1. Contrition – being truly sorry for our sins. There are two kinds: a. Perfect Contrition – we are sorry for our sins because we offended God. b. Imperfect Contrition (called Attrition) – we are sorry for our sins because we fear the loss of heaven and the pains of hell.

2. Confession – private and individual confession to a priest is necessary, and it is the rule. The practice of General Absolution is an exception, and it is allowed only in extreme cases, such as

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a) when the priest has no sufficient time to hear individual confessions and the penitents, through no fault of theirs, will be deprived of the sacrament of Confession for a long period of time or

b) when the number is so great that there is not enough time to hear individual confessions (example: when the military chaplain attends to the spiritual needs of soldiers on their way to the battlefield).

And when allowed, the penitent who availed of the General Absolution is still required to go to a priest for individual confession the soonest time possible afterwards.

3. Absolution – the priest absolves the penitent. It is Jesus Christ who imparts the forgiveness of all sins confessed through the person and ministry of the priest.

4. Satisfaction (or penance) – the penitent is required to do something – either say some prayers or do some good works – to rectify himself/herself and to repair the damage done.

Resolution – the penitent should have a serious resolve never to sin again. Otherwise, if he goes to confession and at the back of his mind he still intends to do it again, he is doing a mockery of the sacrament that may even lead to the grave sin of sacrilege.


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