An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Confession of Sin

An acknowledgment of sin, as in Ps 51: “Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Confessions of sin during the liturgy are general, made by all the people. The church also provides for confessions of sin by individual penitents, and for their absolution, pronounced by a bishop or priest. A declaration of forgiveness may be stated by a deacon or lay person who hears a confession. The BCP provides two forms of service for the Reconciliation of a Penitent (p. 447, 449). The Reconciliation of a Penitent is one of the sacramental rites of the church (p. 861). The secrecy of the confession is morally absolute for those who hear a private confession. See Reconciliation of a Penitent.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.