THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION (CONFESSION)
We receive the great gift of salvation in the Sacrament of Baptism, but in reality, we still struggle with sin in our lives. Catholics find great comfort in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation (Confession) because we have an opportunity to be forgiven from the sins we commit after we are baptised. St Ambrose said that there are two conversions “water and tears: the water of Baptism and the tears of repentance.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1429)
Like all of the Sacraments, Confession is a personal encounter with Jesus. In Confession we are telling our sins to the priest who acts in the person of Christ and with the authority of Jesus to listen, offer guidance, provide a suitable penance, and speak the words of absolution.
Jesus gave the power to forgive sins to the apostles when he appeared to them after his resurrection in John’s Gospel. "Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1495).
"The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:
reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
reconciliation with the Church;
remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1496)