Confession to Jesus Christ (No Priest)


#1

A non-Catholic defended “no priest has authority to forgive sins” like this.

Him: Priests can’t forgive sins.

Me: Have you read in the Gospel about Jesus appearing after the Resurection and breathing on the apostles stating “What sins you forgive are forgiven, what sins you retain are retained”? Doesen’t that state that the apostles had authority to forgive sins?

Him: That’s not what Jesus meant. He meant that their sins could be forgiven if they believe in Jesus.

Him: Because in Acts of the Apostles Simon the Magician was told by Peter to repent and pray to Jesus.

Can you help shoot his claim down?


#2

So my defense would be this (at this point).

Simon the Magician didn’t ask for forgiveness.

Peter retained the sin and didn’t intercess on his behalf (I’m assuming b/c Simon’s heart wasn’t in the right place).


#3

Jesus said it and if He didn’t mean to give them that power to forgive sins in the person of Him He wouldn’t have said it.


#4

Multiple points:

#1 Don’t grant your friend the assumption that we must approach the Bible first and only for what the Christian Faith is. Ask him how Christ wanted us to know the Christian Faith. He won’t be able to find any reference to Jesus founding a Bible. The Church was founded by Christ to teach the truth. The Tradition of the Faith, including the sacraments, preceded the Bible.

#2 The Church that gave your friend the Bible is the same Church that had priests and confession — and well before the New Testament canon was settled. Why does he accept the Catholic Church’s authority to settle Scripture, but not the Catholic Church’s teaching on the sacraments?

#3 Even if the story re: Simon the Magician went down how your friend said it did, so what? Catholics don’t say private confession to a priest is the only way God forgives us: Catholics don’t confess their sins to a priest as opposed to confessing to God. No, we confess our sins directly to Christ all the time, in private prayer, examination of conscience, in every Lord’s Prayer, at Mass, etc. Confession is a sacrament: a gift that God gives us so we have a visible expression of a spiritual reality, i.e., we truly ARE forgiven when we hear the priest’s absolution.

#4 The New Testament commands us to confess our sins to others, and it puts Priests right in the middle of it:

  • James 5:14-16: Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

(The elders are priests. The Greek Presbyteros – meaning “elder” – was transliterated into English as “Priest.”)

This passage is clear: The ministers of the Church are used as vehicles of God’s healing and grace.

#5: Ask him if he is aware of all the ancient Christian traditions that are in existence today, and ask him if he knows what they believe about John 20 and Confession. Your friend probably doesn’t know much about the Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox, and the Assyrian Church of the East. If he does, then that means he thinks he knows better than 2,000 years of Christian history.

All these ancient traditions – including the Catholic Church – have Confession and a priesthood: The Roman, the Byzantine, the Syriac, the Coptic, the Syro-Malabar, the Chaldean.

Ask him why he prefers a novel interpretation over ancient and universal Christian teaching and practice.

Others who reply to your question will more directly answer re: John 20 itself, but all these other points are important to bring up as well.


#6

Why then did Jesus only ever breathe on the Apostles and tell them what they forgive is forgiven? Why not announce it during his Sermon on the Mound, or any of the other times there were thousands of people to hear it?


#7

The references used in both examples do not directly relate to confession.


#8

No they don’t. His argument would be it is implied.

Which is an argument he can’t prove and has no history to support it in a courtroom when up against the giant.


#9

I think you meant this as a reply to @hergratefulchild


#10

Tell him that that’s a stretch.


#11

We all know the internet can’t be trusted.


#12

Also, this is an approach I don’t see that often. But I think it’s worth saying:

Many non-Catholics who object to Confession are probably also uncomfortable with the idea of it. Even if they don’t think it’s true, they probably don’t WANT Confession to be true, either.

So here is an opportunity to let our non-Catholic friends know how much of a blessing Confession is. We should let our friends know how relieved we feel, how joy-filled we are, how spiritually-enriched our walk of faith is, etc. because of Confession.


#13

The sacrament of reconciliation (Confession) removes the power of sin over our soul and bring us back into communion with God. Thank you Jesus for doing this for us, even when by human standards we don’t deserve it.

If you’d rather go through the temporal and spiritual pain by keeping the confession in prayer. It’s an arguable option but why?


#14

I agree with this. Begin a discussion about the Bible. Can he use the Bible, and the Bible alone, to prove that the Bible teaches the Bible alone. Then you can move on to Tradition and that we understand Scripture through the lens of the Church fathers, Councils, etc.

ZP


#15

Why try and shoot it down

Why not explain what Reconcilliation is, instead.

Restoring our love with God.


#16

Neither.

At some point your friend, you, me, everyone on this thread, we all have to decide who will will believe. We must place ourselves under some authority. In discussion with your friend, that is the foundation. Who has the authority.

As stated above, ask your friend why he accepts the Scriptures he has today. I will bet you that he has never done a serious, scholarly look at how the Canon of the Bible came to be. If he will believe the Church had authority to define the Canon, so, why does he deny she has the authority over other things.


#17

I’d caution against the argument of feelings. We are taught not to rely on feelings, feelings can deceive us. Not everyone has an emotional reaction to confession. I have been Catholic for 20+ years now, I have “felt relieved” after Confession exactly one time, it was about a decade ago.

Forgiveness is real and it does not depend on how we feel.


#18

What you did was correct and ALMOST right:smiley:

You gave the correct bible verse {John 20: 19-23}; BUT then you permitted your friend to control the dialog.

You could have asked him: So WHO gives YOU the authority to translate the Bible?

2 Peter 1: [16] For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. [ 17 ] For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” [ 18 ] we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. [ 19 ] And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. [ 20 ] First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, [21] because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Douay Bible explanation 20 “No prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation”… This shews plainly that the scriptures are not to be expounded by any one’s private judgment or private spirit, because every part of the holy scriptures were written by men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and declared as such by the Church; therefore they are not to be interpreted but by the Spirit of God, which he hath left, and promised to remain with his Church to guide her in all truth to the end of the world. Some may tell us, that many of our divines interpret the scriptures: they may do so, but they do it always with a submission to the judgment of the Church, and not otherwise.

21 For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost. End Quotes

Then you could have explained that the Bible is a “Catholic-birthed- Book”

It was the Early CATHOLIC Fathers who amidst much debate, guided by the HS selected the 46 OT books; then it was men known today to have been among the 1st Catholics {5 of the Apostles} who authored the ENTIRE NT}

Cont on NEXT POST


#19

Continued POST

John 17: 17- 20 evidences this
[[17]] Sanctify THEM in truth. Thy word is truth. [[18] As thou hast sent me SENT ME into the world, I also have SENT THEM into the world. And FOR THEM do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. [[20] And not for THEM ONLY do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me;

JOHN 20: 23 COULD NOT BE MORE PRECISE:
“Whose sins YOU SHALL forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins YOU SHALL retain, they are retained.” … no other logical; reasonable translation is possible {READ Mt 10: 1-4}

And Mt 16:19 affirms this even further:
And I will give to TO YOU {ALL OF} the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever YOU SHALL bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever YOU SHALL loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

So you did GOOD, but just didn’t go far enough. Print this for a future reference

God Bless you,
Patrick


#20

John 17: 17- 20 evidences this
[[17]] Sanctify THEM in truth. Thy word is truth. [[18] As thou hast sent me SENT ME into the world, I also have SENT THEM into the world. And FOR THEM do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. [[20] And not for THEM ONLY do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me;

JOHN 20: 23 COULD NOT BE MORE PRECISE:
“Whose sins YOU SHALL forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins YOU SHALL retain, they are retained.” … no other logical; reasonable translation is possible {READ Mt 10: 1-4}

And Mt 16:19 affirms this even further:
And I will give to TO YOU {ALL OF} the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever YOU SHALL bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever YOU SHALL loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

So you did GOOD, but just didn’t go far enough. Print this for a future reference

God Bless you,
Patrick


#21

These are informative replies. Yet, I’m looking more to shoot down the argument of Simon the Magician.

The argument is that Peter told Simon to pray to Jesus for the Holy Spirit. We, on the other hand, confess our sins through a priest to ‘get back’ in relation with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Simon was baptized. We are baptized. This is the dilemma. How do we win over without redirecting through some other part of scripture or tradition? Can I say that Peter retained the sin even though it isn’t written? Or should I say that it isn’t written that Simon confessed his sin?


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