin after
Baptism the Sacrament of Penance is as necessary to
salvation as is Baptism for those who have not been already
baptised." Catechism of Council of Trent, Sacrament of
faithful must be fully aware that sin and its eternal
punishment are remitted by the Sacrament of Penance if one
makes proper use of it; however the entire temporal
punishment is very seldom taken away. This must be removed
either by satisfactory works in this life or by the fire of
Purgatory after death" Encyclical On Preparation for the
Holy Year by Pope Benedict XIV, 1749
- "Q: Why is
a penance imposed in confession?
A: A penance is imposed because, after sacramental
absolution which remits sin and its eternal punishment,
there generally remains a temporal punishment to be
undergone, either in this world or in Purgatory."
Catechism of St. Pius X, The Sacrament of Penance
Is it a sin to transgress a Precept of the Church?
A: Knowingly to transgress a Precept of the Church in
grave matter is a mortal sin
Q: Name the Precepts of the Church.
A: The Precepts of the Church are:
1. To hear Mass on all Sundays and on Holy days of
2. To fast during Lent, on Ember Days and appointed Vigils,
and not to eat meat on forbidden days.
3. To confess our sins at least once
a year, and to receive Holy Communion at Easter
each one in his own parish.
4. To contribute to the support of the Church, according to
5. Not to solemnize marriage at forbidden times, that is,
from the first Sunday in Advent until the Epiphany, and from
the first day of Lent until Low Sunday" Catechism of Pius
X, The Precepts of the Church
Teaching on Penance:
- "And so,
out of that ardent and zealous charity with which all
Christians are bound to love the Catholic Church, they
should address their prayers to heaven, but they should also
offer interior acts of penance, works of virtue, sacrifices,
inconveniences, and all the pains and hardships under which
we labor, of necessity, in this mortal life, but which we
should occasionally, take upon ourselves voluntarily, in a
spirit of generosity" Encyclical On Prayers for the
Persecuted Church by Pope Pius XII, 1958
- When the
Apostles asked the Savior why they had been unable to drive
the evil spirit from a demoniac, Our Lord answered: "This
kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting." So,
too, the evil which today torments humanity can be conquered
only by a world-wide crusade of prayer and penance. We ask
especially the Contemplative Orders, men and women, to
redouble their prayers and sacrifices to obtain from heaven
efficacious aid for the Church in the present struggle. Let
them implore also the powerful intercession of the
Immaculate Virgin who, having crushed the head of the
serpent of old, remains the sure protectress and invincible
"Help of Christians."
Encyclical On Atheistic Communism by Pope Pius XI, 1937
There is no doubt that
penance in general must be practiced by all Catholics as much as
possible if we are to make up for our earthly offenses and attain
Heaven. This has been a basic practice of the Catholic Church since
Christ founded it.
As for the Sacrament of
Penance, for those that sin after Baptism, it is our lifeline to Heaven.
Since in some cases it is difficult to know whether we are truly in the
state of grace, the Sacrament of Penance should be utilized very
frequently (i.e. monthly or even more frequently)!