SATURDAYS 4:00 P.M. TO 5:15 P.M.
The Sacrament of Penance is the liturgical celebration of God’s forgiveness of the sins of the penitent, who is thus reconciled with God and with the Church. The acts of the penitent—contrition, the confession of sins, and satisfaction or reparation—together with the prayer of absolution by the priest, constitute the essential elements of the Sacrament of Penance (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Glossary p. 892).”
Deliberations of Vatican II produced an entirely new understanding of the Sacrament of Penance. “A new name has been introduced: it may be called the Order of Penance, which is descriptive of the action in the sequential manner, or it may be called the Rite of Reconciliation, which is more accurate and descriptive of what the action accomplishes (Catholic Encyclopedia 466).” Sacrament of Penance still is acceptable.
“The well-known Parable of the Prodigal Son is perhaps the most strikingly powerful illustration of the human process of reconciliation, and of the theology inherent in the new Rite of Reconciliation. But many of us find it difficult to believe the story (see Luke 15:11-32). The father welcomes the son back instantly—doesn’t even wait for him to get to the house. And he isn’t at all interested in the young man’s confession, only in celebrating. This is not the way we Catholics have viewed the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Even with the new Rite, most of us tend to view this sacrament with the attitude of the older son in the story: Forgiveness comes only after you recite your list of sin, agree to suffer a bit for them, do something dto make up for your offenses, give some guarantee you won’t commit the same sins again, and prove yourself worthy to join the rest of us who haven’t been so foolish!
But God really is like the merciful parent in this parable: not out to catch us in our sin but intent on reaching our and hangin on to us in spite of our sin Reconciliation (and the new Rite is careful to point this out) is not just a matter of getting rid of sin. Nor is its dominant concern what we, the penitents, do. The important point is what God does in, with and through us. (Sandra DeGidio, O.S.M., Catholic Update, CU 0386)”