forgiveness of sins

Catholics believe that sins forgiven are removed from the soul (John, 20), and not merely covered by the merits of Christ. Only God can forgive sin, since He alone can infuse sanctifying grace by which sin is expelled. God can forgive sin either Immediately, in response to an act of perfect contrition, or mediately, through a sacrament. The sacraments primarily directed to the forgiveness of sin are Baptism and Penance.

New Catholic Dictionary

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