What Roman Catholics Really Believe: Penance Denies The Atonement

Grace and peace, Saints. 

Today is Day Seven of the Forty-Day Roman Catholic celebration of Lent, and, as promised, we continue with our essay “What Is Lent?”

According to A Practical Catholic Dictionary, Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, ushers in the Lenten celebration “in the spirit of penance.” Penance, according to the Dictionary, is “good works” required by the priest to whom the faithful Roman Catholic confesses his sins. The purpose of Lent, therefore, is for the Roman Catholic to do good works as part of his Catholic contract to redeem himself from sin.

If you believe it a stretch to say that the Roman Catholic is trying to redeem himself from sin through good works, consider that the Bible says that “the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7), and “we have redemption through His [Jesus’] blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14). The Bible also tells us that after Jesus made “one sacrifice forever” he sat down on the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 10:12). The Bible’s mention of Jesus sitting down is symbolic of the fact that there was no more work to be done. Jesus’ death and the shedding of His blood fully atoned for our sins.  “It is finished,” Jesus said.

You may find it interesting that the word Atonement cannot be found in A Practical Catholic Dictionary. There is a simple reason for this: Roman Catholicism does not recognize the Atonement. If you think this is again a stretch, consider that the Roman Catholic Jesus is still hanging on the cross. Understand that by leaving Jesus on the cross, Catholicism says that Jesus’ sacrifice is not yet complete. He is still making sacrifice for sin. “It is not finished,” Catholicism says. Catholicism does not believe that Jesus hung on the cross; Catholicism believes Jesus is still hanging on the cross. If you think this is yet another stretch, consider this Catholic prayer to the Virgin Mary, attributed to Pope Pius XII: Click here for source of prayer.

O kind and good Mother, 
whose own soul was pierced by the sword of sorrow, 
look upon us while, 
in our sickness, 
we arraign ourselves beside you 
on the Calvary where your Jesus hangs.

Dowered with the high grace of suffering, 
and hopeful of fulfilling in our own flesh 
what is wanting in our sharing of Christ’s passion, 
on behalf of his Mystical Body, the Church, 
we consecrate to you ourselves and our pain. 
We pray that you will lay them 
on that Altar of the Cross to which Jesus is affixed. 
May they be little victims of propitiation for our salvation, 
for the salvation of all peoples.

O Mother of Sorrows, 
accept this consecration. 
Strengthen our hopeful hearts, 
that as partakers of Christ’s sufferings 
we may also share in his comfort now and for evermore.


Note that the prayer says, “Calvary, where your Jesus HANGS” instead of “HUNG”; and “the Cross to which Jesus IS affixed,” instead of “WAS affixed.” Roman Catholicism believes Jesus is still hanging on a lonely cross at Calvary.

But, why do they do this? You may ask. It’s simple: if Jesus’ sacrifice is not complete, and he is still hanging on the cross, then the Roman Catholic has to complete the act of atonement through his own effort. “Where?” you may ask, did you get that?” Well, consider that A Practical Catholic Dictionary says that Jesus, “by His suffering and death, made infinite satisfaction for the sins of men.” It doesn’t say that the blood of Jesus atoned for sins. To make atonement is to satisfy completely. To use the word atonement would be to say that the work of redemption is over. But, by merely saying that Jesus’ sacrifice made “infinite (never-ending, eternal) satisfaction,” and leaving Jesus on the cross, the Roman Catholic Church implies that the work of redemption has not been completed. And, by requiring Roman Catholics to make partial satisfaction for sins through penance, the Roman Catholic Church says that Jesus’ death on the cross and the shedding of his blood wasn’t good enough. The Roman Catholic must do something himself to complete the work of redemption.

It is important at this point to mention that the Roman Catholic Council of Trent curses anyone who believes that justification comes through faith in the blood of Jesus alone and that one needn’t expend any effort on his own.

Proof that the Roman Catholic believes he must redeem himself can be found in the above prayer. Note that the prayer asks that the body of the Roman Catholic, along with his suffering, be accepted as “little victims of propitiation for our salvation.” Propitiation literally means satisfaction for sins. Colossians 1:14 and Romans 3:25 say that Jesus Christ was our propitiation, meaning His death and the shedding of His blood satisfied both our sin debt and God’s wrath. His death paid the penalty for sins, according to Romans 5:23, which says, “The wages of sin is death”; and the shedding of His blood washed away our sins according to Hebrews 9:22, which says “without shedding of blood there is no remission.”

This is the reason Roman Catholicism teaches that Jesus’ suffering, made “infinite” satisfaction for sins, rather than that His death and the shedding of His blood made atonement for the sins of mankind. It enables the romish church to teach that, through suffering, which may include flagellating himself with a whip, putting sharp instruments in his shoes to inflict pain, or kneeling in prayer upon some instrument designed to inflict pain, the Roman Catholic seeks to become a “little victim of propitiation” (sacrifice) to the end that he might save himself.

The final proof (at least for today) that suffering through penance is one way the Roman Catholic hopes to make atonement for his sins can again be found in Pope Pius XII’s poem. The second stanza says,

Dowered with the high grace of suffering, 
and hopeful of fulfilling in our own flesh 
what is wanting in our sharing of Christ’s passion, 
on behalf of his Mystical Body, the Church, 
we consecrate to you ourselves and our pain.

Notice that the poem calls suffering “the high grace.” This is a reference to the Sacrament of Penance, one of the seven “channels of grace” by which the Roman Catholic hopes to earn the right to go to heaven. Note also that through suffering the Roman Catholic is “hopeful of fulfilling in [his] own flesh what is wanting [lacking] in [his] sharing of Christ’s passion.” If you consider that Catholicism teaches that it was through Jesus’ suffering that he made “infinite satisfaction” for sins, then “fulfilling in [his] own flesh” means that the Roman Catholic, through penance, hopes to fulfill, through his personal suffering, the unfinished work of atonement. This prayer is talking about penance.

If the Roman Catholic must partially satisfy his sins through penance, then the work of Jesus on the cross was a failure. This is, by the way, exactly what Pope Francis said:

 “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakes of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).

Be encouraged and look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.

The Still Man

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