The Sacrament of Penance is the first of two sacraments of healing. The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions in the following order and capitalization different names of the sacrament, calling it the sacrament of conversion, Penance, confession, forgiveness and Reconciliation. It is the sacrament of spiritual healing of a baptized person from the distancing from God resulting from sins committed. When people sin after baptism, they cannot have baptism as a remedy; Baptism, which is a spiritual regeneration, cannot be given a second time.
The sacrament involves four elements: (1) Contrition (the penitent’s sincere remorse for wrongdoing or sin, repentance, without which the rite has no effect); (2) Confession to a priest who has the faculty to hear confessions (Canon 966.1) – while it may be spiritually helpful to confess to another, only a priest has the power to administer the sacrament; (3) Absolution by the priest; and, (4) Satisfaction or penance.Read More