Types of penances

After confession, what types of penances does the priest hand out?

Is there a list somewhere for recommended penances for certain types of sins?

I’ve heard of saying Hail Mary’s and mortification…

Whatever he wants (within reason). :smiley:

My usual priest typically requests penitents to spend a little time thinking about how much God loves us and thanking Him, or sometimes he will ask us to say a prayer for family, friends, or for anyone who might need it. Once, for the Christmas season, he was asking everyone, if possible, to write short “love notes” for family members (that was a difficult one - I thought, “Can I write a ‘Like Note’ instead?”). A visiting priest suggests saying a few short prayers or thinking about one of the Mysteries of the rosary.

I always end up with Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Usually a couple/few of each. Most I can remember getting is 10 of each. However, these days priests usually don’t give tough penances. I think it’s more on the person to do stuff in addition to it.

When I go to confession, my penance is usually a decade of the rosary. I don’t think it’s anything I’m doing in particular; I think we just have a priest who is a little more ‘old school’ and likes to dish it out.

Personal penances can be observed, and some of these may include fasting, and mortification. The example of a group that perform the mortifications would be the Opus Dei, though I don’t believe it’s a requirement for them to do so.

Thanks y’all!

I thought I’d have to like…go on a carrot-n-radish diet for a week or something…

Is there a Catechism that teaches that forgiveness of sins is different from punishment for sins? That you will be forgiven but that all sins will still be punished by God?

When we are forgiven, through the sacrament of reconciliation, God remembers our sins no more. And because God has a perfect memory, it means that our sins no longer exist, otherwise he would remember them. We cannot be punished for sins that do not exist.

The sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is God’s mercy in action and one of the most beautiful gifts we have been given.

So if god wished to remember your sins which he wiped clean he would not be able to? What about those who you offended against - if a rapist/murderer commits an offense against one of your family members and is absolved by a priest, will you remember the sin while god has forgotten it ever happened? Are the effects of the sin truly erased?

I asked because I read a writing by a certain Doctor of the Church, and it states that all good deeds are rewarded, and all sins are punished. I know personal revelations are not binding, but she’s a Doctor and all…

Perhaps you’re thinking of “temporal punishment”?


Catechism of the Catholic Church

The punishments of sin

***1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.83

1473 The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the “old man” and to put on the "new man."84***


As far as I know there is no list of prescribed penances for various sins - otherwise you would accuse yourself when you were doing your penance, which goes against the whole idea of private Confession.

In my experience, most priests assign simple prayers or short Scripture readings.

If you throw a baseball through my window I am going to hold you to account. I may forgive you for the act, but you are still going to have to pay for the window.

I think it is self-evident, in the example you gave, that the effects of sin are not erased. the effects of this particular sin would go on for a lifetime. But we have a merciful God and if we confess the sin with a contrite heart and do penance and even reparation if called for, yes, it is forgiven and forgotten by God;

**“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” ** (Hebrews 8:12)

If you do not forget my sin, but God does, do you know something that God doesn’t? Don’t you see any sort of problem with this logic?

God doesn’t literally forget anything, that would be absurd. It’s more of a choice to not let the repented sin cause a block in our relationship, not amnesia.

I am aware that what you are stating is slightly more logical. Please see above for what I was responding to, however.

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