St. Mary Magdalen and the Priest,


PART 1, The Profession Of Faith;
ECTION 2; The Profession of The Christian Faith;
HAPTER 3, I Believe In The Holy Spirit.







ARTICLE 10, “I Believe In The Forgiveness Of Sins






976 THE Apostle’s Creed associates faith in the forgiveness of sins not only with [1] faith in the Holy Spirit, but also with [2] faith in the Church and [3] in the communion of saints. It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles that the risen Christ conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”( 520 Jn 20:22-23)

976 Symbolum Apostolicum fidem de peccatorum remissione cum fide in Spiritum Sanctum coniungit, sed etiam cum fide de Ecclesia et de sanctorum communione. Christus resuscitatus, Apostolis Suis donans Spiritum Sanctum, eis Suam propriam divinam remittendi peccata contulit potestatem: « Accipite Spiritum Sanctum. Quorum remiseritis peccata, remissa sunt eis; quorum retinueritis, retenta sunt » (Io 20,22-23).

(Part Two of the catechism will deal explicitly with the forgiveness of sins through Baptism, the sacrament of Penance, and the other sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Here it will suffice to suggest some basic facts briefly.)

(Altera Catechismi pars de peccatorum remissione per Baptismum, per sacramentum Paenitentiae et alia sacramenta, praesertim Eucharistiam aget explicite. Sufficit igitur hic breviter quaedam elementa commemorare fundamentalia).








I. Unum Baptisma in remissionem peccatorum







977 OUR Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” (521 Mk 16:15-16) Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that “we too might walk in newness of life.” (522 Rom 6:4; Cf. 4:25)

977 Dominus noster remissionem peccatorum ad fidem et Baptismum alligavit: « Euntes in mundum universum praedicate Evangelium omni creaturae. Qui crediderit et baptizatus fuerit, salvus erit » (Mc 16,15-16). Baptismus est primum et praecipuum sacramentum remissionis peccatorum, quia ipse nos cum Christo coniungit mortuo propter nostra peccata et resuscitato propter nostram iustificationem,547 ut « in novitate vitae ambulemus » (Rom 6,4).

978 “When we made our first profession of faith while receiving the holy Baptism that cleansed us, the forgiveness we received then was so full and complete that there remained in us absolutely nothing left to efface, neither original sin nor offenses committed by our own will, nor was there left any penalty to suffer in order to expiate them. . . . Yet the grace of Baptism delivers no one from all the weakness of nature. On the contrary, we must still combat the movements of concupiscence that never cease leading us into evil “(523 Roman Catechism I, 11,3)

978 « Venia, cum primum fidem profitentes sacro baptismo abluimur, adeo cumulate nobis datur, ut nihil aut culpae delendum, sive ea origine contracta, sive quid propria voluntate omissum vel commissum sit, aut poenae persolvendum relinquatur. Verum per baptismi gratiam nemo tamen ab omni naturae infirmitate liberatur: quin potius, [...] unicuique adversus concupiscentiae motus, quae nos ad peccata incitare non desinit, pugnandum » est.548

979 In this battle against our inclination towards evil, who could be brave and watchful enough to escape every wound of sin? “If the Church has the power to forgive sins, then Baptism cannot be her only means of using the keys of the Kingdom of heaven received from Jesus Christ. The Church must be able to forgive all penitents their offenses, even if they should sin until the last moment of their lives.” (524 Roman Catechism I, 11,4)

979 Quis, in hoc proelio cum inclinatione ad malum, sat esset strenuus et vigilans ad omne vulnus peccati vitandum? « Cum igitur necesse fuerit in Ecclesia potestatem esse peccata remittendi alia etiam ratione quam baptismi sacramento, claves regni caelorum illi concreditae sunt, quibus possint unicuique paenitenti, etiam si usque ad extremum vitae diem peccasset, delicta condonari ».549

980 It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church:

980 Per Paenitentiae sacramentum, baptizatus potest cum Deo et cum Ecclesia reconciliari:

Penance has rightly been called by the holy Fathers “a laborious kind of baptism.” This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn. (525 Council Of Trent (1551): DS 1672; Cf. St. Greg. Nazian., Oratio 39,17: SC 358, 188 PG 36,356)

« Merito Paenitentia "laboriosus quidam Baptismus"550 a sanctis Patribus dictus [...] [est]. Est autem hoc sacramentum Paenitentiae lapsis post Baptismum ad salutem necessarium, ut nondum regeneratis ipse Baptismus ».551








II. Potestas clavium







981 AFTER his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles “so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.” (526 Lk 24:47)

981 Christus, post Resurrectionem Suam, Suos misit Apostolos ut praedicarent « in nomine Eius paenitentiam in remissionem peccatorum in omnes gentes » (Lc 24,47).

The apostles and their successors carry out this “ministry of reconciliation,” not only by announcing to men God’s forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ: (527 2 Cor 5:18) Apostoli eorumque successores hoc « ministerium reconciliationis » (2 Cor 5,18) adimplent non solum hominibus remissionem a Deo annuntiantes, quam nobis Christus meruit, eosque ad conversionem et ad fidem vocantes, sed etiam eis remissionem peccatorum per Baptismum communicantes eosque cum Deo et cum Ecclesia reconciliantes virtute potestatis clavium a Christo receptae:

Penance as Post-Baptismal


[The Church] has received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit’s action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us. (528 St. Augustine, Sermo 214,11 ed. P. Verbraken: Revue Bénédictine 72 (1962):PL 38,1071-1072)

Ecclesia « claves accipit Regni caelorum, ut in illa per sanguinem Christi, operante Spiritu Sancto, fiat remissio peccatorum. In hac Ecclesia revivescit anima, quae mortua fuerat peccatis, ut convivificetur Christo, cuius gratia sumus salvi facti ».552

982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. “There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest. (529 Roman Catechism I, 11, 5) Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin. (530 Cf. Mt 18:21-22)

982 Nulla habetur culpa, cuiuslibet sit gravitatis, quam sancta Ecclesia remittere non possit. « Nemo adeo improbus et scelestus fuerit, quem si erratorum suorum vere paeniteat, certa ei veniae spes proposita esse non debeat ».553 Christus, qui pro omnibus hominibus mortuus est, vult ianuas remissionis in Ecclesia Sua semper apertas esse cuicumque qui redeat e peccato.554

983 Catechesis strives to awaken and nourish in the faithful faith in the incomparable greatness of the risen Christ’s gift to his Church: the mission and the power to forgive sins through the ministry of the apostles and their successors:

983 Catechesis nitetur ut in fidelibus fidem de incomparabili magnitudine doni a Domino resuscitato Eius Ecclesiae facti suscitet atque nutriat: missionis et potestatis peccata per Apostolorum eorumque successorum ministerium vere remittendi.

The Lord wills that his disciples possess a tremendous power: that his lowly servants accomplish in his name all that he did when he was on earth. (531 Cf. St. Ambrose, De poenit. I, 15: CSEL 73, 135-136 PL 16,490)

« Vult Dominus plurimum posse discipulos Suos, vult a servulis Suis ea fieri in nomine Suo, quae faciebat Ipse positus in terris ».555

Priests have received from God a power that he has given neither to angels nor to archangels . . . . God above confirms what priests do here below. (532 John Chrysostom, De sac. 3, 5: SC 272, PG 48,643)

« Potestatemque acceperunt [sacerdotes], quam neque angelis neque archangelis dedit Deus. [...] Ac quaecumque inferne sacerdotes faciunt eadem Deus superne confirmat ». 556

Were there no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of life to come or eternal liberation. Let us thank God who has given his Church such a gift. (533 St. Augustine, Sermo 213, 8: ed. G. Morin, Sancti Augustini sermones post Maurinos reperti [Guelferbytanus 1, 9] (Romae 1930) p. 448 PL 38,1064)

Remissio peccatorum « in Ecclesia si non esset, nulla spes esset: remissio peccatorum si in Ecclesia non esset, nulla futurae vitae et liberationis aeternae spes esset. Gratias agimus Deo, qui Ecclesiae Suae dedit hoc donum ». 557















984 The Creed links “the forgiveness of sins” with its profession of faith in the Holy Spirit, for the risen Christ entrusted to the apostles the power to forgive sins when he gave them the Holy Spirit.

984 Symbolum « remissionem peccatorum » cum Professione fidei in Spiritum Sanctum coniungit. Christus etenim resuscitatus potestatem remittendi peccata concredidit Apostolis, cum eis Spiritum Sanctum donavit.

985 Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit.

985 Baptismus primum est et praecipuum sacramentum pro remissione peccatorum: ipse nos cum Christo coniungit mortuo et resuscitato nobisque Spiritum Sanctum donat.

986 By Christ’s will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance.

986 Ex Christi voluntate, Ecclesia remittendi baptizatis peccata possidet potestatem quam, modo habituali, per Episcopos et presbyteros exercet in sacramento Paenitentiae.

987 “In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification” (Roman Catechism, I, 11, 6).

987 « Tum sacerdotes tum sacramenta ad peccata condonanda veluti instrumenta [...] [valent], quibus Christus Dominus, auctor Ipse et largitor salutis, remissionem peccatorum et iustitiam in nobis efficit ». 558

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