Strand: Prayer, Liturgy and Sacraments (PLSL3-4E3)

Levels 3 and 4

Through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance), the Church celebrates forgiveness, reconciliation and God's unconditional love.

Consider ways that God's unconditional love is celebrated in the sacrament of Reconciliation.


This level descriptor is specifically about The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance)

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance) is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. The Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick are known as sacraments of healing.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a gift from God that brings about the conversion and reconciliation of believers. The forgiveness of sins was an important part of Christ’s mission and he revealed an ever-loving and merciful God. This sacrament should celebrate the gift of God’s forgiveness and reconciliation. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the believer is invited to a conversion of heart and is offered God’s gratuitous gift of reconciliation.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is not just about saying sorry for the suffering caused but also about the sinner encountering the merciful love of God.

  • Reconciliation is not just about starting again but also about the Spirit renewing that which is broken in the believer.
  • Reconciliation is not just about restoring relationships with others but also about restoring the believer’s relationship with God.
  • Reconciliation is not just about changing one’s ways but also about experiencing a change of heart.
  • Reconciliation is not just about experiencing forgiveness but also accepting God’s gift of reconciliation.

It is very important that the believer seeking forgiveness is guided by the Church to become fully aware of the seriousness of his/her sin, understand the consequences of that behavior, have a conversion of the heart and experience reconciliation. As the sacraments have a communal aspect, the community of the faithful must welcome sinners and support them on their journey of conversion. Through the community, the sinner should experience God’s mercy.

Possible Scripture but not limited to:

New Testament

  • Lost Parables in Luke 15
  • Colossians 3:12-14. The community is called to forgive and love

Matthew 22-26  Sermon on the Mount

  • Matthew 16:19 Jesus gives the apostles the power to reconcile sinners
  • Matthew 18.21-22 Jesus responds to the question on forgiveness with his answer suggesting always (forgiveness not seven times but seventy-seven times)’
  • Romans 7:15, 20 Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome about his own struggle with sin and reconciliation
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. The Church continues Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation

Old Testament

  • Ps 86:5. “Lord, you are good and forgiving, most merciful to all who call on you”.
  • Micah 7:18-19 ‘Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.’
  • Isaiah 44:22 “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”  
  • Zechariah 3:4 “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” (God’s forgiveness removes sins to replace them with his blessings)
  • Jeremiah 31:34 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (God’s forgiveness does not dredge up one’s sins anymore)

More Information


Catholic Education South Australia. (2017.) Being with God: A Prayer and Liturgy Resource for planning and celebrating the Christian faith in Catholic Schools. 

See Learning Lites: Sacraments, Sacramentals and Sacramentality, Reconciliation, Sin, Conscience, Metanoia.

External Links

Being with God