Monday, May 11, 2009

I Can't Do My Penance

Q. What do I do if the priest gives me a penance to do, but once I leave Confession, I realize that I can't do it?

A. First, it depends what you mean by "can't do it." If you meant you physically cannot do your penance, then I would talk to the priest who you went to for Confession. If he wasn't your parish priest, and you can't reach him, talk to your parish priest about your penance.

If you can't carry out your penance because it is difficult, then pray. If necessary , talk to your pastor, youth minister, or another strong Catholic adult that you trust for guidance. Remember, the penance part of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is important. The absolution takes away your blame for the sin, but not it's effects. Penance is meant to remedy the damage caused, and is necessary for a full Reconciliation (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 1459).