Paragraph 1447

1447. Over the centuries the concrete form in which the Church has exercised this power received from the Lord has varied considerably. During the first centuries the reconciliation of Christians who had committed particularly grave sins after their Baptism (for example, idolatry, murder, or adultery) was tied to a very rigorous discipline, according to which penitents had to do public penance for their sins, often for years, before receiving reconciliation. To this “order of penitents” (which concerned only certain grave sins), one was only rarely admitted and in certain regions only once in a lifetime. During the seventh century Irish missionaries, inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition, took to continental Europe the “private” practice of penance, which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church. From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest. This new practice envisioned the possibility of repetition and so opened the way to a regular frequenting of this sacrament. It allowed the forgiveness of grave sins and venial sins to be integrated into one sacramental celebration. In its main lines this is the form of penance that the Church has practiced down to our day.


Aprofunde seus conhecimentos

139. What symbols are used to represent the Holy Spirit?

445. What does God prohibit by his command, “You shall not have other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2)?

22. What importance does the New Testament have for Christians?

426. What is merit?

102. How did God prepare the world for the mystery of Christ?

368. When is an act morally good?

567. What times are more suitable for prayer?


Acesse nossos estudos biblicos:

What is Jonah’s story and what lessons can we learn from it?

What is the importance of caring for the weak according to James 1:27?

How can wisdom protect us from evil, as revealed in Wisdom 7:28-29?

How the Annunciation Story Can Inspire Us to Trust God (Luke 1:26-38)

What is Amos’ criticism of superficial religion, and how does he highlight the importance of a genuine heart?

Manna in the Wilderness: How did God provide manna for his people in the desert and what does this teach us about providing it? (Exodus 16)

What does 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 teach us about generosity and prosperity?