Is confessing your sins to a Priest a requirement to get into Heaven?
If you are a baptized Catholic in a state of mortal sin, the NORMATIVE teaching is that you should confess to a priest and be absolved. If you are in a state of immediate danger of death, you may attempt a perfect act of contrition whereby you have absolutely NO tincture of attachment to sin in any shape or form, AND your contrition, likewise with no tincture of anything especially a desire to ‘escape hell and get to heaven’, is SOLELY because you are sorry for offending God.
IOW, such an act of contrition is darned hard to do. NO attachment to sin? NO worries about ‘self’? ONLY sorrow for offending God?
Plus, if the ‘danger’ passes, the baptized (confirmed) Catholic is still obligated to seek the opportunity to confess at a priest at the soonest available time.
Now, Catholicism isn’t a religion that relies on works. (bet that surprises you!)
IOW, we don’t have to “Do X” to 'get heaven."
Faith in Christ and acceptance of His free gift of salvation are the way to heaven, but faith isn’t just ‘lip service’ and acceptance means more than just saying the sinners’ prayer. It means following Christ in thought, word, and deed.
Since Catholics believe that Christ, through His Church, taught us and ASKS us to do certain things such as confess to the priest (cf. Matthew chapter 18), we do so not out of fear, or trying to ‘get’ things, but out of love for God and obedience to HIM.
I hope that helps to answer your question.
Mortal sins, yes. Mortal sins separate us from God and break our relationship with Him, If you’re in the state of mortal sin, you must go to Confession before you can receive communion as well.
Venial sins, no, but it is a good and pious act,
Regular frequent use of the sacrament of penance bestows graces upon us to help us grow in holiness.
if you have an opportunity for Confession, yes. The exception for a Catholic is if they don’t have an opportunity. In that case, they still need to be repentant and intend on going to Confession as soon as they can.
but yes Confession is the normal way to be forgiven of mortal sins. If a Catholic has an opportunity to go to Confession and does not, - that is dangerous. Furthermore, we can not recieve the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, we need to go to Confession first.
Jesus told the Apostles… “receive the Holy Spirit… whatever sins you forgive, will be forgiven…” - they passed this on to their successors, the Bishops. In the Catholic Church, there’s an unbroken line from the Apostles, to the Bishops today.
[size=]If a person is sincerly contrite and says a good act of contrition, can not get to confession and has commited a mortal sin,I believe God would forgive that person,Otherwise everyone else who doesn’t attend confession(protestants,non denominationals,Jews etc)would be damned as well.[/size]
Thank you all so much for your input. I think the main reason I asked the question was in trying to understand how and why protestants don’t believe in it even thouugh they’re aware of confession to a Priest.
Yes, saying a perfect act of contrition will do, provided one can say a perfect act of contrition. If you’re remotely fearful of going to Hell, it’s not a perfect act of contrition. As Fr. Ripperger, FSSP says, “Perfect contrition doesn’t grow on trees.”