Confession is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ in
his love and mercy. It is here that we meet the loving Jesus who
offers sinners forgiveness for offenses committed against God
and neighbor. At the same time, Confession permits sinners to
reconcile with the Church, which also is wounded by our sins.
The sacrament, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church
notes, is known by many names. The liturgical rite is officially
called the Rite of Penance & Reconciliation.
“…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” (CCC
“…the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the
Christian sinner's personal and ecclesial steps of conversion,
penance, and satisfaction” (CCC no. 1423).
“…the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or
confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this
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” (CCC no. 1424).
“…the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest's
sacramental absolution God grants the penitent ‘pardon and
peace’” (CCC no. 1424).
“…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’” (CCC no.