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Penance

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Definition:   The sacrament that re-reconciles a Catholic with God through confession of sins to a priest. The Catholic must also pay for their sins by performing satisfaction (usually the recitation of “Hail Mary’s” and “Our Father’s). It is known as the “second plank of salvation for those who have made shipwreck of their faith.” Serious sins are considered “mortal,” since they kill or terminate the relationship with God. Less serious sins (venial) only wound the relationship, but should also be confessed as they can lead to the commission of mortal sins. If a Catholic dies having committed a mortal sin they go to hell. All sins that the Catholic commits (even if confessed) add to the time spent in Purgatory. The Pope is able to reduce time spent in Purgatory by creating and offering indulgences to the faithful.

Discussion: Those who truly trust in Jesus as their Savior are grafted into Christ and adopted into God’s family (Gal. 3:5-6). God does not disown His children when they commit serious sin (Jn. 6:37). Rather, He chastens them as a father (Heb. 12:6). A characteristic of a cult is trafficking in uncertainty. The poor Catholic has no way of knowing whether they have committed a mortal sin, since there is no inclusive list.

Articles & Viewpoints:

Q & A by Dr. Joe Mizzi – Penance and Repentance

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