Through this sacrament, Christ offers God's mercy to sinners. Jesus imparted to his apostles the power to forgive sins and gave them the authority to reconcile sinners to the church.
Jesus instituted the sacrament of reconciliation through his words to Simon Peter in the Gospel of Matthew, "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Mt. 16:19).
Jesus' call to conversion does not stop at baptism, but continues throughout our journey of faith. The new life of faith received at baptism does not eliminate our human nature or our inclination to sin. The sacrament of reconciliation is the opportunity for Catholics who have fallen into grave sin, and have lost their baptismal grace, to receive God's gift of mercy and forgiveness.