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In criminal proceedings, a confession is a document where a suspect admits having committed some crimes.

The Catholic sacrament of confession, lately renamed reconciliation, involves admitting sins to a priest and receiving penance (a task to complete in order to achieve absolution or forgiveness from God). The role of the Priest is of a judge and jury, in order to do this he must be given the power of jurisdiction over the person.

The form of absolution in the Roman rite is:

God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Eastern Orthodox sacrament of confession, or repentance, includes prayer to God and confessing one's sins to God, typically in the presence of an icon of Jesus Christ and also with a priest nearby to bear witness. The priest will typically add his own prayers, may add counsel or assign some form of penance, and will usually announce God's forgiveness of sins.

Confession is necessary prior to receiving the Eucharist. Typical forms of penance may include abstaining from the Eucharist for a period of time, or praying certain prayers.

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