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Catechism of the Catholic Church

Only God forgives sin

1441 Only God forgives sins. 39 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

1442 Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the "ministry of reconciliation." 42 The apostle is sent out "on behalf of Christ" with "God making his appeal" through him and pleading: "Be reconciled to God." 43


39 Cf. Mk 2:7.

40 Mk 2:5, 10; Lk 7:48.

41 Cf. Jn 20:21-23.

42 2 Cor 5:18.

43 2 Cor 5:20.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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