Penance, also known as confession or reconciliation, is one of the sacraments of healing in the Church. The sacrament encompasses four parts: contrition, confession, satisfaction or penance, and absolution.
Contrition means that we are sorry for our sins, and we intend to try to do better. Confession is the act of stating our sins to a priest. This is always required with mortal or serious sins, but is also a good and pious practice with venial or less serious sins. Satisfaction or penance consists of prayers or particular actions the priest assigns to us to show our sorrow, and to make some amends for our actions. And finally absolution – the words Jesus Christ speaks to us, through the priest – freeing us from our sins.
Jesus set up this sacrament as a way to heal sin and human weakness. He told the apostles: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:21-22).
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church section 1423 and 1424
It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin.
It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.
It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of the sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a “confession” – acknowledgment and praise – of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.
It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace”.
It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.” He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother.
Father Scott hears confessions;
4:00 to 4:45 pm
after weekday mass by an appointment
Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.
St. Angela of Foligno
This Sacrament really contains You, O my God, You whom the angels adore, in whose presence the spirits and mighty powers tremble. Oh! if we could only see You clearly as they do, with what reverence would we approach this sacrament, with what humility would we receive You.
He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Can. 987 In order that the faithful may receive the saving remedy of the sacrament of penance, they must be so disposed that, repudiating the sins they have committed and having the purpose of amending their lives, they turn back to God.