Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church:  above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion.  It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification.  The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.”

  ~Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1446


The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members.  This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing:  the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.
~Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1421