CCC 1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.1 Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful:2
Whoever confesses his sins. .. is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear “man” – this is what God has made; when you hear “sinner” – this is what man himself has made. Destroy what you have made, so that God may save what he has made. .. When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light.3
CCC 1669 Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a “blessing,” and to bless.4 Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons).5
CCC 1789 Some rules apply in every case:
– One may never do evil so that good may result from it;
– the Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”6
– charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: “Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience. .. you sin against Christ.”7 Therefore “it is right not to. .. do anything that makes your brother stumble.”8
CCC 1970 The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between “the two ways” and to put into practice the words of the Lord.9 It is summed up in the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the prophets.”10
The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “new commandment” of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us.11
CCC 2842 This “as” is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”12 It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.13 Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us.14
1 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1680; CIC, can. 988 # 2.
2 Cf. Lk 6:36.
3 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 12, 13: PL 35, 1491.
4 Cf. Gen 12:2; Lk 6:28; Rom 12:14; 1 Pet 3:9.
5 Cf. SC 79; CIC, can. 1168; De Ben 16, 18.
6 Mt 7:12; cf. Lk 6:31; Tob 4:15.
7 1 Cor 8:12.
8 Rom 14:21.
9 Cf. Mt 7:13-14,21-27.
10 Mt 7:12; cf. Lk 6:31.
11 Cf. Jn 15:12; 13:34.
12 Mt 5:48; Lk 6:36; Jn 13:34.
13 Cf. Gal 5:25; Phil 2:1,5.
14 Eph 4:32.