Confessing to a priest. John 20:23


We use John 20:23 to show that the apostles were giving the power to forgive people of their sins. "Those whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and those whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” If this were just to the apostles we could use this scripture. But in vrs 20:20 we see that Jesus was talking to the deciples which includes all followers of Christ. “And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and side. And the disciples were gladdened when they saw the Lord.” So how do we explain this? I want to justify the confessing to a priest. Thank you! God bless!


I recommend this talk by Dr. Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister who embraced confession based on his study of Scripture.
The Healing Power of Confession (CD version) (book version)

In the passage you are talking about, the disciples in context are the ones later referred to as the apostles. Typically they are called disciples prior to the Ascension and apostles afterward. Verse 24 immediately goes on to describe Thomas’ doubt as “one of the twelve” disciples who wasn’t present at that moment.


If that verse didn’t apply to the apostles and instead applied to all who follow Christ, why would that negate the need to confess our sins to a priest? What do you think it would mean if that wasn’t intended for the apostles?

I may be ignorant about scripture, but I know as Catholics we do not practice solo scripture, which means if the Church tells us we are to confess our sins to a priest, we ought to heed their teaching and practice it.

Lastly, whether it applies to the apostles only or to all the faithful, I only see that it would be negating the idea that if someone wrongs another, all we have to do is go directly to God and skip the communal interaction.

Christ baptized with the Holy Spirit, does that mean if we want to be baptized all we have to do is go directly to God? Even the most ardent solo scriptura Protestant gets baptized by another person.


I thought he was talking to the apostles, that this was a special gift was given to them, not to everyone.


Awesome! :thumbsup:
I hadn’t heard that angle before. Thanks!


Thank you! I just had to read the whole thing. This is much appricuated! I’ve been struggling in understand this for a while. I am glad this can all be resolved now in my mind. I am very grateful. God bless!


These articles from my blog might help.

Catholic Confession
Scriptures About Penance
“I Find No Sacraments In the Bible” he said.


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