Sacrament of Reconciliation
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament, called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation.” (CCC 1486)
“Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against Him, and are at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer, labours for their conversion.” (Lumen Gentium 11.2)
“The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future, and is nourished by hope in God’s mercy.” (CCC 1489-90)
The Sacrament Consists Basically Of Three Acts Of The Penitent and The Priest:
First the penitent (the repentant sinner), must be aware of his sinfulness and must be truly sorry (contrite) for his/her sins. Another word for repentance is “contrition”. She/He must repent her/his sins, and seek the sacrament of penance – that is, to go to confession to a priest.
The penitent confesses to a priest all the sins one can recall after examining his/her conscience – that he has not confessed before. The confession is entirely private – the priest-confessor never reveals anything the penitent confesses. Traditionally confession takes place in the “confessional”, a small room where the priest and penitent are separated by a screen to assure complete privacy and anonymity. It is also permissible, if both the priest and penitent agree, to administer and receive the sacrament of penance “face to face” in another room. This is known as “Dialogue Confession”
3. Act of Penance:
The priest-confessor proposes certain actions – penance -for the penitent to perform. This may be saying certain prayers and/or performing some other fitting action. The person who performs this penance thus shows his/her sorrow for one’s sinful acts. This helps the penitents to overcome their faults, and the harm their sins have caused others -to be reconciled with the man and with the Church, and to return to behaviour consistent with being a disciple of Christ.
After the penitent accepts the acts of penance, the priest, by the authority that the Church has given him (see the quote from John 20:22, 23 above), absolves the sinner; that is, he grants God’s pardon for the sins.
Structure of Confession / Absolution Rite:
- The normal practice for administration of the Sacrament of Penance is in private — with only the penitent and the priest present.
- To begin, the penitent kneels and, by custom, says: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned”, and may add, “It has been [time] since my last confession” and begins his/her confession.
- After hearing the confession, the priest assigns a penance, and the penitent accepts the penance with the following prayer:
Act of Contrition:
O my God, I am truly sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because they displease you who art good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the occasion of sin. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The priest then extends his hands in blessing over the penitent, and prays the prayer of absolution:
Prayer of Absolution:
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Confessions are heard every Saturday from 6.30 -7.00pm
For dialogue confessions contact any priest of your choice.