why do you confess to priests? Isnt that the job Jesus holds?

Jesus gave the Apostles, and by extension, the Apostles’ succesors the ability to forgive or retain the sins of people. However, we are still confessing our sins to Jesus, just through a Priest.

When Christ established the Church, as we see in Matthew, he gave the “keys to the Kingdom” to the Apostles, the power to “bind and loose” and heaven and Earth and the power to forgive sins.

Later, in scripture, we see that we are to confess our sins to each other, not merely to God. Confession to a priest has always been part of Christianity, though the methods and procedures have evolved over time. All the Eastern Orthodox churches, currently separated from Rome, also practice confession to a priest.

It was not until the reformation in the 16th century that most of the new Protestant groups did away with confession to a priest. So not confessing to a priest is a doctrinal innovation that came along about 1500 years after Christ established to Church.

Regarding confession itself, when the priest hears a confession, he takes on the role of alter Christus and alternate Christ. This is also described at en persona Christe the person of Christ. Thus it is in fact not the priest himself who forgives the sins, but Christ.

If you do a search, you’ll find about a zillion threads that address this. But for a quick answer, yes, it’s Jesus’s job, and the priest acts “in persona Christi” which basically means that when you confess before a priest, you are confessing to Jesus Himself. The priest does not forgive the sins, God does, but He does it through the priest, in the sacrament of reconciliation.

This has a scriptural basis, one of which is found in Matthew, 16:19.

There are others that can explain it better, but this is a start.

What Kristie said.

Lutherans believe, basically, the same thing.

John 20:21-23**(Jesus) said to them again, “*Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” *****And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, *“Receive the holy Spirit. ***Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Only twice in all of Scripture does God breathe on man:1. When he breathed life into Adam2. When he gave the apostles the power to forgive or retain sins.

That’s the one I was looking for! :thumbsup:

many Anglicans do as well.

Aside from the scriptural warrant for the practice based in the “power of the keys” given to Peter and the Church as well as the commission of the ability to forgive sins n Jn 20, we have Paul’s attestation that he forgave the incestuous man “in the person of Christ.” James 5:16 admonishes us to confess our sins to one another. Many Protestants, who would rather stick red hot nails in their eyeballs than acknowledge that the Catholic Church is onto a good thing with the practice of sacramental confession, nevertheless have adopted the practice of using other Christians as “accountability partners”.

While this does not provide the sanctifying grace of a sacramental confession, in practice – at least as far as the non-sacramental aspect of confession goes – it serves a similar purpose.

I find it puzzling that in our Jerry Springer culture, people are squeamish about private confession to ONE person, who is not only divinely commissioned but also trained for this ministry.

As a convert, I can testify that it’s the second best thing about being Catholic. :thumbsup:

Welcome to the forum. May the peace and love of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, be with you always.

As elvisman stated he gave it to the apostles, but it doesnt say to anyone else. This is a barrier to me, it seems to be taking the place of Christ. I agree we should confess one to another, but to put the power of forgivness into a mans hands is the hurdle I have trouble jumping.

This is the concept of Apostolic Succession. We that the Lord specifically said this can be passed on because he also gave them the authority to “bind and loose”. This they can “bind” this gift to a successor. That is part of the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Orders (Ordination), which can only be administered by a Bishop.

Why would God give such and important gift only to have it disappear from the entire world after a couple of decades?

Frankly smokey your problem is that you have trouble accepting scripture over your personal beliefs. It will work better if you would set aside those personal beliefs and go with scripture. This is the way Christ set it up. I have trouble understanding why people insist on trumping scripture in favor of something less. Why does man think he knows more than God? Don’t fret too much about a man (through Christ) forgiving sins, the Pharisees had trouble believing it too!

The Apostolic power to forgive sins was passed down by the laying on of hands in an unbroken line from Jesus until now in the Catholic Church. This is how Jesus wants us to have our sins forgiven.

When we are in the Confessional, the priest, as “alter Christus”, becomes like a “window” through whom we can see and hear Jesus - the words spoken by the priest in the Confessional are actually coming directly from Jesus Himself. :slight_smile:


Ask yourself why would Jesus have needed to give that power [of binding and loosing] first to Peter [which would be while Jesus was still withthe apostles] and then after the resurrection and before His Ascension; to all of the Apostles … to be used solely by them only during their lifetimes and not be an authority that transfered along with their “Office” …???

And if you do not believe that the Apostles held an office please refer to Peter in the Acts of the Apostles … Peter specifically identifies the Apostlic “Office” when he quotes the Hebrew Scriptures - “Let another his office take” when Peter tells them they need to choose a replacement for Judas …

And if the Apostles had the poswer to bind and loose would not that have been a usurpation of Jesus’ authority …was not Jesus the Lord, the Messiah even then … not just now?

Would people [some of who would have heard Jesus speak in person] be more in need of the Apostles to bind their sins [or loosing them] then those of us 2000 yers +/- removed from the ‘personal’ misitry and teaching of Christ? And if that is your belief … what is different for the Christians of today then then and a what point did that need or authority become obsolete Upon the death of the last apostle? How does the death of the last apostle change the average Christian that existed before or after that event …

In ther words if this was only a limited ‘authority’ to what purpose was it intended? …

Logic would tell you that Jesus instituted that authority for a purpose … and the only time limit expressed in either of the two passages reflects eternity … as in the “gates of hell shall not prevail” … The giving of the ‘keys’ to Peter echos Isaiah 22 also an “office” … the Chruch exists through time along with the structure [of that chruch] that Jesus established …

And there is no reason to believe that the early Christians needed 'more structure" being closer to Christ … that would not make sense … IMHO

With all due respect - which part of "Whose sins you forgive* are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained"*, don’t you understand?**

**Confessing to one another? Where did this concept come from? **

As YADA has already stated so eloquently, Apostolic succession is proven by scripture (Acts 1:16-26). I don’t fall into this category - do you?

Thanks for the compliment … eloquence :o … hey … you made my day:thumbsup:

**I calls’em as I *sees’em!! *:clapping: **

A lot of people have trouble accepting that because it seems so contrary to a view of God that is “spiritual” or non-Incarnational.

The Jews found the Incarnation itself to be a “scandal” in much the same way.

Believing that Christ forgives us at the hands of His Church is actually the only consistent playing out of the Incarnation, Resurrection and descent of the Holy Spirit. It is the consistent playing out of the Olivet discourse and most poignantly, the consistent playing out of John 20:20-23.

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