Questions and answers: Chapter 26: Reconciliation
What are the sacraments of healing? Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.
What is the sacrament of Reconciliation? The sacrament by which Jesus, through the absolution of the priest, forgives sins committed after Baptism and brings about reconciliation with God and with the Church.
What are the various names for the sacrament of Reconciliation? Penance (sinners penitentially turn back to God; Confession (confess sins to a priest); Reconciliation (reconciles us with God).
What is the proper context for understanding the sacrament of Reconciliation? Jesus' call to conversion, to repent and to believe in his message. Recall the story of the Prodigal Son.
What are the basic elements of the sacrament of Reconciliation? Manifestation of sorrow (word or gesture); willingness to make satisfaction, words of absolution (I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit).
How does Jesus Christ help us in the sacrament of Reconciliation?
a. Forgives mortal sin and restores the divine life of sanctifying grace.
b. Forgives all venial sins and gives us an increase of the divine life of grace.
c. Gives us a pledge of the graces needed to atone for sins, avoid future sin, and to live
the Christian life
d. Removes all or part of the temporal punishment due for our sins, depending on
our sorrow and our purpose of amendment.
What must a person coming to Reconciliation do? Three aspects: contrition, confession, satisfaction or penance.
What is contrition? Sorrow for and hatred of our sins, together with the firm intention of not sinning in the future.
What are the qualities of true contrition?
a. Mean what we say: hate sin, truly resolve to reform our lives.
b. Our sorrow must be based on love or at least fear, not on disgrace, disgust
with ourselves, or other reasons.
c. Sorrow for each mortal sin
Are there different kinds of contrition? Perfect (because our sins offend the God whom we love); Imperfect (because we fear the justice of God and related punishment)
Why is confession a part of the sacrament of Reconciliation? Confession of sins frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others. It is the normal requirement of the Church. See: Why do Catholics Confess to a Priest?
How does confession help the sinner?
a. Sorrow or shame is lessened when shared with another.
b. It makes us conscious of our sinfulness, forcing us to think of our sins, how weak
we are, and how merciful God is.
c. It provides reassurance that God has forgiven us.
What sins must we confess in confession? All mortal sins.
a. number as best we can remember
b. "I stole $100", not "I broke the seventh commandment."
c. circumstances which might change the nature of the sin (not excuses): "I stole a
few dollars from a family that was starving."
What is meant by a “bad confession”? Deliberately concealing a mortal sin.
What is meant by a “resolution not to sin again”? A sincere intention not to sin again with the resolution to keep away from anything that would cause me to sin again.
What is meant by satisfaction or penance? Doing what is possible to make amends (making restitution, apologies, reconciling). The priest may prescribe prayers, works of mercy, or voluntary sacrifices).
How do we prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Placing ourselves in the presence of God and making an examination of conscience (sins of omission and commission).
How do we make an examination of conscience? Ask ourselves whether we have sinned in thought, word, or deed against God, neighbor or self since our last confession. Ask ourselves how we may have disobeyed any of the 10 commandments. Reflect on any strained relationship with God or our neighbor. Use an examination of conscience guide.
What is to be done if we find that we have no sins to confess or if our confessions become routine? Examine our shortcomings in love of God and our neighbor. Focus on a few faults which are straining our relationship with God or our neighbor. Ask for forgiveness of serious past sins already confessed (general confession).
What is the procedure for the sacrament of Reconciliation? (1) Private preparation and confess to a priest (behind screen or face to face); (2) Communal penance service followed by individual confession.
What is the purpose of reading Scripture when receiving the sacrament of reconciliation? To recall the mercy of God and to arouse a sincere desire to reform our lives.
What is necessary for a worthy reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation?
a. examination of conscience
b. sorrow for sin
c. resolution to avoid sin in the future
d. confession of sins
e. acceptance of penance
What is meant by “the punishment due to sin”? Eternal separation from God in Hell for unrepented mortal sin. Cleansing from any attachment to sin (inclinations, attitudes...) remaining after confessing venial sins.
How does the sacrament of Reconciliation help us grow in the divine life?
a. Develops virtues which make us more Christ-like
b. Helps us to realize the goodness of God
c. Helps us to grow in love of God and our neighbor
d. Increases our hope to reach heaven to be with God
Who is the minister of the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Bishops and priests.
See also: Why do Catholics Confess to a Priest?
Prayer: Act of Contrition