What is Catholic Penance and Confession?

Confession, which the Roman catechism defines as “to accuse ourselves of sins to a priest” was not made compulsory until 1215 AD when the Fourth Lateran Council decreed that it was necessary, “under pain of mortal sin to confess at least once a year to a priest.” When confession has been made and absolution given there is still penance to be done. Whatever the penance given the catechism warns that it does not always make full satisfaction for our sins. We should therefore add to it other good works and penances, and try to gain indulgences. There is always some debt or other to be paid for sin and what is not met in this life is to be met in the life to come in purgatory. For Protestants there can be no greater travesty of the Gospel than this system. (Ephesians 2:8-9) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.”