Confession Question

I am currently in RCIA classes at my local church. I was born and raised Protestant and have some difficulties with confessing my sins to a priest. While I understand the verse from John 20:23 I don’t understand why confessing to a priest is necessary. So if I confess my sins to God in prayer and am truly sorry he won’t forgive me? What would happen if I never went to confession but I regularly confessed my sins to God? Would my sins never be forgiven?

The judgment what is forgiven and what is not belong to God. However God decided that the hierarchy have the right to loose and bind, and it is bond that Catholic should go and confess their sins to a priest to get back the status of sanctifying grace.

My understanding is that Protestants if they loose the sanctifying grace may get it back that grace only with true contrition resolved not to sin any more. This is easy at the deathbed, quite difficult before that. Without the grace it is much harder to live a honest life.

It worries me that you are getting hung up and anxious about confession. We are only obliged to confess mortal sins to a priest. No mortal sins, = no confession to a priest necessary, even at Easter. (‘Easter Duties’).
Check Canon Law 989, or do you have access to a Catechism? If you check in there, it will confirm this, and will also give you guidance as to what mortal sins are.
God is not a tyrant! He is our loving Father.
Cradle Catholics tend not to understand what a big deal Confession is to a convert, and how it almost seems to be limiting God’s power.
Don’t let it hold you back! Check the Church’s true teaching in the Catechism - you might be surprised!

Confession doesn’t only reunite you with God, it reuinites you with His Church. Being part of the Church is important becase the Church is the Bride of Christ, the Mystical Body of which Christ is the head. We cannot be one with Christ except through the Church. That is why we need to confess our sins to a representative of the Church, the priest, so in behalf of the Church he can reunite us with her.

I don’t have any problems with going to confession the thought of it doesn’t scare me. I’m just trying to understand why it is needed when you can go to God and he will forgive your sins. I have heard Catholics say that God will forgive your sins if you are sincere even if you don’t go to a priest. I’m trying to understand why this 2nd step is necessary. When I pray to God and ask for forgiveness I am doing it with a truly repentant heart and I know that God can see and know my heart but a priest cannot.

Read my post right above yours. That is what is taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Here’s further reading for you: scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c2a4.htm

=Robert6512;7249730]I am currently in RCIA classes at my local church. I was born and raised Protestant and have some difficulties with confessing my sins to a priest. While I understand the verse from John 20:23 I don’t understand why confessing to a priest is necessary. So if I confess my sins to God in prayer and am truly sorry he won’t forgive me? What would happen if I never went to confession but I regularly confessed my sins to God? Would my sins never be forgiven?

Hi Robert,

In your question lies a GREAT part of the answer. *

** 1John.1 Verses 8 to 10:** "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

** 1John.5 Verses 16 to 17**"If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, **but there is sin which is not mortal. **

** John.20 Verses 20 to 23**]" When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.** Jesus said to them **again, “Peace be with you. **As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” **And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Robert, in asking the question we are questioning God’s own Wisdom. That’s not always a bad thing, as our Loving God wants us to understand His Will in order to Obey it.

So here’s another Question: Did GOD Have too forgive sins in this manner?** NO! So why did He?**

VERY FEW things commanded by Jesus were new or Unique to the history of the Hebrew nation Looking at the OT book of Numbers.15:1.28 “And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who commits an error, when he sins unwittingly, to make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven.” Paul confirms this **Heb.5: 1 **“For every high priest chosen from among men is and appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins”

So through out history priest have had an active roll in the fogiveness of sins. I’m sure Robert you are aware that it is God, not the priest who actually forgives the sins and in the New Covenent [Jn. 20:19-23] God has empowered His Priest to determine who should or should not be forgiven. God abides the decission of the Priest, who is charged to determine SINCERE repentence and “firm purpose of admendment” [strong desire NOT to sin again.] Further the priest is trianed to give REAL guidence on how to avoid sin in the furture, AND is SWORN to a VOW [a personal Ceovenant with God] UNDER NO CONDITIONS CAN HE REVEAL ANYTHING TOLD TO HIM IN THE CONFESSIONAL!

It was [IS] intended by God to “be difficult” precisely in order to discourage us from sinning more often. Or at least to give us pause about sining again.

ROBERT ONLY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCHES CAN ONE HAVE KNOWN FORGIVENESS OF SINS. NOT A GUESS, OR SIMPLY A HOPE; BUT FACTUALLY KNOWING. All good things come at a price, and the asking price for this GRACE is minute in comparison to the Godly reward.:thumbsup:

Ask for God’s help and you’ll get it my friend. WELCOME HOME!*

Go back to scripture: When Jesus forgave sin, He told the recipient of grace “your sins are forgiven”. He made sure that, not only did the recipient hear this, but those around them would hear it. This was to establish that He had authority to forgive sin, but also set the style for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Each recipient was to know, beyond any doubt, that their sins were, indeed, forgiven. In praying to God, have you ever heard the words “Your sins are forgiven”? Of course not - none of us ever has. So, how are we supposed to hear those words of absolution, as Christ practiced?

As to the mechanism of forgiveness/atonement, go back even to the book of Leviticus. It was the Priest who made atonement for sins - a man ordained and consecrated to the Lord. Since God never changes, why would ancient sinners not simply ask God directly for forgiveness? Because God’s had established a mechanism for atonement, using men He had chosen to accomplish it. Jesus gave His power and authority to the Twelve and they have passed it on through all generations.

I just came back from the Protestant world. I made my first confession/reconcilliation in March. I wasn’t sure at first…but I have found reconciliation to be a huge blessing :thumbsup: And it helps me to stay away from some sins cause there are just some things I am not going in and telling my priest…:blush: So that means I make sure I don’t do them!

I am also going through RCIA, being brought up United Methodist. While I do look at Confession with a little trepidation, I am more so excited about it as a healing process in my relationship with God. I suggest reading pages 290-293 of The Catholic Source Book (Harcourt Religion Publishers). It will help.

God works through the sacraments for our sake, not his. He knows we need to hear the words of absolution.

When I was in RCIA the deacon leading our class explained it like this:

“Yes you can privately confess to God and you might be forgiven, or you can confess to a Priest who through apostolic succession has the power to forgive since on earth. Why not go with the sure thing and know for a fact that your sins have been forgiven”

I like knowing that I have been forgiven my sins here on earth.

Mortal sins are required be confessed in number and kind…(and circumstances that change things…like the person you murdered was your brother)…also it is not just reconcilation with God but with his Church…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.