The Sacrament of Penance is a Christian practice and/or structure provided to help people in their search for freedom. Penance gives the Church the power to forgive sins. After his resurrection Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins they are retained.” (John 20:22-23) Jesus instituted a sacrament through which God restores completely the relationship between the sinner and God himself. Through this sacrament the Church has the power to forgive sins and reconcile its members in the renewed faith.
The Sacrament of Penance offers people healing and freedom, and restores their sin-damaged relationship with God. “The whole power of the Sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship.” (CCC 1468) This Sacrament would also be referred to as the Sacrament of conversion, confession, forgiveness and reconciliation (CCC 1424) as it makes sacramentally present Jesus' call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin, the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent "pardon and peace.", and it imparts to the sinner the life of God who reconciles.
The Sacrament of Penance involves the process of confession, or reconciliation to God through his priests, this process is consisted of the examination of conscience, contrition, the confession of sins, the assignment of penance, the act of contrition, absolution and the carrying out of penance. Contrition is the wilful regret for one’s sins. The act of contrition is offered to express this regret of having offended God and resolve to sin no more, it is traditionally done through the prayer called “Act of Contrition.” Absolution is referred to the act of absolving the confessed sins by the priests. It could also be defined as “freeing oneself from guilt” and thus would lead to eventual freedom.
“Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. A sin is a deliberate thought, word or action against the law of God… Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our heart away from it.” (CCC 1850) A Catholic is required to go to Confession once a year during Lent and at any other time that the person has mortal sin. "Those who approach the