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'Quick Help' Page: Does Penance Remit All Punishment Due To Sin?

 

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Sacrament of Penance

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Arrow Question / Issue:

Does the Sacrament of Penance remit all punishment due to sin?

 

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According to the Baltimore Catechism... (emphasis added)

Q. Does not the Sacrament of Penance remit all punishment due to sin?

A. The Sacrament of Penance remits the eternal punishment due to sin, but it does not always remit the temporal punishment which God requires as satisfaction for our sins.

Q. Why does God require a temporal punishment as a satisfaction for sin?

A. God requires a temporal punishment as a satisfaction for sin, to teach us the great evil of sin and to prevent us from falling again.

Q. Is the slight penance the priest gives us sufficient to satisfy for all the sins confessed?

A. The slight penance the priest gives us is not sufficient to satisfy for all the sins confessed: (1) Because there is no real equality between the slight penance given and the punishment deserved for sin; (2) Because we are all obliged to do penance for sins committed, and this would not be necessary if the penance given in confession satisfied for all. The penance is given and accepted in confession chiefly to show our willingness to do penance and make amends for our sins.

Q. Which are the chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to sin?

A. The chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to sin are: Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, all spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and the patient suffering of the ills of life.

+ + +

"Why in the Sacrament of Penance, as in that of Baptism, the punishment due to sin is not entirely remitted is admirably explained in these words of the Council of Trent. Divine justice seems to require that they who through ignorance sinned before Baptism, should recover the friendship of God in a different manner from those who, after they have been freed from the thralldom of sin and the devil and have received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, dread not knowingly to violate the temple of the God and grieve the Holy Spirit. It is also in keeping with the divine mercy not to remit our sins without any satisfaction, lest, taking occasion hence, and imagining our sins less grievous than they are, we should become injurious, as it were, and contumelious to the Holy Ghost, and should fall into greater enormities, treasuring up to ourselves wrath against the day of wrath. These satisfactory penances have, no doubt, great influence in recalling from and, as it were, bridling against sin, and in rendering the sinner more vigilant and cautious for the future." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)


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Sin (Topic Page)

Penance / Confession (Topic Page)

 

  

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