question on forgiveness


Can mortal sins only be forgiven by a priest or can we say the Lord’s prayer and be forgiven?


From The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Only God forgives sin

1441 Only God forgives sins. Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, “The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” and exercises this divine power: “Your sins are forgiven.”[40] Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name.[41]

However, when we sin, we separate ourselves from the Body of Christ, which is the church, and we must be reconciled and Jesus gave this authority to the Church.

Reconciliation with the Church
1443 During his public life Jesus not only forgave sins, but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness: he reintegrated forgiven sinners into the community of the People of God from which sin had alienated or even excluded them. A remarkable sign of this is the fact that Jesus receives sinners at his table, a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God’s forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the People of God.[44]

1444 In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”[45] “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head.”[46]

1445 The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.

You can read the rest on this subject, in the Catechism, here;



If the authority to forgive sins is given to the Church, then are my sins not forgiven when I pray, “and forgive us our trespasses?”


… forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE THOSE THAT TRESPASS AGAINST US …

Can you honestly say that you have COMPLETELY forgiven EVERYONE that has ever hurt or offended you and hold not even the SLIGHTEST resentment / anger toward them?


so I can just skip this part of the prayer? What’s you’re point?


My point is that when we confess our sins to a priest and receive absolution we can be certain that our sins are forgiven because Christ promised that when He gave authority to the Apostles to forgive sins – *" … whose ever sins you forgive, WILL be forgiven … "

*If Jesus intended us to seek forgiveness directly from God, why would He have commanded His Apostles to go out and forgive sins? Seems like an awful waste of time to have them wander the country side on foot to forgive sins when the sinner can accomplish the same thing by going directly to God.


No, do not skip. This is an important and powerful part of the prayer Jesus gave us. He was quoting Sirach, 28:1-3:
*]He that seeketh to revenge himself, shall find vengeance from the Lord, and he will surely keep his sins in remembrance.
*]Forgive thy neighbour if he hath hurl thee: and then shall thy sins be forgiven to thee when thou prayest.
*]Man to man reserveth anger, and doth he seek remedy of God?[/LIST]When we invoke this portion of the Our Father, we should be remembering those sins that have been committed against us an, with God’s Grace, make concious effert to truly forgive them. This prepares us to be ready to be forgiven when we ask for such in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Venial sins are forgiven any time we ask and can be confessed to God alone in the privacy of our hearts or bedrooms. They have not caused separation from the body. Mortal sins need the Sacrament because of the separation that has been caused by them. As the prior poster stated, it is about reconciliation with the Church as well. If I have commmited a grave offence against my mother and try saying “I’m sorry” only to him, he is going to tell me to go and apoligise to my mother as well! Our Father who art in heaven feels the same…


Hi rciadan,

Thanks. That makes good sense and clears it up for me.

Hi Sir Knight,

my point of the thread was really to understand why the Lord would have us ask our sins to be forgiven if they could only be forgiven by the Church. Rciadan’s post cleared that up but thanks for your help as well.


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