BibleBeltCatholics | Sharing quotes and writings of the Early Church Fathers with our separated Christian brethren in the South!
Home 1st-2nd Century 3rd-4th Century 5th-8th Century The Catechism Today About this site

The Catholic Church and
the term Catholic
Peter and the Papacy
The Sacraments
Mother?of?God Baptism
Immaclate?Conception Confession
Virgin?Birth   Penance
Immaclate?Conception Eucharist
    The Mass
Virgin?Birth   The Real Presence
Virgin?Birth   Clerical celibacy
  Anointing of the Sick
Other Church Teaching
The Word of God
Heaven, Purgatory and Hell

<<  The Catechism of the Catholic Church Today!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church Today on the Sacrament of Confession [the contrition part].


  • The Catechism Today
  • All the Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures



<< This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states on this issue: >>



VII. The Acts Of The Penitent


1450 "Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction." (Roman Catechism II,V,21; cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1673)




1451 Among the penitent's acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again." (Council of Trent (1551): DS 1676)


1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called "perfect" (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible. (cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1677)


1453 The contrition called "imperfect" (or "attrition") is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin's ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance. (cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1678; 1705)


1454 The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. The passages best suited to this can be found in the Ten Commandments, the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings. (cf. Matthew 5-7; Romans 12-15; 1 Corinthians 12-13; Galatians 5; Ephesians 4-6; etc.)


In Brief


1492 Repentance (also called contrition) must be inspired by motives that arise from faith. If repentance arises from love of charity for God, it is called "perfect" contrition; if it is founded on other motives, it is called "imperfect."


1493 One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. The confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.




  1. Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218)
    Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253)
    St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258)
    St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372)
    St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378)
    St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310-375)
    St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367)
    St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315-386)
    St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389)
    St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396)
    St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407)
    St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354-428)
    St. Cyril of Alexandria, (A.D. 376-444)
    Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus, (A.D. 393-458)
    St. Nilus the Elder, (c. A.D. late 4th century - c. 430)
    St. Peter Chrysologus, (A.D. 406 - 450))

Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218), North African; ecclesiastical writer, Christian apologist and lawyer, son of a centurion and contemporary of St. Irenæus, a native and citizen of Carthage. The zeal and ability with which he defended the Christian cause, and vindicated its faith and discipline, have immortalized his name, though it has suffered by his adoption, around the year A.D. 200, of some of the Montanist's errors, whose cause he is thought to have supported until his death. His works are numerous, and are written with great ability and erudition, but in an harsh style.

"For all sins, therefore, whether committed in the flesh or in the spirit, whether by deed or will. He who has appointed punishment through condemnation, has also promised forgiveness through penitence, saying unto the people: Be penitent, and I will make thee whole. And again, "I live, saith the Lord, and I will have penitence rather than death." Wherefore penitence is life, seeing that it is preferred before death. To this penitence do thou, O sinner, like unto myself, (yea, less than myself, for I acknowledge my superiority in sinfulness) so press, so embrace it, as does the shipwrecked the protection of some plank. This shall hold thee up, when plunged in the waves of sin, and shall bring thee onwards to the haven of divine mercy."

"How foolish, how unjust, not to fulfill penitence, and to expect the pardon of sins; this is, not to pay the price, and yet to stretch forth the hand for the merchandise. For at this price the Lord hath determined to grant His forgiveness: by this compensation of penitence He proposes that freedom from punishment is to be repurchased. If, therefore, those who sell, first examine the money which they covenant to receive, lest it be cut, or scraped, or of false metal, we believe that the Lord also will first test our penitence when about to grant us go great a reward, to wit, that of everlasting life. But, thou wilt say, "Let us put off our actual penitence until that time." It shall then, I suppose, be seen that we are amended, when we are absolved. By no means. But it must be when, pending the pardon, punishment is before our eyes. When we have not yet merited to be delivered, that we may be able to merit it."

De Paenit. n. 6, p. 122.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 26-27

Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253), Alexandrian; born in Egypt, philosopher, theologian, writer.

"The chains of sins are bonds which are burst asunder, not only by means of divine baptism, but also by martyrdom for Christ, and by tears which flow from penitence."

T. ii. Select, in Psalm 115. p. 792, 790;
Also T. iv. L. ii. in Ep. ad Romans n. 1, p. 476.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 27

St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258), North African; bishop; biblical scholar, martyr.

"I beseech you, most dear brethren, let each confess his sin, whilst he that has sinned is yet amongst the living; while his confession can be admitted; while the satisfaction and the remission made through the priests, are pleasing before the Lord. Let us turn to the Lord with the whole mind, and expressing penitence for crime with real grief, supplicate the mercy of God. Before Him be the soul prostrate; Him let our sadness satisfy; on Him let all our hope lean. How we ought to entreat, Himself says: "Be converted to me, He says, with all your heart, and also with fasting, weeping, and mourning, and rend your hearts, and not your garments. (Joel 2:12) To the Lord let us return with all our heart. Let us appease His wrath and displeasure with fastings, with tears, with mournings, as Himself admonishes. ... If any man offer prayer with his whole heart; if he groan in the true lament and tears of penitence; if by just and continued works he bend the Lord to a pardon of his sin, He, who in these words made known His mercy, may show mercy to such: "When in lamentation thou returnest to me, then shall thou be saved." (Isaiah 30:15)

De Lapsis, pp. 383-6, et passim.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 27

St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372), Egyptian; bishop, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. He was present, as an assistant to St. Alexander of Alexandria, at the council of Nicea who he succeeded in A.D. 326. During more than forty years he was the champion of orthodoxy, and suffered much severe persecution from the Arian party.

"Christ did not say, he that blasphemes and repents shall not be forgiven, but he that abides in his blasphemy; for a worthy repentance looses all sins."

Frag. Comm. in Matthew T. 1, p. 1008.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page28

St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378), Syrian; born in Nisebis, deacon, hymnist, poet. His works were even during his own lifetime almost all translated into Greek, and were, as St. Jerome informs us, held in such high estimation, as to be read in some churches after the Holy Scriptures. We have his life by St. Gregory of Nyssa.

"The Lord that came down from the bosom of the Father, and became to us the way of salvation, instructs us, with His blessed and divine voice, on the subject of penitence, saying:

"I came not to call the just, but sinners to penitence"

and again,

"They that are whole need not the physician, but they that are sick."

If I utter these things, believe me not, but if it be the Lord Himself, why dost thou contemn them by the carelessness of thy life? If thou art conscious of having within thyself the wounds of words and deeds, why art thou careless about thy secret wounds? Why fearest thou the physician? . . . If thou wilt but draw nigh to Him, He is full of goodness and of mercy. For thy sake He came down from the bosom of the Father; for thy sake He became incarnate; that thou mightest approach Him without fear. . . . With much love and all goodness He calls thee unto Him. Come to me, O sinner, and be easily healed. Cast from thee the load of thy sins, and apply tears to thy corruption. For this heavenly Physician, being good, cures wounds with tears and groans. Approach, sinner, to that good Physician; bring with thee that best of remedies— tears. For thus does the heavenly Physician wish each one to be healed by his own tears, and to be saved."

T. i. Gr. De Paenit, p. 148.
See also T. ii. Gr. In Sec. Advent. Dom. p. 206.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 29

St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310-375), bishop of Barcelona, Jerome praises his eloquence, learning, chastity, and holiness of life. He is also remembered from a phrase from one of his letters: "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic.".

"I know that this pardon by penitence is not bestowed indiscriminately on all men, and that there is no unbinding until there be a presumption, or perhaps a direct manifestation, that such is the divine will. That, with much weighing of the matter, and great deliberation, after many sighs and tears, joined with the prayers of the Church, pardon is not to be denied to true penitence, but still so, that no one prejudge, where Christ is to be the judge."

Galland. T. vii. n. 7, p. 259, Ep. i.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 30

St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367), French; husband, theologian, bishop of Poiters around A.D. 355, and Doctor of the Church. Referred to as the "Hammer of the Arians" and the "Athanasius of the West.". He was obviously a firm supporter of St. Athanasius.

"My eyes have exceeded springs of waters. (Psalm 118:136) Conscious of his past sins, as history testifies, although he had turned himself to God with his whole heart. . . .Yet does he not even now cease, by tears of true penitence, to wash away the crime of his past conduct, saying, "My eyes have exceeded springs of waters." For this is the voice of penitence, to pray with tears; with tears to groan; and in this confidence to say, "Every night I will wash my bed, I will water my couch with my tears." (Psalm 6:7) This is pardon of sin, to weep with a fountain of tears, and to be watered with an abundant rain of tears. . . . The confession, indeed, of sin, is always in season, because penitence for sin ought not to cease, but the termination of sin is of a season gone by; because true confession of sin is, to have ceased from what we felt we were to be penitent for. And, therefore, the prophet ceases not to confess sin, and to confess sin as a thing of the past."

Tract. in Psalm 118. (Litt. 17) n. 13, pp. 390-91.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 28

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315-386), Palestinian; ordained by Maximus, he was made bishop of Jerusalem in A.D. 345; scholar and Doctor of the Church. None of his writings have been preserved to us, except eighteen catechetical instructions addressed to catechumens, and five mystagogic discourses addressed to neophytes.

"What then? some one will say. We have been deceived, and are lost; is there no salvation henceforward? We have fallen; cannot we rise . . . He who shed His precious blood for us, the same shall rescue us from sin. Let us not despair of ourselves, brethren; let us not cast ourselves into a state without hope; for dreadful is it not to believe that there is hope in penitence. . . . Thy accumulated sins do not exceed the multitude of the mercies of God; thy wounds do not baffle the experience of the chief Physician. Only give thyself (to Him) with faith; tell the Physician thine ailment; do thou also say as David did: "I said, I will confess against myself mine iniquity to the Lord. (Psalm 31:5); and what then follows shall happen to thee also: And thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my heart."

[He then gathers numerous instances of repentance and pardon, out of the Old Testament.]

Catech. ii.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 28-29

St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389), Cappadocian; archbishop, theologian, Doctor of the Church.

"Admit you not penitence? give you not room to sorrow, nor weep tears (of penitence)? May you never meet with such a judge? Are you not ashamed of Jesus' love for man; Jesus who took upon Himself our weaknesses, and bore our infirmities? Who came not to (call) the just, but sinners to penitence; who wills mercy rather than sacrifice; who pardons sins even unto seventy times seven times. How happy were your elevation, were it purity and not pride that thus establishes laws above man, and destroys amendment by despair. . . . Would you not receive David when repentant? And yet penitence preserved for him the gift of prophecy. . . . Nor him who at Corinth acted against all law? Yet Paul continued charity towards him, when made acquainted with his amendment, and assigned this cause, "Let such a one be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow." (2 Corinthians 2), weighed down by excess of reproof. . . . But all this was not after baptism. Where is your proof? Either prove this, or condemn not."

T. i. Or. xxxix. pp. 635-36.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 29-30

St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396), German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus.

"Should any one having secret sins, yet, for Christ's sake, heartily do penitence, how shall he receive the reward, unless he be restored to communion? I would have the guilty hope for the pardon of his sins; beg it with tears; beg it with sighs; beg it with the tears of all the people; let him pray that he may be pardoned. And when, a second and a third time, his communion shall have been delayed, let him believe that his supplication has been too remiss; let him increase his tears; let him come again later in greater wretchedness; let him hold their feet in his arms, kiss them often, wash them with tears, nor let them go, that of him the Lord Jesus may say, "His many sins are forgiven, because he hath loved much."

T. ii. L. i. De Paenit. c. xvi. p. 414.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 30

"Let those who do penitence hear how they ought to proceed; with what zeal, what earnestness, what disposition of mind, what agitation of their inmost soul, what change of heart: Behold, "O Lord", he says, "for I am in distress; my bowels are troubled on account of my weeping; mine heart is turned within me." Thou seest what is the disposition of soul; see now the determination of mind, and the habit of body: "The ancients of the daughter of Sion have sat down upon the ground, they have held their peace; they have sprinkled their heads with dust, they are girded with haircloth." (Lamentations 2:10)

T. ii. Lib. ii. De Paenit. c. vi. n. 46.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 31

St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407), Syrian; archbishop, Doctor of the Church. Born at Antioch in 344; he was ordained priest in A.D. 383, and raised to the see of Constantinople in the year A.D. 398. His eloquence gained him the title of Chrysostom, or the mouth of gold. His expositions of Scripture, especially the Epistles of St. Paul, are very valuable. This illustrious prelate died on his road to exile, in A.D. 407.

"We who are bewailing neither children, nor wife, but the loss of the soul, of our own soul, not that of another, are seen to plead bodily weakness, and our niceness as regards food. And would that this were the only evil: but we do not even those things for which we require not bodily strength. For, tell me, where is the need of bodily strength, when the heart needs to be contrite, when we are to pray in soberness and watchfulness; to ponder on our sins; to destroy pride and foolishness; to humble our minds? For these are the things that make even God merciful unto us, and which require no great toil. And yet we do them not. For not the wearing of hair-cloth; nor the shutting one's self up in a cell; not the dwelling in darkness, is the only way of sorrowing, but the bearing about with us the remembrance of our evil deeds, and the afflicting the conscience with such reflections as these, the measuring continually the distance that we have wandered from the kingdom of Heaven. And how, you ask, shall this be done? How? If we have Hell always before our eyes, and the angels hurrying to and fro in every place, gathering together, out of the whole world, those that are to be led away to Hell, if we consider how great an evil is the loss of Heaven, even independently of Hell. Yea, though that fire were not threatened, though deathless punishments awaited us not; this alone, to be made aliens from Christ who delivered Himself up to death for us, is worse than all other punishment, and is enough to rouse the soul, and to move us to be ever on our guard."

T. i. Lib. i. De Compunctione, n. 10, p. 171.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 31-32

"This (compunction) though it may find a man overwhelmed with ten thousand evil deeds, entwined in various bonds of sins, on fire with the vehement flames of desire, surrounded with the bustle of the many cares of life, all this does it speedily drive away as with a scourge, and remove far from the soul."

T. i. Lib. ii. n. 3, pp. 177-78.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 32

"The part of penitence is this: to free those, who, after becoming new men, have again grown old through their sins, from that agedness, and to make them new men. Nevertheless, it is not possible to bring them back to that same splendor; for there (in baptism) grace was the whole. . . . "What then? Is there no penitence?" one says. There is penitence, but it is not a second baptism; but it is a penitence that has much power; and him that is deeply immersed in sins, if such be his will, it is able to free from that weight of sins, and to establish in security him that is endangered, even though he reach the very depth of evil. And this may be demonstrated from sundry places. . . . We have fallen away again, and not even so does He punish, but He has given the medicine of penitence, sufficient to abolish, and blot out all our sins, provided only we see what kind of medicine it is, and how it ought to be applied. Of what kind, then, is this medicine of penitence, and how is it to be prepared? First of all from the condemnation of our sins, and from confession; . . . Secondly from much humility, for it is as some golden chain, of which if one seize the beginning all follows. For if thou shalt confess thy sins, as thou oughtest to confess, the soul is humbled. But other things also must be joined to humility, that it may be such as blessed David prayed, saying: "Create a clean heart in me, O God;" and again, "A contrite and humbled heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise."

T. xii. Hom. ix. in Ep. ad Hebr. n. 3-4, pp. 137, 139-141.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 32

St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354-428), North African; born in Tagaste in A.D. 354, baptized in Milan in A.D. 387, ordained a priest in A.D. 391 and appointed bishop of Hippo in A.D. 395, Augustine is one of our greatest theologians. His numerous works display genius of the highest order, and have ever had great weight in the Christian churches. He is also a Doctor of the Church.

"Neither, as regards remission, in the Church, of crimes however grievous, is the mercy of God to be despaired of by those who do penitence, each according to the measure of his sins. But in the doing of penitence, in cases where such a sin has been committed that the transgressor has been separated from the body of Christ, not so much the amount of time, as of sorrow, is to be considered. For "a contrite and humble heart God does not despise." But as, for the most part, the sorrow of another's heart is not known to a third person, nor does it reach the knowledge of others by means of words, or of any other signs, it being in His sight to whom it is said, "My groaning is not hid from Thee", periods of penitence are rightly fixed by those who are over the churches, that the individual may also satisfy the Church, in which the sins themselves are remitted; for out of her they are not remitted. For she has received as hers the Holy Spirit as a pledge, without which sins are not remitted, so that they obtain eternal life unto whom (their sins) are remitted."

T. vi. Enchirid. de Fide, n. 17 (al. 66), col. 379.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 33

St. Cyril of Alexandria, (A.D. 376-444), Egyptian; bishop, theologian and Doctor of the Church. He succeeded Theophilus in the patriarchal see of Alexandria, in A.D. 412, and was the great champion of orthodoxy against Nestorius, against whom the general council of Ephesus was called, in A.D. 431 and in which St. Cyril presided.

"Be converted to me with all your heart." (Joel 2:12) Cast away the past, and let what has gone by be utterly in oblivion, and show forth in yourselves better things. Mitigate (the anger) of God by other things, by fasting and labor, weeping and lamentation. For the effect of engaging in these things shall be the enjoyment thenceforward of happiness and gladness. For, as prosperity ends, and the sinking into pleasures terminates in sighs and punishment, so, goodness and penitential labors eventuate in happiness. It is therefore profitable to weep over sin, and to be sorrowful according to God. For, as Paul writes, "The sorrow that is according to God worketh penitence steadfast unto salvation." Furthermore, it is necessary carefully to consider this, how great the efficacy of fasting is. It appeases the Lord; it mitigates His wrath; it averts punishment. For, subjecting ourselves to stripes, we readily appease the wrath of God well-nigh enkindled and inflamed against us, and we easily turn aside the hand that smites us."

T. iii. Coin, in Joel. p. 218.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 33-34

Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus, (A.D. 393-458), Greek; an influential author, theologian, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria (A.D. 423-457). He played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms. His friendship for Nestorius embroiled him, for a time, with his great contemporary, St. Cyril of Alexandria.

"The wounds which we receive after baptism are also curable; but curable, not by the remission taking place as formerly, through faith, but through many tears and sighs and lamentations, and fastings and prayer, and labors proportionate to the amount of sin committed. For we have been taught, neither to despair of persons so disposed, nor too readily to communicate to them the divine (mysteries)."

T. iv. L. iv. Haer. Fabul. c. xxviii. p. 479.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 34

St. Nilus the Elder, (c. A.D. 385 - c. 430) (also known as Nilus of Sinai, Neilos, Nilus of Ancyra), Syrian, was one of the many disciples and fervent students of St. John Chrysostom; an eyewitness of the martyrdom of Theodotus.

"As a tree dried up from want of water, if it receive water buds forth, so also a soul dead in sin, if it shall repent, and shall propitiate the master of the household, it is cleansed from its defilements, and having partaken of the spiritual grace, and the mind being irrigated with rich streams (drops), it brings forth fruits of justice."

L. ii. Epist. ccii. p. 225.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 35

St. Peter Chrysologus, (A.D. 406 - 450), deacon, bishop of Imola and Ravenna, and Doctor of the Church, his piety and zeal won for him universal admiration, and his oratory merited for him the name Chrysologus, meaning: golden-worded or golden mouth.

"Opportunely, during this time of fasting, has blessed John, the teacher of penitence, come unto us, a teacher in word and deed, a true master; what his word proclaims, his example sets forth. . . . We, therefore, have need of a greater penitence (than the Jews), and the nature of the remedy is to be proportioned to the nature of the wound. Let us, therefore, be penitent, my brethren, let us be penitent speedily, . . . the presence of the judgment already excludes us from the opportunity of satisfaction,. . . . and we who have not, of our own will, sought for merit, let us acquire virtue, at least by compulsion; that we may not be judged, let us be our own judges; we owe penitence to ourselves, that we may avert the sentence from ourselves. It is the highest happiness to enjoy the unvarying security of innocence; to preserve a holiness of body and of mind that never has been violated, . . . but if our mind should happen to have been pierced by any arrow of sin ... then let the medicine of penitence bring relief to the ailing, though not to the sound; let the knife of compunction be used, the cautery of sorrow applied, the fomentations of sighs be had recourse to, let the glowing heat of the swollen conscience evaporate, let the ulcers of guilt be washed with tears, let hair-cloth wipe away the uncleanness of the body. Let him who would not preserve his health as became him, endure the bitter observance of penitence. . . . And the same John had his garment of camel s hair (Matthew 3), ... in such a garment it behooved the teacher of penitence to be clothed, that they who had turned aside from the discipline of righteousness, and rendered themselves all deformed by various kinds of sins, might be subjected to the weighty burdens of penitence, and to the severe sufferings of satisfaction: that made straight and attenuated like a needle by passing through the narrow way of penitence, they may enter into the wide fields of forgiveness, and the Lord's saying be fulfilled, that "a camel can pass through the eye of a needle." (Matthew 19:24)

Serm. clxvii. pp. 232-33.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 34-35



What is required in this contrition or sorrow, is,

    • that it be interior, that is, that it spring from the heart, penetrated by the consciousness of guilt:
    • that it be supernatural, that is, that it arise from grace or the influence of the divine Spirit on the soul, and not from considerations merely human:
    • that it be supreme, that is, above all other grief:
    • that it be universal, that is, that it include every grievous sin of which the sinner has been guilty: and
    • that it contain a firm purpose of amendment, without which no sorrow can be real.


The Church's Scriptures that support Contrition are:


Repentance and contrition that includes exterior acts of satisfaction

6 I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief, it grows weak because of all my foes.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil; for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and sorely troubled; they shall turn back, and be put to shame in a moment.

(Psalms 6:6-10)

It always implies a recognition of wrong done to God, a detestation of the evil wrought, and a desire to turn from evil and do good.

51 1 <To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to> after he had gone in to Bathsheba.> Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in thy sight, so that thou art justified in thy sentence and blameless in thy judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will return to thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of thy deliverance.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
16 For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good to Zion in thy good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
19 then wilt thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on thy altar.

(Psalms 51:1-19)


11 "I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live."


(Ezekiel 33:11)

The Sign of Jonah

41 The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.


(Matthew 12:41)

Repent or Perish

13 1 There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? 3 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."


(Luke 13:1-5)

The Parable of the Prodigal and His Brother

11 And he said, "There was a man who had two sons; 12 and the younger of them said to his father, `Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. 15 So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, `How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants."' 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 But the father said to his servants, `Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; 23 and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; 24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to make merry. 25 "Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. 27 And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.' 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, `Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!' 31 And he said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'


(Luke 15:11-32)

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.' 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."


(Luke 18:9-14)

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
Untitled Document