Holy Spirit Interactive
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Inside Holy Spirit Interactive

The Complete Catholic Handbook

The Complete Catholic Handbook

Penance (Confession)

  1. What is the Sacrament of Penance?
  2. Does the Sacrament of Penance increase the grace of God in the soul?
  3. When did our Lord institute the Sacrament of Penance?
  4. How does the priest forgive sins?
  5. What are the words of absolution?
  6. Are any conditions for forgiveness required on the part of the penitent?
  7. What is contrition?
  8. What is a firm purpose of amendment?
  9. How may we obtain a hearty sorrow for our sins?
  10. What consideration concerning God will lead us to sorrow for our sins?
  11. What consideration concerning our Saviour will lead us to sorrow for our sins?
  12. Is sorrow for our sins, because by them we have lost heaven and deserved hell, sufficient when we go to confession?
  13. What is perfect contrition?
  14. What special value has perfect contrition?
  15. What is confession?
  16. What if a person wilfully conceal a mortal sin in confession?
  17. How many things have we to do in order to prepare for confession?
  18. What is satisfaction?
  19. Does the penance given by the priest always make full satisfaction for our sins?
  20. What is an Indulgence?

  1. What is the Sacrament of Penance?
    Penance is a Sacrament whereby the sins, whether mortal or venial, which we have committed after Baptism are forgiven.

    Penance.
    This word is used in three different senses:
    1. as a moral virtue which leads us to hate and avoid sin;
    2. as the penalty which we suffer for past sin;
    3. as the Sacrament by which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.

    Outward sign.
    The matter consists of the acts of the penitent, viz., contrition, confession, and satisfaction. The form is the priest’s absolution.

    Effects.
    Takes away actual sin and eternal punishment due to sin; it also restores habitual grace and the merits of good works done in a state of grace.

    Institution.
    ‘Receive ye the Holy Spirit: whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained’. (John 20:22,23)

    Minister.
    A priest approved by the Bishop.

  2. Does the Sacrament of Penance increase the grace of God in the soul?
    The Sacrament of Penance increases the grace of God in the soul, besides forgiving sin; we should, therefore, often go to confession.

  3. When did our Lord institute the Sacrament of Penance?
    Our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Penanace when He breathed on His Apostles and gave them power to forgive sin, saying, ‘Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven’. (John 20:23)

  4. How does the priest forgive sins?
    The priest forgives sins by the power of God, when he pronounces the words of absolution.

    Absolution.
    Pardon; taking away of guilt, and, at least in part, of punishment.

  5. What are the words of absolution?
    The words of absolution are: ‘I absolve thee from thy sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’.

  6. Are any conditions for forgiveness required on the part of the penitent?
    Three conditions for forgiveness are required on the part of the penitent: contrition, confession, and satisfaction.

  7. What is contrition?
    Contrition is a hearty sorrow for our sins, because by them we have offended so good a God, together with a firm purpose of amendment.

    Contrition.
    A deep sorrow for sin, with the determination of avoiding it in the future. There are two kinds of contrition:
    1. perfect, or that felt for having offended God alone;
    2. imperfect, or the sorrow we feel for our sins because by them we lose heaven and deserve hell; this is also called attrition. Sorrow for sin must be inward—that is, it must come from the heart; it must be supernatural — that is, it is not enough to be sorry from a human or natural motive; it must be universal—that is, it must extend to at least all mortal sins of which we are guilty.

  8. What is a firm purpose of amendment?
    A firm purpose of amendment is a resolution to avoid, by the grace of God, not only sin, but also the dangerous occasions of sin. Occasion of sin. An external circumstance inducing to sin.

  9. How may we obtain a hearty sorrow for our sins?
    We may obtain a hearty sorrow for our sins by earnestly praying for it, and by making use of such considerations as may lead us to it.

    Earnestly.
    Having a strong desire; being fervent and sincere, with intensity. Such considerations, etc. Such thoughts as will help us to be sorry for our sins—such as thinking on the goodness of God, the sufferings of our Lord on account of our sins, the happiness of heaven, the misery of hell, etc.

  10. What consideration concerning God will lead us to sorrow for our sins?
    This consideration concerning God will lead us to sorrow for our sins, that by our sins we have offended God, who is infinitely good in Himself and infinitely good to us.

  11. What consideration concerning our Saviour will lead us to sorrow for our sins?
    This consideration concerning our Saviour will lead us to sorrow for our sins, that our Saviour died for our sins, and that those who sin grievously ‘crucify again to themselves the Son of God, making Him a mockery’. (Heb. 6:6)

  12. Is sorrow for our sins, because by them we have lost heaven and deserved hell, sufficient when we go to confession?
    Sorrow for our sins, because by them we have lost heaven and deserved hell, is sufficient when we go to confession.

  13. What is perfect contrition?
    Perfect contrition is sorrow for sin arising purely from the love of God.

  14. What special value has perfect contrition?
    Perfect contrition has this special value—that by it our sins are forgiven immediately, even before we confess them; but nevertheless, if they are mortal, we are strictly bound to confess them afterwards.

  15. What is confession?
    Confession is to accuse ourselves of our sins to a priest approved by the Bishop.

    Confession.
    To make known our sins. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins.

    To accuse ourselves.
    To lay the blame on ourselves: to tell our sins; to acknowledge, as from an inferior to a superior. We must make our confession humbly, truthfully, and briefly.

  16. What if a person wilfully conceal a mortal sin in confession?
    If a person wilfully conceal a mortal sin in confession he is guilty of a great sacrilege, by telling a lie to the Holy Spirit in making a bad confession.

    Conceal.
    To keep secret; to hide completely.

  17. How many things have we to do in order to prepare for confession?
    We have four things to do in order to prepare for confession: first, we must heartily pray for grace to make a good confession; secondly, we must carefully examine our conscience; thirdly, we must take time and care to make a good act of contrition; and fourthly, we must resolve by the help of God to renounce our sins, and to begin a new life for the future.

  18. What is satisfaction?
    Satisfaction is doing the penance given us by the priest.

    Satisfaction.
    Making atonement or payment for; repairing a wrong done. The penance given by the priest in confession usually consists in the saying of some particular prayers or doing some good work. The guilt of sin and its eternal punishment are taken away by a good confession; the temporal punishment may be taken away by performing the penance given by the priest, by prayer, fasting, alms-deeds and Indulgences.

  19. Does the penance given by the priest always make full satisfaction for our sins?
    The penance given by the priest does not always make full satisfaction for our sins. We should therefore add to it other good works and penances, and try to gain Indulgences.

  20. What is an Indulgence?
    An Indulgence is a remission, granted by the Church, of the temporal punishment which often remains due to sin after its guilt has been forgiven.

    Indulgence.
    A releasing or letting off from punishment. There are two kinds of Indulgences:
    1. plenary, when the whole of the punishment is remitted or forgiven;
    2. partial, when only part of the temporal punishment is taken away.

    Conditions for gaining an Indulgence are
    1. the person seeking it must be a Catholic;
    2. he must have the intention of gaining it;
    3. he must be in a state of grace;
    4. he must perform the necessary good works ordered for gaining it.

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