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18. The Effect of the Keys

1. The power of the keys remits the guilt ofsins, for grace is given by the sacrament of penance, and graceremoves guilt.

2. The power of the keys, through the priest'sabsolution, takes away the eternal punishment owed to sinin strict justice; the power of the keys also takes away at leastpart of the temporal punishment due to sins.

3. The priest exercises the binding power of thekeys (the power that keeps the gate locked), when he judges thatabsolution must not be given to the confessing sinner, andtherefore refuses to give it. The binding power of thekeys is also exercised in the imposing of "a penance" onthe forgiven sinner; for here, while the keys open heaven to theforgiven sinner, they lock him into the obligation of performing awork of satisfaction.

4. The priest in confession does not exercise the power ofthe keys as he chooses, or according to his personal likes,dislikes, or prejudices. The priest exercises the power of the keysin his office as God's minister, wielding in the sacrament ofpenance God's own authority and power, and hence he acts withcare, discretion, and reverence, prudently consulting thesacredness of the sacrament on the one hand, and, on the other, thedisposition and the needs of the confessing sinner.

"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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