Question about Penance

Hi, I have a question concerning the penance the priest gives after Confession.

If a person doesn’t do their penance whether by forgetting or deliberately, are they still absolved of their sins?

Another question:
What is the purpose of penance after Confession? Does it shorten the time in Purgatory for the sins that were confessed?

Thank you for your time in responding!:slight_smile:

Absolution is not conditional upon you performing your penance so if you don’t do it it does not affect the validity of your absolution.
However, you are bound to do the penance given to you. If you simply forget it is not a sin but if you deliberately refuse to do it then that is a sin to be confessed at next Confession.

The above is assuming your Confession was sincere. If at Confession before receiving absolution you actually had no intention to perform any penance given then that would mean your Confession was not a sincere one and even if the priest absolved you (because he did not know your intentions) your absolution would be invalid. You can fool the priest but you cannot fool God.

If a person forgot the sin they wanted to confess, that’s unintentional, so no harm there. If they deliberately put out the way the sin in their confession, that’s under a bad intention, and not the most purifying thing for the soul.

The penance is a bit of a way for making up for what you’ve done, to atone the balance of the damage you’ve done towards yourself or others (if there are serious things you commited to someone). They’re usually prayers so that the Lord gets closer to you and, now that you are in the state of grace after the absolution of the sin, you have more open arms to receive it. If you die right after your Confession and God considers your soul clean, I don’t think there are many reasons for Him to not let you get straight to Heaven! :wink:

As was already pointed out, absolution is an act that imposes no condition, however, the sins confessed may require an act of satisfaction.for the penitent’s own good.

I recommend that you look at the Catechism link (excerpt below) for more detail. :slight_smile:

From the CCC (Link):


1459 Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must “make satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins. This satisfaction is also called “penance.” (CCC 2412, 2487, 1473)

1460 The penance the confessor imposes must take into account the penitent’s personal situation and must seek his spiritual good. It must correspond as far as possible with the gravity and nature of the sins committed. It can consist of prayer, an offering, works of mercy, service of neighbor, voluntary self-denial, sacrifices, and above all the patient acceptance of the cross we must bear. Such penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins once for all. They allow us to become co-heirs with the risen Christ, “provided we suffer with him.”

I think you should discuss this with your confessor.

God bless.

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