Other names for the sacrament of reconciliation
The richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names Catholics use to refer to it because each name emphasizes a different aspect of the sacrament through which we are reconciled with God and his church.
· The sacrament of penance emphasizes the personal acts of prayer, fasting, or almsgiving that reflects the sinner’s desire for conversion back to God. Penance is the act through which sinners make satisfaction for the harm or injury caused by their sin.
· The sacrament of confession emphasizes the disclosure of sins to a priest is an essential element of the sacrament. Calling it a confession also refers to the ‘confession’ that the sinner makes by acknowledging and praising God for his mercy and forgiveness.
· The sacrament of forgiveness emphasizes the fact that the sinner receives forgiveness through the words of absolution spoken by the priest who, functioning in the person of Christ and his church, extends God’s mercy and forgiveness.