Does God require penance from us?


I’ve been in a discussion about penance on another thread, which was off topic. Another poster and I have reached an impass over the idea. So, I thought I’d start this to get some additional input. The conversation has narrowed to the idea of God’s satifaction in relation to penance, and whether he needs anything.

Penances can be formal or informal, but they amount to the same thing-expressions before God of sorrow over one’s sins, which is not only required by God but also by human nature; human beings have an innate need to mourn tragedies, and their sins are tragedies.
This quote comes from


God requires that we do penance, because doing penance is good for us. It teaches us self-discipline and helps us to develop virtuous habits. These things in turn help us to become closer to God, and to love Him more fully. :slight_smile:


Then your idea of God is that he’s imperfect, because he needs something


We need it God does not.

He requires us to respond to Him, and that is the real issue.


Yep. Penance is part of the process that can bring fallen creatures with free will closer to God, and closer to that sanctification and perfection which God wills for each of his children.


1 Corinthians 3:2
I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

When talking to a child you might explain ‘good’ and ‘bad’ more in terms of reward and punishment. This is a valid option, given the audience you’re talking to.

However we should approach ideas about God as adults and know from the start that God is perfect. He does not need for anthing.

Any talk then about him needing Satisfaction then must be seen in the light that it’s not the fullest expression of truth available.

Unfortunately, the Catholic Church uses language that peaks at the lower level of expression. The RCC talks about rewards and punishments

We need not dwell upon the possibility of the salvation of mankind or upon
its appropriateness. Nor need we remind the reader that after God had
freely determined to save the human race, He might have done so by
pardoning man’s sins without having recourse to the Incarnation of the
Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. Still, the Incarnation of the Word
was the most fitting means for the salvation of man, and was even
necessary, in case God claimed full satisfaction for the injury done to him
by sin (see INCARNATION).
How was God (who is perfect) injured?

In the catechism…
1494 The confessor proposes the performance of certain acts of
"satisfaction" or “penance” to be performed by the penitent in order to repair the harm caused by sin and to re-establish habits befitting a disciple of Christ.
This is a better explanation. Except it doesn’t express to whom the harm is done… which must be to us.

However elsewhere it goes to talk about God needing to be satisfied
616 It is love “to the end” that confers on Christ’s sacrifice its value as
redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved
us all when he offered his life. Now “the love of Christ controls us,
because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have
died.” No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the
sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in
Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces
all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind,
makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

Protestants also have a God that needs…
See for instance John Calvin’s Teaching on the Vicarious Sin-bearing of Christ by Dr. Brian Allison
Wherein he quotes Calvin…
"His fundamental assumption was that man by sinning offended the honour of God. Now God could either punish man or demand satisfaction of him. Since the former alternative would have involved the destruction of man, His handiwork, He chose the latter, in order that man might be saved. The satisfaction required was an infinite satisfaction, such as no mere man could render; and therefore it became necessary for the Son of God to become man, in order to satisfy the divine honour"
Vicarious Atonement, 22f


He does not need nor require anything


He requires US meaning those who believe in Him
To do certain things that entail a response

Or can I stop going to Mass now?


If he requires it, he’s not perfect.

I sense a bit of indignation creeping into your posts.


Sense it all you want to.

You see my sig?

Okay, so God doesnt require me to practice the theological virtues, or go to Mass, or a darn thing?

Why oh why did he waste so much time with the commandments if he requries nothing of us?

Why oh why do we have a Church if we are not required to do a blasted thing?

Of course, God does not require a single person to belive in Him,.

But once you do, BINGO

There is no way out, but Hell.



God is a loving Father. He does require us to be obedient to the Church, not because this benefits Him in any way, but because it is of benefit to us. God loves us, which is why He requires us to do things that will be good for us.

Just as a loving mother and father require their children to eat vegetables, exercise regularly, go to school, and associate with wholesome companions. None of these things benefit the parents in any way; they require these things because they are good for the children.


I agree and that is why I said believers of God are required to respond to Him.

Now, why is what I said being challenged?

Lets hear it.


More evidence!

He doesn’t. For you its necessary. Not for him.

Appeals to incredulity! Aside from that you’re yet to show how a perfect being requires anything


You said

He does not.


Because Montalban doesn’t want to listen to what you are saying. He would rather have a debate with Catholics where no disagreement exists. We do not believe God needs anything from us.


He does require me as a beliver, as I said before

To do things.

How are you not required to do things as a believer?

Get me into that gig.



I think you are mistakenly using the word “require” to mean “need.”

God doesn’t need anything from us, but He most certainly requires many things from us.


Thank you

Someone here has figured this one out.


:smiley: :slight_smile:

Thank you and God be with you always!


My take on it is that WE need penance, to prevent our hearts from hardening against God, and to reduce the space between us and Him. (my personal thought, though, and if anyone thinks it needs correcting I’d love to hear it!)

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