Confession - to God directly

I am attending mass weekly and thinking on my end, but am not Catholic.

Does the Catholic church teach that you can confess to God directly and ask forgiveness?

Thanks All!


Certainly. In fact, we do just that every time we say the Lord’s Prayer. And such dialog with God in our personal prayer time is a good thing.

However Catholics are also obligated to sacramentally confess mortal sins.

Penance in the general Christian life:

The Sacramenet of Penance:

The Lord’s Prayer, the fifth petition:


Yes that is exactly what the Church teaches; The sacramental confession makes God’s Grace tangible, present to us so we can know without a doubt that God has forgiven our sins. We confess directly to God thru the ministry of the priesthood. The priest sits in persona Christi, in the person of Christ and is the instrument thru which the Holy Spirit pours out God’s Grace into our souls for the forgiveness of sins.

If you look at Mark 2:1-12 in the story of the healing of the paralytic when Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5), the scribes object and ask “who can forgive sins except God alone?” And they were right. But notice how Jesus changes this a little later in the story. In Mark 2:10, Jesus performs the miracle of healing precisely to show that “the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So what was once in heaven is now on earth because Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. Jesus has given His authority to forgive sins to His apostles because Jesus no longer lives on earth to continue His ministry, yet He calls specific men to this ministry to continue his earthly work to forgive sins. See John 20:19-23.

The words that a priest uses to convey the forgiveness of Christ is based on Jesus’ words in John 20:19-23. The words used are: “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sin, through the ministry of the Church. May God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Reconciliation is the plan of the Father - not made up by the Church. The Church only proclaims what God has done.

Hey Marc!
While confessing ones sins to a priest may seem to be difficult to do, the graces obtained by doing so are abundant. Take it from a guy that decided he didn’t need to confess to a priest and put that sacrament to the side for over 20 years. We can get into all the whys and why nots but let’s keep it simple…Here’s my short version;
After the Lord spoke to my heart in Adoration, I made my confession shortly after to a priest…asking for forgiveness. Humbling myself before God. Humility, a term I wasn’t real familiar with. The counsel, the absolution, knowing I was forgiven. Hearing it from the priest, “Your sins are forgiven, go in peace.” Feeling the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders…overwhelmed with tears and emotion.
Weekly confession has made me very aware of my deficiencies and sins.( I use to think I really didn’t sin much…sure!) With God’s grace I’ve overcome some serious sins and the sacrament has deepened my realationship with Jesus. I could go on and on…
Jesus, I trust in you!

no; you must go to a priest and confess your sins

pure & simple

This is not a complete or accurate statement of Church teaching or theology of the sacrament of reconciliation.

What about the case of a protestant who commits a grave sin? If they repent and confess directly to God, would He forgive them of breaking faith and having done grave sins? Is confession to others about the grave sin necessary even if one confesses it to God, repents, and, having asked for forgiveness, reforms their ways and keeps the commands?

We don’t know how God operations extra sacramentally. God can do whatever He pleases. We know that Christ instituted the sacraments as the normative way we receive sanctifying grace. This does not preclude extra-sacramental action on God’s part. God has not revealed that to us.

Yes, but doesn’t the Lord’s Prayer in asking God to forgive us our sins as we also forgive those who sin against us act as a perfect contrite prayer for forgiveness even for grave sins?

Grave sins must still be confessed sacramentally, even with perfect contrition.

See if these two articles of mine help at all.

Catholic Confession and Scriptures About Penance


I’ve implored a priest on two separate occasions to allow me to go to confession(I’m a protestant) but I was denied because I am not a member of the Roman Catholic church.
I assume you are familiar with protestantism and that it is taught among the protestant congregations that all sins are considered grave/mortal, with some holding the osas doctrine and others not holding that doctrine.

But we are all taught that we can be forgiven by Jesus himself if we go directly to God and confess our sin and repent. But, even though I have committed mortal sins before and have turned from them and made confession to God and laid aside such evil practices as I strive to run the race, I fear my efforts are in vain and I am disqualified from the race.

If you believe in the sacraments, have you considered coming into full communion with the church.

I have, but it isn’t that easy. It may result in the break up of my marriage, which would negatively affect the life of my son, as well as what little faith my wife currently has in Jesus. God hates divorce, so I am looking at ways to go about my situation in a wise and delicate matter.

Perhaps you could bring your concerns to the priest and see if some kind of arrangement can be made or general advice on how to proceed with this delicate matter. I am sure they would have experience with this sort of things before. In some non-Christian countries, Christians may have to keep a very low profile to avoid beheading for turning their back on the mandatory official religion. Protestantism to Catholicism is not as major a step as Islam/Buddhism/Hinduism/Paganism to Catholicism.

Ask for his prayers too.

Yep, you want confession…(and all the other sacraments).you need to come into the Catholic Church.

Thank you all for taking the time to reply to me. I appreciate it; I’ve been waiting a long time
to join these forums and have this kind of discussion because for a while I have had to meditate and pray about it alone. For a long time. I have made an effort on more than one occasion to contact a local RC priest, but whenever I did they were not in the office. I’ll make a reminder to try again.

I may have to proceed on my own, however I don’t want to do it necessarily as a secret. If I keep it as a secret from my wife, it may cause a division between us and create a trust issue. My wife is japanese, and the japanese community is important to her. It has helped with issues of depression and homesickness, and we recently moved further away from them so it has caused marital problems and fear with her that I am drawing her away from the community(I wasn’t; I moved to be closer to work). They are also our friends and have helped us a lot, especially when it came to us having our son. Converting to Roman Catholicism, I suspect, may cause our protestant japanese friends to feel I may be trying to take her away from them and the community. My wife may think that too. In fact, my wife confessed to me about her fear of going to a protestant church in our area(for example, my brother’s) that should would be attending services in english that she would feel difficult to understand(english isn’t her first language) and she would feel more depressed and alienated due to her being away from her parents who live in Japan, her friends from Japan and our friends in the japanese community in our area, and how she would consider divorce.

She confessed how the japanese church and our foundation in Jesus as christians with our current church has kept us together and if I take that away from her…

Anyway. Me converting to Roman Catholicism? Our japanese christian friends may not receive it well. I can’t be a member of that church congregation and the RCC, so it will create a division with my wife remaining a member without me. Converting to RCC is like me saying in action that they follow possibly heresies and are in error.

Unity is important to my wife. Unity of the family; Unity of having the same friends, eating at the same times, going to bed at the same times, going to the same church and events. She can’t even drive, let along really get to the japanese community on her own unless I drive her. And in our area, she has very few friends and there is almost no japanese people.

I’ve decided to not force her to become a Roman Catholic nor my son. This is a completely personal decision if I do this, and it has to be respected. But, I have concerns. Where does that leave me and the japanese church we attend as being both our friends and community, especially that my marriage has been built upon it too. As I understand it, I have obligation to attend the RCC on Sunday, especially on certain days of the year, otherwise I’m committing grave/mortal sins.

I thought it would go well for me to convert, but still remain active and a participant with the japanese church we currently attend for her sake and out of love for her, and to avoid any divisions, lest my marriage be destroyed and her faith along with it.

I can barely get her to understand the Apostles Creed and the gosp and she is a baby in Christ, so how can I even begin to feed her solid food and 2,000 years of church history, the reformation and so on.

My situation is difficult. I’ve even searched for a japanese catholic or orthodox community in my city region. There is none, unfortunately.

Your heart is with Christ, Cyril, and Christ’s heart with you and your family. That’s the most important thing of all. Jesus loves all his flock.
We are truly blessed to have the sacraments, but God is not bound by them. His loving mercy is boundless.

*I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

  • Psalm 32:5*

I suggest that you go to YouTube and find the following:

Scott Haun’s conversion story from Protestantism. His marriage was also at risk.

EWTN The Journey Home. There are many conversion stories and you are bound to find some that resonate.

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