Why Do Priests Give Us Penance After We Confess?
Before we will proceed, let us define below the following terminologies:
Sacrament of Confession – Sacramental Confession is the act by which a person tells or confesses his/her sins to a priest, who is authorized to give absolution in the sacrament of penance (Ecc 5:6, Jn 20:23, Catholic Word Book P.20)
Penance -Penance is a virtue disposing a person to turn to God in sorrow for sin and to carry out works of amendment and atonement (Catholic Word Book P.53).
In every sin, there is a penalty. Note also that penance is the penalty for sin in a merciful way through the Church and it has the authority to do so (Mt. 18:18-20). Now, the reason why priests give us penance after we confess because it is a way of being truly sorry for the sins committed, conversion, good works, step towards reforming the self, and discipline as well (Ecc 2:22, Jer 31:19, Ez 18:21, Rom 2:4, Rev 2:5).
We must also remember that penance must be followed since it requires fruit worth of penance. Meaning to say that concrete actions are needed in order to be sincere with our confession and upon doing it, you are already producing fruit worthy of penance (Mt 3:8).
Note that true penance must be accompanied with good works (Rev 2:4). In other words, confession is useless if there is no penance, you cannot do good works which are essential to make your confession fruitful and meaningful. Here, confession and penance must not be separated with each other.