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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    gifts this month Goal 1 000 769 to go Catechism of the Catholic Church Reconciliation with the Church 1443 During his public life Jesus not only forgave sins but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness he reintegrated forgiven sinners into the community of the People of God from which sin had alienated or even excluded them A remarkable sign of this is the fact that Jesus receives sinners at his table a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God s forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the People of God 44 1444 In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ s solemn words to Simon Peter I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven 45 The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head 46 1445

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    Church has exercised this power received from the Lord has varied considerably During the first centuries the reconciliation of Christians who had committed particularly grave sins after their Baptism for example idolatry murder or adultery was tied to a very rigorous discipline according to which penitents had to do public penance for their sins often for years before receiving reconciliation To this order of penitents which concerned only certain grave sins one was only rarely admitted and in certain regions only once in a lifetime During the seventh century Irish missionaries inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition took to continental Europe the private practice of penance which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church From that time on the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest This new practice envisioned the possibility of repetition and so opened the way to a regular frequenting of this sacrament It allowed the forgiveness of grave sins and venial sins to be integrated into one sacramental celebration In its main lines this is the form of penance that the Church has practiced down to our day 1448 Beneath the changes in discipline and celebration that this sacrament has undergone over the centuries the same fundamental structure is to be discerned It comprises two equally essential elements on the one hand the acts of the man who undergoes conversion through the action of the Holy Spirit namely contrition confession and satisfaction on the other God s action through the intervention of the Church The Church who through the bishop and his priests forgives sins in the name of Jesus Christ and determines the manner of satisfaction also prays for the sinner and does penance with him Thus the sinner is healed and re established

    Original URL path: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/catechism/index.cfm?recnum=4672 (2016-02-11)
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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    by them in confession even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly 54 When Christ s faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor the medicine cannot heal what it does not know 55 1457 According to the Church s command after having attained the age of discretion each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year 56 Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion even if he experiences deep contrition without having first received sacramental absolution unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession 57 Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time 58 1458 Without being strictly necessary confession of everyday faults venial sins is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church 59 Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience fight against evil tendencies let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father s mercy we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful 60 Whoever confesses his sins is already working with God God indicts your sins if you also indict them you are joined with God Man and sinner are so to speak two realities when you hear man this is what God has made when you hear sinner this is what man himself has made Destroy what you have made so that God may save what he has made When you begin to abhor what you have made it is then that your good works are beginning since you are accusing yourself of your evil works The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works You do the truth and come to the light 61 Satisfaction 1459 Many sins wrong our neighbor One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm e g return stolen goods restore the reputation of someone slandered pay compensation for injuries Simple justice requires as much But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself as well as his relationships with God and neighbor Absolution takes away sin but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused 62 Raised up from sin the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    1451 Among the penitent s acts contrition occupies first place Contrition is sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed together with the resolution not to sin again 50 1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else contrition is called perfect contrition of charity Such contrition remits venial sins it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible 51 1453 The contrition called imperfect or attrition is also a gift of God a prompting of the Holy Spirit It is born of the consideration of sin s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner contrition of fear Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which under the prompting of grace will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution By itself however imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance 52 1454 The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly 54 When Christ s faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor the medicine cannot heal what it does not know 55 1457 According to the Church s command after having attained the age of discretion each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year 56 Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion even if he experiences deep contrition without having first received sacramental absolution unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession 57 Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time 58 1458 Without being strictly necessary confession of everyday faults venial sins is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church 59 Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience fight against evil tendencies let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father s mercy we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful 60 Whoever confesses his sins is already working with God God indicts your sins if you also indict them you are joined with God Man and sinner are so to speak two realities when you hear man this

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    our neighbor One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm e g return stolen goods restore the reputation of someone slandered pay compensation for injuries Simple justice requires as much But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself as well as his relationships with God and neighbor Absolution takes away sin but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused 62 Raised up from sin the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin he must make satisfaction for or expiate his sins This satisfaction is also called penance 1460 The penance the confessor imposes must take into account the penitent s personal situation and must seek his spiritual good It must correspond as far as possible with the gravity and nature of the sins committed It can consist of prayer an offering works of mercy service of neighbor voluntary self denial sacrifices and above all the patient acceptance of the cross we must bear Such penances help configure us to Christ who alone expiated our sins once for all They allow us to become co heirs with the risen Christ provided we suffer with him 63 The satisfaction that we make for our sins however is not so much ours as though it were not done through Jesus Christ We who can do nothing ourselves as if just by ourselves can do all things with the cooperation of him who strengthens us Thus man has nothing of which to boast but all our boasting is in Christ in whom we make satisfaction by bringing forth fruits that befit repentance These fruits have their efficacy from him by him they are offered to the Father and through him they are accepted by the

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    been considered to be the one who principally has the power and ministry of reconciliation he is the moderator of the penitential discipline 66 Priests his collaborators exercise it to the extent that they have received the commission either from their bishop or religious superior or the Pope according to the law of the Church 67 1463 Certain particularly grave sins incur excommunication the most severe ecclesiastical penalty which impedes the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts and for which absolution consequently cannot be granted according to canon law except by the Pope the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them In danger of death any priest even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions can absolve from every sin and excommunication 69 1464 Priests must encourage the faithful to come to the sacrament of Penance and must make themselves available to celebrate this sacrament each time Christians reasonably ask for it 70 1465 When he celebrates the sacrament of Penance the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful The priest is the sign and the instrument of God s merciful love for the sinner 1466 The confessor is not the master of God s forgiveness but its servant The minister of this sacrament should unite himself to the intention and charity of Christ 71 He should have a proven knowledge of Christian behavior experience of human affairs respect and sensitivity toward the one who has fallen he must love the truth be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    effect of this sacrament For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition reconciliation is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation 74 Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true spiritual resurrection restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God of which the most precious is friendship with God 75 1469 This sacrament reconciles us with the Church Sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion The sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it In this sense it does not simply heal the one restored to ecclesial communion but has also a revitalizing effect on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her members 76 Re established or strengthened in the communion of saints the sinner is made stronger by the exchange of spiritual goods among all the living members of the Body of Christ whether still on pilgrimage or already in the heavenly homeland 77 It must be recalled that this reconciliation with God leads as it were to other reconciliations which repair the other breaches caused by sin The forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being where he regains his innermost truth He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded He is reconciled with the Church He is reconciled with all creation 78 1470 In this sacrament the sinner placing himself before the merciful judgment of God anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life For it is now in this life that we are offered the choice between life and death and it is only by the road of conversion

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