201. Why does the Church have the power to forgive sins?

The Church has the mission and the power to forgive sins because Christ himself has conferred it upon her: “Receive the Holy Spirit, if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).


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981. After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles "so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations."524 The apostles and their successors carry out this "ministry of reconciliation," not only by announcing to men God's forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ:525

[The Church] has received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit's action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us.526

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982. There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. "There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest.527 Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.528

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983. Catechesis strives to awaken and nourish in the faithful faith in the incomparable greatness of the risen Christ's gift to his Church: the mission and the power to forgive sins through the ministry of the apostles and their successors:

The Lord wills that his disciples possess a tremendous power: that his lowly servants accomplish in his name all that he did when he was on earth.529 Priests have received from God a power that he has given neither to angels nor to archangels .... God above confirms what priests do here below.530 Were there no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of life to come or eternal liberation. Let us thank God who has given his Church such a gift.531

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986. By Christ's will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance.

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987. "In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification" (Roman Catechism, I, 11, 6).


Acesse nossos estudos biblicos:

What is Abraham’s example of faith, and what can we learn from him? (Hebrews 11:8-12)

What is the responsibility of Christian leaders according to James 3:1-12?

What is the church’s role in promoting reconciliation according to Philemon 1:6?

What is the role of divine providence in the lives of the faithful? Can we find examples of this in the book of Tobias?

How important is courage and boldness according to Proverbs 28:1?

What does the Bible teach about the importance of humility and modesty?

What is the role of church leaders according to Ephesians 4:11-12?

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