THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION (OR CONFESSION)
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Confession): is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, instituted by Christ, in which the faithful obtain absolution for sins committed against God and neighbour and are reconciled with the community of the Church. By this sacrament we believe we are freed from sins committed after baptism.
The Church teaches that one should go to confession at least once a year. Nonetheless, it is advised to frequent this sacrament at least once a month or at a regular interval for spiritual well-being and to grow in love of God and neighbour.
The sacrament has four elements: three on the part of the penitent (contrition, confession, and satisfaction) and one on the part of the minister of the sacrament (absolution).
- There are two types of sin recognised by the Catholic Church: mortal sins and venial sins. In order for a sin to be mortal, it must meet three conditions:
- Mortal sin is a sin of grave matter.
- Mortal sin is committed with full knowledge of the sinner.
- Mortal sin is committed with deliberate consent of the sinner. One who has committed mortal sin has to repent of having done so and then confess it in order to benefit from the sacrament.
Venial sins, according to St Thomas Aquinas, are sins that is relatively slight or those committed without full reflection or consent and so does not deprive the soul of sanctifying grace. These sins can be remitted by contrition and reception of other sacraments. But they too constitute moral disorder; it is useful to declare them in sacramental confession.
At St Dominic’s priests are available for confession on Sundays and First Fridays before Mass. One may also ask for a priest any time during the day if one wishes to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation.