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Dear Father Angelo, 

I am writing to you to clarify the problem about how to remedy sins committed by believers. Some believe we can’t remedy our sins either through actions or prayers. If it was true, the only way should be the use of indulgence, either full or partial. On the contrary, some others believe that worshippers can remedy and that actually they need to do it through corporal or spiritual works of mercy. What should we do?

I thank you a lot. God bless you. 


Dear you,

1.  Sin – obviously a serious sin – means two things: you’ve insulted God and lost your friendship and intimacy with Him, as well as grace. So, no man can sufficiently remedy their sins. And this is for two reasons. The first one is that although their works are good they still have a limited value, being without grace. While insulting God is really serious because of the importance of Who has been insulted. The second one is that even if man’s works could remedy our sins, they still can’t deserve reconciliation due to the fact that the supernatural friendship with God is a totally undeserved gift for men and it comes from divine kindness. 

2.  Due to those premises, only Jesus Christ could adequately remedy sin and deserve reconciliation with God. He has expiated with a body and a human soul, but the One who experienced the Passion was a divine Person. That’s why the value of his passion is a divine one, and so it has an infinite worth.   

3. Moreover, not only did God expiate sin, but he also deserved God’s friendship again through grace, man’s reconciliation with God. 

4.  St. Thomas has explained this doctrine and stated that: “He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally, or even more than he detests the offense. But by suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race. First of all, because of the exceeding charity from which He suffered; secondly, on account of the dignity of His life which He laid down in atonement, for it was the life of one who was God and man; thirdly, on account of the extent of the Passion, and the greatness of the grief endured. And therefore Christ’s Passion was not only a sufficient but a superabundant atonement for the sins of the human race; according be to 1 Jn. 2:2: “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (Summa Theologica, III, 48, 2).

5.  Christ could do that for us because He is deeply linked to human nature through which he has been believed as the new Adam: “The head and members are as one mystic person; and therefore Christ’s satisfaction belongs to all the faithful as being His members. Also, in so far as any two men are one in charity, the one can atone for the other as shall be shown later”. (Ib., ad 1). Moreover, “Christ’s love was greater than His slayers’ malice: and therefore the value of His Passion in atoning surpassed the murderous guilt of those who crucified Him: so much so that Christ’s suffering was sufficient and superabundant atonement for His murderer’s crime.” (Ib., ad 2).  “The dignity of Christ’s flesh is not to be estimated solely from the nature of flesh, but also from the Person assuming it—namely, inasmuch as it was God’s flesh, the result of which was that it was of infinite worth.” (Ib., ad 3).

6.   All those reasons make us understand how much we can love Christ. No one gave us what He did give us: remedy to our sins and communion to have an intimate and eternal relationship with God. After all, no one could do that. 

7.  This needs to be clearly stated for all men, even for Muslims. In fact, if they can be saved (and we can hope it) it is not thank to Muhammad. He couldn’t expiate his own sins and his believers’ ones and he couldn’t grant a life in communion with God because he was just a man, and a sinner too.

8.   Therefore, since Baptism allows us to live in Christ, we can cooperate with Him to expiate our sins through grace. We can do it by offering all of the actions made in grace and by the three actions the sinner does during a sacramental confession: contrition, confession of the sins, penance. 

9.  Indulgence is more useful to remedy the punishment than to expiate sins because of traces or bad tendencies that remain in us even after the confession. 

I wish you all the best, I remember you to the Lord and I bless you. 

Padre Angelo