The Protestant Reformation filled the world with a number of false teachings that have become commonly held in modern society. One of these is the doctrine that Christ has paid the penalty for sins and there is nothing for us to pay. We simply receive the free gift of salvation, by faith, and live forever. It was this doctrine that led me to Catholicism because I had an easy way to prove it false:
If Christ paid all the penalty for our sins, then it Christians would not die (for death is a penalty of sin).
Therefore, Christ did not pay all the penalty for our sins.
Our death is a reminder that we all owe God reparation for our sins, even when saved from eternal punishment by the sufferings of Our Lord.
The Baltimore Catechism teaches us the following:
Q. 801. Why should we have to satisfy for our sins if Christ has fully satisfied for them?
A. Christ has fully satisfied for our sins and after our baptism we were free from all guilt and had no satisfaction to make. But when we wilfully sinned after baptism, it is but just that we should be obliged to make some satisfaction.
Q. 805. Which are the chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to sin?
A. The chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal punishment due to sin are: Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving; all spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and the patient suffering of the ills of life.
I cannot recommend it strongly enough that all Catholic children be taught the Baltimore Catechism. In the Classiical Liberal Arts Academy, the following courses are available online:
- THL-011 Baltimore Catechism I (pre-Communion)
- THL-111 Baltimore Catechism II (pre-Confirmation)
- THL-310 Baltimore Catechism III (post-Confirmation)
I recently enjoyed the following conference by Fr. Chad Ripperger on this subject of making reparation for sins and recommend it:
William C. Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy