Forgiven of sins verses absolved of sins


What is the difference? Is there any?

If you, say, ask God for forgiveness after catching yourself in sin, does He forgive you then and there, or does He only “truly” forgive us after we make use of the sacrament of confession? Not trying to ask this as an argument against confession. Just curious what the difference is in God’s response to us whether we contritely ask for forgiveness then and there verses going to Confession. Like, does God answer us “Nope, I wont forgive you until you go to confession.” (which I don’t believe is the case, mind you hehe). I understand the need for confession, yet this is something I’ve been wondering lately. I hope that makes sense :slight_smile:

God Bless :slight_smile:


We are called to holiness and part of that is continual conversion, day by day. My gut reaction is that sins are forgiven in confessions, with the absolution from the priest, in the place of Christ. Confessions is the normal way for confessions and absolution. At the moment of death, our fate is in the hands of God regarding unconfessed sins.

What happens “then and there” when you sin is you should try to internalize the repentance for sin, to avoid and prevent a recurrence. That “purpose of amendment” is probably most impressionable on us shortly after we recognize that we have committed a sin.


Forgiveness is the remission of sins, and in the case of mortal sin, restoration to the state of grace.

Absolution necessary carries with it forgiveness, but it is also a juridical act of the Church by which one is not merely forgiven, but reconciled; the rupture between the sinner and mystical body is healed, something not fully acquired by a mere act of perfect contrition. Forgiveness is an act of God which the priest imparts in persona Christi. Absolution is a juridical act of the Church, which the priest imparts by the power of the Keys.

The nature of absolution is why a priest requires not only Holy Orders, but faculties in order to validly absolve. It also explains why one ordinarily requires absolution before returning to Holy Communion after a state of mortal sin, even if one had re-acquired the state of grace through an act of perfect contrition.

It’s also why the validity of the sacrament is endangered if a priest tries to be “helpful” and says “I forgive you” rather than “I absolve you.” They are not quite the same.

  • Absolution is the act by which a qualified priest, having the necessary jurisdiction, remits the guilt and penalty due to sin.
  • Forgiveness is when God forgives sins to the truly repentant either immediately through an act of perfect contrition or mediately through a sacrament.

Ref: Modern Catholic Dictionary.


We are physical as well as spiritual creatures. Confession gives us certainty that our sins are absolved; otherwise all we can do is hope our prayer of repentance obtained forgiveness.

ETA: under normal circumstances


Absolution carries penance with it and thus fixes the temporal damage our sins have caused. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily have this. That is my understanding, I could be wrong though


Thank you, that helped a lot :smiley:


That makes sense :slight_smile:


The Sacrament of Reconciliation is when we are sorry for our sins and reconcile with God.

Forgiveness has been offered to us by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

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