PENANCE, SACRAMENT OF
BASIC R.C. BELIEF
A virtue disposing one to be sorry for sin, to purpose amendment and to
make satisfaction for sins committed. This satisfaction comes from prayer
and good works imposed on the penitent in Confession. Sorrow for sin and
accomplishment of the required penance both contribute to the absolution
From CONFESSION QUIZZES TO A STREET PREACHER, Carty, (Imp: Bishop Murray),
page 4: "Where did St. Paul get this power and authority to judge the
Corinthian guilty of incest? From Christ? No ... Common sense tells you he
received that power and authority to judge and forgive in the Name of
Christ from the Apostles, who ordained him to the priesthood."
Ibid., page 11. "(Pope) St. Leo the Great (440-461) wrote so
specifically about Confession that some Protestants reading his works were
quite sure that he was the man who invented Confession. ... If St. Leo
instituted Confession then there would be a general protest on the part of
the Church ... but there is no trace of protest in all Christian history
against such an invention or institution."
Ibid., page 12: "St. Pacian of Barcelona (390) answered those
Protestors, the Novatians who believed the that God alone can forgive
Ibid, page 19: "Q: What of the thief who is not discovered by the
police? A: The priest orders him to make restitution, giving back to the
owner to money or goods stolen. Only when he promises to do so will he
receive absolution for his sin before God. But the penitent is not obliged
to give himself up to the police. It is their business to prove the crime
and arrest him. ... The priest will certainly not tell the police. ... You
might as well oblige God, since He knows all things, to reveal all crimes
to the police.
From GOD'S WAY OF FORGIVING SINS, J.E. Doherty, C.SS.R. Imp. Archbishop
Ritter. p. 28. "The Catholic who deliberately conceals a serious sin in
confession is not profiting in the least from his reception of the
sacrament; in fact, he is adding a new sin to those which have gone
From PENANCE AND THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK, Catholic Enquiry Centre,
London. p. 109. "The stain of sin is washed away in the sacrament of
Penance and the life of Christ is fully restored. But the sinner must
continue to make amends for his sins. The remnants and effects of sin still
remain after it has been forgiven and the penitent must strive gradually to
remove them by prayer, good works and acts of penance."
From THE SACRAMENTS, Rev. Connell, C.SS.R., page 4. "Penance was instituted
when Christ gave the Apostles the power to forgive and retain sin in John
POST VATICAN II
From 1989 CATHOLIC ALMANAC. "Penance is the sacrament by which sins
committed after baptism are forgiven and a person is reconciled with God
and the church. Individual and integral confession and absolution are the
only ordinary means for the forgiveness of serious sins and for
reconciliation with God and the Church. The traditional words of absolution
- `I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.'" (page 226)
From AD LIMINA TALKS (Pope Paul VI), page 18, "This document of Vatican II,
entitled SACRAMENTUM PAENITENTIAE, reiterated the solemn teaching of the
Council of Trent concerning the divine precept of individual confession."
From ABOUT THE NEW RITE OF PENANCE - THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION, Most
Rev. Christoher Welden, Bishop of Springfield, 12/16/76. "New Rite of
penance? Well, really, a new version of penance. Like the old rite, it is
1. sorrow for sins, 2. confession, 3. absolution, 4. amendment. The new
Rite will include these basic elements - sign of the Cross, welcome by
priest, scripture reading, confession, act of penance, prayer of sorrow,
absolution, praise of God."
In the synoptic Gospel, the call of John the Baptist and Jesus to repent
was mistranslated in the Douay Version as "do penance." The mistake was due
to an error in Jerome's Latin Vulgate which for centuries was the only
source of authorized Roman Catholic translations. Jerome's use of
"penitentium agite" (to punish past sins by exercises of penance) is a
mistranslation of the Greek "metanoie" (a reversal of thinking)
From THE CATHOLIC VOICE, Oakland, CA, 4/28/75, by Priest Brian Joyce. "The
drop in frequent confession has been so drastic that it cannot be denied.
In recent years large numbers of Catholics simply did not experience
confession as spiritually helpful. It is hardly credible that huge numnbers
would walk away from frequent confession if their personal experience of it
was consistently positive, helpful and good."
From Portland, Maine EVENING EXPRESS, 12/11/84. "Confession. Disuse by many
is a target of Pope John Paul statement. Vatican City (AP) - Pope John Paul
II, in a 138-page document, today attacked the idea that Roman Catholics
can obtain forgiveness `directly from God' without going through the church
and predicted `a healthy sense of sin will again flourish.'
"`Roman Catholics are encouraged to confess their sins in private to a
priest frequently, regardless of gravity, so that they may receive
"The document, called RECONCILIATION AND PENANCE, was termed an
apostolic exhortation, meaning an authoritative papal statement."
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