ABSOLUTION - The prayer offered by a bishop or presbyter for the forgiveness of sins. Following His glorious Resurrection, Christ breathed on His Apostles and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:22, 23). This gift of proclaiming God's forgiveness of sins remains forever in the Church. It is exercised in the sacraments of baptism and confession?the reconciliation to the Church of Christian believers who have sinned and repented. The priest or bishop is the witness who bears testimony to the repentance; only God forgives sins.