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What is Reconciliation?

Penance is making restitution or satisfaction for a wrong that has been committed. Penance must not take place exclusively in my head; I must express it in acts of charity and in solidarity with others. One does penance also by praying, fasting, and supporting the poor spiritually and materially.

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 rationalize 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).

 

(*) YOUCAT, Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2013

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