The Sacrament of Penance (or Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession) is for spiritual healing. Catholics believe Jesus left the Sacrament of Penance because only God’s grace can heal a wounded soul. Penance helps Catholics atone for sins they’ve committed.
The manner in which this sacrament is done has developed over time, but the basics have always remained:
Confession: You confess all known to a priest.
Contrition: You must be sorry you committed the sins and resolve to do your best not to repeat them.
Penance: After you confess your sins, the priest gives you a penance to perform.
- Absolution: The priest hearing your confession offers forgiveness, saying a prayer that calls on God to give you absolution and peace.