"The sacrament of Penance is necessary for repentance and sorrow for sins committed. It is administered before receiving Holy Communion; 'Let a man examine himself, and let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself not discerning the Lord's body' (I Corinthians 11:28-29). 'Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out' (Acts 3:19). Through this sacrament, remission of sins and reconciliation with God are granted (Luke 15:18-24; John 8:11, 6:37; I Timothy 2:4; Acts 3:19). The Ethiopian Church teaches that this sacrament was instituted when Christ said, 'Whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be boun in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven' (Matthew 16:19, 18:18; John 20:21-23)
In this sacrament, confession is made to the priest, who can rebuke the sinner, ask him to fast some days or pass a longer time in daily prayer, or tell him to give money to the poor, or to do some kind of discipline. However, the priest should be very careful in exercising this right. He is considered a spiritual doctor. Therefore, he must be careful in applying the various kinds of medicine. A slight disease is not in need of the same drug that is needed in serious cases.
'Treat as a kind physician - the sick person. Use some medicines for his salvation. Do not use a severe medicine, but as very mild one. Clean his wounds and make him firm through the words of consolation. If the wound is deep, use the medicines which build up the flesh. If it is filled with pus, clean it with a disinfectant medicine (with rebuking words). If the wound becomes wider, use a severe unguentum, terrify him with the Day of Judgment. If it becomes wider, burn it, and order him to fast for some days. If you find that there is no use of any kind of treatment, consult very experienced physicians - do not pass one sentence upon all kinds of sins; but examine every sin in order to give the suitable judgment. If you pass any sentence unjustly upon anyone, you should know that this sentence returns upon your own head.' [From The Ethiopian Didaskalia (The Teachings of the Apostles)]
This judgment and punishment, of course, does not mean it can pacify the justice of God, because nothing can pacify His justice except Jesus Christ, who was crucified for the redemption of man (Romans 3:25). This sacrament is administered by any local priest who has a close contact witht he community."
-From Archbishop Abuna Yesehaq's book The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church (p. 108-109)-
"Penance is the sacrament in which a Christian receives, through the mediation of a priest, forgiveness of sins on repenting and confessing them to a priest.
The doctrine of penance is based upon the command of Our Lord who breathed upon the face of His disciples and told them to receive the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins they remitted, they would be remitted (John 20:21-23). Again He told His disciples that whatsoever they should loose on earth should be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18).
In the Mass, absolution is given twice. Auricular Confession is the rule of the Church, confession being made only to a priest. The Lenten Fast (Fast of Hudade) and particularly Good Friday are appointed as special days for Confession. Confession is a requisite for the sacrament of Unction. Absolution includes a blow over the shoulder administered with a branch of the Woira tree as a sign that the penitent has been delivered from sin and Satan. When the faithful fall into sin, they confess what they have committed, whether great or small, and the priest gives them penance according to the number and gravity of their offences. The penance may be in the form of fasting, prayer, alms or prostrations. (II Chronicles 7:14; Matthew 7:7, 9:13) This is a punishment for the sins; sins are not cancelled by this, true repentance is shown when the sinner restores what he stole, forgives him who has injured him, asks pardon in humility of the man whom he has harmed, forsakes his accustomed sins, keeps away from all evil and returns with the whole heart to the Lord who is merciful and will cleanse him from sins. There is no forgiveness without true repentance by showing real sorrow and resolve not to repeat the evil.
Every family has a Soul-Father, Confessor or Ya-nafs Abbat who enjoys a confidential status. It frequently happens that he wills are deposited with him. The seal of confession is the obligation of secrecy imposed upon the priest with regard to every thing revealed to him in confession. It is absolute, with no exception."
-From The Ethiopian Orthodox Church by Aymro Wondmagegnehu and Jouachim Motovu-