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What is Reconciliation?

Reconciliation within the Catholic Church is a way of people reconnecting with God by owning their mistakes, recognising them and then seeking forgiveness. The idea of penance is that God is seen to be a merciful and loving God who always wants to bring people closer to him and into a deeper faith-filled relationship. If someone is truly sorry for what they have done, has gone through a proper period of penance and has turned themselves back to God through their actions, words and deeds then reconciliation and absolution can occur.


First Rite of Reconciliation

Private/Individual Confession : This is a private confession with a priest and is usually in a small booth with a grated window separating the Priest and the confessor. The idea here is that this is private and that only God is hearing who and what the true confessor is asking for forgiveness for. Basically the person runs through their sins and what they would like to ask God for forgiveness for. The Priest then says a special prayer called the Act of Contrition


Second Rite of Reconciliation

Communal Celebration : This is done in a formal and public setting. This is usually done within the mass. The priest does a blessing and a communal reconciliation after the homily. People then line up like they would for communion and the receive a private blessing from the priest at the alter with the same procedure as the first rite being followed. Go in peace is his final words to the reconciler.


Third Rite of Reconciliation

General Absolution : This rite is the least common and is done when there isn’t time for the Second Rite to occur because of danger and or emergency. The priest gives a general blessing of absolution which is basically a large scale forgiveness of sin. The community reflects for a short period of time and then the rite is complete (after a prayer of repentance). This can also be completed without a priest and in a private ‘conversation with God’.