The Seven Sacraments of the Church
In each edition one of the seven sacraments of the church will be discussed. This edition the sacrament is penance.
Penance could also be called confession or repentance. The sacrament of penance is when a sinner is reunited with God. By the forgiveness of the sins and the reunion with Christ the sacrament renews salvation and having hope of eternal life.
Ingredients of penance is for the person to feel sorrow for the sin, have the will to repent, have faith in Christ, perform oral confession to a priest, and the priest's prayer of absolution.
Oral confession has been practiced since the time of the Apostles. "And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds." Acts 19:18
Why do we have to confess to a priest?
This is a common question asked by many, and the answer is that priests have received the power from Christ to absolve sins.
In John 20:23 Jesus is talking to his apostles who where the first priests and He tells them:
"If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any they are retained."
The priest has to use the holy spirit and his wisdom, he may order the repentant to observe some disciplines, such as fasting, prayer, genuflexion (matanias), almsgiving (Giving to the poor), or delay of communion. These are remedies for the soul and aid in its struggle in the spiritual life, and are in no way considered punishment for sins.
Christ is the forgiveness of all sin.
"And he himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." 1 John 2:2