In the Roman Catholic Church, people go to confession to say sorry for the wrong (sin) in their lives and to experience God’s healing through forgiveness.
Confession also permits reconciliation with the Church, which is wounded by the sins people commit.
Catholics believe that baptism removes original sin, the belief that all people are born tainted by sin. Therefore, baptism turns us back to God. Despite this, humans still commit sin. As a result, Catholics regularly confess their sins.
The act of confession is important because it allows Roman Catholics to put things right with God and to know that they have been forgiven.
Roman Catholics believe it is important to continue to confess sin (even though someone has already accepted Jesus as their Saviour) because we continue to sin and to be damaged by its on-going power.
The process of confession may include:
- being welcomed by the priest
- the sign of the cross is made by the priest and the confessor
- there is an invitation to trust God
- a reading from the Bible
- a confession of sin
- a proposal of deeds of penance – ie acts to be completed to show that one is sorry
- a conclusion with the words, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good”
- the person confessing replies, “His mercy endures forever”