The sacrament of penance, or reconciliation, instituted by our Lord is given to us so that sins committed after baptism might be forgiven in order that there be reconciliation between God and man.
The sacrament is made up of the following essential parts:
- Contrition for sins including a heartfelt sorrow, along with the intention of sinning no more.
- Confession of sins to a priest, which is the acknowledgment of personal sin before God derived from a knowledge of one’s sin arrived at by prior examination of conscience.
- The performance of an act of penance or satisfaction on the part of the penitent, which was assigned by the priest and is in degree suited to the offense and intended to call one to renewal of life and on-going conversion.
- The sign of absolution which is the action whereby the priest grants through God, in the person of Christ, pardon to the penitent.