Confession Help.

A protestant at work talked about confession and said stuff like priests don’t have he right/power etc. to forgive sins only God can.

It was a two-pronged attack, I tried to explain about absolution and that the priest is just there as a (cannot remember word - taking his place?) and that we still retain the guilt of the sin.

How do I explain it better?


Jesus said to the apostles, “Whose sins you shall forgive have been forgiven; whose sins you shall retain they are retained”. This was the institution of the sacrament of Reconciliation.

First, given most Protestants’ attention to the Bible, you can provide John 20:21-23 as an answer from a purely biblical standpoint. In fact, here’s a useful link containing many scriptural verses on sins and confession, if you ever feel the need to share it with your colleague or anyone else:

Second, as a “non-biblical” answer, you could say that although only God can forgive sins, there’s no contradiction with the fact that He applies forgiveness through a priest. Also, you can add that confession allows us not only to make sure that we confess all of our sins but that the priest, as someone who is usually a learned man of God and guided by the Holy Spirit, will make it possible for us to be forgiven/absolved.

Provide these answers as a loving witness to the truth (which can be hard, I know) and hopefully they’ll think about it, at least. Good luck.

Based in all your questions I think you need two books that you can read and perhaps even loan to these friends.

The First is “Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic” by David Currie

and the Second is

Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating

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