Penance (also known as Reconciliation or Confession) is the Sacrament by which a baptized Catholic is absolved of his sins and reconciled to Christ and the Church. The Sacrament has four steps: contrition, confession, absolution and penance. Contrition is deep sorrow and hatred for sin, with a firm resolution to avoid sinning in the future. Confession, specifically to a priest, is required for the Sacrament to absolve the penitent of grave sin. All grave or mortal sins must be confessed in the Sacrament of Penance. Penance is performing acts of amendment, to God and neighbor, which the penitent must do to restore justice in these relationships. Further, because of the disorder caused in the soul of the penitent by his sin, he must "make reparation", "expiate", or "do penance" to restore spiritual health. To obtain absolution, the penitent must confess his sins to a priest with the faculties of absolving. These faculties are received from the Church and allow the priest to forgive sins in the name of Jesus.
Reconciliation with God is the main purpose and effect of this Sacrament. Further, the Sacrament reconciles the Christian to the Church, gives consolation, remits the eternal punishment of sin, and strengthens the Christian for spiritual battle.