Relevant Principles

  1. Although the Sacraments of Healing are saving encounters with Christ in the Church, nevertheless they are not the sum total of our ministry.
  2. Catholic ministers must be disposed to celebrate the sacraments generously.
  3. Catholic ministers have the responsibility to ensure that they have all they need for the celebration of a sacrament, including at least a minimum of faith from the person for whom it is celebrated.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

Penitent must bring three things to this sacrament: contrition, confession and intention to change. Contrition is the most important. If one does not intend (at least at the moment of Confession) to try to leave sins behind, one is not, in fact, repentant. Without contrition, there can be no sacrament.

  • If the penitent has officially requested euthanasia or assisted suicide, he or she is in an objective state of sin. The priest will gently and clearly seek to open the heart of the person to the movement of God’s grace that leads to true repentance
  • If the penitent is open to reconsidering the decision, this shows at least the beginning of contrition and the priest can absolve.
  • If the penitent is not open to reconsidering the decision, knowing that it is a grave sin, the priest will delay absolution to a later time when the person may be properly disposed.